To Everything There is a Season

Dear friends,

As the words from the Book of Ecclesiastes remind us, “There is an appointed time for everything…” (Ecc 3:1). It is with a deep sense of excitement, mixed with real sadness, that I write to let you know that September 13, 2019 will be my last day as Director of Strategic and Pastoral Planning for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Over the last six months, I have been discerning a call to move in a new direction. This discernment has challenged me to look at the next and probably final steps in my professional career.

These last five years in the Diocese of Bridgeport have been invigorating, exciting, challenging, overwhelming and sometimes extremely frustrating. Coming here in 2014 to help shepherd the synod, following by my work in strategic and pastoral planning has introduced me to so many talented, faith-filled people in Fairfield County.

I am extremely grateful to Bishop Caggiano for his steadfast support over all these years. He has been a boss, a colleague, a mentor and a friend, and I will truly miss working with him.

I have been blessed to work with so many talented women and men at the Catholic Center that to try to single any of them out would be an injustice. I see from the inside the long hours of hard work, dedication and devotion given during the day, in the evenings, and on weekends to their ministries to support the individuals, schools, parishes and clergy of this diocese. I am so grateful to have been part of this body working to revitalize and strengthen our parishes and schools to make them sustainable for the future.

To the priests and deacons who have become my friends, thank you for your ministry and grace in the face of numerous challenges.

In addition to my work with the priests and parish leadership, I am extremely proud that I had the opportunity to help establish the Diocesan Addiction Support and Healing (DASH) ministry to work with priests, deacons and women religious who may be struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse. I hope that others in recovery will come along to pick up this vital role.

Working with the diocesan planning group of clergy sexual abuse survivors and family members has been a truly grace-filled opportunity. These men and women have taken a horrible experience, and through faith in God and a desire to see the good in others, have come forward (survivors and family members alike) to work with Bishop Caggiano to create an atmosphere of hope and healing for so many others.

In closing, filled with gratitude for all that I have experienced in these last five years, I would like to share a prayer from Thomas Merton that I often use with parish leadership groups:

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us—and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not be hearsay, but by experience. At that is what makes all the difference.” (Thomas Merton)

May God continue to bless Bishop Caggiano, the Diocese of Bridgeport, and all of you in the coming years. Please keep me in your prayers.

Patrick Turner