Voice of the Faithful, In the Vineyard

In this Issue:

  • Read VOTF’s full coverage of the Bishops’ conference in Denver last month, as well as VOTF National press releases.
  • Another K of C member writes of his disappointment in the “sterling silence” of K of C leadership on the sexual abuse crisis; See more in Letters to the Editor
  • One of the foremost authorities in Catholic social attitudes, Dr. William D'Antonio, recently received a grant to carry out a study of Voice of the Faithful. If you are interested in participating in this study, please click here. From those who respond, a group will be randomly selected to participate in this important research. If you are chosen, the survey itself will only take a half hour to fill out.
  • “How Can I Keep from Singing?” is the tune for the song written by Sr. Delores Duffner, OSB. She offers it to VOTF for use in “times of challenge and crisis.” Sing along at Making a Joyful Noise; you asked for it – the Oscar Romero prayer can be read at A Prayer For Our Time in Affiliate News/Boston.
  • National Parish Voice Office updates regional coordinators and affiliate contacts. Read more in National News AND meet Aimee Carevich, another VOTF summer treasure. “After two years of teaching ‘People, Power and Change’ to graduate students with Marshall Ganz, and four years of organizing and training Boston and Cambridge public school students with an organization called BYOP (the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project), I come to you.” Read Aimee’s greeting in National News.
  • Voice of the Faithful responded to the stunning revelations of the global nature of the clergy sexual abuse crisis made by the Dallas Morning News by urging Pope John Paul II to meet with an international delegation of survivors and to call for the resignations of Bishops who knowingly transferred abusive priests. Read our statement here. Betty Clermont of Atlanta-Voice of the Faithful also advises that SNAP at www.snapnetwork.org has a link to The Dallas Morning News article "Church Leaders and Lay People reflect on Runaway Priests."
  • The sixth annual Cardinal Bernardin lecture was delivered at Catholic University, Washington, DC on June 25. National Catholic Reporter Rome correspondent John Allen proposed a five-component “Spirituality of Dialogue” The good news is that VOTF is already there! Jim Post shares some notes from Australia. Read more in Reports from the Field.
  • There will be no September issue of In the Vineyard. Instead, watch for a survey that will canvas your likes and dislikes, needs, etc., for this monthly newsletter. October 2004 begins our third year “in the vineyard.” We need to know, as New York’s Mayor Koch frequently asked, “How’m I doin’?”
  • NEW COLUMN: From Your Pastor – in this issue a Maryland priest shares his thoughts on the sexual abuse crisis with his parishioners. ”Something is dreadfully wrong in our culture, and we know it at a deep level; the scandal in the Catholic Church has provided an outlet for a moral outrage far beyond the confines of our own shameful story.” Read more in From Your Pastor in Supporting Our Priests
  • Watch for your copy of the Voice of the Faithful Annual Report 2004 – mailing will take place over the next two weeks.
  • Who said that a Rep. Council meeting is no picnic? The July 24 VOTF Representative Council meeting will be held in Newburyport, MA. Read more in Events.


  • Parish closings continue to rock the archdiocese of Boston. Structural Change Working Group chair Margaret Roylance sends a prayer that fellow Boston VOTF member Frank DeAlderete provided "Litany for the People of the Archdiocese of Boston." “He sent it for our use as a closing prayer at our SCWG meeting last Thursday. I found it to be very powerful and effective evocation of the pain that we are living through in the Archdiocese.” See Litany for the People. Also, see the special web page on parish and school closings at our web site.
  • Fr. Bob Bullock, founder of the Boston Priests’ Forum, died in June. David Boeri is a reporter for a news station in Boston. He is also a parishioner at Our Lady of Sorrows, in Sharon, MA, where Fr. Bob Bullock served before his death last month. Boeri has written a tribute to Fr. Bullock, describing why it is that his death is such a great loss for his community, the archdiocese of Boston, and the Catholic Church in the United States.
  • Readers ponder parish closings – one correspondent hears an opportunity knocking in Letters to the Editor.
  • Boston VOTF announces the August 15 Mass on Boston Common. (Events/East).
  • In Brief: from Paul Kendrick, VOTF Maine: “In the book The Poor are the Church, Rev. Joseph Wresenski argues that the Church has no existence, much less authenticity, apart from the poor. The poor are the church, and we are fully in the Church only when we stand with the poorest. He calls us all to see poverty in a profoundly different way, not just as destitution or oppression but as social isolation, an isolation created by all of us to the degree that we live apart from the poor”; Long Island Newsday published an article written by Dick Ryan, VOTF member from West Islip, NY “LI Catholics need to play more active roles” can be read at www.newsday.com. Search under the article title.
  • Protecting Our Children Working Group - Jetta Bernier, Member of the Victims’ Rights Committee, to address Winchester Area VOTF Affiliate Meeting, Monday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m., St. Eulalia’s Church, 50 Ridge St., Winchester.
  • Montgomery County, Maryland has emerged as another model VOTF affiliate. See what they have been up to in Affiliate News.
  • Donna Doucette concludes her three-installment coverage of the Boston College workshop onleadership issues in our Church; See Marge Bean’s comments on the play “Sin: A Cardinal Deposed” as it completed its Boston run. Reports from the Field.


  • SAVE THESE DATES – August 15, 2004 – Boston VOTF is planning a Mass on Boston Common AND November 13, 2004 for the NEW ENGLAND VOTF CONFERENCE, WORCESTER, MA “It's Not History, It's Time For Renewal” will be the theme of a full-day conference sponsored by the New England affiliates of Voice of The Faithful at the Worcester Centrum. Read more in Events, ETC.
  • Humor helps. From Donna Doucette, VOTF Boston, MA: An ad agency person, distressed over the closing of his home parish in the Boston Archdiocese, created a Web site to express some of his frustrations. It's tongue-in-cheek but for those of us in Boston, also close to reality. There are a half dozen or so of these "ads" he created at www.sellingcatholics.com
  • Need a spiritual lift? The National office suggests a visit to Interview with God. It takes about 60 seconds but the effect lingers.
  • VOTF vice president Kris Ward proposes a Book Watch where readers might note VOTF mentions in their reading. Her own proposals are The Church that Left Christ by Jimmy Breslin (Breslin participated in the tri-state October 2003 Voice of the Faithful conference at Fordham University in New York City) and The Sexual Abuse Crisis by Paul Dokecki. Readers will also recall many book mentions, recommendations, reviews and commentaries in past issues of the Vineyard – we continue to welcome your input.
  • Be sure to visit our many affiliates’ web sites. These can be accessed through the VOTF web site - take a tour of the VOTF world.

  • Copy deadline for the next issue of In the Vineyard is August 2.

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In the Vineyard
July 2004
Volume 3, Issue 7
Printer Friendly Version
(WORD Document)


“We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.” Archbishop Oscar Romero

Building relationships within and across the Catholic network is not only a necessary ingredient for VOTF growth and relevance but it is immediately rewarding. The Protecting Our Children working group’s early and successful association with the Massachusetts Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Partnership (MCSAPP) and RCAB K-4 program TAT; VOTF’s collaborative efforts with SNAP, the Linkup, and SurvivorsFirst; the spirited dialogue that has come from various priests’ forums; and healing and reconciliation services alongside parish leadership including parish pastoral councils are obvious examples of this outreach. There are many more and each is a model for others.

Just as essential to our mission and goals is outreach to those organizations and associations who have come before VOTF, who have spoken for decades on behalf of our Catholic common ground and the Church-wide need for dialogue. The most recent Common Ground Initiative lecture, co-sponsored by and held at Catholic University in Washington, DC, turned out to be an extraordinary, if unintended, endorsement of VOTF’s work. National Catholic Reporter Rome correspondent John Allen’s address centering on the creation of “spaces for dialogue” could not have described more accurately the work of VOTF since our inception in January 2002. The National Pastoral Life Center in New York City, which continues to serve the legacy of Cardinal Bernardin, the founder of the Common Ground Initiative, says in its quarterly newsletter that the Initiative “represents a call to renewed dialogue within the Church and an effort to undertake and exemplify that kind of dialogue.” We hear a common language and “go out” to greet our fellows – Allen’s remarks also cautioned against only listening to like minds. In this issue, we provide a recap of the lecture as well as a brief note on the 2004 recipient of the Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Award Dolores Leckey, and links to additional information about the work we share.

A common language is evolving among parishioners gathering across parish lines. In the Boston, MA archdiocese, Boston VOTF continues to invite Catholics to weekly Parish Preservation Summits for mutual support in the wake of announced scores of parish closings (read more in Events, Etc./East Region). Peter Davey from VOTF East Bay, CA tells us about a gathering of priests with survivors and Jim Accurso reports on a priests’ forum that brought great candor to an Illinois gathering.

Crossing lines, blending, reaching out – whatever one calls it – is the work that Catholics know as “communio” or, simply, communion. We cannot have genuine dialogue without communion nor can we have the reverse, and certainly we can have neither within a culture of labels.

Imagine one bishop anywhere in the US issuing this statement: “I invite all Catholics in our far-flung community, regardless of your politics, your difficulties with certain Church teachings, your sexuality, your past, your anger, your pain, your successes or your failures, to join me for a great diocesan Mass and lunch so we might begin with the help of our God to address your concerns and mine – no holds barred. We break the same Bread.” What is so immensely difficult about this? I believe most Catholics, even those who “fell away” before the current crisis, would welcome with joy such a Christ-like gesture.

Wisely, VOTF did not wait for an invitation in 2002 – instead, we extended it. VOTF continues to accept RSVPs. When you’re ready, join us, listen to someone you might have written off in the past and don’t forget to report back to leaderpub@voiceofthefaithful.org.

Peggie L. Thorp, Ed.