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 21, 1934 when Father James J. Kane offered Madison's first Mass in Madison's Memorial Town Hall.
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20180202T1304 14318 CNS POPE CONSECRATED MASS 800Women religious hold candles as they wait for Pope Francis to arrive for Mass with consecrated women and men marking the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Feb. 2. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Lift up your eyes from your smartphones and see your brothers and sisters, those who share your journey of faith and those who are longing for the Word of life, Pope Francis told consecrated men and women.

"Today's frantic pace leads us to close many doors to encounter, often for fear of others," the pope said in his homily for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day for Consecrated Life. "Only shopping malls and internet connections are always open."

Yet believers' hearts must be open as well, because every believer receives the faith from someone and is called to share it with others, the pope said at the Mass Feb. 2 in St. Peter's Basilica.

The feast day commemorates the 40th day after Jesus' birth when, in accordance with ancient Jewish practice, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple and presented him to the Lord. The feast's Gospel reading from St. Luke recounts how the aged Simeon and Anna, who were praying in the temple, recognized Jesus as the Messiah.

The Mass, attended by thousands of women and men belonging to religious orders, began with the traditional blessing of candles and a prayer that God would guide people toward his son, "the light that has no end."

In his homily, Pope Francis focused on a series of encounters: between people and Jesus; between the young Mary and Joseph and the elderly Simeon and Anna; and between individuals and members of their religious communities or their neighborhoods.

"In the Christian East," the pope explained, "this feast is called the 'feast of Encounter': It is the encounter between God, who became a child to bring newness to our world, and an expectant humanity."

The pope, himself a Jesuit, told the religious that their own journeys were "born of an encounter and a call" which, while highly personal, took place in the context of a family, a parish or a community.

Members of religious orders must realize that they need each other -- young and old -- to renew and strengthen their knowledge of the Lord, he said. They must never "toss aside" the elderly members because "if the young are called to open new doors, the elderly have the keys."

One's brothers or sisters in the community are a gift to be cherished, he said before adding a plea: "May we never look at the screen of our cellphone more than the eyes of our brothers or sisters, or focus more on our software than on the Lord."

Pope Francis said strengthening the intergenerational bonds in a religious community also is an antidote to "the barren rhetoric of 'the good old days'" and the only way "to silence those who believe that 'everything is going wrong here.'"

Religious life, with its vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, always has been countercultural, he said. And yet it is the source of true freedom because while "the life of this world pursues selfish pleasures and desires, the consecrated life frees our affections of every possession in order fully to love God and other people."

 

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.