Please send comments and inquiries to

“Don’t think you are bringing God here; you will FIND God here.” Sr. Jeannette Normandin speaking to prospective prison ministers.

HIGHLIGHTS in this issue:

Sr. Jeannette Normandin, a long-serving voice of the faithful, died on May 30, 2006. An interview she gave Voice, the first VOTF hardcopy newsletter, is reprinted in Commentary – “Remembering Sr. Jeannette Normandin”. We consider Sr. Jeannette Normandin’s legacy at a time when others in our Catholic faith lives have demonstrated the courage of conscience exemplified by her life’s work. You will read about Fr. Madden, Helen Drinan, Walter Cuenin and Lynne Petruska in these pages. Jeannette would be proud of all of them, as she was of Voice of the Faithful.

VOTF Accountability Campaign: The Pentecost Action drew broad participation – a Pentecost Action Survey is in progress and results will be posted in the next Vineyard; read the VOTF Pentecost prayer that was on our web site for the weekend. Click here to learn more about two new resources to assist affiliate members with the National Campaign for Accountability.

VOTF National Representative Council meeting in Chicago June 2-4 drew 23 of 24 representatives, all four officers, trustees, our executive director and several observers. Read the meeting recap here (minutes will be published in two weeks); VOTF President remarks to NRC - "'Convivenza' for Our Time".

VOTF National Office Notes: VOTF national and regional representatives will again bear witness at the USCCB bi-annual meeting. US bishops will meet June 15-17 in Los Angeles, CA. Watch for a recap in the June 29 Vineyard; VOTF Office says farewell to one office manager and welcomes another. Click here.

What appears to be a campaign in the making has many Catholics alarmed: Bishops against protective legislation for victims of clergy sexual abuse and purporting anti-Catholicism. See more in Commentary – “What Are Bishops Afraid Of?

DIOCESE/STATE Watch: A priest in CT, a former nun in PA and a lay woman in MA are changing their landscapes and ours. Financial accountability is striking closer to home for many parishioners in Darien, CT and Chicago, IL; a VOTF press release on a questionable move by the Vermont diocese drew a response from Bishop Matano; judge voids sex abuse settlement in Spokane, WA; in Boston, VOTF Protecting Our Children joined others in sending a message to Cardinal O’Malley as he began a 10-parish pilgrimage of penitence; good news at Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton as the OLHC Steering Committee met with their new co-pastors. Click here.

From the Survivor Community includes a survivor’s graphic and painful story of abuse by a woman religious; read what survivors and their supporters are planning during the upcoming USCCB meeting in Los Angeles, CA; the Cecelia Project sets survivors pain to music – and offers relief; book review from VOTF Robert Nunz (NM) on Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes : The Catholic Church's 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse by Thomas Doyle, Richard Sipe and Patrick Wall. See From the Survivor Community; Tom Doyle’s much acclaimed talk in Tucson, AZ DVD is available on DBD. Click here.

Commentary Also recap of a recent award presented to Fr. Walter Cuenin (ousted from Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton, MA); “What Are Bishops Afraid Of?”; and the message that VOTF president Mary Pat Fox gave to the NRC in Chicago. Letter to the editor – VOTF member comments on America magazine article.

VOTF AFFILIATE News: Louisville, KY held a “Pilgrimage of Healing”. Read Vince Grenough’s “A Remarkable Day – May 11, 2006”; and congratulations to VOTF Winchester, MA on their FOURTH anniversary – see their celebration recap; forty VOTF Long Island, NY members were in Albany to lobby their elected representatives for statute of limitations/window reform for childhood sexual abuse. Read more.

Next issue of In the Vineyard: June 29. Send comments/inquiries to

SITE-Seeing, Etc.

Announcing “The Cecelia Project”: Mainstage Records is launching a compilation CD of songs by clergy sex abuse survivor musicians. Read more in From the Survivor Community.

FutureChurch needs our help – they have been asked to leave their church basement office space of eight years. The reform organization has been a consistent supporter of VOTF and recently explored with the national office areas of mutual interest and prospective collaboration such as help for struggling parishes. Please read Sr. Chris Schenck’s appeal in Commentary – “Friends in Need”.

Must-see Film: “The Hand of God” documents the sexual abuse of film maker Joe Cultrera's brother Paul by Fr. Joseph Birmingham. Sometime ago this priest served at St. James Parish Salem and at St. Ann's Parish Gloucester. This award winning film has been showing at select Film Festivals around the country to rave reviews. It will be shown at Cinema Salem tonight at 7 pm and at Loews Boston Common on Sat. 6/10 at 6 pm. For more information, click here.

National Catholic Reporter continued its coverage and commentary on the Vatican’s long-awaited censure of Maciel Degollado (reported in the May 18 Vineyard) with a reflective editorial posted May 19. Go to Additional coverage: New York Times.

Boston College – Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry will host a conference July 10-15: “Prophetic Witness: Catholic Women’s Strategies for Reform”. Go to or call 617-552-8057 for information and registration.

America magazine, May 22 issue: Dolores Leckey (Woodstock Theological Center, Washington, DC) and Christopher Ruddy (University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.) offer perspectives on Pope Benedict XVI one year into his papacy. Ruddy says, “Where John Paul was a ‘sender,’ concerned primarily with the church’s mission, Benedict is a ‘gatherer,’ concerned primarily with its communion.” Leckey finds great meaning in the Pope’s choice of name and in his message on love Deus Caritas Est, “Benedict writes that eros and agape can never be separated. I find that enormously consoling.”

What Jesus Meant by Garry Wills is a Vineyard “editor’s choice” for summer reading. Wills offers one more educated lay Catholic’s perspective on Jesus and His message. This book will make for some great conversations. Let us know what you think at

That “inconvenient woman” Mary Magdalene made the cover story of the May 29 issue of Newsweek magazine. While most of what Catholics now know to be the truth behind the first witness to the resurrected Christ (and the many other women in the early Christian community) comes from organizations such as FutureChurch ( – see their appeal in this issue), Dan Brown’s book-turned-movie “The Da Vinci Code” has invited a broader interest (including the June 5-12 issue of America). Let us know if any of the above has changed your thinking about women in the Church. Write to

In the Vineyard
June 8, 2006
Volume 5, Issue 11
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

Diocese/State Watch

NRC Update

Survivor News


Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Prayerful Voice




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