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 21, 1934 when Father James J. Kane offered Madison's first Mass in Madison's Memorial Town Hall.
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Faithful readers – many of the questions I get begin with these four words: How can I help …?Faithful readers – many of the questions I get begin with these four words: How can I help …?

It’s a wonderful thing to get a message that basically reads: “I want to help someone!” As a priest, I am touched that so many people want to help their brothers and sisters.

So, I’m going to answer a couple of these questions with one simple caveat: No matter what type of problem someone has, the first and most important step is to pray for them and pray that God will guide you in your response. With that, let’s get right to it!

How can I help ... my friends whose marriage is falling apart?

It’s a tough thing to watch a marriage falling apart, and I feel deeply blessed by knowing that you want to help people in that situation. Obviously, there are times when divorce is not only allowed, but necessary for the safety of one spouse or the couple’s children. Generally, common sense will dictate understanding those situations where there is no other recourse, such as abusive relationships.

Outside of those, I would urge you to see it as your duty to help this couple fight for their marriage – to help them address the issue/issues together with prayer and a professional in order to preserve the sacrament.

Share stories of times when you and your spouse struggled. Remind them of the times when things were better, pray with them, encourage them to remember what they loved about their husband or wife, offer to help with the kids when they go to marriage counseling or even when they simply need time together as a couple. These are great ways to help people whose marriages are struggling.

Beyond that, there is an excellent program called Retrouvaille (pronounced retro-vie). If you type that into Google, you’ll see how to sign up. I have sent struggling couples to this program and it was extremely helpful. Besides this, there are other excellent options out there that your diocese may be able to tell you about.

How can I help ... my priest, who always seems so harried?

As a priest, let me say this: Bless you for asking! A priest’s life is a blessed but busy one. I find it to be a life that is filled with pressure. As a result, I have a lot of ideas here that can help, beyond prayer.

First, I’d encourage you to be supportive. Everyone is an expert on how the priest should be, what he should be doing, etc. Don’t be that person. In the immortal words of my dad, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Trust that he is doing his best. Trust that he loves God until he does something to take that trust away.

Second, let him pray before Mass and be present to people after. Don’t hang out in the sacristy before Mass to have a conversation unless you are doing a ministry. Personally, I know that asking me to remember something before or after Mass is generally a bad idea. Call the secretary and let him/her know what you want during the week, rather than try to get him to remember something after a busy Sunday.

Be sure to let him know when you or someone you love is in the hospital. Don’t assume he knows or that someone will tell him; people get very hurt when the priest doesn’t come see them, but the priest can’t do what he doesn’t know.

Best thing? Don’t gossip. Ever. You’ll add years onto your priest’s life.

Father Joe Krupp is a former comedy writer who is now a Catholic priest.

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.