Father Yvon Royer, dean of the Addison Deanery, said there was "great excitement" at the first gathering of the newly formed Diocesan Pastoral Council, as participants "want to be able to have a voice in the direction of our diocese and have a lot to offer with their talents and vision."
The meeting took place at St. Peter Parish in Vergennes; Father Royer is pastor there and at St. Ambrose Church in Bristol.
"The laity help us being the ears, hands and voice of the people of Vermont," he said of the lay council. "These representative–based on what I saw–were well chosen and will be good representatives of the state of Vermont" to make recommendations about the needs of the Diocese of Burlington and the social needs of the state.
Deans were asked to submit three names for membership on the council.
There are currently 27 members, representing all geographic areas of the state.
Plans call for bringing that number up to 40 and increasing the demographic diversity.
Father Royer told the group that the laity will play an important part in the discernment process to determine where energy needs to be focused in the future.
At the meeting, Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne explained that the council is consultative, and that he does take members' input seriously; he values all voices and needs to hear all voices and opinions.
During the meeting, members discussed what the Church is doing well, what the Church need to work on and what the Church's priorities should be.
The council will meet four times a year.
Father Royer will convene the council for the first year, and next year leadership will be elected from the membership with Bishop Coyne convening the meetings.
The next meeting will be Sept. 17 at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Randolph.
MEMBERS of the 2016 DIOCESAN PASTORAL COUNCIL
MEMBER DEANERY PARISH
Dennis O'Brien Addison St. Mary Middlebury
Fred Baser Addison St. Ambrose, Bristol
Constance Goodrich Addison St. Peter, Vergennes
Barbara Zuk Bennington St. Margaret Mary, Arlington
James Dingley Bennington St. Paul, Manchester Center
Thomas Lenz Bennington Christ our Savior, Manchester
Clark Leonard Capital St. John, Northfield
Loretta Schneider Capital St. Augustine, Montpelier
Richard Brodeur Capital Most Holy Name of Jesus, Johnson
Ann Gummere Northeast Kingdom Corpus Christi, St. Johnsbury
George Piette Northeast Kingdom Mater Dei, Newport
Kevin Coy Northeast Kingdom St. Paul, Barton
Susan Ahearn Rutland St. Peter, Rutland
Robert Wagner Rutland St. Raphael, Poultney
Joyce Roberts Rutland Our Lady Seven Dolors, Fair Haven
Bob Danyow South Burlington Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Charlotte
Christopher Poitier South Burlington Immaculate Heart of Mary, Williston
Jacqueline Valentovic South Burlington St. John Vianney, S. Burlington
John Bohannon Windsor St. Edmund, Saxtons River
Daisy Anderberg Windsor Our Lady of Mercy, Windsor
Walter Wallace Windsor St. Joseph, Chester
David Robideau Winooski Holy Family/St. Lawrence, Essex Jct.
Collin Frisbie Winooski St. Pius X, Essex Center
David Rogerson Winooski Holy Family/St. Lawrence, Essex Jct.
- Published in Diocesan