BLOOMFIELD – Calling her a woman with “a gutsy kind of grace,” Hartford Catholic Biblical School coordinator Barbara Jean Daly Horell honored Sister Doretta J. D’Albero with the Father Lawrence Boadt Memorial Medal during a celebration of the school’s 20th anniversary May 1 at St. Thomas Seminary.
A 2013 CBS graduate, Sister Doretta, an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, offers adult Christian formation programs regularly at the Caritas Christi Center in Hamden and is witness to the Gospel every day as a paralegal at Apostle Immigrant Services of New Haven. In this role, she champions immigrants and assists them with legal services.
Ms. Horell said she recalled that during a class at the Caritas Christi Center one evening, the group became bogged down in a political discussion that threatened to disrupt the class.
“Sister Doretta brought the group back together by pointing out from the teachings of Saint Paul that we were studying that night that we are all one in Christ Jesus and therefore we need to treat one another with respect. That impressed me greatly,” Ms. Horell said.
The award is named for the late Paulist Father Lawrence Boadt (1942-2010), a widely respected biblical scholar who worked closely with CBS students. The award is given yearly to a biblical school graduate “whose life and ministry demonstrates the excellence in the study of sacred Scripture and the generosity in spirit in teaching the word of God” that Father Boadt was known for, she said.
“I graduated in 2000,” said Shawnee Baldwin, one of about 160 graduates and other guests attending the event. She is the youth ministry coordinator at the Office of Religious Education and Evangelization (OREE), of which the biblical school is a ministry.
Ms. Baldwin said she wanted to show she was an overachiever and complete the four-year program in two years. “I lost my mind. It’s a lot of work,” she said, adding that she took the full four years. “It’s [given me] a better understanding of Scripture, and the summer reading has kept me anchored in my job,” she said.
Sister Carolyn Severino, principal of St. Mary School in Branford and another member of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is also one of the school’s 495 graduates. “It deepened my own spirituality,” she said. “It helped me in my pastoral ministry work. It also helped me in my spiritual direction, as I am a spiritual director. It helped me in all aspects of my ministry.”
Sanita Gingras is a pastoral associate at Immaculate Conception Parish, New Hartford, and a 2014 graduate of CBS. She said that she had seen an ad in The Catholic Transcript about the school and about the lay ministry program at OREE. She asked her pastor, Father Timothy O’Brien, if she should take the lay ministry program, and he advised her to take the biblical course instead so that the parish could have adult biblical education.
“I started in the program thinking that if I studied the Bible I’d understand everything and therefore I would know exactly what my relationship with God was all about,” she said. “When I got to year three and we did the story of Job, all of a sudden the light bulb went on. You’re not supposed to know everything. You’re supposed to let God be in charge. So that’s what the biblical school taught me.”
In his blessing before a celebratory dinner, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair said he was gratified to learn of the existence of the biblical school in the archdiocese. “It is a great joy for me to be with all of you and see ... all of the wonderful good that has been done, not only in your own spiritual lives but for the mission of the church,” he said.
The keynote speaker was Dominican Father Steven Boguslawski, moderator of the curia and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Hartford. “Those who come to this Catholic Biblical School must learn to embrace the truth wherever it may be found and lead others to knowledge of the One, the One who is the way and the truth and the life,” he said. He said faith is not an impediment but a prerequisite to understanding Scripture.
“Faith is a legitimate mode of knowing. It is a gift from God,” he said.
“To understand is both a privilege and a responsibility – a privilege because in the unfolding of God’s prophets, God chose you – you – to understand by means of his free revelation; and responsibility now to make Jesus Christ known,” he said.