Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pope Francis has designated this year “The Year of St. Joseph,” drawing our attention to St. Joseph as a model for discipleship. St. Joseph has many titles — St. Joseph the foster father of Jesus, the worker, the dreamer — but the title that resonates most with me is St. Joseph the doer. Whenever he heard the call of God and his faith was challenged to do something that seemed difficult, he responded with a “yes.” When he was concerned about taking Mary as his wife, he was told in a dream to do so, and he did. When he was told to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to protect them, he did so. When he was told to return to Nazareth, he did so. Most importantly, he willingly embraced the role of foster father to the Son of God without hesitation. St. Joseph was a man of faith ready to do the will of God no matter the sacrifice.

I see that same commitment to do the will of God in our own Diocese. I have been your bishop for more than five years, and during this time we have accomplished a lot. We carried out a synod in which we came up with three key priorities on which to focus our ministerial work:

✣ Evangelization — welcome people back to the Church.

✣ Vibrant Parishes — engage parishioners in the community life of the parish and leadership opportunities.

✣ Communication — expand communication efforts.

Following the synod, we redirected Bishop’s Annual Appeal resources to focus on these key priorities. In doing so, we improved our communication infrastructure and created new faith formation opportunities so when the pandemic closed our parishes and schools, we were able to livestream almost 200 faith engagement activities, including daily and Sunday Mass; swiftly shift our schools to online learning; continue financial emergency aid to the needy — many impacted by Covid; and so much more.

As a Church, God has called us to spread the news that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior no matter the challenges. Please help us continue to do God’s work by making a gift to the 2021 Bishop’s Annual Appeal.

You will find stories about the impact of your gift on the following pages; for more details or to give online visit:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” — James 1:17

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Christopher J. Coyne

Bishop of Burlington

—Originally published in the May 29-June 4, 2021, edition of The Inland See