Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Msgr. Vincenzo De Gregorio, director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, is pictured at an organ at the institute in Rome Dec. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)   VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- 'Tis t...

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Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Written by Jack Sheedy
Left, people gather to watch firefighters attack the blaze as it rages near the towers of the cathedral. The roof eventually collapsed after being completely involved in flames. At right, firefighters...

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Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Written by Mary Chalupsky
German Nativity scene by Egon Wolfsgruber is placed inside a barrel with polychrome wood figurines. (Photo courtesy of the Knights of Columbus Museum)  NEW HAVEN – With its ancestral heritage, c...

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Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) – On Wednesday, Pope Francis added world famous director Martin Scorsese to the list of Hollywood stars he has welcomed for a private meeting in the Vatican, following a...

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Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
John Slattery and Nathan Lane in “The Front Page” (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)NEW YORK – Because of Nathan Lane’s presence in the cast,  the revival of “The Front Page” has attracted attention an...

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Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Written by Mary Chalupsky
Nicholas Renouf, director of music at St. Mary Church in New Haven or four decades, accompanies the Schola Cantorum during a noon Sunday Mass at St. Mary recently. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky) NEW HAVEN...

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Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Written by Administrator
Campaign photo for the 2016 Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which will take place Dec. 10-11 in most parishes. (Photo by Jim Judkis) WASHINGTON – The annual Retirement Fund for Religious ...

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Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t

Latest Commentary

ARCHBISHOP

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, I wish all of you a holy Advent and a Christmas...

LOCAL

HARTFORD – Reverend Ivan Dario Ramirez and Reverend Israel Rivera have been incardinated in the Archdiocese of Hartford by Archbishop...

WORLD

Women religious gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 23, the day the high court heard oral arguments...

ARTS

Gabrielle Union and Colman Domingo star in a scene from the movie "The Birth of a Nation." (CNS photo/Fox) NEW...

FROM OUR READERS

ENFIELD – John Berube, president of the parish council of St. Bernard Parish, thanks Father John P. Melnick, pastor, for...

YOUTH

BRANFORD – More than 300 people attended the 10th annual Archbishop’s Columbus Day Breakfast, held at the WoodWinds this year...

cram_halfDearest Marietta,

I knew you were dying, but I wanted one more day together. One more kiss, one more chance to remind you that I love you. One more game of Giant Step in the yard. One more birthday with one more candle, and enough breath to blow it out.

But, the candles stand forever at 34, with no more kisses and no new tomorrows. No more letters in your funny handwriting. No more songs crooned together as Dad howls and we break out laughing so hard we can’t continue. No more clothes borrowed, then rumpled and forgotten under the bed. Just 34 candles, silent and still.

It’s been 16 years since your life on earth came to an end. I still remember that Monday when I sat with you and held your hand and listened to Pachelbel as you gasped for breath. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the gasps quieted. And then there was silence.

Oh Marietta, I miss you so much. I yearn to hear your voice and listen to your funny stories about wheelchair races down the halls at the nursing home where you worked. I want to hear about the times you prayed with residents, and how you once smuggled a puppy into our house and hoped Mom wouldn’t notice. And, I’d give anything to find my rumpled clothes stuffed under your bed. Anything.

I am sorry for the times I hurt you and was self-righteous and smug. I’m sorry, too, for the grudge I held against you as Mom and Dad struggled to help you overcome your addictions. I forgive you for mistakes you made, even the ones that led to your death.

I talk to you sometimes. I hope you can hear me. I write about you, too. I’m pretty sure that’s okay.

Your boys are now terrific young men and they’ve been blessed with wonderful families. They remind me so much of you that sometimes I have to turn away so they don’t see me cry. Each time I say good-bye to them, I hug them for a long time. I never want to let them go.

I don’t want to let you go, either, even after all these years. I hope you and I will spend eternity side by side in Paradise, but women in our family live to be so old that I’m afraid it may be a long wait. Can you save me a seat?

I love you, Etta. Did I ever tell you that? Did I tell you that I admire your guts? That you made me laugh? That I need your childhood memories? That I ache at your absence in ways I can’t even understand?

I want you to know that your life had meaning. I know you struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, but I also know that God had a firm grip on you, especially during your long battle with AIDS. As a matter of fact, your attempts to be faithful inspired a family friend to serve God through her music. She even wrote a song about you. Were you paying attention when she sang it at your funeral?

Thanks for listening. I guess you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, huh?

One more thing. Can you see others in heaven? Can you see Peter’s and my baby, Benjamin, who also is in Paradise? We never got to hold him. Can you hold him for me the way I hug your boys for you? Be sure to tell him that the other kids miss him, too. That would mean more than I can ever express.

So I guess that’s it for now.

May your soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, by the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Love you, girl,

Reg

Regina Cram lives in Glastonbury and is a freelance writer.