Snow Birds Gather!

NAPLES, FLORIDA—Connie Von Zwehl hosted over 120 parishioners from the Diocese of Bridgeport who reside in Florida during the winter for Mass at the Chapel of Angels at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, Florida followed by brunch at Club Pelican Bay.

Msgr. Frank McGrath, former pastor of Saint John Parish, welcomed and led prayer for parishioners and friends of the diocese, and spoke about the vital work of the Annual Catholic Appeal before introducing Bishop Caggiano.

Connie shared thoughts on how she relied on the Sacraments, thoughts of her first Holy Communion and Confirmation, to help her after the recent loss of a loved one.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano highlighted the need to love our enemies at a time of division and strife. The Bishop also said that the recent “We Stand with Christ” capital campaign and the Annual Catholic Appeal continue to lead others to Christ and provide for those in need.

The bishop’s visit to Naples is always a highlight for Connecticut residents who live in Florida for the winter. During the reception, the guests asked many questions.

Pamela Rittman, director of the ACA for the diocese, said the Snowbird trip has become a yearly ritual that accompanies the launch of the annual appeal in the diocese, and it has been embraced by many who are eager to see the bishop and support the many programs and services sponsored by the diocese.

“The faithful who gather in Florida each year warmly welcome the bishop and diocesan officials,” said Rittman. “We’re very grateful for Connie’s hospitality and leadership, and for the generosity of this faith community and their ongoing support of the Annual Catholic Appeal.

“Renew” is the theme of this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal with a goal of $9 million, which will fund ongoing operations, programs and initiatives sponsored by the diocese to reach out to the poor and needy, educate and form young people in the faith, promote vocations, support retired priests, and create vibrant ministries that evangelize and serve all those in need in Fairfield County.

People may make a pledge by texting the word APPEAL to 475.241.7849. For more information or to donate please go to or call 203.416.1470.