WINDSOR LOCKS – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair cuts the ceremonial ribbon at St. Robert Bellarmine Church on Aug. 9, following the vigil Mass, to dedicate the St. Robert Bellarmine Parish Center.
Father Robert O’Grady, right, pastor of St. Mary and St. Robert Churches in Windsor Locks, looks on while holding a microphone to enable the capacity congregation of nearly 350 parishioners to hear the dedication blessing by the archbishop before sharing the first catered meal at the center.
In his homily about Christ’s words in the Gospel reading, “O ye of little faith,” and “Be not afraid,” Archbishop Blair invoked the enduring dedication of a former St. Robert Bellarmine pastor, the late Father Thomas Farrell, who, in nearly 40 years of stewardship at St. Robert Parish envisioned such a holy meeting place. His name has been given to the large meeting hall at the center.
In his blessing, Archbishop Blair told the parishioners, “My dear friends, after much work and prayer by so many members of this parish, we gather now to bless and dedicate this new parish hall. It will be a center for parish activities and a place where you may come to know one another and give witness to Christ.”
Father O’Grady thanked Archbishop Blair and Father John Lavorgna, vice chancellor and secretary to the archbishop, who was master of ceremonies for the occasion, for their presence at the ceremony and also acknowledged several civic, community and public service officials.
Father O'Grady also recognized many among the congregation who have served on numerous committees during the years of planning and he acknowledged with gratitude the permission to proceed from then-Archbishop Henry J. Mansell. He cited the many talents of the architectural, building, design, finance and construction teams that have made the center such a rich extension of St. Robert Bellarmine Church and warmly acknowledged several significant memorial gifts from families of former parishioners that will grace and enhance the new structure for years to come.
One special guest was Father Theodore Raczynski, who preceded Father Farrell as pastor, is now retired, and who enjoyed sharing many memories among congregation members who remembered him from his decades-ago service to the Windsor Locks Catholic community.
The center’s Father Thomas Farrell Hall seats 310. It has a full kitchen; and there are smaller rooms for deanery service and classrooms, conferences and meetings.