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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HAMDEN – St. Rita School and St. Stephen School will be one school when the next academic year opens

Father Thomas W. Hickey, pastor of St. Stephen Parish, announced the decision Monday at a meeting with school employees, board members and parents of children at St. Stephen School. Both parish-owned schools also notified their communities by electronic communications on Monday.

Father Hickey and Father Philip J. Sharkey, pastor of St. Rita Parish, said the combined school will educate pre-K through grade eight students at the St. Rita building, which is the larger of the two school structures. Currently, 317 children are enrolled at St. Rita and 150 attend St. Stephen, which is about a mile away..

“After careful reflection,” said Father Hickey, “we have determined that it is best for St. Stephen School to integrate its students into St. Rita School. This was a difficult decision, but one that was made with the long-term interest of the students at heart. Both schools are vibrant communities with rich traditions of quality Catholic education. However, we have been looking at growth and viability projections ten years into the future, and decided that it was better to combine the schools now, while we both are strong and healthy financially.”

Father Hickey emphasized that neither school is failing. He said the St. Rita location was chosen because it can accommodate both school populations and still have the room grow with additional students.

Father Sharkey said, “We hope to make the transition from one school building to another as smooth as possible for our students, and are committed to preserving the traditions, culture, and best practices of each school in order to make students as comfortable as possible.”

St. Stephen School will provide tuition assistance of $500 for each of its students who enroll at St. Rita.

Patricia Tiezzi, principal of St. Rita School, will continue in this role at the combined school. St. Stephen School principal Maria Testa will join the St. Rita leadership team as a vice principal with Sister Anne D’Alessio of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The decision to become one school came as a result of the pastoral planning process occurring throughout the Archdiocese of Hartford. Decisions regarding the parishes in Hamden are still under consideration.


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.