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 18, 2010 when a Centennial Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Margaret of Scotland (Waterbury) Church.
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stjos medal mar18 sw 0367 FrFontanaLiseHoule 900x600Father Alphonso Fontana, pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Bristol, chats with Lise Houle, of St. Martha Parish in Enfield, a recipient of the St. Joseph Medal of Appreciation, and other parishioners from Enfield at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford on March 18. (Photo by Shelley Wolf)HARTFORD – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair honored 118 worthy parish volunteers from 88 parishes in the archdiocese with the St. Joseph Medal of Appreciation during a prayer service on March 18 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

Archbishop Blair bestowed the honor on volunteers who were nominated within their parish for commendable service, for giving of their time and talent to support their parish community.

Many recipients have served their parish for decades in numerous ways, such as by acting as religious education teachers, lectors or extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Some honorees serve the needy or coordinate parish events and fundraisers."

On behalf of the whole archdiocese, and especially those of us who are priests and pastors, I thank you most profoundly,” Archbishop Blair told the awardees, “and we all ask God to bless you for your goodness, your dedication and for all that you do.”

The conferral of the St. Joseph Medal, he said, “is one of those grace moments that brings us together as an archdiocesan family of faith to thank those in our parishes who give a good example of getting the job done for the sake of the common good and for building up the life of the Church. There’s no better patron for this than St. Joseph.”

Appropriately, the archbishop noted, this year’s prayer service and awards ceremony fell just one day before March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is the patron of the archdiocese, the cathedral and the medals that were given to the awardees.

This year’s service was also significant, the archbishop said, because 2018 marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Hartford by Pope Gregory XVI on November 28, 1843. The archdiocese is planning an anniversary celebration this coming November, he added.

It’s very fitting, the archbishop said, to gather in prayer “to thank God not only for you, our honorees, this year, but for all the faithful Catholics who for a century and three-quarters have given themselves so generously to the service of Christ and his Church.”

The archbishop also asked the honorees to take a wider view of their service, to ask St. Joseph to assist them in the great work of reawakening the faith in those who have lost it. Each person needs in their own way to be a missionary disciple, who brings other people to Christ and the Church, Archbishop Blair said.

“How do we do this? … It begins with our good example, it begins by us not being afraid to pray, not being afraid to talk in a very loving and positive way about our faith,” he explained. “By reaching out to people even at what Pope Francis calls ‘the peripheries,’ the margins, to engage, to invite, to accompany others to join with us in having a relationship with Jesus Christ that is both personal, deeply personal, but also communal, that is lived and expressed and celebrated in the sacramental life of a parish in the Church.”

After the homily, Archbishop Blair invited all present to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, “so that God might pour out his graces on each and every one of us.”

Following Benediction, the archbishop blessed the medals and conferred them on the honorees, as Father Ryan Lerner, chancellor, called each to the altar by name to receive his or her medal. Once all the medals were distributed, the audience broke into a huge round of applause.

“Holding my crosier, I can’t applaud, but you know I want to,” the archbishop said in jest.

After the service, the honorees lined up for photos with the archbishop, then reunited with friends and family in attendance.

Father Alphonso Fontana, pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Bristol, chatted with parishioners from his home town of Enfield. He attended to recognize one of the St. Francis de Sales volunteers, Joe Caminiti, who has served as an usher for 60 years and also mans the beer booth at the parish’s Italian festival each year.

“I think it’s a wonderful recognition of how the lay people are holding up the Church,” Father Fontana said of the prayer service and awards ceremony. “They’re indispensable.”

Cindy Johnson and her husband Gary, volunteers at St. Ambrose Parish in North Branford, both received medals for their 31 years of service in their parish. Both are extraordinary ministers of Communion and members of the ACTS retreat community and have supported youth ministry over the years. Gary is also on the sanctuary committee.

“We’re general help, where ever needed,” Cindy explained.

“We worked on a Knights of Columbus dinner last night for St. Patrick’s Day,” Gary added, but said his wife is the more passionate volunteer. “I’m riding on her shirttails.”

James Keane, of St. Patrick Parish in Collinsville, also earned a medal. He serves as a lector and on the parish council and has been chairman of the finance committee for nearly 20 years. He said he thought the prayer service and awards ceremony were “quite impressive.”

“I particularly enjoyed the recessional hymn,” he said, referring to the hymn “O Joseph, Mighty Patron.” “It was written by my aunt, Sister Marie Michael from the Order of St. Joseph in West Hartford.”

Katie Purushotham, 16, of Southington attended the prayer service and awards ceremony with her friend Jake McPhail, 15. She said she wanted to support her grandmother, Linda Graveline, a volunteer at St. Aloysius Parish in Plantsville, who was honored at the event. Though Katie had visited the cathedral once before, she experienced a first. “It’s my first time seeing the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament,” she said.

Lise Houle, of St. Martha Parish in Enfield, was also honored with the St. Joseph Medal of Appreciation. When asked what she does for her parish, she said, “Oh my, you name it. I clean, I take care of the chapel, and I sew vestments and altar cloths. Whatever needs to be done.”


Lenora Agostine, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Waterbury

Marie Aschenbrenner, Annunciation Parish, Newington

Joseph and Gwen Bartok, St. Gregory the Great Parish, Bristol

Carol Beach, St. Gianna (Beretta Molla) Parish, West Hartford

Dennis and Mary Anne Beaupre, St. Katharine Drexel Parish, New Britain

Claudette Begin, St. James Parish, Manchester

Kathleen Belanger, Christ the Redeemer Parish, Milford

Ann Bendyk, Immaculate Conception Parish, Southington

Pauline Bessette, St. Michael Parish, Waterbury

John and Doreen Blondin, St. Junipero Serra Parish, South Windsor

Robert and Ann Marie Bonvini, Resurrection Parish, Wallingford

Terrence and Carmen Burns, Assumption Parish, AnsoniaJoseph Caminiti, St. Francis de Sales Parish, Bristo

lWilliam Carroll, Incarnation Parish, Wethersfield

Mark Casey, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Waterbury

Michael Castro, St. Joachim Parish, New Britain

Emma Cavagnuolo, Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles Parish, Derby

John and Rosalie Cifarelli, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Hamden

Cecelia Cochran, St. Anthony Parish, Prospect

Patricia Corvello, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Washington Depot

Katherine Daddona, St. Thomas Parish, Southington

Anthony DaRos, St. John Bosco Parish, Branford

Albert DeFabio, Christ the Bread of Life Parish, Hamden

Thomas DiPietro, St. Dominic Parish, Southington

John Doyle, Jr., St. Therese Parish, Granby

Lawrence and Susan Gannon, Sacred Heart Parish, Southbury

Patrick Gerity, St. Timothy Parish, West Hartford

Sandra Gingras, North American Martyrs Parish, East Hartford

Linda Graveline, St. Aloysius Parish, Plantsville

John Griffin, St. Patrick Parish, Farmington

Rose Ann Gulisano, Our Lady of Victory Parish, West Haven

Marlene Harris, St. Justin - St. Michael Parish, Hartford

Brian and Phylis Havens, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish, North Haven

Stasia Hodyl, SS. Cyril & Methodius Parish, Hartford

Denis and Lise Houle, St. Martha Parish, Enfield

Stephen and Doreen Izzo, St. Anthony Parish, New Haven

Ernest and Judy Jarrett, Our Lady of Hope Parish, New Hartford

Gary and Cindy Johnson, St. Ambrose Parish, North Branford

James Keane, St. Patrick Parish, Collinsville

Steven and Lilia Kieltyka, Sacred Heart Parish, New Britain

Julia Kiwak, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Derby

Marjory Knecht, St. Matthew Parish, Forestville

Kevin Knowles, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Naugatuck

Jane Kycia, Christ the King Parish, Wethersfield

Armand LaMontagne, Mary Our Queen Parish, Plantsville

Dorothy Lipton, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Yalesville

Nicholas and Terry Longo, Mary, Mother of the Church Parish, Waterbury

Maria Lovallo, St. John Paul the Great Parish, Torrington

Dolores Martin, Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Plainville

Jack and Helen Martins, St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish, Hartford

Robert McEvoy, St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Oakville

Lawrence McNamara, St. Basil the Great Parish, Wolcott

Gail Meakin, St. Damien of Molokai Parish, Windsor

Elizabeth Morse, St. Raphael Parish, Milford

Lynne Murphy, St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Unionville

Bernardino and Bernice Nanni, St. Joseph Parish, Winsted

Richard and Caryl O'Connell, St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Manchester

Mae Olmsted, St. George Parish, Guilford

Donald and Christine Paglia, Saints Aedan and Brendan Parish, New Haven

Grace Pascarella, Divine Mercy Parish, Hamden

Barbara Perrone, Sacred Heart Parish, Bloomfield

Andrea Puglia, St. Margaret Parish, Madison

Richard and Audrey Quinlan, St. Dunstan Parish, Glastonbury

Donna Radigan, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, West Hartford

Gerald and Joanne Raiche, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Watertown

William and Ester Rivera, All Saints Parish, Waterbury

Robert and Joan Roczynski, St. Bridget of Sweden Parish, Cheshire

Theresa Ryan, St. Bernadette Parish, New Haven

Joseph Sangiovanni, Sacred Heart Parish, Suffield

Emilio and Joyce Sanseverino, St. Michael Parish, New Haven

Santiago and Claudia Serna, St. John XXIII Parish, West Haven

Wayne and Mary Sharnick, St. Michael Parish, Beacon Falls

Lawrence Yawo Simpini, Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford

Ellen Stannard, Divine Providence Parish, New Britain

Henrietta Szymolon, St. Stanislaus Parish, New Haven

Thomas and Christine Tanski, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, West Simsbury

Gustavo and Marfha Trujillo, Most Holy Trinity Parish, Wallingford

Katherine Upson, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Waterbury

Thomas and Catherine Valedes, St. Francis Xavier Parish, New Milford

Ann Walla, St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield

Anna Weitzler, Holy Rosary Parish, Ansonia

Mary Welch, St. Augustine Parish, Hartford

Joanne Whitehead, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Hartford

Donald and Alida Whiteway, St. Marianne Cope Parish, Broad Brook

Eleanor Wilson, St. Joseph Parish, Bristol

Nanci Zimmerman, Our Lady of the Lakes Parish, New Milford

Lorraine Zionkowski, St. John of the Cross Parish, Middlebury

Francis and Catherine Zygmont, St. Faustina Parish, Meriden

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.