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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cram_halfFor Paul and Irene Muhs, who started it all.

Last year, I wrote a column about a young man named Andrew who proposed marriage to a young woman named Tierney. As soon as Tierney said yes, Andrew got down on his hands and knees, removed Tierney’s shoes, and proceeded to wash her feet. The symbolism was clear: their marriage would be a life of service, and that service would begin with Andrew.

Recently, Tierney and Andrew were married in one of the most spectacular celebrations I have ever been privileged to witness. It was neither ornate nor expensive. In its simplicity, it exuded the joy and power of the Holy Spirit.

Two days before the wedding, the festivities were kicked off with bachelor and bachelorette parties that began with Mass. You read that correctly: the bachelor party started with Mass.

The night before the wedding, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were followed by a holy hour of adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as confession for anyone who wished. Tierney and Andrew wanted their marriage to begin with prayer, be filled with prayer, and draw others to prayer.

On the day of the wedding, early guests arrived to find no groomsmen in sight. That’s because the ushers were in a back room, praying with Andrew. Only after prayer did they seat the guests.

The bride was radiant as she and her father processed to John Michael Talbot’s "Magnificat" – Mary’s song of praise to God. "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior .... For the mighty God has done great things for me, and His mercy will reach from age to age. And holy, holy, holy is His name."

Assembled guests could scarcely hear Tierney and Andrew’s voices as they exchanged vows, but it was impossible to miss the significance of what followed. Their first action as husband and wife was to sing the Litany of Saints. This litany called upon the saints of God to pray for the young couple as they embarked on a life that will be a light in the darkness. With the entire assembly joining in, we raised the roof in this staid New England town.

Later in the Mass, Tierney and Andrew placed flowers at the feet of the Blessed Mother statue, symbolizing the consecration of their marriage to her.

With such a strong focus on God’s presence, I was not surprised when I began to see signs of spiritual warfare as I looked back at the preceding days. Despite rumors to the contrary, Satan is not dead. This means that spiritual warfare is very real. The powers of darkness do not want Jesus glorified, so I’m pretty sure they mobilized forces against Tierney and Andrew.

Things had started to go wrong. Flash flooding blocked the arrivals of groomsmen and grandparents. Tuxedos were delivered to the wrong state. Key participants inexplicably began to quarrel. The wedding cake never arrived.

It got worse. The day before the wedding, Andrew was informed that he might not have a job upon his return. Ten days later as they flew home from the honeymoon, their seatmates were three children who shrieked and spit at them for the entire six hours. It was like a scene from "The Exorcist." No sooner had the couple arrived safely home in their apartment than the dishwasher exploded in the middle of the night.

The next day, Andrew was laid off.

The job loss may force the newlyweds to move in with her parents. It’s not exactly the romantic setting they had in mind.

It was as if the enemy was attacking from all directions in hopes of discouraging the young couple from following Christ.

It’s not working. Tierney and Andrew are still following Christ, still clinging to God’s faithfulness. Perhaps the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthians were written expressly for them: "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed . . . So we do not lose heart . . . for this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory."

 Saint Paul spoke the truth.

 

Regina Cram lives in Glastonbury and is a freelance writer.

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.