Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

When others ask why I converted to Catholicism, my mind goes at once to a cherished hobby of mine: weaving. Catholic communal life reminds me above all of priceless handwoven fabric, two thousand years’ worth of fantastically colorful silk still on the loom, the pattern alive with dancing saints and trees in flower. Yes, I know—I know about the damaged areas and the rips and the mistakes and the people screaming about whether they really were mistakes and the people screaming back at those people and the rest of us, eyes bloodshot, whispering novenas to St. Joseph, under whose calm gaze we all manage to stay in the studio. Still, Catholicism is to me such a fabric. If one gets up close and analyzes it with a magnifying glass, one sees all kinds of marvels, among them a crisscrossing ground of golden threads, upon which surface ever more extravagant and luxurious designs are worked for the praise and glory of the Name of God. Golden ground: the Sacrament of Confession.

In the church from which I came, a general confession was said at weekly services and one-on-one confession was optional: “all may, some should, none must,” as we said. This made for an odd and troubling dynamic: how could I know whether I was one of those who did not need to go? Catholics, on the other hand, must go to Confession at least once a year in order to be in good standing with the Church. Many people, of course, go more often. Among other things, it was precisely this requirement to confess one’s sins to a priest that attracted me so powerfully to Catholicism. The requirement means that there is no such thing as a person who does not need to avail herself of one-on-one Confession. I am a sinner like everyone else and will benefit from Confession as everyone else does. What a relief!

It isn’t my own efforts, of course, that make the Sacrament of Confession so powerful for me, but Jesus Christ and the good and holy priests who minister in His Name. Let’s face it: the bit of thread I bring to the loom to be woven in by our Master and His artisans is bedraggled, moth-eaten, and generally pretty awful to behold. It would stay that way without this sacrament. I need to bring it there anyway. I need to come and say that I have sinned as Jesus and His priests labor on that golden ground. I need to obey this precept of the Church so that Jesus can turn that poor thread into something better. Most of all, I need to trust, in the words of St. John Henry Newman, that “He knows what He is about.”

There is more. If I am (Heaven forfend) out of charity with another Catholic, it means that there are limits to how much energy the two of us can spend on that lack of charity, particularly if one or both of us go to Confession frequently. I may have a problem with someone and that person with me, but since Our Lord commands that we forgive others as we have been forgiven—notably, before receiving Him in the Eucharist—in our heart of hearts we two Catholics know that this is an issue for the confessional and it is only so long before it will be brought there for light, repentance, and healing so that we both can get on with the business of becoming saints.

This mutual knowledge of the need for repentance, surely a result of the Holy Spirit at work, is to this convert’s mind one of the most striking aspects of Catholic life. The practice of frequent confession will be of real help, then, not only to my fellow Catholic and me, but also to the surrounding community, which will, no doubt, have suffered in all sorts of unseen ways from our disagreement. Stabilized by the golden ground, the joyful pattern full of color goes on. The loom clacks away; the shuttles sing. Laudetur Jesus Christus!

By Anna Bendiksen

 

Introduction

For several years, the Diocese of Bridgeport has sponsored Reconciliation Monday.[1]  Held at the beginning of Holy Week, various parishes throughout the entire diocese offer additional time for confessions.  Thousands of confessions have been heard during these hours as many take advantage of the increased availability and confessors for one last sacramental preparation before the Triduum begins on Thursday.  Those who take advantage of the opportunity may avail themselves of the sacrament weekly or monthly already.  For some it is a chance for an annual observance.  For others, and not a small group, it is the first time celebrating the sacrament in several years or a decade or even several decades.  To the priest sitting in the places as the instrument of grace and mediator between the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ and one of his brothers or sisters, one of the tremendous joys in his ministry is when a person, after a prolonged absence from the sacrament, returns.  The increased opportunity and promotion of the sacrament on the natural level, combined with the supernatural impetus of grace, leads many to rediscover the beauty and power of the sacrament of reconciliation, yet reconciliation is offered throughout the entire year.  The purpose of this reflection on the sacrament is two-fold.  The first motivation is to teach and reflect upon the sacrament, approaching some of its basic elements as a means to help the faithful to understand it more.  The second motivation is inspiration, to inspire those who have been away for some time to return and those who have received the grace and mercy in the sacrament more recently to consider more frequent confession.  In order to accomplish these goals and carry out the reflection, we will focus upon the most powerful words in the celebration of the sacrament: the prayer of absolution.

God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.[2]

God the Father of mercies

The prayer of absolution begins by stating how any of this is possible: mercy.  “God the Father of mercies.”  The sacrament of reconciliation exists because it is offered as a gift.  Mercy is never a given, but is always a gift.  We can reflect upon personal experiences to help us appreciate the gratuity of God’s mercy.  Perhaps we have been in situations when someone wronged us severely or in a minor way and we wished to hold on to the grudge, the hurt and the wrong.  It was not something that we wished to set aside, forget or forgive.  Hopefully we made the choice to forgive in the end, but the period of consideration and deliberation about whether or not to forgive shows us that it is not to be assumed or guaranteed. It is the same with our God who promises His mercy and love, each and every time, even if offered as part of the promise.  It is a gift to us no matter where we are with our faith.  To understand the sheer gift of re-creation that is present in the sacrament of reconciliation by God’s grace, we can recall how the act of creation is another example, the primary example, of the mercy of God.

God lacks nothing. Before the creation of anything, when there was nothing, not anything at all, God was and was perfect in Himself.  Father, Son and Spirit, the eternal relations that exist within the divine nature, were perfect, satisfied and needed nothing else.  Out of the nothing, for God exists beyond the something of time and place, God created in complete freedom, without any compulsion or need placed upon Him.  God created us not out of loneliness or something that was missing and was looking for it to be filled.  God created freely, out of love, to have other beings share in the goodness of existence, life and love.  The act of creation, beginning with the universe and culminating generally with human beings and specifically with each and every one of us, is an act of God’s mercy, a free choice that did not need to happen and yet here we are.  The merciful God who creates is the same God who wants us to share in the goodness of a life in union with Him as the Trinity, who recreates over and over again in the sacrament of reconciliation.  We are not entitled to forgiveness.  It is not to be taken lightly.  The aforementioned approach or attitude can be another sin, that of presumption, by which we choose to sin or to continue sinning because we have the opportunity of forgiveness in the sacrament and will pursue reconciliation at a later point.  To recognize that our existence is itself already not necessary and a mercy and gift from our God, entitlement can be combatted with gratitude for the fact that we were freely loved into existence and freely offered the opportunity to be recreated in the sacrament over and over again.

Through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself

Every celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation is possible and has effect because of the Paschal Mystery, which is solemnly celebrated and presented to the Church during the Sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday.  At every normal offering of the Mass, the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) is chanted or recited.  “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.”  The Lord Jesus is the Lamb of God who was prefigured by the lambs offered in Exodus.  God instructed Moses for each Hebrew family to slaughter a lamb that will be consumed as a meal during the Passover and that the blood from that same lamb should be painted across the doorway to spare the deaths of the firstborn males in the homes.  The blood of the lamb will save God’s people from death.

In the New Testament, John the Baptist sees the Lord Jesus and declares, “Behold the Lamb of God!”[3]  The true lamb, anticipated in Exodus, has the power to save not simply from a natural death, but can save all those who are anointed by his blood from eternal death.  Sin, whether the lesser venial sin or more serious mortal sin, respectively, either distances one from God or breaks the relationship and communion of the person with God.  It is a choice against that which is good and the source of all goodness found in our God.  As sin separates, in order to overcome that separation one who is in communion must save and retrieve.  We find this in the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

All of humanity was separated from God by the initial sinful choice of Adam and Eve.  Since that time, man continued to affirm again and again that separation with each subsequent sin and found himself in a seemingly hopeless situation for he was unable by his own power and ability to undo the separation and overcome his weakness.  Our merciful God once again freely choose to share life with us and renew our weary nature.  By the Incarnation, the Son of God joins himself to our nature and thus to all human beings in some way and accomplishes what we could only dream to happen: to bridge the infinite chasm that was created by sin, for as the Son and in perfect communion as God with the Father and Spirit, he possessed the ability to return man to communion.  In a marvelous manner, though, he does not simply restore but recreates and renews such that our human nature is changed, granted the capacity to receive the divine life (i.e. grace) and thus not only exist in a new union with God but also possess a new ability to combat and overcome our sinful shortcomings.  The Resurrection of Easter Sunday that follows the Cross of Good Friday is the renewal of life and human nature that follows from the defeat of sin by his triumphant death.   Thus, the sacrament of reconciliation does not disappear in the Easter Season, but rather remains present and can be celebrated every single day for it is the acceptance and appropriation over and over again of the Cross and empty tomb.  When our Risen Lord appears to his disciples, he sheds light upon that which he proclaimed before his death and what was present in the Old Testament.  Forgiveness of sin does not disappear after Easter for it was precisely to save humanity from its sin that our Lord died.  “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”[4]

And sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins

On the evening of his Resurrection, the Lord Jesus appeared to the Apostles gathered in the upper room and said, “’Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’”[5]  Fifty days after Easter at Pentecost, the promised Spirit descended upon those gathered in the Upper Room and changed them.  A new force, strength, wisdom and impulse was given that impelled the disciples to go out.  The Spirit changed their lives, causing them to go out just as our Lord commanded them to do, even in the face of opposition and the unknown.  The same Spirit that serves as a new force in the lives of believers helps the Christian to embrace our Lord’s teachings and mission by helping to unite or reunite the disciple to the Lord through the forgiveness of sin.  The Spirit overcomes the separation and division brought about by sin not by overlooking it or pretending that it did not happen, rather the Spirit overcomes the negative consequences of sin by the act of mercy that forgives sin when asked and thus reestablishes communion or deepens the already existent communion with the Lord.  The disciple, having found the power of love in God’s forgiveness of sins, brings the experience and message to others so that they may be freed from the tyranny and oppression brought about by sin, especially if they fail to realize the impact upon their lives.

Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace

Forgiveness is accomplished by the Lord.  In the Scriptures, the Lord Jesus presents himself as divine by his activity of forgiving sins.  It was speaking in the name of God, who alone can forgive, that aggravated the authorities and led to claims of blasphemy.  The Lord’s will to forgive and capacity to forgive was entrusted to the Church.  “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”[6]  The Apostles accepted this gift to the Church, carried it out and passed it on faithfully.  It is through the ministry of the Church today that the gift of forgiveness of sin is accomplished ordinarily for the disciple of Jesus Christ.  Can the Lord forgive outside of the sacrament?  Absolutely, for grace is not restricted to the sacraments, rather it is promised to be offered in their faithful celebration, but what guarantee is found to the personal, private request that is made?  Likewise, how does one know for sure that his or her sins were forgiven?  In contrast, the Church has understood her privileged place as the guardian of the sacraments and guarantor of the full transmission of the divine life that is grace and in the celebration of the sacrament, the words of the priest clearly state the reality accomplished: “I absolve you from your sins.”

And I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

These are the essential words of the minister that make or break the sacrament.  The gift of forgiveness is given with these words and, without them, the sacrament does not take place.  The source and one active in the act of forgiveness is invoked and stated clearly.  It is the Blessed Trinity with the names of Father, Son and Spirit called upon to accomplish the task of reconciliation.  The work is brought about through the priest.  He is the means and instrument.  Without these words, the sacrament would be invalid, meaning that it was not celebrated.  Each sacrament has certain conditions to protect its integrity and ensure that the minimum of what is essential to the sacrament is present.  For example, the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist requires the necessary matter or material of bread and wine that was made according to certain norms and the words spoken by a priest during the Mass “This is my body” and “This is the chalice of my blood.”  While the words of absolution are necessary from the perspective of the minister, the Christian coming to receive the grace of the sacrament has certain expectations that must be met in order for the sacrament to be what it is and accomplish its purpose for existing.  In order to achieve the fullness of the sacrament, the penitent should prepare adequately and must not hold back any mortal sins and possesses contrition and a desire to stop sinning.

Adequate preparation means that the penitent has taken time to reflect upon what he or she brings to the sacrament.  All mortal sins committed since the last confession must be confessed and any venial sins may be confessed, although for the sake of completion and to help achieve along with the supernatural forgiveness healing on a natural level, it is good to bring all that one can to the confession.  If there was anything forgotten in a previous confession and remembered after the fact, it is also good to mention those forgotten sins in the current confession.  An Examination of Conscience is a tool or aid to assist the penitent to make a thorough confession.  There are many that are available, for example, “A Guide to Confession” put out by the Knights of Columbus that includes some information, a how-to of the sacrament and the examination (http://www.kofc.org/en/resources/cis/devotionals/2075.pdf). Taking the Ten Commandments and Precepts of the Church, this examination, like many others, offers questions for the person to ask and consider.  Upon completion of a review of the questions and some time considering their answers, one is ready to confess.

The need to prepare is for the betterment of the penitent.  To be as complete as possible allows for the Christian to acknowledge all the areas in his or her life, both those that need attention and growth through forgiveness in the sacrament and those that do not because the Lord has been at work there already.  Preparation is not intended to bring down the penitent but rather to liberate and uplift, both through the forgiveness that is accomplished in the sacrament and the affirmation of areas of growth already accomplished in the ongoing transformation being accomplished by the Spirit in his or her life.  In order to shed light in all areas of one’s life, as stated above, it is necessary to confess all mortal sins.  As mortal sin is the choice to carry out a significant wrong (grave matter, as proposed by the Ten Commandments) while knowing that it is wrong and still making the choice to do the wrong anyway, the restoration of union that is brought about in the sacrament requires the choice and act of the will that specifies the wrong and asks for it to be forgiven.  If one deliberately withholds a mortal sin, the sacrament will not be valid for it is as if one has gone to a doctor, only revealed part of his or her medical condition and expected a full recovery.  Not only is it better naturally and psychologically to admit, present and leave behind whatever sin is causing such shame, supernaturally is necessary for forgiveness following the logic that the Lord allows us the free choice in favor of Him or toward some lesser good.  The confession of all mortal sins is the free choice that requests forgiveness and healing and presents the ill to the Divine Physician.

The other necessary component for the penitent is contrition and a detachment from sin.  Perfect contrition is the recognition of the offense caused by one’s sin, a sorrow for it and a desire to be reconciled.  Not all or not at all times is perfect contrition present, but at least some form of contrition, even an imperfect contrition that seeks out the sacrament for fear of eternal separation from God that can occur if one were to die in the state of separation while on earth, is sufficient.  Either way, some form of contrition is necessary, just as a desire to not sin must be present, which makes sense.  It is disingenuous to apologize for something, ask for forgiveness and yet intend and plan to achieve a known sin in the near future.  We are going to fall short and sin again because of our weakness.  In fact, the more often that we celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation, the more likely we will realize more occasions of faltering in our lives and opportunities that require the divine aid of the sacrament.  I cannot apologize for a future wrong that I intend to do and be genuine, thus I cannot be forgiven if the attachment to sin persists in the sacrament.  As will be prayed in some form during the act of contrition, one must possess a resolve and intention not to sin again.

Conclusion

At the beginning of the holy season of Lent, the Church hears the echoes from the prophet Joel proclaimed on Ash Wednesday.  “Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your heart, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.  For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.”[7]  The context of the original words of the prophet were delivered amidst a locust infestation that harmed the crop.  The people failed to see that the harm done was a work of the Lord in order to provide the impetus for the people to choose Him in the midst of their lives and to live for Him.  The prophet’s mantle falls upon Joel in order to teach, motivate and assist the people to embrace their noble call as sons and daughters of God.  They need to move from the lesser things and instead choose God, and in this choice for Him, they will find their fulfillment and happiness.  It is not too late for them to convert and return with their whole hearts and being.  This call to repentance and ongoing conversion, while emphasized and spoken more clearly in the season of preparation that is Lent, is not reserved solely for that time, but is a treasure of the Church for all times.  For those who recently returned to the sacrament after a prolonged absence of many years or those who seek an annual fulfillment in Lent or those who go but are not sure when and why exactly or anyone, now is just as good a time as any to return to Him and receive the inexhaustible life that Holy Mother Church continues to provide in the sacraments, especially through the sacrament of reconciliation.  The Church carries out this work in fidelity to the mission given to her by her Head and Lord who showed to the Apostles gathered together in the Upper Room on that first Easter Sunday that his wounds which were consequences of sin held no power over him or anyone, for he conquered and today desires to encounter us and conquer sin over and over again in our hearts, minds and souls through the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Father Michael Novajosky

[1] Several names are used interchangeably by many to describe the same sacrament: Reconciliation, Penance, Confession.  Each of the names highlights a different aspect of the sacrament.  The penitent confesses his or her sins as part of the sacrament’s celebration.  Penance is prescribed and to be accomplished by the penitent in order to make amends for the sins and in gratitude for the gift of forgiveness.  A valid celebration of the sacrament results in the reconciliation between God and His creation.  The different names may be used in the course of this reflection but are describing the same sacrament.

[2] The prayer of absolution is different according to the older ritual.  While this reflection will focus upon the newer version, the older one is included here for reference and since it is still used by members of the clergy and lay faithful in the diocese even today.  The English translation of the official Latin prayer: May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve thee; and by His very authority do I absolve thee from every bond of excommunication, suspension and interdict, in so far as lies within my power and thou hast need of it.  Furthermore, I absolve thee from thy sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[3] John 1:29

[4] Luke 24:46-47

[5] John 20:22-23

[6] Ibid.

[7] Joel 2:12-13

BRIDGEPORT – Work has begun on offering the ambassador training program in Spanish. Father Gustavo Falla, Vicar for Hispanic Catholics, in collaboration with four other Spanish-speaking priests, is collaborating with Father Michael Novajosky to organize the program, with a proposed start at the beginning of May.

Registration materials will be distributed next Monday, April 19th. As was true for the English language track, pastors will be asked to nominate persons from his parish to attend the formation program. The registration process will be identical to that which was done in March.

The formation experience will begin with in-person orientation sessions, as was offered in English. For more information, contact your Pastor.

“Notas” acerca del Cuarto de Arriba #5

La Diócesis pronto inaugurará la sección en Español del programa de experiencia de formación para Embajadores. Se prevé que este programa se dará inicio a comienzos del mes de Mayo. Habrá más información disponible acerca de esto la próxima semana. Les solicitamos a todos aquellos interesados que contacten a su pastor para discutir su posible registro al programa.

BRIDGEPORT—Parish Centers of Mercy are now open throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport to offer expanded and evening Confession times along with new Eucharistic Adoration opportunities.

The bishop called for the opening of Centers of Mercy as an important step in renewing the diocese and the welcoming people back to Church in his Pastoral Exhortation, “Let us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord.”

“An essential ingredient in the spiritual and pastoral revival of every community of faith is fostering ever greater availability to the Sacrament of Penance,” said Bishop Caggiano in making available the complete list of Confession and Adoration schedules.

“Before we invite others to experience the liberating word of God’s forgiveness, should we not take this privileged time to relearn how to examine our conscience, admit our sinfulness and seek the forgiveness of our sins through the Sacrament of Penance?” he said.

The bishop said he recognized that the pandemic has created obstacles for many who wish to approach the Sacrament of Penance and to participate in Eucharistic Adoration.

For that reason, he re-established and expanded the Centers of Mercy that were originally opened in the diocese during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (2015).

The bishop thanked the nine priests who are serving as deans (representing the territorial and pastoral boundaries of the diocese) and to all priests who will be hearing Confessions.

“As we begin our efforts to overcome the debilitating effects of the pandemic and to seize this moment as a time for spiritual and pastoral renewal, I wish to express my thanks for your consideration of this opportunity to serve the faithful of your parish and deanery,” he said.

The designated Centers of Mercy, along with the parishes already offering the Sacrament of Penance throughout the diocese, will observe every protocol needed to maintain the safety of penitent and priest alike.

(For a complete list of parish Confession and Adoration schedules, visit the new Call to Renewal page on the diocesan website: www.bridgeportdiocese.org/call-to-renewal.)

Deanery A – Queen of Peace (Bridgeport)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Saint Augustine Cathedral
Confessions (English and Vietnamese): Monday through Thursday from 11:15 – 11:55 AM (English) • Wednesday from 6:15 – 7:00 PM (English) • Sunday before and following 2:30 PM mass (Vietnamese)
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM – 12:00PM

Saint Charles Borromeo
Confessions (English, French Creole, Portuguese & Spanish): Thursday from 7:30 – 9:00 PM • Saturday from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 3:00 – 4:00 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Thursday after 7:00 PM Mass • First Saturday of the month after 8:00AM Mass until 1:00 PM

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

The Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Bridgeport
Confessions (English and Spanish): Saturday from 3:00 – 4:00 PM • Tuesday and Thursday 6:00 – 6:30 PM (English) • Wednesday from 6:00 – 6:30 PM (Spanish)
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 5:30 – 6:00 PM

Our Lady of Fatima, Bridgeport
Confessions (Portuguese): Saturday from 5:00 – 5:45 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 5:00 – 5:45 PM • First & Third Wednesday from 12:00 – 1:00 PM (Portuguese)

Saint Andrew, Bridgeport
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Following one mass, once a month, please call for schedule

Saint Ann, Bridgeport
Confessions (English and Spanish): Monday through Friday from 8:30 – 9:00 AM • Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday through Friday from 8:30 – 9:00 AM

Saints Cyril and Methodius, Bridgeport
Confessions (English and French): Sunday, thirty minutes before every Mass • First Friday of the month from 5:15 – 5:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 5:00 – 5:45 PM

Saint George, Bridgeport
Confessions (English and Spanish): Monday through Friday after 8:00 AM Mass • Saturday from 5:00 – 6:00 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday before 8:00 AM Mass • Thursday from 6:30 – 7:00 PM

Saint Margaret Shrine, Bridgeport
Confessions (English and Italian): Monday through Saturday following the 8:15 AM Mass • Saturday at 3:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Saint Mary, Bridgeport
Confessions (English and Spanish): Saturday from 3:00 – 3:30 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Adoration Chapel open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Saint Michael the Archangel, Bridgeport
Confessions (English and Polish): Monday through Friday from 7:30 -7:55 AM Sunday before every Mass • Wednesday evening from 8:30 – 8:55 PM • Saturday from 3:30 – 3:45 PM • First Friday of the month from 6:00 – 6:55 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:30 – 6:55 AM • First Friday of the month from 6:00 – 7:00 PM • First Saturday of the month from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Deanery B – Mystical Rose (Shelton, Stratford)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Saint James, Stratford
Confessions (English): Saturday from 12:15 – 1:30 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Drive-up only, held 24/7

Saint Lawrence, Shelton (Huntington)
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:00 – 4:45 PM • Sunday from 11:00 – 11:30 AM
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Saint Mark, Stratford
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:30 – 4:30 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Friday from 1:00 – 4:00 PM

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Holy Name of Jesus, Stratford
Confessions (English): Wednesday from 12:10 – 1:00 PM • Saturday from 3:30 – 4:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Wednesday from 12:10 – 1:00 PM • Saturday from 3:30 – 4:45 PM

Our Lady of Grace, Stratford
Confessions (English): Saturday from 1:15 – 2:15 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Friday from 1:00 – 3:00 PM (during Lent)

Our Lady of Peace, Stratford
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:15 – 4:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Tuesday from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM • Saturday from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Saint Joseph, Shelton
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Tuesday from 1:00 – 7:00 PM • Friday from 1:00 – 7:00 PM

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Shelton
Confessions (English): Tuesday from 6:00 – 7:00 PM • Friday from 4:40 – 5:15 PM • Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM

Deanery C – Queen of Martyrs (Monroe, Newtown, Trumbull)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Saint Catherine of Siena, Trumbull
Confessions (English): Tuesday from 6:00 – 8:00 PM • Saturday from 3:30 – 4:30 PM (or by appointment)
During Lent: Tuesday from 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Tuesday from 6:00 – 8:00 PM
During Lent: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Saint Theresa, Trumbull
Confessions (English): Thursday from 7:00 – 8:30 PM • Friday from 7:30 – 8:00 AM & 4:30 – 5:30 PM • Saturday from 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Christ the King, Trumbull
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 4:30 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Saint Jude, Monroe
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 3:30 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the Month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Saint Rose of Lima, Newtown
Confessions (English): Thursday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Saturday from 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Thursday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • First Friday from 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Saint Stephen, Trumbull
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:30 – 4:30 (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Friday from 9:30 – 10:30 AM (During Lent)

Deanery D – Our Lady, Queen of Confessors (Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Saint Joseph, Brookfield
Confessions (English): Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Saturday from 4:00 – 4:45 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Holy Trinity, Sherman
Confessions (English): By appointment only

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Danbury
Confessions (English and Portuguese): Friday from 6:00 – 7:00 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Friday from 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Our Lady of Aparecida, Danbury
Confessions (English and Portuguese): Saturday from 3:30 – 4:30 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Friday from 5:00 – 6:30 PM

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Danbury
Confessions (Spanish): Saturday from 5:00 – 6:15 PM

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Danbury
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:30 – 4:30 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday to Friday from 8:00 – 8:30 AM • Friday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Saint Edward the Confessor, New Fairfield
Confessions (English): Thursday from 9:30 – 10:15 AM • Saturday from 3:15 – 3:45 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Second Sunday of the month from 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Saint Gregory the Great, Danbury
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM • Sunday from 11:00 – 11:45 AM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Friday from 8:30 – 9:15 AM

Saint Joseph, Danbury
Confessions (English): Friday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Saturday from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 3:00 – 3:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Friday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, Brookfield
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:30 – 4:15 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: None presently, Adoration Chapel suspended Due to Covid-19

Saint Mary, Bethel
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 4:00 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 12:00 – 9:00 PM

Saint Peter, Danbury
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:30 – 4:30 PM (English) • Sunday from 4:00 – 4:45 PM (Spanish) (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Deanery E – Seat of Wisdom (Georgetown, Redding Ridge, Ridgefield, Weston, Wilton)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Saint Francis of Assisi, Weston
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:00 – 4:45 PM • Sunday from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Wednesday from 3:00 – 8:00 PM (in the main church)

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Our Lady of Fatima, Wilton
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 PM

Sacred Heart/Saint Patrick, Redding Ridge
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:30 – 5:00 PM

Saint Elizabeth Seton, Ridgefield
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:30 – 5:00 PM

Saint Mary, Ridgefield
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 4:00 PM • Tuesday from 4:00 – 4:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Deanery F – Queen Assumed into Heaven (Easton, Fairfield, Westport)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Our Lady of the Assumption, Fairfield
Confessions (English): Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Saturday from 1:30 – 2:30 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • First Friday of the month from 8:00 AM Friday to 7:15 AM Saturday

St. Pius X, Fairfield
Confessions (English): Wednesday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Saturday from 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Tuesday from 8:00 – 9:00 PM

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Fairfield
Confessions (English): Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:30 PM • Saturday from 4:00 – 4:45 PM

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

The Church of the Assumption, Westport
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:30 – 4:15 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday and Wednesday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Holy Cross, Fairfield
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:45 – 4:15 PM

Holy Family and Saint Emery, Fairfield
Confessions (English): By appointment only
Eucharistic Adoration: Available before all weekday & weekend masses

Notre Dame, Easton
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:15 – 4:45 PM

Saint Anthony of Padua, Fairfield
Confessions (English): by appointment only

Saint Luke, Westport
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:30 – 5:15 PM

Deanery G – Mother of Divine Grace (Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

St. Thomas More, Darien
Confession (English): Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Saturday from 3:45 – 4:15 PM • Sunday from 8:15 – 8:45 Am & 4:45 – 5:15 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • First Friday of the Month from 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Saint Aloysius, New Canaan
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:00 – 4:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Friday from 7:30 – 8:30 PM • Thursday from 12:00 – 5:15 PM (During Lent)

Saint Jerome, Norwalk
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Daily from 4:00 – 5:00 PM

Saint John, Darien
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 4:00 PM • Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:00 PM (During Advent and Lent)
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the Month from 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM • Friday from 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (During Advent and Lent)

Saint Joseph – Saint Ladislaus, Norwalk
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Thursday from 6:00 – 7:00 PM

Saint Mary, Norwalk
Confession (English): Monday through Friday from 11:00 – 11:55 AM • Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Wednesday from 1:00 – 4:00 PM • Friday from 7:30 – 11:30 AM

Saint Matthew, Norwalk
Confession (English): Saturday from 2:45 – 3:30 PM • First Tuesday of the Month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: First Tuesday of the Month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM • First Friday of the Month from 1:00 – 7:00 PM

Saint Phillip, Norwalk
Confession (English): Saturday from 4:00 – 4:30 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the Month from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Saint Thomas the Apostle, Norwalk
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Monday from 6:00 – 8:00 PM • First Friday of the Month from 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Deanery H – Cause of Our Joy (Stamford)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Holy Spirit, Stamford
Confessions (English): Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:30 PM • Tuesday from 7:00 – 9:00 PM (During Lent and Advent)

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Holy Name of Jesus, Stamford
Confessions (English): Fridays from 6:00 – 6:45 PM

Our Lady, Star of the Sea
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:30 – 4:00 PM

Sacred Heart
Confessions (English): Saturday from 2:45 – 3:45 PM (or by appointment)

Saint Bridget of Ireland
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 3:30 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 8:00 PM – Midnight

Saint Clement
Confessions (English): Saturday at 4:00 (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 8:00 – 9:00 AM

Saint Cecilia, Stamford
Confessions (English): Wednesday from 7:30 – 9:00 PM

Saint John the Evangelist, Stamford
Confessions (English): Thursday from 7:00 -8:00 PM

Deanery I – Mary, Mother of the Church (Greenwich)

Centers of Mercy
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Saint Mary, Greenwich
Confessions (English): Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:30 PM • Saturday from 2:45 – 3:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 12:30 – 5:00 PM

Other Parishes
Confession and Eucharistic Adoration Schedule

Sacred Heart
Confessions: By appointment only

Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Agnes, Riverside
Confessions (English): First Saturday of the month from 3:00 – 4:00 PM at Saint Agnes (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration

Saint Michael the Archangel
Confessions (English): Wednesday from 9:30 – 10:30 AM & 7:00 – 8:00 PM • Saturday from 3:15 – 3:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: Wednesday from 9:30 AM – 8:00 PM

Saint Paul
Confessions (English): Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month following the 9:00 AM Mass

Saint Roch
Confessions (English): Saturday from 4:00 – 4:30 PM (or by appointment)
Eucharistic Adoration: First Friday of the month from 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM

BRIDGEPORT—  The Diocese has launched the “Call to Renewal” website to serve as a guide to the Year of St. Joseph and overall renewal efforts.

The website is designed to provide information related to the spiritual and pastoral renewal of the diocese as called for in Bishop Caggiano’s Pastor Exhortation, “Let us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord.”

“I come to you now, when many may be wondering about the future direction of our Church, to invite you to begin this spiritual journey with me, seeking the Lord’s grace to transform this time of suffering into a springtime of renewal for the life of the Church,” he said in his introductory letter.

The website includes updates on the Year of St. Joseph, the Diocesan Ambassadors Program, opportunities for Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration, and more.

“I pray that you will find these resources helpful as we seek to renew our Church in Fairfield County,” said the bishop.

Materials on the website include an introduction from the bishop, a link to his  Pastoral Exhortation in its entirety, which is available in both English and Spanish.  A professionally recorded audio version is also available for those who prefer to listen to it as they drive or perform other tasks.

The website will also feature weekly “Notes from the Upper Room” by Bishop Caggiano along with a timeline explaining the Year of St. Joseph as well as liturgies and activities during the renewal period.

The bishop issued his Pastoral Exhortation on Ash Wednesday urging the people of the diocese to move forward in faith and evangelization. In the letter, he provides the framework that will make it possible by designating  Centers of Mercy and Centers of Eucharistic Adoration throughout the diocese.  He also calls for the commissioning of lay “Ambassadors” to go out into the community later in the year to share their faith and invite others back to the Church. The ambassador training is now underway in the diocese and the new website will feature many of their stories.

To visit the “Call to Renewal” website: https://www.bridgeportdiocese.org/call-to-renewal/welcome/, or click “A Call to Renewal” at the top of our Homepage.

 

BRIDGEPORT—On Ash Wednesday Bishop Frank J. Caggiano published his first Pastoral Exhortation: “Let Us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord,” which is now available in audio form.

The 5,000 word letter is a call to renewal through a personal and communal journey of faith throughout the year, and it provides the framework that will make it possible. The Pastoral Exhortation was published in full in the February issue of Fairfield County Catholic and is available online through the diocesan website at: www.bridgeportdiocese.org/let-us-enter-the-upper-room-with-the-lord.

Thanks to the generosity of John Patrick Walsh, an accomplished actor, voice-over talent and parishioner of St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan, the bishop’s pastoral exhortation is now available in audio form.

“In order to accommodate those who do not have time to read such a lengthy document, I have had the privilege to work with John Patrick Walsh, an accomplished voice actor who has generously given of his time and talent to record my Pastoral Exhortation so that it can reach more of our diocesan faithful,” said the bishop.

The bishop said he hopes that the faithful will be able to listen to it while driving, working or doing household chores—as they do with other podcasts during the day when they have time or are involved in an activity that permits them to listen.

“I was honored to have been trusted with this voiceover project as Bishop Caggiano’s words are so vital to our faith community.  I’ve recorded some Christian audiobooks over the years for Zondervan and Oasis Audio and have always enjoyed getting the opportunity to connect my own faith life with my voiceover work,” said John Walsh.

He added that Bishop Caggiano’s choice in placing emphasis on “The Upper Room” spoke to him in a personal way because he has spent a good part of the pandemic months gathering with friends on Tuesday evenings at St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan as part of the parish’s weekly Men’s Ministry with Father David Roman.

“It’s important for men to have a regular gathering place to discuss their faith lives and gain wisdom and strength, especially now as we look forward to our post-pandemic lives. As Bishop Caggiano pointed out, why can’t we come out of this “twilight” period stronger in our faith by connecting more wholeheartedly to Jesus? We can certainly match the darkness with Light, and then some,” said Walsh.

The bishop’s exhortation is a call to personal and communal renewal of faith. His encouraging words come at the right time after a year of suffering and anxiety that has left people feeling dispirited and uncertain about their lives and perhaps about the future of the Church, after the prolonged pause from Mass and the sacraments experienced by so many of the faithful.

The bishop asks the faithful to reflect on the image of the Upper Room in the Gospel of Luke (22: 7-12) and reminds us that it was “where the Lord often gathered with His apostles in times of challenge or decision, to strengthen them for what lay ahead…. In the Upper Room on the night before he died, the Lord fed His apostles both His Word and His Sacred Body and Blood. The same gifts await you and me, if we are willing to receive them.”

While liturgies and other activities are planned for the year, the bishop makes it clear, the call to the Upper Room is not a program but an invitation to join him on “a spiritual journey, seeking the Lord’s grace to transform this time of suffering into a springtime of renewal for the life of the Church.”

Because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, he envisions the first part of the year as a time of prayer and intense spiritual preparation that will hopefully lead to more in-person missionary outreach in the fall—an active going out into the community by “ambassadors” to welcome all back and invite others in for the first time.

The diocese is also working on translating the Exhortation into Spanish and it hopes to have that available by the end of this week.

The audio file can be found and listened to in its entirety at: https://podfollow.com/bishopfrank/episode/05c39ce1cdfdc76468af56da7d217fbcdadb5d1f/view. You can also find it wherever you listen to podcasts.

 

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has announced a diocesan Novena to St. Joseph in preparation for the consecration of the Diocese of Bridgeport to St. Joseph on March 19.

“All are invited to participate in a special Novena to Saint Joseph that will seek his intercession upon our diocese during this celebratory year. I encourage all the faithful to participate in this diocesan-wide devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church during the Year to Saint Joseph,” said Bishop Caggiano.

The Novena will begin on Wednesday, March 10th and end on March 18th, and will take place at 7 pm every evening via Zoom and the Diocesan YouTube. People will be able to access the novena through the diocesan website and social media.

“I ask that all who are able join us in praying this Novena within the diocese as we ready ourselves to enter this period spiritual preparation to a much larger call to diocesan renewal,” the bishop said.

In order to help people to prepare for the consecration, the bishop said a special Novena to Saint Joseph has been crafted alongside that of the traditional Litany of Saint Joseph, which has been included among other prayers to St. Joseph enriched with a plenary indulgence.

The indulgence may be earned once a day subject to the usual conditions: sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, prayer for the intentions of the Pope, and a total detachment to all sin, including venial sin.

“The Novena has been written to engage various intercessory levels of Saint Joseph’s patronage upon our diocese, as we answer a call to the renewal of Christian life and prepare for a great evangelical outreach that will begin this Fall,” the bishop said.

The Novena begins with the Litany of St. Joseph and includes this prayer, “O God, who in your inexpressible providence were pleased to choose Saint Joseph as spouse of the most holy Mother of your Son, grant, we pray, that we, who revere him as our protector on earth, may be worthy of his heavenly intercession. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.”

In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church, Pope Francis proclaimed a special “Year of Saint Joseph” with the release of his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (“With a Father’s Heart”).

On March 19th, 7 pm, Bishop Caggiano will consecrate the Diocese of Bridgeport to the patronage of Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church, at a Pontifical Mass live-streamed from St. Augustine’s Cathedral in Bridgeport. Pastors throughout the diocese will also celebrate Mass at the same time to link the diocese together in prayer and purpose.

The Diocesan celebration of St. Joseph will launch a the call to renewal announced by Bishop Caggiano in February 17 his pastoral exhortation, “Let us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord.”

BRIDGEPORT— Bishop Frank J. Caggiano is putting the power of social media to work during the Lenten season by asking area Catholics to pray together each day at 4 pm.

Those who participate will receive a daily text message, offering a specific intention and asking that they pray one Hail Mary, in communion with everyone else who is receiving the same text.

The daily text is part of the Bishop’s “Upper Room” initiative, a call to renewal of the diocese that began with the issuing of his pastoral exhortation, “Let Us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord,” on Ash Wednesday, February 17.

The plan for renewal begins with a preparatory period of prayer and will move into a more active, public phase in the Fall. One of the major focuses of the initiative is to welcome people back as the pandemic subsides and also invites other who no longer practice the faith to come back to Church.

In a letter to priests, the bishop said a text message will be sent to all participants, inviting them to stop whatever they are doing and pray for a specific intention, followed by the recitation of one Hail Mary.

“This simple gesture unites thousands of people in prayer, while reminding us of the place that prayer should play in our ordinary lives.,” said Bishop Caggiano, who will issue spiritual challenges on a regular basis through the “Notes from the Upper Room” web page.

On Divine Mercy Sunday 2017, the Diocese first announced The Face of Prayer, an online prayer experience that brings together social media, text alerts, and the power of prayer. To date, over eight million prayer texts that have been shared by subscribers.

To join the “Face of Prayer” movement, simply text the word pray from your smartphone to 55778. You will automatically receive a response to confirm your subscription. Standard texting rates apply