Photo Credit: Amy Mortensen, Diocese of Bridgeport
Growing up in a first-generation Italian-American family, the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano said that the soul of the house was the kitchen table. As a seminarian, he’d pull up a chair with his mother every night at 9 p.m. to talk about the day over a hot cup of coffee.
Now, as the leader of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Bishop Caggiano is urging Catholics to “rediscover the power of the table” to heal divisions through community and hospitality. He will share his innovative perspective on engaging the laity and harnessing proven business practices to strengthen and sustain the Church as the keynote speaker for the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota’s (CCF) 25th anniversary celebration in April.
A Brooklyn native, Bishop Caggiano began his college career at Yale University in 1977 as a political science major but transferred just months later to Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception to pursue a degree in philosophy. As a recent college graduate, he worked as a sales representative for a publishing company before discerning a call to the priesthood. He was ordained in 1987.
When he was installed as the fifth bishop of Bridgeport in 2013, Bishop Caggiano noted the great need to connect with young people, reach those who are troubled, and reengage with Catholics who no longer participate in the life of the Church. He has passionately championed these priorities beginning with a diocesan synod – Bridgeport’s first in 32 years. Bishop Caggiano organized listening sessions with laity, priests, and religious, garnering more than 4,000 comments. He used this feedback to steer the diocese composed of 82 parishes, 38 schools, and 410,000 Catholics.
Revered among young people as a clear and passionate speaker, he has also spoken to millions at four World Youth Days and serves as an episcopal advisor of The National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry.
The Entrepreneurial Bishop
When he became bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Bishop Caggiano inherited a diocese that was nearly $22 million in debt. But by strategically calling upon the professional laity in his diocese, they began making the challenging choices needed to reduce the deficit. Forbes Magazine took notice, later titling him the “Entrepreneurial Bishop.”
“We can learn from the corporate world,” Bishop Caggiano told Forbes Magazine. “We have to be open, transparent, and financially accountable. In the Catholic Church, that’s a whole new way of doing things.”
Bishop Caggiano also created a new way to drive laity engagement. Through a diocesan leadership institute, both clergy and laity can now learn new skills in business practices such as human resources, communications, technology, social media, and more from qualified parishioners.
Just as this diocesan leadership institute invites Catholics to intentionally share their time and talent, CCF invites Catholics to prudently share their treasure. By giving time, talent, and treasure, Catholics claim their seat at the table of their local and global Church.
“Philanthropy is yet another way that the faithful can actively live out their vocation,” CCF President Anne Cullen Miller says. “At CCF, we welcome all to come to the table to pass on the blessings they’ve received in a way that makes a direct and lasting impact on our community.”
We hope you’ll join us at the table to listen to Bishop Caggiano’s dynamic message at CCF’s anniversary celebration at the Hilton Minneapolis on April 26, 2018. Event information and registration are available at www.ccf-mn.org/25th.