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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june2 deac ord 136 sixabp 900x600Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, center, stands with six newly ordained permanent deacons in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford on June 2 after the liturgy. From left, they are Vincent J. Raby, Alfred Gambone Jr., Albert A. Cala, Michael K. Malfinato, Robert E. Kiley and John W. Thorpe. (Photo by Aaron Joseph)HARTFORD – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair urged six men to lead by example and humility as permanent deacons at an ordination liturgy and Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on June 2. 

The newly ordained are Albert Anthony Cala, Alfred Gambone Jr., Robert Emmett Kiley, Michael Kristopher Malfitano, Vincent Jacques Raby and John William Thorpe.

It was a joyous occasion. While the six prepared for the ceremony, the Cathedral Brass Quintet welcomed not only happy clusters of family, friends and religious, but several large parish contingents who’d traveled by bus to Hartford to celebrate the long-awaited day with a favorite deacon.

At the end of the ceremony, some among the latter even broke into cheers as the archbishop read the men’s assignments.

In his homily, Archbishop Blair evoked the solemnity, Church history and responsibility of the diaconate. He correlated the threefold duties of the deacon —as an instrument of charity, of the altar and of the Word — within the context of the scriptural readings from Numbers, Acts and Luke, each of which he said offered a different aspect of the diaconate as part of God’s redemptive plan.

Referring to God’s command to the Levites to fulfill a more humble function, the archbishop said the Church saw a foreshadowing of the services rendered by the deacon, particularly as a minister of the altar.

“A deacon is steeped in the spirit of the altar,” said the archbishop, “He must lead by example.”

Information about the new deacons and the parishes to which they are assigned follows:

Deacon Cala, 53, will serve at St. Damien of Molokai Parish in Windsor. A member of Annunciation Parish in Newington, he has a degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Technical College. He has been commissioned as a lay minister in liturgy and an extraordinary minister of holy Communion. He is also a lector and teaches religious education.

june2 deac ord gambone 56941 860x900The six candidates for the permanent diaconate pray together before their ordination Mass begins. (Photo by Deacon Steven Rhodes)Deacon Gambone, 63, will serve at St. Francis Xavier Parish in New Milford, his own parish. He grew up in Philadelphia, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corp. He is currently a national sales manager for DSM Food Specialties.

Deacon Kiley, who is 56, belongs to St. Peter Claver Parish in West Hartford, where he will serve. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is an attorney who represents health care providers in civil litigation. He serves as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector and usher. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and an assistant Scout master and chaplain of the Boy Scouts of America.

Deacon Malfitano, 51, is a parishioner at St. Mary Magdalen in Oakville, to which he is assigned. Originally from Southern California, he moved to Connecticut in 1987 where he met his wife. The two run a special needs dog rescue program out of their home in Watertown. He is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and lector and teaches religious education to second graders. 

Deacon Raby, 61, belongs to St. Thomas Parish in Southington, where he will serve. He recently retired after 38 years as an engineer. He is a cantor and leads the bereavement ministry at his parish. He is also very active in outreach programs that serve the people of southwest Uganda.

Deacon Thorpe, 56, is a member of St. Dominic Parish in Southington, to which he was assigned. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Connecticut State University and an MBA from RPI in Hartford. He also earned a master’s degree in project management from George Washington University. He serves as a confirmation director and baptism coordinator, and is on the parish 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.