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 16, 1978 when the first Mass was held at St. Monica Church, Northford.
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div mercy shrine webScott Scaria, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, West Hartford, stands in front of a shrine dedicated to the Divine Mercy that he had constructed in 2003 at his own expense in the lower level of St. Thomas Church.

WEST HARTFORD – Children forming a living rosary were among the more than 110 people who celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday at the shrine dedicated to the Divine Mercy in the lower level of St. Thomas the Apostle Church April 12.

A Holy Hour and confessions were held from 2-4 p.m. by Father Paul Halovatch of Good Shepherd Church in Seymour; Father Patrick Anthony, a priest at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury; and Passionist Father Christopher Cleary of Holy Family Monastery and Retreat Center in West Hartford. Father Edward M. Moran, pastor of St. Thomas, then celebrated Mass.

Father Halovatch said his homily at the Holy Hour was about the symbolism of the red and white rays emanating from the Divine Mercy image of Jesus that Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-38) requested to be painted. Red symbolizes Christ’s blood, and white symbolizes the cleansing water of divine mercy, he said. “God’s grace is continually pouring out on people,” he told the Transcript. “If you can imagine being underneath a waterfall and imagine having that water pouring down on you continuously, that is like God’s grace. It is more than you can imagine,” he said.

“We were blessed by having a traveling image of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” said St. Thomas parishioner Sandy Shields, who organizes the yearly Divine Mercy event. The life-sized image is an exact replica of Our Lady’s tilma (cloak) given to Saint Juan Diego and was blessed by the rector of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico.

She said that the parish music ministry, comprising Cheryl and Jeff Batter of Kensington, also works with the Children’s Rosary.

The Children’s Rosary is a lay prayer movement for children. At the celebration, the children sang the group’s theme song, “Rosary Children,” directed by Mr. Batter, who wrote the music.

The Divine Mercy shrine at St. Thomas was constructed with the guidance and financial support of parishioner Scott Scaria, who said the Divine Mercy has changed his life.

“I’ve had so many miracles happen with the Divine Mercy,” he said. “I had a Divine Mercy picture in my house, and I had a fire one time. I was renting a room to somebody, and I came home and the house was on fire. I couldn’t even go inside. The fire department told me to go check in the room. In my room, everything was saved, even from the smell of smoke on my clothes.”

His tenant’s room was destroyed, he said.

The incident prompted him to start a pilgrimage business, helping people travel to Poland to visit the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, where Saint Faustina, to whom Jesus gave the message of Divine Mercy, lived and died. With $10,000 earned through organizing pilgrimages to Poland and other holy places, Mr. Scaria had the shrine built at St. Thomas in 2003.

The shrine includes a first class relic of Saint Faustina, images of the saint, a copy of the Divine Mercy image with the words “Jesus, I trust in You,” and more.

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.