St. Catherine Students Shine a Light

FAIRFIELD—“What a remarkable experience of faith!” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano at the end of this year’s St. Catherine Academy Christmas Pageant.

“Now I can say it’s really the beginning of the Christmas Season in our diocese!” said the bishop to the more than 200 people who turned out for this year’s pageant performed by students who with autism or intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The audience, consisting of family and friends of St. Catherine’s, was treated to one of the best productions of the Nativity in years as the young players lifted their voices in song, performed in beautiful costumes, and dramatized the birth of Christ.

St. Catherine student Anthony Virgile led the production with his excellent narration and reading of scripture, while Natalie Massaro and Philip Palilla were audience favorites with their portrayal of Mary and Joseph.

The 17-member cast sang many Christmas favorites including Silent Night, and This Little Light of Mine, and they were joined by the entire audience on O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Angels we Have Heard on High, Joy to the World, and Let There Be Peace on Earth.

Turning to the students who assembled on stage after the performance, Bishop Caggiano thanked them for allowing the audience to “witness your faith, enthusiasm and joy.”

“We just saw the real message of Christmas— love graciously received and graciously given away,” he said. “No student is greater than his teacher, and today we are students, and you are the best of teachers.”

The students concluded the pageant with a joyous version of Feliz Navidad as proud parents snapped their photos.

Cast members include Anna Stowe, Nyah Holmes, Briana Beliard, Coinee Miles, Lindsy Paul, Lizabeth Gonzalez, Heriberto Moya, Jaheim Hamlette, Anthony David, Fabricio Almeida, Donte Dedrick, Talen Tilus, and Luke Norris.

The production was adapted and directed by Sister Cheryl Driscoll, RSM.

Once again, Russ Nagy of the Fairfield University Quick Center provided the lighting, and Rob Hauser, owner of Hauser Equipment & Welding, installed the center aisle ramp that added drama to the pageant.

St. Catherine’s also received support from the St. Patrick’s Council of the Knights of Columbus, volunteers from the Order of Malta, its Board of Directors, and members of Holy Cross Parish, where the campus is located.

The bishop praised St. Catherine Center executive director Helen Burland for her leadership.

“The mission of St. Catherine’s burns in her heart. She loves each and every one of these young people and she has been the architect of the center’s growth.

Established in 1999 as a fulltime day school for students who benefit from a functional academic, social and life skills curriculum in addition to developing academic skills, St. Catherine Academy educates students ages 5-21 who are motivated to learn but unable to thrive in an inclusive setting.

St. Catherine Academy is located at 760 Tahmore Dr., Fairfield (on the grounds of Holy Cross Parish). For info call (203) 540-5381. Online at: