NAPLES, FLORIDA—When you give to the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA), you are there for other people, even if you may never meet them, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said at a special Mass and reception for diocesan “snowbirds.”
More than 100 people from the Diocese of Bridgeport, who winter in the Naples and the surrounding area in Florida, turned out at St. John Neumann Catholic School chapel and great room for the annual Mass and reception hosted by Connie and Vinny Von Zwehl.
In his homily delivered during the second week of Lent, the bishop reflected on human suffering, whether expressed in the loss of a love one, financial challenges or other personal issues brought on by life situations or ourselves.
“You may not know all of the circumstances of people experiencing challenges and suffering in their lives, but they are taking strength and encouragement from your generosity,” the bishop said.
After the Mass, the donors who are members of parishes throughout the diocese attended the reception to speak to the Bishop, learn more about this year’s Annual Catholic and his plans for the church.
During the reception, invited guests were introduced to the new ACA video and brochure. The bishop then spoke and fielded many questions from “snowbirds” who were up to date on news of the diocese as they asked him about the schools and the Leadership Institute. He mentioned that parishioners in Fairfield County were concerned and prayed for them during Hurricane Irma.
The event was hosted by Naples residents, Connie and Vincent Von Zwehl, who are also members of St. Pius X Parish in Fairfield.
Connie Von Zwehl told guests present that she and her husband traveled to many countries around the world this past year and they are concerned that countries who once had a strong belief in God seem to be Godless. The citizens of those countries are turning away from their faith and this is something that she and Vinny do not want to see happen in the United States. She said the Appeal will help to preserve the faith for young people in the Diocese of Bridgeport.
The bishop’s annual visit is an opportunity to encourage support for the Annual Catholic Appeal and visit diocesan Catholics who winter in Florida. The bishop was also in Florida to lead a retreat for the Dames and Knights of Malta in Tampa and this provided a wonderful opportunity to meet and pray with his parishioners during his visit.
The bishop was accompanied by Fr. Michael Jones, Vicar of Development and Stewardship, William McLean, Chief Development Officer, and Pamela Rittman, Director of the Annual Appeal.
The gathering was also an opportunity for a reunion with Monsignor Frank McGrath, former Pastor of St. John Parish in Darien, who serves as Chaplain of the nearby Ave Maria Law School for the past several years.
For more information on programs and ways to give, go to www.2018ACAbridgeport.com Phone: 203.416.1470.