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 17, 1891 when Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon dedicated St. Bernard Church, Enfield.
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relic-webA man and woman touch a reliquary containing a relic of St. Anthony of Padua on loan from its shrine in Italy on Sept. 12 at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church in Springfield, Mass.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Annette and Michael Vasaturo, members of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Woodbridge, reach out toward relics of St. Anthony of Padua on Sept. 12.

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair led 170 pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Hartford to St. Anthony Maronite Parish Sept. 12 for a Mass and veneration of relics of St. Anthony of Padua on loan from the saint’s pontifical basilica in Italy.

Father George Zina, pastor of St. Anthony Parish, who was instrumental in obtaining permission for the relics to be transported from Italy, welcomed Archbishop Blair to the Maronite rite church and thanked him for his support of the nine-day novena. Organizers said the novena, which extended from Sept. 6-14, drew over 10,000 pilgrims from throughout New England.

“Your visit is a blessing not only to me, but to all of us as your first visit to a Maronite church,” said an enthusiastic Father Zina.

The faithful were clearly moved to be in the presence of relics of the Portuguese saint, who died in Padua in 1231 at the age of 36.

“It’s a chance of a lifetime,” said Cathy Davis, a member of St. Gregory Parish in Bristol. “Now I don’t have to go all the way to Italy to see his relics.”

Added Barbara Palmieri, a parishioner of Our Lady of Pompeii in East Haven, “It’s wonderful, very inspirational … very holy and religious.”

A devotee of St. Anthony, Marcella Evans, who belongs to St. Justin Parish in Hartford, offered, “He’s my favorite saint. Whenever I’m in need, I call on him and he works miracles for me.”

The pilgrimage was also personal for Kathy Iaquinto of St. Monica Parish in Northford. “St. Anthony is a faithful friend,” she said.

Echoed Rita Nardecchia of Holy Infant Parish in Orange, “We’re so lucky to have St. Anthony’s relics here. He never lets me down.”

Archbishop Blair concelebrated Mass with the newly installed  Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of Springfield, along with Father Zina and Conventual Franciscan Friars Enzo Poiana and Allesandro Ratti from St. Anthony’s Basilica in Italy.

During his homily, Archbishop Blair spoke about the life of the saint,  noting that after Saint Anthony died, his tongue was found to be incorrupt – a sign of the saint’s great gift for evangelizing the people of his time.

Archbishop Blair told the pilgrims from the archdiocese, “Our job is to bring Jesus Christ to the world” and one day “be forever in his company in heaven.”

Sally Ann Tanasi of Blessed Sacrament Parish in East Hartford appreciated Archbishop Blair’s presence. “It’s wonderful,” she said. “The archbishop had such a beautiful homily that was touching and inspirational.”

The two Franciscan friars who traveled with the relics encouraged the faithful to touch cards with their prayer intentions, as well as such personal items as rosaries and medals, to the relic. They said that all the prayer intention cards would be taken back to Padua and placed under the tomb of the saint.

Father Zina announced that the shrine of St. Anthony in Padua granted a first-class relic to permanently remain with the parish. It will be venerated during a Mass and novena to St. Anthony held to be on Tuesdays at noon.

Pilgrims from the archdiocese traveled in three buses from St. George Parish in Guilford, St. Bridget Parish in Cheshire and St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield for a Holy Hour, followed by veneration of the relics, Mass and a pasta dinner.


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.