HARTFORD – The always-active Cathedral of St. Joseph will be the site of three particularly significant events in May: a Blue Mass for emergency responders, the ordination of seven men to the priesthood and a Mass in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the massive structure’s consecration.
The fourth annual Blue Mass on May 6 is expected to draw hundreds of active and retired police, fire and safety personnel and their families.
Pomp and ceremony are the earmarks of a Blue Mass. Farmington Avenue will become a sea of red, white and blue – but mostly blue – as a procession of color guards, motorcycle patrols and walking contingents from a variety of communities and agencies will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Farmington Avenue. The procession will mount the steps of the cathedral’s entrance under a huge American flag that will be draped from the ladders of two fire engines.
The Blue Mass honors men and women who serve or have served as police, fire or other emergency personnel.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will celebrate the Mass.
In the past, the Mass has been attended by hundreds of state, city and town police, fire, emergency medical workers; personnel from the Department of Correction and police motorcycle contingents.
Father Jeffrey V. Romans, assistant chancellor of the Archdiocese of Hartford and secretary to the archbishop, who coordinates the Blue Mass each year, said emergency responders who died in the line of duty this year will be especially honored.
"We also will pray for those who are active members of a branch of public safety who have died although not in the line of duty," Father Romans said.
"I think it allows for a fitting tribute to the men and women who put their lives on the line every day and gives us all a chance to thank God for them all," he added.
Archbishop Mansell will ordain seven men to the priesthood at 11 a.m. on May 12. The candidates for ordination have been serving as transitional deacons at various parishes across the Archdiocese of Hartford.
They are Reverend Mr. Henry Alexander Avendano Varon from Colombia, St. Teresa of Avila in Woodbury; Reverend Mr. Didier Julian Cardona Marin from Colombia, St. Augustine in Hartford; Reverend Mr. Jorge Eliecer Castro Morales from Colombia, St. Bernard in Enfield; Reverend Mr. Mathieu Isaac from Haiti, St. Mary-St. Ann in New Britain; Reverend Mr. Robert Landback of New Haven, St. Mary in Branford; Reverend Mr. Timothy Edward Ryan of East Hartford, St. Mary-St. Rose-St. Isaac Jogues, East Hartford; and Reverend Mr. Nghia Huu Tran from Vietnam, St. Lawrence O’Toole, Hartford.
According to the archdiocesan Vocations Office, the group equals the number of candidates in 1991. Together, together are the largest classes since 1986, when 13 men were ordained.
Father Romans said everyone should attend at least one ordination Mass.
"For the average person to see the history and rich tradition of the ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he said
"The whole ordination rite is a beautiful experience for any Catholic. We thank God for the gift of these men who are giving their lives to the service of the Church and to pray for them as they begin their service."
The 50th anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral of St. Joseph will be celebrated with a Mass at 3 p.m. May 20.
"All priests and parishioners across the archdiocese are invited," said Maria Zone, director of communications for the archdiocese.
"It’s an open invitation to all who want to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our mother church," she added.
A reception will follow.
Additional details about the celebration were not available at press time.
At 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.
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.”
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.”