Log in
    

Warming shelter at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral

St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parish in Burlington is believed to be the first parish in the Diocese of Burlington to make space available for an overnight warming shelter.
 
The parish is working with Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Burlington to provide space for 10 cots for homeless young persons from Nov. 6 until the end of March. The space in the parish hall is open from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. seven days a week.
 
“Each of us is committed to serving the homeless population during the cold Vermont winters, and I am hoping that our first year in partnership will help to save the lives of young adults who would otherwise find themselves in jeopardy,” said Father Lance Harlow, rector of the co-cathedral and Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parishes.
 
According to Mark Redmond, Spectrum’s executive director, the agency had 25 beds available to this young population of homeless persons, but that became insufficient to meet the needs. “We had a wait list, which is terrible,” he said, because that meant some youth had no place to get shelter.
 
It was his idea to approach the Catholic Church for help, an idea he said Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne met with a “green light” and referral to Father Harlow.
 
The co-cathedral space is being used for 17- to 22-year-old homeless persons who can access dinners at other sites and then sleep at the co-cathedral hall. Snacks and a light morning breakfast are provided there, but shower and laundry facilities are accessed at a nearby drop-in center.
 
“The beauty of it is we’ve got everything nearby, except the beds. The parish hall [has] that,” Redmond said.
 
Two Spectrum staff members are on duty until 1 a.m. at the parish hall, and one staff member stays awake there from 1 to 8 a.m.
 
“Those overnight hours will have a minimum impact on the church's schedule, and if there is a conflict with evening Masses, Spectrum personnel will come in at a later time,” Father Harlow said.
 
“I am happy to be able to collaborate with Mark Redmond at Spectrum and his staff who are doing excellent work with this [young homeless] population,” Father Harlow said. “It is very much a cooperative ministry. The church has the space and Spectrum has the personnel.”
 
Asked what the collaboration says about the bishop, rector and co-cathedral parishioners, Redmond responded, “It says they’re awesome.”
 
Many of the young persons the shelter will serve have lived in poverty or numerous foster care homes. “Most have lived chaotic lives,” are behind in their education, lack job skills and have low self-esteem, Redmond said.
 
Spectrum offers a variety of programs to help them improve their lives.
 
“I see great potential in each one of them,” said Redmond, a parishioner of Holy Family/St. Lawrence Parish in Essex Junction.
 
“The Catholic Church is doing the right thing here,” he said. “It is in line with the corporal works of mercy” to shelter the homeless and feed the hungry.

This story was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
  • Published in Parish

St. Joseph Co-Cathedral steeple

The unique steeple atop St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington has been removed, and a team of engineers and architects is studying the necessary work and cost involved in replacing it.
 
In 2010 the steeple was removed for safety reasons after church officials realized it was rotting and there was a risk that the 800-pound cross atop it could fall.
 
“Parishioners have contributed faithfully to this project for many years, and it will be a great source of local pride to have this very visible monument restored to the downtown Burlington skyline,” said Father Lance Harlow, rector of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral and Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parishes.
 
Proceeds from the sale of St. Joseph School also will be devoted to the construction and erection of the steeple.
 
The Champlain Housing Trust purchased the former Catholic elementary school on Allen Street for $2.15 million.
 
The steeple on St. Joseph Church was completed in 1887, constructed by Joseph Cartier, a local blacksmith whose shop was on North Street in Burlington. 
 
The steeple had a large copper ball in the middle and at the very top of the cross a cock, a scriptural reference to the cock that crowed at Peter's denial of Jesus. “This unique French-Canadian religious symbol is the only one of its kind on any church steeple in the Diocese of Burlington,” Father Harlow said.
 
The steeple was removed when it began to list to the side because of rot. “Because of the extensive age and weathering of the original steeple, a new one will be constructed to resemble the former,” Father Harlow said.
 
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

'It’s what you do with what happens to you'

Chris Waddell brought a simple message to students at Mater Christi School in Burlington: “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”
 
Speaking from his wheelchair on the stage in the school gymnasium Sept. 13, one of the most decorated male mono skiers in Paralympic history told students in second through eighth grade that while no one is free of struggle, everyone has the opportunity to choose how they react to their challenges.
 
He said people can see themselves as victims or survivors, as overwhelmed or challenged, as alone or part of a team, as having only one strategy or as having many; the latter in each pair is what fosters resiliency, he said.
 
“Not being able to walk is the worst thing I could imagine,” said the Utah resident who is a graduate of Middlebury College.
 
In 1988 a skiing accident in Massachusetts brought his worst nightmare to reality; his ski popped off in the middle of a turn. He fell, broke two vertebrae and damaged his spinal cord.
 
Paralyzed from the waist down, he learned and achieved more than he could have imagined.
 
“This is the most powerful I’ve been in my life,” Waddell said, noting that he had to let go of “some of the things that tripped me up every day” like frustration and worry that could have prevented him from accomplishing his revamped goals.
 
He returned to college just two months after the accident, began mono skiing in less than a year and was named to the U.S. Disabled Ski Team a little more than two years later. With 13 Paralympic medals, he became the most decorated male mono skier in history.
 
“If I had never had my accident, I’d never have been the best in the world at something,” he told the Mater Christi students during his One Revolution Foundation’s Nametags Educational Program.
 
The program has been presented to more than 150,000 students in more than 550 schools throughout the United States and in Russia. Nametags does not focus on disability but rather the universal experience of challenge and the power of resilience.
 
Created by Waddell and resilience educator Donna M. Volpitta, the program centers on the message, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you” and people’s collective responsibility to create communities that allow people to thrive. It focuses on helping students learn that they have the power to make choices about how they are perceived -- the “nametags” they wear. In the face of adversity, they can choose resilience.
 
Friends have told Waddell they could never have done what he has done, overcoming the loss of his ability to walk and turning it into triumphs elsewhere.
 
“Inspiration comes when we hear the truth…that we all need to hear,” said Timothy E. Loescher, president/head of school at Mater Christi who introduced Waddell to the assembly. (They were friends at Middlebury College.)
 
He thanked Waddell for “helping us develop into the people we are called to be.”
 
Also a track athlete, Waddell is one of a handful to have won World Championships in both winter and summer. He competed in four Winter Paralympics, winning 13 medals and three Summer Paralympics, winning a silver medal in the 200 meters. In World Championship competition, he won a total of nine medals.
 
He was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and the Paralympics Hall of Fame. Skiing magazine placed him among the “25 Greatest Skiers in North America.”
 
In 2009 Waddell became the first nearly unassisted paraplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, using a specially made pedal-powered, four-wheel vehicle.
 
Patrick Walsh, 12, an eighth grader from St. Catherine of Siena Church in Shelburne, was impressed with Waddell’s tenacity and positive attitude.
 
For him, Waddell’s message mirrored the message of faith. “If you have a connection with God, you can get through anything. You can pray and feel better.”
 
Classmate Myla Altadonna, 13, said the message she would take from the presentation is “not to let anything get in your way.”
 
“Even when you have an obstacle, you can go on and do great things,” she added.
 
 
 
 



 
 
  • Published in Schools

‘Outcasts’ to be screened

On Thursday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m., there will be a special screening of “Outcasts” by Grassroots Films in the Grand Maple Ballroom of the Davis Center at the University of Vermont. “Outcasts” is a powerful new documentary from Grassroots Films that shows the work of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal as they serve the poor in some of world’s toughest neighborhoods. This moving film depicts the realities of life as experienced by drug addicts, women engaged in prostitution, people dying of AIDS, prisoners and others in desperate situations –- along with the efforts of the Franciscan Friars to share hope in Christ with them. 
 
In addition to the film, there will be time for questions for friars and one of the film’s producers and to learn about ways to get involved in outreach to those in need in the local community.
 
Prior to the screening, there will be a Holy Hour with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal at the Catholic Center at the university at 6 p.m.
 
The event is co-sponsored by Joseph’s House, the Catholic Center and the Catholic Student Association at the university. Tickets are required for the event and can be picked up at The Catholic Center, Davis Center and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
 
For more information, call 802-951-4290 or 802-862-8403 or visit outcaststhemovie.com.
 
 

Vietnamese devotion to the Blessed Mother

The Vietnamese Catholic community in Vermont has a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother.
 
“We were taught that when we have a hard time with something, you come to her,” explained Thao Vu, a native of Saigon who has lived in Vermont for 15 years. “She helps.”
 
Vu, now an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and religious education teacher at St. Mark Church in Burlington, said most Catholic churches in Vietnam have statues of Our Lady outside with a prayer garden: “Everybody is welcome to sit there and pray and be peaceful.”
 
About 150 members of the Vietnamese Catholic community gather monthly at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington for Mass celebrated by a Vietnamese priest from Canada who also hears confessions.
 
Vu, the mother of two daughters, said in Vietnamese culture mothers are highly respected. “She takes care of the whole family: Mom is the best!”
 
So it makes sense that Vietnamese Catholics revere the Blessed Mother. “The first prayer we have to learn is ‘Hail Mary,’” Vu said, adding that the rosary is a particularly important devotion as is praying the ‘Hail Mary’ for safe travels before taking a trip.
 
Thousands of Vietnamese Catholics from throughout the United States attend the annual Marian Days in Carthage, Mo., each August to celebrate faith and fellowship in honor of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary and in memory of their homeland.
 
Vu has never attended the event that has taken place since 1978 on the campus of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix, but she hopes to someday.
 
“If you want something, you ask your mother,” she said, explaining why she asks in prayer for Mary’s intercession. “In my heart my mother has a special place. In [Jesus’] heart He has a special place for His mother. He cannot say no to her, hopefully.”
 
Originally published in the Summer 2017 Vermont Catholic magazine.
 

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.
 
 
 

Sewing at The Francis Center

A new sewing class at The Francis Center at St. Mark Parish in Burlington is humming along with nine students, all of African heritage.
 
Their reasons for joining the four-Saturday-morning class include making their own clothing, making alterations for themselves and their family members, making gifts and teaching others to sew.
 
One woman, a Muslim, wants to make a hijab for her daughter.
 
“It’s simple” to make the Islamic headscarf, said volunteer sewing teacher Laurie Browne of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Winooski, owner of the Triple Loop costume shop in Essex Junction.
 
“I like to share what I know about sewing,” she continued. “My faith calls me to share those gifts. It’s part of who I am.”
 
The sewing students gather with two teachers and other helpers for two or three hours each week. They speak various languages, and Claudine Nkurinziza of Winooski, one of the sewing students, translates.
 
This is her first time taking a sewing class. “It’s expensive to pay someone to sew your clothes,” she said. “I like the experience of learning and this opportunity to try something new.”
 
Eleven-year-old Jessica Mujawimana, a sixth grader at St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski, is the youngest of the sewing students. “It’s very cool,” she said of her first sewing experience. “I don’t have to ask other people to sew clothes for me.”
 
In some African cultures, men sew as a job, not women.
 
Sharon Brown of St. Francis Xavier Parish, a parish nurse, coordinates CARES Catholic Network, a cooperative health and wellness ministry of St. Francis Xavier Parish and St. Mark Parish with pastors Msgr. Richard Lavalley and Father Dallas St. Peter, respectively. She helps with the class under the CARES umbrella and said some women buy African fabric for $20 for a simple dress then must pay someone about $80 to make it: “The dresses are out of their budget.”
 
At the sewing class, the students work with donated fabric and on donated used sewing machines. Stephen Richer of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parish in Burlington, a former Singer Sewing Machine Co. service manager, spent about 30 hours refurbishing the 18 portable machines that were donated in various conditions. “I had the know-how, and they needed someone to do it,” he commented. “If I can help people, I’ll help. It’s how I was brought up in my faith and in my family.”
 
Richer said a new machine would cost more than $100; but the sewing class participants will receive a class sewing machine at the successful completion of the program (one per household).
 
One of the sewing teachers, Marie Boisvert of Christ the King-St. Anthony Parish in Burlington, is an experienced seamstress. “God gave me that talent,” she said. “I give of myself wherever I can.”
 
Jessica, the 11-year-old student, likes the sewing teachers, describing them as helpful, patient and experienced.
 
“It’s nice they are helping everyone no matter our race or religion or background,” Nkurinziza said. “They see us all as people wanting to learn.”
 
Students and volunteers, Brown said, are learning more about what they have in common, not focusing on their differences. “Muslim women are working with Catholic women, holding each other’s children and talking about their shared interest in sewing.” (Childcare is provided.)
 
They are all stitching together friendships and realizing, as Brown said, “We are women. We sew. This is our bond.”
 
For more information or to donate materials or funds, contact Brown at 802-922-2958 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
 
 

Obituary: Sister Mary Clare Naramore

Sister of Mercy Mary Clare Naramore, 102, of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community, Vermont, died at Mount St. Mary Convent in Burlington on April 12, in her 73rd year of religious life.
 
She was born in Lowell on May 28, 1914, the daughter of Louise (Stephenson) and Donald Naramore. She attended Lowell grade school and Peoples' Academy in Morrisville. She also attended Strayer Business College in Washington, D.C., and graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in education.
 
Before entering the Sisters of Mercy, she taught in Lowell Village and Westfield schools and worked as a clerk in the Valley Savings Bank.
 
She became a Catholic in 1942; she entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1944, and made her profession of vows on May 16, 1947.
 
She taught in parochial schools in Burlington, Barre and Montpelier. Following her retirement from education, Sister Naramore served as a volunteer missionary to Matsu, China, for 11 years. When she returned from China, she worked in prison and hospital ministry.
 
She is survived by her nieces, Mary Speroni and Nancy Naramore; a cousin, Irene Hayes; and by her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Mercy. She was predeceased by her parents and her brother, William Naramore.
 
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. in Mount St. Mary Chapel. Visiting hours will be 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 17, at Mount St. Mary's. 
 
Subscribe to this RSS feed
Bishop's Fund Annual Appeal