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 16, 1978 when the first Mass was held at St. Monica Church, Northford.
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Flower_ThomasSIMSBURY – Father Thomas A. Flower, Pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Tariffville, died on July 14, 2010.

He was born on Jan. 12, 1938, in Hartford, the son of the late Andrew and Mary (Quinlan) Flower. He attended public schools in Hartford beginning with Moylan-Wilson (McDonough) Elementary Schools and finishing at Bulkeley High School. As a senior in high school, he was elected president of St. Lawrence O’Toole Parish’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). He then was elected president of the Hartford Deanery CYO Council. After that, he became president of the CYO for the Archdiocese of Hartford.

He studied at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield and at Christ the King Major Seminary at St. Bonaventure, N.Y. During his last year of studies, he was appointed a prefect of discipline back at St. Thomas.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1965, by Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien. After a short summer assignment at Sacred Heart in Southbury, Father Flower was assigned as an assistant at St. Christopher in East Hartford. This was followed by a seven-year assignment as assistant pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Plainville, where, under his guidance, the parish CYO grew to more than 300 young people. In 1968, Father Flower was appointed to a six-year term as the Bristol Deanery CYO director.

In 1974, Father Flower became a Catholic chaplain at Yale-New Haven Hospital, a position he remained in for 13 years. During these years, he was appointed to serve as the coordinator of Catholic chaplains for the Archdiocese for six years. In 1987, Father Flower became assistant pastor at St. Margaret Parish in Madison. Two years later, he was named Pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Tariffville, where he served for 21 years. Father Flower was chaplain of the Knights of Columbus Bishop Nilan Council of greater Simsbury for more than 20 years and was a member of the Elks Club for 25 years.

Survivors include his sister, Janet F. Martin of Ludlow, Mass.; nieces; nephews; 13 great-nieces and great-nephews; and a great-great-niece and -nephew.

A parish Mass was celebrated on July 18 at St. Bernard, where Archbishop Henry J. Mansell was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial the next morning. Father John P. Sullivan of St. Joseph Parish in New Haven preached the homily. Burial was in Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield.



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.