Home/News & Events/In the News/Milestones

In the News

Catholic Charities News

Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich: Key Dates and Milestones of the 1990s

Posted on November 10, 2021 in: Milestones

Catholic Charities Diocese of Norwich: Key Dates and Milestones of the 1990s

Our History Continues . . .



Bishop Reilly began the first Diocesan Synod. Parish delegates, clergy and advisors participated in sessions and submitted their proposals to Bishop Reilly in 1992. He formally promulgated them May 30, 1993. Among these was implementing the sacredness of human life, with Catholic Charities as one of the lead ministries.


Father McNulty retired and Mr. John J. “Jack” Smey, MA, MSW, was named executive director. 

October 27, 1994

Bishop Reilly was named Bishop of Worcester.


Bishop Daniel A. Hart, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, was named Bishop of Norwich on Sept. 12. He was installed as Norwich’s fourth Bishop on Nov. 1.


The Catholic Charities 75th Anniversary celebration was March 24, with a silent auction and dinner at Port ‘N Starboard at Ocean Beach Park in New London. Bishop Hart celebrated Mass on May 19 at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in New London. After the Mass, a reception took place at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum for about 200 invited guests to honor the honorary chairpersons. Proceeds were donated to Catholic Charities.

General Chair: M. Libbe Miceli. New London Board President: Michael J. Pescatello. Honorees: Rosemary and Edward James, Elizabeth James, Helen McGuire, Sister Carla Hopkins, Father Robert W. Cronin, Ann McHugh Sullivan, Lt. Col. Waldron Higgins, USAF Retired), John Smey, Kay McGuire, Father Robert E. McNulty, Mrs. Grover V. Lassen, Jr.

In 1995, Catholic Charities served 23, 922 individuals and 1,317 households, with total expenses of $273,475. In 1921, the Diocesan Bureau served 35 children, 5 families and had a total expenditure of $1,470.

State and federal requirements and licenses led to restructuring of the Behavioral Health Services program. Aging buildings that once provided office space over the years were no longer adequate. Increased funding was necessary.


The Middletown office moved to 553 Portland-Cobalt Road, Portland.

The Norwich office moved from 4 Bath St. to its current location at 331 Main St.

Catholic Charities Behavioral Health Services received its license after a rigorous assessment.

Bishop Hart initiated the Response of Faith Campaign to provide for the increasing financial needs of the diocese. Catholic Charities, Catholic Family Services received $2 million in gifts and pledges.

Jean F. Hannifan, who managed the main office on Bath St. and served as secretary to Diocesan Director Father Robert E. McNulty, retired after 33 years of service. At a retirement party at the Olympic Pizza Restaurant, Norwich, Bishop Hart thanked her, saying, “You have exemplified Catholic Charities - not just as an agency or office - but the sharing of kindness and love of Christ our Lord today.”

Hilda Mathieu retired after years of service to the Willimantic Office of Catholic Charities. She was honored at a Vespers of Thanksgiving Service and reception at Sagrado Corazon de Jesus. Bishop Hart, Father Paul Murdock and Rev. Richard Duval of Willimantic’s Congregational Church took part in the vesper service. Father Washabaugh thanked her, saying, “She saw people as equal. She always saw joy in her work and the situations that came up. She cared for the little people.”

Sister Joanne Companini, IHM, MSW, was appointed supervisor of the Catholic Charities/Family Life Office.


By Jacqueline Keller

Retired Diocesan Director of Communications and Board Member of Norwich Diocesan Catholic Charities.

We want this to be as complete and accurate a record as possible so please send additions, corrections, and any photos you would like to share to Communications@NorwichDiocese.net by March 30, 2022.

Catholic Charities
Diocese of Norwich

331 Main Street
Norwich, CT 06360