WASHINGTON (CNS) – Pope Francis has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Brooklyn, N.Y., as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.
The appointment was announced July 31 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Caggiano, 54, succeeds then-Bishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, who was named archbishop of Baltimore in March 2012.
Msgr. Jerald A. Doyle has been as administrator of the diocese since May 2012 and he will continue to serve in the post until Bishop Caggiano is installed.
The installation will be Sept. 19 at St. Augustine Cathedral Parish. More details were to be released later.
At a morning news conference July 31, Bishop Caggiano said being Bridgeport's new bishop will be "an awesome and exciting ministry that will bring with it wonderful opportunities to gather people in prayer and to invite everyone to grow in holiness of life."
"There are always challenges in such ministry but I have every confidence that the Lord always provides us whatever we need to meet those challenges and through the struggles we share to deepen our faith and love for him and one another," he added.
He told Bridgeport's Catholics that he comes to them "as a fellow pilgrim on the journey of faith, eager to learn about the good work done each day throughout our diocese."
Bishop Caggiano said he is "ready to listen to the needs of God's people and committed to collaborate with all who serve in pastoral leadership in our parishes, schools, colleges and charitable institutions that serve the poor and needy, most especially my brother priests, deacons and women and men in consecrated life. I ask for your prayers, help and support."
On a personal note, the diocese learned its new bishop is an avid New York Mets fan and enjoys gardening, reading and carpentry work.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford welcomed Bishop Caggiano in a statement released the morning of the announcement.
"Bishop Caggiano is highly admired by the clergy, religious and lay people who know him for all of his dedicated leadership in parishes as parochial vicar and pastor, for his teaching responsibilities at various Catholic universities, and for a wide variety of administrative services that he has managed, including that of Vicar General in the Diocese of Brooklyn," the statement said in part.
"We know that he will be an invigorating leader here in the State of Connecticut and look forward to working with him. May God bless him and all the people of Bridgeport abundantly for many years to come," added Archbishop Mansell.
Msgr. Jerald A. Doyle, administrator of the Diocese of Bridgeport, said in a statement that Bishop Caggiano's appointment was welcome news. "The Holy Father has blessed us with a priest, pastor and teacher with extensive experience at every level of diocesan ministries," he said.
"Most importantly, he is a man of deep faith, love for the church and commitment to the Gospel. On behalf of the clergy, religious and laity, we welcome him with open arms and with our prayers that God will bless him as the shepherd of our diocese," the priest said.
Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said that "first and foremost, Bishop Caggiano is an outstanding teacher, as is evidenced by the Holy See selecting him twice to offer catechesis to the young people at World Youth Days both in Madrid 2011 and just recently in Rio de Janeiro."
Bishop Caggiano mentioned the Rio gathering at the news conference, saying he had returned from it "filled with a renewed sense of hope and excitement that the Church is alive in the hearts of our young people. Many stand ready to share their enthusiasm, energy and joy with the entire Church."
To young Catholics, in Bridgeport and elsewhere, "who may be wondering about the direction of their lives," he said: "I will do whatever I can to serve you and walk with you in your journey of faith."
In his statement Bishop DiMarzio said that "for 26 years, Bishop Caggiano has faithfully served the faithful of Brooklyn and Queens, and I can attest that he is an outstanding priest. ... I can unequivocally state that he will be an outstanding pastor to the faithful of Bridgeport."
Archbishop Lori, who headed the Bridgeport Diocese for 11 years, called Bishop Caggiano "a gifted teacher of the faith, whose evident love for the Lord Jesus Christ and his Church will certainly further the work of the new evangelization in that diocese, which remains so close to my heart."
"I offer my full support to Bishop Caggiano, and my prayers for him, just as I remember daily in my Masses and prayers the many good priests, religious and laity of the diocese I had the privilege of serving," he added.
In 1997, then-Father Caggiano wrote a series of columns about theological and spiritual issues for The Catholic Transcript. He also has written columns on Scripture for The Tablet, newspaper of the Dioceseof Brooklyn,
Ordained a priest in 1987 for the Diocese of Brooklyn, Bishop Caggiano has served in a number of pastoral and administrative positions. He has beena pastor and also has been responsible for the formation of men for the permanent diaconate. In 2006, Bishop Caggiano was named an auxiliary bishop for Brooklyn and since then has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia.
Bishop DiMarzio in his statement noted that during his years serving the Brooklyn Diocese, Bishop Caggiano was "at the forefront" of reorganizing Catholic schools and academies "to make them sustainable for many years into the future." Also, under his guidance, "all of our parishes were placed on firm financial footing to ensure their vibrancy for many years to come," he added.
Bishop Caggiano was born in Brooklyn March 29, 1959. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Cathedral College in Queens; a Master of Divinity from Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, N.Y.; and a licentiate and doctorate in theology from Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University.
The Bridgeport Diocese covers a 633-square-mile area. Out of a total population of about 926,000, close to 411,000 people, or 44 percent, are Catholic.
Jesuit Father Jeffrey P. von Arx, president of Fairfield University, congratulated Bishop Caggiano on his appointment, welcoming him to the diocese.
He called it "a particularly auspicious announcement for our Jesuit university on this day – July 31st – the feast day of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus."
He noted the bishop's Jesuit education, as a graduate of Regis High School in New York and the Jesuit-founded Pontifical Gregorian University.
"He brings to our diocese a reputation for great warmth, love of the church, strength of leadership, and pastoral compassion," Father von Arx said. "His experience as the auxiliary bishop in Brooklyn makes him ideally suited to lead our diverse and vibrant diocese."