Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The “call to discipleship” is a universal call to love, one that is a commission to all of the baptized faithful. Jesus calls each one of us to discipleship — to live a life that proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by embodying His love and mercy in our words and actions. We do so, not as individual believers who stand alone, but as members of the larger community of faith within the Diocese of Burlington who are nourished at our local parishes.

I grew up in a strong and active parish in which my vocation to serve the Church as a priest was nourished. Since the parish is the place in which most of us encounter the Church, it should be alive with the faith of true disciples of Jesus Christ. The parish needs to be a place of welcome where the Church’s liturgy is celebrated well, where people pray together and care for one another as brothers and sisters. It is there that we are nourished by word and sacrament, strengthened by Communion and empowered to go out and spread the Good News.

One of the outcomes of the year-long Diocesan Synod was the strong recommendation by the delegates to prioritize the fostering of these vibrant parishes within our Diocese. This work has begun already in a diocesan-wide program called the “Discipleship Maker Program,” directed by the Catholic Leadership Institute, a national organization that helps Dioceses and parishes institute policies and programs to foster Christian discipleship within parishes.

At the same time, I have been listening to the faithful of Vermont, and I am working with my staff to develop lay leadership formation programs and engagement opportunities that already are bearing fruit throughout the Diocese. We are in the midst of a second cycle of lay ministry and diaconate formation classes; our new youth discipleship program is designed to keep young people active in our parishes beyond Confirmation; the Diocesan Worship Commission is actively seeking ways to improve liturgy and worship in each parish; and so much more.

Your gift to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal enables us to create new programs while sustaining many vital ministries. Will you please join me in this task of building a vibrant Church in Vermont and make a donation to help strengthen our parishes and empower the laity to lead?

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Christopher J. Coyne

Ways to Give

Donate Online: online

Donate by Mail

Download a pledge form at Mail your form and donation to: Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Bishop’s Annual Appeal, 55 Joy Drive South Burlington, VT 05403

Matching Gifts

Does your company have a Matching Gifts Program? Check with your HR department.

For stock gifts or information about planned gifts contact Ellen Kane, executive director of development, 802-658-6110 ext. 1226 or at

—Originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.