Bishop Caggiano Honored by Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality

Bishop Caggiano Honored by Fairfield University’s Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality

Fr. Bowler and Fr. Blaszczak present Bishop Caggiano with 2019 Bowler Award

Fr. James Bowler and Fr. Gerry Blaszczak present Bishop Caggiano with the 2019 Bowler Award.

The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano was this year’s recipient of the Bowler Award, named for Murphy Center founder Rev. James M. Bowler, S.J.

A who's who of more than 200 Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality supporters and friends gathered on Friday, April 12 to honor the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano at the Murphy Center’s second annual award dinner.

At the event, Bishop Caggiano was presented with the Bowler Award – named for the Murphy Center's founder, Rev. James Bowler, S.J., – in recognition of his pastoral contributions to the Diocese of Bridgeport and his exemplification of the spirit of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Bishop Caggiano was installed as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport in September, 2013. Under his leadership, the diocese has embarked on a journey of reform and renewal. The Diocesan Leadership Institute was launched to initiate ongoing strategic and pastoral planning, and three major foundations have been created to support works of charity, faith, and education. Other initiatives, including an innovative social media outreach program, have revived the spiritual, liturgical, and pastoral life of the diocese.

The evening to honor Bishop Caggiano began with a cocktail reception in Fairfield University’s Dogwood Room before moving to the Oak Room for an elegant sit-down dinner. The fundraising event was co-chaired by Deacon Patrick Toole, chairman of the Murphy Center Advisory Board and episcopal delegate for administration of the Diocese of Bridgeport, and Rev. Robert Kinnally, pastor of St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church in New Canaan, Conn. Longtime Murphy Center supporters, Cece and Michael Donoghue set a genial and gracious tone as masters of ceremonies.

Rev. Gerry Blaszczak, S.J., vice president for mission and identity at Fairfield University and director of the Murphy Center, spoke of Bishop Caggiano’s commitment to “the task of building bridges, and of becoming himself a bridge by which the people of our diocese, of every age and condition, would encounter Christ Jesus.”

“Fairfield University and the Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality have been privileged to collaborate with you and the Diocese of Bridgeport in building bridges,” Fr. Blaszczak told Bishop Caggiano, before he and Fr. Bowler presented the bishop with the 2019 Bowler Award.

“I stand before you as a product of Jesuit education, and for that I am deeply grateful,” said Bishop Caggiano, a graduate of Regis High School in New York City, in his acceptance remarks. He credited the Murphy Center with being “one of the shining lights for the renewal that we are working for and praying to have in our midst here in the diocese.”

The evening drew to a close with moving testimonials from spiritual director Kathleen Donnelly and Fairfield University student Kate Ferdock ‘21, about the profound impact the Murphy Center has had on their lives.

Calling the experience “my journey of a lifetime,” Donnelly spoke about being invited by Fr. Bowler to train to become a “bona fide, certified Spiritual Director” through the Murphy Center’s rigorous two-year training program. As one of a cohort of 12, she described how the formation program’s directors “guided us, taught us, nurtured us, nourished us, challenged us, prodded us, companioned us, and most importantly led us to an awakening awareness of the ever-so-slight yet always-present drop of God’s grace in our lives and in the lives of others.”

Sophomore cheerleader Kate Ferdock, who is receiving spiritual guidance through the Murphy Center’s 10-week “Encountering the Living God” program for undergraduates, said, “When I started the long trek up from my dorm to the Dolan House where the Murphy Center is located, l had no idea how much my life was about to be changed.”

Second only to the bishop himself in eliciting a standing ovation for her remarks, Ferdock concluded, “The Murphy Center has allowed me to develop my friendship with God in ways that I would have never thought possible. Thanks to the Murphy Center, I can truly say that I am the happiest and most complete I have ever been in my entire life.”

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano | 2019 Rev. James Bowler S.J. Award Dinner

Kate Ferdock ‘21 | 2019 Rev. James Bowler S.J. Award Dinner

Bishop Caggiano Dinner, 4-12-19

Bishop Caggiano Dinner, 4-12-19

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