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Dear Fellow Serrans and Followers,

On March 31st we celebrated the miraculous resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. During the month of April, we began the Easter season which will take us up to Pentecost Sunday on May 19th. In the meantime, the month of May is the month of our Blessed Mother, Mary.

For centuries, the Catholic Church has set aside the entire month of Mary to honor Mary, the Mother of God. Not just a day in May, mind you, but the entire month. The custom spans both centuries and cultures, with roots going back as far as the Ancient Greeks. In early Greece, May was dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of fecundity (fertility).

In Ancient Rome, May was dedicated to Flora, the goddess of blooms, or blossoms. They celebrated ludi florals, or floral games, at the end of April and asked the intercession of Flora for all that blooms. In medieval times, similar customs abounded, all centering around the practice of expelling winter, as May 1 was considered the start of new growth.1

How fitting, therefore, that May should be the month in which we celebrate Mary.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI wrote a magnificent encyclical on the month of May. In his writing, he described how the faithful will reserve this month to honor Mary in a special way:

“For this is the month during which Christians, in their churches and their homes, offer the Virgin Mother more fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God’s merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother’s throne.”

Pope Paul VI went on to say that May is an opportune time to let our petitions “fly” to Our Lady—especially for the needs of the Church and the whole human race—that most urgently require our Blessed Mother’s intercession…including our prayers for an increase in Catholic vocations!

What would you add to this list of ways to celebrate the Month of Mary? Please give that some thought.

May the Lord be with you.


Thom Field, President

St. Serra Vocations Ministry of Bridgeport

1 Marge Fenelon, May 1, 2020


World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests

Fri, Jun 7

Feast of St. John Vianney, patron of priests- Sun

Sun, Aug 4

Priesthood Sunday

Sun, Sep 29

Feast of St. Charles Borromeo, patron of seminarians

Mon, Nov 4

National Vocation Awareness Week

 Nov 3-9


 Dear fellow Serrans and followers, what joys await us this month of May, jam packed with liturgical celebrations: three solemnities, three feasts, and no less than ten memorials or optional memorials. Wow! We especially honor the Mother of God and our mother, the Ever Virgin Mary with the memorials of Our Lady of Fatima and The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church (very special to me this year, can you guess why?). And last, but by no means least, on May 31st, we celebrate the feast of The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But let us begin by looking first to Our Lady’s spouse, Saint Joseph.

On May 1st, the Church celebrated the commemoration of Saint Joseph the Worker. Pope Pius XII instituted this feast on May 1, 1955, to coincide with International Worker’s Day, also known as May Day – a secular celebration of labor and worker’s rights. Pius did this in direct response to the Soviet Union’s claim to be the defender of labor and worker’s rights. Pius proclaimed that the dignity and rights of workers flows not from any human form of government or society, but from Christ, the source and font of the Gospel! And if there was anyone in the history of humanity that understood this eternal truth about the relationship of man to his work, Pius declared it is Saint Joseph. “So, if you want to be close to Christ,”, addressing the Catholic Association of Italian Workers, “We also today repeat to you ‘Ite to Joseph’; Go to Joseph!”.

On May 13th , we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. It was on that day in 1917, Our Lady first appeared to Lucia dos Santos, Jacinta and Francisco Marta. “Do not be afraid. I will do you no harm. I am from Heaven.”, She assured them, “I came to ask you to come here on the thirteenth day for six months at this same time, and then I will tell you who I am and what I want. . . Would you like to offer yourselves to God to accept all the sufferings which He may send to you in reparation for the countless sins by which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners? Then you will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”  

On May 20th, we celebrate the memorial of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. This is actually a very recently inserted memorial into the Roman Missal by Pope Francis, promulgated on February 11, 2018, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. In his decree, Francis directed that this new memorial be observed on the Monday following Pentecost every year, and is to outrank even obligatory memorials on the same day throughout the Church. Prior to 2018, it wasn’t until 1975 that the Church even established a liturgical observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title Mother of the Church. During that Holy Year of Reconciliation, the Church inserted into the Roman Missal a votive Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. So why might this new obligatory memorial be very special to me this May 20th? Because it is the day my five brother classmates and I of our diocese will celebrate our first anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. AMDG! 

Finally, on May 31st, we celebrate the feast of The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We rejoice with Elizabeth in this feast and wonder as she did, “And how does it happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy!” Indeed, how is that not only Christ comes to us in the sacred scripture and the sacraments, but his mother, the Ever Virgin Mary comes to us too?

   May we especially this month partake of all these liturgical memorials and feast of Our Lady. She so desires to help us become more intentional disciples of her Son that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may continue Christ’s work of the salvation of souls. Let us thank Our Lady and ask for her maternal intercession and aid throughout this May and the rest of our earthly lives. Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady, Mother of the Church, Saint Joseph and Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us!

Father Jim


Vocation Revelations

Revelation is both a gift and the road to our vocation, and it defines a new vocation for those who receive it. This vocation is to bear witness to God's truth, in His name, in joyful words and deeds.

In the context of biblical teachings, it becomes apparent that God discloses revelations in accordance with His own timing, allowing individuals to comprehend them effectively at the right time. This highlights the significance of patience, prudence and attentiveness in discerning the messages conveyed through divine revelations. Well, vocations are no different.

For the past decade, I have been dedicated to promoting Catholic vocations. Through this journey, God has gradually revealed to me the importance of vocations within the Church. While my knowledge is still limited, I am eager to share what I have learned in the hope that others may also become involved in parish vocation ministries. It is my aspiration that by reading this, you will gain a greater understanding of the significance of Catholic vocations and feel inspired to contribute your time and efforts to this important ministry within your own parish. So let us start the vocation revelation play.

Act 1 - At the outset, my pastor recommended my involvement with an organization called Serra, which is dedicated to praying for, supporting and raising awareness for ordained and consecrated individuals.It was and is our objective to grow these vocations that are on a serious decline in the Americas’s and Europe. Through this experience, I gained insight into the challenges faced by those in religious vocations and the common factors that drive them to fulfill their calling. Despite the initial apprehension, I found the opportunity to be enlightening and rewarding. I was hooked.

Act 2 - In Act two, I experienced my second revelation. It became clear that the decline in sacramental marriages within the Catholic community was having a significant impact on the formation of holy Catholic families. This, in turn, was affecting the number of candidates available to discern the vocations of the ordained and consecrated. This realization ultimately paved the way for the revelation in Act three.

Act 3 - Why has there been such a decline in sacramental marriages? The decline in sacramental marriages can be attributed to various factors, with the most significant being the decrease in the number of practicing Catholics. Over the past fifty years, there has been a significant decline(1) in the number of individuals practicing the Catholic faith.

Act 4 - Numerous factors contribute to the decline in church attendance and the lack of faith practice among Catholics. Today, I will address just one significant issue: a staggering percentage(1) practicing Catholics do not believe in the true presence of the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, rather it is their belief that the Eucharist is symbolic. This lack of fundamental belief poses a substantial challenge to the core tenets of the Catholic faith and underscores the need for renewed efforts in religious education and spiritual guidance within the church but most importantly in the parishes.Thus the need for parish vocations ministries. To correct this we need a ground up parish level revolution.

The decline in practicing Catholics has had a significant impact on the number of Catholic marriages and families, leading to a decrease in ordained and consecrated vocations. Some argue that attempting to align our faith with our culture may be contributing to this decline. It is essential for Catholicism and vocations to thrive that our faith becomes our culture. A strong belief in the Eucharist, the resurrection, the Word, teachings, and traditions of the Catholic Church is the key to revitalizing the faith and attracting more individuals to vocations.

Determining the next course of action amidst these daunting circumstances requires a steadfast approach. In such unfathomable situations, turning to our faith in God is paramount. Seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit to navigate the complexities before us is essential.

Focusing on a singular aspect of the challenge within our parishes can bring clarity; one such crucial element is fostering Catholic vocations.

To attract others to embrace our way of life during these turbulent times, we must exemplify joy and purpose in our vocations. By radiating this positivity, we can offer a beacon of hope in a world thirsty for genuine answers, transcending the deserts of narcissism and secularism.

Through our public embodiment of the fulfillment found in a Catholic vocation, we can not only impact the world but also cultivate peace within our own lives.

In the words of Matthew Kelly, let us be bold, be Catholic, and proudly embrace and display our Catholic faith.

In conclusion, there is a sense of optimism that a significant number of individuals will rekindle their connection with the church, seeking truth and purpose in the current secular landscape. To draw more individuals to our faith, it is crucial for the faithful to embody joy and serve as compelling examples of Catholic values through both their words and actions.

If you are interested in learning more about Parish Vocation Ministries click here to email me.

(1) According to statistics from Mathew Kelly's "33 Days to Eucharistic Glory," the number of practicing Catholics has decreased by 50% over the last 50 years. Additionally, a concerning 70% of current practicing Catholics hold the belief that the Eucharist is symbolic rather than the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Carpe Diem and Pax,

(Seize The Day and Peace)



Please join Serra and all the diocese in celebrating all the upcoming ordinations !

June 15 2024

The Priesthood

11:00 am, The Cathedral of St Augustine in Bridgeport

June 29 2024

Permanent Deacon

11:00 am, The Cathedral of St Augustine in Bridgeport


AP News examines increase in young US Catholics returning to tradition, following Church teaching

CV NEWS FEED // A major secular news outlet this week examined the increase in young American Catholics who are returning to traditional Catholicism and following Church teaching on issues such as abortion, contraception, the reality of sin, and the need for grace.

The Associated Press published “‘A step back in time’: America’s Catholic Church sees an immense shift toward the old ways,” by Tim Sullivan on May 1. 

“Across the U.S., the Catholic Church is undergoing an immense shift,” Sullivan wrote:

Generations of Catholics who embraced the modernizing tide sparked in the 1960s by Vatican II are increasingly giving way to religious conservatives who believe the church has been twisted by change, with the promise of eternal salvation replaced by guitar Masses, parish food pantries and casual indifference to church doctrine.

Parishes with more traditional priests often hear homilies that focus on heavier topics, such as the importance of the sacrament of Confession and avoiding spiritual dangers, Sullivan highlighted. Many young lay Catholics are welcoming of the changes in these parishes, as they increasingly desire tradition and orthodoxy.

“But the movement, whether called conservative or orthodox or traditionalist or authentic, can be hard to define,” Sullivan wrote, noting that there is a wide range of people who are a part of the movement. 

Although this movement of Catholics remains a minority in the states, “the changes they have brought are impossible to miss,” Sullivan wrote.

“They often stand out in the pews, with the men in ties and the women sometimes with the lace head coverings that all but disappeared from American churches more than 50 years ago,” he continued:

Often, at least a couple families will arrive with four, five or even more children, signaling their adherence to the church’s ban on contraception, which most American Catholics have long casually ignored.
They attend confession regularly and adhere strictly to church teachings. Many yearn for Masses that echo with medieval traditions – more Latin, more incense more Gregorian chants.

Sullivan posited that the changes may have started when Pope John Paul II visited the United States in 1993 for World Youth Day. Addressing the crowds of young people during the visit, he said that Catholics “are in danger of losing their faith.” 

Pope John Paul II condemned abortion, drug use, and “sexual disorders,” Sullivan wrote, continuing: “Across the nation, fervent young Catholics listened.”

Over time, many college campuses began featuring Newman Centers, which offer a space for Catholic students to gather and meet. As these centers grew in popularity, so did FOCUS, or “Fellowship of Catholic University Students.” FOCUS missionaries serve college campuses by sharing about the Catholic Faith with students, leading Bible studies, and hosting events. 

Sullivan spotlighted the climate at Benedictine College, a traditional Catholic college in Atchinson, Kansas. The college has rules for its students that may strike many as “precepts of a bygone age,” Sullivan noted: “Pornography, premarital sex and sunbathing in swimsuits are forbidden.”

However, the school’s popularity has continued to increase, with student enrollment nearly doubling in the last 20 years. 

Benedictine’s campus “might be a window into the future of the Catholic Church in America,” Sullivan highlighted. “In a deeply secular America, where an ever-churning culture provides few absolute answers, Benedictine offers the reassurance of clarity.”

Many of the students are enthusiastic about the 13-century writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, praying late at night, following Church teaching on chastity, and attending Mass, Sullivan observed. 

“Then there’s the priesthood,” he wrote. “Young priests driven by liberal politics and progressive theology, so common in the 1960s and 70s, have ‘all but vanished,’ said a 2023 report from The Catholic Project at Catholic University, based on a survey of more than 3,500 priests.”

>> Report: Liberal Priests Going Extinct <

Traditional priests have brought some of the described orthodox changes to their assigned parishes. Longtime parishioners’ reactions to these changes have been varied, Sullivan found.

He spoke with parishioners of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Madison, Wisconsin, who have witnessed such changes after a new priest, Fr. Scott Emerson, became pastor in 2021. 

“Parishioners watched – some pleased, some uneasily – as their spiritual home was remodeled. There was more incense, more Latin, more talk of sin and confession,” Sullivan wrote. “Emerson’s sermons are not all fire-and-brimstone. He speaks often about forgiveness and compassion. But his tone shocked many longtime parishioners.”

The parishioners noticed that priests around the church wore their cassocks more often, and in the place of contemporary hymns was music more likely written in the medieval ages.

“It was like a step back in time,” an anonymous parishioner told Sullivan. 

The changes are perhaps the cause for the decrease in Sunday Mass attendance at the parish, and for the simultaneous increase in attendance at the 6:30 a.m. Friday Mass. Sullivan noted that donations and parish school enrollment have also decreased in recent years.

“But Emerson insists the Catholic Church’s critics will be proven wrong,” Sullivan wrote, concluding with a quote from the priest:

“How many have laughed at the church, announcing that she was passé, that her days were over and that they would bury her?” [Fr. Emerson] said in a 2021 Mass.
“The church,” he said, “has buried every one of her undertakers.”


Serra Meets Cardinal Thomas Collins

I want to talk to you about the Serra Call to Holiness. It is the one of the three planks in our Serra Mission. There’s more to it than you might think! Its importance is too often underestimated by Serrans. Really and truly, it is the beginning point to creating a culture of vocations—a culture of vocations within ourselves.

So, the Serra Call to Holiness…

Holiness is about being more like God. Too many Catholics today think holiness is just keeping the 10 Commandments and going to Mass on Sunday. This “minimalistic” view is not what holiness is. There’s more to holiness than just “not being bad.” Jesus tells us this in the parable of the sheep and the goats. At the end of time he gathers all the people together and separates them into those on his right and those on his left. Those on his right he welcomes into the kingdom of heaven because of the good things they have done; feeding the poor, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and so forth. Those on his left he casts into eternal damnation—for failing to do good things for others.

What is easy to overlook is that everyone Jesus was talking to was a sinner. All had done bad things in their lives—those on the right and those on the left. Yet Jesus does not focus on this. For Jesus was not only God, he was also man and he knows the weaknesses and temptations of all men. He knows that we all sin. So what does he focus on? Not on our sins, but on how much good we have done during our lives. There is a line in the Catholic funeral rite I love which says that when we die, God will first thank us for all the good things we have done in our lives, then he will forgive our sins—in that order. The affirmative act of doing good is what holiness is really all about.

So how do we achieve the Serra Call to Holiness? Merely being a “minimalist” Catholic doesn’t do it. There are three steps we must take.

First, we must make God the Lord of our lives. We must put God first! Not just an occasional, random thought. Not just for an hour on Sunday. But a total commitment to God. Bishop Robert Barron asks us, “Is Christ the Lord of your life? Is Christ commanding your life in every detail? Is he the Lord of your family life? Of your recreational life? Of your professional life? Is he Lord of every room in your house, including the bedroom? Are you totally given over to him, under his lordship?” If God is first in our lives, we should be able to answer “yes” to these questions.

Second, we must understand and believe that God created each of us for some special, unique purpose in his great plan. And since we have put God first in our lives, we must seek out God’s will for us—the special purpose for which he created us. Each day we arise from sleep, we need to ask what is the special, unique purpose he has for us this day, for this season in our life and for all our life. To know the special good that he asks of us is a critical step to growing in holiness.

But how are we to know God’s purpose for us? I teach catechism to a class of sixth grade boys and they always ask me this question. I tell them that regular prayer is important. Prayer is a conversation with God, but for it to be a true conversation, it must not just be us talking, but us listening carefully to God. Prayer must involve silent time so we can hear God speak to us. I also tell them to look at the talents and abilities God has given them, for these often point to his purpose for us. But most of all I tell them to follow their heart. God speaks to us most clearly through our hearts, not our minds.

Then, once you know God’s purpose for your life, you must act on it! Commit your whole self to achieving this purpose. This is the third and final step to growing in holiness—to do good and be more like God by following God’s will.

What is it that made you join Serra? For most of us, it is the special place we have in our hearts for priests and religious. That’s a sure sign that at least part of the reason God created us is to help accomplish the Serra Mission. Serra is not a hobby. It is not a social club. It is a ministry. To be part of a Serra Club is a special vocational calling in itself. St. John Henry Neuman said: “God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission.” And so do all of you. It is not an accident that you are a member of a Serra Club. There are no accidents in God’s great plan. God has put this ministry in your heart. This is the work God has committed to you. Recognize it as at least part of the purpose for which God created you.

Acting on God’s purpose for your life will require sacrifice of time, talents, and treasure, and of ego by putting God’s will first. It will require us to put the good of others before our own good. It may require you to step outside your comfort zone. It will likely involve moments of discouragement. You will get tired! You may even get ridiculed or rejected by others. The challenges may seem enormous, almost hopeless—like a mountain too tall to climb. But remember, God does not ask us to do a task without giving us the resources and his help to do it.

And against all of these challenges, realize that you will know the incomparable joy of doing God’s will—the only real joy there is to experience in life. And you will grow in holiness.

For Serrans who put God first and are purposed by the Mission of Serra, the path to holiness is graced. Our prayers are the very best prayers! Prayers for others, not ourselves. Prayers turning our souls outward towards others rather than inward on ourselves.

And while prayer is the foundation of all we do, true prayer almost always calls us to some kind of action—especially prayers for vocations. A Serra Club provides opportunities for that action not available to an individual. Like appreciation events to honor our bishop, priests, sisters, religious and seminarians. Like spiritually adopting a seminarian. Like organizing Holy Hours for vocations and monthly rosaries in parishes. Like passing out prayer cards for seminarians during Catholic Schools week. Like organizing traveling crucifix and traveling chalice programs in schools and parishes. And many others.

A Serra Club is really the only effective way for an individual to put vocation prayers into action. It helps us to act on this God-given purpose in our life.

Does the Serra Call to Holiness sound familiar to you? It should. Think about it. Putting God first, discerning his will for our lives and acting on it with courage. Isn’t this exactly what we ask young people to do who may be discerning a priestly or religious vocation!

How can we ask them to do this if we are not willing to answer the call to holiness in our own lives. This is what our Call to Holiness is all about and why it is a critical element of our Serra Mission.

Remember what St. Paul said: Christ is the Head and we—the Church—are the body of Christ. Serra is an important part of the Body of Christ. There is no more noble purpose for our lives than the Serra Mission.

So, make Christ the Lord of your life, find the purpose for which he created you and commit your all to doing it. Don’t be a minimalist Catholic. Do good with your lives. And there is no better way to do that than to engage fully in the Serra Mission. In so doing you will grow in holiness and know God’s joy.

God bless you and all that you do for Serra and for Vocations in our Church!

~Mike Downey

Serra US President


‘We Remain An Integral Part Of That Image Of Christ’

 April 23, 2024

BROOKFIELD—Over 100 diocesan deacons, along with their wives and men in formation, gathered on Saturday, April 13 for their annual Diaconate Convocation, reflecting on how they have served God and others in the past while looking ahead to a growth in discernment that Bishop Frank J. Caggiano calls a “remarkable testimony to the reflowering of this ministry.” Centering on the theme of forgiveness, this convocation, held at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Parish in Brookfield, featured speakers throughout the day who offered insight and spiritual guidance to allow both the men and women present to enrich their service to the diocese.

The day began with a welcome by Deacon John DiTaranto, director of the diaconate, and Mass celebrated by Bishop Caggiano. During his homily, Deacon DiTaranto engaged the congregation with a story of sitting in the middle seat during a business flight. Instead of relaxing as he had hoped, a woman beside him noticed his diaconate cross and asked for a prayer to ensure their safe travels. Though a bit frustrated, he acquiesced then wondered, “Why was I so annoyed about delivering a prayer? I love my faith, I love talking about Christ, so why did I find it such a bother to offer a simple prayer?”

The deacon realized, however, that this interaction was a “great opportunity to journey with someone else and perhaps build a relationship with Christ.” Relating his anecdote to the day’s readings, he wondered what the first deacons would have said if someone interrupted them to ask for a prayer. They would not have been annoyed with the request, he assumed. “We are asked to deal with distractions as we go about our lives serving others,” Deacon DiTaranto said. “It is what we have been called to do every moment of our lives.”

Following Mass, Bishop Caggiano addressed attendees in the parish hall, offering his gratitude for those present. “This is a great opportunity to say how profoundly grateful I am for

these men and their wives,” he said. “I thank the Lord for those coming forward and discerning the diaconate.” The numbers of men in formation continues to grow, he added, and plans are being made for a multilingual men’s conference each spring to include prayer, fraternity, and service.

The bishop then began his address on Gender Guidelines, referring to Pope Francis’ Pontificate as “the one document that summarizes everything the Holy Father has been trying to emphasize in his teachings in the last 11 years.” He described human dignity as infinite, detailing the four types of dignity as ontological, moral, social, and existential. “Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and the value of that individual is given by God – not by anyone else and can never fully be lost,” he explained. “We have authentic freedom, but that freedom is not to do whatever you want; it’s a freedom to do what’s good, that which keeps you coherent with your dignity.”

“Male and female form the fullness of God. To destroy it is a profound offense against ontological dignity,” he continued. Some in attendance wondered how, as Catholics, to address those who question this dignity and struggle with who they are. Walk with them, he said. “We are about accompaniment. We pray for humanity and compassion. It is our obligation to have conversations when people raise these questions.”

The convocation’s theme of forgiveness commenced when Timothy Lock, a licensed clinical psychologist focusing on the Catholic population, took to the podium with excerpts from his book Choosing Forgiveness: Unleashing the Power of God’s Grace. When one is the victim of a transgression, the “Catholic response,” he said, is to immediately forgive, though that may be premature. Using spiritually can help one understand the situation. “And by grace,” Lock added, “we can enter into a deep level of forgiveness that leads us to love the very person who harmed us, to love our enemies and pray for our prosecutor. This is how we choose forgiveness.”

Lock recounted the familiar story of St. Maria Goretti, who, at age 11, forgave the assailant who stabbed and eventually killed her, showcasing how one can rely on God’s grace to forgive another. “Forgiveness is not reconciliation; it’s not something I do for me. Forgiveness is an act of love for oneself, for others, or God,” he added.

While Lock offered a theological perspective of forgiveness, another speaker later in the day offered a real life perspective. Jenny Hubbard, whose daughter Catherine died in the Sandy Hook School shooting, shared that there is no one true path toward forgiveness because each injured person’s story is different. “That’s kind of frustrating when we want a way forward in this world of forgiveness,” she admitted.

After Catherine died, Hubbard focused on habits she had before the shooting, including prayer. “I would try to wrap my head around scripture,” she said. “I heard people talking about the Lord God, he sees you. He is with you. His heart breaks with you. And I wanted to know it for myself. As I leaned into my prayer, it all changed.” When praying with a full heart, one sees that God is true to his word, Hubbard believes, and helps them become a forgiving person.

Between Lock’s and Hubbard’s presentations, attendees spent about 45 minutes in breakout sessions. Deacons and men in formation met with Fr. Patrick Baikauskas, O.P, a Dominican friar and executive at the Aquinas Institute of Theology, while their wives listened to Jan Brown, a lay Carmelite and member of Magnificat Ministry to Catholic Women.

“Our goal is to shape those who evangelize in our parishes, in our schools, in our hospitals, and wherever else the Gospel message finds a home,” Fr. Baikauskas said in his talk entitled ‘Ongoing Preaching Formation.’ “We’re trying to give pastors and other ministers the tools to actually engage these people with a loving, human-centered approach.”

In her lecture on ‘The Four Grandmothers of Jesus,’ Brown talked of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba, all chosen by God to be the grandmothers of his son. “Four broken women,

some had affairs, were prostitutes, were not Jewish, and they didn’t fit in,” Brown said. “They were ordinary women who did extraordinary things.”

As Deacon DiTaranto reflected on the day and feedback from the deacons, which included comments such as “Today’s program was the best ever” and “Wonderful day and theme,” he said how grateful he is for the growth of the diaconate within the diocese. Men are drawn in, he said, and continue to ask if they are being called. This influx of deacons compliments what he said in his homily: “When we are all brought together as we are today, we produce an incredible image of Christ. Every day, each one of us goes out into the world on our own, but we remain an integral part of that image of Christ.”

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano invites everyone to the diaconate ordination of Walter Avitabile, Edward Carrillo, and Frank Mantero at St. Augustine Cathedral on Saturday, June 29, 2024.

By Emily Clark

Visit  the Fairfield County Catholic

Deacon Dave's Corner

In the “Imitation of Christ,” Thomas a’ Kempis offers a description of what we need to watch out for so we don’t stay with Jesus only for the things we enjoy and avoid the harder things that are part of the pruning Jesus says the Father will do on us:  

"Jesus has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few cross-bearers. Many desire His consolation, but few His tribulation. Many will sit down with Him at the table, but few will share His fast. All desire to rejoice with Him, but few will suffer for Him. Many will follow Him to the breaking of the bread, but few will drink the bitter cup of His Passion. Many revere His miracles, but few follow the shame of His cross. Many love Jesus when all goes well with them and praise Him when He does them a favor; but if Jesus conceals Himself and leaves them for a little while, they fall to complaining or become depressed.”

Mary, Jesus' first disciple, shared His tribulations, fast, and Passion. During this month of Mary, let us ask her to intercede for us to have the strength and courage to follow her example of discipleship.














St. Teresa of Calcutta:

St. Teresa of Calcutta, also known as Mother Teresa, was a renowned Catholic nun and missionary who dedicated her life to serving the poor and sick in Kolkata, India. Born in Albania in 1910, she felt a calling from a young age to help those in need and joined the Sisters of Loreto at the age of 18. In 1946, she received a "call within a call" from God to serve the poorest of the poor, leading her to establish the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. Throughout her life, St. Teresa worked tirelessly to provide care and support to the marginalized and vulnerable, earning her numerous accolades and awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She passed away in 1997 but her legacy of compassion and selfless service continues to inspire people around the world.

Joining the consecrated life, as exemplified by St. Theresa of Calcutta, offers a unique opportunity to dedicate oneself fully to serving others and living a life of prayer and contemplation. By committing to a religious community, individuals can deepen their relationship with God, grow in holiness, and find fulfillment in selflessly serving those in need. The consecrated life provides a structured environment for spiritual growth and offers a sense of community and support in one's journey towards living out the Gospel values. St. Theresa of Calcutta's life serves as a powerful example of the transformative impact that a life of consecration can have on both the individual and the world around them. Joining the consecrated life is a profound way to live out one's faith and make a positive difference in the world.

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St Serra Vocations Ministry of Bridgeport

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