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.

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.

sms skiing web

Some members of the fifth-grade Junior Girl Scouts at St. Mary School in Milford spend a day skiing at Mount Southington recently.

From left are Amelia McGonigle, Brenna Connolly, Natalie Roney, Madeline Paine and Abby Nickolenko. (Photo submitted)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

blair-abp-len 5189-for-web

  • 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...

Read more...

Youth

youth-parachute-sm

  • 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...

Read more...

HARWINTON – Few of us ever think of ourselves as privileged. Until we’re not.

The last light to go out during storm Alfred was the LED digital clock on our DVD player. For half a second after the rest of the house was plunged into darkness on the evening of Oct. 29, the DVD clock glowed 8:32.

My wife Jean and I hunkered down for the night with extra blankets, satisfied that we were as ready as we could be. We had done the laundry; charged the cell phones; and filled jugs with water and cars with gas. We had candles, canned food, flashlights.

Darkness? Bring it on.

But temperatures plunged. Wind whistled. Wet snow bent the lilac and magnolia and cracked the maple.

In the morning, as I gazed at more than 20 inches of snow, I said, "We can’t stay here."

"But there’s no power anywhere."

I bit my lip. "There are ... shelters."

Neither of us liked the idea. Shelters were for ... others. Besides, when I dialed 211 to find the nearest one, I was on hold so long that I had to hang up to preserve my cell phone charge. We turned on the radio and learned that a makeshift shelter was being set up near our home.

A cheerful young woman answered the door, wearing an EMT jumpsuit with a holster for her two-way radio.

"Oh, hi," I said, "our power is out and our house is freezing. Can we hang here for a while?"

"Absolutely!" the woman said. She showed us into a large, open room that was warm and bright, powered by a gasoline generator outside that sounded like an 18-wheeler downshifting for a hill.

A family of four sat at a table, playing Trivial Pursuit. "How many minor league home runs did Babe Ruth hit?" the questioner asked.

An elderly foursome swapped sections of the Sunday paper bearing headlines about the storm’s devastation. I helped a volunteer unfold portable cots. By nightfall, 19 cots had been arranged in rows, as more people, young and old, showed up. Many of us had brought food to contribute to a supper, prepared by the EMT woman and other volunteers.

It all sounds homey and comfy. It is not. There is nothing homey or comfy about being away from your comfortable home, even if home is a small ranch house.

The cots were made of polyester fabric supported by tubular steel and aluminum. They don’t exactly have "sleep numbers" for comfort. The metal tubes bruise your ankles, butt and neck.

At one point, I may have been the only person awake, listening to 18 others snoring in their unique styles. One man sounded like a woodpecker on a hollow apple tree. Another sounded like someone dragging a chair across a cement floor. One woman’s explosive exhalations were like a steam release valve.

How we could sleep at all is a mystery. Elderly hard-of-hearing people stayed up late talking in what they thought were whispers; people two towns away may now know intimate details about their surgeries. The EMT’s squawk box kept rasping about trees down on nearby roads. And the generator kept up a constant growl.

Nobody would possibly want to live in a shelter night after night.

And yet: In Connecticut, on Jan. 27, 2011, there were 3,770 people staying in shelters, according to the annual Point in Time snapshot of homelessness, reported by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness (CCEH). About 42 percent of these people – which included 496 adults with families and 800 children in families – had never before been homeless. For the year 2010, more than 11,000 people, including more than 1,500 children, spent some time in shelters in Connecticut.

Rent problems, family disputes and domestic violence accounted for about 88 percent of homelessness, but they were not the only causes. They certainly were not the reasons that my wife and I and 17 other people slept on those backbreaking cots on the night before Halloween.

But, as inconvenient as shelters are, they sure beat freezing on the streets or in unheated homes. That’s why a number of shelters in Connecticut receive assistance from the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, including the Immaculate Conception Shelter, Mercy Housing & Shelter and South Park Inn-Homeless Shelter, all in Hartford; Samaritan Shelter in Manchester; St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter in Bristol and Waterbury; Winchester Emergency Shelter in Winsted; Beth-El Shelter in Milford; Columbus House in New Haven; Shelter NOW in Meriden; and others.

They literally save lives.

But one night was enough for us. A nearby motel had power restored the next night, and there we at least had the added comforts of a hot shower and privacy (but, frankly, not much else). The night after that, a family member got power back and invited us in.

Finally, just 90 hours after our DVD clock faded out, our lights came on. The furnace hummed to life. The refrigerator purred. The dishwasher and washing machine caught up on their assignments.

Once again, we were among the privileged. Only this time, we knew it.

Oh, and Babe Ruth hit only one minor league home run. Amazing, the stuff you learn in a shelter.

 Jack Sheedy is the News Editor of The Catholic Transcript and lives in Litchfield County.

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 [...]
07:30 AM
Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford CT, Hartford, United States
  BLOOMFIELD – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair and the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS) will host the annual Archbishop’s St. Patrick’s Day [...]
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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