Our Ministry is to point to Jesus

BRIDGEPORT— “We are successful to the extent that we are willing to die to ourselves and allow Christ to shine in us,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said at the annual Mass for employees at the End of the Curial Year.

More than 60 Catholic Center office staff gathered at the nearby St. Andrew Church in Bridgeport for the Mass followed by a luncheon in the school hall. It was the first large, in-person gathering in which employees could see each other face to face without masks since the pandemic began.

“It’s good to see everyone in person, to gather for worship, and to come together as a family,” the bishop said. “The long winter of Covid is coming to an end. We have experienced much over the past 16 months,” he said, noting that it will take time to come to terms with it all.

The bishop personally thanked employees for their hard work and all they did to bring hope to the people of the diocese during the Covid crisis.

In his homily, the Bishop reflected on Luke’s account of the ministry of John the Baptist and said the gospel prompts a question:  “How do we measure success as followers of Jesus?”

The bishop said that business measures success by profits, customer engagement, or market share, and educators can gauge student tests and achievement, but how does a Church measure success?

In recent years in the northeast the Church has faced many challenges and is a long way from its golden years of building new parishes and schools, he said.

Likewise, seen through the lens of worldly success, John the Baptist’s life would be looked upon as a failure—he made people angry, he was abandoned in his ministry, and he was beheaded, “yet God called him by a name that means ‘God is gracious,’” the bishop said.

He said that John the Baptist “didn’t make it about himself,” but professed his unworthiness to make way for the “Lamb of God.”

Pointing out that economies rise and fall and that wealth and riches come and go, he said that believers must have a different measure of success, “None of that matters if we keep our eyes fixed on Christ. What really matters is bringing the love of Christ to those around us every moment of our lives.”

The bishop said it is interesting to note that the Church celebrates John’s birthday when the light begins to gradually wane over the summer, and we celebrate Christ’s birth six months later when the light begins its ascent in the sky.

“We must tell the world another light is beginning to dawn,” he said of the work of Christians. “Our light takes second place to the light that is Christ. Our ministry is to point to Jesus.”

Bishop Caggiano was joined in the celebration of Mass by priest and deacon leaders who serve at the Catholic Center.

The Catholic Center is located at 238 Jewett Avenue in Bridgeport. It houses the bishop’s office and the many programs and ministries sponsored by the diocese.