Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

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Bevins John L adj webMsgr. John J. Bevins

HARTFORD – Pope Francis has named the Very Rev. John J. Bevins, rector of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, an honorary member of the papal household with the title of “monsignor.”

This traditional honor was conferred by the Holy Father at the request of Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, on the occasion of Msgr. Bevins’ upcoming retirement as rector of the basilica after 57 years of priestly service in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Ordained in 1958, Msgr. Bevins has been at the basilica for 24 years. He will celebrate his last Mass as rector there on Sunday, June 28.

He says that he will miss the interaction with his parishioners the most.

“They are very faithful, wonderful people,” he says.

Msgr. Bevins is a native of Waterbury. He will remain in the city in his retirement. He attended the former St. Francis Xavier School, now Francis Xavier Plaza, an affordable housing development, and Sacred Heart High School, both in Waterbury.

He said he is looking forward to cultivating his flower garden, a hobby that was passed down to him by his mother.

“I’ve been raising hardy plants, which don’t require too much attention. Now I can spend more time on other flowers and maybe even create a butterfly garden,” he says.

In addition to his assignment to the basilica, Msgr. Bevins was a chaplain in the United States Navy and also served at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford.

Archbishop Blair will celebrate the Vigil Mass at the basilica at 4:15 p.m. June 13 to present the official document from the Holy See to Msgr. Bevins.

“When the archbishop told me about this honor, I was flabbergasted. I am very grateful to him,” Msgr. Bevins 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.