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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serra--010Seminarian David Madejski enjoys some down time with his grandmother Alina Madejski, nephew Angel Madejski and sisters Jessica and Monica at the picnic on Aug. 5. (See photo gallery by Lenora Sumsky at right)

BLOOMFIELD – Torrential rain on Aug. 5 couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm that members of the Serra Club of Hartford have for seminarians of the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The local chapter of the international organization, which fosters and promotes vocations to the priesthood and religious life, hosts a picnic every summer for seminarians and their families, preferably on dry days.

This year, because of thunder, lightning and heavy rain, the seminarians, their families, Serra members and Archbishop Henry J. Mansell gathered inside the hall at Sacred Heart Parish instead.

No one seemed to mind the rain.

It rains almost every year,” said Marilyn Dumas, a member of Serra and of St. Joseph Cathedral Parish in Hartford. “We always plan to eat indoors.”

“The seminarians are happy to see each other, to talk and enjoy each other’s company,” she said.

Jerry Crotty, a longtime Serran, said, “It is one of only a few opportunities they have to come together and socialize, and it provides an opportunity for them to keep in touch with each other.”

Member Jim Mangan said, “We host the annual picnic to thank the seminarians and to show our appreciation and support for them.

“Many of our seminarians are nowhere near home and need to be encouraged,” he added.

Seminarians at the picnic came from locations across the globe, including from as far away as Seoul, South Korea, and Medellin, Colombia. Others were raised nearby.

The men attend several different schools, including St. John's Seminary in Boston; Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.; and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary near Philadelphia.

Serra Club members “adopt” a seminarian; they pray each day for “their” seminarian and frequently send cards, greetings and sometimes even cookies.

Serra International is named and inspired by Blessed Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary who founded missions in California. The organization, which was established in 1935, has chapters in 46 countries. In the United States there are 18,000 members.

Information about the Hartford Chapter of Serra is available from George Dumas, membership chairman, at (860) 678-1016.

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.