“Living in Christ overcomes Death”

TRUMBULL—Christians overcome death by dying to themselves and learning to live in Christ, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said this morning as he celebrated All Souls Day Mass under a large white tent at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

“In order to be victorious over death, we need to seek it every day, and embrace every moment of our lives in Christ,” said the bishop before a gathering of over 200, many of whom were wrapped in winter coats.

On a brisk day that offered the taste of approaching winter, the flames of two the tall altar candles flickered in the wind, and the russet, orange, and gold of maple leaves in the surrounding woods provided a burst of color against a gray sky.

“You and I are disciples of the crucified Christ. Let us die to ourselves, die to sin every moment, so that we may join others in the victory that await all who have the courage to die to this world so we might live forever.”

The outdoor Mass at Gate of Heaven was one of six celebrated in cemeteries throughout the diocese in commemoration of all the faithful departed and the ongoing faith journey of the living. The observance, established by the bishop in 2016, has grown into one of the most beautiful and moving Masses in the diocese throughout the year.

Deacon Patrick Toole, diocesan Episcopal Delegate for Administration, assisted the Bishop, and Ed Tamini, Family Advisor for Diocesan Cemeteries, delivered the readings. Music for the Mass was provided by organist and music director Paul Murray and cantor Julia Atwood.

In his homily the Bishop said the world too readily has dismissed the concept of sin and accepts the notion that “what is good for me is the only thing that matters.”

Likewise, the world often it tells us that it’s okay to turn a blind eye to those who are suffering, sick, and homeless and “let them take care of themselves.”

Bishop Caggiano said our faith gives us a clear choice: “We can do what the world expects of us, or we can die to all that and find eternal life in Christ…We must come to terns that sin exists but and ask for God’s grace so that we might die to sin and find our victory in Christ.”

Gesturing to the beautiful grounds of the cemetery off of Daniels Farm Road in Trumbull, the bishop said that those who have departed before us are “resting in the Christ’s peace. They have fought the good fight and finished the race. Now they are with God.”

The bishop said he began his day by looking up the meaning of paradise in Webster’s Dictionary, which defines it as a paradox—different thoughts that seem to contradict each other but make sense when explained.

Noting that we celebrated All Saints Day yesterday and All Souls today, the bishop said “the feasts go hand in hand… We’ve all known saints in our life,” and on All Souls Day we pray that all the faithful departed may join them in heaven where they “will live in the glory of God and the Saints.”

Before giving the final blessing, bishop thanked all those who attended and mentioned that when staying in the Bishop’s residence, he found great consolation in looking out from his back porch over the beautiful and peaceful cemetery grounds.

He said the beauty of the cemetery is a sign of the beauty of heaven that awaits us after a life in Christ. He added that it is hard to be away from those we love and that some wounds never

Following Mass the Bishop expressed his gratitude to Dean Gestal, director of diocesan cemeteries, and his crew who coordinated all of the details necessary to host the outdoors Masses throughout the diocese. He then briefly visited and blessed the mausoleum now nearing the end of construction in the cemetery.

After Mass, all those who attended were gifted with red and white carnations, which many placed on the graves of their loved ones.

The diocese maintains sponsors ten active cemeteries in Fairfield County. For information on Catholic Cemeteries, call 203.742.1450 Option 5 or go to

Photos by Amy Mortensen