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 17, 1891 when Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon dedicated St. Bernard Church, Enfield.
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obit-fr-james-smith webEAST HARTFORD – Father James H. Smith, 75, entered into eternal life on Aug. 27, 2014, at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford after a brief illness.

He was born in Hartford on Sept. 10, 1938, the son of the late Harold James and Rose Marie (Proccacino) Smith. He attended St. Augustine School in Hartford and attended high school and minor seminary at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. He went on to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and finished his studies at the North American College in Rome.

He was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 18, 1963, at the Church of Cristo Re in Rome. He remained in Rome for several months, studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University, from which he earned a licentiate in sacred theology.

He assisted at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford and at St. Rita Parish in Hamden from 1964 to 1968, when he was assigned as assistant chaplain at the Chapel of St. Thomas More at Yale University in New Haven. He was later an assistant pastor at St. Peter Parish in Torrington from 1971-73 and co-pastor at St. Mary Parish in East Hartford beginning in 1973.

He was assigned as director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1978. He became co-pastor of St. Francis Parish in New Haven in 1983, and then was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in New Haven in 1989. He was named priest-chaplain at New Britain General and New Britain Memorial Hospital in 1990.He then served as pastor at All Saints Parish in New Britain and St. Mary Parish in Derby. He also assisted at St. Isaac Jogues Parish in East Hartford, Assumption Parish in Woodbridge and St. Anthony Parish in Bristol. After ministering as a priest-chaplain at Maloney Correctional Training Center in Cheshire, he was appointed pastor of Holy Rosary and St. Anthony parishes in Ansonia, from which he retired in 2006. After retirement, he worked very closely with the diaconate community in the Diocese of Camden, N.J.

Father Smith is survived by his two sisters, Dolores Butka of West Hartford and Barbara S. Casey of East Hartford. He also leaves many nieces, nephews and fraternal priests. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, Elaine Tracey of West Hartford.

Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Va., was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial, with Archbishop Leonard Blair presiding, at St. Christopher Church in East Hartford on Sept. 2. Burial was in Mount St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield.

Memorial contributions in Father Smith’s memory may be made to St. Christopher Church, 538 Brewer St., East Hartford, CT 06118.

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.