BRIDGEPORT—On Ash Wednesday Bishop Frank J. Caggiano published his first Pastoral Exhortation: “Let Us Enter the Upper Room with the Lord,” which is now available in audio form.
The 5,000 word letter is a call to renewal through a personal and communal journey of faith throughout the year, and it provides the framework that will make it possible. The Pastoral Exhortation was published in full in the February issue of Fairfield County Catholic and is available online through the diocesan website at: www.bridgeportdiocese.org/let-us-enter-the-upper-room-with-the-lord.
Thanks to the generosity of John Patrick Walsh, an accomplished actor, voice-over talent and parishioner of St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan, the bishop’s pastoral exhortation is now available in audio form.
“In order to accommodate those who do not have time to read such a lengthy document, I have had the privilege to work with John Patrick Walsh, an accomplished voice actor who has generously given of his time and talent to record my Pastoral Exhortation so that it can reach more of our diocesan faithful,” said the bishop.
The bishop said he hopes that the faithful will be able to listen to it while driving, working or doing household chores—as they do with other podcasts during the day when they have time or are involved in an activity that permits them to listen.
“I was honored to have been trusted with this voiceover project as Bishop Caggiano’s words are so vital to our faith community. I’ve recorded some Christian audiobooks over the years for Zondervan and Oasis Audio and have always enjoyed getting the opportunity to connect my own faith life with my voiceover work,” said John Walsh.
He added that Bishop Caggiano’s choice in placing emphasis on “The Upper Room” spoke to him in a personal way because he has spent a good part of the pandemic months gathering with friends on Tuesday evenings at St. Aloysius Parish in New Canaan as part of the parish’s weekly Men’s Ministry with Father David Roman.
“It’s important for men to have a regular gathering place to discuss their faith lives and gain wisdom and strength, especially now as we look forward to our post-pandemic lives. As Bishop Caggiano pointed out, why can’t we come out of this “twilight” period stronger in our faith by connecting more wholeheartedly to Jesus? We can certainly match the darkness with Light, and then some,” said Walsh.
The bishop’s exhortation is a call to personal and communal renewal of faith. His encouraging words come at the right time after a year of suffering and anxiety that has left people feeling dispirited and uncertain about their lives and perhaps about the future of the Church, after the prolonged pause from Mass and the sacraments experienced by so many of the faithful.
The bishop asks the faithful to reflect on the image of the Upper Room in the Gospel of Luke (22: 7-12) and reminds us that it was “where the Lord often gathered with His apostles in times of challenge or decision, to strengthen them for what lay ahead…. In the Upper Room on the night before he died, the Lord fed His apostles both His Word and His Sacred Body and Blood. The same gifts await you and me, if we are willing to receive them.”
While liturgies and other activities are planned for the year, the bishop makes it clear, the call to the Upper Room is not a program but an invitation to join him on “a spiritual journey, seeking the Lord’s grace to transform this time of suffering into a springtime of renewal for the life of the Church.”
Because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, he envisions the first part of the year as a time of prayer and intense spiritual preparation that will hopefully lead to more in-person missionary outreach in the fall—an active going out into the community by “ambassadors” to welcome all back and invite others in for the first time.
The diocese is also working on translating the Exhortation into Spanish and it hopes to have that available by the end of this week.
The audio file can be found and listened to in its entirety at: https://podfollow.com/bishopfrank/episode/05c39ce1cdfdc76468af56da7d217fbcdadb5d1f/view. You can also find it wherever you listen to podcasts.