Sharing Experiences + Building Community
VOLUME XXVII, NO. 4 DECEMBER, 2007
The St. Ann parish building and expansion committee has met with the architectural firm of
Clohessy, Harris and Kaiser to complete the preliminary phase of our campus expansion. Some
preliminary work had to be done before realistic architectural drawings could be rendered. This
work included new topographical maps of our present site, A-4 renderings, or detailed map of
where gas lines, power lines, water mains are located on our present site. Other issues included a
determination of the number of classrooms and their square footage, the number of parish offices
to meet the needs of various ministries, the expanded size of the Fr. Bennett Hall to address the
needs of parish social functions, kitchen expansion, bathroom considerations, etc. All these
issues were discussed at length to give a realistic picture to the architectural firm. It is my hope
that we will have preliminary drawings and cost estimates for both plans before Christmas.
Once again, I thank you for the support of me and my ministry at St. Ann and the efforts of the
members of the St. Ann building committee (Gus Penna, Jack Zeisz, Russell Koch, and Thomas
Fr. John McHugh
SHEILA WARD RETIRES
After 30 years of dedicated and faithful service to the parish community of St. Ann, our parish
secretary, Sheila Ward, has decided to retire. I would like to thank Sheila for her dedication to
not only this parish community and me but all the other priests that she has served throughout her
tenure here, especially Fr. Thomas McCarthy. May God grant you, Sheila, health and happiness
in the years to come.
Sincerely and gratefully,
The Rev. John W. McHugh, Ph.D., Pastor
The Rev. Joseph P. Cheah, OSM, Ph.D., Weekend Assistant
Janine Cote, Director, K-8 Religious Education & Coordinator, R.C.I.A.
Joan Gould, Youth Ministry & Confirmation Coordinator
Tom Stockton, Director of Music
Sheila Ward, Office Manager
The Nexus Staff
Jean Frey, Editor
Susan Rietano Davey
For parish information, please call 673-9858 or consult the web site: http://www.stannavon.com.
The Nexus staff welcomes articles from parishioners. To be considered for the March issue,
please submit your article/letter by February 15. Please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or
drop it off at the parish office to be deposited in The Nexus mailbox. All articles may be edited
for content, grammar, and space requirements. Please include your name and phone number for
the purpose of verification.
PARISH HAPPENINGS…Dates to Jot Down Now
Dec. 16 St. Ann‟s Christmas Pageant
Dec. 22 Breakfast With Santa
Jan. 4-6 Women‟s Retreat, Holy Family Retreat Center
Jan. 15 Marthas and Marys - Game Day and Luncheon
Jan. 18-20 Men‟s Retreat, Holy Family Retreat Center
Jan. 25-27 Women‟s Retreat, Holy Family Retreat Center
Feb. 26 Marthas and Marys - Beads and How to Use Them
March 18 Marthas and Marys - Stone Soup Dinner and Stations of the Cross
CHRISTMAS MASS AND PENANCE SCHEDULE
Christmas Eve: 4:00, 6:00, 10:00 p.m.
Christmas Day: 8:00, 11:00 a.m.
December 17: 7:00 p.m.
A Review Of The Parish Retreat Led By Fr. Vincent Youngberg
Dynamic, funny, challenging, candid…those are just a few of the words that come to mind when
describing Fr. Vincent Youngberg, the Passionist priest and friend of Fr. McHugh who led St.
Ann‟s parish retreat in early October. From the pews of our home church, Fr. Youngberg‟s
stories of his personal faith development - and his encouragement to recall our own - transported
us on an engaging, five-day journey.
The theme of the retreat was “From Fragmentation to Wholeness”; the notion that each of us has
areas of brokenness that can be made whole only by allowing Christ in our lives. Each session
included music, prayer, scripture readings, questions for private reflection, and a homily by Fr.
Youngberg pertinent to one of five themes:
Self Acceptance: Each of us has imperfections; we must not judge others. Instead, our focus
should be on Jesus‟ call to share compassion, love, and forgiveness.
Fulfillment: True fulfillment does not come from achievement or competence, but is found in
the process of becoming a genuinely loving person - one who lives his/her life for others.
Empowerment: There are three key components to putting our faith to work:
1. Consciousness of God‟s active presence in our lives.
2. The importance of knowing Jesus personally and adopting his two main values:
obedience to the Father and showing radical, unconditional love.
3. Appropriating the power of the Holy Spirit through the reception of the Eucharist and the
reading of Scripture.
Reconciliation: The purpose of this little-used sacrament should be healing - our sins were
already forgiven at Calgary. Don‟t prepare a laundry list for confession; instead ask, “Is there
anyone in my life whom I haven‟t forgiven? Is there anything in my life that I haven‟t forgiven
Where Do We Go From Here: There is growing tension and division in the institutional Church.
The only way to remedy this - and plan for the future - is through mutual love and respect and an
open dialogue between the laity and Church hierarchy.
To conclude this thought-provoking retreat, Fr. Vincent declared that in order for our lives to be
truly changed, we must make a personal commitment to Jesus our Lord and Savior. He then led
the congregation in a powerful prayer inviting Christ into our lives and asking for Him to heal,
change, and strengthen us.
Thank you, Fr. McHugh, Maureen Fiedler, and the retreat team for bringing Fr. Vincent
Youngberg to St. Ann. If you‟d like to order a recording of Fr. Youngberg‟s five-part series, you
may send a check for $23 to St. Gabriel‟s Spiritual Center for Youth, P.O. Box 3015, Shelter
Island Heights, NY 11965-3015 (please specify CD or DVD). A book version is also available
MEET THE CO-CHAIRMEN OF ST ANN‟S PARISH COUNCIL
This year the Parish Council is co-chaired by two very talented and dedicated individuals, Mark
Hamel and Alfred Piehl. Both individuals are sincerely committed to the task of being caring
and effective leaders of this community.
Mark Hamel grew up in Worcester , MA . He has been in Avon and a St Ann ‟s parishioner for
over 17 years. He and Mel, his wife of 18 years, have three children, ages 10, 13, and 15. Mark
is entering his 10th year as a St Ann ‟s catechist and previously was a member of the Religious
Advisory Committee for 3 years. He was a team leader in the first four AmeriCares events and
coached Avon Little League and Avon Soccer Club teams for a number of years. Mark is
presently a management consultant with Moffitt Associates after an 18-year career in private and
public industry that included senior executive positions in manufacturing operations, strategic
planning, and finance. He has a B. S. in Mathematics from Trinity College and a Master‟s in
Accounting from the University of Hartford. He also is a CPA in the State of CT and has several
other operations‟ and quality-related professional certifications. Mark is a 2004 graduate of the
four-year Archdiocesan Catholic Biblical School and expects an M.A. in Theology from Holy
Apostles College and Seminary in 2008.
Al Piehl grew up in Philadelphia. He has lived in Avon and has been a parishioner since 1993.
He volunteers for the Holy Family Retreat Center, where he has conducted motivational
workshops and assisted with the marketing of various campaigns. Al has been active in St.
Ann‟s Mens‟ Retreat for 5 years. Recently he‟s been actively engaged in the Men of St. Ann.
Al has been on the Parish Council since 2005, during which time he has served on the Social
Action Committee. He is a licensed soccer coach for the Avon Intramural Soccer program. In
addition he enjoys running, biking, and walking and tries to spend quality time with his wife,
Anne Marie, and their four children, Melissa, Nicole, McKenzie, and Aidan. Al has a B.A. in
Political Science from Widener University in Chester, PA, and an M.A. in Organizational
Development from the University of Hartford. Currently he is a Strategic Account Manager with
EMC Corporation in Rocky Hill. His position requires extensive traveling on behalf of his
Both individuals are wholeheartedly committed to implementing certain strategic initiatives
through the parish council, namely:
Foster Stewardship/Social Action
Facilitate Sacramental Life
Foster Parish Community
Improve Parish Council effectiveness.
St Ann‟s parishioners are truly fortunate to have these capable and enthusiastic individuals
willing to share their time and talents to help us become the most caring parish that we can be.
ST. ANN'S CARES - PROJECT 2008
We currently are reviewing project options for the St. Ann's Cares project for May 3, 2008. We
know there are many worthy projects in the Farmington Valley where the St. Ann's Cares Team
of 100 people could really make a difference in the lives of those who need help.
We need your help to identify projects that you think should be considered by the St. Ann's Cares
Advisory Committee. If you want to propose a project, please submit a brief write-up describing
what needs to be done. Also, it would be most helpful if you could estimate the number of
people needed to do the work and the cost of materials for the project.
Since we are currently evaluating alternatives, we need to have your input by January 4, 2008.
You may send your write-up to Mike Madden (email: email@example.com) or Jeffrey Clarke
(email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or address it to one of us at St. Ann's Church, 289 Arch Road,
Note: The following will give you an idea of the kind of projects undertaken in the last few
2007 CCARC. Renovated a former farm house for use by clients and staff of CCARC.
Also, made the building handicapped accessible. Exterior landscaping: Installed steps
and pavers, removed bushes, and reseeded lawn areas.
2006 Rocky Hill Veterans Home. Renovated four buildings at the Veteran's Home.
Exterior landscaping: Installed a playground and landscaped around all four buildings.
2005 Y-US Retreat House. Painted the exterior and interior of the former church. Built
and installed a basketball backboard and protective covers for the heaters. Exterior
landscaping: Built an outside picnic area. General cleanup of the exterior grounds.
2005 Immaculate Conception Shelter. Built and painted 70 footlocker storage units.
Installed offices for 20 case workers and 3 managers.
2004 Renovated a house in Avon. Replaced and repaired leaking roofs as well as painted
the interior and exterior of the house. Exterior landscaping: Built a French drain in front
yard wall. Regraded and reseeded the yard. General cleanup of the exterior grounds.
In 13 years, we have rehabilitated 5 homes in Avon and Canton, 8 shelters/soup kitchens in
Hartford, 1 youth retreat home in Bloomfield, 4 buildings in Rocky Hill, and 1 former farm
house in New Britain. We look forward to your involvement in this year‟s project!
The Annual Men‟s Retreat will be held at Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center in West
Hartford the weekend of January 18-20, 2008. For more information, call Alfred Piehl,
404-0099, or Rob Keefrider, 404-1845.
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR CONVALESCENT HOME RESIDENTS
Once again, St. Ann‟s would like to remember convalescent home folks with gifts for the
holiday. Suggestions are as follows:
Ladies/Gentlemen: Combs, nail clippers, picture frames, sweat pants and tops, eyeglass
holders, sweaters (button-front style preferred), writing paper, envelopes and stamps, large-
face watches and clocks, slippers, socks, bathrobes, PJs, hats, bird feeders that attach to
windows, large-face playing cards, wall decorations, wicker baskets for odds and ends, and
artificial flowers or plant arrangements.
Ladies: Costume jewelry, hair picks, perfume, powder, cosmetic bags, emery boards, nail
polish, nightgowns, knee-highs, bed jackets, and easy-to-open pocketbooks.
Men: Flannel shirts, after-shave lotion. Please place wrapped gifts in the box by Sunday,
December 16. Please mark each package for a lady or man and indicate size. For more
information, please call Ida Maillet, 673-4861.
“Only for Today” is the 2008 retreat theme at Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center. While on
retreat, explore the many ways God speaks to each of us in our everyday lives.
R. Respond with a reservation
S. Sign up for your preferred weekend dates
V. Visualize the hope and consolation of a retreat
P. Plan on being blessed with peace and tranquility
Reservation forms are posted outside the Church office. Inquiries may be referred to Jacquie
Warren, 673-6761; Pat McMahon, 673-3747; or Eileen DeMauro, 675-4330.
MARTHAS AND MARYS
THE MARTHAS AND MARYS is St. Ann‟s new women‟s group with a mission to enrich the
lives of all the women of our parish through social, spiritual, and church community activities.
Our events take place monthly, from September through June, and begin with a brief business
meeting. Subcommittees meet separately to plan upcoming events. The “M+Ms” already
numbers more than 100 members, but we pray that all you ladies will join us and become as
involved as you like!
Among the upcoming programs are the following: Dec. 22 - Breakfast With Santa; Jan. 15 -
Game Day and Luncheon; Feb. 26 - Beads and How to Use Them.
To register your membership, please contact Kathleen LeGeyt, 693-8593, or email@example.com
(don‟t forget to give us your email address). Dues are $10 and may be mailed to Trish Murphy,
135 Tamara Circle, Avon. For general information, please contact Anne Yurch, 675-1366.
SCHOLARSHIP TAG SALE
The 28th Annual Scholarship Tag Sale, held on October 13, raised over $15,700 for the
Scholarship Fund. The weather during the week could have been better, but Saturday turned out
to be a beautiful autumn day. Shoppers found the bargains they were seeking and more. A new
addition this year, and a big hit, was the “Holy Hot Dogs” stand.
Thanks to all the volunteers who moved tables, unpacked items, washed glassware and china,
polished silver, measured linens, priced treasures, cashiered, kept the “box” room neat, and kept
smiling. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. Thanks, also, to the people who provided some
delicious lunches for the tag sale crew during the week. And, of course, thanks to all of the
people who donated the many treasures that were sold. Next year‟s tag sale will be held on the
last Saturday in September.
This year St. Ann Parish Scholarship Fund is sponsoring 6 new freshmen, 3 at East Catholic
High School and 3 at Northwest Catholic High School.
Patricia Moree now attends East Catholic High School and is a member of St. Luke Parish. She
is active in cheerleading and dance. Her brother, Tyler, is a junior at ECHS. The whole family
has come to help with the Tag Sale each year since we started supporting him. Patricia wanted to
go to East Catholic in order "...to further my education in a Catholic setting."
Another freshman at ECHS is Agatha Wojciechowska. She attends SS Cyril and Methodius
Church where she has participated in the school play and fundraisers and is also in the church
choir. She says, "I would like to continue a Catholic education; so to be at East Catholic High
School fulfills my dream."
Agatha and Patricia are among the 17 students that the Scholarship Fund is helping with partial
tuition support. Our major fund raiser is the annual parish-wide tag sale, but we are also happy
to get personal donations and matching grants during the year. We, and the students, appreciate
all the help and interest that St. Ann Parish has shown over the years. For more information,
please contact Audrey Bilotti (675-5483) or Meg Kundahl (521-1051).
WHAT IS AN A.E.D.?
Perhaps you have noticed a small sign with a heart logo and the letters “AED” mounted on the
wall in the church vestibule. What does it mean, and why is it important to know about it?
The initials stand for “Automatic External Defibrillator”. This is a device designed to be used in
a cardiac emergency. It reads the heart rhythm and delivers an electric shock, if necessary, to
restart the heart. (cont. on Pg. 8)
What is an A.E.D.? (cont. from Pg. 7)
Eight parishioners recently have been certified to use the defibrillator, which may be used only
by persons who have been trained to use it. However, it is important that people know where it is
in case it is needed. The defibrillator is in a small black case and is stored in the Reconciliation
Room. The battery is checked monthly. Our A.E.D. was obtained through a grant; we are
fortunate to own this life-saving piece of equipment, although we hope we will never have to use
FR. DONAHUE WRITES FROM BOLIVIA
Father Michael Donahue was a member of St. Ann‟s Church in his youth and has been a
missionary in Latin America for the past 25 years. His faith and desire to help handicapped
persons led him to become involved with handicapped and special needs‟ children in Bolivia. He
serves as a diocesan priest in Tarija, Bolivia, has served as President of Friends of Handicapped
Children of Tarija for many years, and is active in promoting legal rights for handicapped
persons. The parishioners of St. Ann have long supported his important work with an annual
collection. The following was received recently from Padre Miguel:
Pride is one of the capital sins mentioned in Catholic teachings meant to educate and instruct the
followers about morality. The dictionary identifies it as conceit, inordinate self-esteem, and a
desire to be more important or attractive than the rest. This arrogance is the principal source of
all the other capital sins. Pride is considered to be the original and most serious of the seven
capital sins which include envy, lust, sloth, anger, greed, and gluttony.
I felt a great pride seated in the classroom of the Bolivian Catholic University (BCU), not
because of what I did, but because of what Lourdes had done during the defense of her thesis in
Social Communication.* Many memories passed through my mind of this young woman. I first
heard of her in 1987, before knowing her. I was told that there was a young girl in Canasmoro
whose dad, a carpenter at the Teacher‟s College, carried his daughter in his arms daily to her
third grade classes.
I heard the murmurings of the Canasmoro neighbors: “Don‟t let him send her to Santa Cruz;
they‟ll surely experiment with her loading her up with drugs.” “Don‟t let her go; you‟ll never see
her again.” “For sure the doctors will extract her organs and sell them to others.” As she stayed
over a year in the “Tierra de Hombres” Rehabilitation Center, the gossipers continued with their
rumors. The people felt badly for her mom but thought her ignorant; meanwhile her mom
continued to believe in the possibility that one day she would walk on her own. Only when
Lourdes returned from Santa Cruz, walking with the assistance of braces and a crutch, did the
I didn‟t have much contact with her until she requested permission to stay in the San Lorenzo
parish hostel on Saturday nights. She had signed up for Confirmation classes in town and there
was no bus service to get her back to her community after classes. This led to an invitation to
help in the hostel and to continue her studies at the “Julio Sucre” high school across the town
plaza. (cont. on Pg. 9)
Fr. Donahue (cont. from Pg. 8)
She wanted to continue her studies after high school. She was able to get a work-study grant
thanks to the BCU rector in Social Communications living in ANET‟s “José Luis Aguilar” group
home in Tarija. The transition from high school to college, from a rural to a city girl and the
daily martyrdom of taking two buses to the temporary university campus alongside the San
Jacinto reservoir, tested her desire that first year. Occasionally there were hard spills, a broken
brace, and bruised articulations to the point where she would require a rest to recuperate.
With these thoughts I was seated behind the university rector and Lourdes‟ sisters and parents
admiring her presentation concerning the benefits of the use of group techniques and methods at
the Teacher‟s College. With controlled nerves, she presented and defended her work with the
data show program of the computer. There was no doubt in my mind as to the successful results
of the presentation.
Can I be accused of pride? Of course I can, but proud of a person who overcame the challenges
to reach her goal. ANET brought together government food subsidies and donations from the
U.S. parish of St. Ann in Avon, CT, to provide the housing and lodging to allow Lourdes to
finish the university. Meanwhile she woke each morning putting on her braces and grabbing her
crutch, without which she wouldn‟t be able to walk, and went to classes. Lourdes, for this, all of
us who assisted you in this dream congratulate you today!
*Required in the Bolivian university systems.
Note: Lourdes, who has polio, lived in ANET‟s group home for four years. The home is
supported by yearly donations from the St. Ann parishioners. She presently is employed by the
San Lorenzo Municipality as director of their office for handicapped persons.
St. Ann‟s Teens Attend Rally
On Sunday, October 14, over 3,000 area high school students descended upon Quassy
Amusement Park, in Middlebury, CT, for the second annual Hartford Archdiocese “Catholic
Youth Spectacular.” Beautiful weather; fun-filled activities; and spirited participants, combined
to make the day-long rally a success.
“Catholic Youth Spectacular” was conceived as a way for youths to experience the „big church‟
and to share fellowship with peers from parishes county-wide. This year‟s theme was “Living
Water: Discover Jesus, the Way.” Teens were led through a variety of ice-breaker activities and
interparish team building challenges that required them to work together to complete tasks and
earn team points. Favorite activities included the fast-paced and physical Human Bowling and
Human Bumper Cars.
Keynote speaker, Mike Patin, a gifted storyteller and humorist, spoke to the teens about inviting
God into their daily lives. He encouraged them to put themselves “out into deeper waters;” to
leave their comfort zones and take a chance on following Jesus. That same message was echoed
(cont. on Pg. 10)
Teens Attend Rally (cont. from Pg. 9)
in the music of The Rock Band, of Meriden, who entertained the crowd with lively contemporary
Christian music. Mass was celebrated at 5 p.m. by Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell, who, in
his homily, thanked the teens for their enthusiastic participation in the rally and for boldly living
out their faith.
Reports from the St. Ann‟s contingency were favorable, with one student commenting that „it
was just fun to be outside hanging and relaxing with friends.‟ The rally, it seems, offered our
scheduled, stressed teens a welcome chance to „chill.‟ One thing it didn‟t offer, however, was
enough food. Hungry teens had to wait up to one hour for hot dogs and fixings; but thanks to our
Confirmation catechists, led by Joanne Porterlance, the St. Ann‟s kids had a shorter wait. Mrs.
Porterlance took up a tray, piled it high with hot dogs and delivered them to our kids in style.
Well fed in body and in spirit, the St. Ann‟s teens returned to Avon, inspired to follow „Jesus, the
To the editor,
I would like to express my thanks to Fr. McHugh for bringing his friend, Fr. Youngberg, to St.
Ann's last month. I had read the flyer and heard the announcements and, while Fr. Youngberg's
retreat sounded interesting, I was not planning to attend. Like many St. Ann's parishioners, I am
simply too busy.
But then I heard Fr. Youngberg speak at Mass on Sunday, September 30. His passion, his
presence and, quite frankly, his good salesmanship, convinced me that perhaps I wasn't too busy;
perhaps I would try the first session.
Try it I did and, like many other parishioners, I was hooked. I am so glad I took a chance on Fr.
Youngberg's weeklong retreat. It was a powerful, faith-affirming series of talks that inspired us
all to remember, and focus on, the essence of our beautiful Catholic faith. Next time we adult
parishioners are offered this kind of opportunity to explore and grow in our faith, just remember,
fellow parishioners: "You're really not too busy!"
Congratulations and a great big thank you to Becky Blankenbicker and her dedicated tag sale
workers for another successful Scholarship Tag Sale. This year over $15,700 was raised from
treasures that were “recycled” to new homes. The tag sale is sponsored by the Social Justice
Committee, and the money is used to help deserving Hartford students (numbering 17 this year)
attend Catholic schools. Great job, Becky!
Tatum Francis Apollo Sigfried Christopher Lisischeff
Nathan Harrison Armington Sofia Anne Magro
Nicholas Charles Armington John Christian McDermott
Gavin Stephen George Aaiden Delgon Travis McFarlane
Llrelei Claire Lisischeff Lyvia Victoria Soucie
(September 13 - October 6)
Kirsten Bingham - Michael Figliola
Nicole Pertusiello - Christopher Morey
Jennifer Mabb - John Digiacomo
Tina Colangelo - Mark Roy
Eric Nuzzi - Pamela Clarke
Nicole Nejako - Pete Miller
(January 5 - November 5)
Kathleen Dunning Agnes Ksiazek
Joseph Delahanty Amelia Sullivan
Dominica Markie Rose Brumbaum
Margaret McGuire Mary Howard
Emilien Fournier Gerard Labbe
Modesto Brunoli Catherine Donovan
Francesca Nascimbeni Angelo Naples
Milton Scarborough Charles Forgie
Robert LaRock Robert Collier
George Mesloh Ruth Maher
Roxie Leone Samuel Blackburn
Walter Dymersky Margaret Elcock
Florence Riberty Phyllis Folia
Alfred Rotondo Marguerite Arnold
Church of St. Ann Nonprofit Organization
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