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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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st-gabe-storm 4051Father Maurice J. Maroney, pastor of St. Gabriel Parish in Milford, outside of the beachfront rectory. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)

NEW HAVEN – When storm Sandy struck Connecticut in late October, Catholic Charities stood at the ready to assist victims of the storm with disaster relief efforts including emergency food and shelter.

Officials at the centers in the coastal towns of New Haven and Milford said that most of their initial assistance went to replenish food banks in Meriden and East Haven.

"We coordinated a drive through Centro San Jose in Fair Haven to replenish food, nonperishable items, cleaning supplies, batteries, battery-operated radios, diapers and baby wipes for distribution through the East Haven Food Bank," said Peter O’Donnell, director of fund development for Catholic Charities.

He noted that Catholic Charities works through local offices, centers and parishes to provide basic human needs, rental support, counseling services or referrals to other types of resources as requested by parishioners. A complete listing of  the Catholic Charities offices and family centers in the archdiocese may be found online at

Among the victims of Sandy was St. Gabriel Parish in Milford, where the 16-foot storm surge that hit the coastline at around midnight broke through a cement patio, spilling two to three feet of water into the first floor of the beachfront rectory; flooded the church basement with five to six feet of water that destroyed the furnace; and damaged the exterior of a newly built garage.

Father Maurice Maroney, pastor of the parish for the past 16 years, said he had boarded up the rectory and left the parish by noon on Oct. 29 to stay with a cousin in Stratford after police came through to evacuate the area.

But when his secretary called the next morning with the devastating news, he was in a state of disbelief.

Water in the rectory destroyed belongings including pieces of furniture that were found floating through the rooms of the first floor.

"I thought we were prepared," he said. "We had just gone through Hurricane Irene in August of last year that took off the front porch; but we didn’t get a drop of water in the rectory."

To heat the church in the following weeks, the parish rented large portable heaters to blow heat through large hoses into the building through openings made by removing some of the church’s stained glass windows.

Since Irene, the parish purchased a new furnace for the church, which now is installed; built a new garage that was finished only two months ago; and recently purchased a set of steps for the rectory. All were destroyed or damaged by Sandy.

"It’s awful to see your belongings thrown away, and it’s been exhausting to come here every day to help with the clean-up," said Father Maroney. "But when I think of all the families with children who’ve been disrupted or have lost their homes, it doesn’t compare."

Father Maroney said parish records such as baptismal and marriage certificates were not damaged; all are housed in an office in the parish center.

Anyone needing help with relief from the hurricane can contact Catholic Charities through local offices. Small grants are also available to parishioners in the archdiocese who have fallen on hard times through the Emergency Assistance Fund, an initiative of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.

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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