Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

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Archbishop's Desk

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  • Trusting in God’s mercy

    Since The Catholic Transcript is published only monthly, this edition looks forward to Easter...

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Milestones

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  • Fairfield University alum makes $10 million gift to his alma mater

    John C. Meditz FAIRFIELD – A Fairfield University alumnus and trustee, John C. Meditz, ’70, of...

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Youth

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  • Bee spells victory for students

    Cameron Murray, fourth-grade state champion of the annual spelling bee sponsored by the...

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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

April 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
Date :  April 11, 2014
12
13
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
05:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
Date :  April 13, 2014
14
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
Date :  April 14, 2014
15
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
Date :  April 15, 2014
16
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven, East Haven, United States
The annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that began on March 5 continues at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at [...]
Date :  April 16, 2014
17
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
08:00 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Commemoration of the Lord’s Supper
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 17, 2014
18
03:00 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Commemoration of the Lord's Passion
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
05:00 PM
St. Ann Church, New Britain, New Britain, United States
Saint Ann Church in New Britain will present its annual Passion Play at 7 p.m. April 11 and 18 and at 5 [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
07:30 PM
St. Frances Cabrini Church, North Haven, North Haven, United States
The Living Stations of the Cross will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Good Friday at St. Frances Cabrini [...]
07:30 PM
St. Catherine of Siena Church, West Simsbury, Simsbury, United States
WEST SIMSBURY – Christ’s Seven Last Words, proclaimed as he hung upon the Cross on the first Good [...]
12:00 AM
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 18, 2014
19
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
11:00 AM
Raffia Shopping Plaza, Enfield, Enfield, United States
ENFIELD – “Baby Steps,” the annual family walk for life, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. [...]
12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The Path of Transformation, a Holy Week Triduum Retreat for Men and Women, will take place April 17-19 at [...]
Date :  April 19, 2014
20
04:00 PM
Planned Parenthood, Enfield, Enfield, United States
Concerned Citizens 4 Life  will hold a series of peaceful prayer vigils in front of the new Planned [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:00 AM
Date :  April 20, 2014
21
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 21, 2014
22
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 22, 2014
23
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06:00 PM
Mercy Hall, University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
WEST HARTFORD – The Art Gallery at the University of St. Joseph (USJ) will present the 2014 Vincenza Uccello Fine Arts Lecture featuring [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Full of Grace: Gentle Yoga and Centering Prayer will meet for seven Wednesdaysat the Caritas Christi [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven, East Haven, United States
The annual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that began on March 5 continues at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 23, 2014
24
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Dr. Tim Gray's study of the Gospel of Luke expliains the fundamental themes of Jesus' messianic mission. [...]
07:00 PM
St. Brigid Parish, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
The St. Brigid Ladies Guild annual Monte Carlo Whist Party will be held at 7 p.m. April 24 in St. Brigid [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:00 AM
St. Martha School, Enfield, Enfield, United States
St. Martha School in Enfield will hold an open house on Thursday, April 24, from 10-11:30 a.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Tours will be conducted; and teachers, students, parents of students and administrators will [...]
Date :  April 24, 2014
25
06:30 PM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
An international food, wine and beer tasting will be held to benefit Immaculate Conception Shelter and [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
Date :  April 25, 2014
26
04:00 PM
Connor Chapel, University of St. Joseph
HARTFORD – Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus will join the combined choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony [...]
06:30 PM
St. Mary School, Newingtonn, Newington, United States
St. Mary School in Newington will host its annual wine and beer tasting event from 6:30-9:30 pm. March 1. [...]
06:30 PM
St. Mary School, Newingtonn, Newington, United States
St. Mary School's annual wine tasting and auction will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. April 26. The event will be hosted by NBC TV personality Brad Field.  Some of the items to be [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
07:30 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, will present music and prayer for the Easter seaso at 7:30 p.m. [...]
09:00 AM
St. Monica Church, Northford, Northford, United States
NORTHFORD – St. Monica's Rosary Society will have its spring craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 26 [...]
09:00 AM
St. Mary-St. Michael School, Derby, Derby, United States
DERBY – Back by popular demand, organizers say, St. Mary-St. Michael School will sponsor a community shred day from 9 a.m. to noon April 26 at the school, located at 14 Seymour Ave.  Eco Shred [...]
09:30 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
"Making Friends with the False Self," a contemplative prayer program, will be presented by Father Bill [...]
Date :  April 26, 2014
27
02:30 PM
St. Ann Church, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St.  Ann Church in Bristol will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on April 27 with a Mass at 2:30 p.m. [...]
03:00 PM
Mary Our Queen Church, Plantsville, Southington, United States
Divine Mercy Holy Hour - Mary Our Queen Church, Southington, 3-4 p.m. April 27th.  Benediction, Homily, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Veneration of relic of St. [...]
03:00 PM
Legion of Christ Seminary, Cheshire, Cheshire, United States
A Divine Mercy Holy Hour will be held at 3 p.m. April 27 at the Legion of Christ Seminary in Cheshire. It [...]
04:00 PM
St. Michael Church, Litchfield CT
HARTFORD – Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus will join the combined choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony [...]
07:00 PM
St. Margaret Mary Church, South Windsor, South Windsor, United States
A Novena for Divine Mercy will be held at St. Margaret Mary Church beginning at 7 p.m. on Good Friday, April 18, and concluding at 3 p.m. on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will [...]
12:45 PM
Charter Oak Cultural Center/Riverfront Mortensen Plaza, Hartford, United States
NEW HAVEN – The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) of the Archdiocese of Hartford, in [...]
Date :  April 27, 2014
28
29
07:00 PM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
09:00 AM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
Date :  April 29, 2014
30
07:00 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
HAMDEN – Caritas Christi Center will sponsor a day bus trip to St. Joseph the Worker Shrine in Lowell, [...]
07:00 PM
St. Anthony Parish Center, New Haven, New Haven, United States
The St. Anthony Society of St. Anthony Parish will have its 37th annual raffle and card party at 7 p.m. April 30 in [...]
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Full of Grace: Gentle Yoga and Centering Prayer will meet for seven Wednesdaysat the Caritas Christi [...]
09:00 AM
Farmington, United States
"Resurrection:  How can we respond to the needs of today and bring new life to ourselves and our world?" Deacon Art Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the [...]
09:00 AM
Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Plainville, Plainville, United States
Our Lady of Mercy Parish will offer a five-part program for lay Catholics titled “We the People of [...]
Date :  April 30, 2014

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