Tonight: Bishop to celebrate Service of Remembrance at Cathedral

BRIDGEPORT—This Friday, June 11, parishes around the diocese will be commemorating the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in a special way with the celebration of Solemn II Vespers.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will lead the way with a Service of Remembrance at St. Augustine Cathedral at 7 pm this evening, which will also be live-streamed for the public.

Vespers, also called Evening Prayer, is part of the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office. In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church fulfills Jesus’ command to “pray always” (Luke 18:1; see also 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Through this prayer, the people of God sanctify the day by continual praise of God and prayers of intercession for the needs of the world.

There is an aspect of remembrance attached to this particular celebration of Vespers designed to implore the loving mercy of God as exemplified in the Most Sacred Heart upon those who died during this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has expressed concern for all those who could not mourn properly during the pandemic. In order to ensure the safety of themselves and others during the pandemic, most family members and friends of the deceased could neither attend nor participate in their funeral services.

“The feeling is that, now that most restrictions have ceased in our area, it would be important to remember all those who have died during the past year, not simply for the sake of praying for their peaceful repose, but to also allow families and friends the opportunity to mourn in some official capacity,” said Father Peter Lenox, episcopal vicar for liturgy and worship.

Father Lenox explained that this will take place during Vespers this Friday in the form of intercession to the Most Sacred Heart, specifically for their souls to be entrusted to the mercy of God, and for comfort and consolation to be granted to their families and friends. In addition, they will be named at the end of Vespers in beseeching the Lord to extend his mercy upon them and raise them to new life.

“The bishop thought that it would be a pastoral help for each parish to remember all who have died on the local level, so as to help grant some type of closure to families who could not participate in their funeral rites,” Father Lenox said.

Also in remembrance of those we have lost to the pandemic, The Leadership Institute will hold a webinar “Grieving What We Have Lost: Life Beyond the Pandemic” on June 16 at 4 pm.

“We have mourned differently in the last year,” said Dr. Patrick Donovan, director of The Leadership Institute. “This webinar is an opportunity to come together and hear from an expert in the field how we might bring language to those losses and map a path forward.”

The featured speaker for the webinar is Nicholas Collura. Collura earned a master’s of Divinity and trained as a spiritual director at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He is a board-certified healthcare chaplain, having completed his clinical pastoral education at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and he serves as a visiting retreat director at St. Raphaela Center in Haverford, Penn. A former Jesuit, he has also ministered on several college campuses, at a L’Arche community in the Pacific Northwest, and at juvenile halls and adult state prisons in California.

(Tonight’s celebration of Vespers will be live-streamed on our diocesan Facebook page. For more information on The Leadership Institute’s upcoming webinar, please visit: