In the Vineyard: January 28, 2019

In the Vineyard :: January 28, 2019 :: Volume 19, Issue 2

News from National

Healing Circle in Virginia

Despite a challenging weather system in the D.C. area January 19, VOTF facilitator Bill Casey reports a successful Healing Circle held with nine participants from Our Lady Queen of Peace parish in Virginia. He is meeting with the pastor there to discuss next steps.

VOTF Broken Vessel Healing Circles are among several meetings and listening sessions that VOTF members have facilitated in Virginia and Maryland, where news of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sex abuse and the subsequent resignation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl in the Washington D.C. diocese has greatly impacted the faithful both there and elsewhere.

If you would like more information on the Broken Vessel Healing Circles and on listening sessions, please contact, or request information directly from Bill Casey or Jayne O’Donnell (email addresses available upon request). You also will find information about the program on our Healing Circles web page.

Papal Summit on Sex Abuse: Mixed Expectations

According to the Crux news site, some are predicting that the February summit on sex abuse in Rome “will be the most-covered Vatican event since the last papal election in 2013.” In a 1/21/19 article, Ines San Martin and Christopher White write about What’s known, and unknown, about pope’s abuse summit in February.

In a related story, the Catholic News Agency quotes papal spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti in saying that “the February meeting ‘has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of the bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors.’” The article by Hannah Brockhaus entitled Vatican: Abuse summit to help bishops know ‘what they need to do’ notes that Pope Francis will be present for all of the meeting, scheduled for February 21 – 24, and that participating Bishops are asked to meet with victims of sex abuse prior to attending.

Although the summit is greatly anticipated, some hold little hope for its success. In his article in the National Catholic Reporter, Thomas Reese, predicts failure because, among other reasons, expectations are too high, the summit is too short and preparation has been poor. The article is entitled Five reasons the pope’s clergy sex abuse meeting in Rome will fail

Save the date

Saturday, October 19, 2019
Boston Marriott Newton
2345 Commonwealth Avenue
Newton, Massachusetts 02466

Mark your calendars now for Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, for Voice of the Faithful’s 2019 Conference: Keep the Faith, Change the Church. This fall, we will gather near Boston at the Boston Marriott Newton, conveniently located at the intersection of I-95 (Rte. 128) and Rte. 30 on the Charles River, a suburban location with all the amenities of a downtown Boston hotel.

Our special return guest speaker will be the Honorable Anne M. Burke, Illinois Supreme Court Justice, who last spoke to us during our 10th Anniversary Conference in 2012. She served as only the second chair of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, charged with auditing dioceses’ adherence to the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Much has happened in the clergy sexul abuse scandal since she last talked with us, and she is now involved with a group that is promoting accountability for bishops who have covered up abuse.

Our 2019 Conference committee is hard at work talking with potenial additional speakers and developing other program highlights. So, mark your calendars for Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, and stay tuned for updates.

See you in October!

Second Webinar on Women Deacons

There will be a second webinar featuring Dr. Phyllis Zagano on the issue of ordained women deacons on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 8 pm (Eastern time). The Zoom meeting will be hosted by Sister Colleen Gibson, SSJ, and it will be recorded. You must pre-register for the event by using the special invitation link Dr. Zagano has sent:

If you have questions about the event or registration, please email them to Sr. Colleen Gibson:

Fordham Panel Video on Women Deacons Available–Also, if you missed the panel on Women Deacons at Fordham earlier this month, you can see the video of it at Salt + Light TV: That would be a nice precursor to the webinar this month, along with stories about whether and when Pope Francis might act upon the report sent to him by the papal commission on the female diaconate. Here are links to two of those:


New York Senate votes to give victims of child sex abuse more years to sue, ending years-long battle
“The long and bitter battle for legislation that would allow New York sex abuse victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other organizations for monetary damages ended with victory Monday (Jan. 28) when the state Senate passed the Child Victims Act. The vote was 63 to nothing, a spokeswoman for one of the bill’s sponsors, state Sen. Brad Hoylman, said. The new law does away with the statutes of limitations that have prevented some alleged abuse victims from going to court to seek damages. And it includes a one-year ‘look-back window’ that will allow others who weren’t able to sue in the past to file fresh claims.” By Corky Siemaszko, NBC News

Cardinal Wuerl acknowledges he knew of one accusation against predecessor
“In a second letter issued in mid-January about what he knew and didn’t regarding abuse allegations involving his predecessor, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Washington’s retired archbishop, apologized Jan. 15 for what he called a ‘lapse of memory,’ clarifying that he knew of at least one abuse allegation against former U.S. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, but he had ‘forgotten’ about it. In the letter sent to priests of the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Wuerl acknowledged that he became aware of the allegation against now-Archbishop McCarrick after receiving a report in 2004 about a different allegation, but the ‘survivor also indicated that he had observed and experienced ‘inappropriate conduct’ by then-Bishop McCarrick.’” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Vatican commission members: Women served as deacons for a millennium
Women served as deacons in Europe for about a millenniumin a variety of ministerial and sacramental roles, according to Phyllis Zagano, an author and professor of religion at Hofstra University, and Bernard Pottier, S.J., a faculty member at the Institut D’Études Théologiques in Brussels, in an interview this week with America. ‘They anointed ill women; they brought communion to ill women,’ said Ms. Zagano. They also participated in baptism, served as treasurers and, in at least one case, participated in an annulment.” By Brandon Sanchez, America: The Jesuit Review

Irish abuse survivor wants Vatican summit to increase accountability
“A prominent survivor and advocate for those affected by clerical abuse hasurged Pope Francis to publicly name bishops who have been found guilty of negligence by church tribunals. Marie Collins – who was a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors from 2014 to 2017 – also said that, during the Vatican summit on safeguarding in February, the pope should set out comprehensive procedures to hold bishops accountable.” By Catholic News Service in The Pilot

Curb the crisis: 10 essential lessons for investigating church leaders
“The Catholic Church is in serious and deepening crisis, primarily as a result of grave sins and failed leadership involving clergy sexual misconduct. This tragedy is most recently exemplified by the alleged abusive, long-standing behavior of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In order for the church in the United States to determine and learn from how it failed to address McCarrick’s decades of alleged misconduct, new guidelines and procedures must be established and implemented for investigating him and any high-ranking church leader.” By Hank Shea, National Catholic Reporter

17 years later, the impact of clergy sex abuse on Boston’s Catholic community
“The top Catholic bishops from around the world will gather at the Vatican for a historic summit next month. The topic will be sex abuse by the clergy. Here & Now‘s Lisa Mullins looks at the impact of the revelations on the once thriving Catholic community in Boston.” By Robin Young, Here & Now, WBUR-FM, National Public Radio

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


Flawed Human Heroes

Saint Susanna Parish, 262 Needham Street, Dedham, will host Prof. Nathaniel DesRosiers Feb. 4 and 11 for two sessions on Flawed Human Heroes of The Bible: What Are Their Stories Trying To Convey? “What could the Biblical narrative be trying to show us with these examples?”

In week one, Prof. DesRosiers will address the Hebrew Bible and the characters of the Old Testament. In week two, he will address the New Testament and focus on the disciples referenced there. As with his previous sessions at Saint Susanna, this will be a customized projected presentation and audience participation and interaction are encouraged..

Both sessions take place Monday evenings, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, at Saint Susanna Parish Hall, 262 Needham Street, Dedham. There will be a refreshments break. There are no fees, there is no charge for refreshments, and there is no pre-registration requirement. Free Will offerings are gratefully accepted to cover our costs.

Nate DesRosiers is a perennial favorite at Saint Susanna Adult Formation. He is Associate Professor in Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, where he teaches courses in Classics, New Testament, and Early Christianity, and he is a Visiting Professor at Brown University. Prof. DesRosiers received a Master’s degree from Harvard University in 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.


Sessions at Boston College Sponsored by Church in the 21st Century

Pope Francis: A New Way of Being Church, Thursday, Feb. 28, 5:30 to 7 pm. Presenter is Rafael Luciani, associate professor at BC’s School of Theology and Ministry (STM). “Pastoral conversion” and “synodality” are key theological categories that lay at the heart of Pope Francis’s vision of church, and the Church in Latin America is seen as a source for this “new way.”

The Ordained Priesthood: Opening a New Conversation, Thursday, March 14, 5:30 to 7 pm. Presenters are Thomas H. Groome, STM professor of theology and religious education; Rev. Richard Lennan, STM professor of systematic theology and professor ordinarius; and Jacqueline Regan, STM associate dean, student affairs and career services. After decades of scandal and other expressions of decline, three questions loom large for the future of the ordained priesthood in the Catholic Church: What is its role in the life of the Christian community? What kinds of formation might produce healthy clergy? How might those in the priesthood better collaborate with all of the baptized? The presenters will discuss information developed during two years of research.

Confronting the Soul-Devouring Dragon: Sexual Abuse and the Mystery of Evil, Thursday, March 21, 5:30 to 7 pm. This is the STM’s 10th anniversary lecture, presented by Margaret Eletta Guider, O.S.F., STM professor of missiology, and chair, Ecclesiastical Faculty. Sr. Guider says much of the discourse on these subjects focuses on analyses of power relations, socio-cultural conditions, and psychological pathologies. In this lecture, she brings attention to a “critical theological reflection on the mystery of evil.”

All of these events will be held in the Corcoran Commons, Heights Room, on the Chestnut Hill Campus.

Papal Angelus

Pope Francis was in Panama to celebrate World Youth Day, and he urged young people there to view the Virgin Mary as “reason for joy and a source of inspiration.” In his video, the Pope told young people that he and they would pray the rosary together for peace.

Letter to the Editor

Our/the Church just doesn’t get it! I am feeling sad for there were and are many, many very good men who truly were and are the leaders we thought they were. Since Constantine rescued the first Christians this deviation from the Christ message has been going on sometimes behind the scenes, sometimes blatantly ‘in your face’, simply unable to follow through being ‘Christ’. Perhaps it is has always been an ‘impossible dream’. We are seeing it now with our inability to ever become a democratic nation. ‘Where I come from’ [Joan Chittester words] the actual realization there is only one church, one nation, one world, one family, one Christ, [Maryann Williamson], one of us, [Mystical Body]. To so realize has taken me a lifetime. I am 91 years old. My food has been my Irish heritage, my parish parochial education, my Religious Order college professors, my CFM formation certainly, VOTF, ACC, Call To Action, and so many others on my journey.

Is it time to MOVE ON. Let the Roman Catholic Church ‘do its own thing’. The world has dire need for the persons we have become.

Love. Peace, M. S., Happy Trails Resort, Surprise, AZ


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

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