Christ’s instruction to St. Peter to ‘Feed My Sheep’ reverberates through the heart and soul of every Christian.
It reminds us that we are to perform Works of Mercy: Spiritual and Corporal, at every opportunity as an expression of love for Jesus, the Christ.
To do so we must fortify our resources so that we, as Church, can provide the various acts of mercy that include:
Corporal Works of Mercy
To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty
To clothe the naked
To shelter the homeless
To visit the sick
To visit the imprisoned
To bury the dead
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
During this interregnum, as we await the appointment of the tenth Bishop of Burlington, I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support of the charitable ministries of your parish and the Diocese of Burlington. Your generosity is a true example of faith and charity.
In St. John’s Gospel, Our Lord commissioned St. Peter, and by extension the entire Christian community, to “feed my sheep” (cf. John 21:15-17). In my twenty-five years as a priest of the Diocese of Burlington, I have been privileged to witness the Catholic faithful of Vermont accept this call, which embraces all of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, through their generous support for the annual Bishop’s fund.
We nurture our children in the Catholic faith through Catholic education both within the 13 Catholic schools which serve 2,000 students and through our Catechetical programs in which over 8,000 students receive instruction each year. We provide four assisted living facilities, as well as counseling services, prison ministry and marriage preparation programs under the auspices of Vermont Catholic Charities. In addition, adult catechetical training and education are provided through the Office of Safe Environments which assure the safety and protection of our children; diocesan news is shared through the publication of the Vermont Catholic; and programs and conferences, such as the annual Totus Tuus Summer Catechetical Program and Gifts for the Kingdom, help enrich the lives of parishioners throughout the Diocese. In order for us to continue to “feed the Lord’s sheep,” these vitally important apostolates must continue to be provided to the faithful in our Diocese.
As you are aware, each year, since the very first appeal in 1958, the faithful from every parish in our Diocese have come together in a spirit of generosity to make possible the apostolates and programs of the Church which positively impact many of our brothers and sisters in the family of God. Thank you for your prayerful consideration in making a gift to the 2014 Bishop’s Fund to support the ministries and apostolates throughout our Diocese so that the Lord’s sheep will be fed in body, mind and spirit.
Asking that you continue to pray that our new shepherd be appointed soon and assuring you of my prayers for your intentions, I remain, invoking the intercession of Our Mother Mary, Patroness of our Diocese under the title of the Immaculate Conception,
Devotedly yours in Christ,
Rev. Msgr. John J. McDermott
Apostolic Administrator of Burlington
What is the Bishop’s Fund?
The Bishop’s Fund Appeal is an annual financial campaign, during which Catholics are asked to responsibly consider their financial support of the ministries and apostolates available to each parish, Diocesan Catholic Schools, and the four Senior Assisted Living Residences operated under the supervision of Vermont Catholic Charities, Inc. The Bishop’s Fund supports the diocesan ministries which reach out to every person within the Church in Vermont and the Diocese is here to support the parishes and schools throughout our state.
Who is supported by the Bishop’s Fund?
The Diocese of Burlington encompasses the state of Vermont. Within our diocese, almost 120,000 Catholics attend one of 73 parishes and 44 mission churches. Over 10,000 students receive Catholic instruction each year through our parish catechetical programs and 13 Catholic schools. Through the supervision of Vermont Catholic Charities, Inc., hundreds of people are provided a variety of services, including:
What is the theme of the 2014 Bishop’s Fund?
The theme of the 2014 Bishop’s Fund Appeal is “Feed My Sheep”. In the Gospel of John 21:16-18, Jesus asks his Disciple, Peter, three times, “Do you love me?” Peter answers each time, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus then instructs him, “Feed my sheep”. This request made by Our Lord is His instruction to every one of His followers to feed all those in need in mind, body and soul. We are all called to feed Christ’s Sheep; to proclaim the Gospel and be witnesses to the love of God in the world.
How does my parish benefit from the Bishop’s Fund?
Each parish benefits from the Bishop’s Fund through the conferences, events and presentations offered and sponsored by the Diocese. These offerings are supported solely by your contributions/pledges to the Annual Bishop’s Fund Appeal.
In addition, The Office of Safe Environment Programs offers ongoing child safety programs, for both children and adults ensuring that all who administer directly with children are VIRTUS trained, with staff available to assist all parishes in this regard.
All parishes also receive administrative support from the diocese in the areas of chancery, marriage tribunal, finance, development, faith formation, and other areas of parish life.
Why are we having a Bishop’s Fund Appeal when we currently do not have a Bishop?
On of January 3, 2014, The Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano was installed as the 9th Bishop of Rochester, N.Y., on that day Msgr. John J. McDermott was named the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Burlington. During this time of interregnum, the Diocese must continue to serve those in need and proclaim the Gospel. It is vitally important that the ministries supported by the Bishop’s Fund Appeal continue to be provided throughout this period, as we await the appointment of the 10th Bishop of Burlington.
What is the current year target for the Bishop’s Fund?
Understanding that family finances are under heavy pressure in the current economic climate on the national and local levels, the Bishop’s Fund goal for 2014 remains at $2.95 million.
How much should I contribute?
Many households within the Diocese of Burlington contribute between 1 and 2 percent of their annual household income; however, some are able to contribute more while others less. Every gift is appreciated, and each family is asked to make a planned, responsible and sacrificial decision as to what amount they can contribute. A good method is for families to offer a pledge donation. Determine the total amount you wish to offer as support to the diocese. Take the total amount of your offering and divide by the number of payments that you will make. Pledge reminders will then be sent to you according to your wishes.
Use the slide bar below to determine whether you wish to pay monthly, quarterly or bi-annually. Click DETERMINING YOUR GIFT on the left
What different methods can I use to pledge support to the Bishop’s Fund?
There are various ways in which to pledge support to the Bishop’s Fund:
Is my Bishop’s Fund contribution tax deductible?
Yes. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and all donations received are fully deductible for tax purposes.
Do any of my Bishop’s Fund contributions go to pay for legal fees?
No. All monies contributed to the Annual Bishop’s Fund Appeal sustain the ministries and apostolates of the Diocese of Burlington.
How much should I contribute?
Use the slide bar below to determine whether you wish to pay monthly, quarterly or bi-annually.
|Your Total Donation Should Be:
* This is based on 1% of your annual household income.
* Total Contributions are tax deductible when paid by the end of 2014.