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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stfran-mhiShawn T. Wooden, Hartford City Council president; Dr. Marcus M. McKinney, vice president of Community Health Equity and Health Policy at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center; Curtis D. Robinson, founder and chairman of the Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute (CDRMHI); St. Francis president and CEO Christopher M. Dadlez; and Adrienne W. Cochrane, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Hartford take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 14 to unveil the 5,400-square-foot space for St. Francis Center for Health Equity (CHE) and CDRMHI at Urban League headquarters at 140 Woodland Street, Hartford.

The Urban League and CDRMHI announced a partnership with CHE to address disparities in health care.  A $200,000 grant to CHE from the Connecticut Health Foundation will support a health equity fellowship position there.

 The goal of the fellowship position is to mentor and develop the skills of a health equity leader and expert in the area of health disparities, and to provide an in-depth understanding of the factors that impact the health of African-American men in Hartford, who face socioeconomic challenges resulting in poor health outcomes that are often four or five times worse than the general population.

Mr. Robinson, a businessman and a prostate cancer survivor, started CDRMHI three years ago to reach out to men who are at risk of prostate cancer and who otherwise would find it difficult to receive testing and treatment.

"We normally go out to churches, mosques, synagogues, barbershops, wherever men gather," Mr. Robinson said. "We’re still going to do that, but now we have a home," he added.

Mr. Dadlez said, "Equity in health care is a major issue nationally and in our community, and because of our initiative here, we’re going to take monumental steps forward to addressing the special needs of our community."

He added, "We hope we can eliminate disparities in health care."

Deacon Arthur Miller, director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries of the Archdiocese of Hartford, blessed the new facilities, noting that it was the eve of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the 150th anniversary month of the Emancipation Proclamation. Despite civil rights strides, black people still face disparities, including health care disparities, he said. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)

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.