Category Archives: News

Over 1,000 Catholic Educators to Participate in Faith Conference

BRISTOL — On March 28 and 29, more than 1,000 Catholic school educators in the Archdiocese of Hartford will gather at Saint Paul Catholic High School in Bristol for the Catholic Educators Faith Conference, which will include faith formation, and a series of discussions on current issues important to Catholic school education.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell and Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dale R. Hoyt will present service awards and certificates to more than 200 teachers and administrators who are marking milestone anniversaries, or who have completed a rigorous course of studies, in the Catholic faith. Over 170 teachers will receive recognition for ten or more years of service, including eight who will be recognized for 40 years of ministry; and 44 educators will receive certificates for having completed a prescribed course of study through the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.

Hoyt values the chance to acknowledge these elementary and secondary educators saying, “Besides the opportunity to enhance the educators’ faith formation, we recognize the significant contributions and accomplishments of Catholic school educators at this conference.  It is through their teaching, role modeling and commitment that we graduate students prepared to become productive, virtuous citizens, and church leaders who will fashion a more humane and just world.”

Conference attendees will enjoy a keynote address by Rev. Michael J. Dolan, Vocation Director for the Archdiocese, as well as music presented by St. Paul Catholic High School students, including SPLASH, a praise rock band and CANTATA, a select group of vocalists.

Mansell will celebrate Mass on both days of the conference.

Previously known as the Teachers Institute, the Catholic Educators Faith Conference was initiated 106 years ago by Rev. Patrick J. McCormack, former Supervisor of Schools for the Diocese of Hartford.

Sharing Brings Joy: One Great Hour of Sharing 2012

From the Connecticut Conference UCC

This coming Sunday, March 18, most congregations of the United Church of Christ will receive the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, which enables ministries of critical presence around the world: responding to disasters, helping poor communities obtain fresh water, providing access to medical care, and offering loans that become a livelihood.

“‘Sharing Brings Joy’ is so true,” Interim Conference Minister the Rev. Charles L. Wildman has said. “It brings joy to those whose hunger and want become hope and wherewithal. It brings joy to those who find, beyond expectation, that they have the capacity to help. It brings joy to those who carry gifts from the places they are given to the places they are needed.”

Read full story here.

Catholic School Receives Million Dollar Donation

HARTFORD — SS. Cyril and Methodius School in Hartford has received one million dollars from an anonymous donor.

According to Principal Joy Chlus, the school, which has provided a quality, faith-filled education to city students for over 100 years, will spend considerable time determining how the money can best be utilized.

“When I received the news from the archbishop, it was like we hit the lottery,” said Chlus. “This is a once in a life-time windfall, and we need to give thoughtful consideration to how to spend the donation wisely.”

The Rev. Adam Hurbanczuk, pastor of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, said the gift could possibly go towards expanding the school’s academic programs and buying technological equipment. He hopes that making improvements like this will help to increase student enrollment.

The same anonymous donor contributed two million dollars to St. Augustine School in March of 2011. Since then, St. Augustine has experienced a renaissance. The school has enhanced its Spanish and music programs, expanded its after school activities, made much-needed repairs to its classrooms and playground, and has seen its enrollment double.

Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dale R. Hoyt envisions the same success for SS. Cyril and Methodius School.

“We are deeply grateful to the anonymous donor whose generosity will make such a positive impact on SS. Cyril and Methodius School. This gift will allow a wonderful school to further enhance its excellent offerings and attract more interested families to the high quality of its educational program. The benefits of Saints Cyril and Methodius elementary school experience are numerous and will be further multiplied by the blessing of this welcome philanthropic contribution,” said Hoyt.

For information on Saints Cyril and Methodius School, visit

Spirituality and mental illness

HARTFORD — The Spiritual Life Center will host Spirituality and Mental Illness: Balance, Boundaries, and Being on March 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

According to a press release, spirituality and mental health are deeply connected often mutually  enhancing, sometimes mutually obstructing.  In cases where one’s mental health is compromised in some way—for example, by depression, alcoholism or PTSD—we must determine how far we are able to go in  spiritual direction, what is beyond our capacity, where we might refer a directee, or with whom we might consult to discern a way that will be    genuinely helpful for the one we are working with .  We do well to remember that balance, clear boundaries and just being authentically   present are  important, but may not be enough.  Join us for a day of facilitated reflection and group discussions focused on the issues you may have experienced with Directees.

The day-long workshop will be held at Holy Family, 303 Tunxis Road in West Hartford. Suggested price is between $65 to $75 and includes lunch.


AmeriCares Awards $1 Million in New Aid for Japan Earthquake Survivors

STAMFORD — AmeriCares is awarding $1 million in aid for disabled survivors as well as relief workers suffering from work-related stress and depression in Japan. The announcement comes on the eve of the first anniversary of the tragic earthquake and tsunami. The $1 million in new projects is in addition to the $3.2 million in aid AmeriCares delivered in the first 12 months after the disaster.

The aid organization plans to build a new group home for disabled survivors in Ofunato City, a fishing town in Iwate Prefecture, to replace a facility washed away by the tsunami. All of the residents survived and have been living in temporary housing or with relatives who cannot care for them long-term. AmeriCares is also building a replacement headquarters for the only social service agency serving the disabled in northeastern Miyagi Prefecture and funding counseling for relief workers grappling with stress, grief and depression.

“One year later, the needs are still astounding,” said AmeriCares President and CEO Curt Welling. “While some progress has been made on the physical recovery – clearing debris and wreckage from the streets – it will take years to fully recover and help survivors cope with the trauma of loss.”

The March 11, 2011 disaster left 20,000 people dead or missing, wiped out entire communities along the island nation’s northeastern coast, and caused widespread panic about the effect of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. AmeriCares immediately responded with deliveries of relief supplies, including medicines for Tohoku University Hospital and personal hygiene items for evacuees living in shelters. As survivors moved into temporary housing, AmeriCares eased the transition by providing hot meals, space heaters for apartments with no central heating and counseling programs to help survivors struggling with grief, depression and loneliness. The aid organization also built two dental clinics to replace health care facilities destroyed in the disaster.

A large portion of AmeriCares Japan relief work focuses on meeting the mental health needs of survivors. In coastal towns washed away by the tsunami, the organization is helping survivors plant vegetable gardens where their homes once stood, giving them a meaningful activity and hope for the future, and providing counseling and support for children who lost siblings.

“Much like our work in the U.S. after Hurricane Katrina, our Japan aid program is repairing the damage that’s not readily visible,” Welling said. “We’re helping isolated and lonely survivors at risk of suicide and depression.”

AmeriCares, which opened an office in Sendai in 2011 to oversee its relief efforts, anticipates working in Japan for at least another two years. AmeriCares has provided medical relief and humanitarian assistance to millions affected by natural disasters and man-made crises around the world for 30 years, including the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia and the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan.

To learn more about AmeriCares work in Japan, go to

Students to Receive iPads and interactive white boards at Catholic school

Wikipedia photo

TORRINGTON — St. Peter / St. Francis School in Torrington, will announce its plan to rollout a comprehensive technological education program during a celebration in the school’s gymnasium on March 8.

Each of the school’s sixth, seventh and eighth graders will receive the use of a dedicated iPad, opening up a world of educational opportunities to them. According to Principal Jo-Anne Gauger, Apple has made great strides in creating applications for education, and has a variety of textbooks available. In addition to the iPad technology, every classroom (pre-k through 8) will be equipped with an interactive white board, which will give students the opportunity to interact with the content of the lessons electronically.

Gauger says that the faculty will be trained in the new technology in order to have the greatest, most positive impact on the students’ learning. The entire school is in the process of being equipped with Wi-Fi access. The technology will be up and running for the students at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.

The celebration of the announcement will be attended by Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dale R. Hoyt, Retired Auxiliary Bishop Peter A. Rosazza, a graduate of St. Francis School, along with the entire student body, staff, parents and parishioners. Refreshments and a pep rally are planned.

The technology program is being funded through the partial use of three large bequests to the school including a gift from Father John Castelanni, the first principal of St. Peter School. In his will, he left a portion of his estate to the school. Maureen Shugrue, a longtime educator in Torrington also left a bequest to both St. Francis School and St. Francis Parish, and Frances Ducci, a longtime trustee and finance council member of St. Francis parish made a substantial donation to both the parish and the school.

According to the Rev. Christopher Tiano, the pastor of the Torrington cluster of parishes, who was instrumental in implementing the program, the bequests were put aside by the parish and school administration in order to invest in the future of the school. The cost of the project is approximately $90,000.00.

“This is an extremely exciting project, one that was supported by our school board, and received the approval of Archbishop Henry Mansell. I think it will put our school in the forefront of education in Litchfield County and beyond,” said Tiano.

For information on St. Peter/St. Francis School, visit:

Celebrating Purim With Circus Event

LITCHFIELD — “Purim at the Circus” is Chabad Lubavitch of Northwest Connecticut’s creative twist to this year’s community Purim celebration, which will be held at Chabad Community Center, 7 Village Green Dr. in Litchfield, on Thursday, March 8 from 5-8 p.m. The event will feature circus-style entertainment and dinner, as well as traditional treats such as hamantashen. In addition, the celebration will feature a unique interactive Megillah for child-friendly reading of the biblical scroll of Esther, known in Hebrew as the Megillah.

In the spirit of Purim, participants are encouraged to come in costume and be included in the competition, which will award prizes to contestants with the most innovative or funny costumes. The event is a community-wide program, and all are welcome to join, regardless of Jewish affiliation or background. Admission is $18.00 in costume, $24.00 not in costume, children $10.00 Children 4 & under free. RSVP

What is the holiday of Purim?

The festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar. It begins this year after sundown on March 7th and ends at nightfall on March 8th. The holiday commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in Ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” The name of the holiday, Purim, literally means “lots,” for Haman determined the day of the annihilation by drawing a lottery. It is observed by public readings of the Megillah, or Scroll of Esther, to recount the story of the Purim miracle, sending food gifts to friends, giving gifts of money to the poor and enjoying a festive Purim meal. For more on Purim’s history, observances and meaning, plus fun and other activities for the entire family, please visit

During the past 50 years there has been a revival in the observance of the Purim holiday. This phenomenon can be directly traced to the vigorous outreach efforts of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, under whose direction the Chabad-Lubavitch movement distributed hundreds of millions of Purim packages and explanatory brochures, organized countless public readings of the Book of Esther in places famous and obscure and otherwise reached out to Jews of all walks of life to encourage them to partake in the holiday’s celebration.For more information on Chabad’s Purim festivities or on the holiday of Purim and its observances, please email or call 860-567-3609 or visit our website at

 What: Purim at the Circus

When: Thursday, March 8, from 5:00 – 8:30 pm

Where: Chabad Community Center, 7 Village Green Dr, Litchfield, CT 06759

Cost: $18.00 in costume, $24.00 not in costume, children $10.00 Children 4 & under free. RSVP

Simsbury church to host local pianist

Pianist Sarah Masterson will perform a repertoire of music including
Siegmeister’s Piano Sonata “American,” Beethoven’s “Sonata Op. 10 No.
2,” Messiaen’s “Preludes pour piano” and Liszt’s “Reminiscences de
Norma.” The event will begin at 3 p.m., March 4, at Simsbury United Methodist
, 799 Hopmeadow St. in Simsbury.

Masterson recently completed her doctoral degree in performance at
the University of Connecticut where she studied with Dr. Neal
Larrabee. At UConn she performed as part of the UConn Wind Ensemble
and the UConn Chamber Music Festival.She was the winner of the
graduate division in UConn’s 2009 concerto competition and in 2010,
her piano trio performed as part of the prestigious Jorgensen Center
for the Perform Arts Classics Series.

She received a bachelor’s degree in physics and a performer’s
certificate from DePauw University. As the winner of the 2001 Young
Artist competition, she performed with the Evansville Philharmonic
Orchester. At DePauw, she performed as soloist with the DePauw Symphony
Orchestera and accompanied a variety of recitals and musical theater

Currently she teaches individuals lessons, group piano and music
theory at the Community School of the Arts and is an adjunct faculty
member at Eastern Connecticut State University. Dr Masterson also
serves as the organist and choir director at the First United
Methodist Church of Mansfield.

Nicholas Kristof to speak at Quinnipiac

From the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut:

Nicholas Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist, will deliver the lecture, “A Call to Action: Encouraging Young People to Join the ‘World’s Fight’ & Take on a Cause Larger than Themselves,” at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, on Burt Kahn Court on the Mount Carmel Campus of Quinnipiac University. He wrote  Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, as a means of raising our awareness of issues facing women globally. After the lecture, Kristof will sign copies of his book. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 203-582-8652Link here to more on Half the Sky.