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 18, 2010 when a Centennial Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Margaret of Scotland (Waterbury) Church.
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Two young women I know – one I’m related to and one I work with – said to me recently, "I hate my life."

And I gave them the usual response: "But you have your whole life ahead of you … Wait until you have kids – you’ll really hate your life."

Then, it occurred to me they weren’t joking, and this was more than the typical 20-something angst.

We all hate our lives from time to time, usually when the pain and pressure and trials become more than we can endure, and we feel as if we’re hanging by our fingertips and there’s only one place to go and that’s down. On those occasions, even "down" doesn’t seem so bad because you think it will let you escape the pain.

Young people have an entirely different set of challenges from the ones their parents did. There’s the stress to succeed, to find a job in a contracting job market, to find true happiness in a decadent society, to be popular and fashionable, and to find romance, which in the Internet age can be a precarious and perilous search.

The emptiness young people often feel, I believe, is a result of the lack of spiritual values in our hedonistic culture. The pressure to be as immoral as the next person can cause enormous stress for teenagers and young adults who want to do the right thing. Sadly, their lives are often haunted by the specter of drinking, drugs, recreational sex, materialism, divorce and narcissism.

Generation Y – the 80 million young people born between 1981 and 2000 – are plagued by emotional, spiritual and moral problems. As a result, millions of them are on medication and suffering depression.

One friend’s daughter went from medication to medication with no success, and the side effects included irritability, emotional outbursts and study problems.

This family ordeal began, her mother told me with tears in her eyes, the day her 14-year-old daughter said she didn’t want to live anymore.

How does a 14-year-old come to that state in life? Where have we gone wrong as a society when the pressure to fit in, to be fashionable, to be popular and everything else make life not seem worth living for a teenager?

After she told me her story, all I could say was "I’m so sorry. I’ll pray for her."

It reminded me of when I was a teenager and suffered chronic confusion – the "identity crisis," as we called it back then – and I thought things would never work out. Life can be painful until you come to the realization that God has a plan for you, and it’s better than your plan. In the words of one friend, you just have to let go and let God. But surrendering is never easy.

God leads us where we should go if we let him, and sometimes he leads us through unemployment, health problems, separations, loneliness and those heart-breaking days when we all hate our life.

I can still remember the time back in my 20s when I was suffering what I thought was the worst crisis ever. It left me despondent and so troubled that I didn’t think I could face another day. I lived in St. Petersburg, Fla., and remember staring out at Tampa Bay thinking, "I can’t go on. I hate my life so much."

One of my friends, who was about 80 years old and had endured immeasurably greater tragedies – including the death of a child and years of alcoholism that almost killed him until he got into AA – sat beside me on that chilly autumn night while the lights of the city reflected on the water.

He said, "I know it’s hard to believe, but this, too, shall pass." Then he cupped his hands together and added, "Life can get really shaky but never forget that he always has you in his hands."

He was right. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten, especially on the days when I hate my life.

J.F. Pisani is a writer who lives with his family in the New Haven area.

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.