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Archbishop Leonard P. Blair greets members of St. George Parish in Guilford after celebrating his first public Mass as Archbishop of Hartford there on on Dec. 22.
As winter temperatures hit a balmy 60 degrees, more than 1,000 parishioners greeted him outside of the church after Mass and at a reception in the parish’s newly renovated church hall.
Before beginning his homily, Archbishop Blair quipped that when he looked at the gathering in the pews before him, “I see all that would warm an archbishop’s heart” – a standing-room-only church, young people and a recently ordained priest, referring to Father Andres Mendoza, who concelebrated the Mass along with the parish’s pastor, Father James Shanley.
On Dec. 24, the archbishop is scheduled to celebrate two Masses at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, at 4 p.m. and at midnight; and on Dec. 29, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)
The Most Rev. Leonard Paul Blair, 64, was installed as the fifth archbishop and the 13th bishop of the Archdiocese of Hartford during a solemn Mass of Installation celebrated at 2 p.m. Dec. 16 before a jubilant congregation of 2,000 people at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Archbishop Blair, who previously served as Bishop of the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, succeeds the Most Rev. Henry J. Mansell, who served as archbishop since 2003 and submitted his resignation at the required age of 75 last year to then-Pope Benedict XVI, as required by canon law.
"Archbishop Blair, it is my honor and privilege as your predecessor to welcome you to the cathedral, your Cathedral Church of St. Joseph," said Archbishop Mansell as he met and greeted his successor at the doors of the cathedral.
Also part of the ceremonial reception, Msgr. John J. McCarthy, rector of the cathedral, presented Archbishop-designate Blair with a crucifix that he kissed and with holy water that he sprinkled on himself and those present.
HARTFORD – Reviewing the past decade in the Archdiocese of Hartford, one sees a story of robust spiritual growth, dedication to evangelization and physical signs of faith in action.
Msgr. John J. McCarthy, chancellor of the archdiocese, said that Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, who is retiring, is leaving a legacy of living the Gospel personally and seeing the Church do the same.
“He did make an enormous, positive impact on the archdiocese because of his talents and because of his tireless efforts. He worked seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, long hours each day, and was really dedicated to living out and seeing the Church in Hartford live out the Gospel message,” he said. “One notable aspect was in social action.”
BLOOMFIELD – Christmas brings joy and an invitation to worship. Chocolate brings joy, too, and that’s at least part of the message. At Fascia’s Chocolates Inc. you can get it all – joy and worship – wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon.
And at Munson’s Chocolates, which has its international headquarters in Bolton and has 10 retail outlets in Connecticut, you can purchase Christmas-themed chocolates from stores and from their website. You can also special order a variety of religious-themed Christmas chocolates.
Both Connecticut-based chocolate companies offer a wide variety of specialty chocolates befitting the seasons of Christmas and Easter.
BRISTOL – The annual gathering formerly known as the Religious Education Congress lived up to its new name, Faith and Evangelization Congress, with help from a keynote speaker who focused on building the Church.
Ryan Hinton, assistant director of the archdiocesan Office of Religious Education and Evangelization, which sponsored the event on Nov. 9, noted that the gathering was open to all parish ministries, including directors of religious education, catechists and youth ministries.
“But we hope to include ‘John and Jane Catholic,’ to welcome them into deepening and sharing their faith. [The event] is about evangelization and spiritual growth,” he said.