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.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

HARTFORD – Immaculate Conception Shelter and Housing Corporation has changed its name to ImmaCare Inc.

The name change is part of a rebranding of the organization, which was approved by the board of directors following its 2014 strategic planning process. The rebranding of Immaculate as ImmaCare also includes new mission and vision statements, as well as the shelter’s eventual relocation.

The name cements ImmaCare’s status in the community as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, yet pays homage to the agency’s roots in the Catholic Church.

 “Another benefit of the new name is that clients will no longer be associated with a ‘shelter’ and the negative stereotypes the word conjures up,” said executive director Louis Gilbert. “The new name focuses on an organization grounded in ‘caring,’ which we felt was far less stigmatizing to our clients.”

Although Immaculate’s rebranding brings many changes to the agency, a few select details remain unchanged as an acknowledgement of the organization’s more than three decades of service. “Imma” is derived from Immaculate and the capitalized “I” and “C” produces the same “IC” acronym that stood for Immaculate Conception. ImmaCare’s logo, which represents the diversity of support and approaches employed by ImmaCare to end homelessness, will also remain. 

The new mission statement is: “ImmaCare Inc. strives to eliminate homelessness in the Hartford region, while building a more vibrant community, by creating safe and affordable housing options and increasing the skills, income and hope of those who struggle with housing crisis.”

Throughout the many changes associated with the rebranding process, the life-saving services the agency has been providing since 1981 continue. Together with the board of directors, ImmaCare staff has been seeking ways to improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness, especially during what has been one of the most brutally cold winters in Connecticut history.

Year-round, the agency provides services to 75 men each evening; this winter, the organization increased capacity to serve 150 men.

“For the first time, we were able to leverage funding and remain open during the day every day from November 24 to March 31, 2015, providing lunch and a warm, safe place to stay during the severe cold,” Mr. Gilbert added.

In addition, ImmaCare has taken a key role in Greater Hartford Continuum of Care’s efforts to end homelessness. The new system, Greater Hartford Coordinated Access Network (CAN), brings together resources of stakeholders to address housing crises without shelter referrals. ImmaCare’s role includes: working with clients referred by 2-1-1 to access resources; triaging men in housing crisis for placement in a shelter with services; and offering case management hours to individuals in housing crisis two days a week.

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.