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 19, 1915 when ground was broken for St. Stephen Church, Hamden.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

strobt-bell-webWINDSOR 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.

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.