HARTFORD – Billboards, radio and television announcements, Web sites, social media, articles in The Catholic Transcript and reminders from the pulpit all apparently had a profound effect on an ambitious, expanded Lenten schedule of confessions for every church in the Archdiocese of Hartford during this Year of Faith.
As Archbishop Henry J. Mansell wrote in the February column in the Transcript, "Every Monday for the six weeks of Lent, confessions will be heard in every parish from 6-7 p.m., in addition to the other usual times." This translated to at least 213 extra hours per week (the number of parishes in the archdiocese) at churches where, in the words of a promotional video by the Office of Radio and Television, "The light is on for you."
HARTFORD – Archbishop Henry J. Mansell took the occasion of the annual Chrism Mass to rejoice at the selection of a new pope, to praise the priests of the archdiocese for exemplary service and to extol the 1,000 Catholic school children attending to "rally against bullying."
All of the oils used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, the anointing of the sick and the ordination of priests, as well as in the consecration of altars and churches were blessed by Archbishop, Mansell at the Mass, celebrated on March 26 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has decided not to move into the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, but to live in a suite in the Vatican guesthouse where he has been since the beginning of the conclave that elected him, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.
"He is experimenting with this type of living arrangement, which is simple," but allows him "to live in community with others," both the permanent residents -- priests and bishops who work at the Vatican -- as well as guests coming to the Vatican for meetings and conferences, Father Lombardi said March 26.
The spokesman said Pope Francis has moved out of the room he drew by lot before the conclave and into Suite 201, a room that has slightly more elegant furnishings and a larger living room where he can receive guests.
WASHINGTON (CNS) – New proposed regulations governing the contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act continue to violate basic principles of religious freedom, said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In comments filed March 20 with the Department of Health and Human Services, the USCCB raised a series of concerns, among them being that the new proposals keep in place "an unjust and unlawful mandate" regarding the provision of contraceptive and other pregnancy services and that the rules provide no exemption, or accommodation, for "most stakeholders in the health insurance process, such as individual employees and for-profit employers," who are morally opposed to such coverage.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has decided to celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper in a Rome juvenile detention facility and wash the feet of some of the young detainees.
It marks a change in venue of the previously scheduled March 28 Holy Week event from St. Peter's Basilica to Rome's Casal del Marmo prison for minors.
While the practice of his predecessors has included washing the feet of priests or laypeople, the ceremony was normally held in either St. Peter's Basilica or the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
The Vatican said that, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis used to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper – which reflects on the call to imitate Christ by serving one another – in prisons, hospitals or shelters for the poor and marginalized.
HARTFORD – Neither snow nor sleet nor the hour of the morning kept the faithful away from viewing the Installation Mass for Pope Francis on Tuesday at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Dozens of people travelled from all over the archdiocese to view the historic event with Archbishop Henry J. Mansell. The live Mass from the Vatican, which began at approximately 4 a.m. EDT, was streamed by EWTN, the global Catholic network, and projected onto a large screen at the cathedral.