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Catholic Schools Week Mass

Catholic school students bring donated items for local charities to the front of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington during the Catholic Schools Week Mass. (Vermont Catholic/Cori Fugere Urban) Catholic school students bring donated items for local charities to the front of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington during the Catholic Schools Week Mass.
More than 500 members of Catholic school communities in Vermont attended a special Catholic Schools Week Mass Jan. 31 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
 
They came in school uniforms by bus or car or walked to the special celebration at which students served as altar servers, readers and gift bearers. Some students carried their school banner in the entrance procession; others brought baskets or boxes of donations for charities in their school’s area to the front of the church during the offertory. 
 
Students from Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington made up the choir, accompanied by Rice teacher Brian Lynam with cantor Ashlee O'Brien from the University of Vermont Catholic Center.
 
The theme of the Mass and of Catholic Schools Week was "Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed." The focus was on the important spiritual, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education.
 
In his homily, Msgr. John McDermott, vicar general for the Diocese, spoke about the importance of choices and encouraged the students to make choices for God, for life and for eternal life.
 
“What we are trying to teach you” in Catholic schools “is God loves you, called you, redeemed you and calls you to Himself,” said Msgr. McDermott, pastor of Christ the King St. Anthony Parish in Burlington that includes Christ the King School.
 
Catholic schools help students make important life choices about vocations and avocations, but most importantly help them make choices that will help them become saints. “It’s easier to make choices that lead us further from God,” he said, “but we weren’t made to live an easy life. We were meant to live an eternal life with God in Heaven.”
 
About a dozen members of the clergy participated in the Mass.
 
During her remarks, Lisa Lorenz, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Burlington, said the “beauty of Catholic schools” is that they are witnesses of hope as students there grow in grace and the love of the Lord.
 
Each school represented at the Mass collected donations for charitable organizations in their area including Vermont Catholic Charities Inc., Central Vermont Humane Society, Lamoille County Food Share, Joseph’s House and Chittenden County Food Shelf.
 
Many of the students who attended the Mass appreciated being a part of the celebration with other Catholic school students. “It was cool to see all the schools in Vermont,” said Henry Sipples, an eighth grader at Good Shepard Catholic School in St. Johnsbury, admitting the attendance was more than he expected.
 
“It’s good to come together to celebrate our schools,” added classmate Madison Wilson.
 
PJ Letourneau and Alexis Limlaw-Sicard, eighth graders at St. Paul School in Barton, liked the music, and classmate Marina Rockwell — though she likes her small town — enjoyed visiting the City of Burlington.
 
But more importantly, she said, she appreciated the feeling of the Church as universal. “Being in Barton, you don’t see other Catholic schools [because St. Paul’s is the only one in the nearby area] so you feel kind of like isolated,” she said. “Coming here with all the other kids who do the things you do [in Catholic school] makes you feel like you’re a big family.”
 

 
 
 

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Catholic Schools Week Mass 2018
Last modified onThursday, 01 February 2018 11:10
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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