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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facs bkfst nh 8332 webMarine Corps. Lt. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman, guest speaker, takes a moment with Dominick Xavier Delaney, an alumnus of St. Rita School in Hamden, at the Archbishop's Columbus Day Breakfast on Oct. 6 at the Woodwinds in Branford. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky)BRANFORD — Nearly 350 people who attended the annual Archbishop’s Columbus Day Breakfast on Oct. 6 turned out to show they share a common bond — their love of and passion for the mission of Catholic school education.

Organized by the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools, the fundraiser at the Woodwinds netted more than $70,000 for tuition assistance at 10 Catholic elementary schools in Greater New Haven.

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair thanked the donors for their contributions to Catholic schools and called for more state and federal government support for parents and schools.

According to information provided by FACS, there are 12,618 students enrolled in 53 schools in the archdiocese — saving towns in those areas $205 million in levied taxes.

Archbishop Blair later congratulated eighth-grade students from each of the benefiting elementary schools who were honored for their outstanding achievements.

The guest speaker was Marine Corps. Lt. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman, now retired, who shared his vision for Catholic education and its role in providing a “moral compass” and a foundation for students.

Preceding Coleman at the podium was Dominick Xavier Delaney, a 2017 graduate of St. Rita School in Hamden, who offered recollections of his Catholic grade school experiences, ranging from laser fights with the sisters who taught there to 10 years of hearing  his teachers tell him every day to “be your best self.” He is a freshman at Xavier High School in Middletown.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, who sent three of her children to St. Aedan School in New Haven, also welcomed guests and recognized Catholic education for providing a foundation of academics and values for children.

Providing entertainment for the event were students from Our Lady of Mercy School in Madison, while the Pledge of Allegiance was led by students from St. Lawrence School in West Haven. Special recognition was also given to Milford’s St. Mary School principal, Frank Lacerenza, who was named 2017 Principle of the Year by the Office of Catholic Schools.

Emcee for the breakfast was Allison Demers Campagna, news director for WJMJ. For the second year, the breakfast was broadcast live on WJMJ’s Jerry Kristafer Show.

“I believe in it (Catholic education),” said Brian A. Giantonio in his role as chairman and president of the FACS Board of Trustees. “I’ve seen the success of the students in terms of their core values, confidence and leadership. That’s why I do this.”

Leading sponsors for the breakfast were Sinatro Agency General Insurance, Farmington Bank and the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council.

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.