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Father Harlow's work for Kurn Hattin children

There is a special place for St. Nicholas in the life of Father Lance Harlow.
 
It’s not just because the saint whose feast day is Dec. 6 is the patron saint of children and known for his charity to children in need, but because he is the patron of a project Father Harlow began in 2015 to assist the residents of The Kurn Hattin Homes for Children in Westminster.
 
Since 1894, Kurn Hattin has helped thousands of children and their families by offering a safe home and quality education in a nurturing environment.
 
The St. Nicholas Project seeks to invite the Catholic community in Vermont to participate in the good works taking place at Kurn Hattin. “Since the Catholic Church in Vermont no longer has an orphanage or any direct child-care-related ministries, it seemed the perfect relationship for Catholics to perform works of mercy and experience the joy of loving Jesus in these children who come from difficult circumstances,” said Father Harlow, rector of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington.
 
He became involved with Kurn Hattin when he was pastor at St. Charles Church in Bellows Falls in 2005, not far from the school. He was invited to give the benediction at the annual Veterans’ Day Ceremony, and the director of music, Lisa Bianconi, asked if he played any musical instruments. Upon learning that he did, she recruited him to play trombone in the low-brass section of the middle school band.
 
Because there are some 100 students in the music program, adult musicians help them. Father Harlow can play a variety of instruments, so he performed with the jazz band, marching band and select choir for six years.
 
As pastor of St. Charles, he also helped with the religious education of the Catholic children, baptized and conferred First Reconciliation and First Communion.
 
After he was transferred to Chittenden County, it became more difficult for him to travel to Westminster to participate in the concerts and other public events, so he became more involved with fundraising for Kurn Hattin.
 
Each year he invites all of the parish religious education programs to make Christmas cards for the boys and girls at the residential school; the Catholic Daughters and the Knights of Columbus have been generous with financial donations as well as donating raffle items and sports equipment. Some religious education programs have donated school items and toys.
 
And one of Father Harlow’s former parishes, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Williston, collected coats one winter for the children. “Parishioners have been very generous,” he said.
 
This year, in honor of his silver jubilee of priestly ordination — which will occur on May 8, 2018 — he has committed to several fundraising projects for Kurn Hattin with the goal of raising $25,000 in honor of his 25 years of priesthood. These included a September back-to-school shoe fundraiser to provide shoes and boots for the students.
 
The winners of a Christmas raffle will be drawn at the Dec. 14 Christmas concert at Kurn Hattin. Tickets are still available through Father Harlow or at kurnhattin.org/donate. (Be sure to enter the words “Christmas raffle.”)
 
Tickets are $25 for one or a book of five for $100. There are three cash prizes $2,500, $1,000 and $500.
 
The DeGoesbriand Council of the Knights of Columbus in Burlington will conduct a drive to collect sports equipment for Kurn Hattin in April, and in May, parishioners from St. Joseph Co-Cathedral will host a spring tea for ladies to learn more about Kurn Hattin.
 
Father Harlow is traveling to his eight former parishes to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving and speak about the St. Nicholas Project, and on May 8, 2018, there will be the grand finale Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Windsor at which the Kurn Hattin Select Choir will sing. “Everyone is invited to attend the Mass and reception following — and meet some of the children and staff from the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children,” he said.
 
“His work for us is astounding,” enthused Stephen Harrison, executive director of Kurn Hattin. “He has a heart for children.”
 
Harrison said the priest’s ongoing commitment to the school — which generally has 95-105 students in kindergarten through grade eight — “has been a real Godsend in so many ways.”
 
In addition to raising funds and organizing drives for things like clothing, shoes, quilts and pillowcases, the way he has involved people from throughout the Diocese of Burlington is meaningful to the children, Harrison said. “He has touched so many children’s lives and done so through many people in Vermont who might not have ever heard about us let alone assist us.”
 
He called Father Harlow’s work on behalf of the residential school “stellar.”
 
For more information about Kurn Hattin, go to kurnhattin.org.
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

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

Pre-priesthood professions

Not every priest went from the family home to the seminary to the rectory. Many pursued other careers before answering God’s call to priesthood.
 
Whether they worked in business, in government jobs, in the medical field, as a contractor or a teacher, for them, it was a major change in lifestyle and in work.
 
For example, Father Dallas St. Peter, pastor of St. Mark Church in Burlington, worked as an actuary, but after two years, he realized he “didn’t want to work behind a desk at a computer” but wanted to work more directly with people.
 
But he didn’t enter the seminary just them. He got involved in education first as a teacher’s assistant in public schools then as a teacher at St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski.
 
While he was teaching, he debated about going back to school for a teaching degree or entering the seminary. “I was ready to go back to school,” he said.
 
He chose the seminary because although he enjoyed teaching, he was drawn to the priesthood.
 
Like Father St. Peter, other priests of the Diocese discerned their call to priesthood while working. They include:
 
Father Karl Hahr
Father Karl Hahr worked for his father, the late Edward Hahr, at Hahr Construction as a contractor in New Jersey and in the St. Johnsbury area. They built houses and commercial buildings.
 
He began working in the business when he was 11 and learned about carpentry, putting in sidewalks and working with steel and concrete.
 
By the time he graduated from Lyndon Institute in 1986, he has worked is way up from laborer to skilled laborer and a few years later worked as a carpenter.
 
“I’m a jack-of-all-trades, but master of none,” said Father Hahr, pastor of All Saints Church in Richford and several other area churches. He has experience in plumbing and electrical work and can operate a crane.
 
The construction work helped to foster his vocation to the priesthood. “The crew I mostly worked with were all good Catholics which made for an atmosphere conducive and supportive of living a good Christian life,” he said.
 
He has done some roofing (which he does not like to do), put in a floor at St. Anthony Church in Sheldon and poured a new cement sidewalk at All Saints with the help of a seminarian. He has done renovations at the rectory, including construction of a chapel; sometimes his brothers (who worked with their father too) or parishioners help him. When the parish office needed a large table, Father Hahr built one; when a friend in Boston needed a tabernacle for a convent, he built one and lined it with marble, adding a carving of the Sacred Heart on the front.
 
“There is something about seeing the result that is satisfying,” he said about working with wood.
 
Through his work as a contractor and carpenter, Father Hahr learned patience and perseverance.
 
Carpentry has always been a part of his life, but though it still is, the priesthood is his focus. “I can’t take on something that takes me away from my ministry,” he said of building projects.
 
Father Chris Micale
Before his ordination, Father Christopher Micale worked in occupational therapy and mental health counseling and as administrator of recruiting for Dartmouth College football. 
 
While at Dartmouth he had a reawakening to the Catholic faith and was asked to consider the possibility of a priestly vocation by his parish priest and another parishioner. “I think I was becoming increasingly unfulfilled over the years with my work experience, and when I was confronted with this possibility, I began to see that the work I had done up to that point was in preparation for serving the Church in a more formal way,” he said.
 
He had been on his own, working and living independently, so living in a house of formation with about 70 other men, praying and sharing meals together would be quite a change. “Then returning to a rigorous academic program after being out of school for years was also quite a challenge,” he said. “This was six-year commitment, a frightening thing for someone who was entering middle age at the time.”
 
He managed the change through prayer and a strong commitment that God had asked him to do this. 
 
Now administrator of St. Thomas Church in Underhill Center and St. Mary of the Assumption in Cambridge, Father Micale’s pre-seminary work required good interpersonal skills and the ability to analyze and integrate through observation of human behavior both physically and psychologically. “The positions I held over the years gave me an understanding of the emotional and physical needs of the human person, his or her development and function,” he said. “This was a perfect foundation for the spiritual work God would ask of me as a priest.”
 
Also, his office administration background was helpful in running a parish. “You start with God's vision and then through the organizational and interpersonal skills the priest can follow through on what Christ wants for His people at the local parish,” he said.  “Every parish has its own identity and its own history within the greater culture. It's a balance in which the priest must express the love of God to the parish and local community especially when difficult decisions must be made.”
 
 
Father Lance Harlow
Father Lance Harlow was a radiologic technologist (X-ray technologist) when his vocation to the priesthood emerged. “God was calling me from a profession to a vocation,” said the rector of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Co-Cathedral parishes in Burlington. “Generally speaking, a profession is a work one does as a means to fulfill a greater good or lifestyle,” he said, adding that his career as an X-ray technologist was a beautiful profession, and taking care of the sick is a noble end in itself, but my life was empty outside of work.”
 
A vocation, he continued, fulfills the fundamental need a person has for meaning and purpose and appeals irrevocably to the very core of one’s nature, talents and aspirations. “As a calling from God, a vocation enables one to be fulfilled in the will of God which leads one to a recognition of something far greater than happiness; it leads one to peace.”
 
The discernment process from his profession to his vocation was the most difficult
decision he has ever made because he enjoyed my colleagues and worked hard in his profession. “I had to abandon both in an act of faith guided only by the restless search to hear God’s voice.”
 
It took a year of vocational discernment with his pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Windsor.
 
He was the first priest ordained in Vermont by Bishop Kenneth A. Angell.
 
Apart from the changes that occur with maturation over time, Father Harlow said that the most significant change in his life since my professional days has been a marked sense of “gravitas,” feeing the weight of the world. “As an X-ray technologist, I saw a lot of sickness and suffering, but it was within the controlled environment of a radiology exam room or hospital room. As a priest, I confront human suffering on a daily basis, and people look to me to take it away. That is weight.”

--Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
  • Published in Diocesan

Father Harlow's reflections on change

As we mature, we gain experience in enduring the reality of changing events. The
change in our own person is called aging. In society, change is called progress. In architecture, it is called development. But however we categorize the experience of movement from one thing to another and its emotional effect upon us, St. Paul puts into blunt perspective that the minor changes in the human condition pale before the one fundamental life-changing event, which is called death.
 
He states in his letter to the Corinthians: “Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality” (1 Cor
15:51-53).
 
St. Paul is speaking about the second coming of Christ at which time He will execute the final judgment. The bodies of the dead will be raised to join their souls forever in Heaven or in hell. Now that’s a change!
 
It also puts life into perspective because it orients our human purpose towards a goal—that is, eternal life. Everything that we do in this world should have
Heaven as its fundamental hope. My body will experience the changes of getting old; but, have hope. It will one day become glorified in Heaven.
 
Social fashions and customs will change around me; but, have hope. St. John tells us
that in Heaven there will be no fashion anxiety. Everybody will be clothed in the purity brought about by Jesus’ death and resurrection. “After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands (Rev 7:9). Now that’s quite a dress code!
 
Buildings will rise and fall; but, have hope! One day I shall dwell in the new heavens and the new earth which will not be defined by dimensionality but by the glory of God: “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and to it the kings of the earth will bring their treasure. During the day its gates will never be shut, and there will be no night there” (Rev. 21:22-26). Now that’s a developer’s masterpiece!
 
There is no limit to the personal, social and environmental changes during our lifetime, which could lead to a cynicism for those whose horizons are limited to this world only. But for those whose fundamental orientation is the Kingdom of Heaven, the accumulation of life’s events, through which these changes must occur, is nothing but a prelude to the fundamental and eternal stability of the glory and beauty of Heaven which “eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, [nor] has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love
him” (1 Cor 2:9).
 
  • Published in Diocesan

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

The future of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

The last Sunday Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington was on Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, but there continues to be five daily Masses, confessions, First Friday Eucharistic Adoration with the Divine Mercy Chaplet and daily rosary there as well as ministry to the poor, the homeless and the addicted.
 
“At some point the cathedral will be merged” with St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parish, said Father Lance W. Harlow, rector of both, noting that there has not been religious education at the cathedral since the 2010-2011 academic year, and there are no young families with children in the parish.
 
“The two parishes are not merged in a canonical sense. This is the process towards which we are working now,” Father Harlow said.
 
Parishioners of both parishes have been working cooperatively since the unexpected 2011 death of Msgr. Thomas Ball, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, when due to the shortage of priests, one rector had to take responsibility for both the cathedral and St. Joseph Co-Cathedral.
 
“We knew this was coming after Msgr. Ball’s death,” said Bill LaCroix, a member of the finance and parish councils at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. “People are sad to see it go.”
 
The cathedral has been the “seat of the diocese, the bishop’s church, and there has been a lot of pride in that,” he said after a Jan. 22 regular Sunday Mass at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral celebrated by Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne.
 
Father Harlow outlined three factors that contribute to the immanent merger.
 
The most critical factor is insufficient income from collections to pay bills. “We are running at almost $3,000 below what we need to collect every week. This is forcing us to take out money from our investment account to pay operating expenses resulting in a deficit, which increases about every three months,” he said. “It is like a snowball getting larger and larger as it rolls downhill. Because our attendance is so low, there is no way we can generate enough income to pay our bills. By merging with St. Joseph, we will be able to share resources.”
 
The low attendance reflects the situation of downtown Burlington. The area in which the cathedral is located is no longer a residential area; it has become more commercial. As a result, the family neighborhoods that were there in the 19th Century no longer exist.
 
Over the past 30 years Mass attendance has dropped by more than 1,000 parishioners, which is similarly reflected in other churches, Father Harlow said. In the past 10 years, there were many years in which there were no marriages or baptisms; even the number of funerals has declined.
 
The third contributing factor the rector noted is that when Mass schedules had to be altered six years ago because there were not enough priests to maintain the old schedule, parishioners would not make the changes and went to other churches or stopped attending. “We now live in an era where one is attached more to his or her Mass time than to his or her parish,” he said.
 
LaCroix, a lifelong parishioner of the cathedral parish, lamented that many cathedral parishioners attend Masses at other area churches.
 
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has 275 registered parishioners. “It has been very difficult to provide altar servers, lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion because of the ‘personnel’ shortage,” Father Harlow explained.
 
According to him, parishioners have reacted to the changes that have occurred and those to take place in a variety of ways: Some have related that they knew there were financial problems for many years, but were in denial about it. Others have said that they should not have built the current cathedral after the previous one burned down in 1972. Others would like to see it stay open, but have no viable means of providing income for it. Others for sentimental purposes would like to see it stay open, but do not attend any Masses there and have “no meaningful connection with the Church,” he said.
 
The plan for the future is to ask authorities in Rome for permission to merge Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with St. Joseph Co-Cathedral. “If that is accepted, then St. Joseph Co-Cathedral would be designated as the cathedral for the diocese,” Father Harlow said. “There is no current plan for the present [cathedral] building as we do not know how long the merger process will take.”
 
Any plan for keeping the building open must take into consideration that the bare minimum need just to pay insurance and utility bills is $85,000 a year—with no viable source of revenue, he continued. “In the meantime, we continue with our schedule with the knowledge that we cannot sustain it for much longer. It will close eventually, but there is no plan for the property as of yet until we have more information.”
  • Published in Diocesan

The Letters of Bishop Robert F. Joyce from the Second Vatican Council 1962-1965

“The Letters of Bishop Robert F. Joyce from the Second Vatican Council 1962 – 1965”.  By Father Lance W. Harlow, MA, MDiv.  Barre, VT:  L. Brown and Sons Printing, Inc.  2016.
 
For readers who are old enough to remember the time of the Second Vatican Council, this book will feel like a combination of both objective history and personal nostalgia; for those who did not live through that period, Father Harlow’s book will be an interesting and even astonishing look at a Church in transition, as they are made privy to discussions and debates concerning practices that 21st-Century Catholics now take for granted.
 
The vehicle for telling this compelling history is a particularly apt one for people living in the Diocese of Burlington. Bishop Robert F. Joyce – who was born in Proctor in 1896, educated at the University of Vermont, ordained at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington in 1923, served as bishop of Burlington from 1957 until his retirement in 1971, and died peacefully at St. Joseph’s Home in Burlington in 1990 – was both a native son and an enthusiastic supporter of the Second Vatican Council.  For four years Bishop Joyce arranged his schedule so that he could be present at every session of the Council, and he was diligent about reporting back to his people, both in print, in person and on television, exactly what was happening at this historic event. His letters, which Father Harlow has reproduced here, were informative, pastoral and, at times, even humorous.  As primary documents, they give us an invaluable snapshot of this most historic period in Church history.
 
Father Harlow’s approach in this book demonstrates that his research was exceptionally thorough. In addition to Bishop Joyce’s letters, he also includes extensive information about what was going on in Rome at the time – issues under debate, who was participating, what was being said and how decisions were reached.  He also includes pertinent excerpts from the particular documents being discussed which are, of necessity, brief.  “It is my hope,” he notes in his introductory comments, “that the reader will continue to read the entire decrees and constitutions.”
 
Although all that transpired in Rome was of interest to Bishop Joyce, there were some issues that appear to have been especially near and dear to his heart, and these he communicated with particular enthusiasm.  The first, which was apparently on the minds of Catholic Vermonters as well, was the change in liturgical language from Latin to the vernacular.  “There was quite a response to my call for suggestions,” he stated at one point, referring to a diocesan consultation conducted prior to the opening of the Council in 1962.  “The greatest number of them…asked for a greater use of the vernacular, especially in the forepart of the Mass… [and] in the administration of the Sacraments.”
 
Also important to the bishop was the move toward ecumenism.  In an article he wrote for The Vermont Catholic Tribune in November 1963, he noted, “As the Council developed…ecumenism became more and more important as a chief aim, and insistent and universal has been the response to the subject throughout the world.”  He himself had close relationships with many Vermonters who were not of the Catholic faith and, in 1965, he was asked to fill in for an ailing Cardinal Cushing at the Grand Master’s Masonic Convention in Connecticut because “he had been hailed as one of the most imaginative and forward-looking leaders in the ecumenical movement.”
 
Father Harlow’s book is primarily an historical work and thus will probably be of greatest interest to historians and students of the Second Vatican Council.  However, that should not prevent the average reader from looking back at an event, the ramifications of which will be felt for centuries to come.  As Bishop Joyce himself said in a letter home in 1964, “Not only will the world be different as a result of the Council, but all of us who are part of it will be profoundly affected by it for the rest of our lives.”
 
The book sells for $20. Order it from Father Harlow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the cathedral office at 802-658-4333. 

Author bio

Father Lance W. Harlow is the rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parishes in Burlington. His other books include “True Devotion to Mary by Louis de Montfort” and “Vermont's First Catholic Bishop: The Life of Bishop Louis De Goesbriand, 1816-1899.” He has also written three children’s books: “Holy Goldfish!”, “Sofia's Tea Party” and “Sofia's Ballet Lesson.”
 
  • Published in Reviews

A new chapter set to begin in life of former St. Joseph School in Burlington

The next chapter in the life of the former St. Joseph School is unfolding.
 
Champlain Housing Trust -- a non-profit organization that creates and preserves affordable housing -- plans to purchase the Allen Street building for $2 million and ensure its continued use for community programs.
 
The building was once a parochial school attached to St. Joseph Parish.
 
“In the six years that have elapsed since 2010 [when the school closed], the expenses have continued to climb, trying to maintain the old building in good condition, so the decision to offer it up for sale to the Champlain Housing Trust proved mutually agreeable and beneficial to both parties,” said Father Lance Harlow, rector of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral and Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parishes. “The building will continue to serve families in the North End of the city which has always been its purpose.”
 
Since the school closed, the building has been used for various activities such as a children’s center, an association of Africans, a parent-child center, indoor events and a theater.
 
The parish has used the building for religious education classes and various church functions.
 
There was Catholic education in St. Joseph Parish even before the construction of the school. In 1863, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary (also known as the Ladies of Nazareth) arrived in Burlington and taught students in a woodshed until 1864 when they opened their school and convent on Gough Street, near North Prospect and Archibald Street.
 
In 1869, the sisters built another school, the first Nazareth School on Allen Street, for the younger children. They ran both schools until they merged in 1924 on Allen Street.
 
“The current building was enlarged in 1929 and was called the Ecole Nazareth, presumably in honor of the Ladies of Nazareth,” Father Harlow explained. “In 1961, the name was changed to St. Joseph School simply for administrative purposes.”
 
St. Joseph School operated under the supervision of the Ladies of Nazareth until 1943 then under the charge of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit until 1983.
 
“Decreasing enrollment over the course of several decades, decreased numbers of religious teaching sisters, higher salaries for lay employees and difficulties meeting expenses finally resulted in the closing of the school in 2010,” he continued.
 
 
While the building no longer functioned as a school since its closing, classroom space was leased to various non-profits.
 
“The parish is greatly indebted to the valiant religious sisters, brothers, priests and laity who devoted their lives to the education of the children in downtown Burlington,” Father Harlow said. “And while buildings come and go throughout the course of human history, the heroism of those who made history in those buildings remains to be told from one generation to the next.”
 
The Champlain Housing Trust is leasing the building until June at which point it must pay in full. “The impending sale of the school has brought financial relief for the co-cathedral and will enable it to direct its resources to other projects,” Father Harlow said.
 
  • Published in Parish
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