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 20, 1971 when parishioners settled on a site for the new St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oxford.
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Everyday Holiness

For Meredith, who loves her sisters

It was a week before Christmas when our daughter Victoria and her husband Mike stopped by with a gift for Peter and me. I tore off the wrapping paper and found myself staring at a picture frame with the image of an ultrasound in the center. I gasped, squealed and began to weep, pretty much all at the same time. “Really?????? Really?????” I screamed.

Mike and Torrie were pregnant. The baby was due August 14 in Bangor, Maine.

A week later, the family gathered for Christmas. In the midst of the commotion, our daughter Tierney and her husband Andrew handed us a gift bag. Peter reached in and pulled out a bottle of red wine from an unfamiliar winery called The First Trimester. The logo was the imprint of two tiny feet. I screamed, then launched myself at Tierney as I kissed her and sobbed. Later, we read the fine print on the label: “Cram-Keg blend. When aged nine months, this red will come to life with flavor.”

Tierney and Andrew were pregnant. The baby was due August 14 near Pittsburgh.

That’s right – the same day that Mike and Torrie’s baby was due.

I couldn’t make this stuff up.

As the news became public, family and friends shook their heads at the improbability of two sisters expecting their first babies on the same day. Unfortunately, the couples live 850 miles apart, and I was determined to be in the hospital for both births. I didn’t anticipate a problem, however, since babies rarely arrive on the due date.

Precisely on August 14, Victoria called from Bangor to say that she was in labor and they were heading to the hospital. Peter and I left immediately to drive to Bangor, then commenced pacing.

Less than an hour later, Tierney called from Pittsburgh to say that she was in labor and they were heading to the hospital.

Seriously? These babies couldn’t have planned this better? Reluctantly, Peter and I enacted our let’s-hope-we-don’t-need-it contingency plan. Peter remained in Bangor while I said a tearful goodbye to Mike and Torrie, then hopped on a plane to Pittsburgh. There was a good chance I would arrive in time for the birth of Tierney’s baby.

I had a layover at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Severe thunder storms had grounded outbound flights, leaving no available gates for arriving planes. We sat on the tarmac for more than three hours on a stifling August night with no air conditioning. While we waited, I learned that Torrie had given birth to Nora Emily Lalime. Peter held Nora soon after birth, and together they whispered secrets and conspired to keep her parents awake all night.

Still on the tarmac, I was frantic about making my connecting flight. Eventually I was informed that there would be no connecting flight because all flights had been canceled.

I sank my face in my hands and wept.

Finally deplaning at 10 p.m., I rented a car and drove all night, arriving in Pittsburgh at 5:30 a.m. as the first tinges of pink peeked over the horizon. Somewhere along I-80 in the wilds of Pennsylvania, I learned that Tierney had given birth to Addison Grace Keogler. Both babies were born on their due date, four hours apart. I missed both births.

I met baby Addison in Tierney’s hospital room. Pink and tiny, she slumped in my arms and made those sweet baby cooing sounds. She was exhausted from her eventful day.

Peter lingered in Bangor with baby Nora for a few days while I cherished every minute with baby Addison in Pittsburgh. Then we switched.

After that, we went home and slept, but not before giving profound thanks to God.

For the record, I recommend births of no more than one family member per day, unless they are twins. Twins may be harder on the young parents, but they’re a whole lot easier for traveling grandparents. Trust me on this one.

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.