Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

NEW CANAAN—As protesters marched in Washington on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling and to advocate for the sanctity of life, St. Aloysius Parish held its own Respect Life Day of Prayer right here at home on January 20.

The day of pro-life events included opportunities to attend Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, as well as to pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet in community.

The day culminated with a Holy Hour on Behalf of Life—one of many held throughout the country as part of an effort by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Holy Hour included Mass, Eucharistic Adoration and a testimonial from a St. Aloysius parishioner.

Monsignor Robert Kinnally, pastor of St. Aloysius, reminded the congregation that in addition to the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision and the March for Life, January 20 also marked the Feast Day of St. Sebastian, who was martyred during the Diocletian persecution of early Christians.

St. Sebastian “is one of the many of those who gave up their lives for the sake of the Gospel, their very lives, like the Lord Jesus did,” he said. “They stand before us as witnesses who loved the Lord Jesus so much, had him in (their) heart and proclaimed to the world, ‘I believe.’”

Monsignor Kinnally noted the day’s Gospel reading from Matthew was particularly apt, as Jesus reminded his disciples not to fear those who can only kill the body, but to fear God, who can kill both body and soul in Gehenna.

“If you really are a follower of Jesus, and do what you are supposed to do, people will criticize you,” Monsignor Kinnally said. “And so what Peter says is even if you should suffer because of righteousness … blessed are you if you suffer, because you do what God asks you to do.”

Monsignor Kinnally noted that Jesus is particularly strong in the Gospel reading, warning people against doing something that is God’s responsibility on their own terms. “It’s hard work being a disciple; we are to bring Christ to the world, even a world that pushes back … on life,” he said.

Monsignor Kinnally said that God has the power to love a human being into creation, and that God is unable to make mistakes. And so when a human being is loved into creation, it then becomes our responsibility to protect that sacred life.

“Our whole faith life is built on hope,” Monsignor Kinnally said. “And all life is built on the intentional design of a God who loves everyone into creation. And God will see that to the end; (he) will see it on this earth and protect that life into all eternity.”

After Mass concluded, St. Aloysius hosted Eucharistic Adoration for those present. Monsignor Kinnally read from Psalm 139, which reaffirmed the pro-life message of the events his parish held that day.

“This is what God does: creates and recreates, all the time,” he said. “And so that’s what life is: the exquisite creation of God.”

Monsignor Kinnally recalled the story of creation found in the Book of Genesis, in which God creates many things and then recognizes that they are “good.” The exception, he noted, was humankind, which God creates and recognizes as “very good.”

“We are wonderfully made by God because God is wonderful,” he said. “To be wonderfully made is to be made in the image of God. And therefore every creature, every human being is holy, because they are made in the image of God.”

The Holy Hour also included comments from St. Aloysius parishioner Joe Lane, who said he had four reasons for being pro-life: spiritual, scientific, social and personal. His spiritual reasons came from the Bible, his scientific reasons came from a medical textbook and his social reasons came from the codes of law from even the oldest civilizations who regarded murder as wrong.

But his personal reasons came from something that happened to him last year: a diagnosis of Stage Four cancer. He said both the chemotherapy and the prayers he said and received helped to heal him to the point where his cancer was now under control.

“The chemo and other medications had real and powerful effects on my body, but so did the prayer,” Lane said. “My friends and family were praying for my life—that life I was given in the womb so many years ago.”

Lane said he has pondered the question of life from many angles. And while he believes that when a person begins may be more of a philosophical question, the question of when life begins is not.

“I know and appreciate that life itself is the greatest gift ever given,” he said.

Reflecting on the wonderful and holy nature of life, Monsignor Kinnally said conversations about its sanctity can be most productive if they begin from that point: that human beings are a creation of God—the sole creation he recognized as “very good.”

“We don’t want to mess with holy things,” he said. “We want to protect them. We want to keep them safe. We want to treasure them.”

Friday Dec. 30:

Pictured: Pope Benedict XVI. (photo: Vatican Media)

At 3pm Rome time, the Vatican issued the following statement:

“Responding to reporters’ questions, Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni said the following:

‘Last night the Pope Emeritus was able to rest well. He also participated in the celebration of Holy Mass in his room yesterday afternoon. At present his condition is stable.’”

Italian and German media have reported that in compliance with Benedict XVI’s wishes, he is not expected to be taken to hospital as all medical equipment capable of treating him is located in his residence in the Vatican Gardens. He is being treated by his personal physician, Dr. Patrizio Polisca, an expert Italian cardiologist who for a time was the doctor of Pope Francis, and a nurse.

Thursday Dec. 29:

VATICAN CITY — At 2.30pm Rome time on Thursday, Holy See Press Office director Matteo Bruni issued the following statement in response to reporters’ questions about Benedict XVI’s health:

“The Pope Emeritus was able to rest well last night. He is absolutely lucid and alert, and today, although his condition remains serious, the situation at the moment is stable. Pope Francis renews his invitation to pray for him and accompany him in these difficult hours.”

Sources close to the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery where Benedict lives told the Register on Thursday the Pope Emeritus’ condition was very grave yesterday evening and the consensus was that he might not survive more than a few days, but his health stabilized overnight as the Vatican statement confirms.

The recent statement followed Pope Francis’ disclosure of his condition at Wednesday morning’s general audience: “I would like to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict, who is supporting the Church in silence,” Francis said. “Remember him – he is very ill – asking the Lord to console him and to sustain him in this witness of love for the Church, until the end.”

The Vatican said that after the audience, Francis visited Benedict at his Mater Ecclesiae Monastery residence in the Vatican.

The Register has contacted Benedict’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, for comment but he has not yet responded.

In recent years, Benedict XVI has become noticeably very frail, immobile, and unable to speak clearly, but Archbishop Gänswein and various visitors have testified to his mental alertness and relatively good health.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis praised the Pope Emeritus saying that “all of us sense his spiritual presence, his accompaniment in prayer for the whole Church and his constant contemplative gaze.”

Pope Francis was presenting the Ratzinger Prize to French Jesuit theologian Michel Fédou and Jewish law professor Joseph Weiler. Benedict was not present at the ceremony but received the prize winners at his residence.

By Edward Pentin @ www.ncregister.com

Our Lady of Fatima Pastor Father Reggie Norman celebrated the 8am Mass in honor of the feast day of Blessed Michael McGivney. The feast day is celebrated in the church every on August 13th. The Mass included an honor guard from Knights of Columbus Bishop Fenwick Assembly 100. At the conclusion of Mass, parishioners were able to venerate the first class relic of Blessed Michael McGivney.

The founder of the Knights of Columbus, Father Michael J. McGivney was a central figure in the growth of Catholicism in America, and he remains a model today. His example of charity, evangelization and empowerment of the laity continues to bear fruit and guide Knights of Columbus around the world. Blessed McGivney was beatified on October 31, 2020 and we pray for his canonization.

Blessed Michael McGivney Pray for us!

Sitting around the table for a recent Father’s Day meal, my family started discussing people we knew who were going away on extravagant summer vacations. I’ll admit, most of us began to express our jealousy and desire to hop on a plane to an exciting destination. It was then that my mom piped in. She reminded us that we were all out for a meal together as a family, which was more than enough to be grateful for.

As we enter the summer months, our social media feeds will likely be full of pictures of people enjoying themselves on vacation. It will be hard not to fall into the trap of envy and jealousy, letting it consume us as we scroll.

But in doing this, we would be missing out on all the small moments that create our beautiful, extraordinary, messy lives. Moments of inspiration and creativity, laughter, joy, nostalgia, and everything in between.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That statement is increasingly true in a world where we can share our good fortune at a moment’s notice. But it is important to remember that we only see each other’s good moments— curated, filtered and vetted before posting.

Life is a kaleidoscope of moments, each accompanied by a unique set of emotions. Our human connection allows us to be with each other in moments of joy, as well as moments of struggle—and this is where a hidden beauty lies.

Can we learn to embrace all of these moments? Both the joyful and the difficult. It may seem like others have it better, but we all have ups and downs. Our humanity makes that something we can always be sure of.

In the same way, can we learn to find genuine joy in others’ good fortune even in the face of our own hardships?

We mustn’t judge others or begrudge them their happiness. James 4:11 says, “Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. Whoever speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.”

It is easy to judge others by what we see online. We feel a separation from them on the other side of a screen. But we never know what someone is like until we talk to them face-to-face. We could all use a little more love, understanding and acceptance in our lives.

In our humanity, we often fall victim to the judgment of others. “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye’” (Matthew 7:4-5).

If we look around at what we have and find the joy and wonder there, we won’t have any room left for judgment or comparison of others, for our hearts will be full.

BRIDGEPORT—Each spring, so many teenagers look forward to their high school prom with anticipation and excitement, helping to plan it, choosing an outfit, and then dancing with friends and classmates. The students of St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services are no different. With a 1970s disco theme as their backdrop, they held their annual prom at the school in Trumbull on Friday, May 27 after two years of a heavily-restricted event due to COVID-19.

As the sounds of the Bee Gees and KC & the Sunshine Band filled the room, the students, many wearing sequined shirts, colorful beads, and bell-bottoms, moved to the music and posed at the photo booths as their aides, some in roller skates, guided them on the dance floor. Disco balls, streamers, glow sticks, and strobe lights created the perfect atmosphere for these prom-goers, all with multiple developmental disabilities and complex medical needs.

“There is so much excitement!” said Geri Durnin, principal of St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services. “The kids couldn’t wait to see everyone—and they love to be in photos. This day is so special for all of them. It’s really a ‘Celebration’!”

Part of what makes it so special is the role the students played in planning this prom. According to Durnin, they chose the theme, made a playlist of songs such as “Boogie Oogie Oogie” and “That’s the Way,” and helped their teachers create the décor by painting, gluing, and designing some of the artwork. Each classroom picked one year of the decade and made bulletin boards highlighting ‘70s icons like “The Partridge Family” and John Travolta, all of which hung on the walls for viewing during the prom. In doing so, students learned not only 1970s pop culture but also about life in that era and the cost of items then and now.

“We incorporate the kids’ abilities in the preparation, and work education into it all,” said Colleen Gorman, a special education teacher and behavioral management specialist. “They get involved with the planning from the ground up.” Gorman added that since her classroom had 1978, they discovered which foods and brands were popular that year such as Ben & Jerry’s and Ding Dongs.

“With everything we do, we try to give our students as many typical opportunities as anyone else, and we just want them to have a good time,” said Durnin, who also commended her staff for the work they do. “I’m so appreciative of them for making it so special for the kids. They are absolutely wonderful.”

Thirty-eight students ages 15 and up attended either the morning or afternoon prom with the graduates being crowned kings and queens. Though this event has occurred for at least 30 years, the past two were scaled back significantly, and even now, parents could not join in as they had before the pandemic. Nevertheless, the feeling of unity and joy shown through all aspects of the day. Gorman said those with visual impairments enjoyed seeing the bright lights and colors, and those in wheelchairs were “sitting up tall, taking it all in.”

“The kids love the hustle and bustle of the day,” she said. “The environment is very stimulating for them.”

No one needed any excuse to “c’mon, get happy” at this prom—special in so many ways. When asked what her favorite part of the day was, one girl smiled brightly and answered, “The dancing!”

By Emily Clark

As I grow older, I notice more and more that we all have strengths and weaknesses. My sister is getting married in May, and the role of maid-of-honor comes with many tasks to complete and things I have to plan. I always had an inkling that this wasn’t my strong suit, but I am now learning just how much that is the case.

It is hard not to take this as a personal failing. Some people are so good at the little details that go into planning trips and parties and know just how to wrangle the troops together to get things done in a way that is efficient and productive. And in our hustle-and-bustle world, those traits are often revered. But that is just not me. I am much happier working behind the scenes—gathering decorations and coming up with verbiage and creative signage.

This is becoming more apparent in my professional life, as well. I would much rather take notes on a meeting, than present information to a group. It is why I am a writer and an editor, rather than a teacher or an event planner.

That being said, all different kinds of people are required to get things done and make the world turn. There is a balance needed in all things. We need creative thinkers just as much as we need he analytical thinkers. As James 1:17 says, “every perfect gift is from above.”

We all make up the Body of Christ with all our multitude of gifts and talents. “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10-11). As long as we are using our talents for good and for the greater glory of God, we can’t go wrong!

One of the great reliefs of getting older, for me, is that now I have the vocabulary and self-awareness to know where my strengths and weaknesses lie and can actively seek out situations in which I can capitalize on my strengths.

When we are younger, we don’t always have the authority to be able to choose those situations. I have found that this knowledge has made a big difference in the way I live my life as an adult. It has taken years of experience to learn where my appropriate boundaries are and what situations it is necessary and healthy to push myself.

God instructs us not to hide our talents from the world but instead to share them and use them to serve others. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). I have enjoyed writing this column because I do feel like I am letting my light shine. I love hearing from readers, and when they can find some wisdom from and connection to something I’ve written, it makes me feel like I am doing something good.

As Lent approaches, perhaps we can offer our gifts and talents to the Lord. Whether that be offering to help plan a fundraiser at a local parish, offering to take notes at the next youth group meeting, or lifting our voice in song at Mass. How can we serve our community with our God-given talents, and how can we give thanks to the one who bestowed them upon us?

BRIDGEPORT– On Tuesday, August 3, from 4:30 PM-6:00 PM, roughly 150 people turned out on each of the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport’s four campuses for their first-ever “Summer Social.” Both longtime and newly enrolled families gathered together to enjoy free ice cream, music, games, and giveaways. There were laughter, fun, and smiles all around.

“A surprise was that several alumni even showed up on each campus, from the recently graduated right through sophomores in college,” Said Angela Pohlen, CAB’s Executive Director. “These grads came back to see their school and show support. What a true testament to what our Academy is to our families.”

The wonderful event captured the essence of CAB’s “Something More” promise, and the Academy hopes the “Summer Social” will become an annual one for its very special school community. Thank you to everyone who came out and made the night so memorable!

The Catholic Academy of Bridgeport welcomes all faiths, and we offer generous financial assistance to all who qualify. To enroll your child for the fall, please go to APPLY NOW or call (203) 362-2978. Limited spaces for 2021/2022! Some grades are already full.

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will celebrate a special Mass this Saturday, open to all, in honor of all healthcare workers throughout the diocese.

You can watch Mass by clicking here. The broadcast will begin at 10:55 am.

This special celebration of Mass will take place at 11 am at St. Joseph Church in Brookfield.

Bishop Caggiano said he felt it was important that the diocese recognize healthcare workers in his pastoral exhortation, “Let us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord.”

“Over this past year, many of our healthcare workers offered heroic service on behalf of those who fell ill with the coronavirus, often risking their own lives to care for those who were sick. While I am sure that we have kept them in our prayers each day, we also look forward to this opportunity to affirm their healthcare ministry,” he said.

Registration is not required, the Mass is open to all.

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will celebrate a special Mass this Saturday, open to all, in honor of all healthcare workers throughout the diocese.

This special celebration of Mass will take place at 11 am at St. Joseph Church in Brookfield.

Bishop Caggiano said he felt it was important that the diocese recognize healthcare workers and participants in the Ambassador program called for in his pastor exhortation, “Let us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord.”

“Over this past year, many of our healthcare workers offered heroic service on behalf of those who fell ill with the coronavirus, often risking their own lives to care for those who were sick. While I am sure that we have kept them in our prayers each day, we also look forward to this opportunity to affirm their healthcare ministry,” he said.

Registration is not required, the Mass is open to all.