BRIDGEPORT– Father Albert D. Audette, Jr. died on Sunday evening, April 1, 2023 at his home in Naples, Fla.  He was 90 years of age.

“Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Audette and for the consolation of his family,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in making the announcement.

A former fighter pilot, Fr. Audette will be remembered in gratitude by many throughout the diocese as a gifted and accomplished priest with a remarkable life story and a deep love for God, country and family.  He brought his great faith, life experience, energy and intelligence to his ministry of service in parishes in Bethel, Danbury, Brookfield and Stamford.

Albert David Audette, Jr. was born in Central Falls, R.I., on June 12, 1931, the son of Albert D. Audette, Sr. and Mary Kennelly Audette. He was baptized July 6, 1932, at St. Theresa Church in South Attleboro, Mass., received his First Holy Communion on May 18, 1941 at St. Patrick Church in Cumberland, R.I. and the Sacrament of Confirmation at St. Theresa Church in South Attleboro, Mass. on May 12, 1942.

Father Audette attended St. Raphael Academy.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska and Master of Business Administration from George Washington University. He also studied at the Foreign Service Institute and the National Defense College.

Father Audette served in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1981. During these years, he attained the rank of Colonel. In the early years of his military career, Father Audette served as a jet fighter pilot (flying many missions in Vietnam during the war), test pilot and instructor pilot. Among the many honors he received during his military career, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Cross of Gallantry. Later, he served as an attaché to the Ambassador to Portugal.

On July 10, 1954, he married Mary Ann Poling at the Church of the Assumption in Topeka, Kan. They raised four children together. Sadly, Mary Ann passed away in 1989. After some time, Father Audette discerned a vocation to the priesthood and requested admission to serve in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Father Audette received his priestly formation at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Bridgeport by Bishop Edward M. Egan at St. Augustine Cathedral in Bridgeport on May 29, 1993.

Following his ordination, his first assignment was as parochial vicar of St. Mary Parish in Bethel, where he served until 1996. In January of 1996, he was assigned as administrator of St. Peter Parish in Danbury. Later that year, he was named pastor of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish in Brookfield. His next assignment was as pastor of St. Peter Parish in Danbury, where he served from 2002 until his retirement in 2007.

Upon his retirement, Father Audette took up residence at the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist in Stamford. He went back to school and obtained a Masters in Mental Health, and after receiving his degree, opened the Roman Catholic Center for Mental Health and Spiritual Direction in Stamford which focused on providing care for those unable to afford it.

In addition to his parish responsibilities, Father Audette served as Coordinator for Ministry to the Newly Ordained.

Father Audette’s Funeral Mass will take place at St. Joseph Church in Alexandria, Va. Father Brian Gannon will be the homilist. Interment will follow at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. The date and time will be announced at a later date.

BRIDGEPORT—Reverend Monsignor Ernest T. Esposito died on January 15, 2019 after a brief illness. He was 83 years of age.

“Monsignor Esposito will be remembered as a man who truly enjoyed his life as a priest and shared that joy and good spirit with all whom he met. He will be deeply missed by his brother priests and all who knew him,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

Ernest Thomas Esposito was born in Mount Vernon, New York, on January 23, 1935, son of Mr. Francesco and Maria (Coschignano) Esposito. He attended William Penn and Columbus Grammar Schools and Nichols Junior High School in Mount Vernon. Upon graduating from Edison Vocational and Technical High School in 1953, he served in the United States Army in New Jersey, Kentucky and Japan (1954-1956). He began his priestly formation with the Franciscan Friars at Saint Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, New York (1956-1960) and Saint Francis College in Rye Beach, New Hampshire (1960-1962), and he went on to study Theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. (1962-1963) and Our Lady of Loretto Seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania (1964-1967).

He was ordained to the Priesthood for the Diocese of Bridgeport by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis in Saint Augustine Cathedral on May 20, 1967.

He served as Parochial Vicar of Holy Rosary Parish in Bridgeport (1967-1969), Saint Mary Parish in Bridgeport (1969), Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Bridgeport (1969-1970), Saint Raphael Parish in Bridgeport (1970-1976) and Saint Pius X Parish in Fairfield (1976-1985). He was Pastor of Saint Peter Parish in Bridgeport (1985-1991) and reappointed as Pastor of the newly-united parishes of Saint Peter and Saint Anthony Parishes (1991). He served as Parochial Vicar (1991-1994; 1996-1997) and Administrator of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Fairfield (1994), and lived in residence there (1994-1996). He was named Administrator of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Stratford (1996).

He served as diocesan Director of Family Life/Respect Life (1991-2006), as Episcopal Vicar for Religious (2001-2010) and as Chaplain of Saint Joseph Manor in Trumbull (2007-2010). During his longer service in the Diocese, Monsignor Esposito was also a member of the Presbyteral Council and the College of Consultors.

Monsignor Esposito, who retired in 2010, was named Chaplain to His Holiness, with the title of Monsignor, by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on November 22, 2007.

Monsignor Esposito’s body will be received at Saint Pius X Church, located at 834 Brookside Drive, Fairfield, at 3:30 pm on Friday, January 18 and will lie in repose until the Vigil Mass at 7:00 pm. Monsignor Thomas W. Powers will be the principal celebrant, and Father Robert Crofut will be the homilist. Bishop Caggiano will celebrate the Funeral Mass at Saint Pius X Church at 11:00 am on Saturday, January 19, and Monsignor James Cuneo will be the homilist. Those concelebrating the Vigil Mass and/or at the Funeral Mass should bring their diocesan vestments.

Interment will follow the Mass at Saint Michael Cemetery in Stratford (2205 Stratford Avenue).

Condolences and gifts in his memory to support retired priests can be sent to the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence, 274 Strawberry Hill Road, Stamford, 06902