Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

“Become a Living Gospel,” Bishop Tells Newly Ordained

“The very reason you were created was to come to this moment to be one with Christ,” Bishop Caggiano said to the two men about to be ordained at St. Augustine Cathedral this morning.

More than 750 people filled the church, some sitting on fold-up chairs, to witness the ordination of Philip Lành Phan, a native of Vietnam, and Eric William Silva, a Trumbull resident, to the priesthood.

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Reaching Out to Our Young People Not in Our Pews

Our Young Adult Open Gym night, held every Tuesday in St. Joseph School gym from 8-10 p.m., draws many college guys home for the summer, along with the senior high school students and young working guys in their twenties who turn out regularly for the pickup basketball games. Last Tuesday there were 15 young men there, largely ages 16 to 24, most of whom I knew from St. Joseph Parish or School.

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Family Visit from Afar

Father Hyginus Agu, parochial vicar at St. Andrew Parish in Bridgeport and a chaplain at Bridgeport Hospital, never expected a visit from his parents. Serving in this diocese for eight years now, Father Agu is originally from Nigeria and his father is over 90 years old.

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New Wing Rising at Queen of Clergy

RESIDENCE FOR RETIRED PRIESTS—Bishop Caggiano, Vickey Hickey, administrator of Queen of Clergy, Andrew Schulz, director of real estate for the diocese, and Msgr. William Scheyd, episcopal vicar for retired priests, look over drawings for the Queen of Clergy expansion on Strawberry Hill Avenue in Stamford. The new 16-suite wing is expected to be completed this Fall. There are 80 priests in the diocese over the age of 75.

RESIDENCE FOR RETIRED PRIESTS—Bishop Caggiano, Vickey Hickey, administrator of Queen of Clergy, Andrew Schulz, director of real estate for the diocese, and Msgr. William Scheyd, episcopal vicar for retired priests,look over drawings for the Queen of Clergy expansion on Strawberry Hill Avenue in Stamford. The new 16-suite wing is expected to be completed this Fall. There are 80 priests in the diocese over the age of 75.

The long-awaited new wing of the Catherine Dennis Keefe Queen of the Clergy Residence in Stamford is taking shape and is expected to be completed in September.

“This is a very exciting time for the diocese and for our retired priests who are looking forward to moving into their new home at Queen of the Clergy Residence,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

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ACA Over $10 million

June has always been a key month for the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) as it pushes toward its yearly goal to support the major programs and ministries of the diocese.

“June is traditionally the end of the public phase of the Appeal,” said William McLean, chief development officer of the diocese. “While people are welcome to make pledges throughout the end of the year, the June tally is crucial in helping the diocese budget and plan for the new year.”

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Bishop Ordains Three to the Transitional Diaconate

“Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said at St. Augustine Cathedral in downtown Bridgeport when he ordained three men as transitional deacons on Saturday.

Harry Alfredo Prieto, 29, and José Abelardo Vásquez, 32, both natives of Bogotá, Colombia, and Timothy A. Iannacone, 26, a native of Norwalk, Ct, took their final steps on their way to the priesthood in front of family, friends and priests throughout the diocese.

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Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen? Not on This Night!

Gamely sporting hair nets, potato peelers, oven mitts, and plastic aprons, over 30 young adults showed up at New Covenant Center (NCC) in Stamford to prepare 150 dinners that would be served the next day to hungry clients.

The inaugural event, dubbed “A Social Night of Service,” brought together “under 30s” from many different towns, parishes and backgrounds. Yet there was a single common denominator: to help feed the hungry.

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Bishop Caggiano Statement on Rev. John Stronkowski

OFFICE OF THE BISHOP

June 15, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that I have placed Reverend John Stronkowski on administrative leave and have removed his faculties to exercise any and all forms of public ministry as a priest.

My decision was made after I determined, with the assistance of the Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board, that there is credible evidence of an incident of abuse of a minor on the part of Father Stronkowski more than a decade ago. Upon first learning of this allegation in late September of last year, I immediately notified Father Stronkowski that the Diocese would fully investigate the information brought forward. I also informed him that, pending the outcome of the investigation, his priestly faculties and his ability to exercise any public ministry would continue to be suspended. For reasons not having anything to do with abuse of a minor, Father Stronkowski has been on a leave of absence from ministry since May, 2014.

In accordance with both state reporting mandates and the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (commonly known as the Dallas Charter), we notified both the police and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) of the allegation. Given the limited information available and the amount of time which had passed, neither the police nor DCF took further action. As required by the Charter as well as our own policies, the Diocese then began a lengthy investigation into the allegation. As a result of this extensive and deliberative inquiry, which involved outside investigative resources and Diocesan advisers on such matters, the allegation was found to be credible. Significant supportive resources were made available to the victim throughout this confidential investigation. At the request of the victim and the victim’s family, we took every precaution to protect their privacy and we ask for continued respect of their privacy at this difficult time.

As a result of and in accordance with the Dallas Charter, Father Stronkowski is prohibited from any future ministry. Parish clergy and lay leadership where Father Stronkowski served were notified of my action in advance of this letter. We have taken steps to work with Father Stronkowski in this transition and provide him with support. In addition, Diocesan personnel are available through the Safe Environments Office as a resource to those affected. You should be aware that, other than this one reported incident, we have not received any other allegation of abuse of a minor by Father Stronkowski during his priestly assignments.

I realize that this is distressing news for the faithful and it further wounds the Diocese and our Church as a family of faith. I can only reassure you that we remain committed to a zero tolerance policy for child abuse and total transparency in the handling of cases.

I ask your prayers for all involved and pledge that we as a Diocese will continue to do everything in our power to fulfill the sacred obligation we share to protect children, youth and vulnerable adults in our community.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano Bishop of Bridgeport