THE BRIDGE: May 27, 2015

Office of the Bishop

NEW DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT FREE PHONE APP available now at the App Store (iPhone) or Play Store (Android)!
Each parish will update their own information: Mass and confession times, events, youth & young adult groups, Bible studies, stories, photos and more! To train a representative from your parish, contact Deacon John DiTaranto in the Bishop's Office.


- July 13-23, 2015.  For info click here

- Join Bishop Caggiano and 3,000 faithful on Sat., Oct. 24, 2015 for a memorable pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception where the Diocese of Bridgeport will be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The time at the largest church in North America includes a recital, prayer, adoration, reflection, and Mass.  Departure locations are across the diocese and more locations can be added as needed.  $70pp includes transportation and box dinner.  The shrine cafeteria will be open to purchase lunch.  Register at: or call Rally Bus to register at 1-855-725-5928.  Contact Gina for more information at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 203-416-1446. Click here for flyer.

PILGRIMAGE TO HOLY LAND WITH BISHOP FRANK J. CAGGIANO Oct. 16-26, 2016Click here for details, costs and itinerary.


SYNOD - To all Pastors:
On Saturday, November 15, the Synod General Delegates unanimously approved the attached Declaration.  I would ask that you please publish the Declaration in your bulletins and make it available to all your parishioners as soon as possible.

It is also my intention that there be an summary update provided by the Synod Office after each of the General Sessions, and I would please ask that, when you receive that material, you provide the summary to your community in a timely manner.

If you need any additional information about the Synod process, or additional Synod materials, please contact Msgr. Dariusz or Patrick Turner in the Synod Office.

Frank J. Caggiano - DECLARATION
Following the First General Session of the Fourth Diocesan Synod, September 20, 2014

On Friday, September 19, 2014 Bishop Frank Caggiano signed the official decree opening the Fourth Diocesan Synod at the Vespers Service held at Saint Augustine Cathedral.  The next morning, starting at 8 AM, the First General Session of the Synod was opened.  The event took place at Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Trumbull, CT.

Close to 400 General Delegates, Observers, Theological Experts, Ecumenical Observers, the Synod Commission and various committee members participated in the session.  After the Morning Prayer, Deacon John DiTaranto presented a demographic overview of the Diocese, to help the Delegates understand the scope of Fairfield County and the Diocese of Bridgeport. 

Immediately after, he followed with the 1st Synod Theme presentation “Empower the Young Church”. The 2nd Theme “Build Up Communities of Faith” was presented by Mr. Bob Rooney and Ms. Marie Pascale.  Father Peter Towsley reported on the 3rd Theme: “Foster Evangelical Outreach”.  Finally, Mr. Michael Tintrup and Mrs. Barbara Ripp spoke of diocesan charitable outreach reporting on the 4th Theme: “Promote Works of Charity and Justice”.  Each of these presentations was data-driven to provide a solid understanding to all present on the scope and scale of the issues before us. After each of these report the General Delegates had 40 minutes to discuss the reports at their tables and then make public comments or submit thoughts by email that could be presented to all present.  At the close of each discussion, Bishop Caggiano gave “homework” to all Delegates and to all in the Diocese of Bridgeport in form of the questions presented below:

1.     Empower the Young Church.

a)     How do our programs, initiatives, and behavior exacerbate some of challenges identified in each presentation?

b)     Evidence indicates that many of our young people face a fundamental challenge – many do not believe they are lovable or loved.  We need to reflect on this further and ask: – Is that your experience? Our experience?

c)     Is technology just a tool, or has technology become a formational force?  Technology is no longer a “play thing”; evidence indicates that it is now forming human persons in significant ways, especially those who have been exposed to various forms of technology since birth.  For those of an older age, technology remains a tool.  For young people, who are growing up with technology and social media, some studies indicate that they are undergoing physiological changes, which means that they are thinking, communicating and socializing in new ways.  Technology may even be altering how their brain is formed. What do these changes mean for our ability to form and evangelize our people?

d)     Non-affiliated does not mean non-spiritual.  Some youth and young adults do not believe that a community is important in their search for God. Could it be that one of the root causes is that there is a need to reestablish the credibility of the community for our young people?  They see us as well meaning and nice, but their search does not require them to be with us. They do it on their own. Is this your experience? Our experience?

2.     Build Up Communities of Faith.

a)     Is community the right word to use?  What is common among the three categories?

b)     What makes a family a family?

c)     What makes a Catholic school Catholic?

d)     With regards to parish life, when does the strength of a former age become a weakness or liability in our current age?

e)     We are often tempted to choose between alternatives (i.e. just this OR that) in pastoral ministry, when the Catholic response is usually inclusive of many different approaches when serving people. Where is the “and” in all that we reflect upon?

3.     Foster Evangelical Outreach.

a)     What is the good news of the Gospel?  What is the good news of the Gospel for me?

b)     The means we use matter – At the heart of Evangelization is the recognition that we need to embrace the Truth (who is Jesus Christ) and the truths of our Catholic Faith (the things we profess and believe). How do you convey both?

c)     There was a time when people came to us; now we have to go to them. How can we do this, one person at a time?

d)     The question Jesus asked in the Gospel remains the single most important question each Christian must ask: “Who do people say that I am”?  What does the world (for example; Catholics who are no longer with us, social media, or mass media) say about Jesus Christ?  Who do YOU say that I am?

4.     Promote Works of Charity & Justice.

a)     What happens when it is not easy to fit charity and justice together?


Office of Clergy and Religious

Acculturation Seminar for International Priests:
St. John’s University in New York will hold its annual Acculturation Seminar for International Priests June 1-5, 2015. It is a 5-day residential program for those who have been ministering in the US for at least 6 months. For more information call the Vincentian Center for Church and Society, 718-990-1612 or 718-990-6470 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

2015 Reference List of Area Retreat Houses and Spiritual Directors
(click here for downloadable PDF)
Meant to be a helpful reference, this list is subject to change and does not imply a recommendation of any particular centers or directors. Visit websites for current program information. Directors listed here are those known to be currently available in CT. Please note, Spiritual Directors International at lists Catholic spiritual directors by state and town. The websites www.retreatfinder.comand have retreat house listings as well.

Private, no-cost retreats for priests, seminarians and religious brothers
“Come away by yourselves and rest awhile” (Jesus in Mark 6:31). The Knights of the Holy Eucharist (, a community of consecrated brothers, invite priests, seminarians, and religious brothers to make a private retreat at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, located on 400 sprawling acres in the beautiful hills of northern Alabama (3222 CR 548, Hanceville, AL 35077). Each year over 200 priests, seminarians, and brothers enjoy private (non-directed) retreats on the grounds of the Shrine, where they spend time in personal prayer, walk through the rolling hills, and attend/celebrate/concelebrate Mass in the Knights’ private chapel or at the Shrine. There is no charge for these personal retreats. The Knights provide transportation if necessary, lodging, and meals. Visit our website, for information and reservations. To request informational brochures, please email us. We are happy to provide brochures and to answer any questions you have. The Knights of the Holy Eucharist is a community of consecrated brothers loyal to the Holy Father, consecrated to Jesus through Mary, and dedicated to adoring Our Eucharistic King and promoting reverent devotion to Him. They have members from around the country. Mother Angelica founded the community in 1998, and the Knights have the approval of their Ordinary, Bishop Robert J. Baker of the Diocese of Birmingham, AL.

Please pray for . . .

  • Phyllis Myott (wife of Deacon Dan Myott)
  • Fr. Francis Posluszny, Missionary in Chiclayo, Peru
  • Fr. Seraphim Rohlman
  • Rev. Bernard Keefe
  • Deacon Roland Blier (retired)
  • Father Michael Bachman
  • Rev. Andrew Walter
  • Priscilla Blier (wife of Deacon Roland Blier)
  • Father Nick Calabro
  • Father Cliff Grise
  • Father Peter DeMarco
  • Beverly Finch, wife of Deacon Dean Finch, surgery 3/19/15



Office of Vocations
The Lord anointed us in Christ with the oil of gladness, and this anointing invites us to accept and appreciate this great gift: the gladness, the joy of being a priest. Priestly joy is a priceless treasure, not only for the priest himself but for the entire faithful people of God: that faithful people from which he is called to be anointed and which he, in turn, is sent to anoint.” – Pope Francis, Chrism Mass Homily 2014

Do you know a young man discerning priesthood?  Encourage him, pray for him, offer him your support!  Consider introducing him to Fr. Sam Kachuba, Director of Vocations. (203) 322-5331 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Bridgeport Vocations social media
Twitter: @BPTVocations

Free discernment resources

Consider printing this prayer (prayed daily by our seminarians) in your bulletin
Father, In your plan for our salvation, you provide shepherds for your people.  Fill you Church with the spirit of courage and charity. Raise up worthy priests for your altars and ardent, but gentle servants of the Gospel.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Visit our website for upcoming events and more information


Faith Formation

FACEBOOK USERS: The Office of Faith Formation has a NEW Facebook page which encompasses many ministries, including Adult Formation, Youth Ministry, Religious Education, Respect Life, and Marriage and Family.  Please “like” the new page today: Office of Faith Formation Diocese of Bridgeport

WOMEN’S DAY OF PRAYER & HEALING held June 13 - Are you suffering from the loss of a child through the wounds of an abortion? Begin your journey towards healing with Entering Canaan Women's Day of Prayer and Healing. For confidential reservation, time and location contact Project Rachel at 203-416-1619 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

SHARE (Sacred Heart Adult Religious Education) is a certificate program in Catholic Studies.  It is intended to assist adult Catholics and help them understand their faith and empower them to put it into action.  Classes include four disciplines: Scripture, Church History, Theology, and Pastoral Theology.  To register, mail a check, made payable to "Office of Faith Formation" to: Office of Faith Formation, attn: Gina, 238 Jewett Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06606.  For more information contact Gina at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 203-416-1446.

  • LITURGY OF THE CHURCH:  Happy 52nd birthday!  Dr. Joan Kelly will lead us on a four week celebration of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.  Promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963 the renewal of the liturgy was the first document written at the historic Second Vatican Council!  In this course you will be engaged in a thorough historical overview of the sacred signs and symbols that manifest the glory and pageantry of Catholic ritual! Dates: Mondays July 6, 13, 20, 27, Time: 10am to 12noon, Location: Notre Dame Catholic High School, 220 Jefferson Street, Fairfield, Instructor: Dr. Joan Kelly, Cost: $140
  • CHRISTIAN ANTHROPOLOGY: THE SEARCH FOR COMMUNION WITH GOD This course will examine what it means to be a human being from the Christian perspective.  Drawing on Biblical descriptions of human creation, we will consider the significance of our having both a body and a soul, and learn how to look at ourselves from God's perspective.  We will also get a clearer understanding of our fallen nature, Christ's redeeming sacrifice, and the role that grace plays in transforming our lives and enabling us to fulfill God's desire that we be united to Him. Location: Trinity Catholic High School, 926 Newfield Avenue, Stamford, Dates: Tuesdays September 22, 29, October 6, 13, Time: 7pm to 9pm, Instructor: Dr. Lois Gandt, Cost: $140

  • PSALMS One hundred and fifty poetic prayers make up the biblical book called the Psalter. These Psalms combine resplendent words with profound emotions. Wherever we are on the journey of human life, we can find ourselves somewhere in this book. Anyone who has lived will find the Psalms speaking to him/her. They give voice to the whole range of human emotions, to all the cries of the human heart.  So often the Psalms seem to be tailor made for our own individual situation.  St. Ambrose said: “What experience is not covered by a reading of the psalms?  They soothe the temper, distract from care, lighten the burden of sorrow.  They are a source of security at night, a shield when we are afraid, a promise of peace and serenity.  Day can begin to the music of a psalm; day can close to the echo of a psalm.”  The Psalms give us the language of prayer.  St. Ambrose further said that people should content themselves with the Psalms and not burden themselves with other vocal prayers. St. Therese of Lisieux said: “Apart from the Psalms, I have no desire to search for prayers in books.”  Some of the psalms go back 3000 years – think of all who recited them.  We pray the same psalms that Jesus prayed.  The course will use the resources necessary to interpret the psalms properly. Dates: Saturdays October 3, 10, 17, 24, November 14, 21, Time: 10am to 12noon, Location: Notre Dame Catholic High School, 220 Jefferson Street, Fairfield, CT, Instructor: Dr. Thomas Hicks, Cost: $210

.  Join Bishop Caggiano and 3,000 faithful for a memorable pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception where the Diocese of Bridgeport will be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The time at the largest church in North America includes a recital, prayer, adoration, reflection, and Mass. Departure locations are across the diocese and more locations can be added as needed.  $70pp includes transportation and box dinner. The shrine cafeteria will be open to purchase lunch. Register at: or call Rally Bus to register at 1-855-725-5928. Contact Gina for more information at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 203-416-1446. Click here for flyer.

Bulletin Announcement:
Saint Catherine Center for Special Needs, located in Fairfield, will offer a religious formation program (RCIA) for adults and young adults with special needs, ages 18 and older, who wish to receive Sacraments of Initiation; Baptism, Eucharist, and/or  Confirmation.  We will meet Tuesday’s from 6:30-7:30pm at Saint Catherine’s Center for Special Needs, 760 Tahmore Dr., Fairfield. For info or to sign up contact Michelle O’Mara, Director of Pastoral Care and Outreach at email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 203 -540-5381 ext. 2012.

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem Program- The new Saint Cyril of Jerusalem Program is now at every parish. This program will help catechize adults across the Diocese of Bridgeport and is a foundational program to learn more about the Catholic faith.  All pastors received a binder with the following material: 1) Seven (7) DVDs of the classes: Scripture, Creed, Sacraments, Prayer, Christian Living, Methodology, and Teaching People with Developmental Disabilities 2) Workbook for the participants, 3) Facilitator's Guide, 4) Guidelines for the pastor and parish facilitator, 6) Further resources, 7) Two posters to advertise. Classes and workbook are online too:  For info contact Gina Donnarummo, Dir. of Adult Formation at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (203) 416-1446.

Project Rachel - Free and confidential help for those seeking healing after abortion. Do you know someone who is carrying grief and sorrow over past abortions? Project Rachel is the post-abortion ministry of the Catholic Church seeking to assist those suffering from a past abortion come to healing in Christ.  “Do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope…the Father of Mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”  -Blessed John Paul II.  Contact Project Rachel (203) 416-1619 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Volunteers and Prayer Team Members needed! The Office for Pastoral Services is looking for individuals who are interested in volunteering for a group called St. Gabriel’s Helpers. Individuals in this group would be available to the Office for Pastoral Services [at the Catholic Center] to help with mailings, assist as ushers for Diocesan events, or make phone calls as needed from the office.  If you are interested in helping in this much needed ministry, contact Carmela Setti at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  or (203) 416-1623.

You are invited to join The Rose of Mary Prayer Team. The prayer team’s objective is to satiate the thirst of Christ by supporting the Office of Pastoral Services through prayer and sacrifice. We ask  for a daily commitment of prayer for the intentions of each of the Ministries, the office staff, and the people we serve.  More information is available below. If you are interested in joining The Rose of Mary Prayer Team, please contact June Vendetti: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Download the Rose of Mary Prayer Team information

Ministry to Deaf Parishioners Available - Deaf Parishioners in your parish can be ministered to by Fr. Nicholas Pavia. He is available for home and hospital visits, to interpret at Mass, offer religious education and available for Confession. Contact Fr. Pavia at 924-8611 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

SPANISH PRE-CANA available: Fr. Gustavo A. Falla, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Resources for Marriage & Family Life on USCCB Website: resources that can enhance and assist your marriage and family life ministries. First, the successful and popular website "For Your Marriage" ( Read the news release describing it at: Second, a special marriage and family website completely in Spanish ( This is an original website, modeled on "For Your Marriage" not simply a translation of it. Here you will find advice, stories, testimonials, videos and other resources that are culturally-responsive to the needs of Spanish-speaking couples and parents.

La USCCB ha creado una nueva página web sobre Matrimonio y Familia completamente en español ( Esta es una página muy original, modelada según “for your marriage”, pero no es una simple traducción de ésta. Aquí podrás encontrar consejos, historias, testimonios, videos y otros recursos que son respuesta a las necesidades de parejas y padres de habla hispana.You can read the news release describing "por tu matrimonio" at:


Safe Environments

VIRTUS TRAINING: To download the list of dates, places, and times as of June 9, 2014 click here

To see the VIRTUS Protecting God's Children brochure translated in Portuguese click here.

Protecting God's Children for Adults: "Instagram: Photo and Video Posting Dangers for Young People" click here for article by Robert Hugh Farley, M.S. on geo-tagging/locating children's whereabouts.

All Priests, Seminarians, Religious Sisters and Brothers,  Deacons, Lay Employees, Volunteers and Independent Contractors (full time, part-time, per-diem and substitutes) - even if they are not working with children, must have the following safeguards in place.

  1. Register online to attend VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children for Adults by logging onto the website Select the word REGISTRATION & BRIDGEPORT DIOCESE
  2. Attend a live VIRTUS Protecting God’s Children for Adults class (Approximately 3 hours) and return a copy of your training certificate to the location where you work or volunteer.
  3. Complete a criminal background check. Additional information about background checks may be found at under Human Resources.
  4. Read the Diocese of Bridgeport Code of Conduct and Sexual Misconduct Policy and return the signed acknowledgement of policy receipts to the location where you are working or volunteering.

If you have any questions or if you need to schedule VIRTUS training at your school or parish, please contact Erin Neil at (203) 416-1406 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Development Office



MAY 30 & 31
The Diocesan Office for Marriage and Family administers programs and services designed to enhance and support the spiritual formation of the laity at the parish level in all areas of married life; children, adolescent and support for divorced Catholics. The Respect Life Ministry is dedicated to preserving the sanctity of all human life, from conception to natural death, focusing on prayer, pastoral care, education and public policy advocacy. In addition, it sponsors the March for Life, provides pastoral support and care for post abortive healing through the work of Project Rachel and supports a network of parish pro-life coordinators and committees to help build a culture of life. Your gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal will help to sustain this important ministry.

JUNE 6 & 7
If you have not yet responded to the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal, please set aside a moment to prayerfully consider a gift amount that your means will permit. Be assured that the Lord knows what is in your heart and how you share your gifts. While it is understood that we cannot all give equally, we are still called by the Gospel to give of ourselves in a way that reflects our blessings. Your gift whether large or small matters greatly to the diocese, our parish and to the Lord! Scripture tells us, ‘There is more happiness in giving than receiving’

In-Pew Weekend
Please consider holding an In-Pew Weekend in April or May. Attached are the accounting sheets.  If you need additional envelopes, please call Pam Rittman at 203-416-1479.

Summary Report Sheet
Form A
Form B
Form C
Form D

CLICK HERE FOR 2015 PARISH LEADERSHIP GUIDE including weekly prayers, bulletin & pulpit announcements. Please refer to the guide for detailed information and tools on how to conduct a successful Appeal.  Please all the Development Office with any questions.  We are here to assist you in your effort.

Development is offering an optional increased offertory program.  Please click here to review the program and contact Pam Rittman or Bill McLean for more information (203) 416-1479 or (203) 416-1473.

Thank you for your leadership and assistance in reaching the 2014 Annual Bishop’s Appeal Building Bridges in Faith and Charity goal.  The Development Office  is grateful and looks forward to working with you this year on the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal, Communities of Faith.

Fr. Michael Jones - (203) 416-1472
William McLean, Jr. - (203) 416-1473
Pam Rittman - (203) 416-1479
Med Camillo - (203) 416-1312
Joan Trombetta - (203) 416-1475
Janie Tucci  Baldino - (203) 416-1474



For Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport CT go to:


Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, Inc.
238 Jewett Avenue Bridgeport, CT 06606
(203) 416-1336

For listing of job opportunities, go to:

Follow Catholic Charities on Twitter at @CCFairfieldDOB
Follow Catholic Charities on Facebook at
Follow Family Directions on Facebook at

THOMAS MERTON CENTER HOUSE OF HOSPITALITY in need of volunteers (address below). Their food pantry is in need of non-sugary cereals. Thank you!

Brian Jenkins, Program Director
43 Madison Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Monday-Friday 8:30am-1:30pm;  Saturday 9:00am-12:00pm.
If not the Merton Center, consider giving to the pantry of your local parish or social concern center.

CAR DONATION PROGRAM "DONATION ANGEL" by Catholic Charities of Fairfield County will tow your vehicle away absolutely free!  Donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of your un-wanted car, van, truck, motorcycle, RV or boat directly to Catholic Charities of Fairfield County.  You will receive full fair market value for your donation as an IRS tax deduction.  Donation Angel is a nationwide service, so even if your vehicle is far away from Fairfield County it can still support Catholic Charities of Fairfield County. You will receive a receipt from Donation Angel for the fair value of your property. For info go to




Diocese Webmail Access

good food, dancing, fun games and raffles at Our Lady of Fatima School, 225 Danbury Rd., Wilton on Sat., May 30 at 6pm in the gym. Adults only.  Get your ticket for $30,000 Tuition Raffle!  $25pp, BYOB. Dinner dress attire. For info email:

More Upcoming Events »

Ongoing Events »

FCC Featured Author

By Matthew Hennessey

Star Wars is still Star Wars

A Dad’s View
By Matthew Hennessey

My name is Matthew and I am a child of the Star Wars generation.

Star Wars was the first real movie I saw in a theater. It was a magical experience that has stayed with me always. Every movie since has been a bit of a disappointment.

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FCC Featured Author

By Denise Bossert

Will my love endure?

Catholic by Grace
By Denise Bossert

It is disheartening when people walk away from the Church.

Sometimes, when we try to talk, they run at us like some kid on the opposite team in a game of Red Rover. They want to break through our line and pull somebody else from the Church. They may even attempt to pull us away.

Read More »

FCC Featured Author

By Thomas H. Hicks

The Master of Cities

By Thomas H. Hicks

I want to be a part of it, New York, New York.
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray 
Right through the very heart of it, New York, New York.

Genesis 4:17: “Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city and called the name of the city after the name of his son, also called Enoch.” Thus according to the Bible, the first city was built by the descendants of the first murderer, Cain. This is a way of saying that cities are places of evil.

Read More »

FCC Featured Author

By Joe Pisani

Save America, pray the Rosary

Swimming Upstream
By Joe Pisani

On the back of my SUV, plastered onto the spare tire, is a bumper sticker I found in the vestibule of a church that proclaims, “Save America—Pray the Rosary.”

Read More »

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