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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st fran spirit award winners 2015 webFrom left, Mark and Barbara Lentini, Daniel O'Connell and Christopher M. Dadlez

HARTFORD – Archbishop Emeritus Henry J. Mansell and the late David A. Lentini were recipients of the St. Francis Spirit Award during the annual luncheon meeting of St. Francis Care, parent company of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, at the Connecticut Convention Center Jan. 7.

Archbishop  Mansell could not be present to accept the award. St. Francis Care board chairman Daniel O’Connell said, when accepting it on the archbishop’s behalf, “I, too, would like to extend my sincere thanks to him for his role as archbishop and his wise counsel, leadership and friendship to St. Francis. His unwavering dedication and commitment to our hospital and our community is truly inspiring and will leave a lasting legacy to the Archdiocese of Hartford.”

Christopher M. Dadlez, hospital president and CEO, cited Archbishop Mansell’s work to end chronic homelessness in the capital region and his tuition assistance and emergency assistance components of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, as well as his guidance and leadership as chairman of the board at St. Francis Hospital.

Mr. Lentini (1946-2013) began his career more than 40 years ago as a banker at Connecticut Bank and Trust Co. and launched the rebirth of that bank as CBT in 2001. In 2007, he was elected director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He also served as chairman of the board at Renbrook School in West Hartford. He served for 11 years on St. Francis’ board of directors and was a member of the hospital’s finance committee.

Mr. Dadlez, said, while presenting Mr. Lentini’s award posthumously, “Among his many serious accomplishments, what he is most known for was his humor, his immense charm and dedicated service to the community.” Mr. Lentini’s wife Barbara and son Mark accepted the award.

Spirit Awards are presented annually to people or organizations in the St. Francis family whose actions exemplify the hospital’s mission and core values.

Mr. Dadlez focused much of his remarks on the recent definitive agreement between Trinity Health and St. Francis Care. The proposed partnership – expected to be finalized later this year – would expand the hospital’s services to all of Connecticut and parts of Massachusetts while maintaining its Catholic mission and integrity, he said.

“We’re very fortunate to come to the conclusion that Trinity Health was an outstanding organization that could meet our objectives and our needs as well as us contributing to their vision of the future of being a really outstanding national health care provider,” he said.

“They’re basically committed to the same mission and values [as St. Francis]. They are committed to creating a people-centered health system” offering better health care and lower costs, he said.

“We’re both focused on population health. We’re committed to Catholic health care,” he said. The partnership would make St. Francis the “epicenter” of a new regional health ministry that could draw on Trinity Health’s affiliations and partnerships with Together Health, Walgreens, Sharecare and other health organizations, he said.

Mr. Dadlez told the Transcript that the hospital began searching for such a partner several years ago.

“They came to the forefront because we were already talking to them about doing some things collaboratively [in Springfield, Mass.]. We knew that we still needed to have a partnership but we wanted to have the right one,” he said.

Asked what the benefits will be to patients, he said, “We’re going to continue to be a low-cost provider. It’s really taking this and expanding it geographically to having a really high-quality provider, being able to take care of a large number of people in our geography, so all the care the locals get now is expanded to the rest of the state.”

Trinity Health is based in Livonia, Mich., and operates 86 hospitals in 21 states. It also owns 128 non-acute facilities.

Mr. O’Connell, St. Francis board chairman, announced at the luncheon that Dr. Murthappa N. Prakash, of South Windsor, has been elected to a two-year term on the hospital’s board of directors. Dr. Prakash is an interventional cardiologist in private practice and is president of the hospital’s medical staff. He also mentors medical students from University of Connecticut Medical School as well as residents at St. Francis.

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.