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 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
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convoke localArchbishop Leonard P. Blair poses with the delegation from the Archdiocese of Hartford on the last day of the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel," July 4. The group met to share impressions from the four-day gathering. (Photo by Debbie Sousa)HARTFORD – The 25 delegates from the Archdiocese of Hartford who attended the “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America” in Orlando, Fla., July 1-4, said they returned feeling excited and ready “to go out with boldness to be missionary disciples,” as Archbishop Leonard P. Blair advised in his opening remarks.

The purpose of the historic national meeting, which brought together more than 3,000 people, was to discuss the issues facing Catholics in the world today and to discuss how the faithful can evangelize to their various constituencies, which include the young, old and those who are marginalized.

“The convocation was a wakeup call. We need to bring stuff to the people,” said Claire Nicholls, a youth minister at St. George Parish in Guilford. She is about to take 22 of her religious education students to Rome to visit the Vatican and engage them in their faith. She looks forward to sharing the spirit of the convocation with them.

 The archdiocesan delegation included catechists, educators, parish leaders, staff members, clergy and religious. 

Miriam Hidalgo, archdiocesan director of youth and young adult ministry, attended the convocation as a participant and panelist. She and Archbishop Blair were part of a panel discussion entitled “Catechesis: Forming Young People in the Joy of the Gospel.” The panel discussion addressed such questions as how do we teach our young people how to pray? and how do we deal with a generation that is bombarded with images that counter their faith? The panel concluded that the key to influencing our youth is looking up to a strong mentor. 

“We have to help our youth fall in love with Jesus Christ,” Hidalgo said.

During his homily at the opening Mass on July 1, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York touched upon four virtues: discipleship, unity, mission and joy. He emphasized joy, saying that “it is a gift from God, which flows from hope,” and commended the delegates for responding to Pope Francis’ call to become missionary disciples. 

The message resonated with Dino and Xiomaria Pantoni, who have been Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program leaders for almost 20 years in Waterbury. They said they were very inspired by what they heard at the convocation. “To evangelize is to let go of self and let the Holy Spirit get a hold of you,” said Dino Pantoni.

The archdiocese’s participation was guided by the missionary vision of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Guadium,” or “Joy of the Gospel.”

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.