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 22, 1960 when ground was broken for St. Philip Church, East Windsor.
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HARTFORD – Father James M. Weeks, 81, a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, of 85 New Park Ave., who was arrested and threatened with death while promoting peace during his years of ministry in Argentina, died on March 30, 2015, at St. Mary Home in West Hartford.

He was born Sept. 3, 1933, in Clinton, Mass., a son of the late James A. and Anna (McNamara) Weeks. He attended high school in Massachusetts and Hartford, and received his associate’s degree from the La Salette Seminary in Altamont, N.Y., before entering the novitiate of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette on July 1, 1955, in Bloomfield. After completing his studies in La Salette seminaries in Altamont and Ipswich, Mass., he was ordained on May 26, 1962.

Father Weeks was assigned to minister at the La Salette Shrine in Ipswich. In 1964, he volunteered to minister in the La Salette Missions in Argentina, where he worked for 48 years to promote peace, justice and human rights, even at the cost of unjust arrest and persecution. While in Argentina, he began a La Salette mission in Las Termas. On Aug. 3, 1976, while teaching at a seminary, he and five seminarians were arrested in Cordoba by the military. They experienced physical abuse and were threatened with death.

After his release, Father Weeks returned to the States and spent a year in Washington, testifying on behalf of the Washington Office on Latin America at congressional hearings about the dictatorship in Argentina. He then returned to South America, where additional assignments included ministry with pastoral teams in the Carmelite Prelature of Sicuani in Peru, serving as assistant to the superior of the La Salette Region of Argentina, directing the Jose Ignacio Diaz House of Formation in Cordoba, and pioneering the mission in Bolivia, serving in Tarija and Cochabamba for many years.

He became a member of the Hartford House Community of La Salette priests in Hartford  in 2013, and, more recently, had been in residence at St. Mary Home.

In addition to his La Salette confreres, Father Weeks is survived by his sister, Janet Maddocks; two brothers, John and Robert; a close cousin, Jane Kane, all of whom are from Clinton, Mass.; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass was celebrated April 6 in the La Salette Chapel of Hartford House. Burial followed 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.