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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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CRS presentation at Rice Memorial High School

Jacques Kabore, partnership and capacity building coordinator for Catholic Relief Services Burkina Faso, gave students at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington an idea of what life is like in his homeland:
+ Seventy-six percent of households have no food stock on hand.
+ Most people have limited access to safe drinking water, health facilities, schools and sanitation.
+ Only half of households have toilets.
+ Inconsistent and insufficient rains cause crop failures.
+ Women’s literacy is 11 percent in rural areas; 23 percent nationally.
+ 80 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture and livestock production.
“You are in a privileged way, a privileged life,” he told the Catholic high school students Jan. 26. “The world is not everywhere like this” in Vermont.
Rice is one of 11 CRS global high schools, part of a program that provides opportunities for Catholic secondary schools to join with CRS to educate about Catholic social teaching and advocate for solidarity with the global poor.
Kabore shared with the students what life is like in Burkina Faso, one of the four poorest countries in the world. He said people there work hard, yet 46 percent live on less than $1 a day; many carry water for household use from rivers.
CRS is working to help residents of Burkina Faso, and since 1960, 500,000 people have been served in areas like agriculture; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition and governance. “Your support [of CRS] is doing something fabulous in the world,” Kabore said, adding that CRS also helps with emergency responses like helping 58,000 refugees from Mali get food and water.
“Jesus tells us to feed and care for our brothers and sisters,” he said, and CRS is a way for “the hand of God from here [to reach] to overseas.”
After the school-wide assembly, students were given the well known cardboard CRS Rice Bowls and asked to make sacrifices of food and specialty drinks during Lent and to contribute the savings to the CRS signature project to help people in need throughout the world.

Kabore spoke at four locations in Vermont as part of the CRS Lenten Speakers Tour, including parishes in Manchester and Bennington and schools in Bennington and South Burlington.
Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. It is motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice and embody Catholic social and moral teaching while promoting human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty and nurturing peaceful and just societies; and by serving Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters throughout the world.
For more information, visit crs.org.
  • Published in Schools

People of prayer, people of action

When Vermont Catholics are asked to assist persons who have been affected by natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding, they respond with generosity.
Recent collections for victims of Hurricane Harvey raised nearly $212,000; for those reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Vermont Catholics donated more than 95,000.
Sandy relief efforts here in 2012 raised just under $15,000; Irene fundraising in 2011 was nearly $154,000, which stayed in hard-hit Vermont.
Nearly $400,000 was collected for victims of Hurricane Katrina over the course of one year from September 2005 to October 2006.
Earlier this year Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne requested all 73 parishes throughout the statewide Diocese take up a collection and respond generously to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Collections continued for natural disasters that followed. 
"Along with all of the other generous people of the state of Vermont, the Catholic community is ready to stand in solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters whose lives have been so devastated by these natural disasters. We are not just people of prayer. We are people of action,” he said.
All donations for humanitarian and recovery efforts were distributed by Catholic Charities USA to areas in greatest need.
About $7,500 was collected for this year’s relief efforts at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Williston and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in Richmond, where Father Daniel Jordan is pastor. “People were very generous, especially with the beginning of school” and related expenses at about the same time the collections were taken, he said. “It tends to be a fairly hard time for a lot of people.”
He was gratified that people gave as much as they could to help their neighbors in hard-hit areas. “This is neighbor helping neighbor beyond the borders of a parish or state. ... It is helping our brothers and sisters in Christ, all made in the image and likeness of God,” he said. “Our faith calls us to respond to all those in need. Even though we are a small diocese, the Vermont Catholic community is very generous.”
--Cori Fugere Urban
A Shining Beacon of Hope
A Prayer After a Hurricane
Mary, Star of the Sea,
We ask your intercession for our brothers and sisters,
who have weathered too many storms and
borne too many hardships.
Be near them in their time of trouble.
Comfort all whose homes have been washed away.
Console all who have lost loved ones.
Fill those who wait in fear and uncertainty with your peace.
We pray for a spirit of perseverance,
Especially for those who have emerged from the storm as
caretakers and victims;
Be a shining beacon of hope as they begin the journey of
And stand us firm beside them in solidarity.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, your Son.
--From Catholic Relief Services

— Originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
  • Published in Diocesan

New book on Stowe church art, history

“Painting on Light – A Restoration” is a new book about the history of Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, a church dedicated to Brother Joseph Dutton, a Vermonter who served the lepers of Molokai with St. Damien De Veuster. It is also a collection of photographs of the murals on the outside of the church and the church windows.
In 2010 the artworks were at the brink of being lost so the parish formed an Art Restoration Committee to preserve the 12 murals that depict the work with the lepers and the 36 windows with Gospel stories, all created by French artist Andre Girard.
“When we completed the restoration in 2013, the committee decided that we needed to make a durable record of all the artworks,” explained Lynn P. Altadonna, a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church and chair of the book committee. “Of course we have digital files now, but we know that the technology will continue to change and the digital records we leave in 2017 may not be ‘readable’ in 20 or 30 years. We see the book as the durable record.”
The author is of the book is Josephine Belloso, a student and friend of Girard.
The goals for the book are to create a revenue stream for maintaining the art; support the movement to recognize Brother Dutton with sainthood and honor Girard as a gifted artist.
“Girard was in the French Underground. The violence of World War II is visible in the powerful images he painted here just after the war,” Altadonna said. “Girard makes manifest the intensity of Christ’s Passion in his Stations of the Cross. Girard captures the Gospel scenes so you feel what is happening at the Nativity, the Sermon on the Mount, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The outside murals are black paint on white pine boards. One can see life on Molokai with the lepers, St. Damien and Brother Dutton in full color. The lesson Girard captures is we all must simply serve God by serving our neighbor.”
Donors who give $50 to the Art Restoration Fund will receive a copy of the 128-page, hardcover book.
For more information, call Blessed Sacrament Rectory at 802-253-7536 or visit This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
  • Published in Parish

St. Amadeus Clothes Closet

What began as a Girl Scout community service project to collect coats for people in need has been zipped up into the St. Amadeus Clothes Closet in Alburgh, providing all kinds of clothing for all ages and raising funds for the parish.
“There are a lot of low-income people in this town, and there was a need” for the coat project that began about a dozen years ago, explained Denise Pardee, one of the organizers of the project and a parishioner of St. Amadeus Church.
The Clothes Closet has become an important part of life for many in this northwest corner of the statewide Diocese of Burlington who come often or infrequently to get clothing for themselves and their families and baby goods like a stroller, dresser or changing table.
Many customers don’t drive, so the Main Street location in the parish hall across from the church is convenient.
Sometimes volunteers get requests from the elementary school next door for essential winter wear for one of the students. “If we don’t have it, we get it,” said Connie Cosgrove, co-coordinator of the Clothes Closet with Pardee.
Word about the parish’s clothing ministry — located in a converted front porch — spreads through the school, the local health center, veterans’ groups, the fire department and the senior center so people know clothing and other goods like bedding are available.
Working poor and retirees in need of a helping hand come not only from Alburgh but from neighboring towns.
Operated by a volunteer team of four who sort and — when needed, mend and launder — the donated items, the Clothes Closet accepts donations for all items; there are no set prices. “You put in what you want,” Cosgrove said; some people put in $20 for a bag of clothes while others can put in only coins.
And that’s OK.
“We have an abundance of clothes,” she continued. “God made sure. We don’t care what they put in. We want to help.”
In addition to the coats and jackets, there are shirts, pants, sweaters, pajamas and even holiday apparel.
The Clothes Closet takes in about $150-$200 a month; it is added to parish funds.
Asked why they volunteer with the clothing ministry, Cosgrove and Pardee agree it’s the way they were raised. “I like to sort and organize, and I know there is a need in our community. This is the way I was raised. … I would go without so somebody else could have something,” Cosgrove said.
“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the people say or show their appreciation,” commented Laura Limoge, a parish secretary.
Yet she knows a few people might abuse the system. “My faith informs me when I see the cheating of the system. I’d cut them off, but my faith says, ‘You can’t do that, Laura,’” she said. “My faith allows me to overlook some things I might not otherwise,” especially when it comes to food. “Having people go hungry in the richest country in the world is an abomination.”
The parish also has a food shelf in the parish center, adjoining the Clothes Closet. It offers fresh foods and baked goods from Hannafords on Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Non-perishable food is available at the rectory on Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Clothes Closet is generally open Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from April through December and at other times for emergency needs by calling the rectory at 802-796-3481.
Originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
  • Published in Parish
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