Archbishop Leonard P. Blair prepares to bless the recently reopened St. Gerard’s Center for Life pregnancy resource at 59 Eaton St., Hartford, this morning.
At center of the photo is Christa Chodkowski, the center’s new executive director.
Father John L. Lavorna, the archbishop’s secretary and assistant chancellor, looks on, along with about 35 volunteers, board members and guests. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)
Father Emmanuel Ihemedu, pastor of St. Justin Parish in Hartford, speaks at the Interreligious Harvest Festival held at the parish on Oct. 19.
The event, to which local Catholic and non-Catholic congregations were invited, included guest choirs, musical performances, liturgical dancers and praise worship. Fresh fruits, vegetables, chrysanthemums, baked goods and take-out Caribbean food were sold. (Photo by Lenora Sumsky)
Maggie Cody, a fifth grader at St. Mary School in Milford,generates some energy with pedal power recently as part of her school’s annual all-day STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program.
CROMWELL – “Pius XII was the greatest hero of World War II. He saved more Jews than Roosevelt, Churchill and all the rest of them combined.”
That is the assessment of Gary Krupp, founder and president of Pave the Way Foundation, an organization dedicated to inter-religious dialogue, harmony and tolerance. Mr. Krupp will present the foundation’s groundbreaking research at the 2014 Pope John Paul II Bioethics Lecture on Nov. 13 at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In official reports of the closed-door talks at the Synod of Bishops on the family, an emerging theme has been the call for a new kind of language more appropriate for pastoral care today.
"Language appeared many, many times," Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the briefer for English-speaking journalists, told reporters Oct.7, the assembly's second working day. "There's a great desire that our language has to change in order to meet the very complex situations" the church faces.
HARTFORD – For Charles and Deanna Comparetto, it’s never too late to start over. He is 92, she is 76, and they’ve been married just one year.
They are one of 210 couples who attended the annual Wedding Anniversary Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on Oct. 19. Another 53 couples had registered but were unable to attend. All of them received a marriage anniversary certificate signed by Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, principal celebrant.
TOTOWA, N.J. (CNS) -- Father Benedict J. Groeschel, who was a founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a leading pro-life figure and popular author, retreat master and preacher, died Oct. 3 at St. Joseph's Home for the elderly in Totowa after a long illness. He was 81.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of Father Benedict. He was an example to us all," said Father John Paul Ouellette, who is also a Franciscan friar and the order's community servant.
"His fidelity and service to the church and commitment to our Franciscan way of life will have a tremendous impact for generations to come," he said in a statement released Oct. 4 by the order's community office in the Bronx, New York.
A wake was planned for Oct. 8 at St. Adalbert's Church in the Bronx, with a wake to be held Oct. 9, followed by an evening vigil, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey.
BLOOMFIELD – Small Christian Communities were first formed in the Archdiocese of Hartford 30 years ago under the leadership of the late Archbishop John Whealon. The program has flourished to the point that a combined dinner and anniversary celebration was held to celebrate their achievements.
An estimated 200 people turned out at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary on Oct. 8 for that celebration. After a dinner, a program brought attendees up to date on a newer initiative that’s beginning to take root in a few Connecticut churches. It’s called Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP), or “chirp.”
DENVER (CNS) -- The federal government is pursuing its case against the Little Sisters of the Poor in an attempt to get the religious order to comply with newly issued interim rules regarding the Department of Health and Human Services' contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
The government filed a brief Sept. 8 in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, where the Little Sisters of the Poor run a home for the aged. Other plaintiffs in the case include Southern Nazarene University in Denver and Reaching Souls International, an Oklahoma nonprofit.
HARTFORD – It was a joyous day for celebration and "firsts"on May 12 as Archbishop Henry J. Mansell ordained four men to the priesthood, including the first married priest and the first Vietnamese priest to serve in the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The Cathedral of St. Joseph was the setting in which clergy, seminarians, family and friends gathered to celebrate the ordination of Father Mathieu Isaac, Father Robert Nelson Landback, Father Timothy Edward Ryan, and Father Nicola Nghĩa Hũu Trân. (See photo gallery at right.)
"We give thanks for the men who are being ordained today," said Archbishop Mansell, who offered a few moments of personal reflection.
Referring to research in a book published last year, Why Priests are Happy, by Msgr. Stephen J. Rosetti, the archbishop said that the author found that of all vocations, priests are among the happiest people in the world.
"There is no greater love than to lay one’s life down," he said, "through hearts that are filled with enthusiasm, love and joy" – the joy that comes through the order of the priesthood.
The archbishop also used the occasion to note that the cathedral, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, installed a new permanent altar. Using the symbolism, he reflected on how every good work in the Church proceeds from the altar where priests consecrate the Eucharist.
"We are all Catholics together at the Eucharist, people of communion with God," he said. "That’s what the priesthood is about."
During the rite of ordination, the candidates were presented to Archbishop Mansell by Father Michael J. Dolan, archdiocesan director of vocations. The men then moved forward one at a time to give their promise of obedience to the archbishop and his successors.
The men prostrated themselves during the Litany of the Saints. Archbishop Mansell recited a prayer, asking God to "pour out the gifts of heaven" on the men he has chosen to be priests.
The archbishop then called each man forward to lay his hands on them in silence. The 70 priests attending then moved forward to do the same.
The archbishop then extended his hands over the candidates for the prayer of consecration.
The four men were vested in stoles and chasubles for the first time. Then the archbishop anointed their hands with chrism and presented each of the newly ordained priests with a paten holding the bread and a chalice containing the wine mixed with water.
Before the final blessing, Archbishop Mansell announced, to the cheers and applause of those gathered, the first appointments of the newly ordained: Father Isaac to St. Mary and St. Ann in New Britain; Father Landback to St. Mary in Branford; Father Ryan to St. Mary, St. Rose and St. Isaac Jogues in East Hartford, and Father Trân to St. Mary and St. Robert Bellarmine in Windsor Locks.
With the conclusion of the Mass, the faithful flocked to the new priests to congratulate them and seek their first blessing.
"It’s beautiful … it’s so holy," said an overwhelmed Father Isaac about the ordination, as tears streamed down his face.
Echoing those sentiments was Father Ryan, who moved to Connecticut from California 25 years ago to work for American Airlines.
"It’s exciting, thrilling. I’m nervous, but very happy," he said.
A reflective Father Landback noted that he felt the presence of the Holy Spirit along with the support and prayers of the community during the ceremony.
Also reflective was a beaming Father Trân, who looked on as 14 Vietnamese sisters came from Holy Apostles College in Cromwell, where they are studying, to offer their prayers, support and congratulations.
"I’m so happy, so joyful; my faith has saved me," he said. He stated proudly that after his conversion from Buddhism, his entire family also converted to Catholicism two years ago.
Family members and friends were equally enthusiastic.
"We’re very excited," said Anne Marquis, sister of Father Ryan, who came from San Francisco to attend the ordination. "It’s such a beautiful ceremony, and this is something Tim has wanted his whole life. It’s a dream come true."
A busload of parishioners came from St. Mary Parish in Branford to support Father Landback, who celebrated his first public Mass there.
"It’s so gracious of the Catholic Church to open the priesthood to my husband because he is really meant to be a priest," said his wife, Sally, who attended the ordination with the couple’s daughter and three sons.
Father Landback had been a priest in the Episcopal Church. He was received into the Catholic Church in 2005. His wife also joined the Catholic Church.
Pope John Paul II issued a "Provision" in 1980 allowing Episcopal laity and priests to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. The Provision also allows married former Episcopal priests to be ordained Catholic priests.
Also enjoying the presence of a large contingent of parishioners was Father Trân, who was supported by members from the Vietnamese community at St. Lawrence O’Toole Parish in Hartford.
"We’re proud to have the first Vietnamese priest to be ordained in this archdiocese," said Lauren Ngo, who came from California to represent Father Trân’s immediate family members, who were unable to attend.
"This is very special to us," she said.
Equally thrilled was Mary Isaac of West Haven, the only member of Father Isaac’s family from Gonaives, Haiti, who was able to attend the ordination.
"It’s a big event for our family because of what God is doing in his life," she said of her brother, who she said was influenced by his father, a sacristan in their local parish, and by the faith and devotion of his mother.
Three candidates from Colombia, who were listed among the ordinandi in the program, had asked permission to delay their ordination in a letter to Archbishop Mansell, he announced.
Principal concelebrants for the ordination were Archbishop Emeritus Daniel A. Cronin, and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Peter A. Rosazza.
Among concelebrants were Msgr. John J. McCarthy, rector of the cathedral and chancellor of the archdiocese; Msgr. Gerard G. Schmitz, archdiocesan vicar for priests and rector of St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield; Father Dolan; Father Douglas L. Mosey, president and rector of Holy Apostles College and Seminary; Father Thomas R. Mitchell, who vested Father Isaac; Father Robert J. Rousseau, who vested Father Landback; Father Ivan D. Ramirez, who vested Father Ryan, and Father Robert F. Tucker, who vested Father Trân.