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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Everyday Holiness

Students who graduated from high school this year were born in 1997 or 1998. They have no memory of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They always have had the Internet.

Teens of this age do not know how to operate a rotary phone and don’t know what LP stands for. They’re unfamiliar with the Lindy Hop and the Twist and have no idea what a dance card is. They’ve never attended a Latin Mass and almost certainly do not know anyone who has become a priest or religious.

AIDS always has been part of their lives.

Today’s graduating seniors did not grow up with “I Love Lucy” or “The Ed Sullivan Show.” They’re unfamiliar with Elizabeth Taylor, Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart. They don’t know Jackie Robinson, Dorothy Hamill, Billy Graham or Jesse Owens.

These teens are likely to have a female doctor, a male nurse and foreign-born friends. By age 4, they were capable of teaching their grandparents how to use a computer.

Kids graduating from high school today have grown up with a peanut-free zone in the cafeteria and gluten-free friends. They attended school with children who were on the autism spectrum, intellectually and physically disabled, and non-English speaking. Most have done extensive volunteer work during their teen years.

To today’s graduating high school student, the Dodgers have always been in Los Angeles, abortion has always been legal and the Berlin Wall has always been down. They have never known whites-only schools. They would not dream of relegating anyone to the back of the bus.

Other than through history class, these teens are unfamiliar with the Bay of Pigs, Victory Gardens and air raid sirens. They have no idea who Walter Cronkite was; to them, the most trusted person in America is likely to be Peyton Manning or Oprah Winfrey. They cannot imagine dancing in the streets when a war ends.

These youths have never had the experience of nervously calling a girl to ask her on a date, only to have her father answer the phone.

Cursive writing is an enigma to them. They do not know how to diagram a sentence. Statistically speaking, they spend more time on their cell phones than in school. Their communications are instantaneous.

As they were growing up, safety concerns prevented many of today’s teens from roaming the neighborhood freely. Their grandmother did not live next door and cousins lived too far away to gather for Sunday dinner. The idea of homemade soup is quaint.

These kids grew up in a world without tuberculosis, whooping cough and diphtheria. Infant car seats were universal. They always wear seat belts. Sunscreen is part of life.

Today’s high school graduates do not accept that it is a man’s prerogative to beat his wife, nor that people should “stick to their own kind.” They are likely to have friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Asian and African-American and of all manner of political persuasions.

In contrast, people in their grandparents’ generation grew up in a world of rationing, Meatless Mondays and patriotic fervor. Instead of television, they gathered around the family radio for news and entertainment. If they got into trouble at school, they’d be in more trouble when they got home. They had daily chores and family dinners. They went out to play after school and didn’t come home until dark. They wrote letters and mailed them with a stamp.

These grandparents grew up in a world where women’s career choices were limited to the secretarial, teaching and nursing fields – and even then, only if the woman was white and able-bodied. People of color typically held service jobs, did not own cars and had little hope of earning more than a subsistence wage. They were on the receiving end of blistering racial cruelty, from which there was little escape.

People with handicaps found the world inhospitable. There were no ramps or parking spaces for the handicapped, and no computers for the blind. Many were barred from attending public school.

If a woman in that era was being beaten at home, she had no legal recourse. Authorities told her to go home and submit to her husband.

This generation of Americans attended worship services. They valued honor and honesty, and they did not expect the government to take care of them. When their country needed them, they served.

In their era, they knew what it meant to work hard and to sacrifice. Manual labor was considered respectable work. Neighbor took care of neighbor. It was not uncommon for someone to live in the same house his or her entire life.

Each generation has extraordinary strengths and frightening weaknesses. What binds us together is that each of us, regardless of generation (or anything else), is made in the image and likeness of God.

And all that God made was good.

Regina Cram lives in Glastonbury and is a freelance writer. She is the author of Do Bad Guys Wear Socks? Living the Gospel in Everyday Life.

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.