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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HARTFORD – Private and parochial schools, including Catholic schools, are now eligible to apply for state grants totaling about $22 million, to improve security in the wake of the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced July 17.

The first round of grants, totaling about $21 million, went out to 604 public schools in 111 school systems in the state, but private schools were largely left out. This year’s budget included private, magnet and parochial schools, according to Dr. Dale R. Hoyt, archdiocesan superintendent of Catholic schools.

“At the same time, we want to make sure that our schools are secure but always remain welcoming,” Dr. Hoyt said. “We don’t want to make them look like a prison, but we want to make sure that they are secure for our young people and so that the parents will feel good that their child is in a safe environment.”

In announcing the grant availability, Gov. Malloy said, “Providing safe learning environments for our students and educators is a basic responsibility of state and local governments. ... Connecticut has made significant strides in our effort to provide safe learning environments for our students.”

Some security upgrades schools might implement with help from grant money may include surveillance cameras, penetration-resistant vestibules, ballistic glass, solid core doors, double-door access, computer-controlled electronic locks, entry door buzzer systems, scan card systems, panic alarm systems and more.

Michael C. Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, a lobbying group that helped push for Catholic school inclusion, said, “This was on the agenda of the Federation of Catholic School Parents, and we pursued the required channels to get this issue in front of, and keep it in front of, the people who had control over this issue.”

Asked why the grants were not available to Catholic schools during last year’s round of applications, Mr. Culhane said, “This issue is high on our agenda, but how high is it on the agendas of other people? ... I know we pushed during last session. ... We’re happy that during this past session, we were able to partake in the school security program with the help of the governor and the legislative leaders.”

He said the applications will begin to be available beginning late in July. Schools will have 60 days to complete the applications, he said.

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.