Chrism Mass Gives Witness to
the Presence of Christ in His Church

By Michael Strammiello, Executive Editor, Four County Catholic

Norwich – The Most Reverend, Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, in unity with all the priests and deacons of the Diocese of Norwich and parishioners representing all seventy-six parishes, celebrated the Annual Chrism Mass, March 22, 2016, at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. 

It was an overflowing gathering of priests, their Bishop, deacons, seminarians, religious, student greeters, disciples of mercy and lay faithful who filled the Cathedral with the spirit of togetherness in worship, wonder of the sacramental gifts of the Church, joyful music, prayer and the unfolding of sacred tradition.

As is tradition, the sacred Chrism was consecrated and the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens blessed. These oils are sanctified for use in all parishes for baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick and for the ordination of priests. Together, the three oils symbolize the sacramental life of the Church as they represent sanctification, healing, strengthening, dedication, consecration and sacrifice.

One of the most sentimental and gracious moments was the recognition by Bishop Cote of the Priest Jubilarians. Grateful and resounding applause filled the Church.

Bishop Cote asked all priests present to renew their priestly promises and then addressed the faithful – “Dearest sons and daughters, pray for your priests, that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to Him, who is the source of salvation.” As one, the congregation responded “Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.”

Bishop Cote also spoke, in his homily, of the horrific terrorist events taking place in the world, including the news that same morning of the attack at the airport in Brussels. He asked for the prayers of all present for the injured and those who lost their lives. He acknowledged the balance of strengthening national and international security while upholding our responsibilities as Christians to follow the biblical mandate of embracing innocent refugees. During the designated Year of Mercy, we are called even more resolutely to be charitable and forgiving. As expressed in the recessional hymn, we pray to “The Lord our King…triumphant o’re the world and sin, the Prince of Peace.”

Following the Eucharist ceremony and the blessing of the oils, parish representatives stayed in the Cathedral to receive their respective supplies of consecrated oils to return to their parishes. Together, all parishes are renewed in grace, in mission and in witness to the presence of Christ in his Church and the continuation of His work in the Diocese.


Priest Jubilarians for 2016

65 Years
Reverend John Morin, O.M.I., July 29, 1951

60 Years
Reverend John Marciniak, June 24, 1956

50 Years
Reverend Roland C. Cloutier, LCSW, May 19, 1966
Reverend Michael J. Gill, July 10, 1966
Reverend Michael Sequeira, January 6, 1966

45 Years
Reverend Ronald Meyer, O.M.I., December 18, 1971
Reverend Augustine Naduvilekoot, March 15, 1971
Reverend Stanley Szczapa, May 15, 1971 

40 Years
Reverend Joseph C. Ashe, November 20, 1976

35 Years
Reverend George Villamthanam, CST, December 29, 1981

25 Years
Reverend Brian J. Converse, May 25, 1991
Reverend Michael C. Giannitelli, May 25, 1991
Reverend James J. Sucholet, May 25, 1991





LR: Sylvia Garstka; Jack Lutz; the Most Rev. Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich; Sr. Mary McCarthy, RSM; Sr. Patricia McCarthy, CND; Marianne Fitzgerald; Ellen Ryczek; Donna DiMauro. Photo by Curtis Photography

Congratulations Mercy High School
 2016 McAuley Award Recipients

By Marie Kalita-Leary, Director of Communications, Mercy High School

On April 2nd, Sr. Mary McCarthy, RSM, President of Mercy High School, and Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, Bishop of Norwich, presented the Catherine McAuley Award to six members of the Mercy High School community for their dedication and service to the Mercy community:

Ms. Donna DiMauro ‘67, Mrs. Marianne Fitzgerald, Mrs. Sylvia A. Garstka, Mr. John M. Lutz, Sr, Patricia A. McCarthy, CND, Ms. Ellen S. Ryczek ‘74.

The award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to the Mercy High School community in the spirit of Catherine McAuley, the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, and who have lived by the ideals of the Mercy tradition. Recipients are honored for their outstanding professional achievements, their humanitarian efforts and their loyalty and service to Mercy High School.

 Donna DiMauro, a graduate of the first class at Mercy, has been an active member of the Alumnae Association, a twenty plus year volunteer on the Mercy Classic Golf Committee. True to the Mercy tradition of service to others, Donna also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. 

Marianne Fitzgerald continues to volunteer at Mercy, after her daughter Erin’s graduation in 2011. She has served as the chairperson and committee member for events such as the Yellow Rose Auction, Safe Graduation Night, and Mercy’s 50th Anniversary. Her volunteerism is certainly not limited to Mercy as she assists many other community programs.

Sylvia Garstka retired from Mercy in 2015 after being on the faculty for forty-nine years. Besides the classroom, she worked with students as their class moderator, yearbook co-moderator, and served on numerous committees. A quintessential educator, she continues to help at Mercy even in retirement. Sylvia’s daughter, Alexis, graduated from Mercy.

Mr. (John) Jack Lutz, a member of the America’s Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a member of the Connecticut and American Bar Association, serves on the Board of Trustees and Finance Committee of Mercy. This Mercy dad, whose daughter Tara graduated in ‘06, is often seen in the Mercy gym giving play by play commentary as he is an announcer with WCNXradio.com. 

Sr. Patricia McCarthy, CND, is a superb Catholic educator, congregational leader and peace advocate who has consistently shared her message, wisdom and humor with Mercy students and parents through retreat days, presentations at Mercy and numerous books she has authored. Sr. Pat has worked with abused children, administered a school for emotionally disturbed children, and taught elementary and high school in the inner city.

Ellen Ryczek, a graduate of Mercy, is a strong supporter of the Mercy mission and is a founding member of the Spirit of Catherine Scholarship Fund. She is active in the Mercy Alumnae Association. She volunteers for educational programs in the Hartford Public School system, and with Hands-on-Hartford as a volunteer with co-workers at the Soup kitchen, along with other community charity events.

Ms. Joanne Nesti, a Mercy alumna, served as emcee for the evening. Greetings were presented by the Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, Bishop of Norwich; Sr. Patricia Colla, RSM, local coordinator for the Sisters of Mercy; and Sr. Mary McCarthy.