Log in
Submitted Article

Submitted Article

Article selections and press releases submitted for publication with Vermont Catholic. Website URL:

St. Patrick celebration

Students at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington  celebrated St. Patrick's Day March 15 with a corned beef and cabbage lunch, and administrators — including newly announced Principal Lisa Lorenz, Associate Principal Jim Abrams and Associate Principal for Catholic Mission Father Scott Gratton — and teachers serenading them with traditional Irish music.

In commemoration of Rice's centennial anniversary, the school resurrected an old Rice-Cathedral High School tradition of choosing a patron saint for the school year.  St. Patrick was chosen because he found his faith when he was 16 and despite much adversity, rejected a path of bitterness and hate to choose love. Students pray to St. Patrick for his daily intercession and are reminded to follow his example.​
  • Published in Schools

Mater Christi Middle School Robotics

Mater Christi School’s Bulldog Robotics team was one of only two middle school teams to compete against 30 high school teams in the First Tech Challenge Regional Championship at Essex High School in February.
Mater Christi School students engineered, built and coded a robot in compliance with competition specifications and successfully constructed an operable robot, which they were able to control and maneuver.
Sponsored by Kennedy Excavating, Logic Supply, Engelberth Construction and
Trudell Consulting Engineers, the Bulldogs engaged in creative problem solving to develop working solutions in order to compete and score points. Guided by Mater Christi faculty, Michael Early, technology director, and Tricia Finkle, Makerspace director, the Bulldogs placed 27 out of a field of 32 competitors.
Mater Christi School has an active Makerspace and robotics program that engages
students in grades K-8. Students develop technology skills, which include 3D modeling, electricity and engineering and other projects throughout the school year.
Mater Christi School is currently developing a partnership with the School of Engineering at the University of Vermont.
  • Published in Schools

Recognizing the feast of ashes, boredom and dull moments

“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.”
—Pope Francis

Many people have morning rituals. Mine include stretching, prayer, a good cup of tea and catching up with on-line news I missed during the night. As might be expected from a person of varied interests — and a grandmother — I am often distracted by other interesting tidbits, like the recent story, ‘The scary truth about what’s hurting our kids.”
As a grandparent, I just had to read it. It was worth the time and underscored the damage social media and an obsession with mobile devices causes to children’s mental health.
The article notes that, among other things, children suffer from an absence of dull moments and are being deprived of the important fundamentals of a healthy childhood, including opportunities for boredom.
As most wise grandparents will share, boredom is a nurturer for children, giving them a much-needed absence of stimulation, a blessed silence, moments when they can hear the whirring of their own minds in creative endeavors, an opportunity for them to hear the whisperings of God instead of the noise of everything else.
Children, like adults, need time to think.
When my husband was a child, before the advent of taking “time out” in some specially designated place in the house after a childish transgression, my mother-in- law, Muriel, wise as she was, doled out the punishment of pulling weeds. No sitting in the corner for my husband or his siblings. They could reflect on their wrong doings and make themselves useful at the same time.
I often wondered if Muriel took her cue from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, whom she greatly admired, and who once said, “We can think of Lent as a time to eradicate evil or cultivate virtue, a time to pull up weeds or to plant good seeds. Which is better is clear, for the Christian ideal is always positive rather than negative.”
Muriel, who was no shrinking violet, would no doubt have reminded Bishop Sheen that you can’t plant the good seeds until you pull the weeds.
For today’s adults, who are continually lulled into a spiritual malaise by the white noise of a world where the absence of anything is considered deprivation, a time of emptiness devoid of worldly distractions is a feast for the spiritual life.
And so we come to the wisdom of Ash Wednesday and the days of Lent, time set aside in the liturgical year to focus interiorly on our relationship with God, and subsequently, our relationship with others. It is a time to strengthen both, realizing that our relationship with God is meaningless if some good for the other does not flow from it.
Too often, it seems we approach Lent with a serious solemnity, brought about by our sense of suffering through sacrifice. I am guilty of it, as much as at other times I am guilty of having no feelings about Lent whatsoever. I simply go through the motions, wear ashes and purple and convince myself that I am doing Lent because I am making sacrifices.
I have actually learned to do Lent better by watching my grandchildren in those rare dull moments when they are not distracted by toys or technology, when they have been sent outside because they are bored and are soon excitedly gathering stones and pine cones, examining bugs or catching toads and crickets, pulling apart fallen seed packets and planting seeds with great expectations that they will return in a few days to find new seedlings growing. And at the end of their unexpected adventure they run to you and say, “Look what I found!”
That is how I wish to approach Lent, when making sacrifice is a time of discovery, and when an examination of conscience leading to change is an experience of joy.
I want to keep in mind the thoughts of Thomas Merton who wrote, “Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast.”
— Mary Morrell

CRS Rice Bowl

As Pope Francis asks us to “Share the Journey” with migrants and refugees aground the world, Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl offers Catholics in the United States a way to encounter Lent, to encounter the causes of migration and displacement and to learn about the challenges faced by families around the world in their Dioceses, parishes and homes.
CRS Rice Bowl, the agency’s flagship Lenten program now in its fifth decade, will begin once again on Ash Wednesday — Feb. 14 — giving Catholics throughout the country an opportunity to encounter the stories of people in need throughout the world.
“From CRS’ work in more than 100 countries, we know that people do not want to leave their homes, that they do so because they feel they have no other choice,” said Joan Rosenhauer, executive vice president of church engagement. “Lenten sacrifices contributed through CRS Rice Bowl help give them that choice by providing sustenance and livelihoods in communities around the world.”
Begun as an ecumenical effort in the diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1975, CRS Rice Bowl soon spread across the country as it called on Catholics to perform a simple act of Lenten sacrifice: substitute a low-cost meatless meal for more expensive dining once a week during Lent and put the money saved in a cardboard rice bowl.
That concept remains at the heart of the program even as it has expanded to include broader Lenten faith enrichment through a wide variety of resources available for the millions of Catholics who participate. These include prayer resources, a daily Lenten calendar, weekly stories of hope that introduce families from around the world and recipes from various countries for meatless meals that can be enjoyed on Fridays during Lent.
Funds collected in the rice bowls, which are turned in at the end of Lent, are distributed both throughout the world and in local communities to combat hunger; 75 percent of every donation goes to CRS programming in targeted countries worldwide while 25 percent remains in the Diocese from which the donation came, supporting initiatives that help alleviate poverty.
But the goal is to go beyond collecting money and spur discussions — both in churches and around family dinner tables — about the meaning of Lent and the daily reality that people living in poverty face.
“We see CRS Rice Bowl as much more than a fund-raising opportunity,” said Rosenhauer. “It is an opportunity for Catholics in America to encounter what Lent means, what poverty means, what resilience means, what hope means.”
“We want families to participate together so they can experience the joyous feeling of solidarity that comes from generosity and sacrifice,” she said. “We know from years of experience that CRS Rice Bowl can be life-changing.”
As part of CRS Rice Bowl, speakers from throughout the world will travel across the United States telling their stories of how CRS Rice Bowl-supported programs are changing lives. For Thomas Awiapo, a feeding program in his village in Ghana funded by CRS Rice Bowl brought him as a hungry young orphan to school for food. He stayed for an education, eventually a master’s degree in the United States, returning to Ghana for a career with CRS there. Cassandra Bassainthe, who left Haiti as a young child, will talk about why she returned to her home country to help the poor and vulnerable. Micter Chaola of Malawi and Jacques Kabore of Burkina Faso will share their experiences working in agriculture in their respective countries.
“CRS Rice Bowl does far more than feed people,” said Rosenhauer. “It also helps develop agriculture so that families and communities can support themselves. As we heed the request of Pope Francis and ‘Share the Journey,’ we know that the best way you can help a migrant is to make sure that she doesn’t have to leave home in the first place. That’s what CRS Rice Bowl can help accomplish.”
To learn more about CRS Rice Bowl, go to crsricebowl.org.
  • Published in Nation
Subscribe to this RSS feed
Bishop's Fund Annual Appeal