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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20180324T1143 0247 CNS GUN CONTOL MARCH 800People gather near the U.S. Capitol during the March for Our Lives event March 24 in Washington. Hundreds of thousands converged on the nation's capital demanding gun control after recent school shootings. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters) WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Although the March for Our Lives in Washington March 24 and its "sibling" marches in cities across the country were brought on by teenagers, participants were all ages -- from toddlers in strollers pushed by their parents to elderly marchers using walkers.

Many of the adults in the Washington crowd carrying posters with anti-gun messages or taking pictures of all posters held high on the cool spring day hadn't lost sight of who brought them together and was leading them forward in the effort: the teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and students around the country energized in this movement.

"I feel guilty. We should have made it happen. It should've happened 20 years ago," said Christine Brune, a march participant and parishioner at Holy Trinity Parish in Washington, referring to the teens' stance against gun violence.

"We have to listen to their fresh new voices and their courage. I have a lot of respect for their courage," said Brune, holding a green poster with the words in blue marker: "And the Children Will Lead Us! (Isaiah 6:11)."

Brune was at the Washington march with her 19-year-old niece, Emily Knight, a freshman at the University of Kansas, who had been in a school lockdown when she was in middle school in Omaha, Nebraska, because of a school shooting at a nearby high school.

"It was terrifying to think you will be next," she said of that day. "I hope government officials will see this outcry" of so many people at the march. "If they don't, it's like they don't care," she told Catholic News Service, pointing out that it was not just young people either.

Even the signs held up by marchers proved this was an all-ages event. One sign said: "Grandparents Against Automatic Weapons" and another, held up by 91-year-old Suzanne Fox from Washington, said: "Grandparents are proud of you. You will make a difference."

Jeanie Teare, the 81-year-old who made the sign at the march when someone gave her a poster board and paint, before the street filled up with people, said she was at there because "why wouldn't you be here?"

She said she has been at a number of protests over the years and admitted "a lot were fruitless," but she hoped the student-led march would be a "wake-up call."

"The important thing is, young people need to vote," Teare said, before quickly adding that people of all ages need to vote and wondered how many in the crowd voted in the last election.

Mercy Sister Lisa Maria Griffith, executive director of Mercy Education Systems of the Americas, marched with students from Mercy colleges and high schools and said it is "important to support our youth learning to use their voices to be proactive."

"When we look at our history, in times of great change, there has always been some group that has risen to the occasion. In this case, hopefully it is the students' voice," she said. And these student activists not only got support, but also some advice.

In a Mass at St. Patrick's Church in Washington prior to the march, Franciscan Father Jacek Orzechowski from St. Camillus Church in Langley Park, Maryland, told the student marchers: "God believes in you" and will empower them. He also said they had a role that went beyond activism. "You are called to bring healing to your communities," 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.