St. Rose Administration bring D.C. trip to students

NEWTOWN—Yesterday, May 20, the 8th-graders were supposed to board a bus and head to Washington D.C., an annual tradition at the school. The date was postponed from mid-March. Although students were not able to attend the trip due to COVIS-19 concerns, Msgr. Bob, Mr. Gjoka and Mrs. Petrillo brought a little bit of D.C. to each of the 24 students.

At 7:30 am they met outside St. Rose School and decorated their cars with messages for the 8th graders, flags and streamers. They set off to the farthest areas including New Milford, Oxford, Southbury and Shelton, then made their way around Newtown and Sandy Hook honking their horns and waving as they pulled into driveways. In all they covered 130 miles and were met with many smiles.

Monsignor presented each student with a D.C. themed gift bag containing personally signed Washington D.C. guidebooks, patriotic ties for the boys and scarves for the girls. Mr. Gjoka and Mrs. Petrillo greeted them with good wishes and asked how they and their families are doing. When asked if they are learning the resounding answer was YES!




On Praying the Rosary

I miss my dad every night around 7:30 pm. That’s when we stop everything and pray the Rosary.

We started back in March when we hosted Nine Days of Prayer in the diocese. That led to a few nights of Evening Prayer during Holy Week, which lead to the Divine Mercy Novena between Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday. Then, I suggested we do another novena at the beginning of May but the Bishop had a better idea: why not the Rosary every single night in May.

And so here we are.

I log in around 7:15, just after the alarm on my phone goes off, ending whatever yard work or Zoom meeting, or dinner preparation that has been started. I finally got smart for the nightly Rosary and invited anyone who wished to lead to do so. I don’t mind leading, but it’s nice to have others give their voice to the prayers too.

It is a holy interruption in our household and it always makes me miss my father. You see, it was my father who introduced me to Mary.

Dad taught me how to pray and a big part of those prayers was the recitation of the Rosary. We prayed every day on the way to school. We prayed in the living room when my aunt and cousin were killed in house fire. We prayed around the bedside of my brother, Jim, as he lay dying of cancer.  We prayed for peace in times of trouble. We prayed in thanksgiving for good health. We prayed for each other. For others. For ourselves. We prayed. Together. Alone. We prayed.

Dad was introduced to the Rosary by his mother, who made them by hand. She gave dad his first beads – for his First Communion – and then made and gave each of the grandchildren one for that same celebration in each of their lives. I still have mine and am proud to say the beads are nicely worn.

As dad got older and spent his time working in the yard or cleaning the pool, he prayed the Rosary every day, just like he had every day of his life. But he found that the mysteries of the Rosary you and I know did not quite cut it anymore. So he made up his own. He contemplated five miracles. Five saints. Five parables. A few summers before he died, he asked me for new ideas I suggested he think of five priests who had influenced his life and, since so many relatives were women religious, five sisters. He liked that idea.

When dad was dying, we took turns sitting with him, praying the Rosary, asking for peace for him, freedom from pain, and a quick journey home to the Mother he had called “Holy” so many times in prayer.

When he was gone and mom was putting together an outfit for dad, she knew where to find his Rosary: in the pocket of the last pair of pants he had worn. We buried him with one set of beads. I have another, found in his office after the funeral.

So last night as I was sitting in my attic office, looking at my wife across the room, I thought of dad and I prayed. I thought of those drives in the early mornings to school and those times sitting around the living room. Eventually, my thoughts turned to the hours sitting by dad as his life slowed. I prayed and I missed my dad.

We gather each night during May – nearly 200 faithful souls – and we pray for each other, our parents, our children, graduates, those who have died, those who are sick, the unemployed, the underemployed, our leaders, our heroes, our families, ourselves. It is an holy interruption from the anxiety that surrounds us.

Perhaps this week you might dig out your Rosary and pray. Perhaps its in your pocket or purse or backpack. Perhaps it’s been a while since you let the beads slide through your fingers. If so, start slowly. One decade per day, starting today. It will make a difference in your week, I promise.

Think of those who taught you to pray and thank God for their example.

Then close your eyes and open your heart and join me.

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son….”


Photo: My father and me when we were both much younger!

This originally appeared on Patrick Donovan’s personal blog, Five Minutes on Monday.

(To find the link to join the evening Rosary, please visit No computer? No problem. If you want to join us by phone, call 646.558.8656 or 301.715.8592 and enter this ID number when prompted: 840 8707 1375.)

Knights work the Drive Thru

NORWALK—On a beautiful spring morning, the Brothers of Knights of Columbus Council 14360 in Norwalk hosted a Drive Through Food Drive for the St Philip Church Food Pantry. The Drive filled around 30 large bins and raised $500 in donations. This drive helped to re-stock the pantry which is serving hundreds of families weekly since the COVID-19 Pandemic began.

“We are so appreciative of everyone from St Philip parish and the Greater Norwalk community for their support in helping those most in need,” said Council 14360 member and Food Drive Chairman George Ribellino, Jr

Before the pandemic, the St Philip Food Pantry assisted 35-40 families per week and now due to loss of jobs the pantry assists hundreds of families in need. “These are very tough times, and the the St. Philip community wanted to be of help to the Greater Norwalk Community. Thanks to our Food Pantry Volunteers, we have stayed open even as many other local pantries remain closed during this pandemic. We were able to get 12,000 pounds of perishable food from Lancaster, PA for our pantry and the local pantries. But, we were finding it difficult to restock the non-perishables. Thanks to my brother Knights, we are in good shape for the next couple of weeks, “ said Father Sudhir, Pastor St. Philip Church.

The Council has hosted and assisted with many food drives since the start of the pandemic and will continue to do this indefinitely. In addition, the council has assisted with providing food for those on the frontlines, getting masks to Notre Health and Rehab Center and donating funds and supplies for our veterans at Homes for the Brave. The Knights of Columbus are called to step into the breach and leave no neighbor behind—especially in this time of crisis. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, our duty is to lead our families, protect our parishes, and serve our communities, remembering always that where there’s a need, there’s a Knight. Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson has challenged Knights to take this moment as an opportunity to deepen the commitment to the very principles which define the Order: charity, unity and fraternity.”

“In truly a difficult time, we need to come together and help struggling families put food on the table. Our council always strives to put Faith In Action and we take the Supreme Knight’s challenge to heart,” said Anthony Armentano, Grand Knight KofC Council 14360.

Father Sudhir continues to work hard to keep the food pantry stocked and ready to help the local community. If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please click here.

The goals of the Knights of Columbus Council at Saint Matthew Church in Norwalk are to perform acts of charity. Providing those in need with a range of support from financial to tactical help in dealing with a wide variety of challenges. Council members work together to foster the founding principles of our order; Charity, Unity, Fraternity & Patriotism. Our goal as a council is to continue to identify specific needs in our community and muster support and help to alleviate these challenges and hardships to the best of our abilities and resources. For more information, please go to

A Fatima Birthday Surprise for a Bridgeport Legend

BRIDGEPORT- Family, Friends and Bridgeport City Council representatives gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral earlier this February to honor and celebrate a one of a kind Bridgeport legend and beloved native son Mr. Frank D’Ausilio, on his 85th Birthday milestone. The extraordinary day (2/27/2020) was full of amazing surprises!

Frank D’Ausilio is a true Catholic superstar layman.  He has lived during the most eventful century of this world’s history, in his quiet optimistic way, dedicated to his Catholic faith, family and friends.  Frank has demonstrated in countless ways his dedication as a Bridgeport Community Advocate and Mentor to the welfare of others and has earned the respect and affection of people from all walks of life and all ages during his long and productive lifetime.

For over 40 years, Frank D’Ausilio served with dedication as Head Custodian at the Bridgeport Police Department Headquarters, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, and the Cathedral Parish. He has been very active and a supporter of “Swim across the Sound” and a Marian Volunteer assisting nursing home and hospital patients.  Frank is also a long time member of 52 years in the Knights of Columbus Global Fraternity Service Organization and 23 years in the Holy Spirit Fraternity Secular Franciscan Order.  His Catholic faith has guided him throughout his entire life and he has learned to seek truth through his many years of pilgrimages traveling to holy sites where he prays with various Christian communities near and far.

Beginning in 1960 through the 1970’s Frank D’Ausilio along with fellow Catholic champion and mentor Dr. Joseph Fida DDS traveled throughout the Bridgeport and Hartford Dioceses with a blessed life-sized personal replica of a Pilgrim Statue of Our Dear Lady of Fatima from Portugal.  The inspiring message they brought forth to all parishes and hospital patients was one of FAITH, HOPE, MERCY, LOVE, and PEACE which produced good fruit that helped thousands of people heal spiritually and physically.

 On the festive birthday occasion a spectacular guest of honor arrived at St. Augustine Parish, the original 1972 New York State Travelling Pilgrim Fatima.  Frank D’Ausilio and all of the parishioners were overjoyed and moved by the loving tribute in the presence of Our Dear Lady of Fatima.  In thanksgiving, heartfelt prayers were offered which included the most holy rosary, litanies, Marian hymns, and a procession inside the Parish led by Reverend Fr. Michael Novajosky.

The 85th Birthday Mass of joyful celebration was a slice of Heaven on Earth presided by Reverend Fr. Michael Novajosky, Cathedral Director along with a superb and multi-talented angelic choir performance orchestrated by Dr. Sam Schmitt, Musical Director Extraordinaire.  After the conclusion of the Holy Mass, Mr. Frank D’Ausilio humbly accepted a lifetime achievement proclamation award on his 85th Birthday from a City Council Representative on behalf of Honorable Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim who expressed congratulations and best wishes.

Reverend Dr. Herron Gaston, Assistant Chief Administrator for the Office of Mayoral Leadership and Chaplain of the Bridgeport Police Department said that Frank D’Ausilio radiates a joyful loving spirit and has found peace, faith, clarity, and strength in the church community. “He truly is a witness of the Light of CHRIST, the Grace of GOD, and the Spirit of TRUTH through his Catholic faith.  Congratulations Mr. Frank D’Ausilio, a true Bridgeport Treasurer as  I am honored to celebrate with family and friends and do hereby proclaim on behalf of Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, Thursday, February 27, 2020, as “Frank D’Ausilio Day.

At the conclusion of the recognition award ceremony, Fr. Michael Novajosky graciously thanked Reverend Dr. Herron Gaston and on behalf of Bishop Frank Caggiano presented him with a beautifully impressive full-color classic statue of St. Michael, the Archangel, the Greatest Warrior of Heaven and Earth for the Office of Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim.

Fr. Michael Novajosky said that under the leadership of Bishop Frank Caggiano all parishes have been encouraged to recite daily the powerful St. Michael prayer and after each Mass invokes special protection for the intentions of the Bridgeport Community.

Frank D’Ausilio was gifted with an exquisite hand-carved statue of Our Lady of Fatima from Portugal and humbly extended a heartfelt thank you to all family, friends, and city officials gathered.  He shared with a twinkling smile and infectious laugh, “that he is a blessed man and what a great honor it was to accompany Our Lady of Fatima with Dr. Joseph Fida.”

The final birthday surprise was held in the rectory of St. Augustine that included a celebration luncheon and a favorite treat of Frank, a cannoli filled birthday cake.

Written by Cindy Lucignano

Vatican listens to ‘cry of poor, cry of the Earth’

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis’ vision of “integral human development” and “integral ecology” involves identifying the connections between the condition of human beings and the condition of the environment, said Cardinal Peter Turkson.

While Christians are right to be increasingly focused on “the cry of the Earth” and how environmental destruction impacts human life, with the COVID-19 pandemic “we must listen to the cry of the poor,” especially those risking starvation, the unemployed and migrants and refugees, said Cardinal Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Cardinal Turkson is coordinating the work of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission and led an online news conference May 15 to discuss the commission’s progress.

“In one of the last meetings we had with Pope Francis, he asked us to ‘prepare the future,’ not ‘prepare for the future,’ but prepare it, anticipate it,” the cardinal said.

“Hardly any aspect of human life and culture is left unscathed” by the virus and efforts to stop its spread, the cardinal said. “Covid-19 started as a health care issue, but it has affected drastically the economy, jobs and employment, lifestyles, food security, the primary role of Artificial Intelligence and internet security, politics and even governance.”

Obviously, providing health care to victims of the virus is an urgent need, said the cardinal and other members of the commission.

Father Augusto Zampini, adjunct secretary of the dicastery, said that is one reason why Pope Francis called for international debt relief — it would help the world’s poorest countries redirect money from interest payments to ramping up their health services.

But another major issue the commission is looking at is the threat of a “hunger pandemic.”

At the beginning of 2020, before the coronavirus became a global pandemic, the U.N. World Food Program said 135 million people in 55 countries were facing “acute hunger” as a result chiefly of conflict, the effects of climate change and economic crises.

Now, with people out of work and supply chains interrupted, the WFP is warning that “the lives and livelihoods of 265 million people in low- and middle-income countries will be under severe threat.”

Still, Father Zampini said, changes in production and consumption patterns and in private and public actions can still make a difference, for example, by providing incentives to farmers to improve productivity in ways that also protect the environment and by encouraging all nations “to divert funds from weapons to food.”

Individuals also can contribute to alleviating food insecurity and protecting the environment by reducing food waste, eating food that is in season and avoiding products and packaging that pollute.

“COVID has shown that we do not need as many things as we think. We can be more with less,” he said.

Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organization of national Catholic relief and development agencies, is part of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission and has created a COVID-19 Response Fund.

Aloysius John, Caritas secretary general, said the fund already has received 32 project requests and already approved and distributed funds to 14 of them, which aim to help 7.8 million people in Ecuador, India, Palestine, Bangladesh, Lebanon and Burkina Faso and eight other countries.

A big concern, which parish, diocesan and national Caritas agencies are responding to, he said, is the provision of basic food assistance, because people will not respect lockdown requirements if they have nothing at home to eat and no way to earn the money to buy it.

John also called on the international community to remove the economic sanctions on Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Libya and Venezuela “so that aid to the affected population can be guaranteed, and Caritas, through the church, can continue to play its role of support for the poor and most vulnerable.”

By Cindy Wooden | Catholic News Service

Catholic Communication Campaign

WASHINGTON—The annual collection for the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) is scheduled to take place on the weekend of May 23-24, coinciding with World Communications Day. This annual national appeal supports efforts in the United States and around the world to use the media, internet, and print publications to help people connect with Christ.

The COVID-19 virus has prompted life to change in dramatic ways for more than two months with an increased reliance on communication tools to stay connected. Catholics and non-Catholics alike are using online tools to work and attend school, and stay connected to their families, friends, and their faith. Although most people are unable to gather together in their parishes for Mass, some dioceses offer electronic offertory programs that include the Catholic Communication Campaign or other ways for parishioners to support scheduled appeals. “In these times, the support of the Catholic Communication Campaign is vital to help keep the faithful connected to our faith and for dioceses to communicate the Gospel through all available means,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of Atlanta, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC). “The CCC has long recognized the need to reach people and help them connect with Christ. Thanks to the generosity of the faithful in the United States, millions of people throughout the world have been able to connect in new ways with the Good News of Jesus Christ, especially in recent months,” continued Archbishop Hartmayer.

Fifty percent of the funds collected through the campaign remain in each diocese to support local communication efforts. The other half is used to support national efforts in the United States and in developing countries around the world.

With support from the Catholic Communication Campaign, the USCCB developed a resource page in response to the COVID-19 virus, “Together in Christ” on its website with links for families, parishes, and dioceses to prayer resources, livestream of Masses, and catechetical materials.

Two documentaries supported by major CCC grants are now in national broadcast television circulation. Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story, about the Catholic Worker movement co-founder who is on the road to sainthood, was released to public television stations in March 2020 and has already exceeded 1,000 broadcasts nationwide. The film won the Religion Communicators Council 2020 Wilbur Award for best documentary. Walking the Good Red Road: Nicholas Black Elk’s Journey to Sainthood, presents the intriguing life of a man born into pre-reservation America and immortalized in author John Neihardt’s classic 1932 book Black Elk Speaks. The program brings to light Black Elk’s conversion to Catholicism and his dedication to bringing other Native Americans to the Catholic faith. In cooperation with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, the program will be available on ABC-TV stations nationwide beginning May 17, 2020.

The Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign oversees the collection and an annual grants program under the direction of the USCCB’s Committee on Communications. Shareable resources for the collection are available online. More information about the Catholic Communication Campaign can be found at Still photos from the documentary films Revolution of the Heart and Walking the Good Red Road are available to the media upon request.

Holy Spirit is the Reason for Hope

To join in the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, live-streamed weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.

BRIDGEPORT—“One of great things this terrible tragedy has caused us to realize is that the things we see and touch are not the only things that matter. What we buy or sell has precious little value when a life is faced with suffering and dying,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in his homily for the Mass celebrating the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

In his regular Sunday Mass, live-streamed from the Catholic Center chapel, the Bishop said that as Christians we must resist the temptation to focus only on the material things and take courage in the Holy Spirit, “the divine person who is love himself, who is invisible to our human senses yet very real in His presence” in our lives.

The Bishop began his homily by describing the Coronavirus as “the silent killer in our midst, a small virus we can’t see with the eye, touch with our hands or fingers, but it has done so much to cause much suffering and so much death.”

He said the pandemic has grown “in part because it is invisible,” but we know the virus is present because we see the effect it creates around us in the suffering and disruption it has caused.

Likewise, we know the presence of good and the hand of God by the love, courage and selflessness of so many people in the world.

Reflecting on the Gospel of John (14:15-21), the Bishop said that in a society that often focuses on material things, we as Catholics must learn to understand the value and power of what is unseen and have faith that God is with us, even in difficult times.

“Jesus reminds us that there is another in our midst who the world will not see and because it does not see him will not know him or believe him. But we do,” he said of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

He said that while we struggle in fear and uncertainty caused by the virus, there is ample evidence that God walks alongside us and is available to us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

“Where is God in all of this? many people are asking. My friends, he is literally in front of your face. Who in the end gives the courage that has motivated these heroic first responders running into the face of danger and risking their lives for others?

“Is it just human courage or is there someone else who walks, accompanies, encourages and empowers us to make God’s presence felt?” he said.

The Bishop said that it is not only human talent and education leading “so many to race for the cure. Our doings are graced by the invisible Sprit in our midst.”

He urged the faithful to “not solely be occupied by the invisible killer in our midst, but to ask for the outpouring of our invisible advocate, protector and defender, the Holy Spirit of our risen Lord.”

Referring to the question in today’s Epistle, the Bishop said, “Peter said it best, he asks us to be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks about the reason for our hope. The reason is we are not abandoned. The Holy Spirit is invisible to our eye but as real as you and I are, and walks with us every step of the way.”

At the end of Mass the Bishop noted that many parishes in the diocese will be beginning outdoor Masses on Ascension Thursday and the following weekend. He thanked pastors for their enthusiastic response and as the diocese takes its first step back to public worship, and said he hoped that we would soon be able to return to Masses inside the Church.

NBC Meteorologist Bob Maxon visits St. Rose’s virtual classroom

NEWTOWN—NBC Connecticut’s Meteorologist Bob Maxon visited St. Rose School students on Thursday, May 14 via Zoom for a weather lesson plus Q & A.

What better way for 3rd graders to kick off their unit about Weather and 6th, 8th graders to culminate their study of Weather, than to have a lesson with Meteorologist Bob Maxon?

More than 60 students plus some faculty participated in this engaging presentation. Mr. Maxon answered student questions that ranged from “What classes did you have to take in order to become a Meteorologist?”, What was the most intense weather event you have ever reported?” to “Why did it snow last Friday?”

Students sat in front of backdrops ranging from an aerial view of the earth to the Northern Lights, tropical beaches and depictions of the solar system. Mr. Maxon was attentive to every question and encouraged students to listen, read and “practice! practice! practice!” as they build toward their futures.

Kudos to Mrs. Zmek and Mrs. Petrillo for organizing this awesome lesson and preparing the students who were attentive, respectful and insightful. At the end of the lesson, in a special tribute to all front line workers, every student displayed a heart as an expression of THANKS then called out “Thank you’s” to Mr. Maxon who beamed, saying they made his day.

It was an exceptional and memorable experience for all.

St. Theresa Food Drive Benefits Local Charities

TRUMBULL—Despite Friday’s rainy weather and Saturday’s snow squalls, parishioners from St. Theresa Church in Trumbull showed their generosity in donating non-perishable goods and personal care items to a food drive sponsored by the parish’s youth group. As cars parked outside the church, a dozen members of STAY (St. Theresa Apostolic Youth) donned face masks and gloves as they unloaded bags of groceries to assist those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All goods were then donated on Monday, May 11 to the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport and the Trumbull Food Pantry, both of which have seen an increased need in the clients they serve.

Understanding the importance of helping others, the teens from STAY planned and organized this event along with Father Flavian Bejan, the group’s coordinator. “It’s wonderful to see the youth working on their pillars of faith and service,” said Father Flavian. “This gives them a chance to serve and fulfill the mission of this group.”

Boxes of Cheerios, cans of vegetables, and loaves of bread along with packages of tissues, soap, and diapers quickly accumulated on 16-foot tables in the St. Theresa gym, as volunteers sorted items for each of the donation centers. In addition to these goods, parishioners also contributed cash, checks, and gift cards to grocery stores which will directly benefit residents in the local community.

“Everyone is so upset about the pandemic right now, but there are people having a much harder time than we are,” said STAY teen Elizabeth Clark. “It’s important to do this. By serving others, we are serving God.”

Daisy Rodriquez, Food Pantry Coordinator at the Thomas Merton Center, and Karen Seferi, coordinator of the Trumbull Food Pantry, expressed their gratitude for the donations when volunteers made the deliveries on Monday.

As Father Flavian helped remove packages from an SUV, he said, “Jesus told us, ‘Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, so you do unto me,’ and that’s what this is about.”

ACA video spotlights New “Faces of Need”

BRIDGEPORT—The Diocese has released its second 2020 Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) video, “New Faces of Need,” as it asks the faithful throughout Fairfield Count to give generously to this year’s emergency appeal.

The video is meant to accompany the re-launch of the ACA, which was halted in March as a result of the Coronavirus crisis and its impact on parishes, schools and diocesan ministries. In the first video the Bishop praises the heroic response of all frontline workers during the crisis and he noted that many people who never had to ask for help in the past have come forward to seek food and other assistance.

“As the human toll from this terrible pandemic continues to increase in our midst, I am aware of the great suffering that a growing number of our neighbors are experiencing. Your generosity allows us to continue the mission of the Church and provide for these “new faces of need” in our midst,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in announcing the video.

“As we anticipate Pentecost Sunday in the coming weeks and commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, Pope Francis reminds us, “The Spirit is peace in the midst of restlessness, confidence in the midst of discouragement, joy in sadness, youth in aging, courage in the hour of trial, “ the bishop said.

The three-minute video, produced by Brian Russell of Fairfield, offers a brief glimpse into three lives struggling with the pandemic; a homeless man who relies on Merton Center for food and to help rebuild his life; a mother who visit the food pantry to help feed her family, and students from Catholic Academy of Stamford who miss their classmates but are appreciative of the online learning provided by the school.

ACA director Pam Rittman, who coordinated the video, said she hopes the video shows the impact of the coronavirus on every aspect of the diocese from increasing demand in its soup kitchens and food pantries, to the need to make a quick transition to distance learning in schools, while also providing sacramental preparation and faith formation on line.

Rittman said that now more than ever the ACA is responding to the emergency needs of people throughout the diocese and that a strong Spring response is crucial in providing resources to diocesan ministries in a time of crisis.

Please make a gift online at or text the word APPEAL to 475.241.7849. All donations of whatever amount will help us to help those in need.)

Click here for the video.

St. Rose School to host virtual meet & greet

NEWTOWN—St. Rose of Lima School will be hosting a Virtual Meet & Greet for parents of children in preschool – 2nd grade on Sunday, May 17 at 4 pm.  Meet the dedicated principal and dean of student life, admissions director, early childhood teachers and current parents to learn about the dynamic programs offered, the benefits of this learning environment and why St. Rose School could be the right fit.

Interested parents can take a virtual tour, and register for the Meet & Greet at

Questions?  Email  A warm welcome awaits you!

Bishop Announces Gradual Return to Public Mass

May 11, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the joy of Easter, I wish to announce the good news that in consultation with the pastors of the Diocese, we will be able to begin the outdoor public celebration of Mass on May 21, the Ascension of our Lord. This is the first step in a process that will remain consistent with Governor Ned Lamont’s call for the gradual reopening of the state in a way that safeguards public health and safety. It is my hope that the reopening of our churches, which represents phase two in our planning process, may be possible soon.

Before I outline some of the proposed details for the first phase of plan, I wish to express my sincere thanks for your patience, perseverance and fidelity during this most difficult time, when public Masses were suspended. While it has been a great sacrifice for all of us, especially those who have watched a relative or friend fall ill, buried a loved one or remained in isolation and even fear, I believe that observing the state’s shelter at home order has saved many lives. On behalf of all priests of the diocese, permit me to say how much we have missed you and look forward to welcoming you back home to your parish homes.

We have also been reminded that in our darkest hour, the Lord did not abandon us.

Our planning process assumes what most health experts have told us that the threat of the COVID-19 virus will be with us for some time. Whatever we plan must avoid a possible relapse in the progress we have made to eradicate this silent killer from our midst. As a result, we will move forward in a gradual, systematic and responsible manner to resume public worship safeguarding the health and safety of our clergy and faithful.

Further, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass will remain dispensed for the time being while we slowly resume the public celebration of Mass. This is recognition of the fact that seating will initially be limited at each celebration of Mass due to the state’s requirements for social distancing and other health mandates. It also recognizes that the elderly, who are most vulnerable, should consider remaining sheltered at home for the time being. For this reason, my hope is that each parish will continue to live stream the celebration of Mass while public worship slowly resumes.

The first phase in our plan to resume the celebration of Mass with the faithful is optional in nature and will remain in effect until Church buildings and other indoor venues can be safely reopened for worship. For those parishes that wish to offer Mass outdoors, one of two possible formats can be used. The first format will allow those who attend to be seated on chairs that will be arranged with proper social distancing. Individual outdoor seating up to 50 people. The second format will allow those who attend Mass to remain seated in their cars. The number of cars that can participate in an outdoor Mass will depend upon the size of the parking lot, the need to distance cars six feet apart from each other and allow for the safe exit of any car in case of an emergency. The outdoor venue and format for Mass will be designated by each pastor.

In order to ensure an orderly process for the celebration of Mass outdoors, a series of guidelines have been established that details many of the concerns that need to be addressed, including the use of a parish reservation system either online or over the phone for each Mass, the creation of detailed norms for the distribution of Holy Communion in a safe manner and other liturgical considerations. These norms will be posted on our diocesan website and I invite you to read them at your convenience. In addition, I ask that you consult your parish website for more detailed information about your parish’s potential participation in this first phase of planning.

Finally, I have asked each pastor to draft a parish plan for this first phase of planning to ensure that the particular needs of his parish are properly addressed. The guiding principle behind all such planning is to ensure the safety and health of our faithful and clergy, while preserving the sacredness of our liturgy and worship.

As we take this first, hopeful step forward, I pray that the Lord Jesus will continue to bless you and your families in this time of enduring challenge. Let us look forward in joy and gratitude to worship and to celebrate our Lord’s blessings once again together as a family of faith.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano
Bishop of Bridgeport


General Guidelines for the Resumption of Public Mass
Guidelines for the Celebration of Mass Outdoors

Guidelines for the Reception of Communion

Self-Giving Leads to an Untroubled Heart

BRIDGPEORT—“How do we un-trouble our hearts?” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano asked in his homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter.

In the live-streamed Mass from the Catholic Center chapel Bishop Caggiano reflected on the Gospel of John (14: 1-2) in which Jesus comforts his disciples who are confused and uncertain. Thomas asks him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Confessing that he is a “worrier,” the Bishop began his homily by nothing that the fear and uncertainty resulting from the pandemic have “caused many of us to have a troubled heart.”

“It is fair to say that given the terrible circumstances we are living, we are worried about the unknown, worried about employment and where the money will come from, worried about our health and our loved ones, worried about the elderly we love so dearly, and worried what the new normal will be.”

The Bishop said that even with the best of intentions we tend to get caught up in our own worries. We try to control things and have them our own way, but that only leads to more anxiety.

The Bishop said that the answer to soothing an un-troubled heart “is staring us right in the face.”

“Jesus says, I am the way, I am the path, I am the one who loves you more than you love yourself. I’m the one who has the answers. I can see the end of the journey while you cannot.

Jesus set the example, the Bishop said. “He did not occupy himself with his own desires and plans… It was all about trusting in the father.”

Emptying ourselves of our own concerns and being of service to others is a way to escape our own worries and do the will of the Lord, the Bishop said.

“The gospel encourages us to get out of ourselves. Jesus ‘s way was not to spend time on what I want, but what my neighbor needs. His entire ministry was directed to those around him,” the Bishop said, adding that he walked among the people and shared their lives.

“I would like to suggest that in times when we are consumed, when we are worried or anxious, the answer is to imitate Our Lord. To look into the faces of those around us, and busy ourselves with their needs and concerns.”

Jesus invites us to look into the faces of the people who share our lives, he said.

“Let’s ’s look at them right now and see in them the invitation of Christ, to give ourselves to them, and perhaps that’s the way to have an un-troubled heart.”

To join in the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, live-streamed weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.

NCC virtual breakfast serves wisdom and thanks

STAMFORD—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano and Rabbi Jay TelRav of Temple Sinai in Stamford, delivered some memorable and inspiring breakfast conversation at this morning’s Celebrity Breakfast to benefit New Covenant Center in Stamford.

An estimated 700 guests went online to join the “virtual” breakfast that was live-streamed courtesy of NBC studios in Stamford.

Seated at an anchor desk usually reserved for sports analysis the Bishop and the Rabbi reflected on profound questions including the impact of the pandemic on faith, the mystery of evil and the unprecedented challenges faced by so many during the crisis.

In his introductory remarks, Mike Donoghue, newly named executive director of Catholic Charities, said that those who missed the breakfast live-stream can watch it online (, and that there’s still time to make a donation to help New Covenant Center reach its $150,000 goal to help feed the hungry, homeless and growing number of unemployed in the Stamford area.

“I’m proud of our work here at New Covenant Center, an interfaith project with many different religions working together helping our neighbors in need.”

Donoughue said that NCC is open 365 days a year and depends on the generosity of 800 volunteers. He said he was grateful to the NCC staff “who are running into the fire every day to help the most vulnerable while most of us are sequestered at home.”

The Bishop began the conversation by thanking Rabbi TelRav and the congregation of Temple Sinai for their long-time service to New Covenant Center through preparation of monthly meals and for preparing and serving the meal on Christmas day.

He and the Rabbi then traded thoughts on spiritual challenges raised by the pandemic and the need to engage young people in their faith traditions.

“There are more questions than answers now on most people’s minds because of the uncertainties we live with. The old normal is gone,” said the Bishop noting that that suffering and death has caused people to re-examine their own lives.

Rabbi TelRav agreed, “There aren’t going to be satisfying answers,” but he added that the pandemic has led people to search for new and deeper meaning in their lives.

“Where is God in all of this, where do I see his face, his presence,” Bishop Caggiano said that people have ask him. “It’s a question that provokes us to look deeply into our own hearts. We all believe god does not abandon his people in times of challenge.”

Noting that the pandemic has leveled everyone’s sense of security, the Rabbi said, “To a large extent it’s an absolute shock to realize that I too am a have-not… This horrendously bad situation teaches us to make the most of meaning.”

Rabbi TelRav said that he has seen a remarkable translation of biblical teachings put into action in the last couple of months as people of all faiths reach out to help each other.

Both religious leaders discussed the difficulty of temporarily being unable to conduct public services where people can worship together.

The Rabbi said the fact that people haven’t been gathering in the synagogue is “a reminder that we are all subject to a system more powerful than what we thought we could control.” He said that social media has been helpful, but that people long for the richness of personal relationships.

“We have private prayers but we want communal prayer in both our traditions,” added the Bishop, who noted that the diocese is planning a phased-in return to public worship, which fulfills “the human desire to be one with God and one with each other.”

The Bishop said he was heartened by the desire of young people to serve, but that organized religions have often “failed to give a compelling reason for young people to be part of a community of faith.”

The Rabbi added that young people tend to break away and rebel, but that the pandemic may lead them to appreciate their faith. “This might be the sea change that helps our young people see what our traditions have to offer—messages that stand the test of tradition.”

John Gutman, executive director of New Covenant Center, said that since the onset of the pandemic, NCC has gone from serving 175 meals a day to 700 to those “who are hungry, homeless and jobless.

In addition to serving a growing number of hungry, NCC has also had to move much of its operations outside the building in order to safeguard the health of guests and staff, he said.

However, he said that social distancing and the need to wear masks is part of the reality of the need to “create a safe environment while serving those in need.”

During the virtual breakfast the New Covenant Center “Founders Award” was presented to Sally Kandel Kelman of Stamford , a long-time NCC volunteer and board member, and a member of the of Temple Sinai congregation.

In his greetings to the breakfast Stamford Mayor David Martin said that as a Mayor he has been blessed with “strong, well-run charities serving people in the community, who can thing we in government can’t do.”

He said that New Covenant Center “is among the very best During this crisis they have done more with less than almost anyone else,” meeting increased demand at a difficult time. “NCC has made a huge difference in our community.”

To make an online donation, visit Checks can also be mailed to: New Covenant Center, 174 Richmond Hill Ave., Stamford, CT 06902. For more information, contact Leisa Hinds-Simpson or 203.964.8228

Immaculate Students Receive CAS Outstanding Arts Awards

DANBURY—Two talented Immaculate students received Connecticut Association of Schools 2019-20 Outstanding Arts Awards: Elizabeth Flaherty ‘20 of New Fairfield for performing arts and Elizabeth Varda ‘20 of Brookfield for visual arts. Award recipients are those who “excel in the performing and visual arts…and demonstrate scholarship and leadership.”

Elizabeth Flaherty’s teacher has described her as creative and hardworking, and believes that with her abilities she will go on to do great things “Elizabeth is a strong, confident musician which allows her to lead both musically and logistically. She is a leader of the a capella club and a regular performer in all the community outreach events our choir is a part of, she sings in the diocesan youth choir and she is a lead in our musical, “Once On This Island,” said Mrs. Jen Doherty, IHS Choir Director.

Elizabeth will attend the University of Connecticut as a Digital Film/Video Production Major. Besides singing, she plays the piano and trumpet. A cast member of Immaculate’s musical productions of “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Grease” and “Pippin,” Elizabeth was cast as Mama Euralie in “Once On This Island” this year. “I also played Gerry Dunbar in Immaculate’s drama production of “Play On!” earlier this year, and I am co-president of Immaculate’s a capella club, a member of the honors chorus and a member of Tri-M Music Honor Society,” she noted. “During my time at Immaculate I have developed myself both musically and academically through the help of my fellow performers and friends, but also through the guidance of teachers and staff. Without these people I’m sure I would not be the person I am today and I would be dearly missing their presence in my life,” Elizabeth said.

IHS art teacher Leslie Quinn said that Elizabeth “Lizzie” Varda received the award for visual arts because, in part, of her willingness to expand her skills over her four years at Immaculate High School. “In those four years she has evolved into an accomplished artist. Lizzie has the ability to not only make art but to write and talk about her work, be it ideas, processes and use of materials. She gives the viewer a window into what goes into her artwork,” said Mrs. Quinn. She noted that while Lizzie is proficient in many areas, her strong talent is costume design. Lizzie designs costumes for Immaculate’s Spring Musicals and regional theater, receiving a Halo award last year for costume design for Immaculate’s production of “Pippin.” “Lizzie brings vitality and humor to the classroom and her extracurricular and work commitments seem effortless, the mark of a true professional,” Mrs. Quinn noted.

Lizzie is also still deciding which college she will attend, but she plans to be a fashion design major. “I do a lot of fashion designs and pattern designs for textiles so that is my favorite art to do. I love to use and experiment with different materials like oil paint, wallpaper and more. I have done the costumes for IHS theatrical productions of “Twelfth Night,” “Grease,” “Our Town,” “Pippin,” “Play On!” and “Once On This Island”,” she said, adding: “I have been doing art at IHS my teachers, who believed in me and my art.”

Immaculate High School encourages students to find success in academics, athletics, fine arts and clubs and is ranked in the top ten of all Catholic high schools in the State of Connecticut by NICHE. One of the more affordable private high schools, Immaculate High School is also among the highest ranked Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport and continues to attain the highest SAT scores in the Diocese. Currently students are attending full days of virtual school with their regular schedules and access to guidance counselors, the school nurse and the school therapist. Immaculate High School students, a representation of area public, private and Catholic schools, seek academic challenges, discover leadership and engage in progressive learning opportunities and have high success rates: 100% of the Class of 2019 were accepted to top colleges and universities and were awarded college scholarships and grants totaling $27 million.

In addition to a college-preparatory academic program that offers over 33 Advanced Placement classes and a STEAM curriculum featuring advanced technology, a CISCO certification program, renovated science labs and engineering classes and a Certified Nursing Associate program, Immaculate High School has an award-winning Fine Arts program, a student career internship program, athletic teams that have won SWC and State Championships, 44 clubs and a Campus Ministry and community service program that instills faith, compassion and reverence for others. Immaculate High School, founded in 1962, is a private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory institution serving students from 28 communities in Connecticut and New York.