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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march4life 7064 webDefenders of life from the Archdiocese of Hartford leave on a bus from the Franciscan Life Center in Meriden ton Thursday and head to the March for Life in Washington. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)

MERIDEN — Buoyed by the promise of a new administration in Washington, 138 pilgrims boarded three buses at the Franciscan Life Center at dawn on Thursday to travel to the 44th annual March for Life on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The pilgrims included 70 students, parents and faculty from St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol. Other buses, including one sponsored by a home school group, were slated to leave from other towns located within in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

“The momentum is greater than ever,” said Sister Suzanne Gross of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, the organizer and program coordinator of archdiocesan pro-life ministries. “People always look forward to this. We’re making a witness to the life of unborn children.”

Added Mary Lou Peters, assistant program coordinator, “We expect that the crowd will be larger than usual because it’s a pro-life administration.”

Participants planned to attend a Vigil Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. They also are scheduled to attend a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Leonard P. Blair and have breakfast with him before the March. Noted national speaker Elise Italiano, executive director of communications for The Catholic University of America in Washington, will talk at the breakfast.

Musical reflection and a program of speakers will precede the March, which proceeds from the Washington Monument down Constitution Avenue to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. It was widely reported on Thursday that Vice President Mike Pence would be among the speakers.

“It’s a good way to show people that we’re here for a reason and to take a stand for life,” said Chandler Wright, a senior at St. Paul Catholic High School. He said he was disappointed last year when buses had to be turned back because of a snow storm in Washington.

“What is amazing is that everyone is really positive this year,” said Lorraine Greski of Assumption Parish in Ansonia, who was wearing one of the red scarves that identify the archdiocesan pilgrims. “We’re hoping that President Trump sends a message on the jumbotron screen to show his solidarity with us.”

“We’ve been going to the March for years,” said Cary Dupont, president of St. Paul Catholic High School. “We have a very active pro-life program at St. Paul’s,” he said, including attendance at the annual Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. “Our students feel very passionately about pro-life.”

Also on the pilgrimage are six priests: Father David M. Dawson Jr., Father Dennis P. Connell, Father John R. Mariano, Father Robert Landback, Father Thomas J. Walsh, and Father Robert J. Rousseau, archdiocesan director of pro-life ministries.

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.