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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Q: Will we recognize each other and be able to talk in heaven?

It is fitting that one of the most frequently asked questions about the faith has to do with what happens after death.

The entire work of Christ and his Church is to make sure souls get to heaven. What life in heaven will be like is a great mystery, but the Church provides us with many clues as to what is to come. First, it is important to note that God has made each and every one of us for heaven. We were made to be saints, made to live with God forever in complete happiness. God created us and redeemed us; He invites us to share in his communion of love, both in this life and in the next.

This is the friendship that God forms with his people — a friendship of communion and love. We, of course, work on our daily sanctification to attain the great promise that God made to us. We want to be friends of God.

QA FrGlen art pg15As to whether we’ll recognize each other and be able to talk when we get to heaven, it is good to check to see what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about heaven: “This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity — this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed — is called ‘heaven.’ Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.” (CCC, 1024)

Heaven is not a place in the formal and literal sense; rather, it is a state of being, a state of perfect and definitive happiness. In heaven, we see God face to face, fully revealed in all his splendor, majesty and beauty. This action of seeing God is commonly referred to as the beatific vision. This is the ultimate end of each human person, to see God face to face. In seeing God, we share in his freedom from sin and suffering, free from attachment to sin and death, and truly live in complete happiness for all eternity. It is the longing of every human heart in which the great hope of our salvation finds meaning.

As the Catechism states, heaven is not a place but rather a state of being. Heaven fulfills all of our deepest longings and desires. Therefore, we do not need anything more than God in heaven. Our ability to see other people and to talk with them is not the emphasis of eternal life.

It is true that the communion of saints is a real communion, circling the throne of the Blessed Trinity. In this sense, we will be able to see and have communication with others in heaven, but it is not in the same way we relate with others here on earth.

We will see in heaven the fullness of God and we will be able to recognize who is there. Our participation one day, please God, in the communion of saints is our communication with others in heaven and participation in the life of God. We will be able to recognize and communicate with others.

Here on earth, nothing can compare to eternal life. Even the most beautiful places on earth are just mere glimpses of what is to come. We should have great assurance in the awesome promise and hope that our Lord Jesus won for us on the cross. By his suffering and death, Christ unlocked heaven for us. We must make it our constant focus and goal in life to aim for spiritual perfection, to aim to be the best friend of God that we can be so as to enjoy his friendship in this life and in the life to come. Heaven may be a mystery to us, but we do know one thing: It’s where we want to be after we leave this life!

Father Glen Dmytryszyn is parochial vicar at St. John Bosco Parish in Branford.

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.