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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DES BISHOP kungfu wall webDes Bishop in 'Made in China'

NEW YORK – Kenneth Tynan, the English critic and man of the theater, once said: "It seems to be Ireland's function, every 22 years or so, to provide a playwright who will kick English drama from the past into the present."

Origin Theatre Company's artistic director and founder, George C. Heslin, is keeping Tynan's thought alive by celebrating the group's eighth season with First Irish, a festival of Irish theater that includes a slew of spanking new Irish plays that run from Sept. 2 until Oct. 4 at various playhouses around town. He has also scheduled some special events, lectures and two films: "Kings," the 2007 film written and directed by Tom Collins and based on Jimmy Murphy's play "The King's of Kilburn"; and "Made in China," the hilarious story of Des Bishop’s real-life journey to China to study Mandarin so he could perform stand-up in front of Chinese audiences.

Origin's 1st Irish festival dates, locations and tickets can all be found at

Here are some of the plays that caught my eye as I looked over the tally and thought they might be of interest:

One is a tale of heart, home and highways titled "Stoopdreamers," a play by Pat Fenton and directed by Kira Simring.

The imagination of a lonely little girl is what "Pondling," is about. It is by Genevieve Hulme-Beaman and directed by Paul Meade. It stars Johnno Boyle O’Connor, who plays the main character, Madeleine, and who was chosen as the best female performer at the Dublin Fringe Festival.

The comic actor Pat Shortt, who played Broadway last season in “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” returns to New York with his newest sketch comedy show "Selfie." Mr. Shott has earned all sorts of awards in Ireland and is a beloved comic star in Erin.

"The Quare Land," by John McManus, will be presented with the Irish Repertory at their DR2 Theatre off of Union Square and will be directed by the Rep's Ciaran O'Reilly. The play is described as “a cantankerous comedy" and, like most of the fare, it is having its American premiere.

"Python," by Brendan Connellan and staged by Don Creedon, is another dark Irish comedy where good turns to bad.

"The Holy Holy Bus,” by Pearse Elliott, is about a bus that stops at all the holy sites of Ireland. Four of the female faithful guide us on this pilgrimage. The performance at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park on Sept. 25 is free. Reservations can be made.

Bernard Carragher lives in New York and covers the arts and entertainment.

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.