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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20131112cnsbr2540 webTyphoon victims wait in line for free rice at a businessman's warehouse in Tacloban, Philippines, which was devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan. (CNS photo/Erik De Castro, Reuters)

 HARTFORD – Parishes across the Archdiocese of Hartford will take up a special collection to assist Catholic Relief Services in its response to the destruction that Typhoon Haiyan has wreaked on the Philippines.

Catholic Relief Services, in cooperation with its partners, will provide tens of thousands of families with shelter, essential living supplies and clean water and sanitation.

The devastating storm has injured at least 2,500 people and displaced over half a million from their homes. Current reports have the death toll at 2,000 people, but government officials fear that the final toll may be as high as 10,000.

“The death and destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan is beyond comprehension. It is probably the worst natural disaster to strike in modern history. Please keep our brothers and sisters of the Philippines in your prayers, and reach out to them in any way that you can,” said Archbishop Henry J. Mansell.

He has asked parishes to schedule special collections at Masses at their earliest convenience.

WJMJ, the Catholic radio station of the archdiocese, interrupted its semiannual Radio-thon on Nov. 11 to collect money for the victims of the typhoon. Listeners contributed $31,000 that will be sent to Catholic Relief Services.

“Our Radio-thon is essential to keeping our station on the air,” said Father John Gatzak, general manager of WJMJ, “but the needs of victims left hurt, homeless and hungry by this natural disaster is immediate. We’ll figure out a way to make up for this lost time in our fund-raising after we serve people who need our help now.”

People also may donate to Catholic Relief Services online at

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.