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 15, 1872 when the first baptism was recorded at St. Peter's Church, New Britain. The child's name was, Joseph Graff.
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our fathers ride 5770 webArchbishop Leonard P. Blair addresses the gathering of cyclists and supprters at Lourdes in Litchfield May 29, 2015, for the sendoff for Our Father's Ride participants. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)

HARTFORD – Two priests of the Archdiocese of Hartford will embark next week on a long-distace bicycle ride to Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal in an effort to raise funds for their parish schools.

Father James Sullivan, administrator of Assumption Parish in Ansonia, estimates that the fund-raising bike ride, called Our Father’s Ride, from Ansonia to Montreal should take him four or five days. An avid cyclist, he is raising money for Assumption School.

Father Anthony Smith, administrator of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Watertown, plans to join Father Sullivan on Our Father’s Ride, but he will leave May 30 and will take a different route. The two hope to connect at Lake Champlain in New York and arrive at the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal together.

The Assumption School community hopes to raise $100,000 to renovate the school’s gymnasium/auditorium and also to set aside funds for tuition assistance.

Principal Kathy Molner said the school was built in 1910 and the gym has not been used since 1968. Students currently walk a half block to Ansonia’s armory gym for physical education classes.

Before leaving at 9:30 a.m. on June 1, Father Sullivan will receive a farewell from prekindergarten and kindergarten students, who will ride their tricycles in the city armory’s parking lot in his honor and say a prayer for him.

Families and individuals may pledge support of Our Father’s Ride for Assumption School by visiting or or by calling calling 203-734-0855.

Father Smith hopes to raise between $5,000 and $10,000 to pay for replacing the roof and improving wireless technology at St. John the Evangelist School. The replacement of the roof is just one part of many upgrades taking place at the school.

To donate to St. John the Evangelist School, go to or visit for a pledge form.

Father Sullivan initiated Our Father’s Ride last year when he and nine other priests, including Father Smith, rode from Litchfield to Emmitsburg, Md., to raise money for several schools in the archdiocese.