HARTFORD – Archbishop Henry J. Mansell took the occasion of the annual Chrism Mass to rejoice at the selection of a new pope, to praise the priests of the archdiocese for exemplary service and to extol the 1,000 Catholic school children attending to "rally against bullying."
All of the oils used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, the anointing of the sick and the ordination of priests, as well as in the consecration of altars and churches were blessed by Archbishop, Mansell at the Mass, celebrated on March 26 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Archdiocesan priests, including those celebrating jubilees of 25, 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 years, were invited to renew their commitments to priestly service.
The archbishop mentioned by name the priests marking 60 or more years. Celebrating 60 years this year are Msgr. David Q. Liptak, executive editor of The Catholic Transcript; Msgr. John D. Regan, pastor emeritus of St. John of the Cross, Middlebury; and Father Lawrence G. Wrenn, former longtime judicial vicar for the Metropolitan Tribunal. Father A. Leo Spodnik, former pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Torrington, is marking 65 years; and Father Francis T. Kerwan, still active as pastor of Holy Family Parish in Enfield, has been a priest for 70 years.
Archbishop Mansell recalled that a week earlier, he and dozens of worshipers vicariously attended the inaugural Mass for the new Pope Francis, watching a live broadcast from Rome projected onto a large screen inside the cathedral in Hartford. "It was an exhilarating experience," the archbishop said, to watch Pope Francis praying at the Confessional inside St. Peter’s Basilica, where Saint Peter, the first pope, is buried.
The archbishop reminded the students and others in the packed cathedral, "We’re called to rally against bullying, a terrible problem in our society, not to gang up on people, not to ridicule people, not to humiliate people, not to isolate people."
After the oils and Holy Chrism were blessed, deacons carried the urns to the lower cathedral, where representatives of all 213 parishes picked up at least one vial of each to bring back to their parishes. Members of the Council of Catholic Women of the Archdiocese of Hartford filled the vials.
The women were Lisa Bermel and Sue Hession of St. Mary Parish in Simsbury; Liz Riscassi and Joan Alix of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in West Hartford; Joan Politis, Beth Ellison and Betsy Morrison of Sacred Heart Parish in Bloomfield; and Josephine Quintana and Margaret Hark of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in West Simsbury.