Dear Friends of St. Anne's Shrine,
The Pilgrimage Season is winding down as we enter fall and the days are getting shorter and cooler. As you know, it has been a much different summer for all our pilgrims given the restrictions issued by various states amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately we missed the first three weekends of the season and had to cancel virtually all our retreats and other spiritual programming. Given the complexities of serving food during the pandemic, our cafeteria never opened for our traditional Sunday brunch and our gift shop was on reduced hours due to the decrease in visitors resulting from various travel restrictions in Vermont and other States. In so many ways the relentless outbreak of the virus in our country this summer impacted the Shrine despite Vermont having excellent statistics in controlling the spread within the Green Mountains and along Lake Champlain. The adverse financial impact on the Shrine has been significant given the lower number of visitors in all aspects of our programing.
Despite these setbacks there were reasons to be grateful and filled with hope as the summer unfolded. Although Mass attendance was down, it was much better than many parishes in the region. Being outdoors helped people feel safe. The pilgrims who did venture out did so with joy and it was really great to celebrate Mass in person with others after an Easter season without celebrating the Sacred Liturgy in public. Many took the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation too during their visits for Mass which is another bright spot.
I am happy to report that another family has issued a fundraising challenge for the benefit of the Shrine during these difficult times. Genie Mule and her family have generously offered a $35,000 matching grant as we look to close the 2020 Pilgrimage Season. This is a significant opportunity for us and, with your help, it will counter the negative financial impact of COVID on the Shrine. I hope you will make a special gift so we can realize this generous grant. Your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar and go twice as far!
During the month of November we traditionally remember our deceased loved ones beginning with the Feast of All Saints followed by praying for All Souls. I invite you to send us names of your deceased relatives and friends so we can remember them in our Edmundite Community Masses. My mother passed away in November so this tradition of remembering our deceased at this time is meaningful to me so I hope you will send us your intentions.
Thank you for your continued support of the Shrine and let us continue to pray for the development of a vaccine and an end to the current pandemic. God bless you and keep you safe!
Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E.
P.S. We have also updated our Planned Giving page on our website which provides information on using other financial instruments to help the Shrine.