The purpose of the Diocesan Evangelization Committee is to foster and implement the Diocesan Synod’s call for evangelization.

The 11 members are all laity, six men and five women, geographically representative of the Diocese of Burlington including Ensoburg Falls, Burlington, Shelburne, Barre, Rutland and Guilford.  Some of them serve in formal parish staff positions, and some are key volunteers or parish committee members.  “All of them radiate a deep faith and a joyful desire to share this Good News with others in their parishes, communities and throughout the state of Vermont,” said Deacon Phil Lawson, executive director of pastoral ministries for the Diocese of Burlington who is chairman of the committee. “They were chosen because of their deep and joyful faith and hearts for evangelization. They bring a wide variety of experiences and skills to bear in service to the mission of evangelization.”

Many of them were involved in the Diocesan Synod process, which formally called for this committee, the only formal committee established by the synod.

The Diocesan Evangelization Committee was formed in 2019 and meets once a month with a break each summer.

“The Church has always taught that our primary mission is to share the Good News about Jesus Christ. However, this is not widely understood and quite frankly is intimidating to a lot of Catholics,” Deacon Lawson said. “Evangelization is simply inviting others to come to that same joy, hope, peace and purpose that our Lord alone offers.”

Currently, there are myriad resources in the Church available in the area of evangelization. “This committee is able to review the resources in light of what will be the best method for Vermont in light of our own circumstances and the particular challenges we face here,” he said.

Committee members currently are devising simple and practical evangelization resources for parishes, individuals, deaneries and apostolates such as a parish evangelization manual and parish council by-laws revision to assist parish councils in focusing on the Church’s primary mission of evangelization as called for by the Vatican and the Diocesan Synod. They also plan to have deanery trainings on evangelization next year.

Because the Diocesan Evangelization Committee is a formal diocesan steering committee, all members are officially appointed by the bishop with terms of service. “Going forward there will be a great need for leadership in the deaneries and the parishes to carry this forward on the local and regional level,” Deacon Lawson said. “It’s a delight to work with these men and women from around the state, faithful and joy-filled Catholics seeking to do their part in their parishes and communities for the mission of evangelization.”

—Originally published in the Fall 2021 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.