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 22, 1960 when ground was broken for St. Philip Church, East Windsor.
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frGubbiotti webFather Jeff GubbiottiDuring this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we pray to the Master of the Harvest to send more laborers into the vineyard to be ambassadors of Christ’s love and mirrors of his mercy to hearts longing for healing and hope. Here in the Archdiocese of Hartford, we are blessed to have a number of active and contemplative religious orders, priests, deacons and committed lay leaders passionately pursuing their vocation and striving to share the Gospel in word and deed. Yet, as our Lord said nearly 2,000 years ago, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” We need many more committed Catholics to actively pursue their vocation in the church.

Every vocation is a call to serve the communion of the church through a life of love and service. Every baptized Catholic has a vocation – a call – to give his or her life away as a disciple of Jesus. This universal call to holiness, however, needs to find a particular expression in a concrete gift of self, either through the beautiful sacrament of marriage and Catholic family life or through the commitment to live in a single state, sustained by the Lord and with availability for mission. This latter decision finds particular expression in priesthood, in a religious community or in a special, consecrated state according to the unique call of God for each person. Every vocation, even one that seems the most solitary and hidden (such as that of a hermit), serves the communion of the church and has a missionary dimension.

Our challenge, as a Christian community, is to first of all pray for the grace to live our own vocation to the fullest. Faithful witness is always the most powerful way to share the Gospel with others. We also are called to challenge our young people to undertake the adventure of discerning God’s will for their lives and empowering them to find the courage to answer that divine call wholeheartedly, casting fears aside because of the powerful love of God on whom we rely. Often we ask our young people, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The better question, if we truly desire their happiness, is, “What does God want for you as you grow up?” Following the Lord’s plan for our life is the only way to lasting peace, true joy and authentic fulfillment.

Another important question to ask our young people is, “Why do you want to be ____ when you grow up?” God often works through our good desires, and so we must encourage our young people to honestly explore their motivations so as to leave behind whatever is selfish and ultimately unfulfilling and be free to follow the good desires that will lead to life-giving decisions. A great obstacle to discerning vocations in our contemporary climate is the fear of commitment. That fear was always around, but it is even more pronounced today because of various cultural and technological conditions that coalesce to form the mirage of endless possibilities for this life with little or no reference to God. “Keep your options open” feels more imperative than the Ten Commandments. The problem is that this non-committal stance closes the door on real discernment, for its pre-condition is an openness to accepting the divine will with the obedience of faith. It would be ludicrous to ask God, “What do you want me to do?,” when we have no real intention of following it unless it fits in with our own ideas and tastes. The Christian disciple, instead of aimlessly wandering through life, is to ardently seek God in all things and be disposed to follow where the Holy Spirit leads us.

Here in the Archdiocese of Hartford, we currently have 23 seminarians actively pursuing God’s will in their lives and preparing to serve him in the holy priesthood. Please keep them in your prayers and pray for more young men to respond to God’s call. I am convinced that the Lord has not stopped calling priests; it’s just that it is more difficult to hear that call and respond generously. Please, do what you can to promote vocations in your families and communities. Priests don’t grow on trees or drop out of the sky; they must come from our families and parishes. If you see a young man who you think has the qualities to make a good priest, tell him. It just may be your voice that Jesus uses to call forth part of the next generation of men to celebrate the sacraments and give witness to God’s mercy through lives of priestly service.

Allow me to close with the words of Pope Francis: “Each vocation in the church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus. Conversion and vocation are two sides of the same coin, and continually remain interconnected throughout the whole of the missionary disciple’s life.” May this Year of Mercy grant all of us the grace of conversion that will empower us to seek out and live our unique vocations to the fullest.

Father Jeff Gubbiotti is the vocation director for the Archdiocese of Hartford.

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.