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.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

20130521cnsbr0432 webTwo girls stand in rubble after a tornado struck Moore, Okla., May 20. The tornado touched down outside Oklahoma City leaving a 20-mile path of death and destruction. (CNS photo/Gene Blevins, Reuters)

 VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As the death fluctuated from the massive tornado that struck near Oklahoma City May 20, Pope Francis offered a special prayer for the victims during his early morning Mass May 21, offered his condolences through his Twitter account and through a message to the city's archbishop.

"Let us pray for the victims ... and the missing, especially the children, struck by the violent tornado that hit Oklahoma City yesterday. Hear us, O Lord," the pope said during the prayers of the faithful at his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.

The tornado touched down at about 3 p.m. local time in Oklahoma and reportedly stayed on the ground for more than 40 minutes, leaving a 20-mile path of death and destruction. Dozens of people were reported killed, and the death toll was expected to rise. Two elementary schools were struck by the tornado.

A few hours after the Mass, Pope Francis also used his @Pontifex Twitter account to express his concern for the Oklahoma victims and survivors.

"I am close to the families of all who died in the Oklahoma tornado, especially those who lost young children. Join me in praying for them," he told the 2.5 million people who follow his English-language Twitter account and the 2.4 million who follow his Spanish-language account.

Later in the day, the Vatican released a message to Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.

The cardinal said Pope Francis "has followed with deep concern the aftermath of the devastating tornado which has struck Oklahoma," and he asked the archbishop to convey "to the entire community the assurance of his solidarity and closeness in prayer."

"Conscious of the tragic loss of life and the immensity of the work of rebuilding that lies ahead," Cardinal Bertone said Pope Francis "asks almighty God to grant eternal rest to the departed, comfort to the afflicted, and strength and hope to the homeless and the injured."

"In a particular way he commends to the Father of mercies the many young children among the victims and their grieving families," the message said.

"Upon the local civil and religious leaders, and upon all involved in the relief efforts, His Holiness invokes the risen Lord's gifts of consolation, strength and perseverance in every good," it said.

 

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.