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In this issue: Voice of the Faithful on YouTube; Women’s Voice Issue Dominates Northern California Lay Convocation; Father David Hitch - A “Priest of Integrity”; Six Women Chosen to Serve as Experts at October’s Synod on the Word; Book Review, Events; Members in the News; and more.

National News

Voice of the Faithful on YouTube
Voice of the Faithful successfully launched its first video on YouTube. And, in the first week alone, the VOTF video, calling for action against Cardinal George, was better watched than 90 percent of the videos posted on YouTube!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out VOTF on YouTube click on the following link: and feel free to e-mail to a friend!

Affiliate News

Winchester Area VOTF
On Sunday, September 21, the Winchester Area VOTF is holding a discussion by Fr. Bryan Hehir “Catholics as Citizens and Disciples.” Read more.

Women’s Voice Issue Dominates Northern California Lay Convocation
VOTF members in Northern California participated in the Second Annual Lay Convocation at the University of San Francisco this past week.  Participating were VOTF members representing Catholic parishes and renewal groups from San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Rosa and the San Jose dioceses.

Women’s Voice issues and the formation of effective Pastoral Councils dominated the presentations and workshops for the day-long event, which was billed as a follow-up for last year’s Lay Convocation.  The Convocation workshop focused on identifying strengths and weaknesses in effective women’s ministry.

Here’s more info about the discussions and recommendations.

Submitted by Hugh O’Regan  

Working Group News

Priest Support Working Group Honors Father David Hitch - A “Priest of Integrity”
The Priest Support Working Group is working to honor selected clergy with a “Priest of Integrity” award for their noted courage and compassion in their ministry.  We know that there are many untold stories of priests doing heroic service in their communities, but it is our hope that highlighting the ones that we have come to know about gives us examples to follow and hope in the unseen goodness that abounds. 

Because it was difficult to select just one priest for an award at the Providence Convention last October, three awards were presented.   However, there were eleven priests nominated from across the country.  It was decided that the nine priests who were not specifically awarded at the Convention deserve our support and appreciation.  In this edition of In the Vineyard, we recognize another of these Priests of Integrity.

Father David Hitch, Pastor of St. Mary's Church in Tipton, Iowa is one such “Priest of Integrity.” He was nominated for recognition at the Providence Convention by a survivor along with support from the Eastern Iowa VOTF affiliate.  Fr. Hitch's involvement in a program for survivors called "Weekend of Hope and Healing" in the Davenport Diocese helped many who have been deeply wounded.  He has "walked the walk" with those abused and his kindness and compassion, combined with the courage to speak on their behalf, has been a soothing balm to those who have turned to him.

 Submitted by Svea Fraser

Site-Seeing, Etc.

The Teaching of Evolution and the Catholic Church
Paul Cottle, a Catholic and a professor of physics at Florida State University discusses the debate on the teaching of evolution. “The Catholic Church in the United States has an opportunity to lead the nation to a resolution of this matter by educating its own followers about the church’s embrace of modern science.”

Six Women Chosen to Serve as Experts at October’s Synod on the Word
Sr. Christine Schenk thanked VOTF leaders and members for their support of FutureChurch’s efforts to have women included in October’s Synod on the Word in a recent e-mail she sent to the National Office. Thankful for the women selected, she did point out that, “. . .the Vatican seems to be playing it safe with the women selected. . .no New Testament or Pauline experts. . .and none from the ranks of great US female biblical scholars. On the other hand, six women are better than none.”

Read the press release from FutureChurch, which includes a listing of all experts invited to the Synod.

Book Review

In this issue of In the Vineyard, Dr. Tom Malone reviews A New Climate for Theology - God, the World, and Global Warming by Sallie McFague(Published by Fortress Press. 198 pp. $11) Read his review.


The Church in the 21st Century Center and the Boston College Theology Department  will be presenting Dialogue between Muslims and Christians as Mutually Transformative Speech on September 19, 2008. More information.

Program from Wisdom House
A program entitled “The Grace of Letting Go,” will take place at Wisdom House Retreat and Conference Center in Litchfield, Connecticut, on Saturday, September 27th   from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Learn more.

Members in the News

VOTF member Julie Rafferty sent a letter to Boston Globe religion writer Michael Paulson urging him to look into the credibility of Chicago’s Cardinal George:

“I was surprised to read your quote from Cardinal George in today's paper: "I stated publicly that there was no priest in ministry in Chicago who had against him a substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor. That statement was true when I made it and it is true now.". . . I think you've got a real story here if you choose to pursue it -- that Cardinal George, the head of the US Council of Catholic Bishops, is still lying and covering up TODAY to the media if he thinks you won't follow-up on the details of what he did when.’

Read the letter in its entirety.

In the Vineyard
September 11, 2008

Volume 7, Issue 16
Printer Friendly Version (PDF)

Page One

North CA Lay Convocation

Book Review

Prayerful Voice

Survivor Support Working Group

Priest Support Working Group

Structural Change Working Group

Voice of Renewal/Lay Education

Protecting Our Children



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