Log in
    
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.

Website URL:

Father Lance Harlow receives award for child welfare work

Father Lance Harlow, rector of St. Joseph Co-Cathedral and Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parishes in Burlington, has received the Rev. Charles Albert Dickinson Award for outstanding contributions to the field of child welfare and commitment to transforming the lives of children and their families from Kurn Hattin Homes for Children in Westminster.
 
The award was presented on Dec. 14 at the annual Christmas concert, and Stephen Harrison, executive director, read his contributions to Kurn Hattin Homes.
 
Father Harlow is a longtime volunteer and supporter of the residential school.
 
“I was very much surprised, but also pleased, that the St. Nicholas Project, which I
founded in 2015 to link the Catholic Community in Vermont with the works of Kurn Hattin Homes, had indeed made a significant impact on supporting the homes,” Father Harlow said.
 
This fall, through the generosity of donors, The St. Nicholas Project raised about $25,000, “but more importantly brought attention to the good works of Kurn Hattin across Vermont, many states in the United States and Canada,” he continued. “While I am humbled and pleased to receive this award, I am also inspired to keep the charitable works of the St. Nicholas Project moving forward.”
 
Since 2013, Kurn Hattin Homes has presented the Rev. Charles Albert Dickinson Award, the founder of Kurn Hattin Homes in 1894, to a recipient who has made a significant contribution to the field of childcare at Kurn Hattin.  The award features an engraved profile of Rev. Dickinson etched in glass.
 
Since 1894, Kurn Hattin has helped thousands of children and their families by offering a safe home and quality education in a nurturing environment.
 
The St. Nicholas Project seeks to invite the Catholic community in Vermont to participate in the good works taking place at Kurn Hattin. “Since the Catholic Church in Vermont no longer has an orphanage or any direct child-care-related ministries, it seemed the perfect relationship for Catholics to perform works of mercy and experience the joy of loving Jesus in these children who come from difficult circumstances,” Father Harlow said.
 
He became involved with Kurn Hattin when he was pastor at St. Charles Church in Bellows Falls in 2005, not far from the school. He was invited to give the benediction at the annual Veterans’ Day Ceremony, and the director of music, Lisa Bianconi, asked if he played any musical instruments. Upon learning that he did, she recruited him to play trombone in the low-brass section of the middle school band.
 
Because there are some 100 students in the music program, adult musicians help them. Father Harlow can play a variety of instruments, so he performed with the jazz band, marching band and select choir for six years.
 
As pastor of St. Charles, he also helped with the religious education of the
Catholic children, baptized and conferred First Penance and First Communion.
 
After he was transferred to Chittenden County, it became more difficult for him to travel to Westminster to participate in the concerts and other public events, so he became more involved with fundraising for the Kurn Hattin.
 
Father Harlow is traveling to his eight former parishes to celebrate a Mass of
Thanksgiving and speak about the St. Nicholas Project, and on May 8, 2018, there will be the grand finale Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Windsor at which the Kurn Hattin Select Choir will sing. “Everyone is invited to attend the Mass and reception following — and meet some of the children and staff from the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children,” he said.
 
“His work for us is astounding,” enthused Stephen Harrison, executive director of Kurn Hattin. “He has a heart for children.”
 
Harrison said the priest’s ongoing commitment to the school — which generally has 95-105 students in kindergarten through grade eight — “has been a real Godsend in so many ways.”
 
In addition to raising funds and organizing drives for things like clothing, shoes, quilts and pillowcases, the way he has involved people from throughout the Diocese of Burlington is meaningful to the children, Harrison said. “He has touched so many children’s lives and done so through many people in Vermont who might not have ever heard about us let alone assist us.”
 
For more information, go to kurnhattin.org.
 
 
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

St. Monica-St. Michael School Christmas Craft Fair

The giving for this Christmas project began with people who like to make gifts, and it will continue into the new year helping people in need.
 
Teachers and parents from St. Monica-St. Michael School and parishioners of St. Monica Church in Barre contributed box loads of homemade items for the school’s annual Christmas Craft Fair Dec. 18 and 19.
 
This was a fair for the schoolchildren, a place they could buy gifts for family members without family members knowing.
 
All gifts were $1, and children could bring in $5 to buy five gifts, though children from larger families could purchase enough gifts, and any child whose family could not afford $5 could still shop like everyone else.
 
A Christmas tree was decorated with ornaments for sale, and other gifts were displayed on tables throughout the conference room. There were barrettes and bookmarks, hats, mittens, scarves, spices, tea, homemade soap, candies, plastic spoon lily votive lights, magnets and key chains among the choices for everyone on the children’s list from siblings to grandparents.
 
And once the children had selected their items, parent volunteers wrapped the gifts to ensure they would be a surprise.
 
“The children love this because they like to be able to shop without us with them,” said Melissa Cadorette, a parent volunteer.
 
“They’re really proud they’re getting these gifts and so happy,” added another parent volunteer, Krissy Lyon.
 
Ziva Covey, 6, a first grader, was buying for her brother, father, two grandmothers and grandfather, her shopping list tucked under her arm. She got a gift elsewhere for her mother. “I like shopping here,” Ziva said. “There’s so much awesome things.”
 
And while they are having fun shopping, the children are learning the importance of giving to others, said parent volunteer Shauna Wolf.
 
The gifts they give really are gifts that keep giving: Proceeds from the Christmas Craft Fair are donated to the St. Monica Food Pantry and the St. Augustine Soup Kitchen in nearby Montpelier.
 
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn to think of others as well and for the volunteers and crafters to be able to give of their talents and skills,” said Principal Brenda Buzzell. “Then the churches will benefit from the donations to help people in need.”
 
 
 
 
  • Published in Schools

Survey: What ministries of the Church are most important to you?

The winter 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine looks at some of the ways parishioners of Catholic churches in the Diocese of Burlington are assisting persons in need. As she traveled throughout the state, Staff Reporter/Content Editor Cori Fugere Urban asked Vermont Catholics what ministries of the Church are important to them. Here are their responses.
 
Timothy E. Loescher, president/head of school at Mater Christi School, Burlington: “The ministry of Catholic education is important because at the root of every academic discipline – at the root of math, of social studies, of science – is God the designer, God the creator. To teach under the assumption that we can acknowledge God at the root of all things allows us to fulfill what it says at the entrance to our school: Christ is the reason for our school.” 

Theresa Gingras, St. Thomas Parish, Underhill Center: “I think that the outreach that we do for the community food shelf is really important because it’s a simple thing for parishioners to be able to do. Every week the kids bring the food up to the basket (during Mass) and then once a month we do give food out to the local families and community. It’s just a simple thing to do and it’s really helpful.” 

Allison Croce, sophomore, St. Michael’s College, Colchester: “The caring for the Earth ministry is important to me because as Pope Francis says, we can share a common home. And by sharing a common home, we have to respect future generations and practice conservation.” 

Dr. Robert Goddard, vice president of academic affairs at the College of St. Joseph, Rutland: “I’m interested in our students being engaged in Bible study. I think that’s how they’re really going to grow as Christians.” 

Joyce Roberts, Our Lady of Seven Dolors Parish, Fair Haven: “In the ministry of the Church is religious ed. I’d like to see more children participate in the Church and follow the way of Christ, the way He wants us to be part of His ministry, and bring more children and their friends to believe in the Lord and help guide them through life.” 

Luella Aube, St. Jude Parish, Hinesburg: “The Church elderly care ministry is important to me because it provides ways to socialize and to know that people care and are there when are needed.” 

Laura Limoge, St. Amadeus Parish, Alburgh: “What’s really nearest and dearest to me is all the services we provide to our seniors. I feel they are the most underserved group in our community, probably in the whole state. And so we provide meals at holiday time; we have clothing for them, food on a weekly basis. We’ve even helped some of them with their electrical bills and things when they’re up against the wall. That’s my favorite part of working here” at the parish. 

Deacon John Guarino, St. Anthony Parish, White River Junction: “Emergency aid to people coming to the church for assistance is an important ministry because I think it offers us not only the opportunity to help with an immediate need but also to put folks in touch with people and agencies that can help them solve the long-term problems to make it more sustainable for them.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Year of the Family: The Joy of Love

Following a successful Year of Creation in the Diocese of Burlington, 2018 will be celebrated throughout the Catholic Church in Vermont as the Year of the Family with a particular focus on Pope Francis’ 256-page apostolic exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” (“The Joy of Love”).
 
“Like last year’s Year of Creation, this Year of the Family offers us a year to ponder the Church’s teaching on the family and embrace it ourselves,” Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne said in announcing the special celebration.
 
Among the components of this special year will be a new diocesan Pre-Cana program, a World Marriage Day anniversary Mass, a Catholic men’s conference and diocesan women’s retreat, the annual Family Mass at St. Anne’s Shrine and other diocesan-wide and parish activities that are still developing.
 
“The purpose of the Year of the Family is to explore, reflect upon and implement the message of Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia,’” explained Stephanie Clary, manager of mission outreach and communication for the Diocese.

The 2017 year-long focus on “Laudato Si’” and 2018’s year-long focus on “Amoris Laetitia” aim to assist the faithful in understanding these global documents at the local level and supporting Vermont parishes with resources and ideas for furthering these Vatican messages in Vermont communities.
 
“While certain events during the Year on the Family will focus on specific family situations (for example, Pre-Cana prepares a man and woman to start a new family together as husband and wife, and the annual Family Mass at St. Anne’s Shrine brings together multi-generational families of many forms for a celebratory day of joy), the overall focus of the Year of the Family is the joy and love that are experienced by being attentive to the important relationships in our lives and serving as an example of that love — God’s love — for those we encounter,” she said.
 
“No matter into what model our families fit — or don’t fit — they can serve as examples of joy and love in the world if they strive to be domestic churches committed to God’s will.”
 
Pope Francis writes of how “the Lord’s presence dwells in real and concrete families, with all their daily troubles and struggles, joys and hopes” and “every family … can become a light in the darkness of the world.”
 
Emulating what Pope John Paul II did in writing “Familiaris Consortio” in 1994, Pope Francis seeks to highlight the challenges that families face today and proposes ways for the Church to proactively respond in a new way: “Nowadays, pastoral care for families has to be fundamentally missionary, going out to where people are,” commented Deacon Phil Lawson, executive director of evangelization, catechesis, divine worship, marriage and family and respect life.
 
The husband and father of six hopes his family exhibits love and joy. “The world needs more of both of these. As Pope Francis states in ‘Amoris Laetitia:’ The strength of the family ‘lies in its capacity to love and to teach how to love’ and later on he refers to a ‘joy-filled witness.’ If my family and all our families can be agents of love and joy, we will have served our Lord’s mission well in the world,” he said. Michael Hagan, coordinator of religious education and catechesis for the Diocese, emphasized that that the Church truly is a community. “It is easy to make the faith strictly personal and forget that we are deeply connected with the other members of the Church as members of the Body of Christ,” he said.
 
“If we want to help and support families within our Church that are going through hard times, we will first have to take seriously the truth that we are deeply, spiritually connected to them.” He noted that Pope John Paul II many times made the point that the future of humanity is closely linked to that of the family.
 
“The claim, then, is that the world depends on the success of the family,” Hagan said. But how could the family hold so much significance? “The family reflects the Trinitarian community of persons, the family is the community in which God chose to become man, the family is where we first experience love, share ideas, form relationships, and the family is where we hone our skills to enter into society at large,” he continued. As persons seek to do God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven,” it is clear that the family is a gift from God to be both celebrated and protected, he said.
 
“The Church needs families!” enthused Josh Perry, director of worship for the Diocese of Burlington. “In so much as families hold the presence of Christ, the Church — which we know to be the Body of Christ — is strengthened by the presence of families. Throughout the document, the Church is referred to as a ‘family of families.’ The Church needs you!”
 
At the same time, the Church recognizes the many difficulties families face today. For some, Christ’s presence in the family can seem completely absent. “The Church tirelessly works to strengthen and support families through its accompaniment in pastoral ministry and its celebration of the sacraments,” Perry emphasized.
 
In keeping with the themes of joy and mercy, Pope Francis wrote, “It is my hope that, in reading this text, all will feel called to love and cherish family life.”
 
Ways parishes and families can celebrate the Year of the Family:
• Offer special blessings at Mass to families, anniversary couples, children, engaged couples, pregnant women and those celebrating birthdays.
• Get “Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers” published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for special occasions at home.
• Gather the family and invite the parish priest to bless the home.
• Attend Mass as a family.
 • Pray together as a family.
• Sponsor a parish family fun day that begins with Mass or adoration.
• Pray the rosary on a family car trip.
• Share the faith on social media.
• Begin an intergenerational faith formation program.
• Invite persons who might otherwise be  alone to share a holiday meal or a Sunday  dinner with your family.
• Reach out to an estranged family member.
• Read “Amoris Laetitia” and discuss it  as a parish family.
 
Topics to explore during the Year of the Family:
• Reconciliation with a family member who has been hurtful
• How the loss of a family member affects family dynamics
• How to support a family member struggling with doubt about faith • Living in a model of family you never anticipated (single parent, widow, step family)
• The role of faith in your family
• How to help a broken family heal
• Nurturing good physical, emotional and spiritual health within your family

“The Joy of Love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church... the Christian proclamation on the family is good news indeed.”
— “Amoris Laetitia”

 
Originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
  • Published in Diocesan
Subscribe to this RSS feed
Bishop's Fund Annual Appeal