Christ Our Hope: Building a Vibrant Church
During these unprecedented times in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have faced personal and collective challenges, including the closing of our churches and the suspension of the public celebration of the Mass, the other sacraments, devotions and funerals. But we have also realized once again something we have known throughout the history of the Church: There is nothing that can stop us from proclaiming the Good News of salvation, caring for the neediest and spiritually feeding God’s flock.
Our ministries have continued in new and creative ways. The Diocese and local parishes now live-stream daily and Sunday Mass as well as devotional prayer and other faith engagement activities. During the shutdown we continued to operate Catholic schools and provide emergency aid and residential care through Vermont Catholic Charities. Now, by the grace of God, we have been able to open our doors to celebrate the sacramental worship of the Church together again.
But we still face many challenges. Prior to the pandemic, I was about to launch the first statewide capital campaign for the Catholic Church in Vermont based on the Diocesan Synod priorities that we spent two years developing. That obviously had to be postponed. Still a great deal of time has gone into the planning of this campaign, several parishioners have already made gifts and pledges, and the contract with the company I engaged to help manage the campaign is running down. All things being equal, I would not be starting a capital campaign at this time. But I think we have to and not just for contractual reasons.
Now more than ever, we need to move forward with our synod priorities and launch the Christ Our Hope: Building a Vibrant Church capital campaign. We cannot give up on the future of the parishes and ministries serving the faith community. Many of them have seen significant downturns in terms of funding, and they need our help.
This campaign is rooted in the works of Christ (Matthew 4:23) and the outcomes of the synod to build vibrant parishes (Preaching), strengthen our evangelization (Teaching) and communicate the compassion of Christ in our service to the most vulnerable (Healing).
“And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people” (Mt 4:23).
This campaign offers a wonderful opportunity for each parish to use 60 percent of the funds they raise to address specific parish needs with the other 40 percent going to the larger Catholic community to strengthen our faith formation programs and expand emergency aid to the most vulnerable among us.
Next week I will celebrate the official public kickoff at the beginning of the Sunday 10 a.m. Mass that will be live-streamed at www.vermontcatholic.org/tvmass. I invite you to join me or watch at a later time. Please also take the opportunity to watch the Christ Our Hope video which explains why we need to move forward with the campaign and how it will strengthen our church for the future: www.christourhopevt.org.
I have already made a personal pledge of over $10,000 towards the campaign. I ask you to please join me in being generous as well. With Christ as our hope, whatever we raise will be for His glory and the Kingdom of God.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne
Bishop of Burlington