Diocesan News

Caggiano at Rosary for Life Mass: ‘Persistence’ Is Pro-Life Mainstay

Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport enters Resurrection Roman Catholic Church in Gerritsen Beach for the 29th Rosary for Life Mass on Oct. 12.

Gerritsen beach — Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, told parishioners at Resurrection Church on Oct. 14 that as the world appears to be getting “colder and darker,” persistence is imperative on pro-life issues.

“We gather here and persist in our prayer for the end to the culture of death — to the elimination, once and for all, not only [of] the sin of abortion, which is the murder of innocent unborn life, but the conversion of human hearts,” Bishop Caggiano said.

The occasion was the Gerritsen Ave. church’s 29th annual Rosary for Life Mass, with Bishop Caggiano as celebrant. The Brooklyn native — formerly an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Brooklyn — is the chaplain of the Rosary for Life international prayer group.

The event began at 7 p.m. as about 75 people prayed the rosary. By the time the Mass began at 7:30 p.m., more than 200 people were in attendance. The entrance procession included children from St. Athanasius Parish in Bensonhurst, dressed in blue and pink, following behind a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Wyn Powers, the founder of the Rosary for Life group, said it was “wonderful” to see full pews.

Bishop Caggiano’s homily focused on persistence.

“We persist, recognizing that the world will not change unless you and I are committed to change as well, and to grow ever more in holiness — to stand as the heroines of life in every time, in every conversation, in every place,” he said.

After the Mass, Bishop Caggiano told The Tablet that in an increasingly divided society, reasoned conversation has become more difficult, so Catholics have to convert the world “not by our word but our example.”

He said the size of the evening’s turnout told him fervor for the cause is not dying, but growing. “Instead of a bonfire, it may be becoming more concentrated, but the heat is more intense. The light is brighter, and then that will spread to the rest of the world, so I’m encouraged.”

Vivian Degregorio, a parishioner, echoed Bishop Caggiano’s sentiment in comments following the Mass. She said it was important for the community to come together for an important cause.

“I believe when people come together, it brings light out into the world,” Degregorio said. “It brings hope, and that’s something we all need right now.”

Bishop Caggiano said he traveled from Bridgeport to Brooklyn for the Mass to continue his commitment from his time as a priest in the diocese. He said he had been the local Rosary for Life chaplain and has known Powers for at least 20 years.

“It’s friendship. It’s the cause, of course, and it gives me an opportunity to come back to my roots, so I love to come back,” Bishop Caggiano said.

Bishop Caggiano comes to the diocese to celebrate the Mass every year. For the organization’s 30th-anniversary Mass, he said he hopes to have Brooklyn’s current Bishop-designate Robert Brennan by his side. Bishop Brennan will be installed as shepherd of the Diocese of Brooklyn on Nov. 30.

“I think we’re going to invite Bishop Brennan to come and celebrate the Mass,” Bishop Caggiano said. “As the new Bishop of Brooklyn, he really should.”

One thought on “Caggiano at Rosary for Life Mass: ‘Persistence’ Is Pro-Life Mainstay

  1. Although not mentioned in the article, my brother, Father Michael Panicali, was honored with the Rev. Msgr. Robert E. Welsh award during this Rosary for Life 29th Anniversary Celebration of the Mass for his work and dedication to the pro-life movement and the Rosary for Life international prayer group. Many came that day (members of my own family traveled from around NJ and other parts of NYC) to pray the Rosary, “Celebrate Life” at this Rosary for Life Mass, and to let Father Michael know that all his hard work toward this most important cause was, and is, greatly appreciated. People who know Father Michael know he is one of the heroes “of life in every time, in every conversation, in every place” of whom Bishop Caggiano spoke. When Father Michael was young, he served as an altar boy for Bishop Caggiano, then a priest at St. Athanasius parish, so I am sure having the children from St. Athanasius present meant a lot to both of them. It was a beautiful Mass that I hope served as an inspiration to those present that we need to continue to fight hard for those that cannot fight for themselves in this increasingly cold and dark world.