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It is ironic, perhaps, that it was the witness of the martyrs that helped inspire the conversion of St. Justin from paganism to the Christian faith; it was because he clung to and defended that faith that his own life would end in martyrdom in 165.

Though his exact birth date is unknown, scholars surmise that he was born into a pagan family sometime around the year 100. As a young man, he was drawn to the study of philosophy as a way of discovering truth, and he spent a great deal of time reading and contemplating the works of Plato. As profound as those works were, they did not satisfy his desire to fully understand the most basic and important questions he was asking about life.

It was a chance meeting on a beach that led him toward the answers he was seeking. There he fell into conversation with an old man who shared with him the message of Jesus Christ. This, coupled with the witness of the Christian martyrs, convinced him that the truths he sought could be found, not in the speculations of philosophy alone, but in the person of the Word made Flesh–Jesus of Nazareth.

Justin, however, did not abandon his intellect or his intellectual pursuits. He simply put them to use defending his newfound faith, writing Christian apologies (a word which means, in a theological sense, explanations of the faith) for both Jews and Romans. He was able to combine the best elements of Greek philosophy with Christian theology to both defend Christianity and correct erroneous assumptions about it. Some of those errors–such as believing that Christians were "cannibals" because they spoke of "eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ"–we would find preposterous today. However, in Justin's time, such misconceptions were believed and his writings did much to dispel these misunderstandings. Two of his "Apologies," one each written to the Roman emperor and to the Roman Senate, as well as a "Dialogue to the Jew Tryphon" have survived.

When Marcus Aurelius became emperor in Rome in 161, an era of increased persecution of Christians began. Among those martyred for the faith was St. Justin, whose name would even come down to us with the cognomen "Martyr." One of Christianity's greatest apologists, Justin Martyr is honored as the patron saint of philosophers. His feast day is celebrated June 1.


Sources for these articles include:


Lebreton, Jules. "St. Justin Martyr." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.

"Saint Justin Martyr," CatholicSaints.Info. 8 August 2015. 

Schreck, Alan. Catholic Church History from A to Z. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 2002.

College of St. Joseph baseball captures first USCAA national championship title

Just one year after the program's inception, members of the College of St. Joseph baseball team are national champions.

The Saints were awarded with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national title after going undefeated in the series, including a 14-3 victory over Cincinnati-Clermont in the championship game May 12.

Senior Derek Osborne from Springfield shut down Cincinnati-Clermont in the ninth to wrap up a complete-game win.

Saints players rushed the field at the game's conclusion, celebrating in a pile behind second base. A number of players emerged from the revelry covered in shaving cream. After that scene settled, Saints players got the jump on Coach Bob Godlewski and doused him with the water bucket.

Derek Edge, Nestor Velazquez, Jordan Matos, Colin McLeod, Jared Morello, Kevin Rodriguez and Connor Martin were all big contributors in the team's championship win.

Junior shortstop Nick Rodriguez from New Britain, Conn., was named Tournament MVP. Alan Madsen, Tyler Kunzmann, Bill Brancatella and Connor Martin were named to the All- Tournament Team.

Seniors Nestor Velazquez, Justin Lemanski, Tyler Demers, Jordan Matos, Alan Madsen, Derek Osborne and Bill Brancatella accepted the national championship trophy.

The Saints finished the season 52-11 overall.

  • Published in Schools

New Mater Christi principal

Patrick Lofton has been hired as the new president of Mater Christi School.

He was employed for 20 years as an associate superintendent of Catholic schools in Wisconsin and principal, teacher and fundraiser in Minnesota Catholic schools. Most recently, he was the executive vice president/chief operating officer of the National Catholic Educational Association in Virginia.

Lofton and his wife, Dr. Sheri Lofton, plan to relocate in Vermont. They have three college-age daughters. He is spending time in May and June in Burlington, sharing ideas with the principal of Mater Christi School, Anthony Fontana, and observing the school while it is still in session. His wife will spend some of that time transitioning out of her Virginia-based medical practice.

In his letter of acceptance, Lofton said: "As a lifelong Catholic educator, I am truly inspired by the history and legacy of the Sisters of Mercy and their efforts to found and support Mater Christi School. Your school has a long, proud and blessed history, as well as a promising future due to the dedication, sacrifice and unwavering commitment of the Sisters of Mercy as well as the larger community. I feel so very fortunate and privileged to be joining your community."

  • Published in Schools

Bishop de Goesbri and Appeal for Human Advancement Grants awarded to 28 Vermont non-profit organizations

Thanks to the generosity of parishes throughout the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. has awarded Bishop deGoesbriand Appeal for Human Advancement grants to 28 non-profit organizations that make meaningful differences in the daily lives of individuals and families.

Funding for these grants was made possible through the generosity of parishioners who donated funds through a second collection in November; 100 percent of the funds were allocated to the grant recipients.

"Vermont Catholic Charities is grateful for the financial support from parishioners throughout the state. This is yet another example of how Catholics reach out to those who need help," said Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities. "Because we are able to award grants, thousands of Vermonters will benefit through the programs and services offered by local nonprofit organizations."

Recipients have expressed thanks for the grants and the generosity of the donors.

This year, $62,000 was awarded to the following organizations:

• Addison County Community Action, Middlebury ($3,000): Funding will help repair existing homes of very low income individuals to help them stay in their homes, provide emergency hotel rooms for homeless families and equip the homeless with basic gear to ease their daily survival.

• ANEW Place, Burlington ($2,000): Funding will help with the continuation of the agency's 4-phase program that focuses on long-term solutions for the most vulnerable members of the community.

• Bennington Oral Health Coalition ($3,300): Funding will help support the position of Oral Health Coordinator.

• Burlington Dismas House ($500): Funding will support the mentoring program between former prisoners and college students.

• Burlington Meals on Wheels ($3,000): Funding will help finance the day-to-day food purchases so Meals on Wheels can continue to deliver nearly 240 meals per day to Chittenden County seniors and the infirmed.

• Camp Exclamation Point, Thetford ($2,000): Funding will help with supplies for increased program offerings and for transportation of campers to and from camp. Camp Exclamation Point gives more than 110 children from rural Vermont communities a weeklong residential summer camp experience.

• Care Net Pregnancy Center, Burlington and St. Albans ($1,000): Funding will help support the expansion of the "Happy Together" Relationship Building Program for at-risk clients.

• Care Net Pregnancy Center of the Tri-State Area, Bennington ($2,000): Funding will help with the purchase of mobile ultrasound bus to travel throughout Vermont providing ultrasounds for pregnant women in crisis.

• Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Food Shelf, Burlington ($2,500): Funding will be used to purchase non-perishable food items for individuals/families in need in the Burlington area.

• Catholic Center at the University of Vermont, Burlington ($1,850): Students at the University of Vermont will use funding to shop, cook and prepare dinners for the poor in Burlington and take the food to the Salvation Army to serve the meal.

• Champlain Valley Birthright, Burlington ($3,000): Funding will be used for advertising to increase community awareness of their services and to making themselves known to any woman who is ambivalent about her pregnancy.

• Committee on Temporary Shelter, Burlington ($1,250): Funding will support COTS Daystation program that serves as a refuge from the streets and helps people stabilize their lives in times of crisis.

• Community Emergency Relief Volunteer, Northfield ($3,800): Funding will be used to purchase additional food needed to accommodate an increased number of clients, support families with emergency aid as needed and replace a freezer.

• Ecumenical Lunch Bunch, Essex Junction ($500): Funding will be used to provide nutritious lunches to needy children during their summer vacation.

• Good Beginnings of Central Vermont, Montpelier ($2,000): Funding will be used to support the "In Loving Arms" program, a collaboration with the Central Vermont Medical Center. The project pairs a trained volunteer with a vulnerable infant at CVMC birthing center after birth due to addiction, premature birth or other health complications.

• Greater Bennington Interfaith ($3,000): Funding will be used to purchase additional food for the Kitchen Cupboard, which provides food to more than 1,200 families in the Bennington area.

• Greater Falls Warming Shelter, Rockingham ($2,500): Funding will help provide a safe, warm overnight shelter during the winter months for those in need.

• Greater Vergennes Rotary and St. Peter Parish ($2,000): Funding will help provide needed afternoon snacks to children of the Boys and Girls Club of the greater Vergennes area.

• Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, Williston ($2,000): Funding will help purchase two lots to build energy efficient homes for low-income families.

• John Graham Shelter, Vergennes ($4,000): Funding will help fund a part-time shelter case manager who will work with homeless families and children.

• Joseph's House, Burlington ($2,500): Funding will help this parish outreach center purchase food gift cards for individuals and families in need.

• Meals & Wheels of Greater Springfield ($1,500): Funding will help with the Breakfast First Program, a program to help people 60 and over maintain their independence.

• Neighborhood Connections, Londonderry ($2,000): Funding will be used to address critical gaps in the community through a multi-component Community Care Initiative, which incorporates health care/wellness for seniors and families in need.

• Our Place Drop In Center, Bellows Falls ($3,000): Funding will be used to support freezing home-cooked meals to be distributed to people who access the food pantry and for the expansion of grocery deliveries to more seniors in the Bellows Falls area.

• Rutland Dismas House ($1,000): Funding will be used to support summer activities that reconnect former prisoners with their children.

• Samaritan House, St. Albans ($3,800): Samaritan House is the only emergency shelter and transitional housing program for homeless individuals in Franklin and Grand Isle counties. Funds will be used to support this program, which assists families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness into permanent housing.

• St. Brigid's Kitchen and St. Brigid's Pantry, Brattleboro ($3,000): Funding will be used to continue to offer meals to those in need in the Brattleboro community through the soup kitchen and the "Take-A-Bag" program.

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Bishop's Fund Annual Appeal