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 17, 1891 when Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon dedicated St. Bernard Church, Enfield.
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consec jubilarians 4506 adj webArchbishop Leonard P. Blair and Sister Mariette Moan of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (ASCJ), vicar for religious, at far right, stand with the jubilarians honored at the 2016 Celebration of Consecrated Life on Oct. 29, at St. Thomas Seminary chapel. From left are: Felician Sister Mary Seraphine Liskiewicz, 75 years; Sister Susan Emmerich, ASCJ, 50 years; Sister Lisa Retort, ASCJ, 25 years; Mother Shaun Vergauwen of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist (FSE), 60 years; Sister of St. Joseph Dolores Lahr, 50 years; Sister Mary John Casale of the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception, 50 years; Archbishop Blair; Sister Suzanne Gross and Sister Kieran Foley, FSE, both 50 years; Sister Estelle Barelli, ASCJ, 50 years; Holy Cross Brother George Schmitz, 50 years; Sister Rosemary Connelly of the Daughters of Wisdom, 60 years; Claudette Cyr of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, 60 years; and Sister Mariette. (Photo by Karen O. Bray)

BLOOMFIELD – A celebration of consecrated life drew 235 men and women religious, who represented almost 50 communities, to the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary on Oct. 29.

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair was the principal celebrant of and homilist at a Mass at which 14 sisters and brothers renewed their vows while celebrating significant anniversaries of their religious life.

He noted that the Jubilee Year of Mercy that Pope Francis proclaimed was nearing its end.

“On an occasion like this,” the archbishop said in welcome, “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the Gospel of mercy is entrusted in a very special way to all consecrated men and women. It’s hard to imagine the history of the church and the works of the church without you.”

Tying his homily in with Luke’s account of Jesus’ encounter with tax collector Zacchaeus, an example of Jesus’ personal, earthly mission to bring salvation to the lost, Archbishop Blair said, “It is easy to accept the message of a merciful and forgiving God when I apply that message to myself. It is much harder to accept when the message applies to my enemy, to the one who sinned against me, to the perpetrators of immense evil and suffering.”

At the close of his homily, the archbishop invoked Saint Paul. “This is our wish for you. That God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every good effort of faith that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him.”

Archbishop Emeritus Daniel A. Cronin and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Peter A. Rosazza concelebrated the Mass. Father Ryan Lerner was master of ceremonies.

Those honored for their milestones in religious life are Sister Lisa Retort, 25 years, Sister Estelle Barelli, 50 years, and Sister Susan Emmerich, 50 years, all Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Sister Mary John Casale, 50 years, Sister Rosemary Connelly, 60 years, and Sister Mary Gloriosa Rosiecki, 65 years, all of of the Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception; Sister Kieran Foley, 50 years, Sister Suzanne Gross, 50 years,  and Mother Shaun Vergauwen, 60 years, all Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist; Sister of St. Joseph Dolores Lahr, 50 years; Holy Cross Brother George Schmitz, 50 years; Sister Janice Buszta of the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy, 60 years; Claudette Cyr of the secular institute of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, 60 years; and Felician Sister Mary Seraphine Liskiewicz, 75 years.

Posthumous 75th anniversary recognition was given to Mother Rosemae Pender, foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, who died in June.

Sister Mariette Moan of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, vicar for religious, organized the event.

Archbishop Cronin, offering a blessing before a supper, emphasized prayer for vocations after surveying the roomful of religious, including many young men and women. He described the scene before him as a “poster for vocations.”

As people mingled, Archbishop Blair shared thoughts with the Transcript about the work of the religious within the archdiocese.

“The work of the church,” he said, “is not just people gathering in parishes, as good and essential as that is, but anybody who looks at religious sisters and brothers and priests knows the much wider apostolate, the much wider mission, that the church undertakes precisely because of their communities. That’s something that’s so important.

“And today more than ever,” he continued, people need to encourage religious vocations to consecrated life.

Felician sister Nancy Marie Piecewicz, a dinner companion of honoree Sister Mary Seraphine, said her own calling began in the first grade in Buffalo, N.Y., in the classroom of a Felician sister. “She impressed me so much I wanted to be like her,” Sister Nancy said.

Sister Nancy added, “You know what? They’re coming in; we’re getting vocations. They’re older, they see things differently, they want something deeper, they want prayer and they want community. They’ve had a job; they’ve been out in the world.”

Acknowledging three Felician novices present, Sister Nancy said, “There’s often a spark, and you just have to ask.”

Holy Cross Brother Larry Lussier said, “These people continue to give their lives to the mission of Jesus in schools and hospitals and nursing homes and prisons and ... you name it. It’s a wonderful thing, it gives me hope. God is calling, but anything that we can do to help him, through our words, example, and prayer, will help the harvest.”

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.