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Collection to help Harvey victims

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice-president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has called on the bishops to consider taking a special collection to support victims of Hurricane Harvey and to provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted Dioceses.
 
The collection will be taken in the statewide Diocese of Burlington Sept 2-3 or 9-10.
 
Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne has requested that the special collection be taken at all 73 Vermont Catholic parishes. Funds given to the collection will support the humanitarian and recovery efforts of Catholic Charities USA and will provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted Dioceses through the conference of Catholic Bishops.
 
“God works through us to serve the greater community, especially in times of great need,” the bishop said. “We are called to be generous to the victims of Hurricane Harvey just as so many responded to our needs in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.  Our prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones and to all who have lost homes and businesses.”
 
 
  • Published in Nation

Obituary: Mercy Sister Claire Boissy

Sister Claire Boissy (Sister Mary Bernice), 77, of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community, Vermont, died at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington on Aug. 4.
 
She was born in Winooski on Nov. 5, 1938, the daughter of Isabelle (Devino) and Arthur Boissy. She attended St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski and Mount St. Mary Academy in Burlington. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Trinity College in Burlington and a master’s in Sacred Scripture from St. Mary's College in Norte Dame, Ind.
 
She entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1957, and professed her vows on Aug. 16, 1960. She taught at Mater Christi School and Mount St. Mary Academy in Burlington and at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington. She also taught religious education in several parishes of the Diocese of Burlington.
 
Sister Boissy served on the General Administration for the Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy, Vermont; she also served on the Initial Formation Team and was director of novices for the regional community.
 
She was involved in national leadership, serving on the governing board for the Federation of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas; chairperson of the Leadership Board -- Religious Formation Conference and chairperson of the New England Region of the Religious Formation Conference.
 
In 1989 Sister Boissy became director of the Institute for Spiritual Development, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. She was also a spiritual director.
 
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Blanche Boissy; many nieces and nephews; and her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Mercy. She was predeceased by her parents, her sister Pauline, and brothers Paul and Clayton Boissy.
 
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 11 a.m. in the Mount St. Mary chapel. Visiting hours will be 6 to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8, at Mount St. Mary's. 
 

Former head of CRS to speak at Vermont conference on "Laudato Si'"

A former head of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will be in Vermont in September to speak at the “Action for Ecological Justice: Celebrating a Year of Creation” conference at Saint Michael's College on September 30th. The conference will be the main event of the Diocese of Burlington’s Year of Creation, a yearlong, statewide, intentional focus on embracing the message of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.”

Hosted by the Catholic Church in Vermont, sponsors for the event include Catholic Relief Services, Oregon Catholic Press, Saint Michael's College, Sisters of Mercy, Catholic Climate Covenant,  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Department of Peace, Justice and Human Development, Courtyard Burlington Harbor Hotel, Keurig Green Mountain Coffee, Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, and Green Mountain Monastery.

General registration is $35 per person and includes morning pastries, lunch and afternoon breakout sessions. Students can register for free.

To register or learn more, visit: vermontcatholic.org/actionforecojustice.
 
Dr. Carolyn Woo, who from 2012-2016 was president and CEO of CRS, the U.S. Catholic Church's official, international humanitarian and development aid agency, will present a personal look at the encyclical she helped Pope Francis present in Rome, at environmental degradation and its effect on the poor and at measures to minimize further environmental harm from carbon emissions and remediate damage already done.
 
With perspectives from scientists, politicians, activists, economists, professionals, academics and people of various faiths, the conference will offer the opportunity for dynamic conversations about the state of creation and how people can work together for a sustainable future.
 
CRS staff “works face to face every day with the effects of climate warming,” Woo said. These include working with farmers whose livelihood is negatively impacted by erratic rainfall, which causes problems like drought on one extreme and soil erosion from deluges of rain on the other.
 
Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic bishops of the United States to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, it has expanded to reach more than 100 million people in over 100 countries on five continents.
 
Its mission is to assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic social teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. With that mission rooted in the Catholic faith, CRS operations serve people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity. In the United States, CRS engages Catholics to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and suffering people of the world.
 
The conference at St. Michael’s College will be open to people of all faiths.
 
For more information, call Stephanie Clary at 802-846-5822.

To learn more about the Year of Creation please visit: vermontcatholic.org/yearofcreation.
 

Companion planting with Bible herbs

With roots in Scripture, these popular plants can help your garden grow.
 
Companion planting is not a new idea in the gardening world. There is evidence of farmers using these same techniques dating back to biblical times. Growing healthy produce and flowers with companion plants makes for exceptional growth and nutrition.
 
Since people grew and preserved just about everything they ate or drank, having healthy crops was a necessity for eating well through the seasons. What they knew instinctively and what has passed down through generations is the knowledge that certain plants grown together act as helpmates. Like people, plants need good “friends,” or companions, to thrive.
 
Today there’s a renaissance of sorts going on with companion planting in the garden. Corn, beans, and squash are grown together as “sisters.” Each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. As the corn grows, the beans find support by climbing up the stalk. As legumes, they fix nitrogen in the soil, and that supports the nutritional needs of corn. The squash are quick growers, and their large leaves shade out weeds. Together, the sisters provide a balanced diet from a single planting.
 
I learned early on that Bible herbs are good flower and vegetable companions. My mom would take a clove of garlic—a common Bible herb—and push it into the soil near the roses. The garlic helped deter bugs. There’s a bonus when planting Bible herbs among your garden plants. Pests find them more difficult to seek out, since the scent, color and texture of herbs are thought to confuse them. Certain herbs attract beneficial insects to your garden as well.
 
A companion planting plan integrates Mother Nature’s traits as well as your choice of what you want to grow. Here are some of my favorite plants grown and used during biblical times and what they can do to help your garden grow better. If you have little ones in your life, have them help. They will enjoy digging up God’s good earth and learning how Bible plants make good friends in the garden.
 
BASIL
 
Of all the herbs I grow that have biblical significance, basil is my favorite. It’s not mentioned specifically in the Bible, but legend has it that basil was first seen springing up outside Christ’s tomb after the resurrection.
 
The basil of the Bible was probably what is known as sweet basil. It’s the common green basil easily grown. Basil is a good companion for tomatoes. It makes tomatoes taste better, acts as a fungicide and is also good for peppers. Basil grows well next to oregano. Because bees love basil, good pollination is assured for anything planted near it. Basil’s aroma repels flies and mosquitoes: place some potted basil on your outside decks and by house entrances, and you will also be protected.
 
CHIVES/GARLIC
 
When the Israelites fled Egypt, they missed the vegetables grown in their home gardens. In Numbers 11:5, the Israelites cry out to Moses in hunger, “We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic.”
 
Chives and garlic are members of the same onion family. Chives help carrots, tomatoes, and members of the cabbage family thrive. Chives also repel cabbage worms. You can make a spray out of chives steeped in water to kill powdery mildew. Butterflies, good pollinators, are attracted to the flowers of chives.
 
Garlic improves growth on roses and raspberries, deterring Japanese beetles. It’s also a good companion to carrots, cucumbers, peas, beets, and lettuce. Garlic is especially beneficial when planted near apple, pear, and peach trees. It also repels ants.
 
CILANTRO/CORIANDER
 
Coriander is referenced several times in the Old Testament, and many of us are familiar with the verse in Exodus 16:31: “The Israelites called this food manna [meaning ‘food from heaven’]. It was like coriander seed, but white, and it tasted like wafers made with honey.”
 
Cilantro is one of the herbs that I know of as a spice, too. The leaves are called cilantro and the seeds coriander. Cilantro helps spinach and repels or distracts white flies and aphids. When it’s grown alongside anise, they act together as a good deterrent for snails and slugs, common pests on plants during early spring, when there’s a lot of moisture in the ground.
 
DILL
 
Dill is mentioned only once in the New Testament, in Matthew 23:23–24. It tells about the Pharisees paying tithes of herbs, including dill: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees… You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity… [You] strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!”
 
Scholars believe that dill was wrongly translated as anise in English-language Bibles. Dill improves the growth and health of vegetables in the cabbage family, repelling those nasty squash bugs and cabbage loopers. Cucumbers, lettuce, and onions grow better with dill planted nearby.
 
The flower heads of dill are among the best nectar sources for beneficial insects in the garden. Plant dill in an appropriate spot for the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars to feed on. Even their caterpillars are beautiful. They become orange-yellow and black butterflies.
 
FENNEL
 
The name fennel is not used, but the word galbanum is mentioned in Exodus 30:34–38. Botanists believe this is a giant fennel, which is native to the Mediterranean region and southern Europe. Here’s the Bible passage: “The Lord told Moses: ‘Take these aromatic substances: storax and onycha and galbanum, these and pure frankincense in equal parts; and blend them into incense. This fragrant powder, expertly prepared, is to be salted and so kept pure and sacred.’”
 
Fennel attracts ladybugs and repels aphids. It’s also a host for beneficial pollinators and insects.
 
MINT
 
As in Matthew 23, mint is also mentioned in Luke 11:42 as a tithing herb: “Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others.”
 
Peppermint helps members of the cabbage family, including kales. It repels the cabbage fly. Plant a container near the kitchen door to keep ants away. The white flowers of peppermint attract pollinators like bees, and beneficial insects love mint.
 
MARIGOLDS
 
This is another beautiful, useful flower not specifically mentioned in the Bible. Marigolds are a flower that I always include when teaching little ones how to plant a Bible garden. The reason? Think of the name and you’ll see why I call these flowers “Mary’s Gold,” which reminds us of the bright yellow sunshine that surrounds our Blessed Mother, along with her halo of golden hue.
 
Tomatoes love marigolds, and so do peppers, cucumbers, and even cabbage. Plant them everywhere! Certain varieties of marigolds, like the French marigold, produce a pesticidal chemical from their roots, so strong it lasts years after they are gone.
 
One of the reasons marigolds are so good as companion plants is their scent. Pests don’t like their aroma at all.
 
OREGANO
 
In Exodus 12:22, Moses tells the Israelites to prepare for the 10th biblical plague by dipping a branch of hyssop in lamb’s blood to mark their doorposts, thus sparing the lives of their firstborn. Some scholars believe hyssop to be a type of oregano. This makes sense to me, since hyssop was not known as a native plant in the Mediterranean area during biblical times.
 
Oregano provides general pest protection. Cucumber beetles will stay away if oregano is grown close by and aphids won’t bother your tomatoes. You’ll have good melon production with oregano growing near.
 
 
Rita Nader Heikenfeld is an award-winning syndicated journalist, inductee into Escoffier Hall of Fame, President’s Medal ACF, Appalachian herbal scholar, accredited family herbalist, author and the founding editor of AboutEating.com.
 
Published in St. Anthony Messenger, April 2017

 
 
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