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 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
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HARTFORD – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will celebrate the gift of families on the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at a Mass at 11 a.m. Dec. 27 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. The Mass is part of the year-long celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Archbishop Blair said he hopes to continue to build upon the excitement and momentum generated by Pope Francis’ visit last September for the World Meeting of Families, when the pope emphasized that “it is very important to reaffirm the family, which remains the essential cell of society.”

Family representatives from parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Hartford have been invited to walk through the Holy Door at the cathedral and to pray that as a family unit, they can experience the call to God’s mercy.

Music will be provided by the cathedral’s children’s choir, and families will be able to have their photos taken with the archbishop after the Mass.The Mass is open to the public.

Pope Francis has said that merciful actions are “the clearest criterion for ascertaining who God’s true children are”; they take people outside of themselves and their comfort zones to address the moral and material misery through corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works of mercy are charitable actions by which we help our neighbors in their bodily needs. These include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and prisoners, burying the dead and giving alms to the poor. The spiritual works of mercy are actions that help our neighbors in their spiritual needs. These include counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, comforting the sorrowful, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently and praying for the living and the dead.

Pope Francis in March 2015 called for the extraordinary (outside of the usual 25-year cycle) Jubilee Year of Mercy as a year for the faithful to heed the Gospel call to be merciful toward one another. The year began on Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and will end on Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe.

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.