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 20, 1971 when parishioners settled on a site for the new St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Oxford.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

hbf gala 0077 webGuests take in entertainment by Neil Berg's "100 Years of Broadway" at the Hartford Bishops' Foundation Gala at the Aria in Prospect on Nov. 18. (Photos by Tom Dzimian)Catholic education and faith formation just got a shot in the arm from the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation, which geared its second year’s efforts toward raising funds for those causes.

The second annual Hartford Bishops’ Foundation Gala at the Aria in Prospect on Nov. 18 raised more than $1.7 million to support Catholic education and faith formation for people of all ages in the Archdiocese of Hartford.


hbf gala 0165 torgerson webJim Torgerson, CEO of Avangrid, Inc., and chair of the gala with his wife MaryAnn, speaks.The gala was chaired by Jim Torgerson, CEO of Avangrid, Inc., and his wife MaryAnn. Torgerson is a regional chairman of the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation.

In his opening remarks to the more than 200 guests, Torgerson summarized the foundation’s dual roles as fostering “philanthropic culture” in support of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Hartford as well as supporting Catholic education and faith formation.

The Hartford Bishops’ Foundation was created in 2016 by Archbishop Leonard Blair as a means of strengthening the Church’s ties to the local community through the skills and contributions of high-profile notables in local business and government.

A similar foundation existed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Hartford insurance and finance executives, then known as “bishops,” pooled their resources to improve the lives of the people throughout central Connecticut.

The Hartford Bishops’ Foundation has 42 directors to date, headed by general chair Jim Smith, CEO of Webster Bank.

Smith also spoke to the guests and extended his thanks to Archbishop Blair for his guidance and support of the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation over the past year.

Smith stressed that the foundation’s role is to “gather resources for the moral, spiritual, and material welfare of the people of the archdiocese.” He added: “Now is the time to invest in the future of our parishes and to keep them vibrant.”

Smith thanked those present for their donations, talent and leadership. 

“We are missionaries in pursuit of our goals for the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation,” he said.

Neil Berg’s “100 Years of Broadway,” re-created popular songs of Broadway’s finest musicals, sung by the stars of shows such as "The Phantom of the Opera,"  "Les Miserables," "CATS," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Jekyll & Hyde."

hbf gala 0128 jim cathy smith webJim and Cathy Smith share a moment with Archbishop Leonard P. Blair.A 2017 Corvette was raffled for the benefit of Catholic education throughout the archdiocese.

Sister Mary Grace Walsh, provost of the archdiocesan Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis, thanked the guests for their support of the gala.

In the event’s closing, Sister Mary Grace said proceeds from the gala will  help to “re-ignite our Catholic faith” through advances in professional development, spiritual formation and innovative learning.

At the end of the event, it was announced that the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation Gala had secured pledges totaling $1,762,540.

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.