crs lauralton webAntoinette (Toni) Iadarola, president of Lauralton Hall in Milford, holds an award presented to the school by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on Feb. 26. From left are Soha Menassa, who spoke to students about the work of CRS in Lebanon; Peggy Jean Craig from CRS; Dr. Iadarola; and Maria Isabel Barboza, CRS relationship manager in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)

MILFORD – Calling the refugee crisis in Syria the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II, Soha Menassa, project manager for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Lebanon, explained how CRS is responding to the mounting needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

20150305cnsbr8397 pope webPope Francis greets elderly woman as he arrives for weekly audience in 2014 in St. Peter's Square at Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The most serious ailment the aged face and the greatest injustice they suffer is abandonment, Pope Francis said.

facs stpats webCindi Bigelow, president and CEO of Fairfield-based Bigelow Tea, speaks at the annual Archbishop’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in Hartford March 17. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)

HARTFORD – More than 900 people attended the annual Archbishop’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast at the Connecticut Convention Center March 17, making Catholic education possible for many students who otherwise could not afford it, according to organizers of the event.

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NEW HAVEN – Legislative proposals to allow doctors to prescribe fatal prescriptions to people diagnosed with a terminal illness are not seen as a good option by Connecticut adults, according to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll.

20150218cm01806 webPope Francis gives ashes during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome Feb. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

ROME (CNS) -- Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome's Aventine Hill.

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Archbishop Leonard P. Blair poses with key figures from the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday at St. Mary Church in New Haven, where the archbishop celebrated Mass before marching in the parade.

20150217cm01766 webCoptic Christian women attend a Feb. 17 service in Cairo for the Egyptians said to have been beheaded in Libya. (CNS photo/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis called for prayers for the Egyptian Christians beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and asked that God recognize these men killed for their faith.

Robert.Curis.New.Headshot2Robert F. Curis

WEST HAVEN – Notre Dame High School in West Haven has named Mr. Robert F. Curis its next president. He will assume his responsibilities on July 1.

20150213cnsto0043 web This architectural rendering shows how the Museum of the Bible planned for Washington will look. (CNS photo/courtesy Smith Group JJR)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- On a gray and overcast morning in Washington, just a short walk from Capitol Hill, construction work began on a museum intended to promote engagement, education and discussion of the Bible.

Archbishop's Desk

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  • Blessings and challenges

    A letter from Archbishop Leonard P. Blair was inserted into church bulletins available at Masses...

    Read More...

Milestones

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  • Infusion center for women opens in Hartford

    A new, women-only infusion center has been  officially opened at the Comprehensive Women’s Health...

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Youth

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  • Northwest Catholic junior is Governor's Scholar

    WEST HARTFORD – John Carew, a junior at Northwest Catholic High School, has been named a 2015...

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mario2HARTFORD – Few people have the opportunity to attend a Mass celebrated by the pope. Far fewer have the privilege to do so in his private chapel at the Vatican.

Mario Enzler is one of those people. He spoke in Hartford on April 29 about how his faith grew during the nearly four years he protected Pope John Paul II as a member of the famed Swiss Guard.

An only child, he is the son of an Italian mother and Swiss father. He served in the Swiss Army before applying to join the Swiss Guard because, as he joked, he thought the uniforms looked sharp and would help him meet girls.

His talk was entitled "I Served a Saint," and he spoke of how John Paul II "helped me to grow as a man in my faith" and in his appreciation of the priesthood. "The love of Christ was the dominant force in the life of our Holy Father."

In a talk that mixed humor with a serious message, he explained that "the popes have an army and that army is from Switzerland. The Swiss didn’t do just banking and chocolates. They were mercenaries" and highly valued for their military skills.

Members of the guard may serve a maximum of 10 years. They can marry after two years of service, but only if there is an available apartment for the couple within Vatican City.

The typical work week is 100 hours and many days involve split shifts, he said.

"When you are a Swiss Guard, you never go home. You become a citizen of Vatican City" and live there full time, Mr. Enzler added. The pay is modest at best.

"To be a Swiss Guard, it’s a mission. You get a call, you leave your family," he said. "Spending time in the Apostolic Palace in the presence of the Lord forms the soul of a Swiss Guard."

Depending upon their assignment, members of the guard may or may not be in ceremonial uniform. The pope always has two Swiss Guards alongside whenever he travels. The entire force numbers 100.

Mr. Enzler told a number of personal stories, some of them drawing laughs, about his experiences at the Vatican. But most were tales of faith.

"The first time I met John Paul II, I was doing my night shift" at a desk in the hallway outside the papal apartment from midnight to 6 a.m., he said.

At 3 a.m. he noticed that a light was on and went to investigate. It was in the tiny chapel next to the Pope’s bedroom and there before him was the Holy Father, kneeling in deep, intimate prayer, with one hand on the tabernacle and his forehead pressed against the back of that hand.

Mr. Enzler quietly backed away so as not to disturb him. A couple of hours later, a cardinal came down the hall and invited him to attend the 5:30 Mass that would be celebrated by the pope. He was one of only six people present.

The Mass was truly special, but what impressed him the most was how the Holy Father had spent two and a half hours in prayer to properly prepare himself for the Mass.

"I saw the presence of the Lord in that small chapel," he said.

Later that day, the pope approached him in the hallway and invited Mr. Enzler to join him the next time he was in intimate prayer. He had somehow sensed the guard’s presence outside the chapel.

On Good Friday, the Swiss Guard selects a few people from among the crowd at St. Peter’s Basilica to have their confessions heard by the pope. On one occasion, the last person in line was a pregnant woman who went into labor and had to be rushed to the hospital.

The sergeant of the guard ordered Mr. Enzler to take her place. He was a little uneasy about this because the penitents were supposed to come from the congregation, but he followed orders.

As he started his confession, the Holy Father spoke up from the other side of the darkened confessional and said, "I know this voice." He smiles about it now.

He estimated that during his career, he saw as many as 750 world leaders pass before him in the waiting room outside of the pope’s office, all waiting for a personal audience with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. They included heads of state, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.

That list may sound impressive, but "I learned in the Vatican that the biggest leader in the world is Jesus Christ."

     Mr. Enzler now serves as headmaster of the New England Classical Academy, a school in the Catholic tradition, in Claremont, N.H. His talk was held at the Polish National Home and sponsored by the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford.

 

Events Calendar

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05:30 PM
Grand Oak Villa, Oakville, CT, Watertown, United States
The St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury will commemorate its 37-year record of continual service to the poor of Greater Waterbury with a banquet beginning at 5:30 p.m. March 26 at the Grand Oak [...]
05:30 PM
St. Peter/St. Francis School, Torrington, Torrington, United States
St. Peter/St. Francis School will have open houses in March, April and May. The times and dates are 5:30-7 p.m. March 26, 9-11 a.m. April 22 and 5:30-7 p.m. May 12. Parents may visit [...]
07:00 PM
St. Rita School, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
St. Rita School in Hamden will present the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at 7 p.m. March 26, 7 p.m. March 27; and at 1 and 7 p.m. March 28.. Tickets cost [...]
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 26, 2015
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07:00 PM
St. Rita School, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
St. Rita School in Hamden will present the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at 7 p.m. March 26, 7 p.m. March 27; and at 1 and 7 p.m. March 28.. Tickets cost [...]
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 27, 2015
28
01:00 PM
St. Rita School, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
St. Rita School in Hamden will present the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at 7 p.m. March 26, 7 p.m. March 27; and at 1 and 7 p.m. March 28.. Tickets cost [...]
05:00 PM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden, CT, Hamden, United States
Sacred Heart Academy is sponsoring a $10,000 cash raffle as part of its annual signature fund-raising event, a live and silent auction, taking place at 5 p.m. March 28. Tickets for the cash [...]
07:00 PM
St. Rita School, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
St. Rita School in Hamden will present the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” at 7 p.m. March 26, 7 p.m. March 27; and at 1 and 7 p.m. March 28.. Tickets cost [...]
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 28, 2015
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07:00 PM
St. Ann Church, Bristol CT, Bristol, United States
A tenebrae service, or service of lights, will take place at 7 p.m. on Palm Sunday, March 29, at St. Ann Church, 215 West St., Bristol. This service will include hymns, music by a contemporary [...]
12:00 AM
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 29, 2015
30
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 30, 2015
31
09:00 AM
St. Mary School, Milford, Milford, United States
St. Mary School in Milford will have an open house from 9-11 a.m. March 31. Teachers, staff and parents of current and former students will be on hand and students will provide tours. [...]
11:00 AM
Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford , Hartford, United States
During the Chrism Mass on March 31 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will bless the oils to be used in the upcoming year during the sacraments of [...]
12:00 AM
Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, New Haven, United States
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War’s end, the Knights of Columbus Museum is sponsoring an historical exhibition and lecture series. The exhibit, [...]
Date :  March 31, 2015

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