VATICAN CITY, ROME – The Reverends Marcin Pluciennik, Jeffrey V. Romans and Jose Mercado are shown here in Rome with suitcases filled with 3,000 rosaries to be blessed by Pope Francis and later distributed to the faithful in Connecticut. Eighty people from the Archdiocese of Hartford attended the papal audience in Rome with Pope Francis on Wednesday, May 21, and received his blessing. Prior to the pilgrims' leaving for Rome, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell was able to secure special seating for the pilgrims, who sat approximately 75 feet from the Holy Father. In his remarks, Pope Francis told the tens of thousands in the crowd that "love is the universal language," and discussed the importance of evangelization. He also prayed for those hit by the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. For many of the Connecticut pilgrims, this was an experience of a lifetime. "It was a spectacular event. The spectacle was impressive, but most of all, the man himself was impressive. He gave the people of the archdiocese special mention, and it was truly a blessing," said Thomas Foley, one of the pilgrims. The rosaries blessed by Pope Francis will be distributed at the Year of Faith Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford on Sunday, June 2, at 3 p.m. The pilgrims will leave to visit other sacred sites and the cities of Orvieto, Assisi, Florence and Venice. They will return to Connecticut on May 29. (Photo by Maria Zone)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As the death fluctuated from the massive tornado that struck near Oklahoma City May 20, Pope Francis offered a special prayer for the victims during his early morning Mass May 21, offered his condolences through his Twitter account and through a message to the city's archbishop.
"Let us pray for the victims ... and the missing, especially the children, struck by the violent tornado that hit Oklahoma City yesterday. Hear us, O Lord," the pope said during the prayers of the faithful at his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
Father Jeffrey V. Romans, secretary to Archbishop Henry J. Mansell and chair of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Year of Faith committee, checks in one of 80 people who left for Italy aboard airport-bound buses from the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield on May 20.
Archbishop Mansell is leading the archdiocese's Year of Faith pilgrimage, which includes an audience with Pope Francis on May 22 and tours of Assisi, Siena, Florence, Padua and Venice before departing May 29.
The archbishop will be the principal celebrant of a Year of Faith Mass at 3 p.m. June 2, the solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford.
A reception will follow the Mass in the lower cathedral. There will be a slide show and static display of people in the Archdiocese of Hartford reflecting and spreading their faith through actions, Father Romans said, "so people can see the Gospel story, the story of how we as the family of the archdiocese live out our faith on a daily basis." (Photo by David Royce)
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) – Dr. Kermit Gosnell may have been convicted May 13 of murder at his Philadelphia abortion clinic, but "nothing can bring back the innocent children he killed, or make up for the vulnerable women he exploited," said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.
And, he added, "the repugnance of his clinic conditions" must be remembered.
In a May 14 statement, the Philadelphia archbishop said, "Gosnell is not an exception. Others just like him run abortion mills throughout our country."
A Philadelphia jury May 13 found Gosnell guilty of murder in the deaths of three babies born alive during abortions and acquitted him of a fourth similar charge. He also was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death by a drug overdose of a patient who had an abortion.
East Catholic High School students, faculty and staff help to prepare more than 45,000 nutritious meal packets for shipment to Uganda as part of the “Feeding Children Everywhere” campaign.
The school community weighed, bagged and packaged lentils, rice, spices and dehydrated fruit.
The initiative was brought to East Catholic by student Grace Mazzarella, who took part in the project at her church. She thought that the program would have more impact at East Catholic, where all students could participate.
Students raised the funds to purchase the food needed for the packets. (Photo submitted)
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell ordained seven men to the priesthood on May 11 in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford.
The new priests are Father William Agyemang, Father Piotr (Peter) Buczek, Father Michael T. Casey, Father Timothy S. Hickey, Father John R. Mariano, Father Carlos Piedrahita and Father Michael Santiago.
See photo gallery here. Story to come. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)