Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

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Xavier bldg4 webAbout 900 assemble for the dedication of the new fine arts facility and athletic complex at Xavier High School in Middletown. (Photo by Peter J. Dylag)

MIDDLETOWN – Xavier High School dedicated its Theodore James Ryken Hall and the Ben Foisie Memorial Athletic Complex on Oct. 30.

Xavierian Brother Brian Davis, headmaster, welcomed the more than 900 people who attended the Mass and dedication ceremony, including the student body, faculty, staff and 40 other guests. Among the guests were Bishop Michael R. Cote of Norwich and Daniel Drew, mayor of Middletown.

The $8.5-million Sustaining Excellence Campaign, which began in July 2012, will continue through June of 2017, when Xavier's first class will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation from the school. This campaign has given Xavier the opportunity to build the new fine arts wing as well as make significant improvements to the athletic facilities on campus, among other things.

“What a few years ago was just a dream is now a reality. I’m grateful to all of our donors who have made this possible as we continue our mission of Catholic education for Xavier’s young men,” Brother Brian said.

The Ben Foisie Memorial Athletic Complex is a brand new, lighted, multi-purpose synthetic turf field (Larry McHugh Field) inside a reconstructed eight-lane track (Robert Michalski Track). This is complete with a 1,000-seat grandstand seating area with press box.

The complex also includes a new baseball field with dugouts and upgraded bullpens. Additional work included in the project but to be constructed in a later phase includes the development of an additional 500-seat grandstand along with restrooms, locker rooms and additional storage.

Anthony Jaskot, ’69, director of athletics, credited Brother Brian and a number of other people.

“Words cannot express our deep appreciation and gratitude to all those involved in this project; and on behalf of our coaching staff, physical education staff, our students and student-athletes, I say thank you all so very much for this privilege,” he said.

The Theodore James Ryken Hall Fine Arts Facility is a new 10,000-square foot building addition that is centered around a new music rehearsal space. The build-ing is also home to a new art classroom and a chemistry classroom on the first floor

The fine arts facility includes the following features:

• Four private music practice rooms; a music suite with seating for 130 students that allows for the growth of the program; state-of-the-art video and audio recording capabilities; climate-controlled and secure storage facilities for student and school instruments; a music library housing thousands of musical scores; separate sound-proof music classroom that allows multiple music classes to occur concurrently; a fine art classroom; and state-of-the-art chemistry lab.

“The addition of the new music suite provides our young musicians the chance to study, rehearse and perform in a space that matches their talent and creativity,” said Erik Elligers, fine arts department chair. “Theodore James Ryken Hall has been a tremendous blessing to our entire community and we hope it will only lead to bigger and better opportunities for future students.”

For more information on the Sustaining Excellence Campaign contact the Xavier office of advancement at

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.