VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Extreme poverty, the lack of employment that can support a family and desperation are the major drivers of exploitative child labor, Pope Francis said.

“If we want to stamp out the scourge of child labor, we must work together to eradicate poverty (and) to correct the distortions in the current economic system, which concentrates wealth in the hands of a few,” he said.

“We must encourage nations and the stakeholders of the world of business to create opportunities for decent employment with fair wages that let families meet their needs without their children being forced to work,” he said Nov. 19 during a meeting with people taking part in an international conference on “Eradicating Child Labor, Building a Better Future.”

“We must combine our efforts to promote quality education that is free for everyone in every country, as well as a health care system that is equally accessible to everyone,” he added.

The Vatican COVID-19 Commission of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development supported the conference, which was organized in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

The U.N. General Assembly declared 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labor; eliminating exploitative child labor also is one of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

“Progress toward the elimination of child labor has stalled for the first time in 20 years with a reversal of the downward trend and numbers reaching 160 million children suffering worldwide of this situation,” which has worsened during the pandemic, the dicastery said on its website, using estimates provided by UNICEF and the International Labor Organization.

The problem of child labor has nothing to do with age-appropriate chores and work that helps the family or their community and is carried out in their free time, the pope said.

Child labor is exploiting a child within a system of production in today’s globalized economy for the earnings and profits of others, he said.

“It is the denial of a child’s rights to health, education, sound development, including the possibility to play and dream,” he said. “This is tragic. A child who cannot dream, who can’t play, who cannot grow. It is robbing children of their future and, therefore, humanity itself. It is a violation of human dignity.”

The way people relate to children, including how much they respect their human dignity and fundamental rights, “expresses what kind of adults we are and want to be, and what kind of society we want to build,” the pope said.

“It is shocking and disturbing that in today’s economies, whose productive activities rely on technological innovations … the employment of children in work activities persists in every part of the world,” he said.

“Extreme poverty, lack of work and the resulting desperation in families are the factors that expose children most to labor exploitation,” he said.

Pope Francis urged the dicastery to continue its work aimed at ending child labor and praised the dicastery for gathering a diversity of participants, including representatives of international organizations, civil society, business and the church.

Thanking participants for their commitment to the cause, the pope encouraged them to never become discouraged “by the inevitable difficulties, but always expanding the network of people and organizations involved.”

By Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — During this time marked by global crisis, St. Joseph can offer people support, consolation and guidance, Pope Francis said.

St. Joseph is a man full of faith in God and his providence, the pope said Nov. 17 at his weekly general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall.

The saint also “reminds the church to keep her eyes on what the world deliberately ignores” and to consider as important what others discard, he said.

“He is truly a master of the essential: He reminds us that what truly matters does not attract our attention, but requires patient discernment to be discovered and appreciated,” he added.

The day’s audience talk was the first of a new series of talks dedicated to the foster father of Jesus and husband of Mary.

Pope Francis had proclaimed a “Year of St. Joseph” from Dec. 8, 2020, to Dec. 8, 2021, to mark the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as patron of the universal church. The saint is held up as an example of sacrificial fatherhood and purity and as an intercessor in healing and fighting the world’s evils.

In his audience talk, the pope explained that he wanted to dedicate a series of talks to St. Joseph in addition to his reflections on the saint contained in his 2020 apostolic letter, “Patris Corde” (“With a father’s heart”), in the hope of helping people “be enlightened by his example and by his witness.”

“Never like before, today, in this time marked by a global crisis,” the pope said, “can he offer us support, consolation and guidance.”

The name Joseph, which comes from the Hebrew verb, “to increase,” signifies “may God increase, may God give growth,” he said.

His name reveals an essential aspect of St. Joseph’s character: “He is a man full of faith in God, in his providence,” and everything he does indicates his certainty that God helps things grow, that God increases and adds, Pope Francis said.

Another important aspect is St. Joseph’s connection with Bethlehem, where Jesus is born, and Nazareth, where he settles and supports his family as a carpenter.

Even though Jerusalem was the city loved by the Lord, “the Son of God did not choose Jerusalem as the place of his incarnation, but Bethlehem and Nazareth, two outlying villages, far from the clamor of the news and the powers of the time,” the pope said.

“This is why the choice of Bethlehem and Nazareth tells us that the periphery and marginality are preferred by God,” he said, and “to fail to take this fact seriously is equivalent to not taking seriously the Gospel and the work of God, who continues to manifest himself in the geographical and existential peripheries.”

Even though the “doctors of the law” scolded Jesus for this, Jesus goes out in search of sinners, going into their homes, speaking and eating with them, calling them to conversion, the pope said.

But Jesus also goes in search of “those who have done no evil, but have suffered it: the sick, the hungry, the poor, the least,” he added.

There is a center and a periphery — in society and in the human heart and soul, Pope Francis said. People should draw confidence from knowing that Jesus “knows the peripheries of our heart, of our soul,” of one’s community or family and knows those “places that are a bit dark, that we don’t let people see, perhaps out of shame.”

Jesus always acts quietly, out of the limelight in these far corners, “and the church knows that she is called to proclaim the good news from the periphery,” he said.

St. Joseph, “who is a carpenter from Nazareth and who trusts in God’s plan for his young fiancee and for himself,” reminds the church “not to look so much at the things the world praises,” but to keep her eyes on those peripheries and dark corners, he said.

“Let us ask him to intercede so that the whole church may recover this insight, this ability to discern and this ability to evaluate what is essential. Let us start again from Bethlehem, let us start again from Nazareth,” he said.

The pope also offered a special prayer and message to “all the men and women who live in the most forgotten geographical peripheries of the world or who experience situations of existential marginalization.”

“May you find in St. Joseph the witness and protector to look to,” he said, offering the following prayer:

“St. Joseph, you who have always trusted God and have made your choices guided by his providence, teach us not to count so much on our own plans but on his plan of love. You who come from the peripheries, help us to convert our gaze and to prefer what the world discards and marginalizes. Comfort those who feel alone and support those who work silently to defend life and human dignity. Amen.”

By Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis told young people that, with Jesus, people can find the courage to swim against the current, to be free and authentic, and to stand up for their dreams and ideals of truth, love, justice and peace.

“Be the critical conscience of society. Don’t be afraid to criticize. We need your criticism,” he said, citing for example, the disapproval coming from many young people about environmental destruction. “Be passionate about truth, so that, with your dreams, you can say, ‘My life is not captive to the mindset of the world. I am free, because I reign with Jesus for justice, love and peace!’”

Celebrating Mass on the feast of Christ the King in St. Peter’s Basilica Nov. 21, the pope directed much of his homily to the world’s young people. This was the first year that the world’s dioceses were celebrating World Youth Day on the local level on the feast of Christ the King rather than on Palm Sunday. Pope Francis had announced the change last year.

As the church begins its journey toward the next intercontinental celebration of World Youth Day in Lisbon in 2023, the pope asked that young people to reflect on the image in the day’s Gospel reading of Jesus standing before Pontius Pilate and declaring, “I am a king.”

“We are struck by Jesus’ determination, his courage, his supreme freedom,” the pope said, because he could have tried to defend himself or compromise to avoid being condemned to death.

Instead, Jesus did not hide his identity and he took responsibility for his own life and for his mission to testify to the truth, he said.

Jesus came without duplicity to show his kingdom is different from the kingdoms of the world,” the pope said. “God does not reign to increase his power and to crush others; he does not reign by force of arms. His is the kingdom of love,” a kingdom of people who give their lives for the salvation of others.

Pope Francis encouraged young people to let Jesus’ freedom “resonate within us, to challenge us, to awaken in us the courage born of truth.” He encouraged everyone to look for and face the truth about themselves: what they are ashamed of, the ways they may be deceitful or duplicitous and the ways they displease God.

“It is good to stand before Jesus, who is truth, in order to be set free from our illusions,” to see life as it really is, “and not be deceived by the fashions of the moment and the displays of consumerism that dazzle but also deaden,” he said.

Pope Francis urged young people not to be “enchanted by the sirens of the world, but to take our lives in hand, to ‘take a bite out of life,’ in order to live it to the full!”

With the freedom of Jesus “we find the courage we need to swim against the current,” which is “not the daily temptation to swim against other people, like those perpetual victims and conspiracy theorists who are always casting blame on others,” he said. It is going against “the unhealthy current of our own selfishness, closed-mindedness and rigidity that often seeks like-minded groups to survive.”

One swims against the tide “so as to become more like Jesus. For he teaches us to meet evil only with the mild and lowly force of good. Without shortcuts, without deceit, without duplicity,” the pope said.

“Our world, beset by so many evils, does not need any more ambiguous compromises, people who move back and forth like the tide — wherever the wind blows them, wherever their own interests take them — or swing to the right or left, depending on what is most convenient, those who ‘sit on the fence,’” he said.

“You have been entrusted with an exciting but also challenging task: to stand tall while everything around us seems to be collapsing; to be sentinels prepared to see the light in night visions; to be builders amid the ruins; to be capable of dreaming,” the pope told young people.

He thanked them for working courageously “to make your dreams come true,” to make the world more beautiful, humane and fraternal, to heal the wounds of God’s creation, to protect the dignity of the vulnerable and to spread the spirit of solidarity and sharing.

“Thank you above all, because in a world that thinks only of present gain, that tends to stifle grand ideals, you have not lost the ability to dream! This helps us adults, and the church as well,” which also needs to dream and be filled with youthful enthusiasm to be witnesses of the God who is always young, he said.

During his Angelus address with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the pope was joined by two young people from the Diocese of Rome.

In his greetings after the noonday prayer, he said he hoped all young people around the world can feel they are an integral part of the church and active protagonists in its mission.

“And do not forget that to reign is to serve,” he said.

By Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service 

FARMINGTON—As the holidays approach and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns about a potential spike in flu cases this year, it’s important that those who are eligible, healthy and feeling well make an appointment to donate blood or platelets The American Red Cross continues to address an ongoing emergency blood shortage, and donors are urged to give now to combat the lowest blood supply levels at this time of year in more than a decade.

According to the CDC, flu cases reached an all-time low last year due to masking, physical distancing and shutdowns across the country, and many Americans may have reduced immunity this year. When seasonal illness increases, the number of healthy blood donors tends to decrease. Paired with winter weather, busy holiday schedules and ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the already-struggling blood supply could be further impacted throughout winter.

There is no blood donation waiting period for those who have received a flu shot or a Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine or booster, so long as they are symptom-free. Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).  

To encourage donors to help meet the needs of hospital patients this month, all who come to donate Nov. 1-23 will receive a $10 Gift Card by email, thanks to Amazon.* Those who come to give around the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 24-28, will receive a pair of Red Cross socks, while supplies last.

Blood drive safety

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities Nov. 16-30



11/20/2021: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Cesar A Batalla School, 606 Howard Ave


11/22/2021: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Easton Public Library, 691 Morehouse Road

New Fairfield

11/19/2021: 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., New Fairfield Company A Volunteer Fire Department, 302 Ball Pond Road


11/18/2021: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., St. Philip’s Church, 25 France Street

11/24/2021: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., American Legion, 60 County Road


11/23/2021: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Congregational Church – Ridgefield, 103 Main St.


11/19/2021: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Shelton Community Center, 41 Church Street

11/19/2021: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Shelton Community Center, 41 Church Street


11/16/2021: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Temple Beth El Stamford, 350 Roxbury Road

11/22/2021: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., First Presbyterian Church Stamford, 1101 Bedford St

11/24/2021: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Stamford Church of Christ, 1264 High Ridge Road

11/27/2021: 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Archangels Greek Orthodox Church, 1527 Bedford Street


11/16/2021: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 406 White Plains Road


11/17/2021: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., VFW, 465 Riverside Avenue

Save time during donation

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Health insights for donors

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

BRIDGEPORT—110 St. Augustine Medal of Service recipients gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday to be recognized for their volunteer service to parishes, schools and charities throughout Fairfield County.

Among them were many married couples and individuals of all ages honored for a their service.

The Bishop conferred the medals in two separate services.

Click the links below to view photos of the recipients.

November 6, 2021 – Saint Augustine Medal Honorees – 11:00 AM Ceremony

Medal HonoreesParishNominated By
Dr. Aris & Mrs. Tina BarbadimosSaint Bridget of Ireland Parish, StamfordReverend Edward J. McAuley
Mr. Douglas & Mrs. Norma BissellSaint Jude Parish, MonroeReverend Joseph Gill
Ms. Marilyn BlodgettSaint Joseph Parish, SheltonReverend Michael Dogali
Mr. Michael BonaventuraChurch of the Assumption, WestportReverend Cyrus Bartolome
Mr. Arnulfo Bonifacio Calvac-Cajas & Mrs. Mazariegos-AlvaradoSaint Mary Parish, StamfordReverend Gustavo Falla
Ms. Amy CollinsSacred Heart and Saint Patrick Parish, Redding RidgeReverend Joseph Cervero
Ms. Doreen CovinoSaint Maurice Parish, StamfordReverend James K. Bates
Mr. Nicholas & Mrs. Lorraine DeRosaSaint Matthew Parish, NorwalkReverend Jeffrey W. Couture
Miss Martha Mary DombroskiHoly Name of Jesus Parish, StamfordReverend Pawel Hrebenko
Mrs. Judy DuvaSaint Margaret Shrine, BridgeportReverend Giandomenico Flora and Deacon Donald Foust
Ms. Mary Jane EdwardsSaint Thomas Aquinas Parish, FairfieldReverend Victor T. Martin
Mr. Joseph EspositoSaint Leo Parish, StamfordReverend James D. Grosso
Mrs. Michelle FalconeNotre Dame of Easton Parish, EastonReverend Michael P. Lyons
Mr. James FleischerParish of Saint Cecilia – Saint Gabriel, StamfordReverend John Connaughton
Ms. Mary Lou GrisantiSaint Andrew Parish, BridgeportReverend Milan Dimic
Mr. William HoeyThe Diocese of Bridgeport Episcopal Vicar of AdministrationDeacon Patrick Toole
Mr. Diego Louzada Jacob & Mrs. Gabriela Gomes PereiraOur Lady of Aparecida Brazilian Catholic Community, DanburyReverend Leonel S. Medeiros
Mr. David Junius & Mrs. Rosemary HysonThe Parish of Saint Catherine & Saint Agnes, Old GreenwichReverend William Platt
Mr. Marc & Mrs. Laura KavulichOur Lady of the Assumption Parish, FairfieldReverend Peter Cipriani
Mr. Thomas & Mrs. Rhiannon KeltySaint Pius X Parish, FairfieldReverend Samuel Kachuba
Ms. Maryann KnagThe Diocese of Bridgeport Institute for Catholic FormationDr. Patrick Donovan
Mrs. Mary KocsisHoly Family and Saint Emery Parish, FairfieldSean R. Kulacz
Mr. Curt KuligaDiocese of Bridgeport Episcopal Vicar of AdministrationDeacon Patrick Toole
Mrs. Denise Kurpiewski & Mr. Stanley Kurpiewski (posthumously)St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, BrookfieldReverend Shawn W. Jordan
Mr. James LandrySaint Edward the Confessor Parish, New FairfieldReverend Nick Cirillo
Mr. Jean Sylvere & Mrs. Rose LautureNotre Dame de Perpetuel Secours, StamfordReverend Guy Dormevil
Mr. William MagiSaint Lawrence Parish, SheltonReverend Ciprian Bejan
Mr. John & Mrs. Donna MannSacred Heart Parish, GreenwichReverend Mark D’Silva
Mr. Eugene McNamaraSaint Gregory the Great Parish, DanburyReverend Michael L. Dunn
Robert and Mrs. Kathleen MiazgaSacred Heart Parish, DanburyReverend Norman J. Guilbert
Mr. Donald MiddlebrookSaint Margaret Mary Parish, SheltonReverend Frank Hoffmann
Dr. Jerome & Mrs. Susan MogaHoly Trinity Parish, ShermanReverend Richard Gemza
Mr. Joao Figueiredo & Mrs. Maria Assuncao MonteiroImmaculate Heart of Mary Parish, DanburyReverend Antonio C. de Azevedo
Mr. Luis Antonio & Mrs. Victoria MorenoSaint Mary Parish, BridgeportReverend Rolando Torres
Mr. Jack & Mrs. Lisa O’MeliaSaint Jerome Parish, NorwalkReverend Rolando Torres
Mr. Jack & Mrs. Lisa O’MeliaSaint Jerome Parish, NorwalkReverend Rojin Karickal
Mr. Sylvester PecoraSaint Roch Parish, GreenwichReverend Carl McIntosh
Mr. Kenny Khanh & Mrs. Lynn Thu PhamHoly Vietnamese Martyrs, BridgeportReverend Philip Lanh Phan
Mrs. Charlene PrisinzanoSaint Mary Parish, GreenwichReverend Michael Jones
Mr. William & Mrs. Alicia RamirezSaint Charles Borromeo Parish, BridgeportReverend José Abelardo Vásquez
Reverend José Abelardo VásquezSaint Rose of Lima Parish, NewtownReverend Monsignor Robert E. Weiss
Mr. Robert SabreSaint Anthony of Padua Parish, FairfieldDr. Eleanor Sauers
Mr. Angel & Mrs. Maribel Aquino SandovalSaint Joseph and Saint Ladislaus Parish, NorwalkReverend Edicson Orozco
Mr. John E. Schmeltzer, IIISaint Michael the Archangel Parish, GreenwichReverend Ian Jeremiah
Mr. Mark & Mrs. Fran SmithSaint Theresa Parish, TrumbullReverend Brian Gannon
Mr. Joseph TrovarelliSaint Theresa School, TrumbullMr. Peter Schultz, Principal
Mr. Scott WrightSaint Catherine of Siena Parish, TrumbullReverend Joseph A. Marcello
Mr. Alan & Mrs. April YoderSaint Philip Parish, NorwalkReverend Sudhir Dsouza
Mr. Marlon & Mrs. Magaly ZepedaThe Cathedral Parish, BridgeportVery Reverend Juan Gabriel Acosta
Mr. George ZieglerSaint Joseph Parish, DanburyReverend Samuel Scott

November 6, 2021 – Saint Augustine Medal Honorees – 1:30 PM Ceremony

Medal HonoreesParishNominated By
Mrs. Beth AdamsonThe Catholic Academy of StamfordMs. Patricia Brady, Principal
Mr. Joseph & Mrs. Mary AylesOur Lady of Peace Parish, StratfordReverend Nicholas Pavia
Mr. Joseph BouffardSaint Catherine of Siena School, TrumbullMrs. Rachel Ambrosio, Principal
Mr. Dennis BoydThe Catholic Academy of BridgeportThe Catholic Academy of Bridgeport
Mr. Eric & Mrs. Betty BrennanOur Lady Star of the Sea, StamfordReverend Peter Smolik
Mr. Charles CarrollSaint Mark Parish, StratfordReverend Birenda Soreng
Mr. Geovanny ChalcoSaint Peter Parish, DanburyReverend Gregg Mecca
Mrs. Evelyn ChomortanyHoly Cross Parish, FairfieldReverend Alfred Pecaric
Mr. Michael CoppolaSaint Rose of Lima School, NewtownMr. Bardhyl Gjoka, Principal
Mr. Fred & Mrs. Meg DeCaroGreenwich Catholic School, GreenwichMrs. Rebecca Steck, Principal
Mrs. Maureen DePonteChurch of the Holy Spirit, StamfordReverend Luke P. Suarez
Mr. Frank DeRosaOur Lady of Fatima Parish, WiltonReverend Reginald Norman
Dr. Thomas & Mrs. Amber FrenchAssumption Catholic School, FairfieldMrs. Stacy Clements, Principal
Ms. Mary Bridget GaineThe Basilica of Saint John the EvangelistVery Reverend Cyprian La Pastina
Mr. Paul & Mrs. MaryAnn GleasonNotre Dame High School, FairfieldMr. Christopher Cipriano, Principal
Mr. Neal & Mrs. Linda HicksSaint Elizabeth Seton Parish, RidgefieldReverend Joseph A. Prince
Mr. Paul & Mrs. Suzanne HolkoSaint Joseph Parish, BrookfieldReverend George F. O’Neill
Mrs. Adrienne KellySaint Thomas More Parish, DarienReverend Paul G. Murphy
Mr. Michael and Mrs. Linda LisiChrist the King Parish, TrumbullReverend Terry Walsh
Mrs. Marie LoiseauSacred Heart Parish, StamfordReverend Alfonso Picone
Mr. Agustin & Mrs. Norma MaganaOur Lady of Guadalupe Parish, DanburyReverend John J. Pérez
Mr. Joseph MagrinoSaint Mary School, BethelMr. Scott Smith, Principal
Mrs. Carolina MaldonadoSaint George Parish, BridgeportReverend Alexis Moronta
Mr. Joseph & Mrs. Pam MancinelliSaint Francis of Assisi Parish, WestonReverend Augustine Nguyen
Mr. Rino & Mrs. Lita MarananSaint Mary Parish, NorwalkReverend F. John Ringley
Mr. Michael & Mrs. Katherine MarrellaOur Lady of Grace Parish, StratfordReverend Monsignor Martin P. Ryan
Ms. Lynn MarkleySaint Paul Parish, GreenwichReverend Leszek P. Szymaszek
Mr. Michael MazzuccoSaint Gregory the Great School, DanburyMrs. Suzanne Curra, Principal
Mrs. Pauline MichekSaint Thomas the Apostle Parish, NorwalkReverend Miroslaw Stachurski
Mr. Edward & Mrs. Deborah Bernard MilletteSaint Aloysius Parish, New CanaanReverend Robert M. Kinnally
Mr. Kenneth & Mrs. Mary MoonSaint Ann School, BridgeportMrs. Patricia Griffin, Principal
Mr. William & Mrs. Izabella NagleCardinal Kung Academy, StamfordDr. Alexander Miller, Principal
Mr. Liam & Mrs. Mary O’KeefeSaint Joseph School, DanburyDr. Louis Howe, Principal
Mrs. Lucy OrtizSaint Ann Parish, BridgeportReverend Elio A. Sosa
Mrs. Diana ParksSaint Andrew School, BridgeportMr. Gene Holmes, Principal
Mrs. Mary PerilleSaint James Parish, StratfordReverend Peter J. Adamski
Mr. Alexander & Mrs. Norine PigliucciSaint Mark School, StratfordMrs. Melissa Warner, Principal
Mrs. Lindsay PignitaroAll Saints Academy, NorwalkMrs. Linda Dunn, Principal
Mr. Joao & Mrs. Maria RibeiroOur Lady of Fatima Parish, BridgeportReverend Rogerio Perri
Mr. Nicholas & Mrs. Marlys RizziSaint Mary Parish, RidgefieldMonsignor Kevin Royal
Mr. Brian RussellDiocese of Bridgeport Development OfficeMr. Joseph Gallagher
Ms. Rhonda Scales-ThackerKolbe Cathedral High School, BridgeportMrs. Camille Figluizzi, Principal
Mrs. Carolyn SchlichtigImmaculate High School, DanburyMrs. Mary Maloney, Principal
Mr. John & Mrs. Shani SpechtSaint Mary Parish, BethelReverend Corey Piccinino
Mr. Jeffrey & Mrs. Laurie StefanowiczSaint Thomas Aquinas School, FairfieldDr. Patrick D. Higgins, Principal
Mr. Gaeton StellaSaint Stephen Parish, TrumbullReverend Christopher J. Samele
Mrs. Jennifer StengerSaint Aloysius School, New CanaanMr. Michael Marasco, Principal
Mr. Stephen SweeneySaint Peter School, DanburyMrs. MaryLou Torre, Principal
Mr. Stanislaw TarczynskiSaint Michael the Archangel Parish, BridgeportReverend Norbert Siwinski
Mr. Charles TollaSaint John Parish, DarienReverend Monsignor Thomas W. Powers
Mrs. Cathy TringheseHoly Name of Jesus Parish, StratfordReverend Albert G. Pinciaro
Mr. Kevin & Mrs. Laurie VallerieOur Lady of Fatima School, WiltonMrs. Mary Ann Fleming, Principal
Dr. Karl ValoisSaint Joseph High School, TrumbullMrs. Nancy DiBuono, Principal & Mr. David Klein, President
Mrs. Lynn WilcoxsonHoly Trinity Catholic Academy, SheltonMrs. Lisa Lanni, Principal
Mr. Robert & Mrs. AndreaWolfSaint Mary School, RidgefieldMrs. Anna O’Rourke, Principal

Other photos by Amy Mortensen and Brian D. Wallace

BRIDGEPORT—St. Vincent’s Medical Center is offering free counseling to help people select the best plan to meet their needs for the coming year and help them save money. Everyone is urged to sign up for this free, unbiased counseling through St. Vincent’s during Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period, which opened on October 15 and runs through December 7.

With 16 years of experience, Certified Medicare and Government Benefits Counselor Betty Brandt will help individuals learn about their options regarding Medicare Part D Drug Plans and Medicare Advantage Plans, which change every year.  In addition, the Medicare Savings Plan and Extra Help for prescriptions will be discussed.

This one-on-one, confidential counseling will be especially helpful for those new to Medicare or about to turn 65. Senior citizens, people with disabilities and family members are invited to talk with Betty on the phone by appointment. Brandt is also available to discuss Medicare benefits, Medicare supplemental insurance, statements, bills, claims, appeals and Medicaid.

Brandt, who is a volunteer with St. Vincent’s Medical Center, holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Bridgeport and is certified in Medicare and government benefits counseling through the CHOICES Program at the Southwestern CT Agency on Aging.  She has been assisting people with Medicare issues since 2005.

This Medicare counseling program, sponsored by St. Vincent’s Mission Services, is a community outreach effort to help seniors and people with disabilities obtain the medical benefits they need, and to make the best decisions about health insurance coverage.

To schedule an appointment, or for more information, please contact Betty Brandt at or 475.210.6393.

About Hartford HealthCare

Hartford HealthCare is Connecticut’s only truly integrated healthcare system. With 33,000 colleagues, $4.3 billion in operating revenue and a medical staff of 4,000 providers, the system offers the full continuum of care with seven acute-care hospitals, the state’s longest-running air-ambulance service, behavioral health and rehabilitation services, a physician group and clinical integration organization, skilled-nursing and home health services, and a comprehensive range of services for seniors, including senior-living facilities. Learn more at

About St. Vincent’s Medical Center

Founded by the Daughters of Charity in 1903, St. Vincent’s Medical Center is a mission-driven organization committed to exceptional health care for all with special attention to persons living in poverty and those who are most vulnerable. St. Vincent’s, with more than 3,500 associates, includes a licensed 473-bed community teaching hospital, a 76-bed inpatient psychiatric facility in Westport, and a large multispecialty provider group. St. Vincent’s was awarded the Nursing Magnet® Recognition, the highest national award for nursing excellence. In 2013, St. Vincent’s Medical Center was named Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by the Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America, and has been recognized by both the Joint Commission and OSHA as a model of a highly reliable organization dedicated to patient safety. The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer awarded St. Vincent’s an Outstanding Achievement Award with Accreditation in 2012, and it also has earned its designation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancer. For more information on programs and services, visit 

As part of the ongoing commitment of the Diocese of Bridgeport to Safe Environments and to ensuring the safety of all children and vulnerable adults, we periodically publish updates for the faithful in the Diocese as well as key contact information. In this posting, we are pleased to provide information on how to report an incident.

If you have actual knowledge of or have reasonable cause to suspect abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, or any allegation of abuse or misconduct involving a member of the Clergy, Seminarian, Religious Sister or Brother, Lay Employee, Lay Volunteer or Independent Contractor of the Diocese of Bridgeport, (whether the incident occurred recently or in the past) report that information immediately to:

Erin Neil, L.C.S.W., Director of Safe Environment & Victim Assistance Coordinator
Office: (203) 416-1406
Mobile: (203) 650-3265


Michael Tintrup, L.C.S.W., Victim Assistance Counselor
(203) 241-0987


The CT Department of Children and Family (D.C.F.) Child Abuse and Neglect Care-line
within 12 hours of first becoming aware.
1 (800) 842-2288

For more information on how to report suspected abuse, warning signs, or other questions, please visit: