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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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Whyte-Recpt005Father Michael Whyte, Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in West Simsbury, joins, from left, Eileen Morse, coordinator of the St. Joseph Cathedral Food Pantry; and volunteers from St. Catherine of Siena Church: Kim Blanchard, Pat Walsh, Michelle Rice, project chair Karen Carew and Paula Tweed.

HARTFORD – Members of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in West Simsbury have given the St. Joseph Cathedral Food Pantry the largest single donation the pantry has ever received.

At a Mass celebrated at the cathedral on April 10, Monsignor John J. McCarthy expressed gratitude and appreciation to representatives of the parish and to the food pantry’s volunteers, who serve the needy in Hartford’s Asylum Hill neighborhood.

The $8,888 check, presented to Eileen Morse, food pantry coordinator, was one of three significant donations made to local charities from funds raised through St. Catherine’s 2010 Advent Giving Tree Project.

The Giving Tree Project, which raised over $30,000 last year, was initiated by parishioners three years ago.

"I was originally opposed to [the idea]," said Father Michael G. Whyte, Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena. "I had recently been assigned to the parish and the economy was in shambles when I met with the committee, who told me they wanted to raise $30,000 during the busiest time of the year.

"I drove home that night to the rectory and I thought to myself, these people [on the committee] work full-time jobs, they have families, they are very blessed, that’s true; but they are themselves a great blessing," he said.

"They showed me, their priest, what it is to live the Gospel message," he said. "They have children to raise, families to feed, jobs to go to. Yet amidst all that, they still attend to the needs of others."

That year, and in each succeeding year, the committee has successfully raised approximately $30,000 through the Giving Tree Project.

Karen Carew, who chairs the committee, had, for several years, been collecting donations in her neighborhood to provide Advent food and gift baskets for a few families of Sacred Heart Church in Hartford. She and her husband decided to take their neighborhood project to a higher level when they approached their new pastor, Father Whyte.

Mrs. Carew and members of the small committee try to make it easy for parishioners to participate and give them options for directing their donations. Two Christmas trees at St. Catherine of Siena are decorated with envelopes that parishioners use to make their donations. The envelopes allow donors to specify which of three local charities will benefit from their generosity, she said.

This year, parishioners selected from among Sacred Heart Parish in Hartford, the cathedral food pantry, and the Angel Food Ministry that assists senior citizens and families in the Simsbury area.

Sacred Heart Parish received over $11,000; St. Joseph Food Pantry received nearly $9,000; and the Angel Food Ministry received $10,000.

Mrs. Morse was very grateful for the generous donation.

"We are a very active group and stay true to our mission statement," she said. "We feed, clothe and assist the poor of the Asylum Hill neighborhood."

Currently, the St. Joseph Food Pantry is assisting refugee families from Myanmar and Somalia. It will use some of the money it received to assist preschool children in learning English to prepare them for school, Mrs. Morse said.

She praised the parishioners and committee members of St. Catherine of Siena, who were presented with a plaque commemorating their generosity and benevolence.

"They are wonderful people. I’m so impressed with what they do," she said. "They are young and so full of faith."

Father Whyte also took the opportunity to express gratitude to parishioners of both his parish and the cathedral parish.

He said that he thought St. Catherine would not only be quite proud of the St. Catherine parishioners, but would also be proud of the cathedral parish "for all it does for the community and for what a wonderful diverse community it is."


Events Calendar

November 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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
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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