St. Augustine medal recipients inspire gratefulness

BRIDGEPORT—“My friends, we have come here today because those of you who are being honored are being honored not simply because of all the good that you do, as important as that is, not simply because of the witness you give, as important as that is, but because you have discovered the mystery of love and willing what God wills,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, addressing the over 150 honorees gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral for the St. Augustine medal award ceremony on Saturday, November 17.

Every seat in the cathedral was filled as the pastoral leaders who nominated the recipients, their friends, family and loved ones gathered to acknowledge and celebrate the honorees for their volunteer service to parishes, schools and charities throughout Fairfield County.

Bishop Caggiano reflected on the words of St. Augustine: “love and do whatever you will,” during his Saturday homily.

“God is love, my friends…God teaches us that this life is about self-gift, self-offering, self-emptying for the good of the other before us,” said the bishop.

“Those who discover love, discover God…and those who discover God quickly realize that to be loving as He is, what we chose to do will be what God wants us to do.”

The bishop continued, addressing the medal award recipients, “You have been a force of unity and acceptance…you have been the agent to give life abundantly.”

The bishop said, “You are here because you do not walk the journey to paradise alone…you have many people walking with you because of your witness, your faith and your life,” a point that was brought to even greater light as each medal recipient did not walk up to receive their award alone, but were accompanied by their pastors, principals, or parochial administrators.

Bishop Caggiano reflected on the number of years this ceremony has been celebrated, saying, “This year above all others I am deeply grateful that we are here together…for we are living in a time of great storm, great crisis…and we will spend many of years ahead not simply purifying our church, bringing it to new life and reform, but to become once again a voice that is uncompromising in the world…showing the world the way of the will of God. There is much to do, but I am so grateful you are doing what you are doing now. For now more than ever, you are the light in the darkness…who are not afraid to love and do not what you want but what God wills in you, and for that I and the Church are deeply grateful.”

With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, the bishop reflected on his gratitude for the medal recipients and what it means to give thanks:

“Next week, as you know, we will join our sisters and brothers throughout the country to celebrate the day of Thanksgiving. For those of us here in faith, we do that every day when we come to the altar to give thanks to Almighty God. But on that day, above all others, we give thanks to God for our country for the principles upon which it is founded, for the common good we form as Americans of every religion ethnicity culture and way of life…as in all things, we face challenges, but we commend our country to the lords mercy, love and providence.”

The bishop thanked the recipients once again before the closing of the ceremony, “I am very grateful, in light of that day to come, for each and every one of you who are the honorees. Thank you for your witness, generosity, faith, courage and what you do to make God’s will real in the world.”

Click here for a full list of 2018 St. Augustine Award recipients

Photos by Amy Mortensen