Archdiocese of Hartford
Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis
December 4, 2018
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"The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry (retold)

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it in pennies. Della saved pennies one and two at a time by negotiating at the market for vegetables and meat. Three times she counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents was all she had to buy her husband Jim a Christmas gift. She had been saving her pennies for months. Standing by the window she stared out unhappily. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day. How anxiously she had dreamt of buying something special for him.

There was a tall glass mirror between the windows of the room. Suddenly Della turned from the window and stood before the glass mirror and looked at herself. Quickly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. The couple had two things they cherished; one was Jim's gold time piece, the watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's and the other was Della's hair.

She put on her coat and her old brown hat. With a quick motion she skirted out the door and down the street to Madame Sofronie’s hair shop.

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della desperately.

"Take your hat off and let us have a look at it." Responded Madame. "Twenty dollars", offered Madame, lifting the hair with an experienced hand. Agreeing, her hair was clipped off and heaped on the floor.

"Give the money to me quickly," gasped Della, as she ran off to find the perfect gift for Jim.

Della searched everywhere for a gift for Jim. She found it at last. It was a chain -- simple round rings of silver. It was perfect for Jim's watch. She gave the shopkeeper twenty dollars and hurried home.

Jim was never late coming home from work. Della held the silver chain in her hand and sat expectantly near the door. The door opened and Jim stepped in. He simply looked at her with a strange expression on his face. Della went to him. "Jim, my love," she cried, "do not look at me that way. I had my hair cut and sold to buy you a Christmas gift. My hair will grow out again.”

"You have cut off your hair!" exclaimed Jim, slowly, as if he had not accepted the information. Then he took a package from his coat and tossed it on the table. “Open that package so you may see why I was so startled.” Della’s white fingers quickly tore at the string and paper. There were the combs, the special set of clips to hold her hair that she had wanted ever since she saw them in a shop window.

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful gift. She happily held it out to him in her open hands. The silver chain seemed so bright. "Isn't it wonderful, Jim? I looked all over town to find it.” Jim fell on the couch and smiled. I sold my gold watch to get the money to buy the set of combs for your hair.

The magi were wise men -- wonderfully wise men -- who brought gifts to the Baby Jesus in adoration. One might say they invented the art of giving Christmas gifts. Their gifts were wise ones; and so let us remember in this season that gifts bestowed in love are the most precious.

Maria Maynard

The tradition of gift giving is joyfully celebrated by Hispanic families and continues from Christmas Day to Three King’s Day on January 6 - lots of fun, lots of family time, and lots of love. (This blog can be viewed in Spanish and English.)



Click here for Advent Resources for Schools and Parishes

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception - December 8, 2018

In 2018, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception falls on a Saturday. This is a holy day of obligation, and since it is the patronal feast of the United States, is still celebrated as a holy day even though it falls on a Saturday. Catholics have two obligations to fulfill on the second weekend of December this year: the holy day and Sunday. Using the chart below, one blue obligation and one violet obligation must each be fulfilled separately. Both obligations can be fulfilled on Saturday, just not both at the same Mass, and only in the times indicated. For the Saturday evening Mass, either obligation can be fulfilled, regardless of the liturgical celebration.


La Solemnidad de la Inmaculada Concepción - 8 de diciembre del 2018

En este año 2018, la Solemnidad de la Inmaculada Concepción cae en sábado. Este es un día de precepto y hay que asistir a misa, y como es la fiesta patronal de los Estados Unidos se celebra como día de precepto aunque caiga en sábado.

Por lo tanto, los católicos tienen la obligación de asistir a dos misas el segundo fin de semana de diciembre de este año: por el día de precepto y por el domingo. El cuadro a continuación muestra en azul la Solemnidad de la Inmaculada Concepción y en violeta la misa dominical y ambas deben cumplirse por separado. Ambas pueden cumplirse el sábado, pero no en la misma misa. La asistencia a la misa vespertina del sábado, cumplirá con una de las obligaciones, o celebraciones litúrgicas, pero no las dos.


Join over 100 million students for an Hour of Code!

HourOfCode_logo_RGB.pngWe live in a world surrounded by technology. And we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly depend on understanding how technology works.

Computers are everywhere, changing every industry on the planet. More than 100 million students have tried an Hour of Code.

This year, let's make it even bigger. I’m asking you to join the Hour of Code 2018. Please get involved with an Hour of Code event during Computer Science Education Week, December 3 - 9.

Get the word out. Host an event. Try the Hour of Code at your school—everyone can benefit from learning the basics.

Get started here.

“The 'Hour of Code™' is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week [] and [] to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.”

PJ Day for the Kids! December 14, 2018

girl-963133_1920.pngPlease consider registering your school to stand together with those bringing hope to children at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford who are battling cancer and blood disorders. We encourage you to join with over 300 schools and 50 businesses in Connecticut who support PJ Day for the Kids.

Nick Wesoloskie was just a 2nd grader when he decided to do something for children like his baby sister, Charlotte, who was battling cancer and is now cancer free. Nick wanted to honor those who had survived their battle, those who had lost it, and those who were still fighting for their lives - in their PJs - for days, weeks or longer. So he established PJ Day which has now raised over $200,000 and is a day of awareness officially recognized by the State of Connecticut.

We urge you to register your school as a team, then by wearing PJs or dressing down, and a donation of $1.00 from every student, you will partner with schools and businesses throughout Connecticut who stand in solidarity with children who have no choice but to wear PJs all day in the hospital. As we enter this Advent Season of hope, let’s stand together and help raise funds, spirits and hope so children no longer have to wear their PJs all day long. This is a link to a video the children made about PJ Day. It provides a good summary of the event, the need and history. Register your school as a part of this wonderful initiative at the following link:


  • January 16: Evening of Reflection for Catechists & Catholic School Educators, Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center, West Hartford, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Click here to register.
  • January 17: New Elementary Administrators Meeting, OEEC, Pastoral Center Bloomfield, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • January 21: The Command to Love in Deuteronomy 6:5: Jewish Scholars and Modern Exegetes ‘Weigh In,’ with Dr. Deena Grant of Hartford Seminary. Pastoral Center, Bloomfield, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Third in the Connected to the Vine Adult Faith Series; open to the public. Online registration will open January 1, 2019 at Snow Date: February 18, 2019.

Save the Date!

  • February 5: PACE Meeting (E), OEEC, Bloomfield, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., by invitation only
  • February 9: RCIA Training Day: Lent and Mystagogy, Pastoral Center, Bloomfield, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., $10 to attend, register here.
  • February 9: Combined Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion registration due
  • February 11: Finding Spiritual Balance in Off-Kilter Times, Saint George Church On-The-Green, 33 Whitfield Street, Guilford; open to Lay Ministry/ELM Alumni and CBS alumni; Click here to register.
  • February 19: Registration due for Combined Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, registration coming soon.
  • February 27: New Elementary Administrators Meeting, OEEC, Pastoral Center, Bloomfield, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • February 27: Creative Conversation, “The Art of Marketing” with Fran Corona, Pastoral Center, Bloomfield, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • March 7: Elementary and Secondary Administrators Meeting, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Hamden, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • March 10: Combined Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Hartford, 3:00 p.m.
  • March 9: Celebration of Sacred Scripture: And God Said What? Engaging Difficult Texts in the Bible, with Dr. Margaret Nutting Ralph of Kentucky Theological Seminary. Tentative location: Pastoral Center, Bloomfield, 12:30 - 4:30 p.m. Fifth in the Connected to the Vine Adult Faith Series. Open to the public.
  • March 12: Scratch Coding Workshop, Saint Gabriel School, Windsor, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Questions? Contact Laura McCaffrey.
  • March 30: Missio: Ignite Hearts 2019, Faith Formation Congress, Saint Paul Catholic High, Bristol
  • April 3: Marketing Workshop: “Be Awesome Online – 10 Web - Based Strategies to Market Your Mission” with Chuck Putney, Pastoral Center, Bloomfield, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • April 16: Chrism Mass, Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Hartford

The 2018 - 2019 Academic School Calendar (revised 11-30-2018) is posted on the portal of the OEEC website, under general forms, or can be found here.

Catholic Biblical School

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Students and former students of the Catholic Biblical School: If you ever attended the Biblical School, for any length of time, we want to learn how you are involved in your current faith community Here is a link to the online survey: Your input will take about 5 minutes. Thank you!

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