Archbishop Leonard P. Blair prepares to bless the recently reopened St. Gerard’s Center for Life pregnancy resource at 59 Eaton St., Hartford, on Oct. 31.
At center of the photo is Christa Chodkowski, the center’s new executive director.
Father John L. Lavorna, the archbishop’s secretary and assistant chancellor, looks on, along with about 35 volunteers, board members and guests. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)
Father Emmanuel Ihemedu, pastor of St. Justin Parish in Hartford, speaks at the Interreligious Harvest Festival held at the parish on Oct. 19.
The event, to which local Catholic and non-Catholic congregations were invited, included guest choirs, musical performances, liturgical dancers and praise worship. Fresh fruits, vegetables, chrysanthemums, baked goods and take-out Caribbean food were sold. (Photo by Lenora Sumsky)
Maggie Cody, a fifth grader at St. Mary School in Milford,generates some energy with pedal power recently as part of her school’s annual all-day STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program.
CROMWELL – “Pius XII was the greatest hero of World War II. He saved more Jews than Roosevelt, Churchill and all the rest of them combined.”
That is the assessment of Gary Krupp, founder and president of Pave the Way Foundation, an organization dedicated to inter-religious dialogue, harmony and tolerance. Mr. Krupp will present the foundation’s groundbreaking research at the 2014 Pope John Paul II Bioethics Lecture on Nov. 13 at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In official reports of the closed-door talks at the Synod of Bishops on the family, an emerging theme has been the call for a new kind of language more appropriate for pastoral care today.
"Language appeared many, many times," Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the briefer for English-speaking journalists, told reporters Oct.7, the assembly's second working day. "There's a great desire that our language has to change in order to meet the very complex situations" the church faces.
HARTFORD – For Charles and Deanna Comparetto, it’s never too late to start over. He is 92, she is 76, and they’ve been married just one year.
They are one of 210 couples who attended the annual Wedding Anniversary Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on Oct. 19. Another 53 couples had registered but were unable to attend. All of them received a marriage anniversary certificate signed by Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, principal celebrant.
TOTOWA, N.J. (CNS) -- Father Benedict J. Groeschel, who was a founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a leading pro-life figure and popular author, retreat master and preacher, died Oct. 3 at St. Joseph's Home for the elderly in Totowa after a long illness. He was 81.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of Father Benedict. He was an example to us all," said Father John Paul Ouellette, who is also a Franciscan friar and the order's community servant.
"His fidelity and service to the church and commitment to our Franciscan way of life will have a tremendous impact for generations to come," he said in a statement released Oct. 4 by the order's community office in the Bronx, New York.
A wake was planned for Oct. 8 at St. Adalbert's Church in the Bronx, with a wake to be held Oct. 9, followed by an evening vigil, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey.
BLOOMFIELD – Small Christian Communities were first formed in the Archdiocese of Hartford 30 years ago under the leadership of the late Archbishop John Whealon. The program has flourished to the point that a combined dinner and anniversary celebration was held to celebrate their achievements.
An estimated 200 people turned out at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary on Oct. 8 for that celebration. After a dinner, a program brought attendees up to date on a newer initiative that’s beginning to take root in a few Connecticut churches. It’s called Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP), or “chirp.”
DENVER (CNS) -- The federal government is pursuing its case against the Little Sisters of the Poor in an attempt to get the religious order to comply with newly issued interim rules regarding the Department of Health and Human Services' contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
The government filed a brief Sept. 8 in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, where the Little Sisters of the Poor run a home for the aged. Other plaintiffs in the case include Southern Nazarene University in Denver and Reaching Souls International, an Oklahoma nonprofit.
The First Sunday of Lent, Feb. 21 this year, was a brilliant day. In a cloudless sky, the sun shone in all of its splendor through the magnificent stained glass windows of St. Joseph’s Cathedral for our Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion. People were seated throughout the cathedral to pray for and encourage our catechumens (those preparing to receive the sacraments of Baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist at the Easter Vigil) and our candidates (those preparing to make their Profession of Faith and receive the sacraments of confirmation and the Eucharist at the Vigil).
Jean Barillet, the French artist who developed the windows, could not have imagined a more spectacular scene. As we sang the opening hymn, “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” by Ludwig van Beethoven, the radiant colors played out over the congregation. The first verse of the hymn sings beautifully, “Fill us with the light of day.”
Our Archdiocese is richly blessed with people who trace their ancestries to countries all over the world. The stained glass illuminated that stunning communion. Much more than exterior lighting was at work; the Holy Spirit was clearly lifting our souls. The convictions expressed in the prayers, the hymns, and the responses gave splendid evidence of the emotions felt in the celebration.
“Christ Be Our Light” was a telling hymn for the celebration. The windows of the cathedral play out that theme. The rear windows on the east side portray shepherds and kings bringing gifts to the Infant Jesus, Simeon welcoming him to the Temple, and Jesus speaking in the Temple at the age of 12. Light begins to emerge in those windows and consequently is developed in other windows depicting Jesus teaching, preaching, and working miracles. The light becomes dramatic in the west windows up front, portraying Jesus instituting the Eucharist at the Last Supper and then dying on the Cross to effect our salvation.
The triumph of Jesus as Light and Lord is seen in the Resurrection on the east front windows: Jesus appearing to Peter and John, to Mary Magdalene, and to the Apostles Easter night.
Through the journey of our catechumens through Lent to Easter, we are all reminded of our commitment to Jesus our Light. As the catechumens receive through this sacred season the Creed, the Bible, the Our Father, and the Commandments, we renew our own appreciation for these gifts of earth-shaking value.
In our pilgrimage from winter to spring, we understand the importance of fundamentals. We have seen recently in the Winter Olympics the incredible skills of athletes on the ice and in the snow; we observe major league baseball players in spring training, the abilities of college basketball players preparing for the “Final Four,” the talents of virtuosi preparing for musical concerts. All of these developments are possible because of concentration on fundamentals.
The fundamental exercises of the spiritual life are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. When all is said and done, Lent is the time for more intensive return to the basics. The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo Saxon word “lencten,” meaning “spring.” Lent is our springtime of our souls. Public and private prayer, particularly our participation in the sacrament of penance and in the celebration of the Eucharist, the religious act of fasting, and the practice of almsgiving are central to following Jesus Christ. We all have dreams, visions, and aspirations. In God’s love, it is behavior which enables us to follow the Lord to Easter.
I take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful ways you undertake the exercises of Lent. Even before Lent began, you contributed $1,085,296 to Catholic Relief Services for the relief of the victims of the horrific earthquake in Haiti. Thirty-eight parishes have not yet made their reports, but the generosity is already impressively clear.
It is very early for the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal 2010, but the donations up to now are evidence of significant commitment. The total is $1,447,872, which is $310,612 ahead of the amount at this time last year. March is a critically important month for the Appeal. You have my profound gratitude for the tremendous ways you meet the needs of the Archdiocese and those who otherwise might fall through the cracks without the help of the Appeal.
We continue to move forward as a family of faith. We pray for and support the catechumens and candidates who are preparing to become full members of the Catholic Church at Easter. Our prayers, fasting, and almsgiving are roots for our lives, developing our character as we are more strongly united with Jesus Christ Our Lord.
The windows of the cathedral follow the Lord to Easter. They also illumine our eyes as windows of our souls. Pope Benedict XVI says in his Lenten Message this year, “Because people are created in God’s image, they not only need food, water, shelter, and jobs; they need God and they need love.”
We follow the light and love of the Lord. A favorite expression of Pope John Paul II was that of Saint John of the Cross, “In the twilight of our lives we will be judged on love.” May Lent be a season of special blessings in God’s love for all of us. Thank you for sharing this wondrous communion in God’s light.