On January 29, 2020, more than 600 students, teachers, principals and staff from 12 Catholic schools from around the state celebrated Mass for Catholic Schools week at St. Joseph Cathedral in Burlington.

Jeanne Gearon, superintendent of Catholic schools, welcomed the crowd and acknowledged what a treat this was to celebrate Bishop Coyne’s five year anniversary of his installation as 10th Bishop of Burlington in this way.

“The best way you can celebrate Bishop’s anniversary is by making your presence heard in prayer and song today,” said Gearon.

During his homily, Bishop Coyne asked everyone to think of something they were grateful for, “It doesn’t have to be something big like grandma returning from the hospital, it can be your family or this day but whatever it is let’s keep that at the center of our prayer and the way in which we start each day, in gratitude. When we start from a place of gratitude, it changes how we encounter the day and others around us.”

Bishop Coyne shared his gratitude for all the teachers, principals and parents who sacrifice so much to provide a Catholic education, “without our faith how are we any different than the public schools system and why do we exist?”

In this year of the saints, he challenged students to think of themselves on a path to sainthood. “We are all called to sainthood and it really does not need to be that hard. You don’t need to become a priest, join a religious order or spend your days in monastery. You can be an ordinary person who lives a simple life of gratitude and charity like Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Pier Giorgio was from a small city in Italy and died at the age of 25. He wasn’t a priest or married, he was a young man who liked to climb mountains, dance and hang out with his friends. What was different about Pier was his detachment from material belongings and his dedication to helping the poor and social reform…At his funeral, thousands turned out to pay their respects, many who were the poor that he had helped. In such a short period of time, Pier was able to touch the lives of many by living a holy life of gratitude and charity.”

Catholic Schools Week is a national celebration of Catholic education and an opportunity to recognize the importance, the value, and the contributions of Catholic education to the Church and the world. Catholic Schools Week is sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). This year the Roman Catholic Diocese launched a statewide Catholic Schools “You Belong Here” campaign that included new branding, banners for each school, multi-media promotion and community outreach. To learn more about Vermont Catholic Schools and upcoming open-houses, www.vermontcatholic.org/schools/catholic-schools/