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Jaynika Aguirre-Larios and daughter Danielise Gonzalez were among an honorary residential welcoming committee for Archbishop Leonard P. Blair during his Thanksgiving pastoral visit on Nov. 25 to pray and celebrate with the staff and residents of St. Agnes Home in West Hartford.

20141121cm01588 webA poster announcing the pope's raffle is seen next to St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 21. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Like many Catholic parishes, the Vatican has turned to a raffle to raise money; the difference is, though, the prizes are items originally given as gifts to Pope Francis.

whyte-kidney 4244-adj-webFather Michael G. Whyte, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in West Simsbury, sits beside parishioner Margaret Domashinski in the parish rectory 10 weeks after surgery Sept. 9, when Mrs. Domashinski donated a kidney to save her pastor’s life. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)

WEST SIMSBURY – A parishioner walks up to her pastor and says, “I want to give you my kidney.”
Pastor smiles and says, “Okay.”

Don’t expect a punch line. It’s no joke.

Father Michael G. Whyte arrived at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in 2007 and has been pastor there since 2008.  A type 1 diabetic, he began experiencing extreme tiredness and nausea at about that time, signs of kidney failure due to the diabetes. Doctors gave him three choices: go on dialysis and live five or six more years; do nothing and die within six months; or get a kidney transplant and – if it’s from a live donor – live 20 to 25 years.

20141117cm01483 webPope Francis leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 16. The following day, Pope Francis confirmed he will visit Philadelphia in September. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis said he would attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September, making it the first confirmed stop on what is expected to be a more extensive papal visit to North America.

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Auxiliary Bishop Christi A. Macaluso presided over the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for the Permanent Diaconate on Nov. 20 in the chapel of St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield.

20101119cnsbr03533 webBishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., addresses the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during its annual fall meeting in Baltimore Nov. 15, 2010. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec) WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will be taken up in parishes nationwide on Nov. 22-23, the weekend before Thanksgiving. Echoing the teaching of Pope Francis, the collection focuses on the theme: “CCHD: Working on the Margins.”

“In the United States, many Americans continue to face the effects of a stagnant economy, debilitating unemployment, a dehumanizing cycle of poverty, and growing civic disenfranchisement,” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

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Up above the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea, Saint Peter's Church shines as the beacon to the Holy Land from the old port city of Jaffa. Peter's vision of the clean and unclean took place here at the house of Simon the tanner. Jaffa (Joppa in biblical times) was also the departure port for the prophet Jonah's encounter with the whale.Bob Mullen/The Catholic Photographer, a member of the Cathedral of St. Joseph Parish in Hartford and a regular contributor to The Catholic Transcript, visited Israel Nov. 4-11 and shared the sites through these photographs. The Israel Ministry of Tourism and El Al Israel Airlines arranged the “Catholic Highlights of Israel” tour primarily for writers, editors and photographers for Catholic media. The photos marked "Photo of the Day" are available for download for free. They will be highlighted periodically.

20141105cnsbr6821 webYoung people take selfies with Pope Francis as he leaves his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The world's bishops are called to be servants and shepherds who use their position to care for people and the faith, not to seek power and boost their pride, Pope Francis said.

The church has no place for men with a "worldly mentality" who are seeking a career, he said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Nov. 5.

"It's sad when you see a man who seeks this office and who does so much to get there and when he makes it, he doesn't serve, but struts like a peacock, living only for his own vanity," the pope said.

AlbertusProf SMSstudents-webBiology Professor Patricia Compagnone Post demonstrates materials for working with DNA to students from St. Mary School in Branford on Oct. 22 at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven.

BRANFORD – St. Mary School’s seventh and eighth graders are learning science and math from Albertus Magnus College faculty now as part of a new partnership.

The partnership is designed to improve the St. Mary students’ competitiveness in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields of study. The school’s STEM program aims to provide students with a dynamic, engaging series of educational experiences based on an innovative, in-depth and hands-on approach to science.

Archbishop's Desk

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  • True and false compassion

    For this November issue of the Transcript, I want to anticipate the coming holiday and wish you...

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Milestones

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  • USJ receives $2-plus million grant toward student success

    Together for the announcement of a $2 million-plus grant for the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford...

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Youth

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  • St. Gabriel students give to Windsor Food Bank

    From left, students Sabrina Louro, Ethan Alford, Thomas Dao and Jordan Walker pose near...

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Girls-in-BarnIn this still from the new, locally made movie "St. Bernadette of Lourdes," Connecticut children portraying village children of Lourdes, France, ask Francois Soubirous if they can go to a grotto where the Blessed Mother has appeared to his daughter Bernadette. (Photo courtesy of Jim Morlino, Navis Pictures)

In 1858, 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous was wading across a brook near a cave in Lourdes, France, when she was visited by an apparition of Our Blessed Mother. Many of us know the story through the 1943 movie "Song of Bernadette," which relates the widespread skepticism and eventual acceptance of the miraculous events. Bernadette (1844-1879) was canonized a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1933.

Now, a new, 75-minute movie is available, filmed locally in 2009 and featuring only children – 166 of them. "St. Bernadette of Lourdes" was produced by Navis Pictures and was shot at several locations within and near the Hartford Archdiocese.

"The movie industry exerts a very strong influence on our culture, and I don’t see many Catholics producing great films," said Jim Morlino of Danbury, creator of Navis Pictures and the man who wrote, directed, produced and narrated the movie.

"I think it’s a Catholic duty to understand what beauty is and who the author of beauty is," Mr. Morlino said. "Most of the world’s greatest art, the faith can’t be separated from it. That’s what I was hoping for. If you can’t get to that stage, at least get the children mindful of what is good art and what is not good art," he said.

The movie stars Mr. Morlino’s daughter, Genevieve Morlino, as Bernadette. His two other daughters, Annette and Cecelia, portray nuns. Our Lady is played by Stephanie Lamore of Farmington.

It opens with a battle scene between Charlemagne and Mirat in about 778, in what was to become Lourdes. Local leader Mirat and his forces are nearing starvation, but he vows never to surrender to a mortal man. Roracius, Bishop of Le Puy, confronts him and asks if he would surrender to an immortal lady – Mary, Queen of Heaven.

Released from his vow, Mirat surrenders and is converted, taking the name Lorus as his baptismal name. From that name, legend holds, comes the name Lourdes.

In this way, Mr. Morlino said, Our Lady had influenced the location for more than 1,000 years before Bernadette Soubirous was born.

Mirat is portrayed by Joseph Henares, then 16, of Avon, who also played the part of Jacomet, the town official who tried to discredit Bernadette.

"It was very fulfilling," he said. "[Mirat] was a major role in the movie, even though he was an antagonist. He lived when Europe was beginning to turn away from Christ. He represents those forces, while Bernadette represents innocence."

He said he did not find it difficult to portray the bad guy. "I just had to have a very supercilious attitude and basically act superior," he said, adding that his family has an acting background. He said that his sister, Marian, who portrays Jeanne Abadie, Bernadette’s friend, wants to pursue a professional acting career. His younger brother, John Paul Henares, portrays a priest, Father Pene.

Jean Henares, their mother, said her children and Mr. Morlino’s children belong to the same home-schooling association in Cheshire and have been involved in stage productions and small films he has produced over the years.

She said her favorite of the many locations for the Bernadette film was the Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine. "Our whole family goes there every year in October and May. We say the rosary and go on pilgrimage there," she said.

Montfort Father William Considine, director of Lourdes in Litchfield, said the brook on the property was used as the brook Bernadette waded into when she experienced her first apparition. Exterior shots of the priests’ residence, Montfort House, and its courtyard were also used, he said.

"I guess the thing that struck me was this sort of wonderful mix of professionalism and these wonderful young actors," Father Considine said. "The main actors had to shoot and re-shoot. This wasn’t quite right, change the light. I was very impressed."

He said it would be a great film for a religious education class to show, but even adults would appreciate it, he added. "The beauty and the holiness of Bernadette’s life come through in the children’s acting, every bit as much as it would with adults. We were enchanted," he said.

Brian Murphy of Avon was 17 when he portrayed Francois Soubirous, Bernadette’s father. He said, "When Mr. Morlino first asked me to do it, I had no idea how professional it would turn out. I thought it would be some kind of small school project or something. I was just amazed at how very professional he was with camera and lighting."

His brother Michael, then 11, has a brief, comic appearance as a photographer who uses too much magnesium when photographing Bernadette. He said he was impressed with Mr. Morlino’s work ethic. "People would take a break and he’d always be working, setting up the next scene," he said.

Kathryn Mihaliak, who was 15 when she portrayed the mean Sister Damian, said she worked with Mr. Morlino in two previous short films. "He spent a lot of time with me, one on one, trying to teach me. He had a very clear vision of how the scene was going to look," she said.

Cecelia Joliat, 12 years old when she portrayed Madame Millet, said she knew the story of Bernadette but not every detail. "I liked how he put the story together. I thought it was really well done," she said.

Dee-dee Mihaliak is the mother of four of the actors and also runs a home school in Avon where several scenes were shot. "It’s a great way for the children to see how movies are actually constructed, so they can make better decisions about what they think is truth and fiction when they go to see a movie," she said.

Mr. Morlino said the movie was shot over a four-month period in Connecticut and upstate New York. The grotto scenes were shot at a cave formation in Ridgefield. Cobblestoned courtyard village scenes were shot at the Convent of St. Birgitta in Darien. St. Mary Catholic Church in Norwalk was also used, as well as several private residences.

"It is a work of the soul, because God is the ultimate creator, and we sort of image him in a way when we create something," Mr. Morlino said. "I think it’s a valuable thing, creating something together that is beautiful for the greater glory of God."

"St. Bernadette of Lourdes" is available through the Web site www.navispictures.com and selected Catholic retail outlets. It is being marketed through Ignatius Press and may soon be shown on EWTN, Mr. Morlino said.

Events Calendar

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10:00 AM
St. Michael Parish Center, Waterbury, Waterbury, United States
Knights of Columbus from several councils in greater Waterbury will distribute coats to children from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 28 at its “Coats for Kids” drive at St. Michael’s Parish [...]
Date :  November 28, 2014
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09:00 AM
St. Gregory CCD Center, Bristol, Bristol, United States
The annual St. Gregory Christmas Craft Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 29-30 at the CCD Center, located at 1043 Stafford Ave. The fair will feature over 40 crafters/vendors, an [...]
12:00 AM
St. Mary School, Milford
St. Mary School will sell freshly cut Christmas trees, wreaths and cemetery pieces from 5:30-9 p.m. Monday [...]
Date :  November 29, 2014
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09:00 AM
St. Gregory CCD Center, Bristol, Bristol, United States
The annual St. Gregory Christmas Craft Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 29-30 at the CCD Center, located at 1043 Stafford Ave. The fair will feature over 40 crafters/vendors, an [...]
09:30 AM
Polish National Home, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – The Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford will hold its annual Szopka Festival from 9:30 [...]
12:00 AM
St. Mary School, Milford
St. Mary School will sell freshly cut Christmas trees, wreaths and cemetery pieces from 5:30-9 p.m. Monday [...]
Date :  November 30, 2014

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