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 21, 1934 when Father James J. Kane offered Madison's first Mass in Madison's Memorial Town Hall.
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obit Fr Whalen Joseph F MS webHARTFORD – Father Joseph F. Whalen, 93, a Missionary of Our Lady of La Salette, died on Aug. 8, 2016, at St. Mary Home in West Hartford.

He was born July 14, 1923, in Quincy, Mass., a son of the late Clarence and Emily (Florence) Whalen. He attended school in Boston and Quincy, as well as at the U.S. Naval Hospital Corps School in Portsmouth, Va., and the U.S. Maritime Pursers Training School in Sheepshead Bay, N.Y. He served in the Navy during World War II and, after his military service, worked for the New England Telephone Co. for 32 years.

During much of that time, he struggled with an addiction to alcohol. Through the support and encouragement of a priest, he was led to Alcoholics Anonymous and faith in God. His faith drew him to the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette as a late-life vocation and, in doing so, he fulfilled his mother’s 66 years of prayer that one of her sons would become a priest. At the age of 61, he entered the order on July 29, 1984. He was ordained on Sept. 9, 1989, at the La Salette Shrine in Ipswich, Mass.

Upon his ordination, Father Whalen was assigned to serve as first councilor to the La Salette community in Ipswich. He was named parochial vicar and then co-pastor of St. James Parish in Danielson. In addition, he was a priest-chaplain at the State of Connecticut Veteran’s Home in Rocky Hill and chaplain for the Knights of Columbus in Danielson.

He founded the St. Raphael Healing Ministry and traveled worldwide celebrating many Masses and conducting healing services. In his many ministries, he was always the champion of the sick, elderly, drug addicts and alcoholics and their families.

Father Whalen ministered in this capacity into his 90s. He retired in 2015, at the age of 92, to the La Salette community in Hartford.

In addition to his confreres, Father Whalen is survived by his children Joan Berg, Audrey Hayward, Barbie Cahill, Mark Whalen and Michael Whalen, all of Massachusetts, and 12 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brothers George, Paul, James, John, Thomas and Leo.

A Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated on Aug. 11, in the Hartford House chapel. Burial was on Aug. 12 at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Vermont.

Contributions in Father Whalen’s memory may be made to: Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Retirement Fund, 915 Maple Ave., Hartford, CT 06114-2330.

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.