Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SouthingtonSOS: How can our community help the people of Nepal?

Today, John Myers, Director of the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA, sent out an email to those on the email distribution list of SouthingtonSOS (formerly SouthingtonCares) asking anyone knowing reliable organizations who are supporting the relief efforts of the earthquake victims of Nepal to let SouthingtonSOS know so that we may be able to inform the people of our Southington community how they may help. 

Southington Heartbeat then broadcast the email request of John Myers to a its own distribution list. Between these efforts we have gathered some responses we have received thus far. 

Rev. Victoria Triano, member of Southington Town Council suggested we might start by posting any reliable and consistent information we may have for those who wish to donate. 

Kaye Davis, recent past Executive Director of United Way of Southington, informed us of a link to a site United Way Worldwide has set up:

Dolores B. Griffin, Clinical Director, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Hartford - New Britain and Torrington offices stated:

Catholic Relief Services ( at phone number 877-435-7277 is collecting donations that can be specified for Nepal. All donations are greatly appreciated and there is already a network set in place for a relatively quick turnaround of support and care. They are open 8 am to 11 pm for callers.

Southington Heartbeat located the following ways to help the victims of the earthquake in Nepal in yesterday's Hartford Courant:

 Anyone who wishes to add to this list or comment may send an email to John Myers or SouthingtonHeartbeat or post a comment to this e-newsletter.

Thank you.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Notes from Hartford Health Care Senior Services

Just in ...

A stroke prevention presentation is set for May 14 at Calendar House in Southington on Thursday, May 14, from 1:30 to 2:20 p.m. Guest speaker Kristen Hickey, RN, MSN, stroke coordinator at HHC with topics including prevention of strokes by identifying risk factors and being aware of and identifying stroke symptoms. HixkwShe will also discuss treatmentions and will answer questions following the presentation. Calendar House is located at 388 Pleasant St. To RSVP, call Calendar House at 860-621-3014.

The Orchards at Southington hosts open house
SOUTHINGTON - The Orchards at Southington, an independent and assisted living community, will host an open house on Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Edesa Ciscar, retirement counselor, will facilitate the event. Coffee will be served. The Orchards at Southington is located at 34 Hobart St. For more information or to RSVP, please call Edesa Ciscar, 860-628-5656. To learn more about The Orchards at Southington, visit the

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mary Poppins a clean chimney sweeping success in Southington

Southington Schools continue to be front and center in the community over a wide range of academic, athletic, science, technology and artistic accomplishments. 

And so it was for the joint DePaolo and Kennedy Middle Schools Drama Clubs in their musical production of Mary Poppins. The outstanding presentation of five performances from March 28 through April 1 was a gift of many talents and skills in a delightful new production of Mary Poppins.  

Directed and produced by DePaolo M.S. Assistant Principal Chris Palmieri, a cast of 110 students and a technical crew of 45 more presented a remarkable opus the company had rehearsed several times a week for three months to do. 

Their efforts pulled off a charming and entertaining production with some fancy choreography, smoothly executed scene and costume transitions topped off by talented singing and acting including some effective affectation of British accents. 
The lead parts of Mary Poppins and 
Bert, The Chimney Sweep were persuasively portrayed by eighth-graders,Olivia White and Logan McGinnis with the truly fine support of an all-star cast while quality sound, lighting and well-executed staging and timing demands were executed in a hands-down entertaining theatrical feat. 

Warmed by the magic of the music, the colorful pageantry of the times and the whimsically mysterious ways of the character of Mary Poppins, attendees appeared to love the show as they basked in the pride of our youth.

By E. Richard Fortunato
Photography by Barbara Brush

Monday, April 20, 2015

Town of Southington recognized as a HEART Safe Community

 It was announced today that on April 13, 2015, the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health and the American Heart Association designated the Town of Southington as a HEART Safe Community, affirming the Town’s commitment to providing improved response to cardiac care to residents. 

Garry Brumback
“The Town of Southington is committed to providing quality heart safe services to the residents and visitors of the town,” said Garry Brumback, Southington Town Manager.   “This designation recognizes the Towns efforts to prepare staff and citizen’s to recognize when someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest and how to respond.” Brumback praised the efforts of the Southington Fire Department and the Plainville-Southington Health District in assisting the Town in receiving this designation.

The HEART Safe Communities program is designed to promote and accelerate survival chances from sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.  It works by strengthening the “chain of survival,” utilizing early 9-1-1 access, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation and advanced care.

HEART Safe Communities helps communities and organizations to:
  • educate citizens about sudden cardiac arrest and improving heart health
  • raise money to place Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in the hands of emergency medical service, fire and police personnel, and to make AEDs available in businesses, schools and other public gathering places
  • train people how to use AEDs and perform Cardiopulmonary resuscitation ( CPR)
Southington's 36 AED’s in public buildings and its more than 200 residents and staff trained in CPR, far exceed the requirements to become a HEART Safe Community.  For much more detailed information on the HEART Safe program, visit Heartsafe Communities

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Southington Knights of Columbus honor four Catholic Citizens of the Year

Four Southington residents will be honored by the Knights of Columbus Assembly 122 in recognition of their many years of service to their parish and community. A dinner will be held at the Back Nine Tavern in Plantsville at 7:00 pm on Saturday, May 9, 2015. The Catholic Citizens award will be presented to Carmel Avitable, St. Thomas Parish;  Walter Hushak, St. Aloysius; Michael Soltys, St. Dominic and Robin Taillie, Mary Our Queen. Reservations, at $25 p/p, may be made by contacting event coordinator, Phil Mazzati at 203-395-4381 or    

The recognition of Catholic Citizens who have given years of service to their faith community as well as to their extended community is an expression of the gratitude of the entire community for the dedication of these special people.  The Catholic Citizen event is but one of many ways the fourth degree Knights of Columbus express and carryout their special pledge to patriotism.  

Carmel Avitable
Carmel Avitable's family have been parishioners of St.Thomas parish residents of Southington since 1880. That’s 125 years! Carmel says, “My earliest recollection of volunteering in the parish was that of teaching religion as an early teen to a number of well known residents who became active in our town. I have been a trustee, school board chairperson, a member of the Ladies Guild, a Eucharistic Minister and a Lecturer for many years.” Carmel has been an active member of the Dominican Associates of Peace, affiliated with Albertus Magnus College, with twenty two active associates in our parish. She has served on the Ecumenical Council of the Dominican Community in Columbus, Ohio .During the past seven years, she has taught eighth grade Religious Ed at St.Aloysius parish. Since 1982, she has been the facilitator of the Archdiocesan "New Day" program for those who have lost a loved one in death. Two sessions are held yearly at Mary Our Queen Parish. Carmel takes pride in serving her parish and community and volunteering to help others whenever needed.

Walter Hushak
Walter Hushak is a lifelong resident of Southington. Graduate of Lewis High School 1941 enlisted in the US army air corps in December 1942.  Completed army air corps pilot training and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, received pilots wings at age 20. Assigned to a B-24 liberator bomber crew of 10 men, 7th air force 30th bomb group. Central pacific Saipan Mariana Islands. Flew bombing missions to Pagan Marcus Island and Iwo jima.  Awarded air medal for bombing mission. After active duty, served in air force reserve  27 years retiring with the rank of Lieutenant colonel. Joined Peck, Stow and Wilcox which was a Southington Tool and machinery manufacturer and held the position of personnel manager and eventually became vice president. Later he joined Janazzo Heating & Air Conditioning located in Milldale for 27 years retiring as vice president. Walt married Ruth Stephens at R.N. in 1951. They have 3 children, Mark, Maureen, Dana and 5 grandchildren.  Walt’s activities in Southington include the following: Director of Southington Savings Bank and Board Chairman; Director of Southington Chamber of Commerce, and served two terms on the council; Director of Southington YMCA; Member of Bradley Memorial Board; President of the Rotary Club of Southington;  member of the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72; Trustee of St. Aloysius Church;  Member of Southington ethics committee; Chairman of the Red Cross Home service;  organizer of the Red Cross Industrial Blood Donor Program; 24 year coordinator for Collings Foundation of Stow Massachusetts of World War II - restored aircraft such as the B-24 Liberator Bomber, B-17 Flying Fortress & P-51 Mustang that visited Waterbury/Oxford Airport. Hushak said: “I still do speaking engagements at area schools talking about my World War II duties. Awards I received are Distinguished Service Award, (D.S.A.), by the Southington Jaycees, Good Scout award by Connecticut Yankee Council, Boy Scouts of America, Gold Medal Community Service by Unico Club, the wisdom award by Central Connecticut Senior Health Services, the Paul Harris Fellow Award by Rotary Club, The St. Joseph Archdiocesan Medal of appreciation award presented by the Archbishop of Hartford and the 2014 YMCA Compass Award for service to young folks.

Michael Soltys
Mike and his wife Teresa, are both active members of St. Dominic Church. Mike has been a lector for years at Sunday and special masses and coordinates the St. Dominic Nourishes program feeding the local hungry. His years of service to the parish are highlighted by eight years as a Confirmation mentor, service on the Parish Council, including as Vice President. A current major local service commitment is to Bread for Life, where he serves as Board Chairman, now at an exciting point with plans proceeding to build a facility in Southington. Mike is an advisor for Youth Journalism International and a mentor for UConn’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His family recently launched an endowed scholarship at UConn which awards an annual scholarship to a student pursuing Sports Information. Local community service has included a central role in the opening and first decade of the Imagine Nation Children’s Museum in Bristol, Board member of the Southington Chamber of Commerce, coaching Southington youth sports, including 11 years basketball, and on a sports information Advisory Board at the University of Hartford, where he earned his Master’s Degree in 1994. Mike’s awards include Media Relations Professional of the Year in 2005 by PR News, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s 2008 Katha Quinn Award for service,  the 2011 Southington Chamber of  Commerce Gail DePaolo Community Spirit Award and, along with Teresa, the 2013 Compass Award from the Southington YMCA. As a senior at UConn in 1980 Mike was the first intern hired by ESPN. He earned his bachelor’s in communications in 1981, magna cum laude and has spent his entire professional career with ESPN where he has since 2003 served as Vice President, Communications. Mike has played major role in the remarkable communications and public relations achievements of  ESPN.  Teresa and Mike are most proud of their four children:  Katie, a science teacher at JFK school; Sean, a Product Specialist at NBC in NYC: Christie graduates from UConn this year and will pursue a master’s in social work; and Jason, a junior at Southington H.S. 

Robin Taillie
Robin Taillie has been a resident of Southington for the past 20 years, having moved here from Waterbury with her husband John, and their three young children. While raising their children, Robin’s career in accounting, development and admissions was offset with various volunteering for both civic and Catholic school organizations. Robin served on the board for Southington South Youth Athletic Association (SSYAA) as secretary, and managed the concession stand at Recreation Park Baseball field for 7 years. While her children attended St. Bridget School in Cheshire, she served on the Home and School Association Board as Secretary, Treasurer, and Special Projects Chairperson. When the opportunity arose, Robin began the Development/Advancement Department at the school and helped increase the enrollment of students to more than 400 children for the Pre-K to 8th grade elementary school. Robin received the H.O.P.E.S. (Help Our Parish Elementary Schools) award for her work at St. Bridget School from the Archdiocese of Hartford.  Robin served on the school board of Xavier High School in Middletown for three years, two years as the chairperson for the Advancement Committee, and later served on the Capital Campaign Cabinet for the $8 million building campaign.  Robin is a parishioner at Mary Our Queen Church. She completed the RCIA program in 1999, and has held several positions for various ministries of the church. Robin has taught CCD and Confirmation classes, has served as a lector and greeter, served on the Pastoral Council, chaired the 50th anniversary celebration committee, serves on the scholarship committee, is a member of the knitting ministry, with the help of the youth ministry, organized the Drive-thru Living Nativity for 8 years and currently serves as the President of Our Lady’s Guild. Robin has been a volunteer for Southington Community Services since 2007 and gives 8-10 hours weekly. As a representative of SCS, she has organized many of the holiday programs at Mary Our Queen which benefit our Southington residents. Robin strongly believes in giving back and utilizing God given talents to the best of her ability.

Help the Giving Back Girls Fill That Firetruck

Let your friends know about this by linking it to your Facebook, Twitter or other network and add a comment below.

Help the Giving Back Girls 
Fill That Fire Truck
with food for our local hungry
with food donations for 
Southington Community Services

Saturday April 25, 2015
Southington Walmart
Time: 9:00am-3:00pm
Items in great need

Tuna fish Macaroni and Cheese Canned vegetables Household paper goods Canned fruit  

Canned pasta (example Chef boy r dee) Juice boxes Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste)
Peanut butter Canned Soup Jelly Snacks Pasta sauce Cereal

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Magic and Mystery of Music

As published April 10, 2015 in The Southington Citizen 

Southington’s School District has received the prestigious distinction of recognition as a Best Community for Music Education, (BCME) by the NAMM, National Association of Music Merchants, affirming the community’s demonstrated excellence in music education. ”We have felt, for many years, that we have an excellent music education program. We take immense pride in this recognition.” said Jeff 
Shaw, Southington’s K-12 Music Specialist. “The designation validates the dedication of our talented staff who inspire the best in our students and the consistent support of our community.”

Music, memory and the mind

A breakthrough in mental health therapy?  
Beyond the artistic, cultural, entertainment and spiritual value of music, a study by brain scientists at Northwestern University raises attention to increasing evidence of music’s positive role in driving student potential in education, strongly suggesting that students in community programs demonstrate correlative success in reading. Other studies link learning to play music with enhanced social skills and academic achievement, notably in mathematics and the development of cooperation in group settings.  Scholars have long pondered the mysteries of music and its potential to evoke human emotion and awaken the mind.  

Music as therapy

For over a decade we have witnessed the tragic effects of 21st century warfare. Veterans care facilities and military hospitals have been assailed by the increasing numbers of returning veterans suffering from combat injuries, long-term disabilities and post-traumatic disorders resulting from mind shattering casualties. But, is there a ray of hope for untapped means of restoring a modicum of healing from the worst psychological cases?  Southington resident, proactive veterans advocate and community services volunteer, John DeMello, Sr. is amazed and excited by new possibilities for music as therapy for the mind and the memory. DeMello said: “The Veterans Hospital in Rocky Hill is reaching out for donations of headsets and iPods to provide personalized music therapy to stimulate the memory and minds of patients. DeMello invited me to join him on a visit to The Summit in Plantsville. There, Recreational Therapy Specialist, Barbara Blau, told us that they, too, are reaching out to citizens in the community to help by donating new or used iPods and headsets. “The iPods will enable caregivers of our new initiative to set the devices for patients to listen to music familiar to individual patients. Evidence suggests the potential of awakening individuals to times forgotten and may bring them a semblance of conscious living in the present.” Blau said. 

“ confirms that Music and Memory programs have shown promising progress in the quality of life of many patients.” Summit Marketing Coordinator, Colleen Donahue, said “Music for the memory has inter-generational applications. Whether for our many younger Veteran residents or a resident in our secure dementia unit, each can listen to music that is important to them. Music offers enjoyment; it can also spark memories, inspire conversation and soothe the soul.”

You Tube reports such as this are demonstrating breakthrough success in Music and Memory programs around the country and now it is coming to Southington. Your help with donations of iPods, headsets or monetary donations is vital. Contact The Summit of Plantsville or Southington Care Center to help. 

Music is on the mindsSouthington Care Center is also seeking donations of used iPods or MP3 players to engage residents in their music and memory program. SCC director of therapeutic recreation, Stacy Carleton said “Music has proved to be beneficial among various therapies for people with dementia.” DeMello said: “The American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 is seeking monetary donations along with iPods, download cards, headsets and charging units for care centers within our community and the Rocky Hill Veterans Alzheimer's center.”

CPTV reports: The benefits of music on the mind and body have been recognized since the days of the great philosophers. Twenty-four hundred years ago, Plato said: “Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything.”  Today, research continues to explore the mystery of music’s effects on emotions, intelligence, physical wellness and the developing use of therapeutic music in healing the mind and memory.   

Thursday, April 9, 2015

All-American Glass Show at SHS Sat. April 11th

Long since gone from daily use, glass of the Great Depression
remains a fascination for collectors and continues to provide a sense of history of the lean times of the era. On Saturday, April 11
th the Nutmeg Depression Glass Club of Connecticut hosts its All-American Glass Show and Sale at Southington H.S. from 9 am to 4 pm. Displayed collections of glass from the Depression Era, pressed glass of earlier times, pottery from the era and some glass jewelry will attract visitors from around the state and beyond. Vendors from our northeast states will proffer memorabilia and specialty items common in the average home almost a century ago. Free American glass and pottery identification to attendees. Visitors will include collectors looking for specific pieces for their collections or perhaps a gem of a new find, or those simply seeking to learn more about the art of glass making or the history of that period. A modest admission price of $7.00 makes one eligible for a drawing prize. Pay a dollar less with a copy of this article.

Nutmeg Depression Glass Club member, Bob Marotto, speaks knowledgeably of elegant quality of vintage glass, manufacturing techniques of the era and offers meticulous bits of club history. “In the 1920’s making glass was fairly labor intensive. Small groups made glass: a gatherer, a pressman and a third person tending the mold. Due to temperature sensitivity, timing was imperative. Cheaper depression glass came along, meeting the economic crisis of the 1930’s. Affordable to the masses, it became the most everyday glassware of homes throughout America. But after WWII and the returning of mass manufacturing to peacetime production, depression glass began to lose its appeal. People discarded the reminders of the pervasive poverty of the era, replacing them with material of better quality, new design and greater variety through new post war manufacturing methods. Later, in the 1960s, depression glass began to take on a new perceived value as collectors’ items. Mail order catalogs emerged appealing to new glass clubs. The Nutmeg Depression Glass Club of CT was established in 1975. Members were from Southington, Plainville and New Britain. Two other clubs formed: Charter Oak Club in Westbrook and Mt. Laurel Club in Newington.

Today, the Nutmeg group in Southington is the last remaining. Marotto recalled that meetings were initially held at Howard Johnson’s, later at the First Congregational Church and finally at the Masonic Lodge on the Town Green.  Glass shows were held at the Knights of Columbus home on Hobart Street for about 5 years, then for about 10 years at the Armory in Southington and since then at Southington H.S. Fran Zottoli and Nancy Schmidt became members after about ten years ago after attending a show at SHS. They found the show fascinating and appreciated the information it offered about glass. “We also come in contact with so many who have helped us learn to identify glass by maker, when it was made, patterns, the molds and the manufacturing methods.” Zottoli said.  Marotto said “We have our own show but there is also a national club. Glass collections have diminished for reasons including concerns about faux depression glass. But the keen interest of our statewide membership continues, notwithstanding their diminishing numbers, formerly about 100, now down to about forty.” 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Southington Education Foundation - Instilling the love of learning

Selections, excerpts and post scripts from Appleseed
as published weekly in the Southington Citizen 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 

Mark the date of April 30th on your calendar for the 5th Annual Community Spelling Bee at 7 pm on April 30th on April 30, 2015 at the Souhington High School Auditorium. 

I had only heard about the Southington Education Foundation, (SEF), a couple of years ago. I didn’t begin to know what SEF actually does until June 2014 when YMCA friends invited me to a ribbon-cutting at the Y’s Camp Sloper.  The celebration honored the conversion of an existing pavilion to a 750 sq. ft. enclosed building. SEF had provided $20,000 towards the project’s completion, naming it the Myers Family Nature Center. The site now provides indoor and outdoor nature study.  Spring and fall nature study is offered to all 4th graders; bus transportation to Camp Sloper arranged. Other nature learning experiences are contemplated by Sloper and SEF including winter activities and expansion of the Science at Sloper initiative. A tour of the new facility and the presentations widened my perspective of the work at Sloper as well as what SEF actually does.  A brief conversation with  Jan Galati, Chairman of the SEF Board of Directors, and its Treasurer, Alan DeBisschop, whom I had just begun to know as a new neighbor, began my adventure in discovery of the treasures of SEF.  
At the YMCA Super Heroes  Annual Meeting in January 2015 many awards were presented. Southington H.S. Principal, Dr. Martin Semmel, presented the YMCA’s Reaching Out Award to the Southington Education Foundation for its outstanding support of special projects for Southington Schools and the YMCA’s Camp Sloper.  I began to see SEF as a group of well-organized Southington citizens whose hearts and minds are sharply focused on the importance and the complexities of education.  
Finally, last month, I met with Jan Galati and Alan DeBisschop who offered me a closer point of observation of the panoramic work of SEF in our community.  Inspired by their success in their vision, I was impressed by the professionalism, experience and character of the nine members of the Board of Directors, their six standing committees, the dedicated participation of at-large board members and their collaboration with the Southington School System and the YMCA. The people behind SEF recognize the need for innovative and effective programs that open new horizons in student achievement and foster lifelong learning through heightened educational experiences and what it takes to breathe life into such a vision.  
Founded in 2009, SEF is an affiliate of the CT Consortium in Education Foundations which offers conferences, workshops, networking and forum opportunities to its affiliates. Since its inception, SEF has grown significantly. “The commitment to instill a love of learning in our children has gained momentum. SEF reaches out to the community to help secure and inspire excellence and overall achievement in our already outstanding school system”, said Galati. She and DeBisschop did not fail to mention the vital role played by former Southington School District Superintendent, Dr. Joe Erardi,  who opened the door to SEF as an affiliate of the CT Consortium of Education Foundations.
DeBisschop provided a detailed summary of the accomplishments of SEF in its six years. Fifty-five grants have been awarded totaling  $80,402.52 for projects within every school in the Southington public system, including the high school, two middle schools and eight elementary schools, plus TESOL, (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  SEF has provided additional funding of $84,140.45 for six other programs: 

Third grade Art Initiative - $9,804.00; YMCA Camp Sloper - $36,836.65; YMCA Nature Center - $20,000.00; Virtual STEM University - $9,500.00; LEAF program - $2,500.00 and Southington H.S. Robotics Team - $5,500.00. In  March, the Souhington Cyberknights Robotics Team won the Regional Competition that will send them to the World Championship. All told, SEF has invested a total of $165,143.17 in Southington educational support to date. 

Two scholarships are being offered to Southington H.S. students in 2015: (1) the SEF Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr. Scholarship and (2) the SEF STEM Scholarship for Southington students with an interest in majoring or minoring in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math.  Details at
SEF created the Virtual STEM University in collaboration with the Southington Public School District. VSU is a unique, web-based educational resource for teachers that offers easy access to innovative lesson design plans for the classroom. The lesson design plans foster greater aptitude and commitment to STEM education in Southington’s K-12 classrooms. VSU strengthens the move towards digital and global citizenship for the district’s students as technology that advances a more thorough understanding of complex concepts in our 21st century world. VSU has established Southington as a national model for STEM resources and education. Educators hav the ability to exchange ideas and collaborate within their schools and across the district.

Asked his personal insight, DeBisschop said, “I feel so proud of what SEF has done in six years. Its dedicated board, committee members and supporters are the pillars of this foundation.  With the support of the community we hope to expand and develop new programs that are sustainable.”  

Faith in our Community - The Ressurection

Local voices offer their reflections on Holy Season - Part 5
Dr. Angelo Coppola

The Resurrection: It’s Meaning for Me
By Deacon Angelo J. Coppola
St. Thomas Church, Southington, CT

Close your eyes and imagine a man being whipped, lashed, beaten and nailed to a cross where he suffers for hours. The wounds on his back scraping up against the splintered wood of the beam to which he is nailed. Hands and legs exhausted ...holding up his own weight ... they weaken ... can no longer support his body. He slowly suffocates and finely dies. All for something for which he bears no guilt.

Now open your eyes and imagine a much more joyful scene. Three days later. Everything has turned around. The executed man stands alive in an incomprehensible victory over death. The only person from the beginning of the world able to do this.

We are speaking of Jesus Christ, of course, who allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross and executed. Why?  So he could accept the blame for every sin and selfish act that you and I and all of mankind have ever committed. Our redemption.

How ugly and repulsive our offenses against God for Him to permit this to happen to His own sinless Son. Jesus' death and resurrection are the singular most important events for Christianity. They are the cornerstone on which our faith is built.

I know the resurrection took place. I know it's truth - the empty tomb to which witnesses testified; the abandoned burial cloths in the tomb. Witnesses gave their lives as martyrs testifying to the scene of the resurrection as foretold in the sacred scriptures centuries before.

The resurrection assures me of my beliefs, confirming my confidence in my own resurrection when I will be raised from the dead, given a new resurrected body.

It gives me hope... someday seeing my own departed family members and friends again. It confirms my life's meaning and purpose in this world and in the next. The resurrection fulfills God's promise in sending a savior into the world to save me. God's love is so great for us that he would offer His own Son to die in my place and yours and allow us to receive His saving grace, be forgiven and be saved. Belief in my forgiving Savior gives me confidence and faith when I am in trouble and comforts me in the promised afterlife now and will again in my final hours. I have been given a mission to be faithful and I have a reason to believe Jesus will come again as He promised.

My faith gives me the power to live a Christian life , a reason to serve God and my fellow man.

Because of the resurrection, I long for the day when I will see Jesus face to face and thank Him personally for what he has so unselfishly done out of love, done for me.

Please scroll down to view parts 1 through 4 in this series.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Faith In our Community - Part 4

Faith in Our Community
Part 4 in Series of Holy Season Reflections of Local Voices
Fr. Nick Melo

April 5, 2015


By Fr. Nicholas P. Melo
Pastor, St. Thomas Church
Southington, CT

There is a sense of hope and joy in the air for Christians everywhere because it is Easter!  The very word ‘Easter’ means ‘Springtime’.  After an exceedingly long winter, our spirits begin to soar at the first signs of flowers blooming in our gardens, of birds searching for places to build their nests, and the ever-lengthening days.  New life is found everywhere we look.

It is precisely this which Christians everywhere celebrate at Easter.  But there is a deeper level to our celebration than what meets the eye.  We believe in faith that Jesus, who was nailed to a Cross on Good Friday, rose from the tomb on Easter morning, having conquered death.  Through his Passion and Death, new Life has become possible for everyone, in every place, of every time!

What we celebrate today is so great that we cannot do it justice in just one day.  Easter extends for fifty days!  In those fifty days we celebrate an incredible sacred mystery which clearly shows the immense power that love has over everything else.   

This is a mystery which reveals to us a God who loves us in ways we can’t even begin to understand, who wants the very best for each of us, who knows what we are going through, and, is willing to do whatever it takes to keep us close to Him and to one another.  That’s the one-of-a-kind God we have - a loving God who is intimately connected to, and involved with, our lives and our world.  And so we rejoice!  

I used the words “one-of-a-kind” in describing God because sometimes - usually when things are going tough, or when we are suffering in some way - we may see God in a much different light. We may begin to wonder if the people are right who say, “God just made the world and everything in it, but then He left it alone,” sitting and watching and not doing anything about fixing what’s broken, or healing what’s wounded, or comforting those in tears.

Many people throughout history have believed that very thing.  And sometimes, when life burdens us or breaks our hearts, we may have a tendency to do the same.  We may at times pray and pray and pray some more, and begin to wonder, “Is anyone listening?” or “Does anyone care?” or “Is anyone up there?!”  

Well, Easter is a time to put those thoughts aside, to put them to rest,  and instead, to recognize and trust in and rejoice in a much different image of God - a God unlike any god humankind has ever “imagined”.   For God to enter into our world in such an intimate way, He must want to be closer to us than we are to ourselves.  For God to suffer as He did He must want to know, in a concrete way, what we feel like when we are hurting.  For God to allow Himself to die, He must want us to know that He is willing to go anywhere and do anything for us.  And for God to destroy death He must want us to know that love conquers all, and that no matter what happens in this life, we have nothing to fear.  Love wins.  Life wins.  God wins.

And so Easter is a time to truly celebrate.  And not just today, but every day, especially when we are stressed beyond belief over day-to-day responsibilities; when we face a serious illness, or lose our job and wonder if we’ll get another one, or get picked on or bullied at school, or find our relationships falling apart, or feel all alone and unloved, or worry about our kids and the friends they’re hanging with, or grieve the loss of a loved one.

Whatever it is we are going through, today reminds us that we are not alone, that someone cares, and that our problems and difficulties need never get the best of us.  

The victory has been won!  

Happy Easter! 

Scroll down to the previous 3 parts of this series

Faith in Our Community - Part 3 in Holy Season Series

Part 3 in series of faith reflections of local voices 

By Rev. Joshua Rinus
Pastor, First Lutheran Church
Southington, CT

We know the identity of Jesus Christ only in and through this day:  the occasion of Jesus' crucifixion at the hands of Roman officials from the urging of his fellow citizens in Jerusalem.  His ministry had shown character of compassion, forgiveness, inclusion, and justice-seeking.  When ardent religious men demanded the stoning of an adulterous woman, it was Jesus who suggested a plan for her torture:  that it begin with one who had done no wrong; not one saw himself fit to hurl that first rock.(John 8)   He dined with sinners, spent time with prostitutes, and touched the dirty and diseased to care and heal.  Yet, neither his followers nor his attackers comprehended the nature of Jesus without his public trial and execution.

Occupied and oppressed Jews longed for freedom from Roman overlords.  They yearned for release from captivity, but also a rebuilding of their religious and political state to its former glory.  Leadership was needed and revolt a plausible solution.  As a leading candidate, Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem was lauded on Palm-Sunday.  As an itinerant preacher who advocated for the least and was disinterested in military might, he was a disappointment.  Yet, as one to whom crowds were drawn and to whom they listened with intensity, Jesus and his many followers were a potential threat to the Roman occupiers.  The officials wanted no insurrections on their hands.

Jesus of Nazareth had already caught the attention of other religious leaders and Roman officials alike from his time in Galilee.  Jerusalem was the center of the Jewish world and where Roman power has held locally too.  He knew the conflict awaiting him there and his disciples tried to dissuade him, but he spoke cryptically about fulfilling a mission.

Accused of posing as the messiah, religious leaders were able to force his trial—and conviction.  Ironically, he was executed for pretending to be just who he was, the Messiah, the Son of God, on a mission to save the world.

The sign on the cross read, “The King of the Jews.”  He was mocked and taunted.

“33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah." 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was God's Son!" (Mark 15:33-39)

It took execution to comprehend who Jesus was.  We only recognize the nature of Jesus life in this day of his crucifixion, when his mission was ironically fulfilled in his forced death:  the ultimate gift of sacrificial love.  For you, for me. 

Scroll down for Parts 1 and 2 in this series of faith reflections of local voices 

Poetic Faith Reflections

Part 2 in a series of holy season faith reflections from local voices: 

Rev. Henry C. Frascadore
MALCHUS  John 18:10                         
By Rev. Henry C. Frascadore               
Holy Thursday, April 2, 2015

The bleeding stopped.
The pain let up.
But the memory of that night will never fade.
I won’t let it.

Each day I willingly recall
the Garden of Gethsemane
when I was ordered to seize the man
named Jesus.

I moved in on him
as I was told to do
and was about to grab his arm
when a sword slammed my head.

My severed ear
fell to the ground.
I screamed.
But it didn't stop the blood.

When I came to
they told me that
they took him
to the hill called Golgotha.

There before a shouting crowd
they nailed his bloody body to a cross
and above his head
a sign proclaiming- King of the Jews.

I am older now
and have heard of the things he said and did
while he walked here
with us.

My name is Malchus
a name you might not know
but I am the first to have shed my blood
for him who shed his blood for me.

Rev. Henry C. Frascadore, former pastor of St. Dominic Church of Southington is the author of three poetry collections published in his retirement years: Beyond the Weeping Willow Tree (2011); Conversations After Sunset (2013) and Harmony (2015).

Scroll down to see part 1 in this faith series