VOTF National News
From Anne Southwood: The July meeting of the VOTF
Representative Council will be held at Maudslay
State Park in Newburyport. The gathering will begin
at 10:30 and the actual meeting at 11:00 am, SHARP.
We are excited about this special location and special
prayer service developed by VOTF Prayerful Voice. We
expect all will enjoy a family-social type picnic following
a brief business meeting. Coffee, etc. will await you
at Maudslay Park. It might be advisable to bring a blanket
along with your picnic basket. Tourist opportunities
abound; we are aiming to conclude the meeting with time
allowed to enjoy these, if not the State Park itself.
National Parish Voice Office
Letter to Regional Coordinators and Affiliate Contacts:
Hello from the Parish Voice National Office! There
are a number of issues we need to bring to your attention.
Communication with all of you is key in our work, and
becomes increasingly challenging as we grow. Please
take a few minutes to read through this message.
We continue to hear from people all over the world as
this crisis is brought to the attention of faithful
Catholics around the globe. Just a few weeks ago, we
had two separate visits from supporters from Tasmania,
where there is a call for transparency in the hierarchy
in the wake of abuse and cover up.
The need for more Regional Coordinators continues,
as our numbers increase, as our affiliates grow. We
now have 71Regional Coordinators and 205 Affiliates.
Personnel Comings and Goings
Our other help comes from Marianne Rhoads, who,
as a volunteer, has faithfully managed our website calendar
for over a year. This tool is so important for those
looking for meetings, so we encourage all of you to
use it. Click on PV Calendar at www.votf.org on the
right hand side of the homepage and send an email to
the yahoo address. Goz Gosselin's news service
has been passed on to the communications team and a
summer intern Theresa Cooney. Theresa is a senior
Theology major at Georgetown University and is managing
that service. It is so important that each Regional
Coordinator pass on information to your affiliates and
then the affiliates to your members. The news that is
sent daily should also be passed on as it is a reminder
that this crisis is far from over.
We have been blessed with the administrative help and
cheerful demeanor of Randi Simons, who has spent
a good deal of time on web, data and server issues.
We appreciate all she has done trying to straighten
out those problems. Randi is stepping down and, as yet,
we have no replacement.
We have brought on two new part time people for Parish
Voice. Aimee Carevich (see Aimee's greeting below)
has been hired for the short term project of developing
a training program for Regional Coordinators and Affiliate
Leaders. Aimee is trained in grassroots organizing and
has a Masters Degree from the Harvard Divinity School.
She is young, energetic and very smart! While Voice
of the Faithful continues to grow, some affiliates are
feeling attrition. The training Aimee has to offer will
hopefully show us ways to invigorate the life in our
affiliates and look at new ways of organizing.
Parish Voice also has an intern from Boston College.
Meagan Yogi is a senior majoring in Theology. We
have given her the task of trying to set up affiliates
on college campuses. She has thus far contacted the
Pastoral Ministry offices of all the Jesuit Universities
and has had a very positive response. The next step
is developing a template for recruitment and meetings
and then connecting with more universities. If you have
any connections or suggestions, please contact Meagan
We are more grateful than you will ever know of the
work you are doing to bring healing and renewed life
to our Church. You and your affiliates are the lifeblood
of this movement and it is only within the framework
of affiliates and the work they do, that we will bring
much needed change. You continue to inspire and awaken
the laity in your midst. What is required of us now
is perseverance and nurturing new leaders.
We are attaching a prayer that most of you have heard.
It is worth repeating and we ask that you share it with
your members as it is a wonderful reminder for all of
us of our mission and call to ministry in the Vineyard.
Blessings to you and your families! Mary Ann Keyes
and Suzy Nauman
Introducing Aimee Caravich -
in her own words
My name is Aimee Carevich. When people ask me who I
am, I usually begin telling the story of my grandfather
and his brothers who helped to unionize the steel and
automobile industries in Detroit, Michigan, where I
am from. My father, though not in union leadership at
the high school where he taught, was very active in
organizing the young teachers in the union to demand
equal treatment from their peers with more experience.
Whether it is genes or experience that taught me about
the importance of justice and organizing to achieve
it, I know not. What I do know is that I "caught the
bug" a few short years ago while in Harvard Divinity
I was taking a class called "Organizing: People, Power
and Change" from a man named Marshall Ganz, who was
a former civil rights and United Farm Worker organizer.
As I read about Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther
King, Jr. and learned about the importance of trained
leadership, relationship building, motivation, strategy
and action, something clicked into place within me.
I finally knew what to do with the fire in my belly
that burned through watching my first black friend and
roommate leave Allegheny College because she couldn't
afford to stay there, watching my Muslim friends at
Ohio Wesleyan University be unfairly stereotyped, and
listening to the story of one urban Boston youth who
was called the "N word" in third grade… by her teacher.
I realized that in this world, some people have power,
and others don't, and those who have it, are not willing
to give it up without a fight. Having studied and admired
Gandhi for years, I firmly believe that fight has to
be non-violent, but it must be a fight nonetheless.
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.
I still remember the day when Marshall excitedly told
me that VOTF had been founded. I cannot convey how much
hope was expressed through his face, and that hope was
contagious. Claiming 30,000 members and over 200 affiliates
is no small feat, and I am impressed by the people I
meet every day at VOTF!
Over the last several weeks I have heard many VOTF
leaders say that it is time to take the organization
to the next level. I sincerely believe that with some
leadership training, and some smart and powerful organizing,
VOTF can rise to its feet and claim a piece of the power
that the Catholic hierarchy currently holds. I am here
to get that ball rolling - to make a clarion call for
more action that confronts the hierarchy and demands
more power. After all, as the VOTF opening prayer states,
"We are the Church." Indeed, you are the Church, and
it is my privilege to be working with you.
Aimee M. Carevich
Aimee is beginning her work with a Boston and a
New York/Connecticut leadership team. They will be piloting
a leadership development program in their regions, and
the plan is to roll it out nationally thereafter. In
the next two months, these leaders will research what
is and is not working in affiliates and Parish Voice,
be trained as organizers, and train others to become
organizers as well.
If you have any questions for Aimee, please contact
her by email at email@example.com.
If you would like more information about the upcoming
training sessions, please contact Mary Ann Keyes or
Suzy Nauman at National VOTF at 617-558-5252 or by email
In the email subject heading, please type ORGANIZING
FOR ACTION TRAINING.
A Prayer for Our Time
Archbishop Oscar Romero:
It helps, now and then, to step back
and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not
We are prophets of a future not our own.
of the Faithful, VOTF, "Keep the Faith, Change the Church,"
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of the Faithful is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization.