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 22, 1960 when ground was broken for St. Philip Church, East Windsor.
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pro life mass 6990 a webArchbishop Leonard P. Blair stands with the Hunter family of Wallingford following the annual Pro-life Mass on Jan. 15 at St. Mary Church in New Haven.  Shown are dad Jacob, holding Jude; mom Sara, holding Simon; and Isaiah and Eva, standing in front. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)

NEW HAVEN — Calling for the faithful to be witnesses to Christ and to life, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair celebrated the annual Pro-Life Mass at St. Mary Church on Jan. 15.

“Many people today question whether life has any meaning,” he said in his homily, pointing to issues such as teen suicide and drug overdose fatalities.

“The reality is that life has become unbearable for many,” even though they have enough, Archbishop Blair continued. The tragedy, he cautioned, is that once people lose sight of God, they lose sight of life and become lost themselves.

“Today, we gather to give thanks for the gift of life” that extends from conception to natural death, he said, urging the faithful to be witnesses to Christ and apostles of the Gospel of Life even in the face of challenges and evil.

Even when evil is present, he offered, “God’s purpose and God’s plan is always being accomplished in some mysterious way.”

The Mass was hosted by the Connecticut State Council of the Knights of Columbus.

Concelebrants of the Mass were Dominican Father John Paul Walker, pastor of St. Mary Parish; Dominican Father Jonathan Kalisch, director of chaplains and spiritual development at the New Haven-based Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus; Dominican Father William A. Holt; and Bishop Basil Losten, retired bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Stamford.

Archbishop Blair also thanked his fellow Knights of Columbus for their faithful fight for human life, and asked for prayers for a state officer of the Knights who has been hospitalized since shortly after Christmas.

After the Mass, Archbishop Blair attended a reception, during which the Knights collected baby items that will be distributed to pregnancy resource centers throughout the dioceses in Connecticut.

“This [support of the pro-life effort] is what Father McGivney taught us to do when we became a Knight,” said Steven J. Bacon, state secretary, referring to Venerable Michael J. McGivney, who founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven. “That’s what we do,” he said, pointing to a mound of baby items that will go to help expectant moms throughout the state.

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.