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.
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey
Catholic Transcript Reader Survey

hopes dinner little girl is Maries niece Delaney Kowal 0070 a web Marie Gallo-Garabedian, winner of the St. Elizabeth Seton Award for 2017, left, poses with her niece, Delaney Kowal; Archbishop Leonard P. Blair; and Sister Mary Grace Walsh, provost of the archdiocesan Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis, at the HOPES Dinner at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville on Oct. 16. (Photo by Thomas Dzimian)SOUTHINGTON — The Archdiocese of Hartford’s elementary schools put volunteers in the spotlight on Oct. 16 at the 40th annual HOPES (Help Our Parish Elementary Schools) Dinner celebration, held at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville.

Sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis, it brought together school personnel, parishioners, pastors and principals from 38 parishes across the archdiocese.

The dinner was first introduced in 1977 by the late Father James Fanelli, the schools superintendent at the time. It since has become a signature event to honor the efforts of Catholic elementary school volunteers.

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair commended the volunteers for their personal commitment and witness to the Gospel. He described how Christianity has been handed down through the centuries from person to person, as it continues to be. He said that as long as there are good people who are dedicated to the mission of Christ, the gift of Catholic education will continue to flourish.

Referring to the volunteers, Sister Mary Grace Walsh, provost of the Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis, said that Catholic elementary schools “stand on the shoulders of giants. … ” She said, “Catholic education is an act of love, and this is what makes Catholic schools so special.”

Seventy-six volunteers received the St. John Newman Award in recognition of the time and talents they have given to support the mission of Catholic education.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the St. Elizabeth Seton Award by Archbishop Blair and Michael Griffin, superintendent. The Seton Award recognizes one man or woman who has demonstrated outstanding voluntary achievements over the past year.

This year’s recipient was Marie Gallo-Garabedian of St. Christopher School in East Hartford. Marie has been volunteering for 22 years, organizing pasta dinners, food drives and special collections, among other things, in support of St. Christopher School. She also is on the school’s board.

Gallo-Garabedian described St. Christopher School as a quiet and unassuming gem. “St. Christopher was a Christ-bearer, and pupils at St. Christopher are taught to live as Christ-bearers themselves, as they are educated to love, learn and lead,” she said.

Concurrent with the dinner was the annual HOPES collection at Masses in all of the parishes of the archdiocese. Contributions provide grants to Catholic elementary schools for modern educational technology and innovative resources. Funds also are directed to support the efforts of the Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis to effectively promote the faith-based culture of Catholic elementary education in the Archdiocese.

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.