In the Vineyard: February 28, 2020

In the Vineyard :: February 28, 2020 :: Volume 20, Issue 4

News from National

Some Lenten Devotions from Around the Country

VOTF has compiled a list of Lenten reflections from around the country on our website. In this week’s Vineyard we are highlighting one from the College of the Holy Cross, one from Boston College’s C21 and a video from Father James Martin.

The College of the Holy Cross’ daily Lenten reflection series, “Return to Me: Lenten Reflections from Holy Cross, 2020″ contains reflections written by a wide variety of people with connections to the College — professors, current students, chaplains, staff, and alumni.

“Return to Me” is offered as a daily digital reflection series. Those who subscribe will receive an email each morning containing a reflection and the listing of sacred texts from Scripture for each day of Lent. (Lent began Feb. 26, Ash Wednesday, and concludes on Easter Sunday, April 12.) The reflections will also be made available throughout Lent, as a print booklet, in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel. The full PDF of reflections can be downloaded from this site. Holy Cross invites all Christians to join them on their Lenten journey, and hopes that those of other faith traditions might find something of value in the reflections prepared by the contributors.

Boston College’s C21 Center has also created a Lenten Devotional program. You are invited to spend a little time each day engaging in scripture and enjoying videos, podcasts, articles and more. Look for the flashing icon to discover the day’s theme and resources. » Visit

Father James Martin feels that Lent should be about what you do – watch the video here.

Memphis Diocese Releases List of Credibly Accused Priests

Another Roman Catholic diocese, this time the Diocese of Memphis, has released a list of credibly accused priests that includes 20 names. The list is predominantly made up of names already included in lists compiled by other dioceses or religious orders along with clergy who were named publicly by victims. The two exceptions appear to be James Gilbert and Floyd Brey, who do not appear in ProPublica’s database that includes all lists released by dioceses and religious orders or on, which lists accused clergy.

Liturgical Press Responds to News About L’Arche Founder

Publishers of “Give Us This Day” reflections responded to news about Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche communities, with the following statement:

We, like so many of you, are appalled by the recent news of Jean Vanier’s having sexually abused a number of women. Give Us This Day and Liturgical Press abhor the abuse Vanier inflicted. We stand with the women who named him and with the members of L’Arche throughout the world.

We are committed to the values of treating each person with dignity and respect. Please pray with us for the healing of survivors, their families, and L’Arche communities around the world.

In support of those affected, Liturgical Press will no longer publish or distribute books featuring the life or writing of Jean Vanier.

We regret that the March and May issues of Give Us This Day, in which Vanier appears, were already printed and in distribution when we learned of his crimes. We have replaced these pieces in the digital editions and have made them available for download here.

For more information, please see the statement from L’Arche International.

May God be gracious to all of us and give us peace.

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


Amazon Catholics pledge to press on after Pope says no to married priests
“Catholic communities across the Amazon said they would keep pushing for married men to be allowed to celebrate Mass in the remote rainforest region, after a papal decision on Wednesday (Feb. 12) blocked their path to the priesthood. In one of the most significant decisions of his papacy, Pope Francis on Wednesday dismissed the proposal designed to ease an acute scarcity of priests in the Amazon, where the Roman Catholic Church faces growing competition from Evangelical Christian faiths.” By Gabriel Stargardter and Maria Cervantes, Reuters

Defrocked priest appeals conviction for sex crimes in Maine
“A former Catholic priest is appealing his conviction for sexually abusing a young boy on trips to Maine in the 1980s. Ronald Paquin, now 77, was found guilty in 2018 of 11 counts of gross sexual misconduct. A York County jury acquitted him of similar charges related to a second boy. A judge sentenced him last year to 20 years in prison with all but 16 years suspended. Paquin was one of the priests exposed in the early 2000s by a sweeping Boston Globe investigation into clergy sex abuse.” By Megan Gray, Portland Press Herald

Cardinal McCarrick secretly gave nearly $1 million to group led by cleric accused of sexual misconduct
“In the years before his removal from ministry, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick secretly gave nearly $1 million to a controversial group of Catholic missionaries and supported leniency for its founder after the Vatican punished him for sexual wrongdoing, internal church documents show. From 2004 to 2017, McCarrick sent the Institute of the Incarnate Word dozens of checks — some as large as $50,000 — from a charitable account he controlled at the Archdiocese of Washington, according to ledgers obtained by The Washington Post.” By Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow, Jr., The Washington Post

Survivor advocacy group accuses pope of cherry-picking abuse reforms
“As the one-year mark of Pope Francis’s landmark summit on child protection approaches, survivors of clerical abuse are arguing that the pope, while taking positive steps, is inconsistent in his response to the problem. Survivors have also called for the publication of the report on the Vatican’s lengthy investigation into former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and criticized Francis for apparently backing out of a commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to the issue.” By Elise Ann Allen,

Pennsylvania diocese, facing more abuse claims, files for bankruptcy
“The Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday (Feb. 19), becoming the latest Roman Catholic diocese to seek protection from creditors as it faces tens of millions of dollars in outstanding claims from people who were sexually abused by clergy members. The diocese’s Chapter 11 filing came nearly two years after a devastating state grand jury report found that bishops and other leaders of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement agencies not to investigate it.” By Michael Levenson, The New York Times

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

Pssst! Have you ever clicked that little link above, the one that says “read the rest of this issue”? You should … You will find links for just about everything going on in our Catholic world that pertains to VOTF’s mission and goals. This week, in addition to the top stories, you will find links on accountability, Pope Francis, Cardinal Pell, various bishops and priests, women in the Church, church finances (a bunch), celibacy and married priests, lay voices … go ahead, click the link!

Save the Date: Oct. 3, 2020

Our conferences are well known for great speakers, lots of news, and helpful tips for making your voice heard locally, regionally, and nationally.

2020 will be the same, and we’ll be back at the popular Boston Marriott Newton Hotel with a much reduced overnight room rate.

Don’t miss it! Mark your calendars now for Saturday, Oct. 3, in Newton MA. See you there!


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