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.
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20180529T1003 17624 CNS MARYLAND FLOODING 800Rescue personnel examine damage on Main Street May 28 after a flash flood rushed through the historic town of Ellicott City, Md. Rescuers searched for a man missing after rampaging waters roared like a river through the quaint, historic downtown, swallowing cars and flooding stores and homes, just two years after a similar devastating deluge. (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA)BALTIMORE (CNS) -- For the second time in three years, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore will celebrate a Mass at St. Paul Church in the historic town of Ellicott City, where residents are again taking stock after another devastating flash flood.

Weekend worship for the feast of the Most Holy Trinity had concluded by the afternoon of May 27, when sustained, torrential rains turned Main Street below the church into a raging river that washed away automobiles, buildings and human life -- just as it had July 31, 2016.

Archbishop Lori will celebrate Mass June 2 at St. Paul, which was established in 1838, 66 years after the mill and railroad town was founded at was then a strategic location along the Patapsco River.

St. Paul is situated relatively safely above the Main Street thoroughfare, which once again produced reminders of the destructive power of nature, documented on social media as many prepared to observe Memorial Day.

A courthouse that dated to 1840 was among the structures destroyed in the historic town, which is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area and the county seat of Howard County.

Eddison Hermond, a National Guardsman from Severn, was enjoying lunch with friends when he went to the aid of a woman and was washed away, toward the Patapsco. Two days later, search and rescue teams located his body on the Baltimore County side of the river.

After the flash flood of 2016, St. Paul served as an emergency shelter. According to Father Warren Tanghe, pastor, the loss of water to all of its buildings and power in some of them precluded it from serving that function this time.
"Our facilities are not suitable for community service," Father Tanghe said May 28 in an interview with the Catholic Review, Baltimore's archdiocesan news outlet.

A day later, he reported that "all our buildings now have power and water, and our electronics are up."

St. Paul is being used as a staging area for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. crews that are restoring utilities.

The flood was felt at Resurrection-St. Paul School, north of old Ellicott City. According to Karen Murphy, principal, one of her teachers "lost" his residence on Main Street.

"I have eight other staff members and dozens of families who bailed out basements this weekend, but are grateful that's all they had to do," Murphy said. "Our theme this year has been 'Be Strong, Be Courageous.' ... That's appropriate for right now."

To the north of downtown Ellicott City, the Our Lady's Center Marian Shrine was closed Memorial Day for what a message on its website described as "some cleaning of debris," but noted that it "escaped damage" thanks to improvements made to its grounds after the 2016 flood.

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.