Sold Out Crowd Attends Norwalk ‘Celebrity Breakfast’


(L to R) Father Robert Kinnally, Ed Bagnulo, Nancy Owens, Richard Madwid, Bill Tommins, Michael Tintrup, Al Barber, & Mark Texeira.

Celebrity guest speaker Father Robert Kinnally, Pastor of St. Aloysius & Chancellor for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

NORWALK—Hundreds of people from around the Norwalk and New Canaan area came out to the Shorehaven Golf Club on December 7 to support the programs of Catholic Charities in the city of Norwalk.

This year’s breakfast featured guest speaker Father Robert Kinnally, chancellor of the Diocese of Bridgeport and pastor of St. Aloysius Parish.

Though quick to poke fun at his “lack of celebrity status,” Father Rob began his inspiring talk by quoting the famous Mother Teresa, saying: “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

He then took to the podium to beautifully describe his parents, who he credits as having taught him the importance of charity and how to give of oneself generously.

“My parents didn’t just explain to me why it was important to be charitable, they showed me, every single day by their example,” Father Rob explained, sharing multiple beautiful (and often humorous) stories about his youth.

One such story involved a particular Thanksgiving when then Rob asked his mother “who was coming to dinner?”

Catholic Charities’ President Al Barber

“I don’t know,” she replied.

“Well, how many people are coming?” Father Rob remembers asking.

“I don’t know,” was the answer then too.

In his speech, Father Rob explained that his parents would invite “everyone who didn’t have a seat at someone’s table” to Thanksgiving, which often led to a diverse and varied group each year. This was just one example of their “radical hospitality” that Father Rob referenced throughout his speech.

As his speech closed, Father Rob praised both Catholic Charities programs hosted in the city of Norwalk—Behavioral Health Services and Room to Grow Preschool. Both programs assist individuals, children, and families by educating and counseling them on a daily basis to help them navigate their way through life.

Director of Behavioral Health Richard Madwid

In addition to hearing from Father Rob, Al Barber, president of Catholic Charities began the day, Richard Madwid, director of Behavioral Health Services shared an update on what is happening in the program, and Nancy Owens, director of Room to Grow Preschool elaborated on the importance of the program to the Norwalk community.

Bill Tommins of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors closed out the morning and Msgr. Cullen led the opening prayer.

Director of Room to Grow Preschool Nancy Owens with RTG Board Member Ed Bagnulo

For 25 years, the Norwalk Breakfast has supported Behavioral Health Services and Room to Grow Preschool. Now more than ever the success of this event is vital as the agency strives to expand the services provided by Room to Grow Preschool to include financial literacy, English as a Second Language class, afterschool homework support, and parenting education. Catholic Charities is also working hard to promote the necessity of behavioral services throughout the City of Norwalk to help those struggling and battling mental health issues such as grief and loss, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Catholic Charities’ Board Member and Development Board Chair Bill Tommins

Catholic Charities of Fairfield County, Inc. is one of the largest private social service providers in Connecticut. Since 1916, Catholic Charities has served all people with programs that feed the hungry and homebound, shelter the homeless, strengthen families, assist the physically and emotionally challenged and deliver consultation and assistance to immigrants. They serve all people without regard to age, race, religion or ability to pay. Catholic Charities puts faith into action by providing food, housing, mental health, adoption, immigration, and family support services to the needy and vulnerable of Fairfield County.

Written by John Grosso
As seen in Fairfield County Catholic

Corporate Offices: 238 Jewett Ave Bridgeport, CT 06606
Phone: 203.416.1503
Fax: 203.372.5045

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