BOSTON, Mass., July 15, 2022―Voice of the Faithful commemorates 20 years of keeping the faith, changing the church on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, for an event aptly named “VOTF’s 20th Year Commemoration: 20 Years of Keeping the Faith, Changing the Church.” VOTF’s friends and supporters will gather to pray, learn, plan, and socialize as a community honoring its two-decade commitment.
Thomas H. Groome, Ed.D., professor of theology and religious education at Boston College and an internationally known author and religious education expert, will offer attendees an interactive keynote address called Putting Jesus at the Heart of Keeping the Faith and Changing Church. Only attendees at the event will be able to see Groome’s keynote because the presentation will not be recorded. “I would like to spark people’s own thoughts about why Catholics often think of Church or Pope or Sacraments as the ‘heart’ of their faith and seldom Jesus,” he said.
Groome has been teaching at Boston College since 1976 and is the founding director of the doctorate program in theology and education. He regularly lectures on Catholic and religious education, religion and politics; the papacy, pastoral ministry and spiritual practices. His latest book, What Makes Education Catholic: Spiritual Foundations, recently won the top award in the Religious Education category at the 2022 Catholic Media Association Conference.
In 2020, Groome received top place from the Catholic Press Association for his book Faith for the Heart: A Catholic Spirituality. He has written more than half a dozen other books and is the primary author of religious education curricula that are widely used in Catholic schools and parishes. His most recent theology curriculum for Catholic high schools is called The Credo Series.
Additionally at the 20th Year Commemoration, VOTF leaders will bring attendees up-to-date on its programs, projects and initiatives. Reports will include VOTF’s submission to the General Secretariat for Bishops in Rome for the Synod on Synodality, as well as women’s roles and emerging voices, child protection and safe environments, financial transparency and accountability and lay involvement in Church governance through the Diocesan Finance Council
VOTF’s three comprehensive reviews of all U.S. dioceses’ websites also will be discussed. These reports give the faithful in each parish the information to judge diocesan activities within the purview of each report:
- “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency: 2021 Report” (VOTF’s fifth such annual report)
- “Measuring Abuse Prevention and Safe Environment Programs as Reported Online in Diocesan Policies and Practices: 2022 Report” (VOTF’s first such report)
- “Measuring Lay Involvement in Governance of the Church by and through the Diocesan Finance Council: 2022 Report” (VOTF’s first such report)
Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., who is recognized worldwide as the premiere scholar on women deacons, will make a special appearance as she leads attendees in Grace before the luncheon and serves as acolyte for the closing Mass with Fr. Bill Clark of The College of the Holy Cross. The Paulist Center Community Choir with renowned pastoral musician and composer Normand Gouin will offer the music during Mass.
“VOTF’s 20th Year Commemoration: 20 Years of Keeping the Faith, Changing the Church” takes place Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., at the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel, 2345 Commonwealth Ave., Newton, Mass. Here is an agenda for the day. Click here to register. Click here to reserve discounted hotel rooms.
VOTF 20th Year Commemoration Agenda
Opening Song and Prayer by Claire Byrne and Manny Lim. Welcome — Mary Pat Fox, VOTF President & Commemoration Moderator, on VOTF Past, Present, and Future Hopes and Dreams. Meet old friends and new, as we gather in the hotel conference room.
VOTF leaders will review and provide the latest updates on major VOTF programs, projects, and initiatives, each followed by Q&A.
- Margaret Roylance, Ph.D., VOTF Trustee and Finance Working Group Chair, reviews Diocesan Financial Transparency and Accountability Reports and presents findings of unique, first-ever study of Lay Involvement in Governance of the Church through Diocesan Finance Councils.
- Patricia Gomez, Ph.D., VOTF Trustee and Child Protection Working Group Co-Chair reviews Diocesan Child Protection, Abuse Prevention, and Safe Environment Programs.
- Svea Fraser, M.Div., VOTF Trustee and Women’s Emerging Voices Working Group Chair, reviews programs promoting women’s roles in the Church and a women’s ordained diaconate.
- Donna B. Doucette, VOTF Executive Director reviews Listening to the Faithful: Synod 2021-2023 and VOTF’s Synod Sessions Report to Vatican’s General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
Lunch — Grace before meal offered by Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate-in-residence and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Hofstra University, internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar and expert on women’s diaconate, and prolific, award-winning author.
- Click here to view Dr. Zagano’s presentation to VOTF’s 2020 Conference.
Keynote Address — Thomas H. Groome, Ed.D., Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College and world-renowned author and religious education expert. His interactive presentation will be Putting Jesus at the Heart of Keeping the Faith and Changing Church.
- Click here to view an excerpt from Dr. Groome’s address sat VOTF’s 10th year Conference in 2011.
Break and set up for Mass
Mass — Celebrant Rev. William Clark, S.J., S.T.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross; acolyte Dr. Zagano; music by Paulist Center Boston Community Choirunder the direction of Normand Gouin, renowned pastoral musician and composer.
- Click here to view Fr. Clark’s closing benediction for VOTF’s 2021 Conference.
Closing Remarks — Ms. Fox
Voice of the Faithful’s® mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. VOTF’s goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to support priests of integrity, and to shape structural change within the Catholic Church. More information is at www.votf.org.