Log in
    

Culture Project

The Culture Project envisions a world where the dignity of the human person is at the forefront of every relationship, law and societal structure.
 
In collaboration with The Culture Project, the respect life and youth and young adult ministry offices of the Diocese of Burlington are offering a series of retreats on the topics of human dignity and chastity at five locations in Vermont during November. 
 
Please contact the individual parish hosts for information about their retreats:
  • St. Jude Parish, Hinesburg, Nov. 4, 2017 (morning), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • High School Youth Retreat, Dumaine House Retreat Center, Jacksonville, Nov. 4 (evening), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Christ the King Parish, Rutland, Nov. 5 (morning), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Parish, Bennington, Nov. 5, (evening), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Holy Angels Parish, St. Albans, Nov. 11 (afternoon), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The series is the result of a survey last spring conducted by Carrie Handy, respect life coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington. She questioned directors of religious education, youth ministers, pastors and confirmation teachers about several areas of pro-life ministry and their needs. “One thing that came up repeatedly was the need for help bringing effective chastity/pro-life speakers to talk to high school aged students,” she said. “Parishes indicated a willingness to collaborate either regionally or by deanery, and this is the project that emerged.”
 
According to its website, The Culture Project International is an initiative of young people set out to restore culture through the experience of virtue. “We proclaim the dignity of the human person and the richness of living sexual integrity, inviting our culture to become fully alive,” it states.
 
Members of the team make a commitment of at least one year of their life to enter into a program in which they themselves live and pray in community, receive formation and are sent out on mission nationally and internationally. They give presentations to youth about the dignity of the human person and about sexual integrity.
 

Donation of sacred vessels

The Montreal-based Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph – the religious order that founded the former Fanny Allen Hospital in Colchester – has made a significant donation of sacred vessels to the Diocese of Burlington.
 
In June, the sisters officially transferred ownership to the Diocese of a monstrance and a chalice that had been stored in the chapel at what is now the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Fanny Allen Campus; a ciborium, given in 1947 in memory of the nurses in both World Wars, which was once stored at Fanny Allen but moved to the Diocesan archives for temporary storage in 1993; and a chalice and paten, given to Bishop John S. Michaud, second bishop of Burlington, in 1903 by the Religious Hospitallers and have been in the sacristy at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington. He requested the order send sisters from Montreal to open a Catholic hospital in 1894.
 
The replacement value for the sacred vessels is nearly $44,000.
 
According to Sister Rose-Marie Dufault, the Religious Hospitallers’ contact person, the sacred vessels had been left on loan to the Diocese when the sisters closed the Fanny Allen convent and moved to Our Lady of Providence Residence in Winooski in 2010.
 
“Evidence was discovered that these items were still related to the community but had been in Vermont for a number of years, and the community wished to bring some closure to their records,” explained Kathleen Messier, assistant archivist for the Diocese of Burlington.
 
The donated items were a monstrance in the sunburst style, made of brass and gold plated; a Neo-Gothic ciborium made of sterling silver and gold plated; a late Romanesque-style chalice, made of sterling silver and gold plated; and a Rich Gothic-style chalice made of silver and gold plated.
 
The items have been appraised by Adrian Hamers Church Interiors Inc., in Larchmont, N.Y.
 
Currently, all of the sacred vessels are at the Diocesan archives.
 
Sister Dufault coordinated the group that worked on the transfer of the ownership of the sacred items: Messier; Marie–Pierre Courchesne, archivist for the General Administration of the Religious Hospitallers in Montreal; and Georgette Seagle, a Religious Hospitaller associate from South Burlington.
 
“Today, as the diocesan archives are the official owners of such sacred vessels and serve as the permanent repository for some of our Church’s most valuable items, it is important to note that the mission of archives is reflected in the heritage of the Diocese of Burlington,” Messier said.
 
The mission of the Diocesan archives is to collect, organize, preserve and make available for research the historical and vital records of the Diocese of Burlington as well as materials which reflect the work of the Church within the Diocese in order to promote an understanding and cultivate an appreciation of the Catholic Church’s history and heritage in the State of Vermont.
 
--Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.

Action for Ecological Justice conference

A former president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, brought a message of hope to the Diocese of Burlington, telling more than 200 people at a conference on ecological justice that though “we are in the midst of a crisis,” it is important to focus on what can be done to take better care of the Earth.
 
“Our actions do matter, and there are things we can do to make a difference,” said Dr. Carolyn Woo, the keynote speaker at Action for Ecological Justice: Celebrating a Year of Creation, Sept. 30 at St. Michael’s College in Colchester. The Year of Creation is a yearlong, statewide, intentional focus on embracing the message of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.”
 
“Hope is where you believe that action can make a difference,” Woo said.
 
The Catholic Church in Vermont presented the conference, the signature event of the Year of Creation called for by Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne.
 
Among the responses to climate change, which disproportionately affects the world’s poor, Woo suggested responses such as land and crop adaptations, watershed management, alternative farming techniques, alternative crops, water service and community capacity building.
 
She also suggested socially responsible investing with companies that have good ratings for healthy living, clean water, renewable energy, zero waste and disease eradication. “You don’t have to sacrifice [financial] returns,” she added.
 
Woo said there is momentum in the area of clean energy, noting that 21 states score in the top 10 in at least three of the 12 Union of Concerned Scientists metrics that include energy savings, power plant pollution reduction, clean energy jobs and electric vehicle adoption.
 
Vermont is number two in that overall scoring, second only to California.
 
Woo encouraged the creation of “green jobs” in areas such as wind and solar power and sustainable issues, and she asked her listeners to encourage young people to pursue careers in this industry.
 
To reduce carbon emissions in the environment, she suggested the use of wind turbines, plant-rich diets, solar farms, natural family planning, reduced food waste and refrigerant management.
 
Care of the Earth, she emphasized, “transcends politics.”
 
"The state of creation affects everyone. We must work together to create a more sustainable future for all," said Stephanie Clary, manager of mission outreach and communication for the Diocese of Burlington and coordinator of the conference.

Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne opened the conference with a moment of silence for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. 
 
The daylong conference included various workshops including one titled, “Engaging the Parish: How Do I Invite Others to Join Me,” facilitated by Chris West who directs the Partnership, Training and Engagement Unit of Catholic Relief Services and David Mullin, executive director of Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity in Northwestern Vermont.
 
They emphasized the importance of using inviting language when encouraging others to join in parish ministries, rather than telling people they “should” get involved.
 
Identify, invite, and encourage -- three steps West said bring more people into ministries.
 
Mullin said that if people are “interested in moving a cause forward, expose your passion for it” to attract others to it.
 
In his breakout session, “Can Economics Save the World?” St. Michael’s College Associate Professor of Economics Patrick Walsh asked participants, “Why are we hurting the environment?”
 
Answers included: to accommodate a growing population, because people are disconnected from nature, market forces, cultural and lifestyle expectations, ignorance and greed.
 
A way to explain people’s behavior is to know what incentives they face, he explained.
 
For example, shoppers might shy away from one item that is too expensive, considering “the price told me not to” buy it. But they might purchase a sale item because “the price made me do it.”
 
Incentives for reducing carbon emissions include carbon taxes and limited government permits for carbon emitters. “If it’s costly to ‘go green,’ it’s going to be an uphill struggle,” Walsh said.

Allison Croce, a sophomore at St. Michael's College from Abingdon, Md., said her Catholic faith and her passion for the environment were the reasons she attended the daylong conference. "We all share the Earth, so we should all conserve [resources] and promote justice for all," said the environmental studies major.
 
Musician and songwriter Bob Hurd concluded the day with a variety of songs related to justice, caring for the Earth, the sanctity of life and peace, some based on “Laudato Si’.”
 
He connected Jesus’ living, dying and rising to healing and the glorification of all creation. “Every celebration of the Eucharist acknowledges creation,” he said.
 
Carolyn Meub, executive director of the Rutland-based Pure Water for the World, said attending the conference “really motivated me to look at my own actions because I believe my actions are making a moral statement” – like composting and doing business with ethical companies.
 
Rose-Marie Santarcangelo of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales Church in Bennington drove nearly the length of Vermont to attend the conference because of its subject matter. “More people need to be involved…to save this planet,” she said.
 
Lisa Gibbons, a member of St. Francis Xavier Church in Winooski, said the conference offered her a “great opportunity” to bring together two important parts of her life: her Catholic faith and care for the Earth.

"This Diocese is a light to help us understand what a Diocese can do in a holistic way to respond to climate change," Woo told Vermont Catholic. She praised the work being done in parishes and schools to educate, reduce, reuse and recycle and acknowledged the Diocese's efforts to collaborate with other faith groups and government organizations. "This is an inspiring example," she said.

Clary said the conference a success, commenting, "It's encouraging that so many people hold care for creation as an important part of their lives --whether Catholic or not. Hopefully today is just one of many collaborative efforts to work together in caring for our common home."
 
For more information about the Action for Ecological Justice conference, see the Year of Creation website.

 

21 pro-life ideas for building a culture of life

“Be Not Afraid” is the theme for Respect Life Month, an annual event observed by the Catholic Church throughout the United States to shine a light on the importance of defending and protecting the dignity of all human life, made in the image and likeness of God.
 
The culture of life will grow as long as we are willing to play our part. While not
everyone is called to full time prolife ministry or advocacy, we are all called to help build the culture of life within our families and communities—to walk with those who are vulnerable or hurting; to speak up on behalf of the innocent; to bear witness to the truth about abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and other key pro-life issues.
 
Below are ideas for individuals or parishes to do, organized according to the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Four Arms of Pro-Life Ministry. What is God calling you to do? During this Respect Life Month choose one of these activities and be not afraid to show that you are pro-life.
 
For more information on any of these ideas, call the Respect Life Office 658-6110 ext. 1176 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Prayer and worship
1. Pray. Pray for the unborn, the elderly, those who hold public office, for prisoners and their families, for conversion of sinners, for refugees, for those suffering loss from natural disasters, for the culture of life to grow.
2. Organize a virtual pro-life prayer group.
3. Join Nine Days for Life.
4. Take part in 40 Days for Life or Life Chain.
5.  Begin a Cenacle of Life at your parish.
6. Fast from something you like as a sacrifice for a pro-life intention each day in October and encourage others to do so.
 
Public Education
7. Become informed about all life issues: abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, hunger and the poor, capital punishment, embryonic stem cell research, etc. Begin here and here.
8. Purchase (or download and print) pro-life pamphlets, booklets, etc. for the parish bookrack in your church.
9. Get permission to distribute USCCB-materials and pro-life articles in pews at your parish.
10. Decorate a bulletin board in the parish hall or religious education area with pro-life messages.
11. Bring pro-life speakers to your parish group or religious education class. Check out the Respect Life Speakers Bureau for ideas.
12. Donate pro-life education materials to school health offices and libraries.
13. Sponsor a pro-life movie night for your parish teens.
Pastoral Care
14. Collect maternity and baby clothes to give to pregnant women in need. Have a “baby shower” to raise funds and donations to assist Birthright or other pregnancy care centers.
15. Encourage anyone who has had an abortion to seek help from Project Rachel.
16. Donate food to your local food shelf.
17. Donate clothing or baked goods to homeless shelters in your community.
18. Become a trained Hospice volunteer.
19. Visit your local nursing home—ask how you can help offer companionship to residents.
 
Public Policy
20. Become informed about pro-life issues and legislation at the state and national level; stay updated by joining the Respect Life Roman Catholic Diocese Facebook Group.
21. Attend the Annual March for Life events in Montpelier and Washington, D.C.
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Worship and social justice

By Steven R. Marchand
 
It has been said that one of most striking characteristics of modernity is the fragmentation of the once-cohesive social fabric that held together political, moral and social communities. Concretely, this view of life results in many either-or ultimatums where a truly Christian view would suggest a both-and response.
 
In Catholicism, we hold many paradoxes together -- such as grace and nature, faith and reason, scripture and tradition, body and soul -- in such a way that each element remains in place in tandem with the other. True Christian teaching keeps us from veering into any kind of extremism.
 
Unfortunately, there crept into the minds of many in the Church in the mid and late 20th century a kind of dualism that pitted the worthy celebration of the liturgy against service to the poor and social activism. If one used resources to beautify the liturgy one was accused of stealing from the poor, and conversely, those laity, priests and religious who sought out the poor and marginalized were accused of abandoning prayer and the worship of God.
 
In reality, however, these two missions of the Church -- worship of God and service in the world -- are two sides of the same coin. It is impossible for the Christian community to worship God at Mass, hear the message of the Gospel and ignore those in need around them.
 
In the Old Testament, the connection between worship and justice is clear. In the Book of Amos we read, “Even though you offer me your burnt offering and cereal offerings, I will not accept them, and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts I will not look upon. Take away from the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:22-24).
 
In the New Testament, St. Paul warns both who would seek to put worship and justice over the other in 1 Corinthians 10-11. He begins by pointing out that it is hypocritical for the community that celebrates the Mass to do so while the poor go hungry. He follows that by stressing the importance of eliminating abuses at the Lord’s Supper and participating in the Eucharist only worthily.
 
In fact, both the worship of God and service to the disadvantaged are aspects of justice and charity. We all have a duty to pray and worship God according to the mind of the Church, to offer to God only the best of what we have in our churches (like music and sacred art) as a matter of rendering to God what is due.
 
These worthy services are for the edification of the whole Christian people, the rich and poor alike. The virtue of religion helps us to grow in our relationship with God through our attention and participation in the liturgy. Our participation in the Eucharist ties us into the redeeming sacrifice of Christ on the Cross for our salvation.
As the Second Vatican Council reminded us, the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the power and life of the Church. The King of Kings deserves all the glory we can render Him as He is made present again on our altars.
 
And serving the Lord at the altar should be part of a seamless life of Christian charity. The spiritual treasure we receive at Mass should inspire and inflame our hearts with charity in service to our neighbor. Indeed, the Christian’s motive for social service and justice is that Christ himself is served when we serve those in need.
 
There is no contradiction then between service at the altar of the Cross and the altar of world, for Christ died that we all might have life and have it to the full.
 
As Catholics, we are all obliged to attend Mass with a pure heart and with great praise. At the end of every Mass, we are equally challenged to bring the
Good News and the love that we have first received from Christ into the world.
 
Let us worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and remember that we serve the same Christ in both our worship and our service.
 
--Steven R. Marchand, a seminarian for the Diocese of Burlington, is scheduled to be ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop James F. Checchio, bishop of Metuchen, on Sept. 28 in Rome at the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican at the Altar of the Chair.
 

Originally published in Vermont Catholic magazine, Fall 2017.
 

Pastoral plan

Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne is convening a Diocesan Synod to establish a pastoral plan for the immediate future of the Catholic Church in Vermont.
 
Work was done on the last pastoral plan for the statewide Diocese from 2003 through 2006. It was promulgated by then-Burlington Bishop Salvatore R. Matano “as a way of trying to address the reduction of the number of priests available to minister to the people of Vermont,” explained Msgr. John McDermott, vicar general for the Diocese of Burlington.
 
In addition, it attempted to address the demographic changes that had occurred and are occurring in Vermont, among them aging population, reduction in births and population shifts.
 
“An element of the synodal process will be to examine the present and future ministerial needs in Vermont,” Msgr. McDermott said. “It may be that the Diocese will need to make more pastoral changes to parishes in order to best serve the people of God.  At this time, there is no way of projecting what these changes might be. We will have to see how the synod process proceeds.”
 
Dioceses throughout the United States are engaged in pastoral planning processes to deal with similar issues as those facing the Diocese of Burlington.
 
For example, in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Mont., the three major priorities that surfaced at the Leadership Summit for pastoral planning were parish life and liturgy, evangelization and discipleship and vocations to the priesthood. In the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisc., areas of pastoral concern were identified as evangelization; youth, young adult  and family; leadership; education; Eucharist; and the dignity of human life.
 
In the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., pastoral concerns include liturgy and sacraments, catechesis, New Evangelization/youth, family life and vocations and stewardship. The pastoral plan concerns for the Archdiocese of Atlanta fall into four broad categories: Knowing Our Faith, Living Our Faith, Sharing Our Faith and Evolution of Our Parishes.
 
As the Diocese of Burlington prepares its pastoral plan, Msgr. McDermott said, “Our hope is to engage parishioners in the conversation to determine how best to strengthen Church life in Vermont.”

--------------
This story was original published in the Fall 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic Magazine.
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Synod update

Preparations are underway for the first Diocesan Synod in the Diocese of Burlington in more than a half century.
 
Bishop Christopher J. Coyne is convening the synod to establish a pastoral plan for the immediate future of the Catholic Church in Vermont and to establish particular laws and policies to do so. This will be at least a yearlong project and is “a serious undertaking by the Church,” he said. “It is not a simple convening of meetings.”
 
Father Brian O’Donnell is the executive secretary for the synod, and he explained that a diocesan synod is an extraordinary gathering for the purpose of advising the diocesan bishop in his role as legislator for the diocese, especially when the bishop wants advice about major policies that affect the whole diocese.
 
“In my travels around Vermont over the past two and half years, when I ask people ‘What are some of the concerns you have?’ the top two are almost always, ‘What is going to happen to our small parishes?’ and ‘What can we do to keep young people and families in the Church?’ Both of these are serious topics that will obviously be discussed in the upcoming preparations for and convening of next year’s Diocesan Synod,” Bishop Coyne noted.
 
The procedures for the synod are governed by a 1997 Instruction from the Holy See.  According to that instruction, there is a Preparatory Commission that has the primary responsibility for planning the synod, under the leadership of the diocesan bishop. 
 
The commission already has met and includes priests, deacons, religious, diocesan staff and lay members from the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
 
“The process of preparatory consultation will begin at the parish level, probably beginning in October, and continue at the deanery or regional level thereafter,” Father O’Donnell said.
 
The number of delegates is limited because all delegates are expected to express their views during the synod sessions. “All Vermont Catholics will be invited to participate in the synod process by taking part in the consultative sessions at the parish level during the preparatory period,” he said.
 
The bishop will set the agenda and decide the number of synod sessions. Currently Bishop Coyne is considering having three one-day sessions.
 
“It's clear that the Church in Vermont is facing significant challenges with smaller numbers of active Catholics, smaller numbers of priests and a surrounding culture that is increasingly unfriendly to faith,” he continued. “This raises big questions about how, in the face of these challenges, the Church can most effectively evangelize and carry out her primary divine mission of the salvation of souls.”
 
Topics for the synod will “likely involve some dimensions of pastoral planning with possible changes to the distribution of clergy and the configuration of parishes so that our primary focus is on the salvation of souls rather than the maintenance of buildings,” Father O’Donnell said.
 
After the work of preparation is completed, the bishop will convene the synod to meet in the necessary sessions to complete the work of discernment and planning and to then enact the policies, laws and directives to carry out that plan in the Vermont Church. “I will seek input from all. I will listen to all. And I will discern with you all,” he said.


--------------
This story was original published in the Fall 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic Magazine.
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Seminarian Steven Marchand

Steven R. Marchand considers his call to the priesthood a “complete gift of God.”
 
Throughout his life, the seminarian for the Diocese of Burlington felt God's guiding hand and gratuitous grace.
 
The son of Russell and Linda Marchand of Our Lady of Grace Church in Colchester grew up in a faithful and prayerful Catholic family and received a love for Jesus Christ and the Church from his parents. “Over time, that faith matured, and I made it my own, and it was then that I heard that call to give my life to God as His priest,” he said.
 
Though he has not had any great conversion experience or grand epiphanies, he has trusted along the path of priestly formation that if it were indeed God's will, He would provide the grace necessary to see it come to fruition. “If we respond to God with generous, sincere and prayerful hearts and heed holy and good counsel, God will see to the rest,” Marchand said. “I am humbled and grateful for the precious gift of my vocation and only hope that I will be found worthy to respond to it.”
 
He is scheduled to be ordained to the transitional diaconate on Sept. 28 at the Altar of the Chair of St Peter's Basilica in Rome. This is the final step before ordination to the priesthood.
 
Homeschooled through elementary and high schools, Marchand earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and music at Providence College while attending Our Lady of Providence College Seminary. He has completed his third year of theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
 
He will be stationed at St. John Vianney Parish in South Burlington for the summer.
 
Born in 1991 in Burlington and raised in Milton, Marchand was inspired to enter the seminary by the example of great saints such as John Vianney and Francis de Sales. “Holy priests I have known … been a great aid in persevering to ordination,” he said, adding that the writing of Venerable Fulton Sheen on the priesthood also has been a great modern inspiration.
 
Marchand has a deep interest in music, especially sacred music, and he seriously considered attending conservatory and becoming a choral conductor and composer. He also has a keen interest in cooking and briefly considered a career as a chef.
 
As he anticipates his upcoming ordination to the transitional diaconate, Marchand is humbled and grateful to approach the culmination of seven years of prayer and study. “I pray God I am worthy to receive this gift. I am filled with joy to surrender my life to God and promise Him my prayer, obedience, celibacy and fidelity,” he said.
 
----------
Originally published in the July 1, 2017, issue of The Inland Sea.
Subscribe to this RSS feed
Bishop's Fund Annual Appeal