Redemptoris Mater gala to honor U.N. observer

STAMFORD—Redemptoris Mater, the missionary seminary of the Diocese of Bridgeport, will honor the president of The Catholic University of America and the permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations at its third annual gala on October 25.

Father Marco Pacciana, the rector of the seminary in Stamford, said that Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the permanent observer to the U.N. in New York and President John H. Garvey of Catholic University are men of strong faith known for upholding Catholic values in a secular world. The honorees will be introduced by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

“Archbishop Auza upholds the values of the Catholic faith and his work at the United Nations is very important when you consider everything that is going on in the world,” Father Pacciana said. “And President Garvey is a man who gives witness to the Catholic truth in the world of higher education.”

The dinner gala with music will be held at Vazzano’s Four Season Banquets at 337 Kenyon Street in Stratford on October 25 at 6 pm. For more information about the event, visit or call 203.588.1785.

Father Pacciana said the gala is the largest fundraiser the seminary has each year.

“It is an evening to be together and show support for vocations and the work of the seminary,” he said. “It is an occasion for us to spread the word about who we are and what we do.”

Archbishop Auza, permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, is a native of the Philippines. He was ordained a priest in 1985 and has been a member of the Holy See’s diplomatic corps since 1990, serving as nuncio to Haiti, in the nunciatures in Madagascar, Bulgaria and Albania, and in the diplomatic section of the Secretariat of State in the Vatican.

President Garvey became the 15th president of The Catholic University of America on July 1, 2010. He is a nationally acclaimed expert in constitutional law, religious liberty and the First Amendment. He has authored and co-authored numerous books, including What Are Freedoms For?; Religion and the Constitution and Sexuality and the U.S. Catholic Church.

He received his A.B. summa cum laude from Notre Dame in 1970. After graduating from Harvard Law School, he clerked for Irving R. Kaufman, the Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and later joined the law firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco.

He has taught law at the University of Kentucky and the University of Michigan. From 1981 to 1984, he served as assistant to the Solicitor of the United States. He later taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1994 until 1999, when he was appointed dean of Boston College Law School.

As president of Catholic University, he has emphasized that a Catholic approach to scholarship enriches every school and discipline. During his tenure, the university launched the School of Business to integrate rigorous business education with Catholic Social Teaching. He is a prominent voice in the media on issues such as higher education, culture, law, Catholicism and religious liberty.

Four years ago, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano decided to open a Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Stamford with the purpose of preparing priests for missionary work anywhere in the world—from China to Europe and the Philippines and even the streets of Bridgeport.

Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer) seminaries are under the auspices of the Neocatechumenal Way, a 55-year-old charism in the Church, dedicated to Christian formation and the New Evangelization. They were inspired by St. Pope John Paul II and his call for a “New Evangelization.” The first seminary opened in 1987 in the Diocese of Rome, and today there are 123 on five continents. Since their inception, more than 2,000 men have been ordained to the priesthood and some 1,500 seminarians are in formation worldwide.

About the Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Bridgeport

The Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Stamford opened in December 2015 under the direction of Father Alfonso Picone, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. It was the ninth in the United States. Today there are ten young men there from five different nations (USA, Brazil, Colombia, Kiribati, and Honduras). They are under the direction of Father Marco Pacciana, the rector, and Father Giandomenico Flora, the spiritual director and also rector of St. Margaret Shrine in Bridgeport.