"The most beautiful image of the Lord is the Lord crucified, because he looks back and says 'in my physical ugliness and my suffering-that is what you are worth.' That's what we're missing."
Caggiano said that beauty-- in liturgy, art, music, poetry, and in new forms and mediums offered by digital technology-- captures hearts.
"Try to imagine the first time you fell in love. The two immediate responses to falling in love are 'I want to know about this person,' and 'I want to spend time with this person.'"
"If we can have the moment of being captivated by Christ," he said, "and then encounter the path of goodness and the path of truth- then you begin a lifelong journey."
The bishop said that the ongoing Vatican synod cannot by itself prescribe the best ways to evangelize young people through beauty. His hope is that the synod will encourage dioceses and episcopal conferences to experiment with ways to evangelize with beauty.
The Diocese of Bridgeport, which Caggiano has led since 2013, has focused on finding ways to reach young people through "the power of image" on social media, along with an online catechetical institute that aims to marry intellectual formation with images and video, and by offering pilgrimages for young people.
"Pilgrimages for young adults are a powerful way to engage with beauty," the bishop told CNA. He said that the diocese has received grants allowing young people to go to the Holy Land and on other pilgrimages even if they are unable to pay for the trip.
Caggiano said that donors support those trips because they see the fruit. He shared the story of a young woman who accompanied him to the Holy Land, and despite beginning the trip uncertain about faith, began going to Mass daily, and had a powerful conversion to deeper faith.
"Pilgrimage is an act of beauty."
Beauty, Caggiano said, must also characterize Catholic liturgy. He said that after a diocesan synod three years ago, a small commission begin revising sacramental norms and liturgical policies in the diocese, with careful attention to the importance of beauty. A new policy document is set to be released later this year.
"It will cause a great stir," he said, because it will call attention to ways in which greater reverence is needed in the diocese.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
He told CNA that "how we conduct ourselves at the liturgy can reveal" something about what priests and other ministers believe about the importance of worship.
To foster a greater spirit of reverence among priests, Caggiano is planning to launch next month the "Confraternity of St. John Vianney," an association of priests, including himself, who will commit to celebrating Mass daily, regular public and private participation in adoration of the Eucharist, and regular sacramental confession.
He said plans for the group are still developing, and that he hopes it will grow "organically."
"We are going to sit before the Lord and let him be our teacher."
"There is a natural stance that flows from a spirituality that is embedded in the belief in the real presence," he said, adding that he aims to help priests develop deeper Eucharistic spiritualities.
Caggiano said the synod of bishops has helped him to develop other pastoral ideas he has been considering. His goal, he said, is to help young people to better know Jesus Christ.