Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 17, 1891 when Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon dedicated St. Bernard Church, Enfield.
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From the Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, (November 18, 2015)

Archbishop of Hartford

I write this reflection as Paris’ death toll nears 130 people – mostly young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians who thought they were going to enjoy Friday night out. Instead, they died as innocent victims at the hands of militant extremists, and France experienced the deadliest violence to strike the country since World War II, or what some journalists have called France’s version of 9/11.

How does the world make sense of the atrocities when the ‘City of Light’ faces such darkness? Moreover, how do we as Christians respond to the murderous hate and hideous carnage of terrorism?

First, let us pray for our brothers and sisters who died senselessly and tragically, and for their families now grieving and grappling with emotions ranging from sorrow to anger to fear. Let us send our loving light to those who have been physically injured and acknowledge the medical professionals who helped in their rescue and care. Let’s include in our intercessions prayers for all those around the world who are the victims of terrorism, violence and religious persecution.

As Catholics we firmly believe that acts of terrorism and violence never serve to praise God.

We honor our heavenly Father and each other whenever we choose to remain faithful, loving agents of peace. Even as we do what is necessary to defend ourselves and others, we have to remember Our Lord’s words: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” And we certainly cannot judge all refugees from Syria, who are themselves the victims of terror, on the basis of some individual acts.

As an Archdiocesan family of faith, may we call upon the bond of humanity and help raise Paris up to the Light of God’s unconditional love and mercy. To the people of France, please know that we mourn with you and hold dear the lives lost from many countries, including our own.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.