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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SS-Cyril--Methodius-School-webA contingent from SS. Cyril and Methodius School in Hartford prepares to march in the 2013 Hartford St. Patrick's Day Parade in this Transcript file photo.

HARTFORD – SS. Cyril and Methodius School will close at the end of the academic year, and the families of its students will receive financial assistance in continuing their Catholic education at St. Augustine School.

“After careful review and consultation with parish trustees and the financial committee of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Hartford, it was determined that parish resources can no longer sustain the school, which currently enrolls 80 students,” said a press release issued  by the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The school first opened its doors in 1904.

“Closing a school is always very difficult,” said Father Adam Hurbanczuk, pastor of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish. “Despite the help we receive from the Archdiocese of Hartford through the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal Tuition Assistance Program, the Catholic School Support Program and other donations, we can no longer afford the operational costs needed to keep the school open.”

A transition of families to St. Augustine School, or to any other Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Hartford, will be encouraged and financially assisted by $500 tuition scholarships awarded by SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish to each student for the 2014-15 school year, provided that the family is current with their financial obligations. School registration fees will also be waived for the 2014-15 school year.

Joy Chlus, principal of SS. Cyril and Methodius, said the main priority is helping students at every grade level adjust to their new school environment. She said she and Father Hurbanczuk consulted with St. Augustine School administrators and the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools to identify ways to ease the students’ transition.

As a result, two dates have been scheduled for SS. Cyril and Methodius students to visit St. Augustine to become acquainted with it. The first was set for May 19, when students and their parents had the chance to tour St. Augustine School, meet teachers and have lunch with the students.

On May 30, St. Augustine will host a field day at which students from both schools may participate in games, attend a book fair, receive a school T-shirt and share in a barbecue.

St. Augustine School will also offer a five-week summer camp, open to prekindergarten to third grade students, for which registration is underway.

“It’s important that SS. Cyril and Methodius students feel welcome at St. Augustine, and know that if they choose our school, they will receive an excellent faith-filled education in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Father José Mercado, pastor of St. Augustine.

“I am also encouraged that many of our students’ families attend our Masses on Sundays to experience God’s grace together as a family, and I look forward to offering our new families this same wonderful opportunity.”

Under Father Mercado’s leadership, St. Augustine has developed a family resource center facilitated by the Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima, who serve families of the school. St. Augustine also has a full-time enrollment director who reaches out to the community by introducing new families to the school.

A Hartford Task Force on Education, comprising academic professionals, parents and business leaders, has been formed to study and recommend proactive, strategic initiatives to safeguard the future of Catholic-school education in the city of Hartford. Dr. David Larson, a former Archdiocesan School Board member and executive director of the Connecticut Public School Superintendents, has been named chairman.

“It is never too late or too early to begin an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Catholic-school education within the archdiocese. I look forward to collaborating with the task force and the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools to develop short- and long-term plans to maintain the viability and sustainability of Catholic-school education in Hartford,” said Dr. Larson.

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.