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 22, 1960 when ground was broken for St. Philip Church, East Windsor.
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Prayer-Shawl-PresentationRepresentatives of the Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Joseph Parish in Poquonock present shawls to leaders of the professional association of funeral directors who assisted after the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown. From left are Darlene Kennedy of Windsor, leader of the Prayer Shawl Ministry; Pasquale Folino, president of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) and a licensed funeral director at Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Homes in New London and Niantic; John Cascio, executive director of the FDA; and Bunni Barresi of Windsor, Prayer Shall Ministry member. (Photo submitted)

 WETHERSFIELD – The Prayer Shawl Ministry of St. Joseph Parish in Poquonock has wrapped funeral directors who assisted after the Dec. 14 killings in Newtown with love and prayers.

The ministry gathered in January for a “Knit-In” to remember the victims and families of Dec. 14’s Sandy Hook shootings and to thank the funeral directors who helped the grieving families.

As each member knitted or crocheted a shawl, she prayed for the funeral directors, asking for peace, comfort and blessings for their care and service.

Father Robert B. Vargo, pastor of St. Joseph, which is located in the Poquonock section of Windsor, blessed the shawls during a Mass and said a special prayer for funeral directors who have the difficult job of assisting grieving families every day.


Several weeks later, two members of the Prayer Shawl Ministry presented the colorful shawls to the leadership of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. The volunteers explained that each shawl was different and made with love, and they conveyed the appreciation of their group to the funeral directors for their strength and caring.

Licensed funeral directors from 11 Connecticut funeral homes and one in New York served the families of those affected by the tragedy at the school. More than 160 other funeral directors assisted their professional brothers and sisters in serving the families.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Joseph’s creates shawls for people of all faiths, and for some with seemingly no faith, for many different reasons, including illness, weddings, baptisms, confirmations, grief, loneliness, birthdays, graduations and for God’s blessings.

The ministry has mailed shawls to people in other states and countries.

To purchase yarn for their shawls, the group has sponsored pancake breakfasts within the parish. It also has received donations from a variety of individuals, including people who have requested a prayer shawl for another person and others who have received prayer shawls, some in memory of a loved one.

The group is open to new members and does not require knitting or crocheting experience.

Information about membership and donations is available from Darlene Kennedy at (860) 688-9482 or

The Connecticut Funeral Directors Association is composed of funeral directors at more than 220 funeral homes. Based in Wethersfield, it is committed to the promotion and advocacy of high ethical standards in funeral service.

For information about the 124-year-old professional association, call (860) 721-0234 or (800) 919-2332 or visit


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.