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 19, 1915 when ground was broken for St. Stephen Church, Hamden.
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Of the 70 languages spoken by people in the Archdiocese of Hartford, priests here are fluent in only seven, according to first-year seminarian Sean Hoffman. "We’re trying to stretch the number of languages that the Archdiocese knows," he said in a recent interview.

Mr. Hoffman will be studying Bosniac this summer, if a suitable teacher can be found for this language spoken by about 1,000 Bosnian families in the Hartford area. He said Bosnians form a recent immigrant wave here, and while most are Muslims, there are Bosnian Catholics here also.

"If you’re serving the Bosnian community, at some point you’ll have to preach in Bosniac, and that requires a little bit higher-level language than the vernacular."

Mr. Hoffman has studied French at Stonehill College in Massachusetts and in France. He also has studied Spanish and will study Latin and Greek at St. Joseph Seminary at Dunwoodie, N.Y.

Seminarian Robert Turner spent three weeks last summer studying Haitian Creole at the University of Massachusetts, and he will resume those studies there this summer.

"There’s a community of Haitians, particularly at St. Justin’s in Hartford, that has a rich culture," Mr. Turner said. "I think there is a large community of Haitians in New York and in Boston, and as immigration goes, there is a possibility of an influx into our community of faith. To prepare for that as children of God is part of the formation of a priest," he said.

Before the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, Mr. Turner visited the island nation and was impressed by their religious ardor. "The experience of meeting the people who are extremely poor and don’t have material things but are spiritually rich and devoted to God, that was a moving experience for me," he said.

Seminarian Tim Hickey is taking a Spanish course at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. In an e-mail message, Mr. Hickey wrote, "At Mount St. Mary’s, I’m enrolled in the Hispanic Ministry Certification program, which entails that by ordination I have proficiency with the language, take a couple of courses focusing on ministry to Spanish speakers and have additional coursework on Spanish culture and peoples. I’ll be taking an independent study class on Spanish life and culture in the U.S. this fall."

Mr. Hickey, former editor of Columbia magazine, published a Spanish edition of that magazine, so he has some background in the language. Before entering the seminary, he taught English to Spanish-speaking immigrants.

– Jack Sheedy

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.