My heart is filled with deep gratitude to the Lord and Our Lady as I look back on these last seven years in which I have had the privilege to serve as the Bishop of Bridgeport. Today I celebrate the blessings to to collaborate with wonderful and dedicated priests, a curial staff that is second to none, lay leaders who are faithful, generous and committed to the faith in a Diocese that is rich in beauty and diversity. My ministry continues to be a daily blessing and joy, despite the lingering challenges we continue to face as a Church.
As many of you know, today also would have been my mother’s birthday. If she had lived, mom would have been 88 years old today. It was her care and encouragement that nurtured my vocation to the priesthood. Since her death, I have asked her many times for help during these years and I know that she remains present to me in powerful ways, both in times of challenge and those of joy. I am grateful for her constant love and protection.
Finally, in the Office of Readings, Saint Augustine offers these words of admonition to anyone who holds an office in the Church. As always, he has given me much to reflect upon:
“The day I became a bishop, a burden was laid on my shoulders for which it will be no easy task to render an account. The honors I receive are for me an ever present cause of uneasiness. Indeed, it terrifies me to think that I could take more pleasure in the honor attached to my office, which is where its danger lies, than in your salvation which ought to be its fruit. This is why being set above you fills me with alarm, whereas being with you gives me comfort. Danger lies in the first; salvation in the second.”