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 19, 1915 when ground was broken for St. Stephen Church, Hamden.
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WEST HARTFORD – Sister Helen Elizabeth Szotak, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, West Hartford, died on Jan. 10, 2012, at her order’s provincial house. She was 97 years old and had spent 81 years in religious life.

Born on Oct. 28, 1914, in South Norwalk, she was a daughter of the late Alexander Szotak and Bertha Onder Szotak. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Oct. 15, 1930. Sister Helen celebrated her perpetual profession of vows on Aug. 24, 1936.

After receiving a teaching diploma, Sister Helen taught for 41 years in schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Diocese of Bridgeport.

After leaving the classroom, she ministered in the office at Sacred Heart Academy in Stamford and then worked for 19 years in human resources and as a mail clerk at St. Joseph Hospital in Stamford.

After her retirement from the hospital, she volunteered at an after-school program in Stamford for a few years until her retirement to the provincial house in 2007.

Sister Helen was predeceased by a sister, Irene Kezel; and a niece, Elizabeth Kezel. She is survived by her religious community, a niece, three nephews and a grandniece.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Jan. 13 at St. Joseph Chapel in the Convent of Mary Immaculate.

Interment followed in the Sisters of St. Joseph Cemetery there.

Donations in Sister Helen’s memory may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph, 27 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119.

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.