Service “Surrenders the Heart” to Jesus

BRIDGEPORT— “Discipleship is a journey of the heart,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said at the St. Augustine Medal of Service prayer service and awards ceremony.

Hundreds filled the Cathedral on a beautiful Saturday afternoon for the service in which the Bishop conferred medals on 156 men and women throughout the diocese. People came forward individually and as couples to be recognized for their service—often over a lifetime—to parishes, schools and diocesan ministries.

See the medal recipients here →

Recipients were accompanied by their pastors as they received their medals, which bear the likeness of St. Augustine on one side and the Seal of the Diocese of Bridgeport on the other.

The conferral of medals became an inter-generational celebration as nearly 100 members of the Diocesan Youth Choir under the direction of Mary Higgins, sang hymns of praise during the prayer service.

Speaking directly to the awardees, the bishop said that in an increasingly “divided, cold, and hard world when many are tempted to close their hearts to others, the medal represents your choice to serve, to be a conduit of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to others.”

The bishop said that all hearts get broken over a lifetime as a result of suffering, pain or loss, but “surrendering your heart to the Lord Jesus is the path to eternal life.”

“Thank you for your service, courage, generosity, and witness,” the bishop said in his homily. “I’m sure like all of us you have been tempted to be hard of heart, but you continued to work in service. You sacrificed and did not look for something in return. You learned that only the Sacred Heart of Jesus can bring us joy and peace.”

After the prayer service that included song and the reading of Psalms, the bishop blessed the medals before presenting them to recipients.

“Confer within these men and women the gifts of Your Spirit, that they may continue to service Your Church in strength of will and sincerity of heart. Bring us all one day into the peace of Your kingdom,” he prayed.

Al Barber, Chief Executive Office of Catholic Charities, read the names of the medal recipients who came forward to receive the medal and be photographed with the Bishop. Patricia Hansen of the Director of Development Operations, and Patricia Zaccone, Director of School Finance, delivered the readings.

After the ceremony recipients celebrated with family and friends at a reception held in the Kolbe Cathedral High School gymnasium, where they proudly displayed their medals for well-wishers.

The Bishop also thanked Elizabeth Auda, Executive Assistant to the Vicar General and the Episcopal Delegator for Administration of the Diocese, for her efforts in planning and coordinating the prayer service.

The St. Augustine Medal of Service was instituted in 2005 to recognize the “unsung heroes” who unselfishly give of their time and talents to build up parish communities. On one side of the medal is an image of St. Augustine of Hippo, patron saint of the diocese. The reverse features the coat of arms of the diocese.

(For further information contact Elizabeth Auda 203.416.1636, email:

Photos by Amy Mortensen