Foundations in Faith – Fall Field Trip & Board Meeting

By Carol Incarnacao-Schirm


On a crisp October evening, the board of trustees for Foundations in Faith held its meeting for the third quarter of 2023. We know it was a crisp evening because the meeting actually began with a group visit and guided tour of St. Margaret’s Shrine in Bridgeport. The shrine is a gem in our diocese because it is in fact multiple shrines and memorials situated on a beautiful winding path going up and down and around the property—it even boasts a miniature nativity scene—Il Presepio—located in a hillside cave. The Presepio depicts everyday life in Naples during the 18th century and was designed by Italian immigrant artist Armando Palumbo.

Our group was lucky indeed to have had a tour of the shrines, memorials, and church building graciously led by Shrine administrator Deacon Don Foust, who imparted us with enough background, history, and an update on current activities at the Shrine to send us off to our meeting location with a sense of gratitude for the breadth of our faith and especially for the multiple generations of faithful who built “An Oasis for Prayer in Connecticut.”

The Board then went on to conduct its business at The Little Goose restaurant in Fairfield, as the quarterly meeting was also the occasion to thank board members for their service to the Foundation. The agenda for the evening included welcoming new board member Janie Nneji from St. Mary’s in Ridgefield, a strategic discussion on the position of the Foundation regarding future grant-making opportunities, and an update on grants awarded on a rolling basis for the current fiscal year.

In Mini Grants—which award up to $2,000 based on exceptional need or innovation to parishes and pastoral care programs in the Diocese of Bridgeport—$5,450 has been distributed among three grantees. Through the St. Francis Xavier Fund, which distributes needs-based grants to missionary parishes in the Diocese demonstrating pastoral vibrancy, a total of $310,000 has been distributed so far to three parishes in the Bridgeport area. Overall, Foundations in Faith has awarded $997,050 in fiscal year 2023-2024 via grants through nine funds to the Diocese of Bridgeport parishes and programs.