Bishop Peter A. Rosazza, auxiliary bishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Harford, talks to Ronald Shea, interim executive director of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM), center; and Dr. Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office for International Peace and Justice for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on June 11 at St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol.
BRISTOL – More than 250 people traveled to St. Paul Catholic High School on June 11 to learn and to reinforce their skills while honoring a bishop long active in social justice.
The second annual Bishop Peter Rosazza Social Justice Conference featured a wide variety of workshops and a keynote address by Dr. Stephen Colecchi, director of the Office for International Peace and Justice for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"The conference honors Bishop Peter’s tremendous service to the Church in the area of social justice, and provides leadership training and education," said Lynn Campbell, conference coordinator, who serves with the parish social ministry arm of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry.
The title of Dr. Colecchi’s talk was "Rooted in Faith: Building One Human Family."
"The measure of the justice of a society, the measure of building one human family, is how those who are poor or vulnerable are faring," said Dr. Colecchi, a former religion teacher at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford.
"Our family must be broadened to include God’s family … called to solidarity and peace with all peoples," he said.
In his talk, Dr. Colecchi urged participants to respond to impending deep federal budget cuts to programs that serve the poor and vulnerable people by writing to news editors and members of Congress.
"God calls us to live in community as one family," he stated. "For human beings, life is life in community. There is no other way."
Dr. Colecchi, who said he has worked for the past seven years for Bishop Rosazza through the USCCB, stated, "I have admired him and his work for justice and peace for many decades." He noted that with other bishops, Bishop Rosazza "frequently championed the causes of poor and vulnerable people and the case of peace.
"It is fitting that the conference honors Bishop Rosazza’s mission and work," he said.
Deacon Robert M. Palotti, director of the permanent diaconate for the Archdiocese, made a special presentation to Bishop Rosazza for his support of the diaconate program.
The 20 conference workshops included presentations about fair trade, Catholic Relief Services, immigration and social justice, Catholic social teaching, global solidarity in the parish and immersion trips for youth groups. Workshops in Spanish included such topics as domestic violence and immigration laws.
Among new workshops this year were presentations about social media, social justice and the liturgy and eucharistic ecology. A session that focused on global solidarity and diaconal ministry reviewed the seven themes of Catholic social teaching.
Exhibitors included Catholic Relief Services, Christian Community Action, the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty and groups promoting fair trade, sustainable farming and