crs lauralton webAntoinette (Toni) Iadarola, president of Lauralton Hall in Milford, holds an award presented to the school by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on Feb. 26. From left are Soha Menassa, who spoke to students about the work of CRS in Lebanon; Peggy Jean Craig from CRS; Dr. Iadarola; and Maria Isabel Barboza, CRS relationship manager in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)

MILFORD – Calling the refugee crisis in Syria the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II, Soha Menassa, project manager for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Lebanon, explained how CRS is responding to the mounting needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

20150305cnsbr8397 pope webPope Francis greets elderly woman as he arrives for weekly audience in 2014 in St. Peter's Square at Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The most serious ailment the aged face and the greatest injustice they suffer is abandonment, Pope Francis said.

facs stpats webCindi Bigelow, president and CEO of Fairfield-based Bigelow Tea, speaks at the annual Archbishop’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in Hartford March 17. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)

HARTFORD – More than 900 people attended the annual Archbishop’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast at the Connecticut Convention Center March 17, making Catholic education possible for many students who otherwise could not afford it, according to organizers of the event.

Hospice MP web

NEW HAVEN – Legislative proposals to allow doctors to prescribe fatal prescriptions to people diagnosed with a terminal illness are not seen as a good option by Connecticut adults, according to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll.

20150218cm01806 webPope Francis gives ashes during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome Feb. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

ROME (CNS) -- Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome's Aventine Hill.

stpats mass 4317 web

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair poses with key figures from the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday at St. Mary Church in New Haven, where the archbishop celebrated Mass before marching in the parade.

20150217cm01766 webCoptic Christian women attend a Feb. 17 service in Cairo for the Egyptians said to have been beheaded in Libya. (CNS photo/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith.

Robert.Curis.New.Headshot2Robert F. Curis

WEST HAVEN – Notre Dame High School in West Haven has named Mr. Robert F. Curis its next president. He will assume his responsibilities on July 1.

20150213cnsto0043 web This architectural rendering shows how the Museum of the Bible planned for Washington will look. (CNS photo/courtesy Smith Group JJR)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- On a gray and overcast morning in Washington, just a short walk from Capitol Hill, construction work began on a museum intended to promote engagement, education and discussion of the Bible.

Archbishop's Desk

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  • Blessings and challenges

    A letter from Archbishop Leonard P. Blair was inserted into church bulletins available at Masses...

    Read More...

Milestones

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  • Infusion center for women opens in Hartford

    A new, women-only infusion center has been  officially opened at the Comprehensive Women’s Health...

Read more...

Youth

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  • Northwest Catholic junior is Governor's Scholar

    WEST HARTFORD – John Carew, a junior at Northwest Catholic High School, has been named a 2015...

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mansell halfThe warm days of May became warmer as the month moved on, and we are not talking about the weather temperatures. The focus continues to be on religious liberty, enshrined in our Bill of Rights on Dec.15, 1791, and reverenced as the marquis issue in the history of our country to this day.

The threats to religious liberty become more dangerous as the weeks pass. Back on Jan. 20 of this year, Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, decreed that all employers must pay for health insurance for their employees for various matters, including the provision of services that the Catholic Church, and others, consider immoral: surgical sterilizations, pills that may induce abortion, and contraception. On Feb. 10, President Barack Obama announced that an accommodation would be made, but early study showed that it was no accommodation at all.

It was stated that Catholic churches and schools which teach only Catholic children might be exempt. Other entities would not be: Catholic Charities, and Catholic universities, colleges, high schools, elementary schools, hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc. The so-called accommodation that was introduced stated that the insurance companies would provide the services for these institutions. It appears the homework was not done: many of these Catholic agencies are self-insured. Even those that are not, commentators say, would wind up paying higher insurance premiums in the long run.

As you know, I have been addressing this matter in writing and on television, radio and the Internet, reminding us of the most serious consequences should this law be enacted as scheduled. The Supreme Court is expected to address the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act this month.

In addition to that legal action, on May 21, 43 Catholic entities brought 12 lawsuits against the federal government in federal courts across the country. It was not necessary for all dioceses to join in the lawsuits. Certainly a wide variety of Catholic institutions is participating, a fact that  highlights the tremendous dangers involved in such a mandate.

Of course, we are most supportive of the suits going forward. While these new lawsuits include only Catholic entities, we are hopeful that they will establish principles that protect all religious organizations.

It is preposterous to imagine that the federal government would seek to define what our religious ministries are and who our religious ministers are. Our very religion calls us to provide educational, social, medical and pastoral services not only to Catholics, but to people of various faiths and backgrounds. It is because we are Catholic that we deliver these services. In Connecticut, for example, the Catholic Church is second only to government in the provision of educational, social, and medical services.

With all the difficulties our country is facing at this time, and with all the good done by these organizations and those of other faiths, people wonder why the federal government would want to make it harder for religious institutions to contribute to the common good. The government picked this battle. We did not choose it or the timing of it. It would have been better for the country if this threat had never been posed. Given that it has been, we must defend the fundamental human right to religious freedom.

If the government can order our religious organizations to violate our consciences, what comes next? It is encouraging to note how many other religious organizations – Protestant, Jewish and Muslim – are testifying in support of our actions in this regard.

To support our work in the matter of religious liberty, a special Fortnight for Freedom is being organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It will run from June 21 to July 4, and will focus on prayer, reflection, education and action in dioceses and parishes across the United States.

We will be mailing out materials from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to our parishes and institutions, with encouragement for all of us to participate in these events in some way. Involvement in this program will be most appreciated.

Archbishop’s Annual Appeal 2012

Despite all of the challenges, the amazing story continues. The current appeal total so far this year is $9,071,319.That amount is $328,508 higher than the total at this time last year. The beautiful story of you, our people, continues. You demonstrate convincingly that you know thoroughly and practice effectively what our faith calls us to be and to do. The stories you make possible in people’s lives are phenomenal. Every penny goes out in service.

Events Calendar

March 2015
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05:30 PM
Grand Oak Villa, Oakville, CT, Watertown, United States
The St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury will commemorate its 37-year record of continual service to the poor of Greater Waterbury with a banquet beginning at 5:30 p.m. March 26 at the Grand Oak [...]
05:30 PM
St. Peter/St. Francis School, Torrington, Torrington, United States
St. Peter/St. Francis School will have open houses in March, April and May. The times and dates are 5:30-7 p.m. March 26, 9-11 a.m. April 22 and 5:30-7 p.m. May 12. Parents may visit [...]
07:00 PM
St. Rita School, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
St. Rita School in Hamden will present the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at 7 p.m. March 26, 7 p.m. March 27; and at 1 and 7 p.m. March 28.. Tickets cost [...]
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 26, 2015
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07:00 PM
St. Rita School, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
St. Rita School in Hamden will present the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at 7 p.m. March 26, 7 p.m. March 27; and at 1 and 7 p.m. March 28.. Tickets cost [...]
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 27, 2015
28
01:00 PM
St. Rita School, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
St. Rita School in Hamden will present the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at 7 p.m. March 26, 7 p.m. March 27; and at 1 and 7 p.m. March 28.. Tickets cost [...]
05:00 PM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden, CT, Hamden, United States
Sacred Heart Academy is sponsoring a $10,000 cash raffle as part of its annual signature fund-raising event, a live and silent auction, taking place at 5 p.m. March 28. Tickets for the cash [...]
07:00 PM
St. Rita School, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
St. Rita School in Hamden will present the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at 7 p.m. March 26, 7 p.m. March 27; and at 1 and 7 p.m. March 28.. Tickets cost [...]
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 28, 2015
29
07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Bristol CT, Bristol, United States
A tenebrae service, or service of lights, will take place at 7 p.m. on Palm Sunday, March 29, at St. Ann Church, 215 West St., Bristol. This service will include hymns, music by a contemporary [...]
12:00 AM
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 29, 2015
30
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 30, 2015
31
09:00 AM
St. Mary School, Milford, Milford, United States
St. Mary School in Milford will have an open house from 9-11 a.m. March 31. Teachers, staff and parents of current and former students will be on hand and students will provide tours. [...]
11:00 AM
Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford , Hartford, United States
During the Chrism Mass on March 31 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will bless the oils to be used in the upcoming year during the sacraments of [...]
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 31, 2015

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