About First Witnesses

Parents are the first witnesses of the faith. If, however, those parents lack the language to articulate the faith, if they lack the inspiration to ritualize the faith, and if they lack the support at the parish level, there is often little that gets passed on to the next generation. 

First Witnesses is a comprehensive approach that supports parents and parishes in working collaboratively to stem the tide of disaffiliation. Research tells us parents have incredible influence when it comes to their children choosing to remain engaged in religious practices. Birth to age three is the most precious time in a child’s life when the appropriation of ritual and language is strongest. First Witnesses seeks to combine the latest research with practical resources and opportunities for parents and congregations to build a culture of faithfulness. 

The first phase is primarily in the form of digital resources (videos, learning paths, podcasts, newsletters, and online engagement) with some referrals to local resources. Phase one was launched in February 2024.   

The second phase of First Witnesses will include partnering with several parishes during the summer of 2024 under a collaborative arrangement leading to ongoing training, resources, and regular follow-through by accompanying the parish and the families during the formative years of faith development.  Each family that is enrolled in First Witnesses through their parish will be accompanied by fellow parishioners and receive a toolkit that will include items such as a child’s first Rosary, prayer cards, a crucifix, children’s books on learning about the Mass and the Saints, a subscription to a prayer app, etc.

Children who grow up in a warm and loving home filled with daily practices and habits of faith that are fun, meaningful, and binding will come to know and love God within their family.

First Witnesses is a project under the Institute for Catholic Formation at the Diocese of Bridgeport.

From Baptism to Graduation: The Role of a Parent as First Witness

A welcome message from Bishop Caggiano.

About Our Logo

For generations, stained glass has been used in churches around the world to tell the story of salvation. Inspired by this tradition, the logo for The First Witnesses initiative reflects the place where our stories begin: the home. Families come in all shapes and sizes. So do the places we live. At the center of every home where faith is nurtured is the cross, shown here in a dark orange pattée, symbolizing the Christian faith. Surrounding the cross are symmetrical shapes colored in our two accent colors, midnight blue and pale turquoise. These colors express wisdom and stability and work to bring the cross into full view, similar to the logo of the Institute for Catholic Formation, the sponsor of the First Witnesses Initiative. The contents of the logo gather to form various shapes of two homes, different in size and structure and yet equally rooted on a firm foundation, reminding us that it is our home where faith is first witnessed.