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 16, 1978 when the first Mass was held at St. Monica Church, Northford.
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As we have recently seen, witnessed, or heard about, our ancient yet always new Catholic Church has just followed Pope Francis and our own Bishop into the sacred aula of another Jubilee Year, this time within the sacred cloud of divine mercy. Beginning with the great Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and extending to the Solemnity of Christ the King in 2016, God’s love for us sinners – the classical definition of Divine Mercy – will be on our minds and within our hearts.

God’s mercy for us is encapsulated in one of the most stunning sentences of Sacred Scripture; specifically, “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8) Devotionally, this most profound revelation has from time memorial been expressed in one of our most powerful prayers: “Holy God; holy mighty one; holy immortal one, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

God’s mercy for us is especially tangible at Christmastime, the annual sacred commemoration of the Incarnation, one of the two key dogmas of Biblical Faith. Nothing that man could do – could do – could render us deserving of so meaningful a gift; the reason for such a grace is, in theologian Karl Barth’s unforgettable theologism: “God; God alone; God himself.”

Symbolically, therefore, the formidable door to the Divine audience allows for an open door – the sacred portal of the ceremony of the open door with which this Jubilee was inaugurated by the Holy Father and our own Bishop. God “lets us in,” as it were, despite our sinful states of soul. Vertically downward, one great theologian has reminded us, descended the Mercy of God – at midnight, when the world in darkness lay.

That darkness, though visited by the light at Bethlehem, remains a formidable obstacle to countless searches for truth and goodness. There are those, for example, for whom the very sense of sin has been dulled. In other words, the very “sense of sin has vanished.” Yet, as Saint Pope John Paul II once put it, when moral conscience is in eclipse, so is any sense of sin. What need have we of a savior, were it not necessary that we – each of us – need saving?

Again, as the Christmas carol pleads: “Fall on your knees…” Merciful Lord, free us from our sins, Lord, God, Savior!”

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.