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 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
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From the Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford (June 12, 2016 – 9:07 p.m.)

I sadly write this reflection on the Lord’s Day. It is a day when Orlando’s death toll is reported to be 50 people and another 53 people are said to be seriously wounded. These victims are young people who died brutally at the hand of a 29-year-old, heavily armed gunman identified as a U.S. citizen who authorities say pledged allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers before he died in a hail of gunfire.

How do we as Christians respond to such murderous hate and the carnage of terrorism – to what is being described as the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history?

First, let us pray for those who died tragically, and for their families now grieving and struggling with emotions ranging from shock to outrage to fear. Let us also send our loving prayers to those who have been physically and emotionally injured, acknowledging the security and medical professionals who helped in their rescue and who are currently administering care.

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

Instead, we praise our heavenly Father and all of humanity whenever we chose to remain faithful, loving agents of peace. Even as we do what is necessary to defend ourselves and others, we have to recall 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.”

As an archdiocesan family of faith, we call upon our bond of humanity to help raise Orlando up from abject suffering to God’s unconditional love and mercy. We grieve with you and hold dear in our hearts the precious lives that have been senselessly lost, as we pray for the recovery of those who survived today’s massacre.

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.