Friday, March 5, 2010

St. Joseph Medal of Appreciation

While the Olympic medal presentations have been completed, many in the Archdiocese of Hartford are winning a different sort of medal… the St. Joseph Medal of Appreciation. Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will present the Medal of Appreciation on Sunday, March 7th at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Since 2002, the St. Joseph Medal of Appreciation has been given to parishioners from around the Archdiocese who exhibit distinguished and outstanding service to the Church. This year, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will honor 208 people, the most St. Joseph Medal winners ever in one year.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hartford Parishes Raise $1 Million for Haiti

Catholic parishioners of the Archdiocese of Hartford have so far donated more than $1,000,000 to Haitian earthquake relief. One hundred percent of the funds go to the relief efforts of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Archbishop Henry J. Mansell says, “I offer my profound gratitude to all the people who were moved by love and compassion to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti. The overwhelming sign of support and solidarity shows God’s grace among us. Please know that your support, coupled with donations from around the world, will be put to good use, as CRS continues to provide relief to Haiti.”

The $1,036,217 collected so far from 166 parishes, 5 schools, and individual contributions will assist Catholic Relief Services’ around-the-clock mission in Haiti. CRS has already provided food, medical care, and shelter to hundreds of thousands of people. CRS provided emergency shelter kits to help nearly 100,000 people living in refugee camps. They are in the process of distributing kits to help 20,000 more. CRS staff members are also investigating solutions to housing problems. CRS has already set up nine primary care centers in the earthquake-ravaged country. Doctors and medical professionals are performing hundreds of critical operations per week at St. Francois de Sales Hospital, a hospital that our donations are working to repair.
Catholic Relief Services is well-rooted in Haiti; they have been serving there for 55 years. The million dollars from the Archdiocese will add to the worldwide Catholic effort to help CRS in Haiti. The Archdiocese of Hartford expects the number of donations to increase as we hear from the remaining 47 parishes of our Archdiocese. Those who wish to donate should send a check marked clearly for Haitian Relief to: The Chancery, 134 Farmington Ave., Hartford, CT 06105.

The Archbishop reminds us: “While the earthquake is no longer making front-page headlines, the people of Haiti continue to suffer. They need our help now more than ever, to find solutions in the long term. That is what Catholic Relief Services does.”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

National Prayer Breakfast

“Empowered by faith, consistently, prayerfully, we need to find our way back to civility.”

Those were the words of President Barack Obama as he started his day in prayer. He spoke this morning at the 58th annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. The president and first lady joined thousands of guests, including members of Congress and other government and religious leaders from around the world. Obama described himself as a man of faith, and asked his adversaries to take that into account.

“Now, I’m the first to confess," he said, "I’m not always right. Michelle can testify to that, but surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith... or my citizenship”

Other speakers included the Spanish Prime Minister who supports gay marriage and the easing of restrictions on abortion and divorce, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The National Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by a secretive Christian group known as the Fellowship, or the Family.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

March for Life - Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of thousands of people are pouring into Washington D.C. to protest abortion for the annual March for Life. Office of Radio and Television reporter Jason Calvi is with a group from the Archdiocese of Hartford. Tonight there will be a special Mass, which, we're told, more than 10,000 people will attend. Tomorrow, a pro-life breakfast, another Mass, and then the march itself. WJMJ and Crossroads Magazine will be there live and bring you reports throughout the day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Deacon Charles Dietsch to Speak on Experience in Haiti Earthquake

Deacon Chuck Dietsch of Sacred Heart Parish in Southbury has returned from Haiti after being rescued from the rubble when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the region.
He will speak about his experience in the quake and his mission in Haiti, tomorrow, Tuesday, January 19, 2010, at his parish in Southbury at 10:00 a.m.
Deacon Chuck first visited Haiti in 2007 with other members of Sacred Heart Parish, a visit that eventually culminated in a decision to twin the parish with Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Parish in Gran Boulage, Haiti in October 2009.

Since then, Deacon Chuck has been serving with the Office of Haitian Ministries of the Diocese of Norwich to work with groups of Americans who came to Haiti through the Norwich Mission House for a cultural and spiritual immersion in Haiti.

He arrived for his mission there just days before the earthquake shook the country. He and Jillian Thorpe, also from Connecticut, were buried under the rubble for 10 hours before being rescued.

Deacon Chuck was taken to the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince and then flown to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic before being flown back to the United States. He is presently recuperating from his injuries at home.

WHO: Deacon Chuck Dietsch of Sacred Heart Parish
WHAT: Speaking on his experiences in Haiti, before, during and after the earthquake. Increasing awareness to the disaster there that still requires help and funds.
WHEN: Tomorrow, January, 19, 2010, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Sacred Heart Parish, 910 Main St. South, Southbury

Deacon Chuck will speak at 10 a.m. and take questions afterward.

Friday, January 15, 2010

CRS - Relief to Haiti

Archbishop Henry Mansell asks parishes to take up a donation to help Catholic Relief Services aid victims in Haiti.

Catholic Relief Services is readying food and other aid to help families affected by a powerful earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. CRS has committed an initial $5 million (US) to help survivors of the devastating quake.

“This is a massive disaster,” says CRS’ Country Representative in Haiti, Karel Zelenka. “We should be prepared for thousands and thousands of dead and injured.” In a brief call on Tuesday night before phones went down, Zelenka described clouds of smoke surrounding Port-au-Prince and said, “I’ve experienced earthquakes before, but I never felt anything like this. This is a major hit. And it was direct.”

While the CRS office in Port-au-Prince is undamaged, a building directly across from it collapsed. CRS has approximately 340 staffers in Haiti, of which 120 are in Port-au-Prince. Many staffers slept outside on Tuesday night to avoid building collapses from aftershocks.

CRS has pre-positioned food, water storage containers, bedding and other supplies in warehouses in Haiti and nearby countries. “We have to find out if the warehouses in Haiti are damaged,” says Ken Polsky, Regional Representative for CRS Latin America. “We will also move supplies there from the Dominican Republic and Miami.”

“This is going to be devastating,” says Bill Canny, Director of Emergency Operations for CRS. “We know it's chaos in Port-au-Prince and help is needed immediately.”

“We're moving additional emergency staff in as quickly as possible,” continues Canny, who left for Haiti January 13.

CRS has worked in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, for over 50 years. The country is still rebuilding from the 2008 hurricanes that left the city of Gonaives buried in 3.2 million cubic yards of mud.

How to Help:
Donate via phone: 1-877-HELP-CRS or text RELIEF to 30644
Donate online:
Write a check: Catholic Relief Services
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090
Memo portion of check: Haiti Earthquake

You can also donate locally by sending a check marked clearly for Haiti Relief Services to the Chancery at 134 Farmington Ave., Hartford, 06019

Or here to the Office of Radio and Television, at 15 Peach Orchard Rd., Prospect, CT, 06712

Friday, November 13, 2009

Circus Nuns

The circus came to Bridgeport's Harbor Yard, and if you missed it, don't worry, it comes every year.

But there are many things going on behind the scenes, that a show-goer would never see, like, for instance, the religious sisters helping the performers and their children.

The circus is like a travelling city. The train in which the families live is a mile and a half long. There are food carts, animal carts, living space carts, equipment carts, all lined up and all moving across the country at a fairly decent clip. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the circus crew travels, on Wednesdays - Sundays, they put on a show in a new location.

Many take their families with them. 10-year-old Katherine Stuart says the circus life is "not so weird." She goes to school, five days a week, for five hours a day. Sr. Dolores Fabritze teaches her history, math, English and geography, to name just a few subjects. The school day looks a bit different from a circus train, though. They are in "school" from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and that school is really whatever back room the venue provided them. They must unpack their books and tools from movable carts, and then pack them all back up again five days later when they leave. After school, the children can't really do sports or participate in extra curricular activities, but they spend time in the nursery and with the performers, as their parents ready for that night's show.

Sr. Fabritze and other religious personalities make sure that the sacraments are provided to the performers who request them. They also provide bible studies and personal healing for those on-board the train.

If you'd like to see more of what goes on behind the scenes at the circus, tune in to Crossroads Magazine, at 10:30 a.m. on TXX and 10:30 p.m. on MyTV9.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Waterbury Native One Step Closer to Sainthood

Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell has just signed the documents of the investigation into a possible miracle attributed to the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Venerable Fr. Michael McGivney. The information is now being sent to the Holy See, where a team of medical experts and theologians at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will investigate the potential miracle.

Make sure to watch Crossroads Magazine this Saturday for the full story. Crossroads airs Saturday on WTXX at 10:30 a.m., and My TV 9 at 10:35 p.m.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nun Run!

Alicia Torres, of Chicago, wants to become a sister, but she cannot do that until she pays off $94,000 in student loans. To help pay off the debt, she gathered pledges as she ran a half-marathon. Her site,, is gaining national attention.

Here is the Chicago Tribune's video of Alicia.

Alicia wants to join a new community of Franciscan Sisters in Chicago who will serve the poor.

Once those debts are paid off, Alicia hopes she will still be able to run in her habit.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Priest Chef Out Cooks Renowned Chef Bobby Flay

Father Leo Patalinghug beat world-famous chef Bobby Flay in a steak fajita cook-off on the Food Network’s Throwdown! With Bobby Flay. Father Patalinghug works at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where some of our Archdiocese of Hartford seminarians train for the priesthood. Bobby Flay visited the seminary to challenge Father in a head-to-head cooking competition.

Father's Grace Before Meals cooking show airs on Boston's Catholic TV. You can also find his show on his website, which receives 10,000 hits a day. He also penned a book with the same name as the show. Father tells the Archdiocese of Baltimore's The Catholic Review, “Having Bobby Flay challenge me to a throwdown was a complete surprise and shock. I’m a huge fan of his and the Food Network, so it was an honor just to be on the show and cook alongside of an Iron Chef.” Flay is a former altar-server.

If you missed the original episode on September 9, you still can check out Father's victory on the Food Network on Sep 20 at 11 p.m. and Sep 21 at 2 a.m. Check times here. Congrats, Father Leo!
PBS's Faith and Ethics Newsweekly just did a nice profile on Father. It is worth checking out.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Guadalupe Celebration

Crossroads Magazine will be on hand for the Guadalupe Celebration tonight in New Haven. We hope to meet many of you there. Here's the information, from the Knights of Columbus:

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council will host a festive Guadalupe Celebration and procession in New Haven, Conn., featuring a rare relic of St. Juan Diego – a small piece of his miraculous tilma, nearly 500 years old. A special Mass will be offered by Archbishop Henry Mansell at 5 pm in St. Mary’s Church, with a homily by Bishop William Lori. At 6 pm, Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, the world’s foremost expert on Our Lady of Guadalupe, will speak about the apparitions. At 6:30 pm, a procession with the relic will begin from St. Mary’s Church, leading through the streets of New Haven to the K of C Museum for a fiesta in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Festivities will include a chance to individually venerate the relic, as well as Mexican food, performances, artworks and much more. All are invited. Please see for more information.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bishop of Scranton Resigns

The Diocese of Scranton posted the press conference announcing the resignation of 63 year-old Bishop Joseph Martino. The bishop says stress has caused him insomnia and crippling physical fatigue. He has lead the diocese since 2003. The Vatican announced today that Pope Benedict XVI accepted Bishop Martino's resignation. According to Canon Law, a bishop must turn in his resignation at the age of 75. Canon Law also allows a bishop to resign because of illness or if he becomes unsuited for the ministry because of "some other grave reason." Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia will now be temporary administrator of the Diocese of Scranton. During the press conference today, the Cardinal said he hopes the Holy Father will appoint a new bishop of Scranton within six months. The Cardinal has named a number of episcopal vicars to serve in the diocese. His vicar general is Monsignor Joseph Bambera, pastor of two parishes in Archbald. After brief statements from Bishop Martino and the Cardinal, the media asked a number of questions.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Series on Seminarian

The Columbus Dispatch is doing a six-day series on the journey to the priesthood for one young man. They go behind the scenes of seminary life to paint a picture of one man's vocation. It is really unheard of for secular media to do a six-part series, let alone one on the priesthood.

You can check out the articles here.
Thanks to The Deacon's Bench for linking to this article.
The photo courtesy: The Columbus Dispatch.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Convicted Connecticut Pastor Dies in Prison

The Rev. Michael Jude Fay, the longtime pastor who stole more than $1 million from St. John Church in Darien, died Saturday in a Butner, N.C., federal prison. He was 10 months into a 37-month sentence for the theft.

The Diocese of Bridgeport is not releasing any details on the death, but Fay was known to be suffering from prostate cancer.

In May 2006, it was discovered Father Fay was using church money to support a lavish lifestyle, which included trips to Europe, the Caribbean and other parts of the United States.

More than a year later, Fay pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of money obtained by fraud. Father Fay and his attorneys asked the judge not to send him prison, saying he would die there.

Fay was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than a million dollars in restitution.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Remembering Pro-life, Catholic Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Pro-life groups are remembering a champion of life, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The sister of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy and the founder of Special Olympics died Tuesday. Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser says,"No one more than Eunice Kennedy Shriver understood better the power held by the most vulnerable in our society." She continues, "She fought for those hidden in the shadows of life, while acknowledging that they teach us far more than we could ever offer them. She was consistent in her championing of every vulnerable human life.” Shriver was a former advisory committe member of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. In 1992, Shriver and many pro-life leaders signed a full page ad in the New York Times. They protested the Democratic Party's embrace of the abortion-rights agenda. Shriver also worked for Democrats for Life of America and Feminists for Life.

The AP reports the longtime priest of Mrs. Shriver says the Special Olympics founder was a compassionate woman who attended church regularly. Father John Enzler says Shriver was striving to be in touch with God. Father says Shriver saw herself as a steward, using God’s gifts to help others. He also says that Shriver’s legacy is her recognition that everyone is important.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Vocations Study

A landmark study says incoming vocations to religious orders are more traditional and ethically diverse than their predecessors. Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate released “Study of Recent Vocations to Religious Life" on Tuesday. Most religious orders in the country have shrinking numbers. The few congregations where numbers are spiking are more traditional. According to the study, which surveyed 4,000 people who entered initial formation or made solemn vows since 1993, most younger recruits want to join orders that wear the habit, are faithful to Church teaching and also pray, live, and work together. Most of those entering the religious life sense a call and desire for spiritual growth. Eight-five percent of respondents feel attracted to the joy or commitment of the community members.

These new members are also ethnically diverse. Twenty-one percent are Hispanic, fourteen percent are Asian, and six percent are African or African Americans.

The principal author of the study, Sister Mary Bendyna, called these new vocations a sign of hope. Brother Paul Bednarczyk, executive director of the National Religious Vocation Conference, says "The Church and the world need women and men religious. Their witness has been the impetus for social change and spiritual renewal throughout history....Now a new generation of religious men and women show a renewed appreciation of our Catholic worship, identity, and communal living. Their witness remains a vital part of the life of the Church."

You can read the press release, a helpful summary of the study, here.
Photo Courtesy: Nashville Dominicans, a group with dozens and dozens of new postulants entering the convent year after year.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cathedral Green Dedicated and Blessed!

Archbishop Henry Mansell cuts the ribbon at the brand new Cathedral Green, which will be the home for 28 low income families.

Click here for the complete story, with pictures.

This Saturday, Crossroads Magazine will give you a tour of the new space and share the touching stories of some of the families who will soon move into Cathedral Green. (In the above photo, you can see the hard work of one of our videographers, Bruce Tumyol, as he and his camera peer down into the ribbon cutting crowd.)

In order to help furnish the new rooms, Catholic Charities still needs some monetary donations. You can contact Peter O'Donnell for more information:
J Peter O’Donnell
Director of Fund Development
Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Hartford
860-728-2571 or email

Friday, August 7, 2009

Priesthood: "The Coolness Factor"

A toy Mass kit? That's right. Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle writes a review of the toy for Catholic boys. She says, "What better time to instill a vocation to the priesthood in your young 3 to 12 year-old son, nephew, grandson, godson, or friend than in the Year of the Priest?" You can check out the My Mass Kit toy here. I've met many priests who tell me they used to "play Mass" when they were kids.

I wonder if Donna is on to something in promoting this toy. I think there is something to be said about what I'm terming "The Coolness Factor." Not to be irreverent, but the priesthood is very cool. At every Mass, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the priest brings the Lord Jesus to the world in the Eucharist. In Confession, God works through the priest to save a soul from damnation and bring it back to God. That is cool. Very cool. If a young boy is able to see the coolness of the priesthood, I believe he will be much more open to answering a call. Of course, there is much more to the priesthood than "The Coolness Factor;" priesthood is a challenging vocation for sure, but with God all things are possible.

If you want to see a great example of "The Coolness Factor," check out this wonderful video: God in the Streets of New York City from Grassroots Films. The priesthood is cool.

If you would like more information on answering a call to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Hartford, please contact Fr. Michael Dolan. Check out the vocation's site. The phone number is 860-761-7456. Or you can e-mail Father at

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Prayer Vigil for Life Outside Planned Parenthood

This Saturday pro-lifers will gather in New Haven to pray for the end of abortion. They will begin their vigil at 7:30 a.m. with Mass at St. Mary's in New Haven, followed by a half hour of Adoration. They will then drive to St. Joseph's Church (129 Edwards Street). From there, they will process to Planned Parenthood in New Haven, where they will pray until around 10:15 a.m.
For more information, see

Year of the Priest Icon Writer from Connecticut

Have you seen this beautiful icon in holy cards at your church? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are using it for the Year of the Priest. Iconographer Marek Czarnecki of Seraphic Restorations in Meriden, Connecticut wrote this image of Christ the Great High Priest. Czarnecki explains his icon, “Here Christ is shown in Latin Rite vestments with a gold pelican over His heart, the ancient symbol of self-sacrifice. The borders contain a windig grapevine and altar prepared for the celebration of the liturgy of the Mass; in the borders are smaller icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.”

Crossroads Magazine will introduce you to this icon and the iconographer on this week's show. Catch Crossroads Magazine on WTXX on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and on My TV 9 (WTCX) on Saturday at 10:35 p.m. (right after the 10 p.m. news).

For more about Czarnecki, check out his website here: You can order a poster of the icon from the National Federation of Priests' Councils here.