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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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Society of St. Edmund's 175th anniversary

As the Society of St. Edmund celebrates the 175th anniversary of its founding in France, its members continue to serve God with zeal.
“That zeal was in our DNA right from the beginning,” said Father Stephen Hornat, superior general of the order based at St. Michael’s College in Colchester.  “Our founders were holy men with passion for the faith and the priesthood. … I see that same zeal playing out” in current Edmundite missions of education, social justice, spiritual renewal and pastoral ministry.
The Society of St. Edmund began in a rural region of France to revitalize the faith of people who had become increasingly alienated from the Catholic Church. The founder, Father Jean-Baptiste Muard, began the society at St. Mary’s Abbey in Pontigny, the final resting place of St. Edmund of Canterbury.
The arm of St. Edmund, once enshrined at St. Michael’s College then at Nativity of the Blessed Mary Church in Swanton (once staffed by the Edmundites), is now at the order’s Enders Island retreat center in Connecticut.
At the end of the 19th century as politics became increasingly hostile toward religious orders, the Society of St. Edmund decided to establish a new ministry in Canada, ministering to the French-speaking Catholics in Quebec.
Later asked to serve the French-speaking Catholics of northern Vermont, the Edmundites established several parishes and St. Michael’s College in Vermont.
The order also provided priests to minister in Venezuela for many years; the last Edmundite to serve there returned to the United States in July after 51 years.
The order currently has 25 members – priests and brothers -- most living in Vermont.
Edmundites serve in parish ministry in Selma, Ala., and in retreat house administration in Mystic, Conn. In Vermont they serve at St. Michael’s College – an educational institution the order founded – and in churches in Essex Junction, Essex Center, Putney, Townshend, Stratton, Hinesburg, Charlotte and Winooski. They also run St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle LaMotte.
Their ministries are diverse, but all seek to make God known and loved in deep and meaningful ways.
Looking to the future, Father Hornat noted that after the order’s foundation, members lived together at a monastery and went out to do their ministry, so he would like to return to the spirit of that foundation by strengthening community life. “Nicolle Hall [the order’s residence and headquarters at St. Michael’s College] is going to be the new Pontigny,” he said, where members will focus on community and prayer life and have an increased presence on campus. “When we can be strong as a religious community, we can make an impact in evangelization. We need to be that witness. We need to find our strength and our sustenance in community life and prayer.”
Zeal, he added, “is a contagious quality we have in the community.”
Among the future events to celebrate the 175 anniversary of the founding of the Society of St. Edmund is an St. Edmund’s Lecture and Reception Nov. 15 at St. Michael’s College; a Nov. 16 Mass at the college’s Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel; a heritage trip to France in May 2018; a July 3, 2018, Mass and picnic at Holy Family Church in Essex Junction marking the beginning of the Edmundite community; and the Aug. 15, 2018, closing of the anniversary year at the shrine.
For more information, call the Edmundite Generalate at 802-654-3400.
  • Published in Diocesan

Church Mutual Nurse Hotline

If an employee of the Diocese of Burlington associated with the diocesan insurance policy sustains a non-life-threatening injury on the job, who you gonna call?
The Church Mutual Nurse Hotline.
“We keep our eyes out for new, innovative programs with an already-proven track record to improve outcomes for employees hurt on the job,” said Betty Wyhowanec, administrative assistant in the diocesan Office of Insurance and Facilities. “This [nurse hotline] has a huge impact on the health and healing times of employees.”
The new program will go into effect Dec. 1 and get medical information to injured employees quickly and then provide them with documentation of the triage call.
According to churchmutual.com, if a non-life-threatening injury occurs while an employee of the Diocese is on the job, he or she can get fast and free advice by calling the 24/7 Nurse Hotline at 844-322-4662 before spending time and money at a health care facility.
The Nurse Hotline benefits both employees and employers by providing immediate medical advice on the most appropriate form of treatment. “Getting health care questions answered quickly and at no cost to employees is a win-win for everyone,” the site notes.
This service is powered by Medcor, which provides injury triage services from coast to coast, giving injured employees instant access to specially trained medical professionals and state-of-the-art triage protocols. As a result, employees experience better health outcomes and employers benefit from greater productivity, minimized frequency and reduced severity of workers’ compensation claims.
“In fact using Medcor service through this program can serve to reduce the overall insurance premium cost,” Wyhowanec added.
The call center is staffed with registered nurses under the direction of Medcor’s full-time medical director who is board certified in emergency medicine.
For more information about the program in the Diocese of Burlington, call 802-658-6110 ext. 1141 or ext. 1205.
  • Published in Diocesan

Perpetual Care Fund supports Vermont Catholic cemeteries

“Operating a cemetery is very expensive in today's world, and for that reason we need to be good stewards of all cemetery funds to provide a sacred place for those who have placed their love ones in our care,” said Robert E. Brown, director of cemeteries for the Diocese of Burlington. “The Catholic faithful expect our cemeteries to be a place of reverence, a peaceful area for prayer and reflection.”
But maintaining them is expensive.
The Vermont Catholic Community Foundation provides pathways for Catholics to leave a legacy that will shape the future of the Catholic Church in Vermont. “One of those pathways is the Perpetual Care Fund which enables our Catholic Parish Cemeteries to place their perpetual care monies together for an opportunity of a higher return on their investment,” Brown explained. “The foundation will manage these funds and distribute them on a percentage based on the principle invested. This will provide our cemeteries much needed funds for their operations.”
Perpetual Care by definition is the continued maintenance and care of the burial spaces, roads, buildings, equipment, tools, compensation for employees and record keeping.
Parish cemeteries are "not all that uncommon" in the Midwest, said Grant Emmel, who is charged with keeping tabs on the 125 cemeteries in the Madison Diocese.
"The parish cemetery is like a business. You've got to approach it with that kind of mindset," Emmel told Catholic News Service. "You've got inventory, you're selling things, you've got customer service, a lot of record-keeping — more so than a general nonprofit might think about. Then you've got the whole ministry side. ... You start adding that in, there's a lot to learn, but it's not overwhelming."
He explained the dual nature of cemetery as business and ministry: "Like catechesis, like religious education, like the Catholic school, the cemetery is a ministry. In some situations, you say: 'Listen, the cemetery has to be self-sustaining. It has to pay its own way.' That's not an unreasonable thing to say, but at some level, there's going to be some level of expectation that this is important to us, and it's worth it to us to expend some of our resources to keep this up and running.”
Learn more about The Vermont Catholic Community Foundation.
--Catholic News Service contributed to this article.
  • Published in Diocesan

Center for Agricultural Economy receives CCHD grant

The Center for an Agricultural Economy, a non-profit organization based in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, is the recipient of a $70,000 grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to support its organizing campaign and issues assembly that will launch the Northeast Kingdom Organizing Project.
“As a member-led organization, NEKO will be a vehicle for people to have a voice in critical decisions that impact their lives,” said Martha Braithwaite, lead organizer.
The Hardwick-based Center for an Agricultural Economy envisions a future with thriving landscapes, healthy local food and vital, equitable communities and believes a place-based agricultural economy and intentional community development is the path to this future.
For many years, the center has been working in the local food system, within communities and with farm and food businesses. “But we also knew we weren’t moving fast enough,” Braithwaite said.
In 2015, the Center for an Agricultural Economy began a listening campaign designed to uncover some of the larger challenges related to food access, equity and independence in the local community. Staff spent a year learning from community members, low-income neighbors and faith-based communities about what challenges people in rural Vermont.
“The results were varied, but it led us to realize that we can’t do this work alone,” Braithwaite said. “Food equity and access are tied up in other issues such as transportation, livable wages, childcare, opiate addiction and generational poverty.”
Out of this work has grown the Northeast Kingdom Community Organizing Project, a regional network of partners who believe that working across sectors and groups is a critical approach to successfully addressing our issues of rural poverty and food insecurity.”
She added, “As a group, we believe that community organizing around issues is a critical strategy to change the future for the better. We also believe that the tent is wide enough for many partners to work together.”
An equitable food and agricultural economy has created empowered, interdependent communities with shared mutual goals, within the greater Hardwick region that are socially and economically thriving and contribute to a vital ecological future, is the organization’s stated vision.
“We are very excited that this grant will allow us to dramatically accelerate the pace of our organizing,” Braithwaite said. “Community organizing is slow and deliberate work. Surfacing the root causes of issues that negatively impact our communities and building relationships among leaders ready to take action together to address them takes time.”
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development was founded in 1970 by the Catholic bishops of the United States as their domestic anti-poverty program. Designed to address the policies and structures that perpetuate poverty to create sustainable solutions, CCHD empowers poor and marginalized people to join together and make decisions to improve their lives and neighborhoods.
The CCHD national collection date is the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
  • Published in Diocesan
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