In the Vineyard: April 10, 2020

In the Vineyard :: April 10, 2020 :: Volume 20, Issue 7

All of us at VOTF wish you a peaceful and blessed Easter. In this issue we’ve included a link to watch the Pope’s Easter Sunday celebration as well as a special Easter blessing.

Easter Sunday Mass in Rome

Pope Francis’s Easter Sunday Mass will be livestreamed on Sunday, April 12. Set your clock because the Pope’s mass livestream will begin on Sunday, April 12, at 11 a.m. in Rome, which is 5 a.m. Eastern Time and even earlier elsewhere in the U.S.

More Holy Week celebrations will be livestreamed on the Vatican’s YouTube channel as well.

“May we not be concerned about what we lack, but what good we can do for others,” the pope said during his Palm Sunday Mass.

Masses Closer to Your Home

For a Mass in your own parish or diocese, check their websites and other notices you may receive. Most by now have set up special online and streaming services to provide a virtual Easter experience. There also are excellent resources for a virtual liturgical celebration of the Triduum(link is external) this Holy Week, courtesy of composer and National Catholic Reporter board member Dan Schutte, who created it for this exceptional year when we cannot gather as community within our churches.

Prayer to the Most Holy Redeemer

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, embolden me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your Wounds hide me.
Never permit me to be parted from you.
From the evil Enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to thee
that with your saints I may praise thee
for ever and ever.
Amen. St. Ignatius of Loyola

News from National

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the U.S. Voice of the Faithful recommends that members urge our parish communities to call attention to:

  • The prevalence of child abuse in our society
  • The urgent need to protect children
  • The need for the continuing prayer and outreach to abused children, especially those abused in our Churches

As a faith community, let us keep vigilant to protect our children as we mourn the abuses that have occurred in our families, neighborhoods and churches.

Recommendations for child protection include Knowing the Warning Signs of Abuse.

Child molesters look like everyone else. They live with their families in our neighborhoods. One of the most important ways to ensure the safety of children is to know the warning signs of adults who present a risk of harm to children, including adults who: (1) always want to be alone with children in areas where no one can monitor the interaction; (2) allow children to do things their parents would not permit; (3) are always more excited to be with children than with adults; and (4) discourage others from participating in activities involving kids.

Report suspected abuse of children to law enforcement or child protective services in your local areas. They will investigate and assure children’s safety.

For additional resources please see our web page on Child Protection.

Cardinal Pell’s Acquittal

Cardinal George Pell’s acquittal was a difficult pill to swallow for survivors of abuse worldwide. The trial concluded without any clear justice visible to the public, when appeals judges overturned a unanimous jury decision. The Australian court system carried out the trial shrouded in secrecy, much like abuse survivors see playing out within the Church throughout the world. After being convicted by a jury of his peers, Cardinal Pell was nonetheless acquitted by a “jury” of High Court judges.

Suppression orders preventing journalists from covering the trial as it happened concealed the mechanisms of justice from the public, mirroring how the Church has been accused of operating for years. Cardinal Pell had a reputation as a leader who prioritized purse strings over parishioners. It was Pell who created an alternative resolution process for abuse survivors capping payments at $31,000, conditioned on the silencing of their stories.

The legacy of this story remains one of the barriers to victims of sexual abuse seeking justice, both in the Church and through the courts. While no one wishes to imprison an innocent man, the evidence in this case was not made visible to the public and the full story was not told.

Reform will only be possible when the Church’s treatment of victims is compassionate and just, and the money currently spent on defending abusers is used to support the survivors. Only then will leaders restore the community’s faith in their integrity. In this case, yet again, sexual abuse survivors in the Church have been let down in their search for justice.

For advocacy and support resources, please see here.

Here is VOTF’s statement on the acquittal.

For more on Cardinal Pell’s acquittal:


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


George Pell freed after Australian court overturns sex abuse conviction
“Australia’s highest court on Tuesday (Apr. 7) overturned the sexual abuse conviction of Cardinal George Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic leader ever found guilty in the church’s clergy pedophilia crisis. Cardinal Pell, 78, who was the Vatican’s chief financial officer and an adviser to Pope Francis, was sentenced to six years in prison last March for molesting two 13-year-old boys after Sunday Mass in 1996.” By Livia Albeck-Ripka and Damien Cave, The New York Times

Francis creates new women deacons commission, naming entirely different membership
“Pope Francis has created a new commission to study the ordaining of women as deacons in the Catholic Church, the Vatican announced April 8. The new group, composed of 12 members, appears to replace the earlier study commission on the issue, which the pontiff had instituted in 2016. None of the members of the earlier group have been appointed to the new commission.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

The Church after coronavirus: how our communities are changing (Part 1 of a survey series)
“Catholic parishes across the world are closed. Millions of Catholics have been unable to physically take part in the celebration of the Mass for weeks, and they may not be able to again for months. Simply put, the coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally changing how we do and be church. What could these changes mean for us in the long-term?” By Heidi Schlumpf, Michael Sean Winters and Joshua McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

The American Parish, Part 2
“In this second special episode on the American parish today, we talk with three writers about their concrete proposals for creating more vibrant, hope-filled parish communities. Their suggestions are simple: let more people, including women, preach; reach out to LGBTQ Catholics, and learn from their journeys; and finally, help young families, help parents with restless young children in tow make it through Mass by shortening homilies—no more than five minutes please.” By The Editors, Commonweal

  • The American Parish, Part 1, “hope in how all of us, lay people and pastors, can meet today’s transformations in parish life,” By the Editors, Commonweal

Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …

Visions of a Just Church: 2020 VOTF Conference

The place to be on Saturday, Oct. 3, is the Boston Marriott Newton Hotel as Voice of the Faithful returns for its 2020 Conference: Visions of a Just Church. Mark your calendars and join us as we seek visions of what a Church that is just for all the faithful would look like.

Our featured speaker will be Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., an internationally recognized scholar in Catholic studies and women’s roles in the Church and an advocate for an ordained women’s diaconate. Author of nearly 20 books, Dr. Zagano received Voice of the Faithful’s Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award during VOTF’s 10th Year Conference in Boston in 2012 and the Issac Hecker Award for Social Justice from the Paulist Center in Boston in 2014. She is a member of the Papal Commission on the Diaconate of Women and senior research associate-in-residence and adjunct professor of religion at Hofstra University.

The cost for attending VOTF’s 2020 Conference is $150, but you can take advantage of a Two-for-$230 offer through Labor Day, Sept. 7.

Register for VOTF 2020 Conference by clicking here …(link is external)

Book your discounted group-rate room at our conference hotel, the Boston Marriott Newton, for only $159 per night …(link is external)

We will be at the same great venue as last year and will offer the same mix of interesting speakers, good food, and evocative conversation, so stay tuned for more information.


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