As the Diocese of Burlington celebrates the special Year of the Family, Content Editor/Staff Writer Cori Fugere Urban asked people throughout the Diocese what “family” means to them. Here are their responses:


Victoria Tracy, junior, Mount St. Joseph Academy, Rutland

“Your family is the most important group of people in your life. Whatever your family structure may look like, your family is your core. To me, family is the people you can always depend on and the people that will always have your back. In my life, family always comes first.”


Michael Audette, St. Peter Parish, Rutland

“Our families are the places where we learn how to love and the skills that we need for our future relationships. For me, family is the foundation along with my faith for all other aspects of my life.”


Thomas Estill, Christ the King Parish, Rutland

“I think family, more than anything else, are those people who give me an opportunity and the strength to share in God’s love. I want them to feel that when I’m gone I’ve left them with a real gift, and that is a gift to live the kind of life that I’m trying to live so that the world will be a better place.”


Abrielle Fullam, third grade, Christ the King School, Rutland

“When I think of my family, it makes me feel happy, and I always know they never stop loving me.”


Jacob Messineo, senior, Rice Memorial High School, South Burlington

“Family is the bonds of love through which God reaches His hand into the world.”


Michael Mazzella, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Williston

“Family to me is a loving support group that allows someone to navigate through life. So you get an opportunity to share in the highs and the lows of life together in a loving, close-knit group. You also get a chance to have and seek advice for problems or even just everyday concepts that you’d like.”


Ava Cutler, seventh grade, St. Michael School, Brattleboro

“Family to me means love. It means someone who will always be there for you. Family is too strong for little things to come in between it. Family is too powerful for anything to harm it. Family is love, trust and happiness.”


Joshua Patriquin, St. Michael Parish, Brattleboro

“Family we think of as inherited; it’s also a choice. It’s blood, and it’s a gift that we can take from the people around us. It is governed by the only inexorable and unlimited resource I’m aware of and that’s love.”

Originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.