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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Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, sporting a crisp white apron, takes meal orders from women seated at a table in the main dining room at St. Joseph’s Residence in Enfield, where he and more than a dozen other priests served dinner in honor of the feast of St. Joseph, spouse of the Virgin Mary, on March 19.

The women who are visible are Marion Cunningham, at left; Pauline Jahn; Thelma Lawson, with hand raised; and Priscilla Chilone at right. 

Residents wore red in honor of St. Joseph, patron of the Little Sisters of the Poor who operate the facility. See full gallery at

Before the meal, Archbishop Blair was the principal celebrant of a Mass in the residence’s chapel. In his homily, before which he commended the Little Sisters of the Poor for their service, he reminded those who filled the chapel that although Saint Joseph is silent in the pages of Scripture, he speaks eloquently about faith and our need to “hope against hope and trust in God for all things.”

Archbishop Blair described Saint Joseph as a man of faith with great humility, fidelity, simplicity and modesty.

Priests from nine local parishes helped serve the meal. The priests on hand were Father Jeffrey V. Romans, the archbishop’s secretary and assistant chancellor of the archdiocese; and Fathers Alphonso Fontana; John Gwozdz; Francis Kerwan; Lech Kuna; Alvin LeBlanc; John Melnick; Joseph Moonnanappallil; Robert O’Grady; Emilio Padelli;. Robert Rousseau; Julian Szumilo; and Earl Herbert.

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.