In an effort to improve two-way communication between the Diocese of Burlington and its parishes and to help parishes improve communication with parishioners, a new position has been created: assistant director of communication.

Stephanie Clary, current manager of mission outreach and communication and assistant editor of Vermont Catholic magazine, will assume her new role as assistant director of communication March 2.

She will work directly with parishes in several key areas: website, social media, email and other communication tools. She also will work with parishes to generate positive press for their various events and activities.

“The Diocese is bulking up its communication team in response to the synod process, which identified a need to improve two-way communication between the Diocese and the parishes and the parishes and their parishioners,” said Ellen Kane, executive director of development, stewardship and communication for the Diocese of Burlington. “We are very conscious of our budget and are fortunate to promote talent from within and expand current communication staff positions to meet these challenges without hiring new staff.”

The new position will continue to build media relationships and spread the Good News, she added.

“I am appreciative of the opportunity to serve the Catholic Church in Vermont in this new role and look forward to continued engagement with the faith community across the state,” Clary said. “It is a privilege to work with such an excellent communication team at the Diocese and with a diocesan staff and bishop who care deeply about the Catholic faith and the faithful.”

Her top priority as assistant director of communication is “to effectively and emphatically share the Good News of the Gospel and good news of the Catholic Church in Vermont with fellow Catholics and with the broader community, in Vermont and beyond,” she said.

Other priorities will be to develop clear and consistent two-way communication between the Diocese, parishes and parishioners and to provide outstanding communication services and support — including design, digital media, marketing and promotion — to other diocesan offices, parishes, Catholic schools and Vermont Catholic Charities Inc.

Much of the direction of the Communication Department at the Diocese, including the creation of this new position and her priorities for it, reflects feedback gathered from Vermont Catholics during the 2018 Diocesan Synod listening sessions and discussions during synod delegate gatherings, as well as comments heard by Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne during Catholic Town Meetings in January and February.

Clary, who also serves as the Catholic Relief Services diocesan director, earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, and a master’s degree in systematic theology from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

“Her theology degree and understanding of the mission of the Church along with her experience made her a natural choice,” Kane said.

Clary’s writing has been published by Vermont Catholic, Catholic News Service, Millennial Journal, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ To Go Forth Blog, Theophilus Journal, New Theology Review and in the Journal of Religion and Film.

She is a former director of campus ministry and religion teacher at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington and is a board member of Vermont Interfaith Power and Light.

She can be reached at sclary@vermontcatholic.org.

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