Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

In the Vineyard: February 26, 2018

In the Vineyard :: February 26, 2018 :: Volume 18, Issue 4

News from National

Lent Reflections for 2018

Lent is a season of introspection and reflection, and Voice of the Faithful is offering you a reflection each Sunday during Lent, along with links to the Liturgical Readings for each day of the week.

VOTF will email you each Sunday in Lent with a link to that Sunday's reflection. Watch for our emails.

Take the time during Lent to think deeply about what God has done in Jesus.

You can also find links to the reflections on our website. Here is the link for the first Sunday in Lent; from there you can access others. Or just click the Lent Reflections graphic in the "carousel" at the top of our home page.

Join VOTF for Our 2018 Conference: Progress and Promise

We have two engaging speakers slated to discuss issues closely related to our mission and goals, and key leaders to focus on the progess we have made since 2002, as well as the promise of next steps in VOTF programs.

Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D., internationally known theologian, expert on Vatican II and Pope Francis’ leadership, prolific writer and sought after speaker, will address the Conference on Vatican II’s legacy for the laity. Read more about Prof. Faggioli.

Marie Collins, a forceful voice for clergy abuse survivors, a lay member of Pope Francis' initial Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and counselor to bishops' conferences worldwide on best practices for protecting children from abuse, is making a return visit to update us on the Commission's work -- including the obstacles she has faced. Read more about Marie Collins.

Attendees will hear VOTF leaders talk about progress in:

  • healing the wounds of clergy sexual abuse;
  • holding dioceses accountable for financial transparency; and
  • developing resources for lay leadership.

Cost per person is still just $85 if you take advantage of our early-bird rate. Full -price registration will be $125/person.

Click here to register.

Date: Oct. 6, 2018
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Providence RI at the Providence Marriott Downtown 

Make your hotel reservation now at a reduced rate by using this link to go to Marriott's Voice of the Faithful reservations page. VOTF's 2018 Conference takes place at one of the most popular time of the year for visitors to New England — Columbus Day weekend — so book your hotel room now. Use this link. (NOTE: We already sold out one block of rooms and have a limited number of additional rooms but those also are going fast.)


Chilean sexual abuse victim testifies before Vatican investigator
“The key witness in the case of a Chilean bishop accused of covering sexual abuse said on Saturday (Feb. 17) he gave ‘eye opening’ testimony to a papally mandated investigator and hoped it would lead to the truth. Juan Carlos Cruz met in a church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for about four hours with Archbishop Charles Scicluna, one of the most experienced and respected Vatican investigators of clergy sexual abuse. ‘It’s been a good experience and I leave here very hopeful today,’ he told reporters afterwards. ‘I feel that I was heard ... it was very intense and very detailed and very, sometimes, eye-opening for them.’” By Alice Popavici, Reuters

 Vatican investigator meets with Chilean abuse victim in New York, By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

 Archbishop Scicluna’s Chile investigation sidelined by illness, By Maria Benevento, National Catholic Reporter

Francis backs down in dispute with Nigerian priests, accepts bishop’s resignation
Pope Francis has removed a Nigerian bishop whose 2012 appointment sparked years of protest from the diocese's priests, backing down from a confrontation eight months after threatening to suspend the priests should they continue to agitate. In a short note Feb. 19, the Vatican said the pontiff had accepted the resignation of Bishop Peter Okpaleke, head of the southern Nigerian diocese of Ahiara, and put neighboring Umuahia Bishop Lucius Ugorji in charge as apostolic administrator.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

 Polarizing Nigerian bishop backed by pope steps down, By Charles Collins,

Pope revives sexual abuse commission
“After his spirited defense of a Chilean bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse prompted the greatest crisis of his pontificate, Pope Francis reactivated an abuse commission on Saturday (Feb. 17) that had lapsed into dormancy. It was the latest in a series of measures by the Vatican to counter criticism that fighting abuse was not a priority for Francis’ papacy. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston was reappointed as the leader of the group, called the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. A Vatican statement said the panel would include some victims of clerical sexual abuse.” By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times

Francis renews abuse commission but does not reappoint six members, By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Disenchanted Catholics look afield in Madison’s Morlino era
“At the 4 p.m. Saturday Vigil Mass at St. Mary Church here, Fr. John Blewett recites the prayers with his back to the congregation. Only occasionally does he turn around to face the worshipers … The parish is the centerpiece in (Bishop Robert) Morlino's efforts to reshape the diocese after arriving in 2003 from Helena, Montana. As Pope Francis declares a welcoming church, the parish leadership here has dug in its heels. Morlino publicly says he is in accord with Francis. At the same time, he embraces the concept that the church is better off smaller in number if its adherents remain zealous.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …


Day of Reflection: Wise and Holy Women of Lent

Br. Mickey McGrath, O.S.F.S., will share his paintings, stories and insights in a day of reflection focused on lives of the saints from Gospel days through modern times. Lunch is included. Registration is free but early registration is recommended. Sponsored by the Boston College School on Theology and Ministry, the event is Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Corcoran Commons, Heights Room, on the Chestnut Hill campus at BC.

BC offers several other programs, on both week nights and weekends, at the campus, from examination of how African American spirituals are relevant to our lives today, to what we have learned in 70 years from the Dead Sea Scrolls, to overcoming obstacles when sharing liturgy with those "at the margins." You can find the complete schedule here (click Upcoming Events) along with registration options.

5th Anniversary of Pope Francis' Installation

America Magazine and Fordham Prep are featuring a special, joint conversation discussing the 5-year anniversary of Pope Francis' installation and his historic Papacy. Panelists include Chris Lowney, best-selling author and international speaker; David Gonzalez, award-winning journalist at the New York Times; and Dr. Meghan Clark, Ph.D., associate professor of moral theology at St. John's University. Moderater is Maurice Timothy Reidy, Executive Editor of America. If you are interested in attending the March 11 event, please visit and register at

Fordham Prep, 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458

Father James Martin in Chicago

The Archdiocese of Chicago will host speaker, author, and Jesuit priest Father James Martin on Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. and Friday, March 23, at 7 p.m. at Holy Name Cathedral, 730 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.

On Thursday, March 22, at 7 pm, Fr. Martin will speak on the humanity and divinity of Jesus: Encountering Jesus: Meeting the Christ of Faith and the Jesus of History. “Who do you say that I am?” That’s the question that Jesus asked of his disciples. Even then they had a hard time answering. Learn why the answer must involve both the historical Jesus, the man who walked the dusty roads of first-century Judea and Galilee, and the Christ of faith, the miracle-worker now risen from the dead. Discover what it means to say that Jesus is “fully human and fully divine.” To register, please click here.

On Friday, March 22, at 7 pm, Fr. Martin will talk about the last words of Jesus and how we can deepen our relationship with Christ: Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus. The seven last phrases Jesus spoke from the Cross offer us a privileged entree into his life. They also offer him a privileged entree into our own. Come enter more deeply into a relationship with the one who suffered, died and is now risen and alive, and find out why he understands you more than you might have ever imagined. To register, please click here.

Programs at St. Susanna’s Parish Hall (Dedham MA)

All events are 7 to 9 pm. at the Parish Hall, ​262 Needham St., Dedham MA. There are no fees; there is no charge for refreshments; and there is no preregistration requirement. But free-will offerings are gratefully accepted to cover the costs.

March 5 - How Do We Talk About the Cross. Tim Sullivan will speak on issues surrounding the question "We Are Taught 'Christ Died for our Sins.' Does This Mean What I Think It Means?" Over the last 2,000 years or so there have been quite a few attempts to come to terms with why the Earthly life of Jesus ended on the Cross. Some concepts are confusing, some are horrible to contemplate and most are both. Attendees will examine some of the most popular ideologies, seek within Scripture a nonviolent way to interpret what Jesus accomplished on the Cross, then discuss incorporating that non-violent interpretation into our lives to be left with an infinitely loving and merciful God. "We will explore some often deeply held preconceptions and re-examine them with help from Victor Hugo and his story of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables."

On March 12Professor Westy Egmont of the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College, Director of the School's Immigrant Integration Lab, and a Consultant to NECN on immigration issues will soeak on how refugees have become a crucial part of America’s conversation with itself, and a moral issue for those with religious beliefs of whatever persuasion. In Matthew’s Gospel rendition of the Last Judgment, it is written: “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…” What does this mean in today’s world?

March 19 - The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be presented by Father Stephen Wilbricht, CSC, of Stonehill College. It is a continuation of St. Susanna's series on Sacraments in the Twenty-first Century. Father Wilbricht will be discussing what we have variously known as Confession, Penance, and Reconciliation, based on the latest thought.

Letter to the Editor

If [Pope] Francis wants to recover his credibility, he must:

  1. Provide the evidence on which he bases his claim that those who accuse Barros are liars, and
  2. Explain his January 31, 2015, letter to the bishops of Chile concerning Barros and the two other bishops linked to Karadima, including why he changed course from what he proposed in the letter.

L. Mulligan

Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, at Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.

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