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 18, 2010 when a Centennial Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Margaret of Scotland (Waterbury) Church.
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alive rally register 0592 webTeens from throughout the Archdiocese of Hartford check in at the entrance to the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford for the Alive in Christ rally on April 30. (Photo by Shelley Wolf)HARTFORD – The Cathedral of St. Joseph was brimming with the passion and energy of youth when nearly 700 teens attended the one-day Alive in Christ Youth Rally on Sunday, April 30.

Teens in grades eight through 12, arriving by the busload from points throughout the archdiocese, descended on the cathedral for a full day of high-energy activities designed to help them connect with Christ, embrace their faith and go forth in the world as Catholics.

The day’s events included Mass with Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, music and singing with the band Array of Hope, entertainment by two rapping Salesian brothers known as the Bosco Beats, vocational talks and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

IGNITE High School Youth Ministry from St. Mary Parish in Simsbury helped run the days’ activities. Matt Locandro, a member of the IGNITE team, led the young people in prayer.

Laure Guibert, another member of IGNITE, advised the teens: “Try and get out of your comfort zone. Meet many people and pray.”

Father Jeffrey Gubbiotti, vocation director for the archdiocese, encouraged the youths to be open to God’s word throughout the day.

“God can use anything. It might be something somebody says, it might be a Scripture passage, it might be a song we’re singing,” he said. “God has a word of life for every one of us here, a word of encouragement, of challenge.”

During the Mass and homily, Archbishop Blair told the teens, “We are meant to be people on fire. We don’t accomplish it on our own; it comes to us through faith.”

The way to encounter Christ, he said, is through the Scriptures, the sacraments and the teachings of the Church, but most especially through the Eucharist.

The archbishop recalled the words of St. Peter, saying, “The risen Christ is not far away, but he’s right here at Mass, revealed for you.”

After the Mass, the youths headed for the lower cathedral where they were treated to music, videos, and a light show by Array of Hope, a band from New Jersey. Based on the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love, the show encouraged the teens to express the joy of their faith.

Another musical act of two religious brothers, the Bosco Beats, had the teens singing rap tunes with faith-filled messages.

Brother Steve also told how service in Costa Rica and Africa helped him to find meaning in his life and caused him to ask, “What if everything we’ve been taught is true?” He challenged the youths to ponder their unique purpose in life. “There’ll never be another you, but what are you going to do with this one life?”

Cathedral staffers were also on hand to wheel in 170 pizzas on dollies for the hungry teens, who took a break to eat on the lawn. Once outside, they mingled in fellowship, tossed balls and posed for group pictures.

Back inside, Miriam Hidalgo, archdiocesan director of youth and young adult ministry, and Ryan Hinton, director of the Office of Family Life, spoke about the vocation of marriage and family life, saying many would be called to this vocation.

Sister Francis Graham, a member of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hamden, also shared the joy of the vocation to religious life. “I know God is enough for my heart,” she said. “Jesus’ love is so big it overflows from my heart and I can give it to others.”

alive rally outside cross 0918 webSome of those on hand for the youth rally pose for a photo outside of the Cathedral of St. Joseph.Father Matthew Gworek, parochial vicar at St. Mary Church in Branford, told how his life changed direction while he was studying to be a music teacher.

“It occurred to me that I was happiest when I spent time at St. Thomas Church at UConn in Storrs,” he recalled. With that realization, he contacted the vocations director to begin exploring a call to the priesthood. “There are probably some of you who are called to that if you allow yourself to listen.”

The day ended with adoration and Benediction. The teens prayed to inspiring music and many later knelt at the foot of the altar when Father Gubbiotti invited them to “say yes to Jesus.”
“Lay claim to the blessing God has for you to send you forth,” he said.

After the event, Father James Shanley, rector of the cathedral, chatted informally with the youths and thanked the IGNITE team.

Several young people said the music and the opportunity for adoration were highlights of the rally.

Andy Kehoe of St. Mary’s in Simsbury said, “My favorite part was the concert when they were all dancing. I thought it was fun.”

Jennifer Ortiz of St. Louis Parish in West Haven said she most enjoyed the message-filled songs. “They were meaningful,” she explained.

Nalelhi Martinez of Most Holy Trinity Parish in Wallingford said she appreciated the time spent in adoration. “Just forgetting about everything,” she said, recalling the moment, “being able to talk to God, forgetting about all your worries.”

Owen Wollenberg of St. Mary’s in Simsbury also liked the adoration. “My favorite part was the last part,” he said. “It was just quiet. It’s just yourself and God.”

Alive in Christ was co-sponsored by the Office of Vocations and the Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis.

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.