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A 'puzzling' celebration

The July celebration for the 25th anniversary of ordination for Father Romanus Igweonu definitely was puzzling.
That’s because guests at his reception were busy putting together puzzles.
It was a way to bring together the people of the three churches he serves as pastor: St. Bridget and St. Stanislaus Kostka in West Rutland and St. Dominic in Proctor.
“The love of the people of God inspires their pastor,” Father Igweonu commented as he watched a few people put finishing touches on the puzzles in the parish center of St. Bridget Church.
Eight puzzles were made for the celebration, and they featured individual pictures of St. Dominic Church, St. Bridget Church, St. Stanislaus Church and Father Igweonu. Another version included pictures of each church, Pope Francis, Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne and Father Igweonu.
Guests at the reception for the pastor’s silver jubilee included parishioners of the three churches as well as churches he served before his current assignment.
“When you put the pieces of the puzzle together, you have something special,” he said. “And when you put together our three churches, you have something special.”
Marguerite Sadowski of St. Bridget Parish said the puzzle project brought together the people of the churches. “We worked together, and that was a symbol to make the congregations more closely united.”
The three churches once had their own pastors but are now united with one pastor.
“It was brilliant to do the puzzles because people worked together and had a common goal,” said Barbara Fischer, a parishioner of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Ludlow, one of the parishes Father Igweonu served before his current assignment. “The puzzles symbolize unity and diversity.”
Ray Sevigny of St. Bridget Parish said that like the parishes, the pieces of the puzzle “make something beautiful when they come together.”
“The puzzles were a beautiful idea,” said Nancy Basile of St. Bridget’s. “People are building something together, which makes unity.”
“The project symbolizes togetherness,” said fellow parishioner Peg Harvey.
“We are following the injunction of the bishop to worship together, witness together and walk together to build unity,” Father Igweonu said. “By doing so, we can change the way people react to the Church when they see us walking together, collaborating and supporting each other. We are looking to build the Church.”
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Comfort blankets

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Is 40:1).
All people need a little comfort sometimes – kind words, a hug, an empathetic smile.
But at other times, the need for comfort is more acute – during a hospital stay, while homeless, in a new country as a refugee or after the loss of home to fire, for example.
It’s at those times that Kathy Budd, a parishioner of St. Bridget Church in West Rutland, offers special comfort in the form of comfort blankets.
Chair of the Comfort Blanket Project, she collects and distributes blankets of all kinds – quilted, knit, crocheted or simple swaths of fleece – from infant size to queen size.
It’s a community service of Maple Leaf Quilters Guild of Rutland that benefits various organizations including Rutland Regional Medical Center, BROC--Community Action in Southwestern Vermont, the Department for Children and Families foster care program, the Students Taking Effective Paths to Success program for foster children attending The College of St. Joseph in Rutland, the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter and the University of Vermont Medical Center. Special needs – like those of refugees and fire victims – are also met.
Budd helps local elementary school children design quilts to be made by guild members for the project but otherwise accepts only completed blankets.
She distributes what she has collected about once a month.
In nearly five years, almost 1,400 new, homemade comfort blankets have been distributed.
Recently comfort blankets have been sent off with a special blessing from Deacon Andrew Moulder of St. Bridget and St. Stanislaus Kostka churches in West Rutland and St. Dominic Church in Proctor. He asks the Holy Spirit to give comfort and blessings to the persons who receive them. “I know Kathy and her holiness,” he said. “I tap into Kathy’s holiness and my ordination graces to bring the strength of the Holy Spirit.”
Budd is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and choir member and cares for altar linens at St. Bridget’s and volunteers to read to children in Head Start programs.
“I want to see change in lives in Rutland. Little did I know it would change my life” to spearhead the Comfort Blanket Project. “My heart is four times bigger since doing this.”
One day Budd was outside her home, and a woman passed by crying; her bus to Poultney didn’t stop for her. Budd gave her a ride – and a blanket.
Married and the mother of four and grandmother of five, Budd suffered the death of her daughter, Laura, in 2000. She carries her memory into all she does, including providing comfort blankets. “I’m thinking about her and what she’d want me to do,” Budd said.
She has been sewing since she was in fifth grade and quilting since the mid 1990s. For her, quilting is a labor of love. “Everybody has a labor of love, and this is mine.”
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