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 22, 1960 when ground was broken for St. Philip Church, East Windsor.
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chrism 2015 4988 webHundreds of Catholics from all over the archdiocese stand for the procession of more than 100 bishops, priests and deacons at the start of the annual Chrism Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral March 31. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)

HARTFORD – Reconciliation, peace and anger control were themes Archbishop Leonard P. Blair addressed in his homily during the annual Chrism Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral March 31.

Celebrated each year during Holy Week, the Chrism Mass is an occasion when the archbishop blesses or consecrates oils to be used in the upcoming year during the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the ordinations of priests, as well as for the consecrations of altars and churches. It is also an occasion during which priests of the archdiocese renew their commitment to priestly service.

The archbishop said that a priest needs holiness in order to discern the signs of the times and to be an effective instrument in the divine work of salvation.
“I needn’t tell you that the world today stands in dire need of reconciliation and peace, in dire need of that soothing ointment of the Holy Spirit that flows from Christ to us,” he said. “Humanity’s brief conflicts are like open wounds that confront us daily with human suffering, misery, martyrdom, hatred and death.”
Peace begins with each one of us, he said.

He referred to Peter Wood’s book A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now, which says that anger used to be an emotion we were expected to keep under control. “Now, outbursts of anger in our country are actually applauded as a way of showing one’s authenticity,” he said. “Restraint is out, and wrath is in.”
The First Letter of Peter reminds us that Jesus did not return anger for anger. “When he suffered, he did not struggle, but he trusted in him who judges justly,” the archbishop said.

Forgiveness and peace are essential elements of the sacrament of reconciliation, the greatest service a priest can render, he said. “We remember that the priest is a man ordained to absolve in the name of Christ himself, in the very person of Jesus Christ,” he said.

“I once had a conversation with a psychologist about how much anger there is in people today,” he said. “‘Bishop,’ he said, ‘what do you expect when so few people go to confession?’”

He said there can be no peace anywhere “without renouncing anger and embracing the healing and sanctifying gifts of the Holy Spirit, poured out to the world through the church, poured out in the sacramental oils that in a moment I will consecrate.”

He concluded, “Today as we leave this cathedral after this beautiful Chrism Mass, let us make a simple prayer our own: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”

The archbishop then blessed two types of oils – the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens – and consecrated the Holy Chrism. The Oil of the Sick is used by priests to administer the sacrament of anointing the sick. The Oil of the Catechumens is used to give a person wisdom and strength before receiving the sacrament of baptism.

Deacons then carried the vessels containing the oils to the lower cathedral, where members of the archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women transferred the oils to vials for distribution to each parish.

Scores of priests from all corners of the archdiocese concelebrated the Mass, during which they renewed their commitment to priestly service. The archbishop asked them if they were resolved to renew their promises, to be more united with the Lord Jesus, to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God and to faithfully discharge the sacred office of teaching. To each question, they responded, “I am.”

About 200 Catholic school students from several schools attended the Mass, including 53 students from St. Mary Magdalen School in Oakville. Thomas Maynard, principal, said it was important for the students to witness the priests’ renewing their commitment.

“It’s a perfect example of modeling and it brings it home to them, the commitment of each of the priests to their [promises],” he said.

Mr. Maynard was impressed with the wide range in ages of the concelebrating priests, some of whom were newly ordained and others celebrating 25, 50, 55, 60, even 70 years in the priesthood.

“It says to the young people that this is something very important,” Mr. Maynard said.

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.