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.
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Pumpkin_0457A pumpkin sailor floats on hay in the parking lot at St. Anthony Church in Prospect, which has been turned into a pumpkin patch for a good cause. (Photo by Jeff Guerrette)


The parish is conducting a pumpkin sale through 31 to help fund a new "Hope" ministry that is meant to enhance the quality of life and self-sufficiency of the community.The sale is conducted from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

All of the proceeds will go toward developing a new approach to church giving in the parish. In addition to giving money or food for immediate needs, the parish will provide financial, educational, practical and spiritual guidance to help people in Prospect who are in need.

As Father Mark Suslenko, pastor, explained, "It's one thing to say, 'We're going to collect food for the needy.' That's a hands-on response. But there's another part of it, which is, 'Why is this need happening in the first place? Why do we have this gap? What is it in our lifestyle that contributes to these gaps?'"

In an effort to close this gap, Father Suslenko has pulled together a committee of people with a variety of skills and abilities, including financial and social service expertise for families on the brink.

David Byrne, a committee member, said, "Any Prospect resident can come to the parish center or call to seek help. They don’t have to be a member of the church and, of course, any contact will be kept in the strictest confidence."

Michael Accuosti, a pastoral council member, said, "We wanted to move away from just giving out money. We want to find out what the root cause of the problem is and not just throw money at people."

Father Suslenko and Mr. Accuosti said that traditional church giving, such as the food bank and short-term financial assistance, would continue in the parish. The new ministry will be an adjunct to existing programs.

The pumpkin sale will take place at the corner of Routes 68 and 69 in Prospect. In addition to selling pumpkins, the church will have entertainment, storytellers for the children, games and other seasonal food items for sale.

Information about the sale, ministry or volunteer opportunities is available by calling the parish center at (203) 758-4056, ext. 17.

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.