Archbishop’s Column
The Catholic Transcript – May Issue, 2012

Ordination to the Priesthood

            May is a month of most gratifying growth.  The explosive development of trees, flowers, and grass bespeaks nature’s coming fully alive.  Consistent with all of this, we are happy to report that the number of our Ordinations to the priesthood this year will be the highest in more than twenty years.  More to the point, the quality of men being ordained is superb.  There will be seven men ordained on May 12, at 11:00 a.m. in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, and another one later in the year.
            We salute this edifying news for our Archdiocese with deep gratitude to Almighty God and to yourselves for your effective prayers.  Of course we are especially grateful to the men being ordained.  Their generosity, commitment, and talent offer substantial promise for all of us.  They are:  the Reverend Mr. Alexander Avendaño, the Reverend Mr. Didier Cardona, the Reverend Mr. Jorge Castro, the Reverend Mr. Mathieu Isaac, the Reverend Mr. Robert Landback, the Reverend Mr. Timothy Ryan, and the Reverend Mr. Nicola Trân.
            There were five Ordinations last year and five the year before, so the growth is heartening.  Our prayers and support must continue to be with them, as we know their intentions are with us.  Full stories on each of them will be provided in the June issue of The Catholic Transcript.
            It is helpful to note at this point a book which was published last year, Why Priests are Happy, by Monsignor Stephen J. Rossetti, whose extensive research and pastoral insights are highly acclaimed.  He is the former President of St. Luke’s Institute, a rehabilitation center for priests, and currently Clinical Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies at the Catholic University of America.  A key point of the study is the extraordinarily high rates of priestly happiness and satisfaction in the United States.  “In fact,” he mentions that “the satisfaction rates of priests are among the highest of any way of life or vocation in the United States.”  There is a clear understanding that to be a happy priest one must have a strong relationship to God and must daily nurture that relationship with typical priestly spiritual practices.
            Our prayerful support for our newly ordained and for all our priests is deeply appreciated.  You are all invited to the Ordination.

Anniversary of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph

            As covered extensively in this issue of The Catholic Transcript, we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Cathedral on May 20, at 3:00 p.m.  The former Cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon on May 8, 1892.  Tragically, on December 31, 1956, a fire completely destroyed the historic brownstone building.  Under the leadership of Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien the new Cathedral was erected after much work and dedication and consecrated by Auxiliary Bishop John F. Hackett in a Pontifical High Mass on May 23, 1962.
            It is interesting to note that Vatican Council II was scheduled to begin in October of that year.  Developments to come from the Council were not clear at that time, and the leadership of the Archdiocese were not sure about the position of the Cathedral’s altar.  A temporary altar, therefore, was installed.  It has taken us fifty years to install the permanent altar.  It is most beautiful, and we think you will be pleased.
            The Knights of Columbus, under Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, have funded the work and it is dedicated to Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus.  Father McGivney was born and raised in Waterbury, ordained a priest in 1877, served in St. Mary Parish, New Haven, from 1878 to 1884, and in St. Thomas Parish, Thomaston, from 1884 to 1890, where he died.
            We have moved the relics of Saint Aurelia and Saint Casta from the old Cathedral into the altar of the new Cathedral.  We do hope that one day the process of canonization will be completed for Father McGivney, so that we may enclose his relics there as well.
            The roofs of the Cathedral have been replaced in recent years.  The patchwork efforts were no longer adequate.  We have this year outfitted the Cathedral with a new sound system, which is very helpful for the work of radio, television, and other media outlets.  There are other improvements we are exploring right now, which will be described in the near future.
            The Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Archdiocese.  Every Catholic here may be baptized, married, and buried from the Cathedral, although we do have 213 parishes to make all of those celebrations possible for our people.  Everyone, of course, is invited to the Anniversary Celebration on May 20.  The presence of the new altar will remind us that during Mass our praise and thanksgiving are focused on the altar, as are our burdens and cares, as we are called to communion and peace with God.
            The Mass, reenacting Our Lord’s Sacrifice on the Cross, is the source and the summit of our lives.  The holiness of the sanctuary and the sacredness of the altar are highlighted by the extraordinary beauty of the Cathedral.  The aspiration of Psalm 27:4 resounds in our hearts:  “One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
            Many happy years for our priests-to-be.  Abundant blessings for our Cathedral and for all our people for centuries to come.

Archbishop's Annual Appeal 2012

The current total is $8,206,181.  That is a most impressive figure:  $463,669 higher than this time last year.  You obviously take very seriously the direct connection between the altar and service.  Your understanding of our religious responsibilities to serve the needs of the disadvantaged is more than edifying.  It provides stronger dimensions of our understanding of religion, so needed in our country today.  Thank you immensely.