Retired Clergy Honored

NORWALK—“We come to celebrate retirements, but no one retires from offering their life to Christ,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said at the First Annual Clergy Retirement Celebration Mass at St. Matthew Church.

Gesturing to the retired priests and deacons who surrounded him on the altar, the bishop said “They may be free from assignments, but they are still giving profoundly and generously. This is a remarkable, diverse and talented group of men who have shown a willingness to say ‘yes’ to Christ thousands of times each day. Their life is all about Christ.”

More than 300 turned out for the Mass and reception to honor priests and deacons. The bishop was also joined around the altar by many active pastors and priests. Diocesan seminarians assisted as altar servers during the liturgy.

Three times during the Mass the family, friends and faithful rose to their feet to offer prolonged and appreciative applause.

The evening began with a procession of the priests and deacons into the Church, some of them recently retired, others visibly advanced in age after a lifetime of service.

In his homily the bishop said that each priest and deacon brought different gifts and talents to their ministry and represented a collective 2000 years of service in the diocese.

“It’s amazing to think of all the lives touched and blessed by these men in their ministry. In the sacraments celebrated and in their breaking open the word of God they have brought many individuals and families to faith, not simply because of what they’ve done, but because of who they are,” he said.

In brief remarks follow Mass, the bishop recognized 95 year-old Deacon Joseph Melita, who fought in the Battle of Normandy and flew 55 sorties in dangerous combat that took the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. The Deacon just celebrated his 72nd wedding anniversary.

“Every single one of these men is remarkable,” the bishop said in praise. “The Eucharist means ‘to give thanks,’ and we have so much to be grateful for in their lives of service.”

The Mass honored all priests and deacons who have retired from active ministry since 2013, when the Bishop was installed as Bishop of Bridgeport. After the homily, Msgr. Thomas Powers, Vicar General of the Diocese, read the names of the deacons and priests honored at the Mass:

Honored Priest Retirees

Rev. Michael J. Bachman
Rev. Stephen J. Balint
Rev. Monsignor Matthew Bernelli
Rev. Lawrence F. Carew
Rev. William G. Carey
Rev. Monsignor J. Peter Cullen
Rev. Monsignor J. James Cuneo
Rev. Monsignor Peter P. Dora
Rev. Monsignor Jerald Doyle
Rev. Monsignor Thomas Driscoll
Rev. Gilbert D’Souza
Rev. Stephen J. Gleeson
Rev. Roger McDonough
Rev. Guido G. Montanaro
Rev. Martin J. Nikodem
Rev. Michael C. Palmer
Rev. Joseph Parampath
Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci
Rev. Robert J. Post, Ph.D.
Rev. David J. Riley
Rev. Monsignor John B. Sabia
Rev. George S. Sankoorikal
Rev. Monsignor William Scheyd
Rev. Monsignor Richard J. Shea
Rev. John Smolko
Rev. Monsignor Edward R. Surwilo
Rev. William Verrilli
Rev. Monsignor Aniceto Villamide
Rev. Frank A. Winn

Honored Deacon Retirees

Deacon Renato Berzolla,
Deacon William Bissenden
Deacon Robert Blankschen
Deacon James Brown
Deacon Donald Brunetto
Deacon Loreto Buzzeo
Deacon Jose Cabral
Deacon Salvatore Clarizio
Deacon Anthony Detje
Deacon Francis Foyt
Deacon Lance Fredricks
Deacon Joseph Gagne
Deacon Robert Henrey
Deacon Daniel Ianniello
Deacon Brian Kelly
Deacon John Linsenmeyer
Deacon Frank Masso
Deacon Joseph Melita
Deacon William D. Murphy
Deacon William O. Murphy
Deacon Emmet Murray
Deacon Daniel Myott
Deacon Paul Pilkington
Deacon Paul Reilly
Deacon Russell Rigg
Deacon Robert Salvestrini
Deacon Michael Saranich
Deacon William Shaughnessy
Deacon Rudolph Trankovich
Deacon David Vaughn


Pictures by Michelle Babyak