BRIDGEPORT— Bishop Frank J. Caggiano recently launched a diocesan-wide renewal as he consecrated the Diocese of Bridgeport to the protection and intercession of St. Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church, during this Year of St. Joseph proclaimed by Pope Francis.
The bishop celebrated a Pontifical Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, at St. Augustine’s Cathedral while pastors throughout the diocese simultaneously celebrated Mass, linking the diocese together in prayer and purpose.
During this special Mass, a new statue of St. Joseph was unveiled and blessed.
This beautiful statue, which depicts St. Joseph, holding a young Jesus and a bouquet of white lilies, was gifted to the diocese by generous donor, Connie Van Zwehl, parishioner of St. Pius X in Fairfield.
“When the Holy Father declared the Year of St. Joseph in December, I was so pleased to learn that St. Joseph was receiving the attention he never sought in life, but has so richly deserved,” said Connie.
She explained that the donation was made to honor the memory of two wonderful fathers: her own, James Belta and her husband, Vincent Van Zwehl.
“Their devotion to Our Lord, Our Church and dear St. Joseph will be immortalized through this beautiful statue,” she said, thanking Bishop Caggiano for the concept of placing this statue for all to worship and for the opportunity for her “to keep his memory and the memories I hold most dear alive in my grateful heart.”
In his apostolic letter Patris corde, (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis describes Joseph as “a hidden presence” and “a man in the shadows.” Similarly, during his Pontifical Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph, Bishop Caggiano observed, “Today we honor a man who has no directly recorded words in all of Sacred Scripture, and yet we come here to honor him as patron and guardian, defender and protector.”
A new statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was also generously donated on behalf of Joseph and Mary Gauci.
Joseph Gauci was a carpenter, and his wife’s name was Mary. They sacrificed everything to give their children opportunities for a better life. They lived the lives of their namesakes—always praying, helping others, and being there for each other.
They made sure to decorate their home with holy objects, most notably a large picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the kitchen. Every day, when getting up from the kitchen table after evening coffee and heading to bed, Mary would put her hand on that picture and give thanks for the day and all that was provided to them. Joseph Gauci still continued this tradition after Mary’s passing. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was something that they both shared in their hearts.
This Sunday, May 2, 9:30 am at St. Augustine Cathedral, Bishop Caggiano will celebrate Mass to formally dedicate these two statues.