A Conversation with Today’s Apostles > Diocese of Norwich
The cathedral church of a diocese houses the seat of the bishop, his see, the catheter – where we get the name “Cathedral” from. In the truest sense of the word, this chair is the heart of the diocese and represents the bishop’s authority to sanctify, preach and govern as the true successor of the apostles.
The episode begins with the Bishop’s See and St. Patrick’s Cathedral – the spiritual heart of our diocese – and explores the history, people, architecture and art of our unique church. Throughout the show, scholars, historians and our Chancellor, the Reverend Peter Langevin, tell the story of Catholicism in the Diocese of Norwich.
In conversations and interviews, Bishop Cote also tells his story in his own words, beginning with his vocation and ordination, his insights into what it means to be an Ordinary in our diocese today, and his hopes for the future.
“The Lord is the center of our prayer, the rest of us, we are there to worship Him,” Bishop Cote said.
This episode begins with a history of the city of Norwich and the slow growth of the Connecticut Catholic Church, which arose under the early Puritan, anti-Catholic policies of New England. Of note is the fact that the state of Connecticut did not officially recognize freedom of religion until 1818, and that the Catholic faith did not begin to grow exponentially until the arrival of Irish Catholic immigrants in Connecticut in the mid-19th century.
The first Mass in Norwich was celebrated in an upstairs attic, attended by about 12 Catholics.
The show then explores the history of the Diocese of Norwich and the Cathedral of St Patrick. Father Langevin explains that all of Connecticut was part of the Archdiocese of Hartford until 1953. At this time the Holy Father divided Connecticut into three dioceses and so the Diocese of Norwich was formed and its first bishop appointed, Bernard Flanagan.
Equally fascinating is the history of the Cathedral of St. Patrick. The story begins on Good Friday 1873, when a group of Irish workers with pickaxes and shovels began digging the foundations for St Patrick’s Church. Funded by weekly 10-cent donations from immigrants, St. Patrick’s was finally completed in 1878, with the first mass being celebrated there on St. Patrick’s Day in 1879. Since then it has been renovated three times to become the magnificent building it is today.
The chair explores what it means to be an apostle in America today. Celebrating the best of today’s Catholicism, sprung from the physical beauty of our cathedral, the series tells the story of Bishop Cote through the lens of his cathedral and bishopric – the seat from which he leads as an apostle in our midst.
The series was created by Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington, who said, “We created The chair because we wanted to tell the story of the Catholic Church in America. There is so much to learn about our faith in our diverse nation and beautiful cathedrals. We are pleased to share the perspectives of so many of our bishops, and we hope believers across the country will join us in celebrating the past, present and future of the Church.”
Deacon Ben Locasto