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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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Haiti-doc-007WEST HARTFORD – Although the Haitian people are grateful for all that has been accomplished since the devastating earthquake shook Haiti 16 months ago, they need the generous aid and deep commitment to continue.

In a program hosted by Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti and St. Peter Claver Church, Jude Marie Banatte, a Haitian doctor who has been with Catholic Relief Services for 11 years, spoke about CRS activities following the earthquake and about the progress of longterm reconstruction and recovery.

"Things are not moving fast in Haiti, said Dr. Banatte. "But they are moving fast enough, when we consider the challenges and the underlying conditions [that existed] before the disaster."

Dr. Banatte, who manages large CRS medical and health projects on Haiti’s southwestern coast, presented statistics to provide a context for considering the magnitude of achievements and to enhance understanding of why recovery in Haiti will require a longterm effort. He also contrasted circumstances surrounding the earthquake in Haiti and subsequent quakes in Chile and Japan, where recovery seems to be moving at a faster pace.

Before the earthquake, the literacy rate in Haiti was just 52 percent, and half the population lived on less than $1 a day. The country had the highest infant mortality rate in the region, and there were only two doctors for every 10,000 inhabitants, he said.

Agricultural productivity was so low it only accounted for 28 percent of gross domestic product. Haiti only produced 49 percent of the food it needs to feed itself; forcing the country to rely on imports.

"Farming doesn’t provide for the needs of the country," said Dr. Bannatte. "[Yet] we do not have hunger in Haiti; we do not have malnutrition in Haiti. It’s a major accomplishment."

That’s because CRS has distributed 25 million rations since the quake, he said, to help meet the nutritional needs of the Haitian people.

But the real accomplishment, he said, has been in empowering Haitians to increase selfsufficiency so they may provide for their own nutritional needs.

Dr. Banatte called the fact that no epidemics have started in the camps "another major accomplishment." More than 1.2 million homeless people were sheltered in open areas, creating a huge potential for disease, he said.

Dr. Banatte said the efforts of CRS in Haiti have been in three phases: relief, recovery and reconstruction. Most efforts so far have been on relief and recovery.

In all of its efforts, CRS seeks to help Haitians to become selfreliant and take greater roles.

"We have transitioned into activities that enable people to make their own living, enabling them to provide for their families and develop the economy," he said. CRS is also working with farmers to improve agricultural production.

Eleven thousand people have been employed with pay for clearing rubble, cleaning out drainage canals and building transitional shelters. Others have helped clear debris, making way for 8,000 transitional shelters that have been built. More than 1,300 water and sanitation units have also been installed.

Despite these results, people have the impression that not too much has been done in Haiti, said Dr. Banatte.

"I think that is very true if you are looking at it from the [perspective] of reconstruction; even the rubble hasn’t been removed yet," he said.

"But if you look at it in terms of meeting food, water, and sanitation needs of nearly three million people in a highly vulnerable group, the efforts have been very successful."

In contrasting circumstances in Haiti with the earthquakes in Chile and Japan, Dr. Banatte noted that the earthquake in Haiti had a magnitude of 7.2 and lasted 35 seconds.

The subsequent earthquakes in Chile and Japan were significantly stronger and lasted longer.

People ask why 230,000 died from the quake in Haiti, when in Japan, less than 10 percent of that number [including victims of the earthquake and tsunami] were killed, he said. While all of the earthquakes have been tragic and in Japan the nuclear crisis continues, the disaster in Haiti was exacerbated by many factors.

The people in Haiti were not prepared. The nation’s last earthquake was 200 years ago. Because the country is prone to hurricanes; municipal buildings were made to withstand wind and floods, but not to withstand an earthquake.

Video images of the earthquake in Japan showed people running from buildings. When the earth started to shake in Haiti, people thought something was happening in the streets and rushed into buildings to protect themselves, said Dr. Banatte.

The distance from the earthquake epicenters to major population centers was another factor.

Most of those who died in Haiti were in Port-au-Prince, a city built for 500,000 that was inhabited by three million people, which was near the epicenter. In Chile and Japan, the earthquake epicenters were 60 to 80 miles from major population centers.

Port-au-Prince, the capital city center, was destroyed. "It collapsed the capacity of the leaders – the decisionmaking people – to react because they themselves were victims," he said.

Dr. Banatte said he hoped his presentation encouraged people to continue to help Haiti in the future.

He encouraged people to "use their constituency, their voting power, to talk with Congresspeople [entreating them to] not cut the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable."


Events Calendar

November 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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
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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