Town hall meetings with Bishop Coyne aim to increase transparency

Local News
The first of six town meetings held by Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne kicked off Thursday at St. Mary’s Church in Saint Albans. The meetings are an effort to increase transparency and communication within Vermont’s Catholic Church. 
“My main goal is to get out there and listen to people,” Bishop Coyne said.
Each meeting will begin with a prayer and some updates on the Catholic Church. Bishop Coyne said the floor will then be open for people to ask questions and voice their opinion on any subject matter. 
With a decline in parishioner attendance, Bishop Coyne said he needs to engage with the community to attract younger people. 
A rise in priest misconduct headlines has prompted the church to take action. A Buzzfeed article, detailing decades of alleged abuse at the former St. Joseph’s orphanage raised concerns. A lay committee was also formed to review personnel files and clergy misconduct dating back to 1960. The report will be publicized later this year. 
“For years, we haven’t shared this information with people and it didn’t see the light of day,” Bishop Coyne said. “There was stuff going on that was hidden and that shouldn’t have been hidden.”

The schedule of meetings:

Jan. 10: St. Mary’s Church, 45 Fairfield St., St. Albans
Jan. 22: Holy Family Church, 4 Prospect St., Essex Junction
Jan. 23: St. Theresa Church, 44 East St., Orleans
Jan. 28: Sacred Heart Church, 238 Main St., Bennington
Jan. 29: Christ the King Church, 66 S. Main St., Rutland
Jan. 31: St. John Vianney Church, 160 Hinesburg Road, South Burlington

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