Action for Ecological Justice conference

Action for Ecological Justice conference

A former head of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will be in Vermont in September to speak at the “Action for Ecological Justice: Celebrating a Year of Creation” conference at Saint Michael’s College on September 30th. The conference will be the main event of the Diocese of Burlington’s Year of Creation, a yearlong, statewide, intentional focus on embracing the message of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.”

Hosted by the Catholic Church in Vermont, sponsors for the event include Catholic Relief Services, Oregon Catholic Press, Saint Michael’s College, Sisters of Mercy, Catholic Climate Covenant,  United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Department of Peace, Justice and Human Development, Courtyard Burlington Harbor Hotel, Keurig Green Mountain Coffee, Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity, and Green Mountain Monastery.

General registration is $35 per person and includes morning pastries, lunch and afternoon breakout sessions. Students can register for free.

To register or learn more, visit: vermontcatholic.org/actionforecojustice.

Dr. Carolyn Woo, who from 2012-2016 was president and CEO of CRS, the U.S. Catholic Church’s official, international humanitarian and development aid agency, will present a personal look at the encyclical she helped Pope Francis present in Rome, at environmental degradation and its effect on the poor and at measures to minimize further environmental harm from carbon emissions and remediate damage already done.

With perspectives from scientists, politicians, activists, economists, professionals, academics and people of various faiths, the conference will offer the opportunity for dynamic conversations about the state of creation and how people can work together for a sustainable future.

CRS staff “works face to face every day with the effects of climate warming,” Woo said. These include working with farmers whose livelihood is negatively impacted by erratic rainfall, which causes problems like drought on one extreme and soil erosion from deluges of rain on the other.

Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic bishops of the United States to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, it has expanded to reach more than 100 million people in over 100 countries on five continents.

Its mission is to assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic social teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person. With that mission rooted in the Catholic faith, CRS operations serve people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity. In the United States, CRS engages Catholics to live their faith in solidarity with the poor and suffering people of the world.

For more information: outreach@vermontcatholic.org or Stephanie Clary at 802-846-5822.

To learn more about the Year of Creation please visit: vermontcatholic.org/yearofcreation.

Catholic Diocese’s 2017 Ordination

Catholic Diocese’s 2017 Ordination

Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne ordained the Vermont Catholic community’s newest priest at a special Mass June 17 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.

The newly ordained Father Joseph J. Sanderson has been assigned to serve as parochial vicar at Christ the King-St. Anthony Parish in Burlington.

“The call to be a Christian is a call to a life of self-emptying sacrifice, which is deepened even further in the priestly ministry when through ordination one is configured even more deeply into the person of Christ as the great High Priest,” Bishop Coyne said during the ordination Mass.

Born in Middlebury in 1990, Father Sanderson is the eldest of the three children of Jennifer and John Sanderson. He grew up in Orwell and attended Fair Haven Union High School, Our Lady of Providence Seminary, Providence College and St. John’s Seminary in Boston.

“I chose to be a priest for the Diocese of Burlington because Vermont has always been and will always be my home,” Father Sanderson said. “It will be a great honor, privilege and joy for me to serve the people of this great State of Vermont, to labor for souls in this little corner of our Lord’s vineyard.”

Learn more at – http://vermontcatholic.org/index.php?sid=5&pid=1052&subnav_id=16

 

An Invitation for a Celtic Pilgrimage in Ireland

An Invitation for a Celtic Pilgrimage in Ireland

The Rev. Kim Hardy of St. James Episcopal Church, Essex Junction, and her husband, the Rev. Dr. Fred Moser of Trinity Episcopal Church, Shelburne, invite you to join them for a Pilgrimage in Ireland from September 27 to October 5, 2017!

Ireland is a place of exquisite natural beauty, a place of deep resonance regarding myth and Christian exploration to what was once known as the edge  of the earth. These journeys seek to offer a time of renewal of mind, body  and  spirit through powerful connections with nature, rich exploration of Celtic spirituality, and learning with amazing guides and teachers. The destination will be parts of Northern Ireland and the Donegal areas, a guided journey through a northern arc of the island of Ireland connecting with sites of powerful spiritual significance and the rich natural, cultural and religious heritage of this divided island. The dates of this special journey coincide with the less crowded shoulder seasons, which are fabulous times to connect with the land in  Ireland.

Let your imagination soar regarding the learning and enrichment this journey offers, richness that will continue to inform our spiritual lives as we return refreshed with new viewpoints and deepened  friendships.

Registration is ongoing, but spaces are filling. Please register by May 15 at the latest!

For information and to register contact the Rev. Hardy at kimhardy138@comcast.net .

2017 Vigil for Christian Unity

2017 Vigil for Christian Unity

On Sunday January 22, the VEC celebrated the annual Vigil for Christian Unity hosted this year at St. Michael’s Chapel on the campus of St. Michael’s College in Colchester. The theme of this year’s service was reconciliation. The prayer service drew upon the image of walls of separation and division that exist between Christian communities, created by the”stones” of realities like “hate, contempt, false accusation, and pride.” Father Richard Berube, SSE spoke eloquently of the need for unity within our common faith in Christ and encourage those present to work diligently for reconciliation. Following the service, refreshments and fellowship were hosted in the Edmundite residence.

The Vigil for Christian unity is an annual event scheduled for the third Sunday of January every year. Next years Vigil take place on Sunday January 21st, 2018

Catholic Diocese to observe 2017 as “Year of Creation”

Catholic Diocese to observe 2017 as “Year of Creation”

Similar to the global Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis last year which entertained a heightened focus on the role of mercy in the Catholic faith, the diocesan wide Year of Creation will entertain an intentional, heightened focus on ecological justice. Various events, initiatives and resources will be made available to parishes and Catholic schools to better educate on and encourage the embracing of Pope Francis’ message in his 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.”

This is the second encyclical of Pope Francis. It is addressed to “every person living on this planet” for an inclusive dialogue about how people are shaping the future of the created world. He calls everyone to acknowledge the urgency of pursuing ecological justice and to join him in embarking on a new path based in integral ecology.

Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne invites all Catholics to join with him in celebrating this “Year of Creation” in the diocese.

He noted the pope’s emphasis that concern for the created world is not optional, but an integral part of Church teaching on social justice. “While it has been nearly two years since its publication, I think it is time for the Church here in Vermont to study, ponder and begin to implement much of what the pope calls for” in the document, the bishop said.

The diocese also has formed a partnership with Commons Energy that allows for low-cost energy efficiency audits and energy efficiency/renewable energy projects on many church-owned buildings throughout the state. Within the first two months of the year, fifteen buildings have requested to begin the energy efficiency audit process.

Additionally, one of the first steps the Diocese of Burlington has taken at 55 Joy Drive in South Burlington, the diocesan headquarters, to counteract a “throwaway culture” and set an example of ecologically responsible practices is to adopt the practice of composting—a simple way to support circular models of production and consumption.

“Vermont’s 118,000 Catholics can make a sustainable impact on the state of the created world and its creatures. Furthermore, if the Diocese of Burlington’s Year of Creation is successful in raising awareness of and action toward ecological justice, it can serve as an encouraging example for other Catholic dioceses and communities of faith throughout the country and the globe. There are an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics on Earth—just think of what could be achieved if we committed to caring for the created world together,” said Stephanie Clary, mission outreach and communication coordinator.

Rally for Life

Rally for Life

More than 350 people marched from Montpelier City Hall to the Statehouse Jan. 21 for the annual Rally for Life, meeting other pro-life advocates there to continue their call for respect for all human life.

The event came the day after Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as 45th president of the United States, hours before the massive Women’s March on Montpelier drew an estimated 15,000 participants and the day before the 44th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

The day’s events began with a pro-life Mass at St. Augustine Church in Montpelier celebrated by Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne; following the march, life advocates gathered in the House chambers to listen to speeches against abortion and in favor of measures to respect the life of all humans from conception until natural death.

Jewels Green, a pro-life advocate and writer from Philadelphia and one of the featured speakers, said before the Mass that every state is important in the “fight for life.”

She said the “time is right in Vermont” to begin to make changes for life – not just the unborn but also for “Vermont elderly, infirmed and those vulnerable to pressure to assisted suicide.”

She told her Statehouse audience that she had an abortion at age 17, subsequently attempted suicide and spent more than five years working in an abortion clinic. But in 2010 she learned of a surrogate mother who was carrying a baby with Down syndrome, and the parents paid her contract and directed her to have an abortion.

“I knew fundamentally that was wrong,” she said. “If I could say that abortion was wrong, it finally clicked all abortion is wrong.”

Bishop Coyne – who opened the Statehouse gathering with a prayer – gave the homily at the Mass and walked in the march. At the church he prayed for the protection of all human life especially those most vulnerable.

“Sometimes in our society children are seen as something less than a gift, even as a burden,” he said. But “children and life are a gift, a gift of creation….All life is sacred. All life is from God, and we must protect it.”

Dr. Felix Callan of St. Andrew Church in Waterbury, who has been active in the pro-life movement since 1972, said he is more optimistic than in the past for an increase in respect for life. The election of Trump, who has said he is pro-life “could be an opportunity” for the pro-life cause to make strides nationally, he said.

Carrie Handy, respect life coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington, said she was encouraged by the number of young people involved in the pro-life movement “who have not bought the idea that women’s rights include depriving life to the unborn.”

Regarding Trump, she said, “I have every reason to believe he will be true to his pro-life promises” which include appointing pro-life justices to the Supreme Court and defunding Planned Parenthood, a provider of abortions.

Sharon Iszak, who attends St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington, said she attended the prolife Mass because Mass “is the best way to begin every day.”

She believes the new president “will encourage a sincere respect for life.”

During the march after the Mass, people of all ages made their way up State Street. The messages on their signs included “Abortion stops a beating heart,” “Life,” “Face It. Abortion Kills,” “Abortion hurts women” and “Pray to end abortion.”