BRIDGEPORT— Approximately 140 participants gathered virtually this week for the first online session for the Eucharistic Ambassador formation called for by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in his recent pastoral exhortation “Let Us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord.”
In his exhortation, the bishop requested that the ambassadors be recommended by pastors based on their love for the faith and their willingness to use the months ahead to undergo intensive personal and spiritual formation to prepare themselves to be missionary ambassadors of Christ.
The initiative began with participants watching a video, then breaking into separate break-out rooms for parishes for reflection and discussion. The main theme of the first session was: “What do you seek?” based on John 1:38.
Father Michael Novajosky is serving as special assistant to the bishop and leader of the initiative, which will continue with virtual sessions for the next seven weeks. The initial session presented an overview of the period of discernment/formation for those who are participating in the ambassador training
“The program has been very well received,” says Father Novajosky, noting that well over 200 participants from more than 25 parishes and the chancery have been presented by their pastors. “It is nice to see people coming out and being interested.”
“People are happy to come just to be able to pray together and share the faith with others,” explains Father Novajosky. “They are very encouraged by the idea of going out to people, helping them live their faith and inspiring them to come back to church.”
Father Novajosky said the ambassador formation process hopes to offer in-person sessions and activities as conditions permit.
Deacon Patrick Toole, episcopal vicar for administration, attended the first session and was encouraged by the prayerful enthusiasm of participants and the hopeful tone going forward. “The session was well done. The ambassadors were really engaged in the process and they had great discussions in their break-out groups. They were very enthusiastic about the whole concept,” said Deacon Toole.
In Bishop Caggiano’s recent pastoral exhortation “Let Us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord,” he explained to the diocesan faithful his desire to form eucharistic ambassadors.
“I will need the assistance of co-workers who will not be afraid to go out into their communities to invite people to encounter the Lord and His mercy,” wrote the bishop.
When ready, they will be sent out into their community, under the care of their local pastor, to invite those who have left active participation in the life of the Church to return home.
“In time, this same invitation will be extended to people of goodwill and anyone searching for the real meaning of life. For such meaning is found only in the Lord Jesus,” said the bishop.
The first sessions are based on deepening the faith through basic questions and reflections, utilizing the program called “The Search” provided by the Augustine Institute. The formation will include a period of discernment for those who might wonder if this particular opportunity is something the Lord is calling them to do.
The diocese will offer the same formational experience in Spanish.
The diocese has launched a website as the digital home for resources, videos and communications materials related to the Renewal. It is available at: https://www.bridgeportdiocese.org/call-to-renewal/welcome.