In front of packed pews at St. Theresa Church Thursday, newly-appointed Diocese of Bridgeport Bishop Frank J. Caggiano took his seat, or "cathedra," for the first time.
He said as the Brooklyn Bridge connected both sides of New York in 1883, so Catholics must build "spiritual bridges" to help those in need and convince Catholics who stopped practicing their faith to return to the church.
Caggiano replaces William Lori, who is now Archbishop in the Baltimore Diocese.
"We must remember this day. We must resolve to leave no one behind," he said. "All have been called. All must serve ... in faith, hope and love."
As the Brooklyn Bridge is made metal and stones, the spiritual bridge is made of "spiritual stones," said the new bishop, who formerly served in Brooklyn.
He noted that the Brooklyn Bridge created a "greater sense of community," leading to the unification of New York in less than 15 years.
"Bridges unite. They open opportunities. They can even transform human life," he said.
Catholics must pass on the love of God to those they help, Caggiano added. "God inspires us, blesses us, unites us, sends us forth."
He concluded with a request.
"I ask you as your shepherd to join me in two great tasks. Strengthen spiritual bridges and have the courage to build new bridges."
"The Holy Spirit has chosen each of us. Each of us is needed, each is wanted," he said.
He noted that Bridgeport, a part of the diocese, is so named because it had the first drawbridge across the Pequonnock River.