your VOTF Christmas cards, sponsored by the Winchester,
MA Area VOTF! The four card designs were prepared by
artists in our group. Proceeds will benefit the survivor
community. The back of each card invites people to learn
more about VOTF by visiting the national site. A PDF
version of our order form, with color pictures of each
card, is available on the first page of our local web-site
For additional copies of the order form for yourself
or your affiliate, or if you have any questions, please
e-mail Bob Morris at email@example.com.
Place your order today!
The Diocese of Rockville Centre - Long Island, New York
has begun Synod 2007 (2007 is the 50th anniversary
of the Diocese). In this first phase (Parish phase)
each parish will hold Listening Sessions - several sessions
have been scheduled from 9/15-12/15. These offer parishioners
a chance to share their hopes, dreams and concerns with
the bishop and the rest of the diocese (all responses
are posted on the diocesan website www.drvc.org). Phases
2 and 3 will focus, respectively, on the Deanery and
Vicariate levels. Laity are involved at all levels.
Parishioners in the Rockville Centre diocese should
check their parish bulletins for information. Additional
information can be found on the diocesan Web site, in
the diocesan newspaper and may be obtained by mail from
Office of the Chancellor, Diocese of Rockville Centre
50 North Park Ave., Rockville Centre, NY 11570.
National Pastoral Life Center's annual parish convention
in NY City 11/13-15. Bps. Untener and Ramirez, Fr.
Bryan Hehir, Sr. Helen Prejean and others will be speaking.
Check the Web site at www.nplc.org. for additional information.
This organization is considered "…the most listened
to and respected organization on lay involvement in
the Church within the Church," according to Susan Troy,
National Chair Prayerful Voice.
president Jim Post and Executive Director Steve Krueger
will join Boston, MA affiliate representatives in a
first meeting with Archbishop Sean O'Malley on November
19. Readers are asked for prayers that this meeting
will be a mutual step forward in Boston's Church-laity
relations. Watch the Web site at www.votf.org and this
space in December for an update.
College, MA, "The Church in the 21st Century" at
Check out Occasional Paper #4 "Is the Church Open to
Change in its Governance? Some Historical Evidence"
by Fr. Michael Sheeran, S. J.
: Father Michael Sheeran, S.J., President of Regis University
(CO), highlights changes related to the selection of
bishops and the election of popes that have occurred
throughout the Church's history. He also discusses the
contemporary American experience of a laity increasingly
well-educated and competent in professional expertise
but often not well-educated "in the Faith." He calls
for a "new evangelization" and for greater access to
College, Chestnut Hill Campus, MA on Tuesday, November
18, 2003 - Panel Discussion: "Protecting Children:
Models and Best Practices," moderated by Richard Rowland,
Graduate School of Social Work, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., Merkert
127 Information: 617-552-4021, Sponsor: Graduate School
of Social Work
NH Conference, Rivier College
Submitted by Anne Southwood
conference geared to lay Catholics was held at Rivier
College in Nashua, New Hampshire on October 25 and developed
a focus on hope for the future of the Church. It was
clear from the beginning of this day together that it
would be "roll up your sleeves and work" despite the
temptation of a perfect New England Fall day outside.
92 set the tone as the opening prayer: "It is good to
give thanks to the Lord, to make music in your name.
Your deeds have made me glad. For the work of your hands
I shout with joy."
speaker Paul Lakeland, chair of the Religious Studies
Department, Fairfield (CT) University, and author of
The Liberation Of The Laity, was so connected
to his audience he stayed to be part of the final panel
Lakeland keynote stressed the apostolic responsibility
of all Catholics, in the lay theology developed by the
documents of Vatican II. Lakeland's remark "An ordained
priest does not displace the priesthood of the laity,"
brought applause from the audience, which included religious.
He noted that a priest is defined in relation to the
laity for the first time by Vatican II. "The burgeoning
sense of co-responsibility for the Church should pressure
the bishops," said Lakeland. "VOTF has positioned itself
well," he said, in reference to changing the Church
at the "front end." He supported lay activity, saying
we could be effective at the grassroots level, despite
being shut out of consultation. "The community is the
complete church in the local unit," said the keynoter.
an Englishman, related traditional American qualities
like vigor to the lay movement in the Church. "Vigor
is connected to vitality in the public sphere," he said.
Having spent a career in teaching theology, Lakeland
stressed the need to anchor the spirituality of young
Catholics to the Church. "If not accessed, they will
walk," said Lakeland. This idea was incorporated into
two of the workshops. Theologian Maureen Sullivan, O.P.,
from the St. Anselm's College Theology faculty, author
of 101 Questions and Answers on Vatican II, said
her book was written to offset the woeful lack of students'
theological knowledge. Following the example of Pope
John XXIII, Dr. Sullivan stresses the importance of
living as a Christian in dialogue with the world. Participants
were slow to close the workshop, so contagious was her
passion for the call to seek out legitimate lay roles.
a neighboring workshop, Melissa Kelley of the Weston
Jesuit School of Theology, focused on young Catholics.
Dr. Kelley, whose 14 years as a campus minister complement
her academic work in pastoral psychology, explored the
experience of young adults as Church in our culture.
Kelley was happy with the total workshop participation
by those experienced with young Catholics at the parish
and diocesan levels. "They are laborers in the vineyard;
it is important to hear their experience - mine is never
the full one," said Kelley. "They have so much wisdom,
so much hope."
Tri-State VOTF Conference, Fordham University, NY -
Submitted by vignette holders
Jimmy Breslin lumbered down the side aisle of Fordham's
gym, tossing aside offers of a chair to perch on some
folded bleacher seats as he listened to Eugene Kennedy's
keynote speech. The 1500 attendees gave Kennedy a standing
ovation and as he was leaving the stage he caught sight
of his old friend Breslin. The two aging lions embraced,
knowing they could both still roar when they wanted
and needed to."
Ellen Vosbury, VOTF Manhattan
was about 6:30 am, still dark, a little chilly and very
quiet when our car full of intrepid conference planners
pulled up in front of McGinley Center at Fordham University
on October 25th. We tossed our large, empty coffee containers
in the trash and sleepily hefted boxes and shopping
bags toward the conference site doorway. WAITING for
us in front of the door with a huge smile and a wide-awake
welcome was our first VOTF Conference participant -
Ed Hill from Florida!! I knew right then, this was going
to be an amazing event!"
Maria Coffey, Conference Co-Chair, New York
person who attended renewed my energy and faith that
Voice of the Faithful is making a difference and that
we will move forward with confidence as united and devoted
Catholics in the 21st Century! My deepest personal appreciation
goes to all who participated in this very special gathering!"
Marie Ford Reilly, Conference Co-Chair
had a fine chat with Fr. Jim Sullivan at the Tri-State
VOTF Conference in New York. Some of you will remember
that Fr. Jim, now in his 80s, was a memorable participant
at the VOTF 2002 convention in Boston. He has been active
in Voice of the Ordained and in suggesting ways to make
structural change effective (e.g., follow the example
of the religious orders and elect leadership for fixed
terms). It's always encouraging to re-connect with good
people have wondered whether the passage of time and
resistance from members of the hierarchy has sapped
the strength of the VOTF movement. Based on what we
saw yesterday, I don't think so!
presence of so many people and so many new faces among
those people, was a powerful testament to the yearning
of the laity to "be together," share together, think
together, and pray together. The personal welcome of
Fr. McShane, newly installed president of Fordham University,
was of great substantive and symbolic value. The quality
of the presentations and the sheer presence of so many
wonderful and talented speakers provided great "food
for thought." And the closing Mass, drawing on so many
musicians, lay ministers, and active participants provided
a closing exclamation mark to a day that celebrated
our presence as one VOTF community.
VOTF approaches the end of two years of effort, we must
recognize that there is no crystal-clear blueprint or
plan that will chart our course. Days like this in New
York, and in Cincinnati, OH recently, are vital. They
provide an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to touch
us and to provide energy and guidance for this movement.
survivors, clergy, and laity were together to exchange
ideas, discuss problems, and share creative ideas about
how to respond to this crisis of our times underscores
how clear it is that bishops continue to miss the opportunity
to be among the people of the Church when they boycott
VOICE OF COURAGE Award, moved my conscience deeply.
Mrs. Busam is a 'Courageous Catholic Woman' and truly
an authentic Christian. Afterwards I told her that our
Cleveland/Akron VOTF will keep Joey in our prayers."
think our willingness and desire to be the adult people
of God that we know we should and could be was a driving
force in this day and I feel that God truly blessed
that and worked through us to make that happen for a
lot of people."
couldn't agree with you more. It is a new day in the
Catholic Church and it is clear to me that the goals
and mission of VOTF will play an important role in what
that will eventually look like. I had an interesting
exchange with our pastor as I told him about the day.
He believes that change will only happen slowly, but
I think it has begun to move in people's hearts and
souls and that is an important step. Nativity VOTF was
energized and affirmed by the day--it was truly a success
in every sense of that word!"
a crew, what a mission we have, and isn't it wonderful
to know we're not alone!" "Thanks to all the VOTF people
for an insightful conference. You are doing a great
job of presenting VOTF's objectives. Your speakers were
outstanding. Your approach is balanced. Thanks."
Church was in crisis, on the verge of spiritual and
meaningful decline, or a transformation, a rejuvenation
of our Faith. We believe VOTF is an instrument to that
Holy Family Church, Fr. Richard Mc Brien's "The Crisis
Continues: Reflections on the State of the Church,"
Thursday, November 13th at 7:30 PM at Holy Family Church,
2515 Palatine Road in Inverness, IL. Parish Phone: 847-359-0042
of the Faithful, VOTF, "Keep the Faith, Change the Church,"
Voice of Compassion, VOTF logo(s), Parish Voice, and
Prayerful Voice are trademarks of Voice of the Faithful,
of the Faithful is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization.