“Deacon Gagne is remembered by many as a man of deep faith and a strong commitment to serve others. Please pray for the repose of his soul and the consolation of his family,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

In 1996, Deacon Joe applied to the Permanent Diaconate Program. He was ordained on June 24, 2000, by Most Reverend William E. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport. His first assignment was to Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Norwalk.

On his application to the Diaconate program, Deacon Gagne wrote, “I want to serve others and God. To me, service means helping others without expecting anything in return.”

Deacon Gagne also served at Our Lady of Peace Parish in Stratford and Holy Family in Fairfield. Throughout these parish assignments, he was a member of the Diaconate Council, and was active in Prison Ministry, as well as Parish Bereavement Ministry. He was an Honorary Life Member of the Knight of Columbus and a Past Grand Knight of the Father Coleman Council. He served as a caseworker at the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport.

A graduate of Windham High School, he received a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of CT. While an undergraduate, Joe enrolled in the R.O.T.C. program and was a member of the Scabbard and Blade Military Honor Society and a Distinguished Military Graduate.

Following his military service, Joe became employed as a U.S. Probation and Parole Officer in Kansas City, KS and after continued that role in CT. He would later be assigned as Chief U.S. Pretrial Services Officer for the U.S. District Court of CT.

Throughout his life, Joseph was an active volunteer in his parish and within the community where he was involved with serving as an EMT, as well as a CPR and First Aid Instructor, for the Red Cross.

Joseph H. Gagne was born on March 25, 1942, in Williamantic, to Joseph and Blanche Gagne. He was baptized at Saint Mary Catholic Church, Williamantic, and received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation there.

Deacon Gagne and his wife, Roberta, were married on July 30, 1966, at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, Williamantic, and enjoyed 58 years of marriage. They have three grown children; Peter, Timothy, and John.

Deacon Joseph’s body will be received at St. Pius X Church on Monday, April 22, 2024 at 3:30 pm and will lie in repose from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. On Tuesday, April 23rd, at 10:00 am

The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano will celebrate the funeral Mass. Father Richard Murphy will be the Homilist.

Deacons will gather at 9:30 am to pray Morning Prayer from the Office of the Dead. Interment with military honors will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Trumbull.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, 415 Crossways Park Drive, Suite D, Woodbury, NY 11797 or to The Salesian Missions, 2 Le Fevres Lane, New Rochelle, NY 10801.

Condolences can be sent to:
Roberta Gagne
23 Pell Meadow Drive
Fairfield, CT 06824

TRUMBULL—Dr. Thomas Henry Hicks passed away peacefully at his Trumbull home on March 9, 2024. He was 90.

Tom was born in Ridgewood, N.Y. on May 30, 1932 to Jeremiah and Rose. In Queens, Tom attended St. Aloysius Elementary School and Trinity High School, and received a BA in Philosophy from Cathedral College in Douglaston, N.Y.. He also received a BA in Sacred Theology from Catholic University of America in Washington and attended Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Lloyd Harbor, N.Y., where he was ordained a priest. Tom later returned to Queens and obtained his PhD at St. John’s University.

Tom served as a priest in various parishes in Queens and Brooklyn, and also worked as a guidance counselor at Nazareth High School in Brooklyn. After a dispensation from the Catholic Church, Tom concluded his time as a priest, but continued to serve the Church faithfully as a scholar and teacher. He then married Marcianna O’Leary and moved to Connecticut.

Tom became a professor at Sacred Heart University until his retirement as a Professor Emeritus. In addition, he penned the popular column, “Potpourri,” published monthly in Fairfield County Catholic.

Tom continued to teach Catholic Bible study and book group classes at Fairfield County churches after his retirement. He was a man of great kindness, knowledge, and love for the Church who touched many through his memorable teaching and thoughtful writing.

His wife Marcy and brother Jeremiah predeceased him. Tom is survived by his Florida-based family which includes his sister, Rosemary Winter, nephew Thomas Winter, niece Teresa Zorn, grand-nephews John Rogers, Thomas Winter and Charles Winter, and grand-niece Kathryn Rogers.

Among all who loved Tom, the family would like to acknowledge the love and support of Gloria Doino and her family, and that of his caregivers, Barbara Monaco and Lia Freitas.

The wake will be held at Redgate–Hennessy Funeral Home, 4 Gotham Place, Trumbull, on Friday, April 5 from 4 to 7 pm. The funeral will be held at St. Theresa Parish, 5301 Main Street, Trumbull on Saturday, April 6 at 10 am.

Flowers sent to Redgate-Hennessy are welcome, as are donations to St. Theresa’s Church ( in Tom’s name.

BRIDGEPORT—William “Bill” Hoey, Sr., 66, Chief Mission Integration Officer at St. Vincent’s Medical Center/Hartford Health, and former Catholic Charities leader in the Diocese of Bridgeport, passed away at St. Vincent’s Medical Center Hospital in Bridgeport, on Friday February 16.

“Bill’s death is a loss for his family, our diocese, for St. Vincent’s and the larger community,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. “He was a good man, and a man who put faith into action to serve others. Many people throughout Fairfield County have received compassionate care as a result of Bill’s advocacy, and innovative approach to behavioral health and community services. He is remembered by those of us who worked with him as a man of great faith who had the ability to connect with others and get things done for people in need. May he rest in the Lord’s peace.”

William Jennings, Senior Vice President and Fairfield Region President of Hartford Healthcare, said that employees were deeply saddened to learn of Bill Hoey’s passing.

“Bill was one of those rare individuals whose very presence made a lasting impression on our people, our organization and our community. He cared deeply about the underprivileged, and drew on his faith and his boundless compassion to find ways to serve. In so doing, he helped us all to be better stewards of our mission, and carry on the 120-year-old tradition of St. Vincent’s founders, the Daughters of Charity.”

Bill Hoey, MAHCM, LCSW, was responsible for overseeing all mission services and activities for St. Vincent’s Medical Center with continued responsibility for the Pastoral Care Department and the Parish Nurse Program. Hoey helped establish the Hope Dispensary of Greater Bridgeport through his work with the Primary Care Action Group, a collaboration of area health service organizations. He served on the National Advisory Council for the Dispensary of Hope, a national not-for-profit enterprise which provides uninsured patients with access to life-saving medication.

“Bill was a man of faith, which led him to grow strong ties to the community of Bridgeport. Throughout his time at St. Vincent’s, he was able to play a pivotal role in many efforts including the House of Hope, Swim Across the Sound, and the Hope Dispensary while also volunteering in programs such as the Medical Mission at Home,” Jennings said. “Bill’s sense of mission, and his profound Catholic faith, give us hope and courage to carry on his light — to continue the good works which he led, and of which he was a part.”

While serving as a vice president at Catholic Charities, Bill Hoey oversaw all aspects of the multi-program Catholic Family Services agency. He was instrumental in developing a $7 million dollar housing project at the Thomas Merton campus, a reorganization of mental health services resulting in a productive working relationship with St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services, and an early childhood consultation project providing clinical assessment for at-risk children in Head Start and school readiness programs. He also implemented a community outreach and prison ministry program, which provides formal representation to immigrants, and a program of clergy and victim assistance counseling for victims of sexual abuse. After leaving Catholic Charities, Bill Hoey worked closely with Bishop Caggiano and diocesan leaders on a number of collaborative programs. He also served as a valued and long-time member of the diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board.

Born in Hartford, Conn. on July 16, 1957, Bill was a graduate of Xavier High School and obtained a Bachelor’s in Sociology at St. Anselm College. After earning a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University, he finished his education with a Master’s in Healthcare Management in Theology from The Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Mo. He worked as a social worker for the State of Connecticut for several years moving on to work at The Shirley Frank Foundation where he met his wife, Joan.

Bill always made time for family, spending most Saturdays exploring all around Connecticut with his beloved wife Joan. He was an avid Boston sports fan and could always be found at Fenway Park watching the Boston Red Sox a couple times a year. If he wasn’t at Fenway he would be visiting his son Bill Jr., who resides in the Boston area. Bill was a kind, caring, selfless, and spiritual man whose positive impact will always be remembered as we are all grateful for the ways he contributed to our lives.

A longtime Northford resident, Bill was the amazing husband of Joan (Calabrese) Hoey and loving father of William Edward Hoey, Jr of Northford, Conn. He is also survived by his brothers: Matthew T. Hoey III of Guilford, Conn., David Hoey of Old Saybrook, Conn., Joseph Hoey of Madison, Wisc., and Daniel Hoey of Vero Beach, Fla. He was predeceased by his father Matthew Thomas Hoey Jr. and mother Mary Jo (Quigley) Hoey.

Friends are invited to calling hours on Friday, February 23 from 4–8 pm at the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church St, Guilford. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. George Church, 33 Whitfield St, Guilford on Saturday, February 24 at 11 am. Burial will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, PO Box 6704 Hagerstown , MD 21741;

To send condolences to the family, visit:

QUEENS, N.Y. –Sister Miriam McGuire, SSND, died on February 3, at Ozanam Hall, in Bayside, Queens, New York. She was born in Medford, Mass. on August 5, 1923.

After pronouncing her vows in 1945, Sister Muriel (her religious name) taught in Glen Cove and Rochester, N.Y., until 1975, when she came to St. Francis Junior High in New Britain, Connecticut. She served there as a teacher and pastoral minister, until her retirement to Villa Notre Dame in Wilton in 2015.

Wake Service and Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Andrew Parish in Bridgeport, on February 9, beginning at 10 am.

Memorial contributions may be made to School Sisters of Notre Dame Development Office, 345 Belden Hill Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897.

Arrangements are being handled by Gleason Funeral Home, Bayside, New York.

FAIRFIELD—Fairfield University and Fairfield College Preparatory School (Fairfield Prep) mourn the loss of Rev. Charles H. Allen, S.J., who passed away today at the Campion Center in Weston, Mass. He was 81.

Father Allen was a beloved figure on campus, integral to the life and spirit of the University and Fairfield Prep community for over 40 years. Before retiring in 2020, Father  Allen served our community most recently as the University’s Alumni chaplain and special assistant to the president, Mark R. Nemec PhD.

Father Allen’s many roles at Fairfield University included moderating the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit honor society, serving as a residence hall floor Jesuit, Campus Ministry trip chaperone, Alumni chaplain and Glee Club chaplain. He also served as executive assistant to former Fairfield University Presidents Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., and Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.

“Father Charlie Allen was a much-loved figure on our campus, and in our broader community, and a great friend to so very many of us,” said President Nemec. “If there was anyone who could be said to have embodied the spirit of our University—who knew and loved the town of Fairfield and understood the role that our University and Fairfield Prep play in the life of our region and beyond—it was Father Allen.”

A native of Boston, raised in Jamaica Plain, Mass., Father Allen’s Jesuit service began in 1959 at the age of 17, where his work took him across five continents, to Mexico, Italy, Egypt, France, Spain, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, among many other countries. He was ordained in 1973, and four years later began serving as an administrator and teacher at Fairfield Prep, including as Prep’s head of school.

“Father Charlie Allen made an indelible mark on Fairfield Prep. Serving as an administrator beginning in 1977, and later as headmaster from 1985-1989, Father Allen built up the great Ignatian brotherhood with his signature humor and affection for all,” said Fairfield Prep President Christian Cashman, AP ’15, ’23. “He remained a close advisor and friend to Prep for decades and his legacy will live on for years to come. We pray in thanksgiving for his remarkable life and Jesuit ministry.”

In his capacity as Alumni chaplain, Father Allen officiated at hundreds of wedding ceremonies, baptisms, funerals and Masses. He also served as a spiritual mentor and friend to a host of non-profit and civic organizations throughout the Bridgeport and Fairfield area, notably in his role as chaplain to the Town of Fairfield’s Police and Fire Departments.

A retirement parade in honor of Father Allen that took place during the challenging spring of 2020, drew a cavalcade of nearly 600 carloads of well-wishers—friends, families, former students, town residents, and first responders—who travelled to our campus to thank him for his service over four decades, to the University, Prep, and the greater Fairfield and Bridgeport communities.

In 2021, Father Allen was honored by Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality with the Rev. James M. Bowler, S.J., Award for his lifetime of service exemplifying the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. On that special occasion, the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, shared this reflection on Father Allen’s impact: “One of Father Allen’s greatest gifts is the ability to preach with clarity, simplicity and conviction. His ability to break open the Word of God and apply it to the challenges of modern life has inspired and enriched countless people in many parishes throughout the Diocese. His humor is unsurpassed, allowing him the unique ability to find humor in life and connect that in a deeply meaningful way to the joy of the Gospel.”

Among recent honors bestowed upon Father Allen, this fall, the new dining facility of the Thomas Merton Family Center, a program of Catholic Charities serving Bridgeport, Conn., was named the Father Charles H. Allen, S.J. Dining Hall.

Father Allen earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in philosophy from Boston College, and additional master’s degrees from Gregorian in Rome, Italy (theology), Brown University (mathematics), and Columbia University (educational administration).

A private funeral Mass for Father Allen will be livestreamed on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 10 am.

A memorial Mass, open to all, will be celebrated on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at 10:30 am at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Fairfield, Conn. A reception on the campus of Fairfield University will immediately follow.

Obituary of Michael F. Basso

Michael F. Basso, age 89, of Bridgeport, beloved husband of the late Therese (Terri) Davey Basso, passed away on Sunday, November 12, 2023, with his loving family by his side. Born in Bridgeport, on December 23, 1933, he was a son of the late Michael J. and Ann Mayernick Basso. A 1954 graduate of Warren Harding High School and a proud U.S. Army Veteran. He was a retired Senior Systems Analyst for IBM with over 40 years of committed service.

Mike had 24 years of service as a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was the first Grand Knight of Council 12615 at St. Charles Parish. He was a Faithful Navigator at Assembly 107, District Deputy and an organizer of the Blue Mass along with the Diocese of Bridgeport. He was a dedicated parishioner and a member of the Parish council, financial committee & an usher. He was an avid Giants, Yankee, & UConn Basketball fan. He enjoyed organizing trips to Mohegan and Atlantic City with his family and friends. But above all, he was a dedicated husband, father and Papa, who always put the needs of his family first. He was described by many as the most thoughtful, kind and giving man. His smile lit up every room and he always had a “God Bless” for all. He will be truly missed by all who knew and loved him.

He leaves behind his two loving children, Michael V. Basso of Bridgeport and Michele Basso Cennamo and her husband Jack of Trumbull, two cherished grandchildren, Jeff Cennamo and Nikki Taylor and her husband Joe, an adored great grandson, Grayson Taylor and a brother, Stephen Basso and his wife Diane. His memory will also be cherished by his extended family, the Delaney and Davey families, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was pre-deceased by his sister, Dolores Basso Cortello and husband Sam and his brother, Lawrence Basso and wife Joan.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, November 20, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. in St. Charles Borromeo Church, 1255 East Main St., Bridgeport. Interment with military honors will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Trumbull. Relatives and friends may greet the family on Sunday, November 19, 2023 from 1 – 4 p.m. in the Abriola Parkview Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Road, Trumbull.

Those desiring may make memorial contributions to the St. Charles Borromeo Church, 391 Ogden St., Bridgeport, CT 06608, Swim Across the Sound at or the College Fund for his great grandson, through the funeral director. To leave an online condolence please visit

Mary Frances Lako, age 80, passed peacefully among her loved ones on October 27, 2023. A longtime resident of Trumbull, Connecticut, Mary was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. Her reunion with her late husband Steve in heaven will be joyous after a long, well-lived, and loving life together.

The daughter of Betty May Malmquist Noble and Ralph H. Noble, Jr., Mary was born in Bridgeport, CT on February 1, 1943 and graduated from Notre Dame High School, Fairfield, CT. A 35-year volunteer with Trumbull EMS, she worked at Avco-Lycoming before marriage, at J.C. Penney’s in Trumbull, and in the communication department at the Catholic Center for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

She was a devoted parishioner of St. Stephen’s Church in Trumbull, CT. In high school Mary met the love of her life, Steven Michael Lako, and they married the summer of 1965. Over their 55 years of marriage, they built a beautiful home, family, and circle of close friends. Their loving relationship was an inspiration to everyone they knew.

Together they raised their daughter, Jennifer Irene Laux (Steven), and son Dr. Steven Laszlo Lako (Amy), and showered love and attention on their grandchildren, Emma Mae Lako, Anna Leigh Lako, Lillian Grace Lako, Connor Noble Laux, and Michael Patrick Laux. Mary also leaves behind her beloved siblings Sharon Noble Eaton, Ralph H. Noble III (Lucia), Kathleen “Kate” Noble (Tom) and Elizabeth “Beth” Pinckney (Clarence), sister-in-law Susan Lako Dial (Bill), twin brothers-in-law Ronald “Ronnie” Lako (Mary) and Donald “Donnie” Lako (Pamela), her many nieces and nephews, cousins and dear, longtime friends. She was devoted to all of them and a constant, loving presence in their lives.

Mary enjoyed an active lifestyle, making wonderful memories on multi-generational family vacations, travel and boating excursions with family and friends, visits to her daughter’s and son’s homes in Pennsylvania and Georgia, and to her grandchildren’s high school and college events. From Long Island Sound and the Virgin Islands, to Europe and Ireland, to the big skies of Montana, Mary lived a life filled with adventure, love, and friendship.

She called her home the “party house” and hosted large holiday gatherings for family and friends. She taught her children and grandchildren to appreciate family traditions, home-cooked food, and many life lessons. She always encouraged them “to make good memories” and they did. They were her joy.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 18, 2023 in St. Stephen Church, 6948 Main St., Trumbull, interment will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Trumbull. Friends may call on Friday, November 17, 2023 from 5-7 p.m. at the Abriola Parkview Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Rd., Trumbull. In lieu of flowers, donations to Catholic Relief Services in memory of Mary are graciously accepted.

To leave an online condolence, please visit

Deacon Daniel Ianniello passed away on Thursday, October 26, 2023. He was 82 years of age.

“It is with sadness I must inform you of the death of Deacon Daniel Ianniello. Among his many achievements, he became an integral part of the formation of ordained deacons in his service on the Diaconate Council. We are deeply grateful for his faithful service and example. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Deacon Ianniello and for the consolation of his family,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

Daniel Ianniello was born on August 25, 1941, in Bridgeport to Mary and Daniel L. Ianniello. He was baptized on September 28, 1941, at Holy Rosary Church and received the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 14, 1950, at Saint Charles Borromeo Church, both in Bridgeport. He attended Saint Charles Elementary School and then Fairfield Preparatory School where he graduated in 1959.

On September 30, 1961, Daniel and Ilene were married at Saint Charles Borromeo Church and they raised three children in Trumbull. Daniel attended the University of Bridgeport where he earned a bachelor’s degree (1963) and master’s degree (1967) in Mechanical Engineering. Daniel joined Sikorsky Aircraft in 1963 as an Analytical Design Engineer and was awarded a US Patent for his design of the attachment of helicopter rotor blades.

On July 31, 1985, Daniel was accepted into the Diaconate Formation Program. He was ordained to the diaconate on December 17, 1988, by Most Reverend Edward Egan at Saint Augustine Cathedral. Daniel was assigned on that same date to serve as deacon at Holy Rosary Parish in Bridgeport. After serving there for 8 years, Daniel was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Fairfield, where he remained until his retirement on his 75th birthday, August 25, 2016.

Daniel actively served the parishes where he was assigned and became an integral part of the formation of newly ordained deacons in his role on the Diaconate Council dating back to December 2005. He represented deacons in his deanery and focused on their continuing education and was appointed as Deacon Advocate of the Tribunal, even in his retirement. Daniel was an active member of the Fairfield Interfaith Clergy Association, the Fairfield Holocaust Memorial Committee and UNICO, a national organization of Italian men dedicated to the charitable works within the community.

Deacon Daniel and his late wife, Ilene, served as the chaircouple for the Marriage Enrichment Ministry for the Diocese of Bridgeport, and Ilene was a founding President of the Deacon’s Wives Ministries that supports many ministries including providing the opportunity for inner-city children to travel to New York City to see a Broadway Play.

The wake will be held on Monday, November 13, from 4:00PM to 8:00PM at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 1719 Post Road in Fairfield. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 14 at 10:00AM, also at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. The celebrant will be Reverend Victor Martin and the homilist will be Deacon Joseph Gagne.

BRIDGEPORT—Deacon Michael Saranich, Jr. passed away on Monday, October 2, 2023. He was 83 years of age.

“Deacon Saranich was a man of great faith who served his Church and his country. His life and ministry were guided by his love for the Eucharist along with his love for his family and parish community. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Deacon Saranich and for the consolation of his family,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in making the announcement.

Michael Saranich Jr. was born on July 13, 1940, in Bridgeport to Michael and Loretta Saranich. He was baptized on August 4, 1940, at Saint Michael the Archangel Church and received the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 29, 1949. He attended Saint Anthony Grammar School in Fairfield and Roger Ludlow High School where he graduated in 1958.

Following High School, Michael enlisted into the US Air Force with assignments as an Interceptor Technician and Radar Operator for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). He spent four years on duty at radar sites on the northern border of the United States.

Michael returned home to Connecticut in 1962 and attended college at the Bridgeport Engineering Institute where he earned a degree in engineering. That same year he met his wife, Arlene, and they were married on May 22, 1965, at Saint Charles Church, Bridgeport. They moved to Stratford, raised three children, and were parishioners at Holy Name of Jesus Parish.

In 1998, Michael was accepted to the Diaconate Formation Program. He was ordained to the diaconate on June 22, 2002, by Most Reverend William E. Lori at Saint Augustine Cathedral. His parish assignment was Holy Name of Jesus in Stratford. In addition, following his ordination, Deacon Michael entered Sacred Heart University in pursuit of a master’s degree. In May 2005, he received an MA in Religious Studies. His master’s Thesis was titled “The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”

Deacon Michael retired from the diaconate on his 75th birthday, July 13, 2015.

The wake will be at Adzima Funeral Home, 50 Paradise Green Place, Stratford, on Thursday, October 12, from 4 to 7 pm. The funeral will be at Our Lady of Grace Church, 497 Second Hill Lane, Stratford on Friday, October 13, at 10:30 am. Monsignor Martin Ryan will be the celebrant. Deacons will gather at Our Lady of Grace at 10 am, to pray Office of the Dead. Vesting is Alb and diocesan stole. Committal will be at State Veterans Cemetery, 317 Bow Lane, Middletown, CT 06457 at 1 pm.

BRIDGEPORT—Reverend John Punnakunnel passed away in Indian on September 27, 2023, at the age of 94.

“Father John will be remembered by many in our diocese as a joyful priest who was always on the go, visiting the sick in hospitals and nursing homes and graciously serving the faithful in our parishes. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father John and for the consolation of his family,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

Born in India to a Syro-Malabar Catholic family, Father Punnakunnel entered the Salesian Order as a religious brother and served as a teacher for 20 years. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Vellorei, Tamilnadu, India, in 1979. Three of his four brothers were ordained priests in the Salesian order.

Father Punnakunnel underwent all of his academic and ecclesiastical studies in India. His first appointment in the Diocese of Bridgeport was as parochial Vicar of Holy Rosary Parish, Bridgeport, in 1995. He later served as Parochial Vicar at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish, and as a Chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital. He retired in 2012, but continued to serve in parishes for a number of years before returning to India, when his health declined.

When he was interviewed by Fairfield County Catholic in 2012, Father John said he always held these words of St. Pope John Paul II close to his heart: “Know that you are not alone, separated, abandoned or useless. You have been called by Christ and are his living and transparent image.”

The Syro-Malabar Church is the second largest of the Eastern Rite Churches in communion with Rome. The Catholic faith in India traces its origins to the missionary work of the Apostle Thomas. The faith has continued to flourish in that country through the centuries, particularly in Kerala, and Catholics in that area are popularly referred to as “Thomas Christians.”

The Funeral Mass is scheduled for Friday, September 29 at St. Sebastian Church in Koodaranji, Kerala, India.

STAMFORD- Sister Mary Bernard Wiecezak, CSFN, age 80, passed away peacefully on September 23, 2023. Born Ursula Veronica Wiecezak, she was the oldest of three children born to Stanley A. Wiecezak and Frances T. Loskocinski Wiecezak.

Ursula graduated from Our Lady of Czestochowa Elementary School on January 27, 1957, and continued her education at Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School the following day, graduating on June 26, 1960. Ursula entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province on September 8, 1960, and received the name Sister Mary Bernard.

Her ministerial life centered on elementary, secondary, and university education. Sister taught in schools in Paterson and Lincoln Park, N.J.; Utica, Glen Head and Elmhurst, N.Y.; Stratford, Trumbull and Fairfield, Conn.; and Worcester, Mass. She ministered in childcare at Little Flower Children’s Services in Wading River, N.Y. and was principal at Our Lady of Poland School in Southampton, NY..

While approaching her Golden Jubilee in Nazareth, Sister Mary Bernard turned her attention toward the sick and the elderly caring for the elderly at St. Peter Parish in Danbury, and as a volunteer at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn.

Sister Mary Bernard loved to travel. With her mother she visited relatives in Poland, toured Rome, London, Paris, Vienna, Switzerland, and Berlin. Sister Mary Bernard had a love for life, a love for her congregation, and a love for God’s people whom she served tirelessly for countless years.

Sister is survived by her brothers, Stanley and Robert, her sisters-in-law, Patricia and Theresa, numerous nieces, nephews, great niece, and great nephews.

BRIDGEPORT- Sister Christina Murphy, a School Sister of Notre Dame, died at The Watermark, Bridgeport,  on August 16. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 6, 1940.

After pronouncing her vows in 1961, Sister Christina taught at schools in New York, at St. Mary, East Islip, and St. Joseph, 87th Street; in New Jersey, at Immaculate Conception, Secaucus; and in Connecticut at St. John School, Watertown, where she later was Parish Pastoral Minister. She also served as Chaplain at St. Mary Hospital, Waterbury. In her retirement she resided at Villa Notre Dame, Wilton, Connecticut, and The Watermark, Bridgeport.

Sister Christina is survived by her brother Gerry

Wake Services at 10:30 am, followed by a prayer service at 11 am and Funeral Liturgy at 11:30 am will be celebrated on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at St. Andrew Parish, 435 Anton Street in Bridgeport. Burial will follow at St. Mary Cemetery in Bethel.

Memorial contributions may be made to the School Sisters of Notre Development Office, 345 Belden Hill Road, Wilton, CT 06897. Online condolences can be made at

QUEENS, N.Y. –Sister Mary Henry Gadsby, a School Sister of Notre Dame, died on August 11, at Ozanam Hall in Bayside, Queens, N.Y., aged 91. She was born in Cambridge, Mass., on January 13, 1931.

After pronouncing her vows as an SSND in 1955, she served as teacher and administrator at schools in New York and New Jersey, as well as in administration at Villa Notre Dame, in Wilton.

A Wake Service followed by the Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Andrew Parish on Anton Street in Bridgeport on Thursday, August 24, at 11 am.

Memorial contributions made be made to the School Sisters of Notre Dame Development Office, 345 Belden Hill Road, Wilton, Connecticut, 06897.

Bridgeport– Reverend Michael C. Palmer, 86 passed away on Monday, August 14, 2023. He was 86 years of age.

“Fr. Palmer is fondly remembered by many as the long-time pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilton, and for his contributions to Catholic education as a teacher and board member in the diocese. A quiet man with a humble sense of humor, Fr. Palmer brought a special understanding and affection to the many families he served in his long ministry.” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano. “Please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Palmer and for the consolation of his family.”

Michael Coleman Palmer was born on February 20, 1937, in Stamford to William and Madeline Palmer. He was baptized at Saint John Catholic Church, Stamford, and received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation at St. Cecilia Church. He attended Grammar School in the Springdale section of Stamford, Dolan Junior High, and Stamford High School.

He attended St. Thomas Seminary College and received an A.A. in 1957. Father Palmer received his priestly formation at St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, NY, graduating in 1959 with a B.A. in Philosophy. He was ordained to the priesthood at Saint Augustine Cathedral on May 25, 1963, by Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, S.T.D.

Following his ordination, Father Palmer was assigned as an Assistant Priest at St. Thomas Parish, Fairfield. In 1965, he was assigned as a full member of the faculty of Christ the King Preparatory Seminary, Southport, and taught for five years. In September 1970, he was appointed full-time faculty member of St. Mary High School, Greenwich.

Father Palmer received an M.A. in Education (Counseling) from Fairfield University in June 1970. He also completed a period of Sabbatical Study in 1979 in the Department of Theology within the School of Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America.

In June 1971, Father Palmer was appointed Temporary Administrator of the Parish of St. John, Darien. He was appointed Associate Pastor of the Team Ministry at St. Ambrose Parish, Bridgeport in September 1971, and was appointed Pastor there in 1974.

In June 1977, Father Palmer was appointed to Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Wilton and served as Pastor for 36 years. He retired on June 30, 2013, following his 50th Anniversary of Ordination. He then became a resident of the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence in Stamford.

Throughout his priestly ministry, in addition to various parish assignments, he served our diocese by accepting appointments to the College of Consultors, was elected to the Presbyteral Council, and served as President of the Board of Directors of Region IV Catholic School System.

Father Palmer’s body will be received on Thursday, August 17, 2023, at Our Lady of Fatima Church, 229 Danbury Road, Wilton, at 3:00 pm and lie in repose until 6:45pm. At 7:00 pm a Mass will be celebrated by Monsignor Robert Crofut for the repose of his soul, and he will also be the homilist.

Bishop Caggiano will celebrate Father Palmer’s Funeral Mass on Friday, August 18, 2023 at 11:00 am. Monsignor Edward Surwilo will be the homilist. Interment will be private.

QUEENS, N.Y. -Sister Ellen (Mary John) Fitzsimmons, SSND, died on August 6, 2023, at Ozanam Hall in Bayside, New York, at age 92. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 20, 1931.

After pronouncing her vows as a School Sister of Notre Dame in 1951, she taught in Maryland, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. In her retirement she resided at Villa Notre Dame, in Wilton, Connecticut, and Ozanam Hall, in Queens, New York.

Sister’s Wake Service and Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held at St. Andrew Church, Anton Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Saturday, August 19, at 11:00.

Memorial contributions may be made to School Sisters of Notre Dame, Atlantic-Midwest Province Development Office, 345 Belden Hill Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Martin A. Gleason Funeral Home, Bayside, New York