Dear Friends of St. Anne's Shrine,
The COVD-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our way of life and claims more victims throughout the world each day. We are fortunate in Vermont in that the number of cases and deaths are relatively low compared to some other States but it is still present and causing pain within families. We were finally permitted to open the Shrine for Sunday worship on June 6-7 to celebrate Trinity Sunday at three Masses.
The impact of the COVID-19 shutdown on the Shrine has been detrimental in a number of ways. We were closed for the first three weekends of the season and we had to cancel virtually all of our programming due to restrictions. Our large group retreats and the Wednesday Reflection Series have been canceled. Our dining room is closed and we have gone without our Sunday brunch due to anticipated difficulties of managing a predominately vulnerable clientele in these pandemic conditions. Vermont travel restrictions on out-of-state pilgrims prevented various programs from taking place.
The financial impact of all these cancellations has been severe. Every category of operating revenue that relies on people showing up and participating is down between 65% and 87%. Retreat/Cabin fees, Sunday Collections, Gift Shop Sales, and Food Service revenue are all drastically down. We also have had to incur additional expenses in redesigning the floor plan of the Gift Shop and installing plexiglass in various locations given COVID restrictions and social distancing requirements. Financially it has been a brutal season but we are trying to keep our heads up focusing on Christ who is the way, the truth and the life.
To help us during this challenging time and recognizing the extraordinary need of the Shrine at this moment, the Dion Family Foundation has pledged a $25,000 matching gift initiative. Each dollar you contribute for the programming and upkeep of St. Anne’s Shrine will be matched, up to a combined total of $50,000. In addition, we have also updated our Planned Giving page on our website which provides information on using other financial instruments to help the Shrine.
I hope you will help us achieve this generous matching goal by making a special gift in honor of St. Anne. Please include on the enclosed petition form your intentions so that we may remember them in our prayers and Masses. Thank you for all of your support and be sure to visit the Shrine soon. Know too that your gift, however modest, will go twice as far!
Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E.