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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Rousseau_RobertJFather Robert R. Rousseau

MERIDEN – The new director of the Pro-Life Ministry for the Archdiocese of Hartford is certainly no stranger to pro-life causes. Father Robert J. Rousseau, pastor of St. Augustine Parish in North Branford, was the driving force behind the creation of Carolyn’s Place, a crisis pregnancy resource center now centered in Waterbury.

As director of Pro-Life Ministries, Father Rousseau succeeds Father James J. Cronin, pastor of St. Mary Parish and temporary administrator of Christ the Redeemer Parish, both in Milford. Father Cronin had held the position since Oct. 9, 1991.

Coincidentally, it was around that time – Nov. 4, 1991, to be precise – that Father Rousseau, then-pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Watertown, discovered an abandoned baby girl in the church as he was leaving a meeting of the Council of Catholic Women.

"I heard a cry, and I looked down and there was a shaft of light coming from the main body of the church, and in that shaft of light, that tiny shaft of light, there was this little foot. I almost had a heart attack. I hit the light switch real quick and there was this gorgeous, absolutely beautiful little baby just staring up at me."

The baby was eventually adopted, and Carolyn’s Place was established the following year.

"One of the major goals at the time was that no woman should have to go through pregnancy alone and we would have a 24/7 hotline," Father Rousseau said. If he could meet the mother, he would like to thank her and let her know that because she decided to leave her baby where it could be found, more than 1,000 babies have been saved through Carolyn’s Place.

As the new director of Pro-Life Ministries, Father Rousseau will be encouraging pro-life representatives in each parish, who, he said, "are trying to do a yeoman’s job and sometimes a very difficult job also."

He said, "It’s critical that people be willing to stand up and take a public stand, especially in the modern day when in some ways it seems to be a less popular stand; and yet our little brothers and sisters need voices to speak for them. They can’t speak for themselves, and if we who are living our lives don’t speak up for them, no one will."

In announcing Father Rousseau’s appointment, Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist Suzanne Gross, program coordinator for the Pro-Life Ministry, said, "We welcome Father Rousseau and are grateful for his dedication to the Gospel of Life and the needs of this ministry. We thank Father Cronin for his years of advocacy, his monthly letters, and his vigilance in the protection of all human life."



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.