In this Issue:

  • VOTF notes NRB reports on bishops’ broken words read National Catholic Reporter story at; Jim Post was quoted to approving readers of the Boston Globe "It is discouraging to see the archbishop [Bp. Sean O’Malley/Boston, MA] using archdiocesan resources to run this campaign against gay marriage and to speak out in a way that is so divisive." While acknowledging that this is not a VOTF issue, Jim noted, "we can't do our work without acknowledging the deterioration in the environment in the Catholic Church." Read the whole story in

  • VOTF Meets the Press – April Press Release challenges bishops’ divisiveness in Atlanta, GA and Boston, MA. Within weeks, Bishop O’Malley in Boston explained himself to offended laity (see The Pilot story at and choose “The Pilot” from the menu.) VOTF joins flood of supportive correspondence for VOTF Priest of Integrity Fr. Tom Doyle. Read VOTF president Jim Post’s statement. Also, visit both the SNAP and the Linkup websites at and

  • Survivor Community News - SNAP identifies a model bishop. Read more about Bishop Paul Bootkoski of the Metuchen, NJ diocese; SNAP also has some tips for writing letters to editors; Steve Sheehan reports on upcoming gatherings of survivors and survivor supporters.

  • Prayerful Voice offers a reflection on the beginning that Easter is – why we continue to say “Happy Easter!” Read “Easter- Now More Than Ever”

  • On Monday, April 26, 2004, members of Voice of the Faithful met with Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin. See Events East

  • VOTF will be at the sixth annual Common Ground Initiative lecture, to be delivered on June 25, 2004 by National Catholic Reporter’s Rome correspondent and CNN Vatican analyst John Allen speaking on “Common Ground in a Global Key: International Lessons in Catholic Dialogue.” Read More.

  • VOTF volunteer Goz Gosselin, our VOTF e-news anchor, retires from the post that has helped make VOTF a great place to learn. Read More.

  • The mouse that roared has a fresh look – a small prayer room built in a parking lot. The response by parishioners to what appears to be the imminent closing of their parish church, Holy Family in Lynn, MA, has drawn regional and national media attention. Read more

  • VOTF New Jersey has its own cable TV station. Maria Cleary tells all – including, “It costs NOTHING.” Read More.

  • Chicago, Il VOTF representatives met with Cardinal George and developed a model for dialogue with your bishop. Read More.

  • On May 22, tri-state VOTF (NY, NJ and CT) hosts a call “A Call to the Bishops: Preserve the National Review Board and Build Trust in the Church.” Read More.

  • Commentary: Mike Gustin of VOTF Westford-Chelmsford has come up with eight thoughts for lay engagement in your diocese. Read More.

  • Interestingly, Br. Sofield believes that too many people are concerned about ‘building a parish. Read more in Donna Doucette's coverage of the BC conference on leadership issues in Couldn't Make It? then write to; and Cathy Fallon reports on the David O’Brien/Bruce Russett talk at Fairfield University, CT. Read more.

  • Letters to the Editor – Paul Kendrick writes, Each and every financial decision we make must be followed by a simple question, How does this decision affect the poor?"; readers react to bishops’ refusal to include women in Holy Thursday ritual; a Knights of Columbus member wonders where the K of C has been on the Church crisis; Bishop Ronald Fabbro of the Diocese of London, Ontario gets kudos from VOTF Canada. Read more and keep writing to

  • Sign the VOTF petition.

  • To receive the June 2004 hard copy issue of Voice, call the VOTF office at 617-558-5252 or email

  • Donate

  • Join

  • The VOTF postal address is P.O. Box 423, Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464-0002

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In the Vineyard
May 2004
Volume 3, Issue 5
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"I've still got some ideas to suggest about this Church we love, and I want to be part of what I believe is an imminent and wondrous rebirth." Bishop Untener of Michigan, weeks before his death on March 27, 2004

These are good news/bad news days for Catholics - while US bishops seem to be turning their backs on the USCCB-appointed National Review Board, one can still find Bishop Untener's vision for "imminent and wondrous rebirth" everywhere in Voice of the Faithful. It would seem that VOTF is more important than ever. Our two-year old organization is gaining in purpose and recognition - a good news item for the future of our Church. A brief overview makes the case.

The Voice of the Faithful Handbook is moving along its review path and the Primer training sessions are progressing (see April's Vineyard); the office communications team again spoke for stunned Catholics in April and May press releases - one on the divisive language coming from bishops and the other on the inconceivable removal of Fr. Tom Doyle from his post as a military chaplain; educational conferences and workshops continue to draw VOTFers - this month the Vineyard publishes a report from the Boston College conference on leadership issues (In fact, with Boston College events frequently attended by overflow crowds, the College has extended its two-year "Church in the 21st Century" initiative at least to the 2004-2005 academic year) and an overview of a Fairfield University talk given by author David O'Brien and Yale University professor Bruce Russett; and the Voice of the Faithful quarterly Voice will break a little more ground with its June focus on the organizational structure of our Church. Readers can follow all of these developments in this issue of In the Vineyard and on our Web site.

Not to be outdone, the genesis story of Voice of the Faithful Keep the Faith, Change the Church is on a roll - two anonymous donors are underwriting the distribution of 1000 copies apiece. Having read the Muller/Kenney book, both want to get the word out to as many as possible. (If you don't have your copy yet, it's not too late. Rose Walsh in the National office is waiting for you, or you can visit the home page of our Web site at

On top of all of this, Voice of the Faithful welcomed its 200th affiliate! VOTF now has more affiliates in the US than there are dioceses (195) - "imminence and wonder," to borrow again from Bishop Untener.

One might ask - whence all this energy? A critic once said that Voice of the Faithful is known by the company it keeps - how true. We've been studying the company we keep and we find it enviable, enriching, empowering and bright with promise for our Church. Examples follow:

In April, Voice of the Faithful took a booth at the National Catholic Educational Association gathering. The NCEA convention brought several Voice members back to the site of our own 2002 convention. Religious educators from all over the country as well as Canada and Europe attended, availing Voice of important and rewarding networking opportunities;

On May 10, VOTF president Jim Post shared a stage with the executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Kathleen McChesney at a VOTF Winchester, MA meeting (May 10th was the two-year anniversary of the consistently creative Winchester, MA affiliate - even a quick look at pastVineyards makes the point);

On May 16, Chicago, Il VOTF will host a reception for interim chair of the National Review Board Illinois Justice Anne Burke and Bishop John Gorman, following a Mass of Healing and Renewal;

On May 22, tri-state Voice (NY, NJ and CT) hosts a call "A Call to the Bishops: Preserve the National Review Board and Build Trust in the Church" with speakers Illinois Justice Anne Burke; Rev. Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J., President emeritus, Fordham University and Associate editor of America magazine; and New York attorney Pamela D. Hayes, member of the National Review Board; (see details under EVENTS)

And in June, Voice will attend the annual Bernardin lecture at Catholic University in Washington, DC. The June 25 evening is part of Cardinal Bernardin's legacy in the Common Ground Initiative.

It's all here In the Vineyard. Imminence and wonder, indeed!

Peggie L. Thorp, ed.