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 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
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obit-Blackall JohnWEST HARTFORD – Father John C. Blackall, former pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in Waterbury, died on May 18, 2013, surrounded by his family in his home.

He was born on Aug. 23, 1926, in Waterbury, a son of John C. Blackall, a former state senator and state insurance commissioner, and Mae (Kelly) Blackall.

He is survived by his brother, Father L. Randall Blackall, and sisters Frances B. Blanchfield and Joan Mackas, all of West Hartford.

He graduated from St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1951, at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford by then-Bishop Henry J. O'Brien. He served as parochial vicar at St. Thomas Parish in Goshen.

He was then assigned to St. Thomas Church in Waterbury, where his lifelong ministry to the Catholic Hispanic community began. He studied the Spanish language in order to minister to the Catholic Hispanic community. He was then assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in Waterbury, where he celebrated the first Spanish Mass in Waterbury on Sept. 29, 1957.

In 1959, he was appointed to St. Cecilia Parish in Waterbury, where he established a center for Spanish-speaking people. He served the parishioners of this parish for more than 40 years.

Among his many accomplishments were sponsoring refugee families from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Viet Nam and Cambodia, as well as being a social activist for Catholic causes. His awards include the prestigious archdiocesan Mission Society Award and the Bishop Donnelly Memorial Award for outstanding individual achievement toward Catholic social justice.

In his retirement, he continued to serve the Catholic community by celebrating the Mass and administering the sacraments at various parishes.

Father Blackall also is survived by his nephews and nieces and several grandnieces and great-grand nieces and nephews.

Auxiliary Bishop Christie A. Macaluso, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Hartford, celebrated a Mass of Christian Buria on May 21 at St. Peter Claver Church. Burial was in his family plot at Fairview Cemetery in West Hartford.

Donations in Father Blackall’s memory may be made to Archdiocese of Hartford Catholic Charities, 839-841 Asylum Ave., Hartford, CT 06105-2801.

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.