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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HARTFORD – Last year, more than 150 parishioners in the Archdiocese of Hartford who faced desperate financial situations were able to pay their bills, thanks to grants received from the Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF) supported by the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.

The EAF is just one of nine major initiatives that will be funded by the 2012 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, which kicks off in parishes March 3 and 4. Drawing upon a theme this year of "Making a Difference," the annual campaign funds the ministries, programs, services, activities and agencies of the archdiocese.

Parishes are being encouraged to show an 11-minute video, which was personalized for each parish, during all Masses in lieu of the homily.

In his introduction to the video, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell talks about the importance of the annual campaign, and notes that it shows the good works of the Church. "It’s actually the Gospel in motion," he states.

"Every day, people turn to the Church for help and support," says Archbishop Mansell in the video, for needs ranging from hunger and homelessness to marriage counseling, faith formation, education, communication, tuition assistance and vocations to the priesthood.

Last year, the campaign goal of $8.5 million was surpassed, hitting a record for the archdiocese of $9.8 million from almost 50,000 parishioners – and surpassing the previous appeal by half a million. The average donation was $200; the average donation from priests was $1,366 – the highest in the nation in similar fund drives.

This year, the goal of $8.5 million remains the same as last year’s, according to Jim Gallagher, director of the appeal. "But with the cooperation and generosity of our parishioners, we’re hoping to match or surpass last year’s record number," he stated.

As one of the areas funded by the appeal, the EAF provides basic human needs to parishioners facing urgent needs – food, clothing and shelter, as well as help with utilities, especially electricity, gas and other energy costs. Last year, the appeal allocated $500,000 to the EAF along with the Malta House of Care.

Other categories that received funding from the appeal were: $1,825,000 for Catholic Charities and other good works of the Church; $1 million for Catholic education and faith formation; $1,448,000 for pastoral ministries; $1,048,000 for seminarian and diaconate programs; $829,000 for communications; $750,000 for 250 local charitable programs in Hartford, Waterbury and New Haven; $600,000 for retired clergy; and $500,000 for tuition assistance in elementary schools.

"We encourage everyone to give to the best of their ability,’ said Mr. Gallagher. "Every year, we need more money because the needs increase, particularly in this challenging economy."

He noted that even though the 2012 campaign hasn’t officially begun, the appeal is already nearing $1 million thanks to an initial outreach effort.

"We hope to raise a minimum of $8.5 million to meet our most pressing needs," he said.

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.