In the Vineyard
November 2003

"Prayer makes the heart large enough until it can contain God's gift of Himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him and keep Him as your own." Blessed Mother Teresa

The record-breaking response from readers last month to the "What Do You Think" section of this publication underscored again the readiness among us. Coupled with the remarkable success of tri-state conferences (NY/NJ/CT and OH/KY/IND), and galvanized by the work of 190 affiliates around the world, several observations seem inarguable: Catholics want to be asked and are ready to answer the challenging questions of our time; VOTF is here to stay; bishop accountability matters; and prayer heals. As Mother Teresa hoped in the above quote, Catholics are asking and seeking.

Several attendees at the NY conference asked what might be done about what often appears to be rampant passivity among our fellow Catholics. The answer has always been the same in VOTF's work - engage with as many people as possible, encourage listening to survivors and, as one correspondent told VOTF last month, "Keep on keeping on!"

For all the acquiescence so easily evidenced among American Catholics, for all the declining attendance at Mass around the world, for all the frustrations inherent in change, it has always been clear to VOTF that as a People of God we are profoundly touched by ongoing events. As of the current crisis, Catholics are committed to our faith in ways yet unfolding and not as quantifiable as meeting attendance and affiliate growth. Affiliates from coast to coast as well as Catholics in many other reform movements are nourishing themselves and our shared faith by way of the spate of new and thought-provoking books that face squarely the crisis that is far from over. Theologians and universities, many parishes and small faith and contemplative communities are seeing a new day in their audiences, congregations and gatherings. VOTF conferences continue to draw Catholics who are first-time visitors to a VOTF gathering - they come for community and for shared liturgy with others who feel as they do. Even where VOTF is banned from the use of Church property, Catholics show up. http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/laityto20.htm

Responses to the VOTF experience vary but each experience is grounded in community. Paul Kendrick of Maine may be the best example to date of growing into this moment in his own way. His letter reminds us that Christ was banned, too, but it didn't stop Him or those who heard Him from being in each other's company, from "going out." This leave-taking of our places is our common calling - we invite you to tell us about your own journey as we continue to "keep the faith and change the Church." Together, we will continue to honor Mother Teresa's wise vision - "Seek and ask." Please continue to write to VOTF at leaderpub@votf.org.

Peggie L. Thorp, ed. "


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In the Vineyard
November '03
Volume 2, Issue 12

Page One

National News

Letters to the Editor

Survivor Support News

Parish Voice News

Events, Opportunities & News

What Do You Think?

Prayer of the Month

Books for your review

Printer Friendly Version

In the Vineyard Archives

Our postal address is VOTF,
Box 423,
Newton, MA

Donations can be sent to this address or through our Web site

For an overview of press coverage of VOTF, click here.


Have you received your VOTF quarterly? If not, please call the VOTF office at 617-558-5252 and request the fall issue. Submissions for the quarterly are gratefully considered. Please contact Peggie Thorp at leaderpub@votf.org.

REMINDER: To contact an affiliate in your area, just go to the VOTF Web site at www.votf.org and click on Parish Voices for a menu. Choose "Directory," identify your state by region, click appropriately and you're there.