Category Archives: Connecticut Dioceses

Leonard P. Blair installed as archbishop of Hartford

Leonard P. BlairThe papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, representing Pope Francis in installing Archbishop Leonard Paul Blair, STD, as the 13th bishop and the 5th archbishop of Hartford today, the Constitution State.

The Archdiocese of Hartford is made up of three counties with more than 700,000 Catholics worshiping in 213 parish churches. As a diocese it was created on 28 November 1843 and elevated to be an archdiocese on 6 August 1953.

Paraphrasing the Nuncio, the season of Advent is a fresh beginning for a new journey of the people of God guided by the Good Shepherd. We pray that God will keep us firm in faith, joyful in hope and active in charity.

Archbishop Leonard Paul Blair, who spent 10 years in Toledo until now, generously accepted the work to be a new shepherd in Hartford, Connecticut.

Pope Francis writes to Archbishop Blair saying, that he is elected the new metropolitan archbishop of Hartford following what Jesus Christ exhorted Saint Peter to do, “feed my sheep.” Now walking in the path of St Peter Blaire is to have zeal for the flock, reading and hearing the voice of the Master in order to nourish this local part of God’s Kingdom in the same manner.

In his homily, Archbishop Blair said some things we could keep in mind,

memory: we are given the grace of memory of the Lord’s presence, of one’s personal journey, of how the Lord sought us out, and of our family. “I have seen much, learned, fear the Lord, for the Lord is our hope” (Sirach). Memory is at the service of mission.

mission: the installation of a bishop in the local church is lived in communion with the Church of Rome, and with all the baptized. Our mission is about the sharing of the Good News with others, it is a work of evangelization according to St Peter’s letter in which we read about the baptized who are called to a holy priesthood; that what we have been given is what we have received from the Lord. Our mission is to show the light of Christ to the world. Our faith is not about self preservation: be salt for the world, be an active member of the priesthood of the faithful lived in joy.

ministry: quoting Pope Francis who said that the Church is a field hospital where the Holy Spirit is active in each one of us; the struggle today has a lot of spiritual darkness, disorientation, and isolation; tenderness is absent. Our spiritual lack is a result of a flattering of the world, or its stress, a lack of care lived in mercy. Ministry is an expression of a life lived in holiness and hope. Ministry is service of the Gospel for all people.

We need to work on conversion, sinners who love much because they are loved first by the Lord. Are we witnesses to the love of Jesus Christ in concrete ways?

The crosier with which Blair is installed belonged to Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon, the 5th bishop of Hartford who served 1879-1893.

Five cardinals are present for the Mass today, along with other bishops, priests, deacons, religious and the great laity of the archdiocese.

May Saint Joseph’s courage and tenderness be with us, and pray for us.

Connecticut retreat house has a saint’s severed arm

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Saints in Connecticut. Relics point to Jesus Christ.

Litchfield County Times’ reporter Tom Breen published his “Catholic Retreat Near Mystic Features Severed Arm of Medieval Saint” on May 25, 2013. He writes on the first class relic of Saint Edmund of Canterbury, a renowned English archbishop, in a Mystic, CT, retreat house by the same name.

The infrastructure of holiness rests, in part, with the witness to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Saints, for those who are Catholic, are men and women who know they are sinners, who have been forgiven, and who know what it means to live the sacred Scriptures. Specifically, they point to Christ as Messiah and say that it is in fact possible for all of us to be saints.

The Church has venerated, not worshiped saints and their relics. As reliable witnesses, the saints to this day point to Jesus. By the second century Christians would pray in the places where the martyrs were buried and/or where they were killed. A human contact is necessary for all of us.

The practice of offering Mass upon the tombs of the saints became normal; when the Christian community expanded, the practice of praying with the saints followed. Devotion ensued and Connecticut has a verifiable saint to honor.

Saint Edmund of Canterbury’s feast day is November 16.

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Meeting the Pope, Connecticut and Rhode Island bishops

Bishops of CT and RI.jpgPope Benedict XVI met Nov. 5 with U.S. bishops from northeastern states on their “ad limina” visits to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. From left are Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I.; retired Auxiliary Bishop Peter A. Rosazza of Hartford.; Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford; Pope Benedict XVI; Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport; Bishop Michael R. Cote of Norwhich; Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans of Providence, R.I. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

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4 new priests ordained for the Diocese of Bridgeport

4 new priests Dio of Bport 2010.jpgThe Most Reverend William E. Lori ordained four deacons to the holy priesthood of Jesus Christ today at Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Augustine, Bridgeport, CT. The newly ordained priests, Fathers Jeffrey Couture, Karol Ksiazek, Jaime Marin-Cardona and Michael Novajosky will serve in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Bishop Lori spoke eloquently about the need for the priest to be both disciple and shepherd of Jesus Christ. A “theme” of the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass, particularly Psalm 23, 1 Peter 5 and John 10.  I think one can argue that a failure to live with both dimensions of priesthood (the common & ministerial) constantly in heart and mind is a lack in understanding of the vocation given by the Lord which could lead to mistakes in the exercise of the priesthood. Sure, there may be times when the shepherd aspect of a priest’s life may be more evident but the sitting at the feet of the Lord is required of any good shepherd. That is, one can’t be a shepherd if one is not first a disciple! The bishop related a story from the experience of the late Cardinal James Hickey who quietly yet confidently tried to live his priesthood as both disciple of Jesus and to act as a good shepherd for the flock his was given to lead to heaven.
The bishop also exhorted the newly ordained and those present to practice what we say we believe. Integrity of life is so very needed for the witness to be credible. Those who despise the Church cannot assail the Church and her ministers (the faithful included) if how one lives is in accord with what one professes to be true.
One small and interesting item happened at the Litany Saints –when the Church kneels and those to be ordained lay prostrate on the floor in humility– asking the saints to intercede for us, the cantor invoked the intercession of Saint Oliver Plunkett, the sometime Primate of Ireland of the 17th century convicted of treason by England and killed for the faith at Tyburn. Plunkett was the last martyr to die in England; he was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975. And this is an example of something that can make you go “hmmmm” in the sacred Liturgy. Nevertheless, I was elated someone has a devotion to Plunkett!

At the conclusion of the Mass Bishop Lori announced to the congregation the assignments of the new priests:
Reverend Father Jeffrey W. Couture will be at the Saint Edward the Confessor, New Fairfield
Reverend Father Karol J. Ksiazek will be at Saint Therese, Trumbull
Reverend Father Jaime Marin-Cardona will be at Saint Joseph, South Norwalk
Reverend Father Michael P. Novajosky will be at Saint Jude for the summer before returning to Rome to complete his studies for the License in Sacred Theology (Patristics)

Blessed Mother Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad: 10th anniversary

Bl Mary Elizabeth Hasselblad.jpgToday is the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Mother Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad, the woman who re-established the Swedish branch of the Order of the Most Holy Savior of Saint Bridget —Bridgettine Order after centuries of the charism’s absence, in 1911. This is the order of nuns founded by Saint Bridget (Birgitta) of Sweden (1303-1373).

Saint Bridget of Sweden, not to be confused with the Irish saint, was named co-paroness of Europe on October 1, 1999.

Today the order numbers some 700 sisters in 50 houses around the world. In the USA, there is one house of Bridgettine nuns, in Darien, Connecticut, in the Diocese of Bridgeport. The order has about a 4% growth per annum with about 30 novices entering yearly. Info on Wiki can be read here.

There is a group of Bridgetine monks in Oregon, themselves re-founded in 1976.

Blessed Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad’s liturgical memorial is June 4.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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