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 17, 1891 when Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon dedicated St. Bernard Church, Enfield.
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Students at St. John the Evangelist School in Watertown give a thumbs-up to Dorian Murray, an 8-year-old boy from Westerly, R.I., who recently stopped his cancer treatments.

The students at the prekindergarten- through eighth-grade school embraced Dorian’s wish to become famous before he dies of a pediatric cancer that was diagnosed when he was 4. After cancer cells were found in his spinal fluid in December, Dorian and his family decided to suspend treatment after the new year. After Dorian announced that he wants to become famous, his goal swept social media, where he is known by the Twitter hashtag D-Strong.

The idea to support Dorian came from Catholic Schools Week committee chair and second-grade teacher Elaine Cieslewski, whose family members live in Rhode Island and are acquainted with the boy.

The St. John School community created cards and posters and a paper prayer chain of 3,214 links during a three-day in school service project.

Marylou Iannone, vice principal, explained, “Each link of the chain contains a prayer or drawing made especially for Dorian by a student at St. John School. The 3,214 links represent 3,214 prayers and wishes from the 180 students. Many students were so touched by Dorian’s story that they created dozens of links.”

The chain was stretched to wrap around the school gymnasium during Catholic Schools Week and held by every member of the school community as students said a prayer for Dorian and as Father Anthony Smith, pastor of St. John Parish, blessed the chain.

Seventh and eighth graders packed and mailed the prayer chain to Dorian in five boxes.

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.