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Help Christ the King School raise funds for Msgr. McDermott's haircut challenge

BURLINGTON—You could call it a $1,000 haircut.
 
Msgr. John McDermott has challenged the Christ the King School community to raise $1,000 for new stage lights, and if the goal is reached, he will have his head shaved in front of the entire school.
 
“I made the challenge because the school has been trying to get new stage lights for a while. This may get us closer to getting them,” said the pastor of Christ the King-St. Anthony Parish and vicar general for the Diocese of Burlington.
 
Of the 16 theater lights, only eight work, and not well. Efforts to raise money to fix the theater lighting have been ongoing for the last three years. The cost is estimated at $12,000 to replace the current bank of lights with the least expensive new version available.
 
Msgr. McDermott has had crew cuts before, but never a shaved head. “However I'm a lot closer to a bald head than I was as a newly ordained priest,” he said.
 
The new look will be fitting for his role in Christ the King School’s production of “Annie.” He is playing the famously bald Daddy Warbucks.
 
“I've done theater since elementary school. I love the stage and the opportunities to work with others to put on a show,” Msgr. McDermott said. “I was asked to join the cast, and I'm thrilled to help out. Being on stage is much more exciting than being in the audience.”
 
Christ the King School Principal Angela Pohlen expressed deep appreciation to Msgr. McDermott for the “clear love and joyfulness with which he engages the school.”
 
“Annie” will be performed Nov. 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. at the school.
 
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Call the school at 862-6696 to reserve tickets and then pay at the door.
 
All donations to Msgr. McDermott’s fundraiser will go directly to replacing the aging stage lights.
 
“The community's response is more aptly connected to Msgr. McDermott himself than to the challenge for the lights,” Pohlen said. “Our community loves him. He's present at the school and visits classrooms every single day; he knows the teachers, children and parents by name.”
 
It is fun for her to watch him rehearse with the students: “He fits right in, adding his talent, joviality and even a little silliness, with theirs. These kids will never, ever forget this experience. As a result, the community has responded with enthusiasm to the challenge. But that's not surprising. How do you not return love with love?”
 
Give online at www.cksvt.org/warbucks or drop off a check at the school’s front office.
 
“The arts are an important part of educating the whole child and a great way to bring a community together,” Msgr. McDermott said.
 
  • Published in Schools

Bishop Kenneth Angell remembered at funeral for his forgiveness, humor, kindness

BURLINGTON--It is difficult to name one moment that defines a person’s life, but if Msgr. Richard Lavalley had to choose one to describe the life of the late Burlington Bishop Kenneth A. Angell, it would be the moment he stood on the steps of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington and forgave the terrorists who killed his brother and sister-in-law on Sept. 11, 2001.
 
“On those steps I heard the greatest homily I’ve ever heard in my life,” he said. Bishop Angell stood there, crosier in hand, and when asked how he felt about the terrorists who took the lives of his family members he said, “I am Christian. I am told to forgive so I do."

"And he did,” Msgr. Lavalley said in his homily at the Mass of Christian Burial for Bishop Angell Oct. 11 in that very same church.

A friend of Bishop Angell, Msgr. Lavalley is pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Winooski.
 
Bishop Angell, eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Burlington, died on Oct. 4 at the age of 86.
 
He has been remembered for his sense of humor, his kindness, his respect for life and his charity.
 
His wake took place in the co-cathedral on the day of the funeral and the day before, and scores of the faithful prayed next to the open casket.
 
Fourth Degree members of the Knights of Columbus from throughout the Diocese of Burlington provided an honor guard, with the changing of the guard every 12 minutes during the wake.
 
Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne, the celebrant of the Mass of Christian Burial, read a letter from the apostolic nuncio, Bishop Christophe Pierre, noting that Pope Francis was saddened to learn of the death of Bishop Angell and recalled with gratitude his years of service to the Diocese of Burlington.
 
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., metropolitan archbishop of Boston, along with eight bishops, priests, deacons, religious, friends, members of other faith communities, Catholic school children and others attended the 90-minute Mass.
 
The cardinal offered a light-hearted recollection of Bishop Angell, saying that when regional bishops had gone to Rome for an ad limina visit with Pope John Paul II, everyone was nervous and wondering what to say: “Ken Angell was the ice breaker” and soon had the pope “in peals of laughter.”
 
Karen Brendli of Brewster, N.Y., said before the funeral that many of her fondest memories of her uncle, the bishop, centered around Christmas. “Every year Uncle Ken would go to the prison in Rhode Island (where he was auxiliary bishop before coming to Burlington). He said it was an emotional time for him.”
 
The children in the family loved seeing him. “He always told stories with characters and voices that entertained the kids.”
 
Members of the Angell Family accompanied the casket to the front door of the church as bishops, priests and deacons – vested in white – stood under a bright blue sky at the bottom of the stairs singing Salve Regina.
 
Burial will be at a later date in the family plot in Rhode Island.
 
Click on the slideshow below to view more photos from the wake and Mass.

For more about the funeral and the life of Bishop Angell, see the upcoming commemorative publication from Vermont Catholic.

 
  • Published in Diocesan

Jubilee for the Sick to take place at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington

BURLINGTON—“Everybody experiences a need for healing from physical, mental, spiritual, addictive, relational or financial problems,” said Father Lance Harlow. “It is a universal human struggle, and the mercy of God compels the Church to attend to those who struggle in the pursuit of physical, mental and spiritual integrity. God’s grace is manifested for everybody at a healing service because His mercy flows so abundantly.”
 
That grace will be available at a special Year of Mercy Jubilee for the Sick, a healing service, Sunday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m. at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, 20 Allen St., Burlington.
 
Each of the monthly celebrations for the Year of Mercy has featured an emphasis on Catholic life and the Church’s role in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the modern world. “The Church has always been involved with preaching, teaching and healing,” said Father Harlow, rector of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Co-Cathedral parishes in Burlington and diocesan chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Year of Faith. “The means for healing are both sacramental and charismatic. The Jubilee for Healing on Oct. 16 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral will offer both.”
 
There will be two sacramental healing “stations” for Catholics who are able to receive those sacraments, namely, the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and the sacrament of reconciliation. For those who are not Catholic, there will be “stations” for the biblical laying on of hands with prayers for healing.
 
Father Harlow has been involved with healing services for 23 years in parishes throughout the Diocese of Burlington and offers a monthly healing service in his parish. He has seen people healed through the sacraments and through the laying on of hands. “Praying for healing is one of the most beautiful aspects of the Church’s ministry of mercy deeply rooted in the Catholic Church’s biblical and traditional expression of the faith,” he said.
 
Father Harlow emphasizes that it is God who heals, not him. “Only God can heal you; I just pray,” he said, explaining that “the Lord heals them according to His will.”
           
Some people are healed spiritually, physically or emotionally as they have requested, while others may receive a different healing, perhaps unbeknownst to them. “People tell me they were healed all the time…but the feedback is just a fraction of the reality of the people who get healed,” Father Harlow said.
           
But God knows their needs, and everyone gets graces from the service, he added. “Graces take root by conversion. Part of any healing is conversion, to grow in holiness and the perfection of ones’ vocation.”
           
Therefore, one cannot pray for a marriage to be healed without working on the marital relationship, for example.
           
“The sacrament of confession is the most beautiful and most important part of a healing service,” Father Harlow said. Physical healings would last only in this lifetime, and persons still die. But with spiritual healing, there are graces for the salvation of souls.
 
Joseph F. Myers of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Williston estimated that he has been prayed over more than 40 times. “I have had a physical healing of the low back while Father Harlow was praying over me,” he reported. “I have had an increase in my Catholic faith and trust in God. I have also been prayed over for many family, friends and co-workers fighting health issues. Some are cancer survivors and some have made a full recovery from major illnesses and surgeries.”
 
He suggested that if people have any reservations about going to a healing service, they should go and sit in a pew and pray silently. “They can choose to be prayed over if and when they are ready,” he said.
 
The focus of the healing service on Oct. 16 will be on the adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. “The healing ‘stations’ will revolve around Jesus as the central axis since all healing comes from him,” Father Harlow said. “Therefore, the whole diocese is invited to come and pray for the sick during this holy hour. Those who want to be prayed over for specific issues will be conducted to the correct ‘station.’”
 
Healing services, he said, are done for the honor and glory of God and to reveal to people how much God loves them. 
 

Obituary: Sister of Mercy Joyce Barrett

BURLINGTON--Sister Of Mercy Joyce Barrett (Sister Mary Petronilla), 84, of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community died at Mount St. Mary Convent Sept. 28.
 
She was born in Burlington on Dec. 3, 1931, the daughter of Eveline (Blanchette) Barrett and Daniel Barrett. She attended Mount St. Mary grammar and high schools, received a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Burlington and a master’s degree from St. Michael's College in Colchester.
 
She entered the Sisters of Mercy on Aug. 15, 1949, and was professed on Aug. 18, 1952.
 
Sister Barrett taught for 25 years at Mount St. Mary, Christ the King and Cathedral Grammar schools in Burlington, Marian High School in Barre and Winooski High School. She also worked in religious education in St. Albans, was involved in peace and social justice concerns and was the coordinator of the Mercy Justice Coalition.
 
She ministered as a nurse's aide to the terminally ill at Calvary Hospital and Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in the Bronx and as the director of health care for the Sisters of Mercy in Burlington. When she was no longer able to be in active ministry, she volunteered at Mount St. Mary Convent.
 
She is survived by her sister, Colleen Pelkey, and her husband, Harry; many nieces and nephews; her sisters in religion, the Sisters of Mercy; and many friends. She was predeceased by her parents, Daniel and Eveline Barrett; her sisters Lorraine Barrett (Sister Mary Charles), Arlene Barrett and Kathleen Dannehy; and her brother, Norman Barrett.
 
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3, at Mount St. Mary Chapel.
 
 

Teachers, catechists honored at Year of Mercy celebration

BURLINGTON—More than 100 teachers and catechists attended the Jubilee for Catechists and School Teachers at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral on Sept. 18 to honor, bless and celebrate Catholic educators and their selfless call to teach young people about the love and mercy of God.
 
“I have been very moved by this Year of Mercy in our diocese,” said Sister of Mercy Laura DellaSanta, principal of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington. She appreciates how the people of the Diocese of Burlington come together for the special monthly events that recognize, affirm and pray for people involved in various ministries. “It unites us and strengthens us.”
 
Among those in attendance at the celebration for educators were Catholic school teachers and administrators, parish religious educators, directors of religious education, home schooling parents and students.
 
Following the celebration at the co-cathedral, attendees enjoyed refreshments and displays shared by various schools and parishes that represented aspects of their curriculum dedicated to passing on the Catholic faith.

For more information about the Jubilee for Catechists & School Teachers click here.
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Obituary: Deacon Louis A. Meunier

SOUTH BURLINGTON--Deacon Louis Arthur Meunier of South Burlington died unexpectedly after a brief illness on Sept. 12.
 
He was born in Windsor on Dec. 8, 1926, to Alice Marie (Danis) and Louis Henry Meunier.
 
He attended schools in Burlington and graduated from Cathedral High School before continuing his education at the seminary in St. Albans and later at Middlebury College. He was a Navy veteran, serving on the USS Mt. Olympus during World War II. He worked at the Louis H. Meunier and Sons market, Lou's Cities Service gas station, General Electric Armament Division and a variety of carpentry jobs.
 
He was ordained a deacon on June 25, 1983, and served in this ministry at St. Anthony and Christ the King parishes in Burlington for more than 30 years. He also was an active member of the Knights of Columbus.
 
One of eight siblings, Deacon Meunier was predeceased by his brothers: Gaston and Claude; Clarence and his wife, Barbara (Brown); Ronald and his wife, Pauline (Fregeau); Robert; and by his sister, Mona Murphy, and her husband, Peter Murphy.
 
He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Helene E. (Dubois) Meunier and their three children: Louis Maurice Meunier and his wife, Rose Marie, of Pittsfield, Mass.; Collette Helene Galusha and her husband, Robert "Dennis," of Arlington; and Michele Elizabeth Celeste of Burlington. He leaves one brother, Richard Meunier, and his wife Marguerite (Guilmette), of Shelburne and a sister-in-law, Anne Marie (Kompa) Meunier, of South Burlington. He also leaves 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and cousins, nieces and nephews.
 
On Sept. 19 at St. Anthony Church in Burlington there will be a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30 a.m. Burial will follow at Resurrection Park Cemetery, South Burlington.
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Serving Up Mercy: Edmundite priest volunteers, affirms need for Ronald McDonald House charities

It wasn’t long before Edmundite Father Michael Cronogue began volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Burlington that the reprehensible happened: Vandals burned, decapitated and cut off the feet of the iconic Ronald McDonald figure that sat on a wooden bench outside the home-away-from-home for sick children and their families.

Soon afterward, another life-sized, red-headed clown in yellow, red and white clothing with big red shoes was sitting in the yard at the corner of South Winooski and Pearl streets, thanks to the generosity of a former McDonald’s restaurant owner in St. Louis. The figure is now under the watchful lens of a security camera provided by Ronald McDonald House supporters.

And so it was in March that Father Cronogue — just a month into his volunteer service at the house — offered a special prayer at the dedication of the new Ronald McDonald statue.

He was invited to volunteer at the house after a Catholic family suffered the loss of their parents.

A member of the Edmundite Campus Ministry team at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Father Cronogue — a tall, gentle man — accepted the invitation not only as a way to serve the spiritual and practical needs of those who are staying at the house but as a way to connect with people outside the college community.

“Part of our Catholic tradition is to give back, especially to those on the margin,” he said. “Here I see a sense of mission, to provide a home for children and their families while the children are being taken care of” at the medical center.

The Ronald McDonald House opened in Burlington in 1984 in the former parsonage of the First Congregational Church of Burlington next door. The house offers accommodations for up to 50 guests; 80 percent of the families that stay there have a pre-term baby in the nearby University of Vermont Medical Center. It serves about 400 families a year.

The house is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist families who are staying there — welcoming them, answering questions about laundry, making sure they have the basics they need during their stay, answering the telephone and the like.

There are three full-time and one part-time employees and about 200 volunteers.

Father Cronogue sees his role as being available to the guests and making sure the house is safe.

“When he is here, he brings his sense of spirituality and draws people together,” said Kristine Bickford, executive director of the house. “He listens. He is non-judgmental…. He exudes warmth and kindness.”

He volunteers about three hours a week — usually in the evenings when families are returning from long days at the hospital. He’s there to talk if they want, but he does not proselytize.

Father Cronogue, a former superior general of the Society of St. Edmund who also serves at St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle LaMotte, is believed to be the first priest to volunteer regularly at the house. “I feel I can help,” he said.

“Every family is in a vulnerable state here,” said Deanna Cameron, volunteer and guest relations manager.

Father Cronogue says what he brings to Ronald McDonald House is an understanding of confidentiality and protection for children and vulnerable adults.

He would like to draw more Catholics and St. Michael’s College students into volunteering at the house.

Being there “puts a perspective on life,” he added. “You see the dignity of life.”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering may call Cameron at 802-862-4943.

For more information about Ronald McDonald House, go to rmhcvt.org.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban,
Vermont Catholic content editor/staff writer.

Jubilee Year of Mercy officially begins as hundreds pass through Holy Door

To officially begin the special Jubilee Year of Mercy in Vermont, Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne called for the Holy Door at St. Joseph Co- Cathedral in Burlington to be opened during a Dec. 13 vesper service, saying, "Open the gates of justice; we shall enter and give thanks to the Lord."

He said he was overjoyed to see the cathedral filled with hundreds of the people of God as they began the Jubilee of Mercy. "It is a sign of our faith and how we want to be bearers of that mercy to others."

The celebration, he said, marked the solemn beginning of the Holy Year in the diocesan Church, "a prelude to the profound experience of grace and reconciliation that awaits us this year."

And as the symbolic yellow and white door in the main aisle of the Old North End church opened, he proclaimed, "This is the Lord's gate: Let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness."

Carrying the Book of the Gospels, he then lead clergy and laity – some making the sign of the cross before passing through the door – in two columns through the doors to continue the afternoon service for the opening of the "Porta Sancta" (Holy Door) for the Year of Mercy that began on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, and will end on Nov. 20, 2016.

Walking through the Holy Door – for the first time in her life – was a "monumental experience" for Marie Moore of Ascension Church in Georgia. "It may be the only time in my life," she said. "It's a time to recognize that it's a new beginning."

During the service, Msgr. Peter Routhier, rector of the co-cathedral and of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Burlington, read from the papal Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy announcing the Holy Year. He said, in part: "Jesus Christ is the face of the Father's mercy . . . . Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father. Jesus of Nazareth, by His words, His actions and His entire person reveals the mercy of God."

He continued, "We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity and peace. Our salvation depends on it."

During the course of the year, Catholics are invited to make a pilgrimage to the co-cathedral to pass through the Holy Door and ponder God's love and mercy in their lives and how they, too, can be vehicles of that mercy to others.

According to Catholic teaching, walking through special Holy Doors results in a remission from sin – an indulgence – when accompanied by prayer and repentance. The act of walking through the doors symbolizes spiritual renewal and the passage from sin to grace.

Moore is fulfilling the requirements for the indulgence. "It shows I have faith and I am praying for faith and peace around the world," she said.

St. John Paul II said that the Holy Door " . . . evokes the passage from sin to grace which every Christian is called to accomplish. Jesus said, 'I am the door' in order to make it clear that no one can come to the Father except through Him."

Also when the door opens, the obstacles of passage to the Lord are removed.

The doors of the Church "are wide open so that all those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness," Pope Francis said. "God never ceases to demonstrate the richness of His mercy over the course of centuries."

God touches people's hearts with His grace, filling them with repentance and a desire to experience His love, he added. "The greater the sin, the greater the love, which the Church must express toward those who convert."

God's mercy is wider than the sea, and "there are no ifs, ands or buts about God's mercy," Bishop Coyne emphasized in his homily at the vesper service. "That is not poetic hyperbole; it's the Gospel truth."

He spoke about those to whom Jesus was merciful, including Zachaeus the tax collector and Mary Magdalene, the woman caught in adultery.

His mercy was not merited, and He showed mercy without conditions. But He sought a response: that those who received mercy, healing and forgiveness would respond in mercy, conversion and faith.

"There is a wideness to God's mercy that is incomprehensible to us because we want to place conditions on mercy" when showing it, Bishop Coyne said.

"We seek it. It is there. If we desire it, we will know it," he said.

The biblical theme of the year is "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

Traditionally, every 25 years the popes proclaim a holy year, which features special celebrations and pilgrimages, strong calls for conversion and repentance and the offer of special opportunities to experience God's grace through the sacraments, especially confession.

Extraordinary holy years, like the Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent, but offer the same opportunities for spiritual growth.

The Year of Mercy will be devoted to personal conversion, prayer and apostolic works.

Gerry Couture of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral Parish attended the vesper service and said it is comforting to know God's mercy and forgiveness are limitless. "The world needs that message more than ever now with all the violence," he said. "I think it is import to forgive, and it is important for people to know it's important to forgive. Forgiveness is something that is underrated."

The service at the co-cathedral to begin the Holy Year was months in planning and coincided with a Burlington inter-faith service against gun violence with a particular focus on the forgiveness of sin, prayers for the prevention of gun violence and sincere spiritual renewal.
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