Bishop Frank Caggiano (CNS)
Today the Vatican announced that Bishop Frank J. Caggiano,
currently auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Brooklyn, has been appointed
bishop for the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bishop Caggiano will succeed
Archbishop William Lori, who was named archbishop of Baltimore in March 2012. Rocco
Palmo observes that the Bridgeport diocese has been the longest-standing
episcopal vacancy in the US.
Diocese of Bridgeport’s website has some biographical information about the
Bishop Caggiano entered Yale University in September,
1977, as a political science major. After further discernment, he transferred
into Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception in January, 1978. He
graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in June,
1991. … At the end of this brief period of secular employment, the bishop began
his major seminary studies at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington,
New York. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1987 in the chapel of
the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, Queens.
…In August, 1991,
Bishop Caggiano was assigned to the North American College with residence at
the Casa Santa Maria to pursue advanced studies in dogmatic theology at the
Gregorian University in Rome. He was granted a doctorate in Sacred Dogma in
May, 1996 after successfully defending his dissertation.
… During his time as pastor, the bishop also taught a
number of theology courses at numerous Catholic universities, including the
Staten Island campus of Saint John’s University and Saint Joseph’s College.
In June, 2002, Bishop
Daily appointed Bishop Caggiano as the Director of the Permanent Diaconate
Office. … In 2004, he was named by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio as Vicar for
Evangelization and Pastoral Life, which includes the Diaconate Formation
Office, the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, the Liturgy Office, the
Pastoral Institute, the Office of Faith Formation, the Pastoral Planning
Office, the Saints Peter and Paul Spirituality Center and the San Vincente de
Paul Centro de Evangelizacion.
Palmo highlights some of the particular challenges the Diocese of
Bridgeport has faced in the last year and a half or so:
Already tarred before the opening by several
high-profile cases of sexual and financial misconduct among the presbyterate,
the sede vacante saw the arrest and indictment of Msgr
Kevin Wallin, a former bishop's secretary and rector of St Augustine Cathedral,
on Federal meth-production charges. The counts dating to a leave of absence
Wallin took from 2011 during which time he likewise ran a pornography and
sex-toy shop the fallen cleric pled guilty to the
charges in April, and was sentenced to 11 to 14 years in jail.
Along the way, the
steady drip of the case made for a headline as memorable as it was unsavory
when, in January, a Connecticut Post lede blared "Sources:
Cross-dressing meth priest liked sex in rectory" atop fresh
disclosures. Another Bridgeport priest, Michael Jude Fay, died in Federal
prison in 2009 while serving a 37-month sentence for embezzling $1.3 million
from his monied Darien parish, the stolen funds first noticed by a diocesan
audit found to have been spent fueling ahidden life of decadence.
Were the vacancy
and the scandals not enough to test the diocese's nerves, an even more brutal
blow came last December with the massacre of 20 young students and six staff
members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the quiet village of Newtown. Amid
the horror of the second-largest mass shooting in the nation's history, the
dedication of the community's pastor, Msgr Bob Weiss, amid the strain of the
moment became a widely-cited rallying
point for the