In the Vineyard: March 14, 2014

New Bishop of Bridgeport Meets Formally with Bridgeport VOTF
Bishop Frank Caggiano, the new leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, held his first formal meeting with the Bridgeport VOTF this week in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Bishop spoke for 20 minutes and then held a one hour Q&A. To read about his visit,

VOTF Examines Pope Francis’ First Year
Read the just-released report by VOTF’s Church Governance group that examines Pope Francis’ first year in office. The report details Pope Francis’ accomplishments to date and looks at what we can expect in the coming years. It also includes a list of questions that can be used at VOTF gatherings to guide discussion. To read the report, click here.

VOTF 2014 Assembly – Deadline Approaching!
Register now for the VOTF 2014 Assembly.
In order to receive a free box lunch during the 2014 Assembly you must register by Friday, Mar. 28.( We need to give the caterer a week’s notice when ordering them.)
A free lunch isn’t the only thing you’ll miss if you skip the 2014 Assembly. Click here to find out what we have in store for you.

The VOTF 2014 Assembly: Turning Talk into Action, takes place in Hartford at the Connecticut Convention Center on April 5.
Space is limited, so register now to ensure your space and get your free box lunch. If you are a student, VOTF invites you to attend at the 50% discounted cost of $40. Simply use thedownloadable registration form or call the VOTF National office at 781-559-3360.

Elephant%20WalkingDr. Phyllis Zagano spoke about Women in Ministry at a recent meeting of Elephants in the Living Room. Elephants in the Living Room is a group founded by priests in Detroit. Dr. Zagano focused particularly on the history in the Catholic Church and of women in the diaconate. She discussed the various arguments against women as deacons in the past and why many of those arguments don’t have merit. To read the full text of her remarks, go

Looking for Something Special to do to Celebrate Lent?
Sign up for Moved to a Greater Love, a nine week online prayer experience which began on March 4 and will conclude May 2. You can sign up to receive daily emails or go online each day to see the prayer, scripture reading and reflection questions that have been chosen. The nine US Jesuit provincials who conceived of Moved to a Greater Love describe it as “an invitation to magnanimity, silence, creativity and depth.” The program focuses on four specific graces: Gratitude, Spiritual Freedom, Vision and Joy. To learn more go to


Highlighting issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church

Pope Hits Out at Criticism of Church over Sexual Abuse
Pope Francis has strongly defended the Roman Catholic Church’s record on tackling sexual abuse by priests. In a rare interview with an Italian newspaper, the Pope said ‘no-one else has done more’ to root out pedophilia. He said the Church had acted with transparency and responsibility, yet it was the only institution to have been attacked. Last month, the UN strongly criticized the Vatican for failing to stamp out child abuse and for allowing cover-ups.” By BBC News Europe
English Translation of Pope’s Interview, On
Deeply Disappointed in Pope Francis’ Recent Comments on Clergy Child Sexual Abuse, By Voice of the Faithful
Editorial: Francis, You Must Meet Victims of Clergy Abuse, ByNational Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis on Abuse – A Disappointment, By Fr. Thomas Doyle, National Catholic Report
Pope’s First Year of Papacy Has Been a Failure on Child Abuse, By Keith Porteous Wood, Huffington Post
Pope Francis vs. Critics on Sex Abuse: Both Sides Have a Point, By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe
Pope Francis Dodges, Weaves and Wobbles on Child Sexual Abuse, By Patrick Wall
Pope Francis Defends Church’s Response to Clergy Sexual Abuse, By Jason Breslow, PBS FRONTLINE
Pope Francis and Clergy Sexual Abuse in Argentina, Including a Database of Publicly Accused Argentine Clerics, By

What’s the State of the Church’s Child Abuse Crisis
“He (Bishop Robert Finn, convicted in 2012 of failing to inform police about a priest with child pornography on his computer) is still the bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, in good standing with the Catholic Church. That, say former priests and victims’ advocates, represents the state of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church today.” By Sarah Childress, PBS FRONTLINE

Francis Must Act Faster on Abuse Issue
“What it (the Catholic Church) has not yet done is take steps to tell the full truth and to address the impunity of high church officials … To demonstrate resolve at the highest levels that zero tolerance is a permanent part of the church culture, the mandate of this new commission must also include establishing disciplinary procedures for bishops and chancery officials who obstruct or ignore the enforcement of church law on clergy sex abuse.” Editorial in National Catholic Reporter

The Papal Anniversary
In this editorial, The New York Times briefly presents its view of the first year of Pope Francis’ papacy. The editorial board points out particularly Francis’ comments on women’s roles in the church, clergy sexual abuse, the need for greater provisions of pastoral care and world poverty.

Read the rest of this issue of Focus by clicking here …


Eucharistic Liturgy and Lenten Book Discussion
Sunday, March 16
2:30 pm –Book Discussion
4:30 pm – Liturgy

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
100 Harter Road, Morristown, NU
Discussion of the book, Discussions in the New Cosmology, by Dick Scaine

VOTF- Bridgeport announces its twelfth annual conference entitled “The Catholic Church Today: What Do Women Really Want?” It will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014, and is co-sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University. A panel of four influential Catholic women, including Sister Theresa Kane, RSM, Barbara Blaine of SNAP, Jamie Manson of National Catholic Reporter, and Erin Saiz Hanna of Women’s Ordination Conference, will discuss their personal histories in the Church and examine ways in which these histories have provided avenues for service to the Church and to those whom the Church has marginalized. More information on this conference can be found on our website,

Boston College Church in the 21st Century
Monday, March 24 @ 4:30 pm
Presenter: Most Rev. Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Indianapolis
Each Christian by order of baptism has a personal vocation and a particular role in the Church that is realized through an intentional inter-relationship of communion. Pope Francis beautifully articulated that “unity brought by the Spirit can harmonize every diversity.” Archbishop Joseph Tobin will explore a vision for Church-communion in the 21st century that aims to transcend the frequent and intense challenges of polemical and ideological polarization.
Corcoran Commons, Heights Room, Lower Campus, Boston College
Free and please RSVP

March Programs at Saint Susanna in Needham, MA
Monday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, in the Parish Hall, 262 Needham Street, Dedham. There is no pre-registration requirement and there are no fees, although voluntary donations are gratefully accepted to cover our speakers’ honoraria and our refreshments. For map and directions, go to the Directions Page on the parish web site, In case of cancellation due to inclement weather, we will make every effort to
post our web site, so check the site for a notice if the weather appears threatening. Come and See!

March 24 – Planning the Final Farewell (Continued)
Session 2: the actual planning of the many options available, quite a few of which are unknown to the average person. For example: what are the “rules” on cremation?

March 31 and April 7 – Sacred Scriptures: The Gospel of Matthew (Two Sessions). Instructor: Professor Nathaniel DesRosiers of Stonehill College.
Nathaniel P. DesRosiers is Associate Professor in Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton Massachusetts, where he teaches courses in Classics, New Testament, and Early Christianity. He received a Masters degree from Harvard University 1998 and a Ph.D. from Brown University in 2007. His research focuses on the issues of conflict and competition in the ancient world and the social and intellectual developments that helped to create and shape the religious movements and texts of antiquity. This research has led to several projects including an upcoming monograph entitled Swear or Swear Not: Divergent Views on the Oath and the Structured Community in the Greco-Roman World (under review, Cambridge University Press), which demonstrates how the swearing of oaths became a ubiquitous practice in all Mediterranean cultures, functioning as an integral part of the very fabric of everyday life. He is presently working on his book project Cities of the Gods, which explores socio-religious competition in the Greek cities of Asia Minor during the Roman Empire. DesRosiers is also the co-founder and chair of the “Religious Competition: Interdisciplinary Approaches” unit for the National Society of Biblical Literature, and is co-editing the upcoming collected volume from this unit entitled “Religious Competition in the Third Century CE: Jews, Christians, and the Greco-Roman World” (Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2014).

Both sessions will feature many examples from the texts and are designed for open discussion. No previous experience with Scripture Study is necessary.

March 31 – Week One – “Matthew and the Synoptic Problem,”will focus on Matthew’s relationship to other gospels and in particular his formulation of Jesus as Messiah.
April 7 – Week Two – “Matthew and the Law,” will cover how Matthew aimed to provide a guide for life in a newly formed Christian community.

Letter to the Editor

Thanks for the recognition of LCWR and their collegiality.
And, for that matter, for all the work you do so well.
M. Feloney

Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.