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Memories of Bishop Angell

BURLINGTON--People have fond memories of the late Bishop Kenneth A. Angell.
That might be an understatement.
The memories run deep, whether they are personal – like the bishop calling to check on a diocesan employee whose sister was sick – or public – like his forgiveness of those responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States that claimed the lives of his brother and sister-in-law.
Mary McClintock served as his executive administrative assistant and was his friend. “I believe his legacy will be standing on the steps of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral (in Burlington) after a Mass for the victims of 9/11 and forgiving the perpetrators of the tragedy,” she said. “He said that was what his Catholic faith required.”

He died of a stroke Oct. 4 in Winooski at the age of 86.
Bishop Angell loved people, loved being with them. He made them feel comfortable and greeted them with a hearty, “Hi! How are you? Good to see you!”
Bishop Angell related well with children, McClintock said, especially those with special needs. “He was very inclusive.”
She recalled that he had once dressed as St. Nicholas to film a Christmas public service announcement, and at the end, he winked to his audience. “It was priceless!” she exclaimed.
The first priest he ordained in Burlington was Father Lance Harlow – in 1993; he is now rector of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington. “There is always a special bond between and priest and the bishop who ordained him,” he said, calling it a “real spiritual fatherhood.”
Father Harlow keeps in his breviary a prayer card from the bishop’s installation as bishop of Burlington and prays for him every day, a practice he continues after the bishop’s death, confident “he will continue to pray for me.”
The bishop will be remembered as a fatherly or grandfatherly figure, the rector said. “His legacy is one of kindness….His approach was very personable, and you always felt very comfortable in his presence.”
Kindness, care and mercy, are the words used to describe the bishop’s legacy by Father William Beaudin, pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Middlebury, St. Bernadette Church in Bridport and St. Genevieve Church in Shoreham.
“My vivid memories are working with him in instituting the Office of Ministerial Formation. At the time he was insistent that Continuing Education for Priests, the Permanent Diaconate Office and Ministry Training Program come under one umbrella,” he said.
He was supportive and encouraging of the Ministry Training Program that quickly became nationally recognized; it was “a program and process that affected many fine lay persons in the diocese,” Father Beaudin said. “I found him to be truly consultative and collaborative in every way. One could not have asked for a better mentor, spiritual father and team leader. I have rarely met his equal.”
Deacon Tom Cooney of The Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Morrisville, Johnson, Hyde Park and Eden said Bishop Angell was a close friend and supporter of the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Burlington: “He certainly valued all the work and ministries that the deacons performed.”
Deacon Cooney was ordained by Bishop Angell in 1994 and later served as director of the Permanent Diaconate. He interviewed deacon candidates with the bishop just prior to their ordination. “He always talked to the candidates as if he was their grandfather. I believe he will always be remembered as a gentle, guiding spirit of our diocese,” the deacon said. “He was in tune with the Holy Spirit and kept things moving forward. He … was always looking at things from a positive perspective.”       
In 1994 Bishop Angell appointed Sister of Mercy Marianne Read chief administrator for Catholic formation; she continued in her role as superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese. “He had vision” and looked to fill roles with people with the right background and skills, said the first woman appointed to such a position in the diocese.
Sister Read worked with Bishop Angell for nearly 12 years, and during that time her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she asked for his permission to take time to go home to be with her in the Boston area, the bishop told her “absolutely” and that she should not worry about her work.
He called her twice during the two weeks she was away to find out how she and her sister were.
She will remember him for his kindness and pastoral care and concern for people: “He was good to work with and for.”
Ruth F. Charlesworth was director of family life ministries and later appointed director of respect life ministries by Bishop Angell; she held both titles during his administration. “He was always willing to listen and give his heartfelt opinion about a decision at hand,” she said.
A memorable event for Charlesworth was the party and gift given to her by Bishop Angell when she received her doctorate degree in ministry. “He was very encouraging and supportive in my studies and work in the diocese. I am very honored to have had him as a special friend,” she said.
When the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rutland reunited with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Mass., in 2001, forming one community, Bishop Angell was instrumental in the process. “He was the key to putting our motherhouse [Mount St. Joseph Convent in Rutland] under the umbrella of Vermont Catholic Charities,” said Sister of St. Joseph Miriam Francis Predom, who was president of the Rutland congregation at the time.
The motherhouse had already become a licensed Level III residential care facility for religious and laypersons.
“He certainly appreciated the sisters,” she said, describing him as “always very friendly and gracious.”
Dorothy Barewicz, parish accountant at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral and director of religious education there and at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington, worked as a catechetical consultant in the Office of Catholic Formation while Bishop Angell was bishop of Burlington. He used to tell her about his Aunt Dorothy who was special to him; she enjoyed hearing about his relative who shared her name.
“He was a very powerful leader and presence of God’s kindness to the people of this diocese,” she said.
Providence, R.I., Bishop Thomas Tobin said in a statement that Bishop Angell, a Providence native, was a beloved son of the Church in his home diocese.
“He served long and well as a parish priest, diocesan official and auxiliary bishop in our diocese and made many wonderful contributions to the growth of God’s Kingdom in Rhode Island,” Bishop Tobin said. “His personal goodness, warmth and wit will be missed by all who knew him, admired him and loved him.”


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Last modified onFriday, 04 November 2016 13:58
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