News and Notes
vice-president Ann Carroll reports on the
The VOTF National Policy Forum
potential VOTF programs would be of most interest to
Catholics in Seattle, WA, Nashville, TN, Brooklyn, NY,
and Peoria, IL? What should be VOTF's role at the US
Catholic Conference of Bishops meeting in St. Louis?
Should voting in VOTF officer elections be expanded
to all registered members? What are the hot topics in
your diocese? These are a sampling of the questions
discussed in the National Policy Forum conference calls.
These monthly calls were instituted based on feedback
from affiliate representatives (from outside Boston)
following adoption of the "3 VPs" motion at the January
2003 Representative Council meeting. The intent of the
motion was to ensure greater representation in VOTF
policy-making for Regional Coordinators and affiliate
representatives from outside Boston.
initial participants were selected to ensure representation
from all four VOTF regions (West, Central, East and
South), focusing on areas with large concentrations
of VOTF affiliates/members. Over time, additional participants
have been added, often to provide local commentary on
an issue with national ramifications. Recent participants
include: Shannon Whalen (Louisville, KY), Elizabeth
Warren and Jim Zralek (Nashville, TN), Eileen Knoff
and Catherine Smith (Seattle, WA), Ed and Peg Gleason
and Hugh O'Regan (San Francisco, CA), Peter Davey (Oakland,
CA), Sandy Simonson and Suellen Riley (Phoenix, AZ),
Nan Fischer (Cincinnati, OH), Kris Ward (Dayton, OH),
Maria Cleary (Northern NJ), Maria Coffey and David Pais
(NY City), Melissa Gradel (Brooklyn, NY), Terry O'Connor
(Chicago, IL), John Ryan (Peoria, IL), and Jim Post,
Ann Carroll, Cathy Fallon, Steve Krueger, Mary Ann Keyes
and Suzy Nauman (Boston/national office).
call centers on one or two pre-determined issues of
common concern. The calls provide a systematic mechanism
for voices of representatives from across the country
to be heard. Too, this communication effort will go
a long way toward communication efforts not only between
our 198 affiliates and the national office but among
those affiliates as well.
Chair of Parish Voices Mary Ann Keyes submits
PROCEDURES FOR AFFILIATION/Forming a Parish Voice Affiliate
our "Parish Voice" working group we are promoting and
supporting the development of VOTF affiliate organizations
in dioceses across the US. We currently have membership
in over 40 US States and 21 countries with the highest
concentration of affiliates in the New England and Northeast
Corridor states. See our Website for a listing of Parish
Voice affiliates and other information at http://www.votf.org/Parish_Voice/pvwelcome.html.
Voice is the means by which lay Catholics across the
country and the world experience the mission and goals
of Voice of the Faithful in their own unique community
setting. Each Parish Voice affiliate is an independent
group of lay Catholics, generally associated with a
specific parish and living the mission statement and
goals of VOTF in a manner they develop. In this way
each PV feels connected to a greater cause while maintaining
its own autonomy and independence.
relationship between Voice of the Faithful, Inc. and
the Parish Voice groups in local parishes is that of
an independent affiliate. VOTF, Inc., has adopted a
policy for the formation of PV affiliates as well as
their right to use the VOTF and trademarks. A group
of Catholics can form a PV affiliate if a two-thirds
majority votes to form a PV affiliate. There is no restriction
as to the type of organization, i.e., informal association,
corporation, etc., that an affiliate can be. Subsequently,
the group must contact VOTF and notify them they have
taken such action. To date VOTF has accepted all affiliates
requesting this status. VOTF grants its affiliates the
right to use its name and trademarks as long as the
affiliate agrees to abide by the mission statement,
goals and policies of VOTF.
Inc. supports the formation of affiliates in several
ways. Through our Regional Coordinators we facilitate
the organization of interested persons within specific
geographic areas. As part of this process we convey
the model by which the organization was originally formed,
which serves to provide a process for creating organizational
identity and cultural integrity throughout VOTF.
PV affiliate is entitled to provide a representative
to VOTF's Representative Council. This council has been
established by the Board of Trustees to provide VOTF
with the means for a collective vision of the future
of the Catholic Church. The Representative Council meets
on a monthly basis.
News - Fran O'Leary has agreed to serve as interim
moderator of the National Lay Representative Council
as Maura O'Brien ends her nearly two years in the position.
See more on Maura's outstanding service to VOTF in the
Chair of Prayerful Voice Susan Troy, M.Div., Report
on the Prayerful Voice National Steering Committee
is a proposal for a conference on lay spirituality to
be included as one of VOTF's national events in 2004-2005.
The proposed conference, for VOTF members, by VOTF members,
would be held in Spring 2004.
need your input! Prayerful Voice is made up of the Prayerful
Voice representatives from affiliates across the country.
We have been working to establish communication with
all of you. If you have not informed us of your existence
and/or interest in being part of the Prayerful Voice
national working group, please contact us! (PrayerfulVoice@voiceofthefaithful.org)
need to keep the VOTF mission statement before us… "To
provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit…."
How have we as individuals and as a community recognized
the Spirit's work in our midst? How have we encouraged
want to begin to articulate what so many of us have
experienced, that being a member of VOTF has been an
incredible, Spirit-filled journey. What was our "spirituality"?
How did we live out our faith in the world and how did
our faith sustain us in that world? How has our faith
and spirituality been changed, perhaps even transformed,
by our reaction to this crisis in the Church, and our
association with this movement called Voice of the Faithful?
Those are some of the questions with which we will begin
Voice hopes to facilitate a means to ponder these questions
at the affiliate level, to foster discussion and feedback
that would culminate in a Lay Spirituality Conference
where we could meet, pray and discuss the spiritual
fruits we are receiving.
Prayerful Voice Steering Committee - Susan Troy, M.Div.,
Chair, National Prayerful Voice, Sr. Betsy Conway CSJ,
Barbara Jordan, Kaye Pfeiffer, Dr. Ana-Maria Rizzuto,
Robert Szpila, M.Div., Mary Jo Tecce
Representative Council elections for officers
- Nominations are due from registered members
your nominations here: Members, be sure
to check your email for Executive Director Steve
subject line reads, "VOTF Nominations for Elected Officers."
Any additional questions, please call the office at
again bears witness at the semiannual bishops' conference
in Washington, DC. Nov. 10-13. VOTF-National and VOTF-Northern
Virginia will hold a press conference on Monday evening
in Washington, D.C. to present a VOTF Report on the
State of the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis in Light of
the Bishops' Conference. VOTF will focus on issues of
bishops' accountability, transparency and disclosure
from lay review boards, and signs of hope. Visit the
VOTF Web site at http://www.votf.org/bishopsconference/DC/index.html
and this space in December for an update.
keeping with their mission, the Structural Change Working
Group is conducting a survey on Parish Pastoral Councils
- their existence and efficacy. Click here for my details:
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.