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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obit fr kerwan francis webENFIELD – Father Francis T. Kerwan, 99, pastor emeritus of Holy Family Parish, died on March 22, 2016, at St. Joseph’s Residence.

He was born on Sept. 16, 1916, in Waterbury, a son of the late James and Mary (Whalen) Kerwan. He graduated from St. Margaret School and Crosby High School in Waterbury in 1930 and 1934, respectively. He earned a degree in philosophy from St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield in 1939 and completed studies in theology at St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester, N.Y., in 1943.

Father Kerwan was ordained to the priesthood by the late Bishop Maurice F. McAuliffe on June 3, 1943, in St. Joseph Cathedral in Hartford.

Father Kerwan’s first parish assignment was to St. Mary in Portland from 1943-45. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as a chaplain during World War II, serving in the European Theater, in Manila and Japan from 1945-47. After military service, he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in New Haven until 1950, when he was recalled for further military duty during the Korean War.

Again returning from military service in 1953, Father Kerwan was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi in Naugatuck, where he served until 1957 when he went to St. John of the Cross Parish in Middlebury. In 1961, he was reassigned to St. Peter Parish in Hartford. On Sept. 16, 1965, Father Kerwan was appointed pastor of the newly designated Holy Family Parish in Enfield, by the late Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien.

Father Kerwan continued service in the Connecticut Army National, was appointed senior chaplain and retired with the rank of colonel.

Father Kerwan was a member of the Washington Irving Knights of Columbus Council 50 and the Rev. William Kilcoyne Assembly Fourth Degree, both in Enfield.

At the time he was designated pastor emeritus of Holy Family in 2013, he had been a priest for 70 years and was the longest-serving active pastor in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Father Kerwan leaves a nephew, John Kerwan, and family. He was predeceased by his brothers, Msgr. James Kerwan and John Kerwan; and his sister Marion W. Kerwan.

A parish Mass was celebrated on March 28 at Holy Family, where Archbishop Leonard P. Blair was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial the next morning.

Burial with military honors was in Calvary Cemetery in Waterbury.

Donations in Father Kerwan’s memory may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1365 Enfield St., Enfield, CT 06082; or St. Vincent DePaul Society, c/o Holy Family Church, 23 Simon Rd., Enfield, CT 06082.

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.