From the Executive Director
We are in the midst of our first year anniversary months. Formed
in February and March 2002, VOTF has grown in unbelievable ways
in the past twelve months. From a listening session in the basement
of a church, VOTF has grown into an organization with over 25,000
members, 150 affiliates, a Representative Council, and a national
office. But we are more than just a growing organization with an
annual affiliate growth rate of over 100%. We are a community of
mainstream Catholics who seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
to build a stronger and healthier Catholic Church, and who support
one another - and the Church itself - in this ambitious and courageous
Many Catholics who support the efforts of VOTF but who have yet
to join us, as well as our own members, are asking several questions
appropriate for consideration at this moment in our formative history.
- "What does VOTF offer?"
- "What has VOTF accomplished?"
- "Where is VOTF going
from here?" and "Who can we become?"
As a strategic planning process is undertaken during the next six
weeks you will be hearing more from us about the answers to these
questions, particularly the last two. For now, allow me to offer
some thoughts about these questions and invite you to share yours.
First, VOTF offers hope - hope for a Church that will heal and
feed the survivors of clergy sexual abuse, priests, and the laity,
by "walking the walk" as well as "talking the talk." VOTF is hope
in action galvanized by a commitment to do something - something
out of love for our Church, God, and one another. Our hope is reinforced
by the success of our truth.
Second, VOTF offers opportunity and empowerment. As Catholics we
have learned the significance of one universal Church and the importance
of community. VOTF offers us the opportunity for our "voices to
be heard" as a community of Catholics who can offer solutions to
the problems confronting our Church. In community with one another
and the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to act in accordance with
our conscience and to dream of the Church we hope for.
Third, VOTF offers consolation. Whether you are fortunate enough
to be part of an affiliate, or a member seeking community in one,
from our own experience and those we have heard, the hope, opportunity,
and empowerment we have experienced have revealed to us the presence
of the Spirit. This revelation has provided survivors, priests,
and the entire VOTF community with the consolation that can only
come from God's presence in our lives.
Hope. Opportunity. Empowerment. Consolation. Can you imagine what
your life and relationship to the Church would be like, if our community
did not exist? As we enter this Lenten season many of us will reflect
on the effect the past year has had on our lives and in our Church.
As we discern where we go from here and who we can become, it may
be helpful to reflect on what we have already given to one another
and to the Church. We invite you to share your reflections with
us. You may email them to email@example.com.
Warm regards for a fruitful Lenten season,