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Cori Fugere Urban

Cori Fugere Urban

Cori Urban is a longtime writer for the communications efforts of the Diocese of Burlington and former editor of The Vermont Catholic Tribune.

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St. Michael's high school accreditation

Rodney Duteau and Catherine Mazzer, both 16-year-old sophomores at St. Michael’s School in Brattleboro, began their education there as freshmen. He had attended public school through grade eight; she was homeschooled. Both look forward to completing their high school education at the Catholic school that now has received both regional and state accreditation through grade 12.
 
She likes the family atmosphere and small class size. He appreciates the faith-based education and the confidence instilled in students.
 
Last year the New England Association of Schools and Colleges expanded St. Michael’s School’s accreditation from a pre-kindergarten through grade-eight school to one that educates students through grade 12. And in April the Vermont State Board of Education granted the school approval to include all high school grades.
 
The school currently goes to 10th grade, and plans call for one grade to be added each year until the high school section includes grades nine through 12.
 
There are currently five students in the ninth grade and seven in tenth. In the fall a dozen students are expected to be enrolled as freshmen, five as sophomores and eight as juniors. The goal is to have 10-20 students per class eventually.
 
“This is very promising,” said Principal Elaine Beam.
 
The Walnut Street school building used to house both elementary and high school grades, but the high school closed in 1968. The high school reopened in 2015, and the first class is expected to graduate in 2019.
 
The high school is filling a need in the tri-state area for not only a solid academic education addressing individual learners and a religious-based education but for a secondary education that prepares young people to become “invested citizens,” said Bethany Thies, the school’s development/admissions director.
 
The community aspect of the school is also important to parents, Beam said. “We are a Catholic school for all children not a school for Catholic children.”
 
Numerous families have joined or returned to the Church through the children’s experience at St. Michael’s School. “The New Evangelization is Catholic schools bringing people into a loving, respectful, caring community and presenting them with opportunities to feel God’s grace in a safe environment,” Thies said.
 
And if parents want a St. Michael’s education for their children but have difficulty affording tuition, scholarships are available. “If you desire to be here, we do everything we can to make it happen,” Thies said, noting St. Michael Parish has been generous with aid.
 
Beam hopes that during the next academic year, when more courses are added, St. Michael’s School will participate with the Diocese of Burlington’s St. Therese Digital Academy with a sharing of staff.
 
The Brattleboro school also is connecting with local educational resources and community leaders to offer additional hands-on learning experiences that support classroom learning and get students “invested in being community citizens,” Thies said.
 
“I love the education here,” said Rodney, one of the sophomores. “I feel confident to go out into the world from here.”
 
 
 
  • Published in Schools

Our Lady of Fatima celebration planned

Special devotions to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, will take place at seven churches throughout the Diocese of Burlington, beginning with a celebration at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Wilmington.
 
The Diocese of Burlington and World Apostolate of Fatima are sponsoring the event Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to noon.
 
The first hour of devotions will include confession, a procession with the Marian statue and rosary, and the second hour will be the celebration of the Mass and the conferral of the Brown Scapular.
 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel made a promise to St. Simon Stock in 1251 that it would “be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies clothed in this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”
 
One of the children to whom Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Sister Lucy, recalled that the Blessed Virgin Mary wanted the devotion of the holy scapular to be propagated.
 
Father Ilayaraja Amaladass, administer of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, encourage all the faithful to attend this special event in honor of the parish’s patroness.
 
For more information, call 464-7329.
 
  • Published in Parish

On the Path of Ecological Conversion

In the Year of Creation in the Diocese of Burlington, Lent is a time to fast for climate justice and perhaps even change personal habits to better care for the Earth.

“Over the past year, as I have learned more about the effects our dietary and behavioral choices have on the environment and those who call it home, I have gradually begun to incorporate more ecologically conscious practices into my life,” said Stephanie Clary, mission outreach and communication coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington.

The first step in this ongoing process was removing meat from many meals throughout the week. Next, she became more intentional about managing materials in her home through purchase and disposal choices like buying things in bulk and avoiding plastic when possible and separating food waste from trash for composting. “In this way, I participate in the ongoing fast for climate justice,” she said. 

However, during Lent she will fast specifically as part of the Global Catholic Climate Movement’s Lenten Fast for Climate Justice.

During each day of Lent, Catholics from all over the world will fast for climate justice, joining the interfaith Fast For The Climate and the Green Anglicans’ Carbon Fast. Global Catholic Climate Movement will highlight the impacts of climate change on various countries through social media and other communications. 

In addition to fasting from food, the organization suggests fasting from activities that produce carbon dioxide like reducing use of fossil fuels, electricity, plastic, paper and toxins. The fast encourages participants to “pray and fast for the renewal of our relationship with creation and with our brothers and sisters in poverty who are already suffering the impacts of climate change.”

“The Lenten Fast for Climate Justice is consistent with the existing meaning of a Lenten fast, and Catholic fasting in general,” Clary said. “Because of the way this particular fast is organized, there is also an emphasis on global solidarity. In addition to the personal experience of reflection and prayer that fasting facilitates, the global movement highlights the tangible effects of such practices as abstaining from meat and/or carbon in today’s world. As is consistent with most religious fasting, the ‘excess’ that is not consumed should encourage ‘almsgiving,’ charitable action toward serving the vulnerable.”

On March 3, Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne was scheduled to lead the “The Stations of the Cross with John Paul II: On the Path to Ecological Conversion” at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington. Clary and Josh Perry, director of worship for the diocese, were to present about fasting for justice at a simple soup supper immediately following the Stations of the Cross. Seasonal soup was to be provided by New Moon Café in Burlington.

Throughout his pontificate, in his preaching and teaching, St. John Paul II emphasized the gravity of the environmental crisis and the urgent need for the Church to respond to its moral and spiritual dimensions. 

For him, “the penitential season of Lent offers a profound lesson to respect the environment.”

“Lent, with its three-fold practice of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, is a time of heightened spiritual renewal which can reorient us in caring for our brothers and sisters, and in turn, caring for our common home,” said Perry.

Throughout the Diocese of Burlington’s Year of Creation, there will be a focus on prayer, education and action. “This event will encompass all three: prayer with the Stations of the Cross; education with the presentation about fasting for justice; and action with the sustainable meal shared and effective management of materials (compost, recycle, waste),” Clary said.

As this is the first event in the Year of Creation for the Diocese of Burlington, Perry hopes it is a doorway into other events in the Year of Creation: “As this soup supper and Stations of the Cross takes place at the beginning of Lent, I hope that it encourages a particular focus this Lenten season – to focus on prayer, our almsgiving and our fasting with integral ecology in mind.”

For more information on Global Catholic Climate Movement’s Lenten Fast for Climate Justice, go to catholicclimatemovement.global/2017-upcoming-moments.

'Bake for Good'

Twelve-year-old Evan Eggsware, a sixth grader at The School of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales in Bennington, learned to toss pizza dough at school April 26.
 
But it was a lesson in more than pizza making or even baking.
 
King Arthur Flour presented its “Bake for Good: Kids Learn, Bake, Share” program for students in fifth through eighth grades, and Evan was one of the demonstrators.
 
He and Grace Kobelia, 11, also a sixth grader, assisted Paula Gray, manager of the Bake for Good program, onstage, putting into action what she talked about: making dough from scratch.
 
A former math and science teacher, she explained the math and science that go into baking bread as well as hygienic procedures like hand washing and pulling hair back.
 
Like a television cooking show, video close-ups of the dough-making procedures were shown on a large screen on the stage next to the table where the students and Gray worked.
 
One catchy lesson included in the program was the proper way to measure flour: fluff (in a bowl), sprinkle (into the measuring cup) and sweep (off excess with a dough scraper to even the flour in the cup).
 
Kneading requires “fold, push and turn” to get the dough soft, smooth, not sticky and stretchy, Gray instructed.
 
Once the students saw how it’s all done, they received a bread baking kit from King Arthur – based in Norwich – so they could bake at home. The kits included wheat and all-purpose flour, yeast, a dough scraper, a recipe booklet and a plastic bag and gift tag. (Gluten-free flour was given to students who are gluten-intolerant.)
 
Their instructions were clear: Bake one bread for themselves and one for the Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales food shelf in Bennington. (They could choose to make rolls if they preferred.)
 
“They are ‘baking for good,’ baking for other people,” and that fits in with lessons learned at the school of caring for others as Jesus would have them do, commented Principal David Estes.
 
At the school, “we learn to be respectful and serve our community and follow the example of Jesus Christ,” Grace said.
 
Gray said representatives of King Arthur like to present the free program in Catholic schools, which are “all about the mission of sharing, caring and giving to others,” just like the Bake for Good program.
 
After assisting her in the school program, both Evan and Grace said they are more inclined to bake more, though both have some baking experience at home.
 
King Arthur Flour presents the Bake for Good program at about 200 schools each year; about 800 apply.
 
For more information, go to kingarthurflour.com/learnbakeshare.
 
  • Published in Schools
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