Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Sunday, June 24, 2018

FranSportsBanq_7308Jeff McInerney, head football coach for Central Connecticut State University, acknowledges applause as Sister Suzanne and Father Mosey join in. To see photo gallery, click here.

PLANTSVILLE – Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran was a special guest on June 8 at the largest fund-raiser of the year for the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. The sisters reported that 535 people were on hand for their 26th annual Franciscan Sports Banquet at the Aqua Turf Club.

An A-list of sports celebrities was a main attraction, including UConn’s head men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun; his new assistant coach Kevin Ollie; Quinnipiac University’s head men’s basketball coach Tom Moore; and Luisa Kuhn, widow of former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. WFSB-TV news anchor Al Terzi and his son Tony Terzi, former Connecticut television sports anchor, co-emceed the event.

"I feel, with my role in the community, I’m not just a broadcaster," Al Terzi told the Transcript. "I have an obligation as a public figure, so to speak, to inspire other people to get involved in good works."

He added, "When you’re in the presence of the sisters, everybody smiles and all is right with the world. It’s just an amazing phenomenon."

Sister Barbara Johnson, executive director of the Franciscan Life Center in Meriden, said, "The purpose [of the banquet] is to raise funds for our services. We can’t support our services on fees alone. It’s our counseling services, our home care, our hospice care. We need fund-raising events."

Mother General Shaun Vergauwen, co-founder of the Franciscan Life Center, introduced Cardinal Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Pope John Paul II proclaimed him Cardinal in 2003 of the Deaconry of St. Apollonius at the Neronian-Alexandrian Baths.

Cardinal Tauran was staying with the Franciscan community for a few days.

"Cardinal Tauran is a friend of our community, and two of our sisters have worked with him," Mother Shaun said.

She said the Cardinal also visited them in 2009. That year, she and another sister had tickets to the Final Four, in which the UConn Huskies competed. "We had to make a choice. We stayed home to visit with the Cardinal," she said. "As you recall, that is the only time the Huskies lost."

In his remarks, Coach Calhoun said, "We’re honored, Your Eminence, to have you here tonight. The only suggestion I have is that when you’re making a trip, some time in late March or early April is not a great time."