defenders life a webThe Church of St. Ann in Avon hosted a forum about proposed physician-assisted suicide legislation Feb. 22 with speakers Catherine Mary Clark of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, hospice nurse Lorraine Zuwallack and Matthew Kenney, vice president of mission and ethics at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center. (Photo by Mark Jahne)

AVON – Some argue that physician-assisted suicide is a humane way to end a person’s suffering. The Roman Catholic Church contends that there are other, more humane ways of caring for these people and that enabling doctors to allow them to end their lives is against church teaching on the right to life.

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.

john andrews hospice 3753 webDr. Joseph F. Andrews Jr., chief medical officer of The Connecticut Hospice, talks to the Transcript about palliative care. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)

BRANFORD – The physician-assisted suicide in Oregon of Brittany Maynard, 29, caught much media attention and reignited discussion of end-of-life issues. Legislation has been proposed in Connecticut that would make it legal for a doctor to prescribe medication to end a person’s life.

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.

Priests Bicycle Ride 005 web

TORRINGTON – Priests and seminarians are getting in shape for what they believe will be a unique seven-day, 350-mile bike pilgrimage to Emmitsburg, Md., May 29 to June 4 to pray and raise money for Catholic schools.

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.

stagnes babies web

WEST HARTFORD – For over 100 years, every pregnant girl standing at the door of St. Agnes Home has already taken the first and most important step on a long road. She’s made the critical life decision to have her baby. And most, in recent years, have decided to keep, care for and make a family with the baby.

20150203cnsto0001 webPeople carry a banner of Archbishop Oscar Romero in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 22, 2014. (CNS photo/Roberto Escobar, EPA)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – After decades of debate within the church, Pope Francis formally recognized that Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed "in hatred of the faith" and not for purely political reasons.

mental health 1 webHARTFORD – The 2012 murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School and similar high-profile tragedies have created a national dialogue and have catapulted mental and behavioral health to marquee status for the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.

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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  • Hospital looks ahead to merger, looks back on former archbishop’s leadership

    HARTFORD – Archbishop Emeritus Henry J. Mansell and the late David A. Lentini were recipients of...

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Youth

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  • Notre Dame High honors 135 at Junior Recognition Ceremony

    WEST HAVEN – Notre Dame High School recognized 135 of its students on Feb. 4 at its Junior...

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mariehilliard_tn Christ's healing ministry directs the Christian's concern for the sick, particularly the vulnerable, and those who have little or no voice in decisions pertaining to their health care.

Cognizant that all of human-kind are created in the image of God, the human family must share in the healing ministry manifested by Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church, as the largest provider of nongovernmental health care and social services in this country, has responded to this Gospel imperative.

However, government has continually intruded in the exercise of this ministry through mandates that impact the free exercise of religion of those involved in this delivery of health care. Such intrusions have escalated, threatening the well-being of the most vulnerable, most recently by some of the provisions contained in the federal Health Care Reform proposal.

The issue is not whether all persons deserve access to affordable health care; the issue is who will decide, particularly for vulnerable populations, what health care is mandated, received, and publicly funded.

Intense negotiations to produce health care reform legislation have been taking place in Congress, most recently in the Senate Finance Committee and in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. With the August congressional recess upon us, constituents have the opportunity to express their concerns to their members of Congress before a final vote occurs in the fall.

The message to Congress is: "Please support amendments that exclude abortion mandates, prevent federal funding of abortion, uphold state laws that regulate abortion, protect the conscience rights of health care providers, and protect the elderly, the infirm, and persons with disabilities from rationing as well as mandates impacting their end-of-life care." For more information see: http://nchla.org/issues.asp?ID=51.

Abortion Mandate, Funding, Violations of Conscience:

Federal law has long excluded most abortions from federal employees' health benefits plans and places no requirement on private plans.

This could radically change. Current provisions stipulate that there is at least one plan in every region of the country that covers abortion. While public monies will not pay directly for abortion, health plans would receive federal subsidies to help pay enrollment premiums for low-income people, for plans that will cover abortion

Furthermore, provisions such as those requiring timely access to all benefits covered by qualified health plans could be used by courts to override state laws regulating abortion. Thus, it should be clear in the legislation that these state laws will not be preempted.

Also, federal laws protective of conscience rights of health care providers will be in jeopardy, particularly with this requirement of regional access to abortion. The conscience rights of parents regarding vaccination requirements could be impacted. There even are provisions for "increasing intervals between pregnancies" of those enrolled (See Sections 1711-1714). Congress should ensure that this legislation will maintain protections for conscience rights.

Rationing and Mandatory End-of-Life Care:

The proposal creates a government committee determining allowable benefits and treatments, and restricts enrollment in this plan of persons with special needs. The latter is an attempt to interface with health plans for those with special needs included under the Social Security Act, the outcome of which remains unclear. Hospitals will be penalized for government-deemed preventable readmissions. This constitutes rationing of care.

Eligible health care plans will be required to offer Medicare recipients the opportunity to engage in advanced care planning consultations every five years, or more often if there is a change in health status. This could result in actionable medical orders to exclude life-affirming and proportionately beneficial care, within an unforeseeable circumstance. Such orders will remain actionable across continuums of care and across all health care settings. Reasonable medical interventions, including certain medications, could be excluded from the plan of care. Persons could inadvertently agree to dehydrate or starve to death, when reasonable use of assisted nutrition and hydration would be beneficial. With the aforementioned rationing, decisions concerning end-of-life care could be taken away from patients and their families. (See Sections 122, 123, 203, 1151, 1176, 1177, 1233, 1751.)

Marie T. Hilliard, Ph.D., J.C.L., R.N., is director of bioethical and public policy for the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. Published courtesy of the National Catholic Bioethics Center (www.ncbcenter.org/details_news.asp?idOfEvent=442)

Events Calendar

March 2015
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1
2
06:00 PM
Any Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Hartford
The sacrament of reconciliation, or confession, is being offered from 6-7 p.m. every Monday during Lent at [...]
Date :  March 02, 2015
3
4
05:15 PM
Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, New Haven, United States
Dr. Denys Turner will speak on “A Teacher and Two Students:  Albert, Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart” on from 5:15-6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Hubert Campus Center on the New Haven [...]
07:00 PM
Location to be announced, Connecticut
EnCourage, a support group for those who have a loved-one who experiences same-sex attraction, will meet at 7 p.m. March 4 at a location to be announced. As a part of the Courage Apostolate, [...]
07:00 PM
St. James Church, Rocky Hill, Rocky Hill, United States
ROCKY HILL – Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist Suzanne Gross will give a talk titled “End of Life [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, East Haven CT, East Haven, United States
The 20th annual solemn novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will take place at 7 p.m. on nine consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 4, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 355 Foxon [...]
Date :  March 04, 2015
5
04:00 PM
University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, CT, West Hartford, United States
The University of St. Joseph will present the 2015 Munger Lecture, featuring Karen Eifler, co-director of the Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture at the University [...]
09:00 AM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
Sacred Heart Academy will offer an entrance exam for applicants to grades nine and 10 from 9 a.m. to noon March 5 at the academy, 265 Benham St., Hamden. Students who plan to take the test must [...]
Date :  March 05, 2015
6
12:00 AM
2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, Ohio, Columbus, United States
The Dominican Sisters of Peace welcome single, Catholic women, ages 18-45 to this vocation retreat designed to explore consecrated life in the Order of Preachers,the Dominicans. Learn [...]
Date :  March 06, 2015
7
07:00 PM
St. Rita Parish, Hamden, Hamden, United States
St. Rita Parish in Hamden will have its 24th annual Sweetheart Mass and Social by candlelight at 7 p.m. [...]
09:00 AM
St. James Church, Rocky Hill, Rocky Hill, United States
"Stolen Lives: A Gospel Response to Human Trafficking" is the title of a presentation to be given from 9 [...]
10:00 AM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
BLOOMFIELD – The Archbishop O’Brien Library and archdiocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministries have teamed up to sponsor a two-part presentation titled “The Emergence of Black Catholic Women and [...]
Date :  March 07, 2015
8
03:00 PM
Black-Eyed Sally's, Hartford, Hartford, United States
Northwest Catholic High School and Black-Eyed Sally’s will host a fund-raiser from 3-5 p.m. March 8 at Black-Eyed Sally’s, 350 Asylum St., Hartford, for the school’s Trumpets Not [...]
03:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – La Salette Father Gene Barrette will present the last of his three-part series of talks titled “Three Faces of God” at 3 p.m. March 8 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. “Holy Spirit [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford, Conn., Hartford, United States
La Salette Father Gene Barrette’s presentation of “Celluloid Collars,” a series of four films dealing with priests, continues with “Into Temptation” at 7 p.m. March 8 at Our Lady of [...]
12:30 PM
St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
The Archdiocese of Hartford’s Catholic Biblical School will have a Celebration of Sacred Scripture from [...]
Date :  March 08, 2015
9
10
11
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, East Haven CT, East Haven, United States
The 20th annual solemn novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will take place at 7 p.m. on nine consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 4, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 355 Foxon [...]
Date :  March 11, 2015
12
13
12:00 AM
Mercy Center, Madison, Madison, United States
Credo Catholic Singles will have a retreat with the theme “You Are I Am = We Are One” March 13-15 at Mercy Center at Madison. It is designed to give singles an [...]
Date :  March 13, 2015
14
09:00 AM
St. Mary School, Newington CT, Newington, United States
St. Mary School in Newington will sponsor KidsFest from 9 a.m. to noon March 14 at the school. It is open to children of all ages with their parents or guardians. Exhibitors will include [...]
12:00 AM
Mercy Center, Madison, Madison, United States
Credo Catholic Singles will have a retreat with the theme “You Are I Am = We Are One” March 13-15 at Mercy Center at Madison. It is designed to give singles an [...]
Date :  March 14, 2015
15
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford CT, Hartford, United States
La Salette Father Gene Barrette’s presentation of “Celluloid Collars,” a series of four films dealing with priests, continues with “Doubt” at 7 p.m. March 15 at Our Lady of [...]
12:00 AM
Mercy Center, Madison, Madison, United States
Credo Catholic Singles will have a retreat with the theme “You Are I Am = We Are One” March 13-15 at Mercy Center at Madison. It is designed to give singles an [...]
Date :  March 15, 2015
16
07:30 PM
Franciscan Life Center, Meriden, Meriden, United States
Dr. Thomas Finn, a clinical psychologist on staff at the Franciscan Life Center, will present a two-session educational opportunity for parents with children 13 and under in March. The class, [...]
Date :  March 16, 2015
17
05:30 PM
Infinity Music Hall and Bistro, Hartford, Conn., Hartford, United States
The inaugural “St. Pat’s with a Purpose” celebration to benefit Malta House of Care mobile medical clinic will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. March 17 at Infinity Music Hall and Bistro, 32 [...]
Date :  March 17, 2015
18
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, East Haven CT, East Haven, United States
The 20th annual solemn novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will take place at 7 p.m. on nine consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 4, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 355 Foxon [...]
Date :  March 18, 2015
19
20
21
10:00 AM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden CT
The Sacred Heart Academy Alumnae Association will sponsor its annual children’s Easter Party from 10 a.m. to noon March 31 on the academy campus at 265 Benham St., Hamden. The event, which [...]
Date :  March 21, 2015
22
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hartford, Hartford, United States
La Salette Father Gene Barrette’s presentation of “Celluloid Collars,” a series of four films dealing with priests, concludes with a screening of "Calvary" at 7 p.m. March 22 at Our [...]
07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Milford, Milford, United States
 Jesuit Father Charles Allen will lead a Lenten retreat at St. Ann Church in Milford at 7 p.m. March 22-24. His theme is “Praying Like King David – Behaving Like (and Unlike) King [...]
Date :  March 22, 2015
23
07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Milford, Milford, United States
 Jesuit Father Charles Allen will lead a Lenten retreat at St. Ann Church in Milford at 7 p.m. March 22-24. His theme is “Praying Like King David – Behaving Like (and Unlike) King [...]
07:30 PM
Franciscan Life Center, Meriden, Meriden, United States
Dr. Thomas Finn, a clinical psychologist on staff at the Franciscan Life Center, will present a two-session educational opportunity for parents with children 13 and under in March. The class, [...]
Date :  March 23, 2015
24
07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Milford, Milford, United States
 Jesuit Father Charles Allen will lead a Lenten retreat at St. Ann Church in Milford at 7 p.m. March 22-24. His theme is “Praying Like King David – Behaving Like (and Unlike) King [...]
Date :  March 24, 2015
25
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, East Haven CT, East Haven, United States
The 20th annual solemn novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will take place at 7 p.m. on nine consecutive Wednesdays, beginning March 4, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 355 Foxon [...]
Date :  March 25, 2015
26
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 [...]
Date :  March 26, 2015
27
28
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 [...]
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 [...]
Date :  March 29, 2015
30
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. [...]
Date :  March 31, 2015

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