In the Vineyard: February 10, 2017

In the Vineyard :: February 10, 2017 :: Volume 17, Issue 3

News from National

What Is Community?

We are all in the Church community, but that community is not the same for everyone. From the very beginning of the Church, we have existed in community.

As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. (Acts 4:31-32)

Today in our fragmented society, we are most often a far cry from the closeness of those early Christian communities. Regardless, we still need community and seek it in various ways.

Voice of the Faithful, for example, offers Catholics a community within the wider community of the church for like-minded people, those who believe in a voice for the laity in church governance and who decry clericalism, secrecy, and scandal.

Our members are scattered throughout the world. Some have gathered in local communities as affiliates. Others are too widespread for such direct contact. But we are all held together by the worldwide Web, and we share programs, resources, and prayers through the Internet.

What is community for you? U.S. Catholic magazine recently published an article on its Atavist blog that shows how diverse today’s communities can be. Click here (link is external) to read “Catholic community doesn’t look the same for everyone.”

Review the AUSCP Proposal for Priest-Less Parishes

The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) would like your input for their draft Proposal for Pastoral Care in &thru Priest-less Parishes—especially lay people with experiences in priest-less parishes and priests who are covering multiple parishes or working with administrators of priest-less parishes. Others are invited to comment as well.

Send all comments to the AUSCP Working Group co-chairs, Revs. John Hynes and Ray Cole:, and Or you can reply to

Here is the Draft Cover Letter the working group plans to send with the proposal.

And this is the proposal for pastoral care in priest-less parishes.

Time is short, so please send your thoughts and notes about your own experiences as quickly as possible.

Pope’s Lenten Message

The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift.

Following is the English translation of the Pope’s Lenten message:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).

Lent is a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply. I would now like to consider the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (cf. Lk 16:19-31). Let us find inspiration in this meaningful story, for it provides a key to understanding what we need to do in order to attain true happiness and eternal life. It exhorts us to sincere conversion.

The other person is a gift.

To read the rest of the Pope’s message, click here.


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


Child abuse: 7% of Australian Catholic priests alleged to be involved
“An inquiry examining institutional sex abuse in Australia has heard 7% of the nation’s Catholic priests allegedly abused children between 1950 and 2010. In one religious order, over 40% of church figures were accused of abuse. Over 4,440 people claim to have been victims between 1980 and 2015. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse … has previously heard harrowing testimony from scores of people who suffered abuse at the hands of clergy.” By BBC News Australia

— ‘This scourge must end once and for all.’ says priest’s victim, By Samantha Hutchinson, The Australian

Royal Commission into child sex abuse: Senior ranks of Catholic Church to front inquiry, By Carleen Frost, The Daily Telegraph

Australian Catholic Church: 7 percent of priests sexually abused kids over decades, By Merrit Kennedy, National Public Radio

Pennsylvania Senate approves child sex-abuse bill extending statues of limitations
“The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday (Feb. 1) that would give future victims of child sex abuse more time to prosecute or sue their attackers than currently allowed under state law … The measure would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for prospective cases of child sexual abuse and also allow future victims to sue their attackers at any age.” By Maria Panaritis,

‘Clarification is gravely needed’: international priests’ association gives support to dubia
“An international association of Catholic priests has issued a statement in support of the four cardinals’ request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. The Confraternities of Catholic Clergy, who represent over 1,000 priests in Britain, Ireland, Australia and the United States, said a clarification is ‘gravely needed to correct the misuse of the Apostolic Exhortation to undermine sacred Tradition.’” By Dan Hitchens, Catholic Herald

North Carolina ‘Church in Exile’ battles restorationists
“It’s a few nights after a January snowstorm, and the mountain pathways around Waynesville are treacherous … These are the people of St. John the Evangelist Church in Waynesville who, soon after the arrival of Fr. Christopher Riehl as parish administrator in July 2014, formed what they call a Church in Exile.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Restorationism brings traditionalist approaches to parish life, By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis has ordered a review of the new Mass translation
“Pope Francis has ordered a review of ‘Liturgiam Authenticam,’ the controversial decree behind the most recent translations of liturgical texts from Latin into English and other languages. The commission, established by the pope just before Christmas, is also tasked with examining what level of decentralization is desirable in the church on matters such as this. The mixed commission includes bishops from all the continents.” By Gerard O’Connell, America: The Jesuit Review

Why Pope Francis is right to revisit the new Mass translation, By Michael Ryan, America: The Jesuit Review

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


At St. Susanna’s, Dedham MA

Feb. 13, 2017 – Heresy in the Twenty-first Century – Still with Us After All These Years – Presented by Tim Sullivan

“I know I’m a heretic and I’m pretty sure you are, too.”

Over the years, what separated orthodoxy (“right faith”) from “heresy” was at times as minuscule as an “Iota” (a single small Greek letter). If the message of our Sacred Texts seems so simple, why and how did controversies creep in and what has been the legacy of these controversies? Were there some significant early misunderstandings that follow us to this day and color how our Faith’s message is being received? Tim is the Coordinator of the Tuesday evening Sacred Scripture and Catholic Studies program here at Saint Susanna Parish, the sister program to Adult Faith Formation’s Monday evening program.

The presentation runs from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the Parish Hall, 262 Needham Street, Dedham. There is no pre-registration requirement, there is no fee, and the refreshments are free. Free Will Offerings are gratefully accepted to cover the costs of our program. Come and See!

At the Paulist Center, 5 Park St., Boston MA

March 1, 2017 (Ash Wednesday)- A Lenten Day of Recollection with Father Tom Ryan, CSP, 9:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. “What Will Bring Me More Fully Alive This Lent?” Register by March 1 by calling the Paulist Center at 617-742-4460. Suggested Donation $25.00. Bring your own lunch or visit a nearby restaurant. The Paulist Center faces the Boston Common, and is across from the Park Street MBTA Green Line station.

At Saint Cecilia’s Parish, Back Bay, Boston MA

March 1, 2017 (Ash Wednesday) – “Must We Forgive the Unrepentant Sinner?” presented by Stephen Pope, Professor of Theology at Boston College and a specialist in Theological Ethics, following the Ash Wednesday Liturgy at 6:00 p.m., in the Church.

March 4, 2017 – “What will bring me more fully alive this Lent?” A Lenten Day of Recollection with Father Tom Ryan, CSP. 9:45 – 3 pm.

March 10, 2017 – Movie and discussion – “The Finest Hours,” 6:30 to 9:00, in the parish hall.

April 24, 2017James Martin, SJ, noted author (Between Heaven and Mirth, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, and others), and editor of America magazine, the national Jesuit magazine, will give a presentation. Save the date!

Letters to the Editor

Dear VOTF,

I think we have the USCCB to thank for Pres Trump since he said he was against abortion. I do not understand why the USCCB is silent about gun law, but very outspoken about abortion, even telling Catholics that voting for Clinton is a grave sin. Is pro life restricted to life before being born?


Questions, Comments?

Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, at (link sends e-mail). Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.

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