HARTFORD – "Our hearts are filled with deep gratitude, appreciation, respect and admiration" for all the men and women who make a difference in our lives, said Archbishop Henry J. Mansell as he warmly welcomed police, fire and other safety personnel to the Cathedral of St. Joseph May 5 for the fifth annual archdiocesan Blue Mass.
Entering the cathedral under the arch of two ladder trucks supporting a large American flag, people came to honor and recognize emergency personnel from throughout the archdiocese for their dedicated service, and to remember those who have given their lives in service to their communities. (Click here to see photo gallery.)
During his homily, Archbishop Mansell recalled the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the bombings at the Boston Marathon as examples of the heroic courage and bravery of emergency personnel.
EAST HAVEN – Carol Scussel and Judy Esposito could never have imagined either the success or longevity of the Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help that they began 18 years ago at of Our Lady of Pompeii Parish.
From a humble beginning with an attendance of 35 people in 1995, the annual nine-week novena ended on April 24 this year with more than 200 people gathered for the concluding Mass, eucharistic adoration, outdoor candlelight rosary procession, individual veneration before the image of Our Lady and presentation of a holy card. (Click here to visit photo gallery.)
"It’s exciting and very rewarding for us because we see so many people who have benefitted from the petitions and prayer intentions," said Mrs. Esposito. "We’ve seen many people cry because the experience was so spiritual for them."
Adds Mrs. Scussel, "We have so much devotion to the Blessed Mother. I know prayers have been answered through her intercession."
TORRINGTON – Deirdre Houlihan DiCara is still amazed. She has been executive director of FISH/Friends in Service to Humanity Northwest Connecticut since March and is still wrapping her head around all the community services the 41-year-old agency provides.
"I think it’s amazing what we produce under this roof," she said from behind her desk inside the FISH headquarters at 332 South Main St.
"Friends in Service to Humanity provides the most basic of human needs, and that is shelter and food. And amazingly, in 2012 our food pantry was able to distribute enough food to provide 140,000 meals," Mrs. DiCara said.
"We’re noticing that the culture is really lacking a sense of respect and civility; and we see it played out in family dynamics, in business and in politics," he said April 22 at Albertus Magnus College. He discussed some of the "signs of the times" that reveal a "more alarming and deep-seated crisis of meaning in our time" in the United States.
WEST HARTFORD – There is a little-understood lay evangelization movement in the Archdiocese of Hartford – even though, nationwide, it claims to have a million participants, and many multiples of that worldwide.
Joan Reynolds, a parishioner at Our Lady of Victory Parish in West Hartford, is the lay coordinator for English-speaking participants – called cursillistas – of the Cursillo Movement in the Archdiocese of Hartford. She said archdiocesan priest Father Donald J. O’Leary (d. 2007) was an early pioneer and a spiritual director of the movement in Connecticut, where Cursillo has been active for over four decades.
MERIDEN – On the heels of the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis, two young women received names as new Franciscan novices that will forever root them to that historic transition in the Church.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist welcomed Sister Marie Benedict Elliott and Sister Francesca Silver to the novitiate at liturgies on March 23 and April 7, respectively.
Mother General Shaun Vergauwen named the former Christine Marie Elliott for Pope Benedict after the postulant had referred at the ceremony to the "historic moment" the past few weeks had been for the Church. She described as a gift her experience with her community of each day’s unfolding of developments in Rome.