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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AVON – Deacon Michael T. Sponzo, 91, of Avon, passed away at his home on Oct. 16, 2013.

He was born in Hartford in 1922, the son of Vincenza (Calendrillo) Sponzo and Thomas R. Sponzo. He leaves behind his wife of 67 years, Marion (Dalton) Sponzo.

Deacon Sponzo, a dentist, is a graduate of St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield; the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.; and the University of Pennsylvania Dental School. He began his career in dentistry as a 24-year-old captain in the United States Army Dental Corps. He returned to Hartford with his wife and practiced dentistry until 1977. He was president of the Hartford Dental Society in 1960.

After retiring from private practice, he was invited to join the dentistry faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. He was twice named the teacher of the year by the student body. Working with the Department of Oral Surgery, he demonstrated the utility of free-standing dental implants for denture patients.

Upon retiring from teaching dentistry in 1986, Dr. Sponzo continued his passion for philosophy and theology; he taught at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell for several years.

He was a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Hartford for 25 years.

He is also survived by his four children, Dr. Thomas S. Sponzo of Simsbury, Anne Marie Sponzo of Canton, Suzanne S. Bertrand of New Hartford and Michael T. Sponzo Jr., of West Hartford; his sister Rose Sponzo of Farmington; and six grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Oct. 19 at St. Ann Church in Avon. Burial in Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield followed.

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.