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Vermont Catholic parishes actively involved in social justice ministries

Mindful of the words of the Lord: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”(Jn 13:35), Christians can yearn for nothing more ardently than to serve the people of this age successfully with increasing generosity. Holding loyally to the Gospel, enriched by its resource, and joining forces with all who love and practice justice, they have shouldered a weighty task here on earth and they must render an account of it to him who will judge all people on the last day.
--"Gaudium et Spes" (“The Church in the Modern World”), Vatican II, 1965 #93


A recent survey of parish social justice activities reveals that Vermont Catholics are serving others with untold generosity.  There are 73 parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington and more than 100 active churches.
 
From visiting the sick and imprisoned, to assisting the homeless to feeding the hungry, the people of Vermont parishes are contributing thousands upon thousands of dollars in volunteer services to people in need throughout the state. 
 
Based on the survey, 96 percent of responding parishes participate in feeding the hungry either by donations to a local food shelf, managing their own food pantry, serving meals at the parish hall or food drives. Most parishes support multiple ministries: 89 percent poverty; 83 percent illness/infirm; 66 percent homeless; 30 prison and 29 percent other. Parishes support and partner with more than 155 organizations throughout Vermont to volunteer, donate goods and money.

Father Yvon Royer, pastor of St. Peter Church in Vergennes and St. Ambrose Church in Bristol, said the various ministries parishes offer help people in the larger community “to know God’s love through the acts of our parishioners.”
 
Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Morrisville, Johnson, Hyde Park and Eden reaches out to persons in need through its SAM – Social Action Ministry – program, which provides assistance with things like rent, utilities, gasoline, food and phone minutes. Spiritual guidance is available also.
 
“We try to give them hope,” Mary Elfer said of those who seek assistance from the parish.
 
She is the parish ministries coordinator and considers assisting others as integral to her faith. “We are to follow the Gospel and practice our faith through works of love toward our neighbor,” she said. “Christ told us to help each other. We are supposed to take to heart those in need.”
 
The parish also works with local service agencies to meet needs.
 
Ted and Kathy Barrett of St. Jude Church in Hinesburg coordinate the twice-monthly senior meal hosted by the parish in partnership with Age Well, an agency that advocates for the aging population of northwestern Vermont.
 
Motivated by their faith and their desire to help others, they have been involved in the meals for about 10 years. “The seniors need a place to get out and meet other seniors,” Mr. Barrett said.
 
“We enjoy doing it, and they enjoy the camaraderie, the friendship,” Mrs. Barrett added.
 
The meal program serves about 20 meals at each dinner, and volunteers include parishioners and community members.
 
In addition to a free bingo game, “there is a lot of chatting, telling stories and reminiscing,” Mrs. Barrett said.
 
Many parishes are involved in providing gifts to persons in need at Christmas. At St. Thomas Parish in Underhill Center, for example, a food project provides about six to 10 families with food and fruit boxes/baskets that include a ham or turkey and a gift card for additional needed items.
 
“God calls us to love our neighbor,” said Laura Wells, coordinator of religious education and coordinator of the Christmas food and fruit boxes/baskets. “When we open our heart to Christ…we are happy and … want to serve our neighbor.”
 
The parish collects food all year for people in need, but during Advent, the collection is used specifically for the food and fruit project.
 
“People are so good” about helping others in need, Wells said, noting that the Christmas food project is but one of the social justice works in the parish.
 
One of the important social justice ministries at St. Michael Parish in Brattleboro is St. Brigid’s Kitchen and Pantry. Healthy noontime meals are served four days a week, and a food pantry helps those who need food to take home. About 17,000 meals a year are served there.
 
St. Brigid’s is nearly 35 years old, and throughout the years faith has motivated many of its volunteers. “We are compelled to care for the poor because God demands it,” said Volunteer Coordinator Carolyn Pieciak.
 
But it is important to point out that as much as varied parish charitable works assist people in need, they also give volunteers a broad selection of ways to “give back” or to live out their faith.
 
“The old adage that ‘it is in giving that receive’ is made very true through the opportunity to share of one’s self through these different ministries,” Father Royer said.
 
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
-- Mt 25:34-40

 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

New director of worship to assist parishes with liturgical catechesis, formation

The Diocese of Burlington has hired a director of worship to assist parishes with liturgical catechesis and formation and to ensure Masses are celebrated with reverence, care and attention.
 
Joshua J. Perry also will coordinate the planning and celebration of diocesan liturgies such as the Rite of Election, Chrism Mass, priestly and diaconate ordinations and priest’s funerals and serve as a resource for confirmation celebrations.
 
Born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., in 2003 and a master’s in Liturgical Studies from St. John’s University and School of Theology in Collegeville, Minn., in 2009.
 
He worked as the coordinator of liturgical celebrations at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis as well as director of worship for a 1,500-family suburban parish (St. Therese Parish in Deephaven, Minn.). Most recently, he was the liturgist at Villanova University.
 
“Effective liturgy engages us and invites us to full, active and conscious participation through ritual, posture, gesture, words, singing and silence,” he said. “It is full of signs and symbols; effective liturgy is the full use of those signs and symbols so that our senses are engaged – sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing – and not just our minds.”
 
Reporting directly to Phil Lawson, director of evangelization and catechesis for the Diocese of Burlington, Perry’s main area of responsibility is liturgical catechesis and formation, offering parishes throughout the diocese assistance in their own efforts in these areas, especially working with liturgical ministers -- lectors, altar servers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, musicians and clergy.
 
“But the Church also recognizes the importance of the worshipping assembly – those who are ‘in the pews’ and called to fully, actively and consciously participate in their own way in the liturgy,” he said. “These catechetical efforts are for them as well so that they may more deeply engage in the liturgy. Because of the importance of liturgical catechesis and formation, this office is a part of the larger Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.”
 
Another of his responsibilities is to ensure that liturgies are celebrated with reverence, care and attention – “to let our liturgy be the best we can offer given our particular situations and resources,” he continued. “Diligent celebration allows us to better reflect on the power of liturgy, and this reflection, in turn, encourages us to more diligent celebration.”
 
Perry hopes to foster and encourage devotion to Our Lord in the Eucharist through Exposition and Adoration and to Our Lady.
 
Also, the way parishes celebrate other important moments in people’s lives is also important: baptisms, weddings and funerals. He hopes to encourage positive liturgical celebrations of those times too.
 
“Occasional Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer celebrated communally can be a wonderful addition to Lenten or Advent observances,” he said. “The Church has official blessings for any number of occasions -- there’s a big book of blessings aptly called ‘Book of Blessings,’ and I would like to encourage parishes break open that resource.”
 
Perry hopes in the coming months to provide regional workshops and evenings of reflection so that those involved in liturgy or those who simply want to go deeper in liturgy have time and space to reflect on their liturgical experience.
 
In his first year on the job, he hopes to visit all the parishes/worship sites for Sunday Mass and meet with people from different parts of the diocese to get their sense of the liturgy.
 
He lives in Fairfax with his 10-year-old Akita dog, Ada.
 
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Bishop Kenneth Angell, eighth bishop of Burlington, has died

Bishop Kenneth A. Angell served as bishop of Burlington from 1992 to 2005, and from the beginning, he revealed a good-humored man of faith with a heart for the dignity of all humanity.
 
He died Oct. 4, 2016, at the age of 86.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 1 p.m. at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington with  Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne as principal celebrant in the presence of Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston. Calling hours will be on Monday, Oct. 10, from 3-7 p.m. and on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 11 a.m-12:30 p.m. at the co-cathedral. Burial will take place in the Angell Family lot at St. Anne Cemetery in Cranston, R.I., at a later time.
 
Beginning at his installation, Bishop Angell publicly showed his keen sense of humor. His predecessor, Bishop John A. Marshall – a more serious personality – said Bishop Angell’s sense of humor would be a welcome change for Vermonters. “Everyone’s been talking about his sense of humor and different personality, and it’s good to have that contrast,” Bishop Marshall said, indicating his own more serious side. But, he added, “He’s very serious about the teachings of the Church.”
 
During his installation, Bishop Angell spoke of social justice issues and a new mission of transforming society to better reflect Jesus’ values and called everyone to get involved.
 
He came to Vermont as a member of the Church and at the same time as one who was a pastor, as a disciple of Jesus and as a teacher of the faith.
 
In his installation homily he asked people to continue to put their gifts and talents at the service of the Church and said he prayed that people would always love the Church because it is the “extension of Christ.”
 
He pledged cooperation and support to those of other faiths and ecclesial communities in transforming society to reflect the values they shared and proclaimed, and he asked that people never cease to proclaim the dignity of all human life.
 
To assist men contemplating a vocation to the priesthood, Bishop Angell called for the establishment of a House of Discernment, opened in 1993 in four second-floor rooms at the Catholic Center at the University of Vermont, a place where young men of college age or older could spend a day, a weekend or longer praying and reflecting on whether they are being called to the priesthood. Msgr. Michael DeForge, then vocations director of the diocese, said the house would benefit the entire community by helping to create a “culture of vocations."

With the full support of Bishop Angell, the Diocese of Burlington began a new Ministry Training program to provide education, training and support for those who discerned a call to leadership ministries, to nurture their spiritual lives; to provide a firm foundation in Scripture, spirituality and Catholic teachings; and to develop an awareness and appreciation of the diversity and complementarity of vocations and states of life.

Bishop Angell was dedicated to protecting the dignity of all life. In 1993, he lead an ecumenical group of more than 1,500 right-to-life supporters to the Statehouse in Montpelier where he presented a petition containing more than 29,000 signatures against mandated abortion coverage in health care. He also began a diocesan wide Respect Life Phone Tree, which he activated whenever immediate action was needed to lobby state or national leaders.

In 1995, at the behest of the bishop, who had dedicated himself to the USCCB’s efforts to “confront a Culture of Violence," the Knights of Columbus collected more than 6,000 signatures on a petition to aid the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines.
 
In 1996 Bishop Angell established a diocesan Bishop’s Commission on Women to ascertain the needs and concerns of Vermont Catholics on issues related to women in the Church. “We have been trying to open up jobs and ministries to women, and although we have had some success, it is not yet all that we hope for,” he said.
 
A strong supporter of traditional marriage, Bishop Angell in 2000 released a statement saying, “We believe that marriage is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman, entered into for life, and open to the possibility of children and family. We believe that a stable, life-long relationship of husband and wife best serves the procreation, care and education of children. We believe further that re-defining marriage, expanding it to include other private relationships, will ultimately attack the age-old truth that traditional marriage and stable families constitute the very foundation of our society.”
 
In 2001 he wrote to the House to express his opposition to capital punishment, saying, "We must not perpetuate the crime of murder by becoming a society that kills for retribution.... We must not promote or justify a culture of vengeance. We cannot hope to teach that killing is wrong by killing."

Tragedy struck the nation – and the Angell Family in particular – on Sept. 11, 2001. The bishop’s younger brother, David Angell -- the Emmy Award-winning creator and producer of Frasier -- and his wife, Lynn, died during the terror attacks aboard American Airlines Flight 11. Nearly 1,200 people attended a Memorial Mass Sept. 12 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington for the victims of the terrorist attacks. At the beginning of the Mass, Bishop Angell prayed for the victims, their families, friends, rescue workers and President George W. Bush. He also asked the congregation to pray for the perpetrators “that they may be moved to repentance.” Addressing the media after the Mass, Bishop Angell was asked how he could call for prayers for the perpetrators of such senseless violence; he replied, “I am a Christian. I have to forgive, so I do.”

It was also during his tenure as bishop that the clergy sexual abuse scandal came to light, and he participated in the acceptance of The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability and prevention of future acts of abuse.
 
“I was so moved by the testimony of those abused. My heart went out to the victims—each of these people whose lives have been so deeply affected by offending clergy,” he shared. The diocese established the Office of Safe Environments to implement the charter and to oversee programs to ensure safety for those involved with Church ministries.

In 2003 Bishop Angell spearheaded the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the diocese. More than 1,300 people gathered at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral for the celebratory Mass. “As we look back and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of Burlington, we are most grateful for the hearty and God-fearing Catholics of Vermont who preserved our faith, hope and charity through four centuries of Vermont winters, wilderness, politics, priests, bishops and countless tests of faith,” he said.

Faced with a shortage of priests and a decline in weekly Mass attendance, the bishop explained that a “drought in priestly vocations” had caused the diocese to re-evaluate how priests are assigned. In 2004, Bishop Angell called for a sweeping study of parish reconfigurations, consolidations and schedule changes. He then wrote a pastoral letter to address the challenge of maintaining and fostering pastoral life in the diocese while facing a decreasing number of priests to serve in ministry.
 
Some parishes adopted a share-a-pastor model; other parishes used pastoral associates and other lay ministers to assist the pastor in meeting the demands of parish life. Some had adjusted Mass schedules, and some churches were reduced to seasonal or occasional use. Some were closed. Regional meetings took place to aid in the pastoral planning process.

In 2004, Bishop Angell wrote to 49 Catholic Vermont legislators seeking to open lines of communication and expressing his willingness to discuss specific issues of import to Catholics. “A well-informed Catholic conscience is a precious and great gift to those who thirst and strive for justice,” he wrote. He told the Catholic legislators to contact him and/or members of the Diocesan Respect Life Committee on “any such matters of conscience and related concerns.”
 
He met with Gov. Douglas to deliver a stack of petitions in opposition to physician-assisted suicide. “We are here this day in the name of all who respect life, to petition your support in the effort to keep physician-assisted suicide illegal in our beloved state,” he said. “Assisted suicide not only abdicates the sworn duties of all physicians to nurture life, but it infringes upon the power of the Almighty who is the Author of Life and Death.”

In the pastoral letter, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: Reflections on the Formation of a Catholic Conscience,” Bishop Angell stated that prominent figures who profess the Catholic faith must be particularly cautious in the way they publicly represent their beliefs on the value of human life. “We hope they will take great care to lead, not mislead the faithful on any and all respect life issues,” he wrote. “Public statements and opinions which distort Catholic Church teachings can confuse the faithful, cause them great pain and promote disunity within the Church.”
 
Bishop Angell maintained a respect for the dignity of humanity and a sense of humor during his tenure as Bishop of Burlington. He lived up to his episcopal motto: “Serve the Lord with Gladness,” for indeed, he was serving the Lord.
 
 
 

Preserving our Past: Archivist keeps watch over history of the Diocese of Burlington

Kathleen Messier picked up third Burlington Bishop Joseph J. Rice’s shaving brush — part of a set with a shaving cup bearing his name. “Imagine all the DNA I could get off of this,” the assistant archivist for the Diocese of Burlington who once worked as a pharmaceutical chemist said with a smile.

For her, the move from science to history wasn’t a leap: “I know how to do research.”

These days her work is part time in a small office at diocesan headquarters on Joy Drive in South Burlington. But more than an office, the space is a repository of history.

It’s filled with shelves and boxes and cabinets that hold mementos and memories of times past in the Church of Vermont: sacramental records, chalices, records from closed parishes, Catholic high school yearbooks, various ephemera, tabernacles, thurifers, relics of saints, sixth Burlington Bishop Robert F. Joyce’s war medals, photographs, parish histories, early bishops’ vestments and books that include volumes written by the first Vermont bishop — Bishop Louis deGoesbriand — and the exhaustive Vermont history, “The Vermont Historical Gazetteer,” by Abby Maria Hemenway.

The holdings even include a link of a chain that bound St. Peter before his crucifixion obtained by Bishop deGoesbriand.

Messier speaks French and likes to read notes and letters Bishop deGoesbriand wrote in his native language.

“The history of the Diocese of Burlington is here,” Messier said. “You read it. You see it. You talk to people” about it.

She recalled a recent visit from Burlington native Bishop Louis Gelineau, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Providence. “He is a wealth of information” about the diocese, she said.

A member of the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists, Messier earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 1997 from St. Michael’s College in Colchester. A mother of three and parishioner of Holy Family/St. Lawrence Parish in Essex Junction, she has worked as a part-time archivist for the diocese since May 2015.

She writes a monthly social media post for the diocese about the “obscuriosities” of the archives and enjoys helping people find information about their family tree or about the closed Catholic school they attended and demystifying myths. “In doing these things, I learn,” she said.

More and more historical information is stored digitally, but she welcomes items of historical significance to the Vermont Church. 

“This is a big deal for the Church in Vermont,” Messier said of the archives. “This tells the story of Vermont Catholics.”

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban,
Vermont Catholic
content editor/staff writer.

Vermont Catholic Charities Advent Appeal update

The Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. annual Advent Appeal got off to a good start with 886 donors giving more than $71,000 as of Dec. 18 to support individuals and families in need for Christmas and throughout the year.

Last year at the same time 535 donors had given $41,000.

"I am grateful to all the donors who supported our annual Advent Appeal. What a blessing and amazing gift you have given to individuals and families throughout Vermont," said Mary Beth Pinard, executive director of Vermont Catholic Charities. "It is such a relief for all of those helped to know that rent will be paid, heat and lights will stay on, food will be on the table, and gifts will be under the tree. Every gift truly does make a difference."

Money raised during this appeal was and will be used to help individuals and families meet basic needs such as food, utilities, and rent. For Christmas, gift cards were given to help provide children with Christmas gifts.

Those who received Christmas aid included 61 households from 14 different parishes. Additionally, 140 households from throughout the state were helped through Vermont Catholic Charities' emergency aid offices.

"To have a few presents under the tree and Christmas dinner with my children is a blessing. Thank you," said one recipient.

This year a change was made to the appeal so that it would focus not only on helping people at Christmas but also provide additional funds for Vermont Catholic Charities' year-round Emergency Aid program. Throughout the year, Vermont Catholic Charities provides aid to hundreds of individuals and families who need immediate short-term financial support.

To donate, send checks made payable to the Emergency Aid Fund to Vermont Catholic Charities, Inc., 55 Joy Drive, South Burlington, Vt. 05403.

 

Our #10 celebrates first year anniversary as Bishop of Burlington, looks to future

When Bishop Christopher J. Coyne became bishop of the Vermontwide Diocese of Burlington nearly one year ago, he set out to be a positive, faithful presence both within the Catholic and wider civic communities.

To that end, he has visited all 10 deaneries and met with priests, religious, parishioners, interfaith and ecumenical leaders, the governor, the mayor of Burlington, the president of St. Michael's College in Colchester, persons involved with social service agencies and Catholic school students and teachers. From the middle of February to the end of November, he put more than 15,000 miles on his black Jeep Grand Cherokee.

"I have tried to reach out to not only the Catholic community but also to men and women of goodwill throughout the state," he said during a Dec. 1 interview at his chancery office in South Burlington. "I have tried to establish that the Catholic community has a positive place within the larger community of the state and that we are not a marginalized people but we are in fact a people of goodwill who want to work with other people of goodwill to foster the common good of all."

His first 11 months as 10th bishop of Burlington have been recorded on his blog, Facebook, Twitter and other media accounts. During this time through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops he has coordinated media relations for Pope Francis' first-ever visit to the United States, promoted the establishment of the first virtual Vermont Catholic high school and maintained lines of communication with all people.

"I'm trying to be a person of good faith, goodwill and good news," he said.

He's also a good sport, throwing out the first pitch at a Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game.

But one of his funniest memories is of going to Troy on Good Friday to celebrate the 3 p.m. liturgy because his schedule had listed "Sacred Heart Parish."

"They were not sure why I was there but were glad to have me," he said. "I couldn't figure out why I was scheduled for Troy instead of the cathedral. Finally, it occurred to me that it was an old event from Indiana (where he had served as an auxiliary bishop) where I was supposed to celebrate the 3 p.m. service at Sacred Heart Parish in Jeffersonville, Ind. I thought I had cleared my calendar of all Indiana events when I came to Vermont, but I missed that one."

Bishop Coyne was installed as the shepherd of Vermont Catholics during a packed – and televised – Mass Jan. 29 at St. Joseph Co- Cathedral in Burlington.

In his homily, he addressed decreasing church attendance, saying, "Now more than ever, our community needs to hear the call of the good news, proclaimed to a culture that seems to hear so many other voices." He addressed the challenge faced in Vermont and elsewhere of declining membership and a cultural trend away from a revealed religion to a personal spirituality at best or no belief at worst.

By visiting parishes throughout the state, Bishop Coyne has seen declining church attendance and witnessed the effects of both lapsed Catholics and changing demographics. "It's not simply a matter of a lack of priests oftentimes it's a lack of Catholics" that has created the need for parish reconfigurations such as those that have taken place during the past several years, he said.

He has celebrated Masses for hundreds of people and for tens of people, prompting the question of sustainability over the years for some Catholic parishes with declining populations. "We have priests, and we have enough priests to take care of our Catholic community, but our priests need to be assigned to places where people can be found," he said.

To foster more vocations from within the Diocese of Burlington the diocesan director of vocations will be full time rather than part time as of July 1 with the help of an assistant vocation director and the reestablishment of a vocation board.

With nine current seminarians and at least five more serious candidates, he is hopeful for an increase in vocations to the priesthood.

In addition, when a call was issued in October to parishes, Catholic agencies and Catholic schools for the names of young men and women who might be possible candidates for priesthood or religious life, more than 600 names were submitted. "There is a lot of possibility of vocations within this state," he said; those individuals were invited to a vocations awareness program.

Asked about Pope Francis and his influence on his first year as bishop of Burlington, Bishop Coyne said not only does he owe him respect and obedience as the supreme pontiff, he respects the way Pope Francis has changed the conversation between the Church and the culture of the world.

"Now more and more we are being defined by what we are for rather than by what we are against," the bishop said. "We had allowed ourselves to be defined as a church that's against gay people, a church that's against women, a church that is against freedom of expression – all those things of the culture war."

But Pope Francis has "turned that around" and the Church is better known as the Church for the marginalized, the needy and the struggling, he said. "The arms of the Church are very wide."

The pope has visited prisons, met with the poor and shown kindness to the needy. "He challenges me all the time," Bishop Coyne said.

In calling for a special Year of Mercy – which began Dec. 8 – Pope Francis is emphasizing God's great mercy. "With God's mercy, there are no ifs, ands or buts," the bishop said. "We human beings want to put restrictions on God's mercy" and say it is available only if certain conditions are met.

"God's mercy is a very abundant mercy. It's a wide mercy that calls each of us to His love," he said, stressing that everyone needs that mercy and must be an instrument of it for others, moving out of the selves and their churches to be instruments of mercy to others. "Mercy means I see a need and I act out of compassion to help."

Considering the Syrian refugee situation, the bishop said he hopes to address it "in a substantive way in the very near future," and in the meantime encouraged Vermont Catholics to support the work of Catholic Relief Services and the local work of the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program and to pray.

Bishop Coyne expressed gratitude for the multitude of ways Vermont parishes and Catholic schools and social service agencies reach out in their communities and beyond. "Our Catholic community is invested in good works," he said, giving as examples the efforts of the two Vermont Catholic high schools that are involved in such activities as providing food for the needy at holiday times and Vermont Catholic Charities Inc., the work of which includes providing emergency assistance and supporting programs that feed and shelter the poor.

During the chancery interview, Bishop Coyne spoke of his support for life issues including an end to abortion and opposition to physician-assisted suicide. But because both are legal, he said the efforts of the Church "should be to make sure that people don't get so desperate that they have to" access them.

He wants the Church to seek to enact just laws to protect all human life and also to "create and maintain" housing for elderly, sick and needy persons so they don't ever feel alone and "do everything we can" to help women and families "not have to make the unfortunate choice for abortion."

As he looks to the future, the bishop sees an essential good work in which he wants members of the Catholic community to be of assistance: the fight against heroin addiction. He hopes they will commit themselves to work with the wider community to "stamp out the scourge of heroin addiction" that takes a toll on people of all ages, ethnicities, social classes and places of residence.

They can help educate others about the epidemic, listen with compassion to those affected by it, make appropriate referrals, support groups working with addicts, lessen the shame of the addiction and educate people about the signs of addiction and drug dealing.

Bishop Coyne is energized by the hiring of new diocesan staff including a director of youth and young adult ministry, director of evangelization and catechesis, executive director of development and coordinator of pro-life ministries. "We're getting the team in place" to minister and spread the good news throughout Vermont, he said. "I'm happy with where we're going."
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