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Meet Vermont's newest priest

Father Joseph J. Sanderson grew up in Orwell, two houses down the hill from St. Paul Church. The church was open throughout the day and into the early evening hours, so after long bus rides home from Fair Haven Union High School and cross country practice, he would go up to the church before dinner and homework.
 
At first his visits were brief – maybe five minutes – but over time those visits lengthened. The parish also had Eucharistic adoration on First Fridays that helped him to encounter Christ on a deeper level.
 
It was during these quiet times of prayer at his parish church that he first heard the call to the priesthood.
 
Father Sanderson was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Burlington on June 17 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
 
Born in Middlebury on Sept. 18, 1990, he is the eldest of the three children of Jennifer and John Sanderson. “Reciting the rosary together as a family played the biggest role in my journey to the priesthood,” he commented.
 
During high school, he worked at the bottle redemption center in Orwell, a job he enjoyed. “I can't help it, its corny, but now my work will be of another sort of ‘redemption,’” he quipped.
 
As a priest, he hopes that as Christ's instrument, he can bring others to Chris, “that they may experience His deep, abiding, eternal love for them, and in return that they may love Him,” he said. “To be loved by God and to love God in return is our destiny and gives us purpose and ultimate fulfillment.”
 
Father Sanderson entered the seminary after his graduation from high school, having given only slight consideration to a career working for Lego, maker of the toy building bricks he collects.
 
“Christ was the center of my life,” he said. “Through the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation, I received Christ's peace, joy and mercy. Once I had encountered Christ, I had a burning desire to share Him not only with those closest to me but with everyone.”
 
Father Sanderson attended Our Lady of Providence Seminary and Providence College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He is finishing his major seminary training at St. John's Seminary in Boston.
 
During summer breaks, he helped with the Totus Tuus summer program for children in Vermont, served in the Bishop’s Fund office and assisted at parishes in Williston, Richmond, South Burlington and Highgate Center.
 
A man who enjoys helping people and making them laugh, Father Sanderson is especially close to St. Therese of Lisieux and St. John the Baptist. “John was quite the character and brought many to Jesus through his voice and humility,” Father Sanderson said. "’I must decrease you must increase’ is a prayer I often say during Mass.”
 
St. Therese has shown him how easy it is to give back to God. “Love Him by giving Him everything, the small things, the everyday things. Any act we do can be an act of love,” he commented.
 
In addition to his Lego hobby, he enjoys biking, hiking cross-country skiing and going to the movies.
 
Father Sanderson tries to emulate the example of goodness and faith his parents have given him and the good example of the priests of the Diocese of Burlington.
 
His advice to those discerning a vocation to the priesthood is to find some quiet time to be with the Lord, to hear His voice. “Be patient with Christ. Find a priest to talk to and ask questions,” he said. “Finally, step out of the boat, as Peter did. Seminary is a time to discover who you are and how Christ may be calling you to love Him and His people.”
 
After his ordination to the priesthood, he looks most forward to celebrating Mass and hearing confessions.
 
“I chose to be a priest for the Diocese of Burlington because Vermont has always been and will always be my home,” Father Sanderson said. “It will be a great honor, privilege and joy for me to serve the people of this great State of Vermont, to labor for souls in this little corner of our Lord's vineyard.”
 
Originally published in the July 1, 2017, The Inland Sea.
 
 
 

Msgr. McDermott makes good on pledge to have head shaved for Daddy Warbucks part

BURLINGTON--Ever wonder what a $2,000 haircut looks like? 
 
Look here:  www.dropbox.com/sh/8niadbp3ck6xt0e/AADh08qqaz3wfh5n3yFniU4ia?dl=0
 
Msgr. John McDermott is vicar general of the Diocese of Burlington and pastor of Christ the King/St. Anthony Parish.  He is playing another part on Nov. 4 and 5: Daddy Warlocks, the iconic and beloved millionaire, in Christ the King School’s production of “Annie, Jr.”
 
Daddy Warbucks is famously bald, and Msgr. McDermott is – was -- not. However, he agreed to really get in character by shaving his head -- at a cost of $1,000.
 
He challenged the community to give $1,000 within a week, with all donations going to replace the school’s aging theater lighting, and he would have his head shaved in front of the entire school.  The $1,000 goal was reached in a matter of days, but the donations kept coming in, and by the end of the challenge the school had collected more than $2,000.
 
Thursday afternoon Msgr. McDermott brought in a professional hairstylist, Lori Detore, who removed his locks on the CKS stage in front a cheering crowd. 
 
By the end of the $2,000 haircut, he looked much more the Daddy Warlocks part and the school was a big step closer to replacing the theater lighting.    
 
  • Published in Schools

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
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