VOTF Natick, MA
Submitted by Mary Ellen Siudut
March 14th Panel Discussion: A panel discussion by
Catholic clergy and laity, entitled "Moving Forward
Together as Church", will be held on Monday, March 14,
7-9 pm. at the Morse Institute Library in Natick. The
presentation is sponsored by Natick Parish Voice on
the occasion of their third anniversary. The six panelists
are well qualified to talk about church renewal. Members
of the clergy include Rev. Walter Cuenin, Pastor of
Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton, Rev.Joseph Marchese,
Director, First-Year Experience at Boston College, and
Rev. Bruce Teague, Pastoral Minister at St. Elizabeth
Hospital in Brighton. The laity will be represented
by Dorothy Kennedy from St. Anselm Parish in Sudbury,
Donna Manganaro from St. Patrick Parish in Natick and
Stan Curran from St. Cecilia Parish in Ashland. Faith
Madzar from Natick will serve as Moderator.
Natick Parish Voice welcomes all interested clergy
and laity to attend the program on March 14 and participate
in the discussion following the panel presentation.
VOTF Greater Philadelphia, PA
Submitted by Gaile Pohlhaus
VOTF/GP on the Internet: http://www.votfgp.org
General Meetings: Joseph O'Callaghan, a historian and
author, will speak on "Counsel and Consent: Restoring
the Laity's Role in the Governance of the Church" at
a general meeting of Voice of the Faithful of Greater
Philadelphia on Tuesday evening, March 15, at Chestnut
Hill College. The program, which is free and open to
the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Social Room
of Fournier Hall.
O'Callaghan, a professor emeritus of medieval history
at Fordham University and past president of the American
Catholic Historical Society, is the author of "Counsel
and Consent as Christian Virtues: Five Proposals for
Structural Change in the Catholic Church," a document
produced by VOTF Bridgeport, CT. Among its recommendations
for changes in church structure, the Bridgeport document
proposes the election of bishops by the Catholic community
and the selection of pastors by parish faithful. The
document also calls for the ownership of church property
by a parish corporation (the full text and a summary
of this document are available at www.votfgp.org ).
O'Callaghan, the former director of the Center for
Medieval Studies at Fordham, has written seven books
on medieval Spain and translated The Autobiography
of St. Ignatius Loyola.
VOTF Northern NJ
Submitted by Carole Rogers
Focus on the larger issues has been the basis for our
ongoing VOTF-NNJ Speaker Series. We believe that a vital
part of our ministry is to offer opportunities for adult
conversations, to initiate dialogues that help create
an informed laity.
One of our speakers, Rev. Donald Cozzens, author of
the recently published, Faith That Dares to Speak,
suggested a motto for all today's faithful Catholics.
"We need," he said, "the courage to be truthful, the
courage to be faithful, the courage to be present."
Since we began in mid-2002, we have presented more
than thirty speakers-victims, priests, theologians,
psychologists and sociologists, journalists, members
of the National Review Board-on topics that have expanded
our awareness and our sympathies for all three of VOTF's
goals, but also enlightened us about our larger responsibilities
as baptized members of the Church.
Many of these speakers, some nationally known, have
traveled long distances to be with us. Our members would
not have had an opportunity to participate in so many
stimulating and varied conversations in any other venue.
January, David France, author of Our Fathers: The
Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal,
traced the sexual abuse crisis to the days when
seminaries did not allow any teaching about or discussion
of human sexuality. His book, which includes the stories
of some victims and priests involved in the recent
scandals, will soon be a made-for-TV movie. Watch
February, Rev. Ed Edwards, M. Div., MSW, a priest
of the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ, who has provided counsel
to many gay males, spoke about homosexuality in the
Catholic Church and particularly in the priesthood.
Father Edwards questioned many of the premises that
lead to "scapegoating" gays in today's society. He
said they are no more likely to be child molesters
than heterosexual men; they are probably no more promiscuous
than heterosexual men of the same demographic; they
can and do have faithful relationships, build families,
or lead celibate priestly lives; they are frequently
creative men who value lives of service. They can
and do make wonderful contributions to the Church
April 11, our speaker will be Rev. Jeff Mickler, SSP,
Ph.D. Father Mickler, who has served as Superior of
the Society of St. Paul as well as host of a weekly
radio program, has chosen as his topic: "The Making
of a Naive Priest: Instruments of Healing and Hope."
He says, "Until the scandal broke in the media around
1990, I never thought about the possibility of there
being any pedophile priests in great numbers. This
naivete on the part of a broad spectrum of priests
and religious was typical and allowed the predators
in our midst to flourish."
We try to reach out and educate Catholics in northern
New Jersey in other ways:
continuing Prayerful Voice offers affiliate members
and guests another opportunity for focusing on larger
issues at our twice-a-month liturgies. During the
liturgy, in discussions before and after, we listen
to one another, recognizing Christ in the other and
in ourselves. Growth, change, healing, and peace happen;
these are wonderful interludes for people living in
a desert time.
also continue twice weekly airings of our public access
TV program-adult conversations at their best.
the Thirteenth Annual Spirituality Convocation at
the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ,
two of our members will present a workshop, "Finding
Our Way with Voice of the Faithful." The conference
draws more than 700 attendees; it's another opportunity
to explore large Church issues as well as the three
specific goals of VOTF.
VOTF West Suburban Parish Voice, MA
Submitted by Julie and Frank McConville
St. John's, St. James, and St. Paul's parishes in Wellesley,
MA and St. Joseph's in Needham make up our affiliate.
We encourage all in this area to join us for our General
meetings each month. The general meeting will be held
on March 10 and will feature Dr. Ann T. Spearing who
shares Ecumenical team ministry with her husband at
Athol Congregational church and is Spiritual Director
& Retreat Guide. Dr. Spearing was a Roman Catholic nun
for 17 years.
On March 3 our group took part in the VOTF Many Hands,
Many Hearts Campaign. Our objective is to address key
concerns in developing voices for reform in order to
build a more effective, adult Catholic community.
VOTF Seacoast Affiliates, MA
Submitted by Maurice Donovan
The ongoing Adult Faith Formation series sponsored
by the North Shore, Lynn and Seacoast Areas has two
events in April.
April 3: (Lynn; St. Pius V, Lower Church Hall): "We
Believe in One God: Jews, Christians, Muslims as Brothers
and Sisters in Faith: Our Common Heritages and Differences"
with Padraic O'Hare, Ph.D. (Merrimack College).
April 10: (Lynn; St. Mary's Parish, Cardinal Cushing
Center): "Christian Ecumenical Dialogue: Progress Since
Vatican II In Creating Closer Ties Between the Christian
Denominations" with Padraic O'Hare, Ph.D. (Merrimack
For further information, please send an email message
to Jim Callahan at email@example.com); Vince Guerra
at firstname.lastname@example.org), Mary Fitzsimmons at email@example.com),
or Jack Whelan at firstname.lastname@example.org).
VOTF Brooklyn, NY
Ed and Anne Wilson
The New York Times reports: "The Roman Catholic
bishop of Brooklyn and Queens moved yesterday to take
financial control of the diocese's struggling elementary
schools from the pastors and principals who have run
them for more than a century and to install lay boards
to steer the schools' finances instead." Registered
members of NYTimes.com can access the
Here in the Brooklyn Diocese, covered extensively
in the NewYork
Times (and thence into the Malarkey Report), is
the story of a complete reorganization of the parochial
schools to move from a 19th century parish-based, pastor-led
model to clusters of 4 or 5 schools each (group) managed
by a LAY board of individuals responsible for financial,
real estate, education, hiring, planning and the running
of the schools. The clergy previously in charge of
parish schools were relieved of duty by this change.
major. Even though enacted by the bishop, it took several
years of study and planning with lots of work by lay
people. It professionalizes the running of the schools
in a way that was overdue. It is an encouraging sign
of structural change.
VOTF SW Florida
Submitted by Peg Bisgrove
VOTF of SWFL's Speakers Forum will present award-winning
author Eugene Kennedy, as their annual nationally known
guest speaker on March 13, 2005 from1:30-3:00 PM in
the Ballroom of the Parish Life Center of St. John the
Evangelist Catholic Church at 625 111th Avenue North,
Naples, FL. His topic will be "The World, the Flesh,
and the Catholic Church." Dr. Kennedy is Professor Emeritus
of Psychology, Loyola University, Chicago. He is a syndicated
columnist and author of over forty books, including
the biography of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. His most
recent book is Cardinal Bernardin's Stations of the
Cross: How His Dying Reflects the Mysteries of Loss
and Grief. Dr. Kennedy's book, The Unhealed Wound,
deals with how the Catholic Church's teaching on
human sexuality has gone wrong. For more information,
please e-mail VOTFofSWFL@aol.com.
VOTF Atlanta, GA
Submitted by John Dearie
It may be premature, but things seem to be looking
up in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. New Archbishop Wilton
Gregory is holding listening sessions (he doing the
listening) for his beleaguered priests, has published
a lengthy, amazingly frank piece on the 2004 audits
by CNS reporter Augustine Bono on the first two pages
of the diocesan paper (unheard of under the former Archbishop),
and has agreed to meet with VOTF-Atlanta leaders in
April. We are encouraged and hopeful that Atlanta is
finally moving toward the center. Stay tuned.
VOTF Indianapolis, IN
Submitted by Mary Heins
We had a very successful meeting last week at the Indianapolis
affiliate with about 30 members in attendance. We invited
the pastors of one of the Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Disciples of Christ, Methodist, and Episcopal congregations
asking them to describe the governing structures of
their churches and the role of the laity in those structures.
It was a very friendly and informative presentation
with each speaker taking about 10 minutes. Q & A followed
and although we planned to end at 8:30, no one objected
to staying a little longer. The pastor of St. Thomas
Aquinas, Fr. Munshower, was present for the entire evening,
also. One man said it was the most ecumenical gathering
he had ever attended. Many others stayed to visit with
the panelists and express their appreciation. [If you
would like a summary of the panel discussion, please
email Peggie Thorp at email@example.com]
VOTF Saanich Peninsula Affiliate, Sidney B,C.
Submitted by MaryAnne Gervais, VOTF coordinator Victoria
It was a pleasure to meet several members of VOTF Puget
Sound, WA when we attended Seattle University's Symposium:
"Pursuing Vatican II". Dr. Paul Lakeland spoke to us
on The Liberation of the Laity; In Search of an Accountable
Church, his masterful book that won the Catholic Press
Award for Best Theology Book of 2004.
My hosts were Eileen and Steven Knoff from VOTF. Eileen
was Regional Coordinator for the West since its inception.
Eileen was also our very first internet connection to
the International organization. It was great to put
a face to the names of fine people who spend hours in
trying to better our church and it gives the cyber-communications
a far deeper meaning.
Our affiliate will soon be viewing
the symposium on video.
PHOTO Credits- Dr. Paul Lakeland (top)
- Eileen Knoff, MaryAnne Gervais and Paul Post (Bottom)
of the Faithful, VOTF, "Keep the Faith, Change the Church,"
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