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 17, 1891 when Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon dedicated St. Bernard Church, Enfield.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

StMarys groundbreaking 900x600Breaking ground on the Campus Connection project at St. Mary Parish in Simsbury on June 23 are, from left, Margaret Williamson, principal of St. Mary’s School; Rick Lenz, parish trustee; Father Frank Matera, pastor; Thomas Rechen, parish council president; and Susan Guazzelli, parish trustee. (Photo courtesy of Jay Reynolds)SIMSBURY – At a time when some other parishes are closing their doors or merging, St. Mary Parish blessed and broke ground on June 23 for a new structure that will serve the parish ministries, activities and elementary school.

The new facility, dubbed the Campus Connection project, is the first significant improvement to the Hopmeadow Street campus in more than 30 years. It will provide accessibility and nearly 6,000 square feet of new space.  Construction on the one-story facility is expected to begin in July and to be completed within a year.

“This is a significant milestone in the life of our parish and we can be proud that this project is moving forward,” said Father Frank Matera, pastor of St. Mary.

“We are fortunate to have a vibrant parish that requires additional space for our many ministries and activities as well as our elementary school, he said, adding that the Campus Connection meets objectives identified as critical for the parish's future, including handicap accessibility, additional space for the parish and school, and improved traffic flow.

"This is an exciting time for our parish as we build a tangible sign of our commitment to our Catholic faith and community," Father Matera said. "I am grateful for the generosity of so many people that has made this project a reality.”

Over the past five-plus years, St. Mary’s has identified needs for the church and school, worked with an architect and general contractors to create a viable plan and embarked on a fundraising effort to support that plan. 

Approval from the Town of Simsbury and the Archdiocese of Hartford was received late in the spring.  The estimated total cost of the project is $4.1 million. Moser, Pilon, Nelson architects LLC is the architect for the project and BBE Bartlett, Brainard, Eacott is the general contractor and construction manager. 

St. Mary’s Church has been serving the needs of the Catholic community in Simsbury since 1936.  A dynamic parish that currently serves 1,600 families, St. Mary’s has a strong commitment to religious education and the only Catholic elementary school in the Farmington Valley, as well as a vibrant religious education program for young people in the public school system.

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.