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.
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WEST HARTFORD – Sister Patricia (Sister Mary Pauline) Balta, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, West Hartford, died on March 23 at age 79.

She was born on March 17, 1931, in St. Mary City, Md., a daughter of the late John and Anna (Kohut) Balta. She entered her order on Sept. 8, 1950, and professed her perpetual vows on Aug. 23, 1956. She had been in religious life for almost 60 years.

Sister Patricia received a bachelor’s degree in education from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, a master’s degree in French from Rivier College in Nashua, N.H., and a master’s degree in theology from St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vt. She then obtained certification in ministries development at Washington Theological Seminary in Adelphi, Md.

Sister Patricia taught in schools in the Archdioceses of Hartford and Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Bridgeport, including 14 years at Sacred Heart Academy in Stamford. Later, she was the director of religious education and a pastoral minister at St. Joseph Parish in South Norwalk.

After two years as co-director of the Haitian Center in Trenton, N.J., she helped found a new mission in Plzen, Czech Republic. Until her retirement to St. Joseph Infirmary, she directed the English as a Second Language program at Jubilee House in Hartford.

Survivors include her religious community and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Sister Patricia was predeceased by four sisters, Emma Shook, Mary Lucas, Anna Geci and Katherine Tucker; and four brothers, Michael, Paul, John and Paul (the latter two died as infants).

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on March 27 in St. Joseph Chapel in West Hartford. Interment followed in the Sisters of St. Joseph Cemetery in West Hartford.

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.