Northwest VT News
LIVING THE FAITH
BISHOP’S FUND 2012 www.vtbishopsfund.org
Catholic Youth Conference
The 2012 Vermont Catholic Youth Conference for high school youth will take place July 7-8 on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington.
In addition to a variety of engaging presentations, fun activities and opportunities to experience the Catholic faith more fully and deeply, teens will have the added experience of living on a college campus for a weekend with other Catholic youth from throughout Vermont.
The theme for the conference is ‘‘Who Do You Say That I Am?’’ and will focus on questions about who Jesus Christ to each participant. ‘‘Ultimately, the response to this all-important question will challenge conference participants and open the door for reflection and response both now and in the future,’’ said Dorothy J. Barewicz, director of the Office of Catholic Formation for the Diocese of Burlington.
Developed by the Diocesan Youth Council, a Christ-centered team of dedicated teens, this conference planned for their peers will feature spiritual, formational and social components. From prayer to presentations, activities to workshops, all aspects of the event will delve deeper into the question of ‘‘Who Do You Say That I Am?’’
Some of the highlights include Holy Mass, Eucharistic Adoration with the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a priest question and answer session, games and activities, judged skits with prizes and a Coffee House evening.
‘‘Sponsored by the Diocese of Burlington through the Bishop’s Fund, the conference provides a venue for teens to encounter Christ more deeply and to enjoy the fellowship of other Catholic youth from the Green Mountain State,’’ Barewicz said.
Returning to Vermont this year as the conference’s featured musician is the nationally acclaimed composer, performer and youth minister, Steve Angrisano. He was last in Vermont for VCYC 2010 and ‘‘received resounding reviews by our Vermont teens who attended that conference,‘‘ Barewicz said.
Angrisano has been featured at seven World Youth Days, served as emcee for four National Catholic Youth Conferences, emceed multiple Pro-Life March youth rallies and has been featured at numerous diocesan youth conventions and conferences throughout the United States.
News Around the Diocese
Approaches to Religious Liberty
Have Developed Over Time
By Liz O’Connor
‘‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’” are the first words of the Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791.
Before then, established churches—the Church of England in most colonies—were the rule throughout colonial America. While other beliefs and practices were tolerated in some of the colonies by the time of the founding of the United States, the established churches were supported by taxes, and public officials usually had to swear adherence to the established church.
But the First Great Awakening, a religious revival that swept Britain and the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, had greatly increased the numbers of dissenters, especially Baptists and Presbyterians, and it was they who pushed for religious freedom to be enshrined in the Constitution and for disestablishment state by state.
‘‘Catholics were a tiny percentage of the population’’ in the 18th century, explained Professor Michael McConnell, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford University. Even Maryland, which had been founded as a refuge for Catholics, had about only five percent Catholic residents, and Catholics there faced legal restrictions until disestablishment.
Religious liberty was desirable in the minds of the founders of the republic from the beginning, according to Douglas Laycock, law professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He said that political conflicts over religion were a part of living memory for many of them, and wars fought over beliefs were chronologically