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2013.07.30 - Bridgeport, CT - Frank J. Caggiano speaks with the press Wednesday morning after his appointment as Bishop of Bridgeport was announced. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.30 – Bridgeport, CT – Frank J. Caggiano speaks with the press Wednesday morning after his appointment as Bishop of Bridgeport was announced. Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

By Denise Buffa and Bernard T. Davidow. dbuffa@courant.com

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport finally has a new bishop: the Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano, 54, of Brooklyn.

He replaces William E. Lori, who left to become archbishop in Baltimore in May 2012.

The pope announced Caggiano’s appointment at 6 a.m.

“I come to you as a fellow pilgrim on the journey of faith,” he said at a 10:30 a.m. press conference at the Catholic Center in Bridgeport.

Caggiano, who just returned from the church’s World Youth Day celebrations in Brazil, which was also Pope Francis’ first overseas trip, issued a special invitation to the young people of the diocese to join him on that journey.

In his 30-minute press conference, he stressed the church’s need to evangelize and to reach out to young Catholics, who he said face special challenges.

He said he hopes to bring to the diocese “a gentle and compassionate heart” and cited Pope Francis as an example to emulate. He also echoed the pope’s recent comments about gays and the church.

“First and foremost, we have to be very clear as Catholic Christians that the love of God is universal. Gay and lesbian Catholics are loved by the lord … everyone is welcome into the Catholic Church.” He said chastity was an important issue, however, and that gay marriage was unacceptable.

Asked about the priest sexual-abuse scandal that rocked the diocese in years past, he said, “It’s a question of trust. When trust is broken, it takes a while to build that trust. We are still working to rebuild trust.”

CLICK HERE for more of the story by Denis Buffa and Bernard T. Davidow.

2013.07.30 - Bridgeport, CT - People attending a press conference with Bishop Frank J. Caggiano laugh during one of the meeting's lighter comments. Caggiano, who was born on Easter, joked, "The doctor never let me forget that I ruined his Easter dinner. ...right about the time pasta was going to be served.' Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

2013.07.30 – Bridgeport, CT – People attending a press conference with Bishop Frank J. Caggiano laugh during one of the meeting’s lighter comments. Caggiano, who was born on Easter, joked, “The doctor never let me forget that I ruined his Easter dinner. …right about the time pasta was going to be served.” Photograph by Mark Mirko | mmirko@courant.com

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