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Promoting parish vocation ministry

Rhonda Gruenewald, a vocation promoter and author of “Hundredfold: A Guide to Parish Vocation Ministry,” will be in Vermont to present a day-long workshop open to all who want to share in this mission to promote vocations in their parishes, but specifically aimed at directors of religious education, catechists and parents. 
 
The workshop will take place at St. Anthony Parish Hall in White River Junction on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with the option of attending the vigil Mass at 4. 
 
“Following the lead of our local shepherd, Bishop [Christopher] Coyne, and in union with the universal shepherd, Pope Francis -- who called for a Synod this fall to focus on ‘Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment’ -- the Vocation Office is seeking to more intentionally engage young people in Vermont,” explained Father Jon Schnobrich, vocations director for the Diocese of Burlington.
 
Gruenewald, of Houston, also will speak to the priests of the Diocese of Burlington at the annual priest gathering in September. 
 
“Her book proposes a way to build a culture of vocations in a Diocese, beginning at the parish level,” Father Schnobrich said. “Because of the increasing demands on priests, Rhonda's vision seeks to engage the laity in the mission of promoting vocations in a way that relieves a pastor/priest from the tasks of organizing, planning and administrating different vocation events and activities in the parish.”
 
The aim of her book is to inspire laypersons beginning or reviving a vocation ministry or committee and provide tested activities to bring about a culture of vocations in their parish.
 
To find out more about this ministry, go to vocationministry.com.
 
There is no cost to attend the White River Junction workshop, but those who want to attend are asked to RSVP by Oct. 28 to Mallorie Gerwitz in the Vocation Office (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 802-658-6110 ext. 1334).
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Edmundite Father Michael Carter ordained

It was a joyful day of smiles, handshakes, hugs and congratulations as newly ordained Edmundite Father Michael Carter entered this new phase of his life in a spirit of hope, expectation and trust in God.
 
Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne ordained him to the priesthood Sept. 16 at the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel on the campus of St. Michael’s College in Colchester.
 
In remarks at the morning Mass, the bishop reflected on joy, noting that Pope Francis encourages all to be people of joy. “Joy is not a mater of fleeting moments of happiness…but knowing we are in God’s hands even when we are struggling,” he said, noting that the joy of Christians empowers them to do great things. “The joy of the priesthood is knowing we are configured to Christ” while serving others.
 
As a priest, Father Carter’s personal focus will be continuing to build connections with a wide array of people, believers and non-believers, Catholics and non-Catholics. “One of the great mysteries of God is God's ability to work into people's hearts even if they are rigidly opposed to spirituality and religion. I hope I can be a conduit of that journey,” he said. “In keeping with the charism of the Society of St. Edmund, my emphasis is always on those who find themselves marginalized from the Church and from God. It is in the margins that the creative power of God is most fundamentally displayed.”
 
The Society of St. Edmund – celebrating its 175th anniversary – founded St. Michael’s College.
 
In his homily at the ordination Mass, Bishop Coyne explained that though God made His entire people a royal priesthood in Christ, Jesus chose certain disciples to carry out publically, in His name and on behalf of humankind, a priestly office in the Church.
 
“Impart to everyone the Word of God which you have received with joy,” he told Father Carter. “Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe and that you practice what you teach.”
 
He asked that the holiness of the new priest’s life be a “delightful fragrance” to the faithful so that by word and example he may build up the Church.
 
During the Mass, Father Carter publically resolved to care for the Lord’s flock, to worthily and wisely preach the Gospel and teach the Catholic faith and to celebrate the sacraments faithfully and reverently for the glory of God and the sanctification of the Christian people. He also resolved to implore God’s mercy upon the people entrusted to his care and to be united more closely every day to Christ and to consecrate himself to God for the salvation of all.
 
During the Litany of Supplication Father Carter lay prostrate in front of the altar, then, after the Laying on of Hands, Prayer of Ordination and Prayer of Consecration at the ordination, Edmundite Father David Cray, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Charlotte and St. Jude Church in Hinesburg, assisted Father Carter in his investiture with the stole and chasuble.
 
Father Carter knelt before the bishop who anointed his hands with holy Chrism. He later placed a paten and chalice in the newly ordained priest’s hands. “Know what you are doing and imitate the mystery you celebrate: Model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross,” he said.
 
Born in Burlington, the son of Richard M. Carter and Kathleen M. Carter attended Christ the King School through eighth grade then Burlington High School. A member of the St. Michael's College Class of 2012, he earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies with a minor in political science. He received a master of divinity degree from Boston College in 2016 and worked in the clinical pastoral education program at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.
 
He chose the Edmundite priesthood because during his college years he was inspired by the sense of camaraderie and brotherhood the members of the Society of St. Edmund embodied and by the way certain members modeled for him a spirit of justice and activism that he had not encountered before. “Not to in any way downplay the tireless and faithful efforts of priests working in the parishes of the Diocese of Burlington, but for myself as an individual I never discerned that parish ministry was my primary vocation, therefore an order that had parish connection without being specifically a parochial order was intriguing to me,” he said.
 
Father Carter is currently an assistant to Edmundite Father Charles Ranges in the Essex Catholic community, teaches at St. Michael's College and assists in Edmundite Campus Ministry.
 
“Our [Edmundite] foundational ethos is a spirit of education and evangelization, particularly to those who may not otherwise hear of the love of God,” Father Carter said in an interview before his ordination. “Working in education at St. Michael's College, sometimes among a population that has never encountered the love of God, provides ample opportunity for that blessing. Needless to say, my home state of Vermont is mission territory writ large.”
 
Asked about his gifts that he brings to the priesthood, Father Carter said, “I think one is an ability (or at least a desire) to be able to connect with people on a level that makes them comfortable. That means having no preconceived notions, no judgments of any kind and no agenda when speaking with people other than to let them know that they are heard, that they are respected and that they are loved, by both myself and by God. Everything else in ministerial life stems from that.”
 
A sense of humor is also important. “I pride myself on a sense of humor. I take my work and mission seriously, but my own quirks and weaknesses allow me to laugh at myself,” he said. “A ministry without laughter is a ministry doomed to failure.”
 
To men considering the priesthood, Father Carter suggests they see the fun, humor and joy in this life as much as the difficulties and sacrifice: “There are elements of both present, but they should balance each other out.”
 
Also, he calls them to recognize that God loves each person as an individual. “Don't try to be someone or something that you are not. God makes particular demands on God's priests, but one of those demands is not to cease being a distinct and unique individual. It takes all kinds, and there is room in the priesthood for all kinds,” he said.
 
The last ordination for the Society of St. Edmund was in 2014 when Father Lino Oropeza was ordained at St. Michael's College.
 
Father Carter asked that anyone that is concerned about the state of the Church to think seriously about the men in their lives that they think may have a vocation or might make a good priest and mention it to them. “Be it for the Diocese, the Society of St. Edmund or elsewhere, actual talking and contact with people and setting an example is what makes vocations appear real,” he said. “Prayers are wonderful and beautiful, but prayer without action is robbing yourself of the most effective way that God works in the world.”
 
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Brother Carter to be ordained Edmundite priest

Edmundite Brother Michael R. Carter will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel on the campus of St. Michael’s College in Colchester.
 
Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne will ordain him during the 11 a.m. Mass.
 
Born in Burlington, the son of Richard M. Carter and Kathleen M. Carter of Burlington attended Christ the King School there through eighth grade then Burlington High School. A member of the St. Michael's College Class of 2012, he earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies with a minor in political science. He received a Master of Divinity degree from Boston College in 2016.
 
His current assignment as a transitional deacon is as an assistant to his Edmundite brother, Father Charles Ranges, pastor in Essex Junction and Essex Center. Brother Carter also teaches at St. Michael's College and assists in Edmundite Campus Ministry. He will continue in these roles after his ordination.
 
“I would also ask any and every person that is concerned about the state of the Church to seriously think about the men in their lives that they think may have a vocation (or might make a good priest) and mention it to them,” he said. “Be it for the Diocese, the Society of St. Edmund or elsewhere, actual talking and contact with people, and setting an example is what makes vocations appear real. Prayers are wonderful and beautiful, but prayer without action is robbing yourself of the most effective way that God works in the world.”
 
The Society of St. Edmund invites the faithful of the Diocese of Burlington and beyond to attend Brother Carter’s ordination.
 
The last ordination for the Society of St. Edmund was in 2014, when Father Lino Oropeza was ordained at St. Michael's College.

 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Becoming fully alive: vocational discernment

By Father Jon Schnobrich

What is vocational discernment? Vocation comes from the Latin word, “vocare,” which means, “to call.” God calls each one of us by name to become saints, thereby the first vocation in our lives is the universal call to holiness: “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).
 
How do perfection and holiness relate to each other?
 
Let’s understand what our Lord means by “perfect” as that word today is so unfortunately misunderstood. Being perfect is not perfectionism. This call to be perfect comes as the climax in our Lord’s teaching on Christian love:
 
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for He makes His sun rise on the bad and the good and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:43-48).”
 
Jesus points to the Father’s love, which is without calculation or condition. The Father loves in truth with mercy. He loves sinners and saints alike. To freely conform one’s life, one’s inner attitudes and one’s way of thinking so as to love unconditionally and mercifully is the holiness of life to which our Lord calls all of His disciples without distinction.
 
However, to love like this means to love in the way that God reveals. God is love, which means that we as creatures look to our creator to define love. To love as God loves, as St. Thomas Aquinas explains, is to will the good of the other for the other; to desire another to flourish in their being. The perfection to which Jesus calls us relates to holiness of life precisely in love. Love conforms itself to its object; thereby the more we love God who is love, the more we become like God who is love.
 
To put it simply: If God is LOVE, the more we love LOVE, the more we are able to love as LOVE loves.
 
The universal call to holiness is the call from Christ through His Church to become fully who God intended us to be. In the words of St. Irenaeus of Lyon, “The glory of God is the human being fully alive.” Because Christ is holy, we, His body, are called to strive each day for the sanctification of our lives, the integration of all that we are into all that Christ is: “Each in his own state of life, tend to the perfection of love, thus helping others grow in holiness” (Lumen Gentium, 5, 39).
 
Every disciple is called to perfect love, to love the way the Father loves.
 
Father Schnobrich is vocations director of the Diocese of Burlington.
 

The single life

By Mary Rezac

(CNA/EWTN News).- From a young age, Catholics are taught to pray about and discern their vocations – whether they're called to marriage, to the religious life, to the priesthood or consecrated single life. 
 
This can leave the lay single person feeling that they are in a vocational limbo of sorts, and it's become a topic of much heated and emotional debate in the Catholic blogosphere: have these people missed their vocation? Is the lay single state, chosen or by default, a vocation?
 
But actually, at the end of the day – does it matter?
 
Father Ben Hasse is a vocations director for the Diocese of Marquette, Mich. He said addressing the topic of singleness in the Church can be difficult because of the emotions surrounding the issue.
 
“I have quite a few friends who would like to be married, so there's a much more emotional investment in the question because there’s more people who find themselves single” rather than having specifically chosen it, he said.
 
Recognizing the emotional weight of the topic,Father Hasse noted that there are many aspects to addressing the question of vocation and singleness that need to be taken into account, and that it can be difficult – and dangerous – to make generalizations about a population in the Church that is actually very diverse.
 
Being specific about singleness
 
Father Hasse said that he has found it’s helpful as a pastor to approach singleness very specifically – whether it's a college student who hopes to marry someday, or a widow who lost her husband last month, being single encompasses a wide variety of people and circumstances.
 
“Everybody will be single for at least part of their life. Nobody is born as a priest or married to someone or a consecrated religious, so everyone will pass through being single,” he said.
 
“It's important to distinguish between people who are single because that's kind of where you're at when you're 16, versus someone who has really felt God calling them to give their life in service to the Church as a single person,” or various other circumstances.
 
For example, a single 19-year-old college student is probably not necessarily living a vocation of singleness in any settled way, Father Hasse said, but a person in their 40s who finds joy in serving Christ in their everyday circumstances of work and life “is not someone I would say lacks a vocation.”
 
“It would be different from the way we usually use the word because it wouldn't be defined, and made concrete by vows or promises,” he said.
 
“But the single accountant or school teacher could certainly live their life and see the work of their hands as something they're offering to God, and live that in a very spiritually fruitful way, and I wouldn't say – now here's a person without a vocation.”
 
Your vocation is given at baptism
 
Jason Coito, coordinator of young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, told CNA that most of the debates surrounding singleness and vocation rely “on a very narrow definition of vocation, or confuses the term with what we refer to as 'states in life.'”
 
He said when we become fixated on discerning our state in life, referred to in the Church as the primary vocation, “...we become so focused on the ranking of them, rather than looking at each day or the bigger picture and saying, here are all of these components of my life, now how am I called to live the promise of my baptism and of my life, and how do these things work together?”
 
It can be helpful instead to refocus these debates and conversations on the universal vocation to holiness that each Christian receives at their baptism, Coito said.
 
“I think this helpfully reframes the conversation and then asks us, 'How is God calling me to make a response to Him and to my brothers and sisters from within the state in life in which I find myself?'”
 
This respects every vocation, because it's a question anyone can answer on any given day in their life, regardless of their state in life, he said. 
 
“You do have a vocation. All baptized Catholics are called to live their lives as disciples of Jesus. This is the foundational call of our lives as Catholics,” he said.
 
“If you feel deeply called to get married, and you have prayerfully discerned and confirmed this call, then until you meet the person you feel called to get married to, you continue to live out your baptismal call, open to the people and circumstances that God puts in front of you each day. For those who are married, we do pretty much the same thing, except that we do this out of the sacramental relationship we have with our spouse,” he said.
 
In “Lumen Gentium,” one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI wrote about the universal call to holiness each Christian has:
 
“Thus it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity; by this holiness as such a more human manner of living is promoted in this earthly society. In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. They must follow in His footsteps and conform themselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history.”
 
Father Hasse reiterated the importance of the baptismal call to holiness, and said that this call is not something to “settle for,” but rather should be the primary focus of our lives as Christians.
 
“The call to holiness is not some second-string operation,” he said.
 
“It's not like – wow I really wish I had something important to work towards, but since I don't, sanctity will have to tide me over until the beatific vision.”
 
“So I think a reappropriation of the universal call to holiness, which is deeply, profoundly significant, it’s the one that matters in a sense, and we're all called to that,” he said.
 
The big lie: You are incomplete until you've made vows
 
Coito noted that one of the worst patterns of thinking that a Catholic can fall into when thinking about vocation is to believe that they are somehow less-than or incomplete until they are married, or are a priest or in a religious order.
 
When he taught high school religion, Coito said he would ask his students to recall the famous line from Jerry Macquire, when he tells his love interest (played by Renee Zellweger): “You complete me.”
 
“I would always tell them that from a Catholic perspective, that's ridiculous. It wasn't as though before marriage you were incomplete, or that a priest before his ordination is incomplete. God already made us whole and entire,” he said.
 
“We've been given everything as human beings that God intends us to have, so to begin to think of ourselves as somehow unfinished...we can joyfully be living out our vocation already right now.”
 
Part of this mentality has seeped in from the culture, he said, which tends to romanticize love and to view marriage as another achievement or milestone in life, rather than as a sacrament.
 
“I think it's important to address the mentality that if I'm not married or in a community or ordained that I’m this sort of 'Catholic arrested development' or 'suspended animation,'” he said.
 
The belief that marriage or religious life will also magically make us completely fulfilled is also a mentality that can set people up for disappointment, he noted.
 
“It ends up being a Disney sort of (mentality) of happily ever after, but it's much more Paschal mystery than happily ever after,” he said.  
 
Finding fulfillment: It's about self-gift
 
The reasons that there are more single people in the Church now than in other times in recent history are many and varied – an emphasis on education, a culture that values individualism, higher rates of divorce and economic factors are just some of the many reasons there are more singles in the pews.
 
But this doesn't mean that human nature has changed – we are still made for love, self-gift and service, Father Ben Hasse said.
 
“Trying to schedule events in our lives that will make us happy at some point that doesn't really work,” he said. “Happiness is richest and fullest kind of as a by-product of gifts of love and of service.”
 
“There's almost a way where you can attend to the basic dynamics of seeking to live a life of holiness, and that's the actually the path that’s going to leave you more and more disposed to receive his call,” he said.
 
In particular, acts of service can be a key way to find fulfillment regardless of one's state in life, he said.
 
 
“Look for opportunities to give of yourself,” he said. “It's also a good way to meet other people who have a similar disposition...doing that has very real potential to fill one's heart, and leaves you more and more receptive to (God's) call.”
 
Soley utilizing acts of service as a way to find a spouse would be unhealthy, Father Hasse added, but serving alongside like-minded people, and finding others who share your values is a good way to find authentic community, in whatever form that may take.
 
What the Church has to say about single people
 
Pope John Paul II, who wanted to be known as ‘the Pope of the family’, wrote in his familial document “Familiaris Consortio” that those without a family must be able to find their family within the Church. In fact, the entire final section of this document is dedicated to single people.
 
This is a subject with which John Paul II would have been intimately familiar – by the age of 20, all of his immediate family on earth had passed away, and he surrounded himself with good friends that essentially became his family.
 
In the document, he wrote: “For those who have no natural family the doors of the great family which is the Church - the Church which finds concrete expression in the diocesan and the parish family, in ecclesial basic communities and in movements of the apostolate - must be opened even wider. No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who 'labor and are heavy laden.'”
 
The Catechism of the Catholic also recognizes “the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live – often not of their choosing – are especially close to Jesus' heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors.” (CCC 1658).
 
Practical advice from single Catholics
 
Still, it can sometimes be difficult for single people to know where they fit in the Church. Parishes are often structured around family life, which can make it challenging for single people to find community.
 
Judy Keane is a 40-something single Catholic and author of “Single and Catholic,” a book in which she interviewed numerous single Catholics of a wide variety of ages, circumstances and backgrounds about their experiences in the Church.
 
“Mother Teresa once said that the greatest poverty is loneliness, and feeling discounted by society,” Keane said.
 
“So I would say (to married people in the parish): approach single people, connect with them, take that initiative to introduce yourself, not make them feel like because they don't have a spouse and children in the pew with them that they’re no less a member of the parish community,” she said.
 
MaryBeth Bonacci is a Catholic author and speaker who has often written on the topic of being a single Catholic. She said she loves it when people in her parish help her feel included in their families and lives. 
 
“Some people would say, 'Oh well she wouldn’t want to go to a 1-year-old's birthday party.' Yeah I would!” she said. “We don't have our exciting singles lives that you think we have, I'm at home eating cottage cheese and watching Simpsons reruns, it’s not that exciting.”
 
Bonacci said she's also had a friend at her parish who told her she was invited to her family's dinner any time. And she didn't wait to make good on the invitation – she followed up with Bonacci every day.
 
“She would call me every day at 3:00 and say, am I setting a place for you? And I didn't go every night...but she actually called every day, and said if you want to come, we'll set a place for you, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that.”
 
She added that she appreciates when parishes make an effort to create a cohesive community, rather than always segregating people into groups according to their states in life.
 
Both Bonacci and Keane said that they especially have noticed that there are many single elderly Catholics who are alone, whether they’ve never been married or have since lost their spouse.
 
“If you're having a family Sunday dinner, why not try to befriend an elderly single person who may have lost their spouse and say we’re having our family dinner, would you like to join us?” Keane said. 
 
It's also important to remember that God acts in unexpected says, and oftentimes frustration with one's state in life stems from a place of thinking about vocation or God’s will too rigidly, Father Hasse noted.
 
“If I'm talking to someone who says well most of my friends seem to have found their vocation and I haven’t, what do I do? I usually say man, the saints are people that God caught in all kinds of unexpected situations and places,” Father Hasse said.
 
“So there's lots of precedent for thinking God has passed me by or hasn't answered my prayers” but then he shows up in unexpected ways, he said.
 

Building a culture of vocations

The Vocations Office of the Diocese of Burlington has launched an initiative for promoting and building a culture of vocations. Because the home is the primary place where culture is created, this program seeks to bring the Church’s vision for all vocations to parents and children.
 
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Swanton and St. Louis Church in Highgate Center have piloted the program during the past year.
 
“The Vocation Chalice Program allowed our family the opportunity to pause and pray,” commented Nicole Gadouas of Swanton. “During our week, we chose to pray each evening before dinner. Our children were excited to read the daily prayers and make it part of our time as a family. The opportunity allowed us to the have the presence of our faith in our busy weekly lives in addition to church on Sunday.”
 
Why a Vocation Chalice?
 
God creates each person with a vocation, a plan for how he or she will be called to love others. The chalice that is used for the program is emblematic of the Mass and the Eucharist, where Jesus Christ becomes truly present upon the altar under the forms of bread and wine. Jesus calls us to our vocations, as He is both the origin and destiny of every vocation and every person.
 
How does it work?
 
A parish that would like to implement the VCP would, with the pastor, contact the Vocation Office. First, a chalice is selected for use, either from the parish or diocesan archives. Next, the parish receives the VCP materials, which include a booklet with a brief daily catechesis and prayers for the family. Finally, a plan for implementation is created.
 
If you are interested in hosting the Vocation Chalice Program in your parish, please consult your pastor, and upon his approval, contact Father Jon Schnobrich in the Vocations Office: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 802-658-6110 ext. 1175.
 

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.

Meet Vermont's newest priest

Father Joseph J. Sanderson grew up in Orwell, two houses down the hill from St. Paul Church. The church was open throughout the day and into the early evening hours, so after long bus rides home from Fair Haven Union High School and cross country practice, he would go up to the church before dinner and homework.
 
At first his visits were brief – maybe five minutes – but over time those visits lengthened. The parish also had Eucharistic adoration on First Fridays that helped him to encounter Christ on a deeper level.
 
It was during these quiet times of prayer at his parish church that he first heard the call to the priesthood.
 
Father Sanderson was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Burlington on June 17 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
 
Born in Middlebury on Sept. 18, 1990, he is the eldest of the three children of Jennifer and John Sanderson. “Reciting the rosary together as a family played the biggest role in my journey to the priesthood,” he commented.
 
During high school, he worked at the bottle redemption center in Orwell, a job he enjoyed. “I can't help it, its corny, but now my work will be of another sort of ‘redemption,’” he quipped.
 
As a priest, he hopes that as Christ's instrument, he can bring others to Chris, “that they may experience His deep, abiding, eternal love for them, and in return that they may love Him,” he said. “To be loved by God and to love God in return is our destiny and gives us purpose and ultimate fulfillment.”
 
Father Sanderson entered the seminary after his graduation from high school, having given only slight consideration to a career working for Lego, maker of the toy building bricks he collects.
 
“Christ was the center of my life,” he said. “Through the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation, I received Christ's peace, joy and mercy. Once I had encountered Christ, I had a burning desire to share Him not only with those closest to me but with everyone.”
 
Father Sanderson attended Our Lady of Providence Seminary and Providence College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He is finishing his major seminary training at St. John's Seminary in Boston.
 
During summer breaks, he helped with the Totus Tuus summer program for children in Vermont, served in the Bishop’s Fund office and assisted at parishes in Williston, Richmond, South Burlington and Highgate Center.
 
A man who enjoys helping people and making them laugh, Father Sanderson is especially close to St. Therese of Lisieux and St. John the Baptist. “John was quite the character and brought many to Jesus through his voice and humility,” Father Sanderson said. "’I must decrease you must increase’ is a prayer I often say during Mass.”
 
St. Therese has shown him how easy it is to give back to God. “Love Him by giving Him everything, the small things, the everyday things. Any act we do can be an act of love,” he commented.
 
In addition to his Lego hobby, he enjoys biking, hiking cross-country skiing and going to the movies.
 
Father Sanderson tries to emulate the example of goodness and faith his parents have given him and the good example of the priests of the Diocese of Burlington.
 
His advice to those discerning a vocation to the priesthood is to find some quiet time to be with the Lord, to hear His voice. “Be patient with Christ. Find a priest to talk to and ask questions,” he said. “Finally, step out of the boat, as Peter did. Seminary is a time to discover who you are and how Christ may be calling you to love Him and His people.”
 
After his ordination to the priesthood, he looks most forward to celebrating Mass and hearing confessions.
 
“I chose to be a priest for the Diocese of Burlington because Vermont has always been and will always be my home,” Father Sanderson said. “It will be a great honor, privilege and joy for me to serve the people of this great State of Vermont, to labor for souls in this little corner of our Lord's vineyard.”
 
Originally published in the July 1, 2017, The Inland Sea.
 
 
 
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