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 16, 1978 when the first Mass was held at St. Monica Church, Northford.
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Making a Difference 

maglianoIn his strong identification with the poor and vulnerable, Jesus makes it perfectly clear that when we meet the needs of these least brothers and sisters, we are ultimately serving him. And when we – as individuals, churches, states and nations – do not adequately meet the needs of the downtrodden, we have failed to do good to Jesus (Matt. 25:31-46).

With so many countless fellow human beings needlessly suffering, Jesus’ own suffering continues on to this very day – in them and with them.

The First Station of the Cross: Jesus is homeless.

Hundreds of thousands of women, men and children in the U.S. have no place to call home. Often exposed to the harsh elements, they are literally living on our streets. We often see them, and yet we fail to see Jesus in them.

The Second Station: Jesus is a stranger and not welcomed.

Tens of thousands of children fleeing to the United States from Central American drug gangs are being deported back to the violence. Millions of undocumented United States workers who are denied legal protection are forced to live in the shadows of society.

And millions of other human beings running for their lives from terrorists’ death threats are often confined to inhumane refugee camps. We fail to see Jesus in them.

The Third Station: Jesus is poor.

Over 895 million fellow human beings throughout the world barely exist in extreme poverty, struggling to survive without adequate and safe water, food, sanitation, health care, education, employment and housing. We are not fully committed to quickly meeting their needs. We fail to see Jesus in them.

The Fourth Station: Jesus is aborted.

Millions of unborn human beings erroneously classified by abortion proponents as “parts of a woman’s body” or “blobs of protoplasm” or simply “products of conception” are murdered by means of legalized abortion in many countries throughout the world.

Like other vulnerable people, the unborn are often victims of what Pope Francis calls a “throw-away culture.” We fail to see Jesus in them.

The Fifth Station: Jesus is euthanized.

Growing numbers of people who are cruelly seen as a burden – often as a result of serious illness – are persuaded to take their own lives with the assistance of a physician (physician-assisted suicide). Instead of providing adequate psychiatric, palliative and hospice care, society is increasingly choosing this more subtle form of euthanasia to kill various people who are hurting. We fail to see Jesus in them.

The Sixth Station: Jesus is brutalized by war.

In over two dozen countries, wars and armed conflicts are destroying virtually everyone and everything in their path. So-called developed nations like the United States, United Kingdom and Israel are fueling these bloody conflicts through arms sales and weapon grants. Countless war-torn innocent children, women and men continue to be maimed and murdered. We fail to see Jesus in them.

In Catholic tradition there are 14 Stations of the Cross. I have listed here six modern versions of them. But sadly, many more could easily be added. For suffering throughout our fragile planet is monumental.

Jesus is urgently calling us to see him in our suffering brothers and sisters.

Lent is the perfect time for individuals and nations to begin fasting from what Pope Francis calls a “globalization of indifference,” and to begin feasting in the ways of Jesus: nonviolence, forgiveness, solidarity, social justice and active compassionate love for all those who suffer.

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings about Catholic social teaching and has spoken from California to Maryland. He can be reached at tmag@zoominternet.net.

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.