In the Vineyard: January 8, 2016

In the Vineyard :: January 8, 2016 :: Volume 16, Issue 1

News from National

Pope’s Year of Mercy.
The Pope kicked off his Year of Mercy with a moving video in which he encourages people of all faiths to speak with each other – declaring, “we are all believers.” Watch it here –

Priest Support Working Group
We never speak of Priest Support without first acknowledging its connection to Supporting Surviviors and Structural Change, for without the revelations of abuse and cover up and the courage of the victim/survivors who shared their stories, we would never have been catapulted from our pews, and moved to action. To help prevent future abuse, and to promote healing and renewal in our church, collaboration between and among laity and the ordained is imperative.

In promoting Priest Support, we are committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent collaboration and healing. Collaborative relationships between priests and laity are essential to healing and to rebuilding trust. Ultimately, change in the structure of the church is inseparable from change in the culture. To enhance the possibility of change, our Working Group seeks the following objectives:

  1. To promote opportunities for priests, survivors and laity to speak the truth;

  2. To encourage collaboration and mutual support between priests and laity;

  3. To affirm the universal priesthood of all the faithful by virtue of our baptism;

  4. To model the Church as defined by the documents of Vatican II;

  5. To insist on due process and justice for all;

  6. To coordinate, communicate and encourage efforts by individual parishes and affiliates in supporting priests;

  7. To honor those priests who, in word and action, exhibit courage and compassion along with principled leadership.

A Priest Teaches Ethics to Businesspeople
Read about Father Max Oliva and how he teaches ethics to businesspeople. Honesty, integrity and compassion are all traits important in the business world, he says.

New Year’s Resolutions
Looking to make some New Year’s resolutions? Check out this article on – Ten Resolutions to Help you Become a Better Catholic. They may not all be your “cup of tea,” but you may find a few that inspire you. Let us know if you plan to use any of them!


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

Francis exhorts Vatican prelates to be more mature, recognizes ‘smallness’ of work
Pope Francis has strongly urged the bishops and cardinals who head the various Vatican offices to act with more respect, honesty and maturity — and has told them that reform of the church’s central bureaucracy will go forward ‘with determination, clarity, and firm resolve.’” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis declares list of ‘needed virtues’ for Catholic Church, By Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

Archdiocese of St. Paul settles complaint on child abuse
“The Roman Catholic archdiocese here has reached an agreement with prosecutors in a civil case accusing church officials of failing to protect children from sexual abuse. The unusual settlement, announced Friday (Dec. 18) in a Ramsey County courtroom, calls for more transparency when claims of child sexual abuse are raised and would allow prosecutors and courts to monitor the church’s progress on such matters for three years.” By Todd Nelson and Monica Davey, The New York Times
Settlement reached in St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese civil case, By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter

Financial misconduct in parishes is all too common
“Behind the sensational headlines about a New York priest accused of pilfering church coffers to pay for an extravagant lifestyle – ‘Priest paid his male ‘sex master’ from collection plate: lawsuit,’ as the New York Post put it — is the surprisingly common accusation of a trusted employee or volunteer stealing cash from a parish.” By Michael O’Loughlin,

Church now has zero tolerance to sex abuse
“The Catholic Church in India is aiming for a cleaner image this new year as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) has decided to deal with priests accused of sexual abuse through severe punishments, including defrocking them.” By Cithara Paul, The New Indian Express

Philadelphia DA wants court to rehear monsignor’s case
“Despite losing on appeal twice, Philadelphia’s district attorney says he will continue to fight to keep a Roman Catholic Church official who will soon be eligible for parole in prison over his handling of sex-abuse cases.” By Associated Press on
Appeals court vacates Philadelphia monsignor’s conviction, orders new trial, By Ralph Cipriano, National Catholic Reporter

The top 10 stories of a busy Pope from 2015
“Pope Francis is the dictionary definition of an activist pontiff, constantly saying and doing things that stir hearts, raise eyebrows, and generally capture public interest. He’s so dynamic, in fact, that often there’s no time to absorb one bombshell before another goes off. Here’s a rundown of the 10 biggest papal headlines of 2015, all of which seemed hard to top at the time, and all of which now risk being overwhelmed by whatever happens in 2016.” By John L. Allen, Jr.,

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


Join Saint Susanna’s as they discuss Jesus’s life and times on Monday, January 11th. This session does stand on its own, for those who missed Part 1, but this week Professor DesRosiers will insert Jesus as referenced in the Sacred Scriptures into the historical structure he laid out in Part 1. This is proving to be an outstanding presentation.

Presented by:
Dr. Nathaniel DesRosiers, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Stonehill College, Visiting Associate Professor of New Testament, Brown University

How did Jesus’ contemporaries understand him? What made the Jesus movement and early Christianity so appealing in a world filled with savior figures, heroes, and divine emperors?

What made Christianity succeed when so many other new religions in the period failed?

This session is part of a two-week program that will illuminate the rich social, historical, and religious contexts of the first-century Roman Empire, in order to show how Christianity developed and thrived in its early Mediterranean environment.
In exploring this subject we will examine what was life really like in the first century and why the Gospel message resonated with this audience. This discussion will help us to better understand what our Gospels tell us about Jesus’ teachings and their setting in the land of ancient Israel.

In addition we will discuss how issues such as wealth and poverty, gender, and the role of family profoundly influenced both the development of Christian texts and rituals and the early communities that produced them.

If you were not able to attend the first session on January 4, please join us on January 11 anyway. There is plenty more to learn!

Professor DesRosiers is a favorite at Saint Susanna, with his vast knowledge of the subject matter, excellent presentation skills, and delightful sense of humor.

Sessions will be held, as usual, in the parish hall at 262 Needham Street, Dedham, running each week from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. There is no pre-registration required, and there is no fee. Free refreshments will be served. Free Will Offerings will be gratefully received to cover our costs.

Come and See!
Voice of the Faithful New Jersey in Morristown sponsored an online talk on Laudato Si:

Sunday, January 17, 2016
Discussion of Laudato Si (second of three sessions)
3:30 PM St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
100 Harter Rd. Morristown, NJ

You can download the Reader’s Guide and the entire Encyclical from the Vatican and/or chapter by chapter
from Crux.

In this second discussion moderator, Beatrice Mondare, will briefly summarize the previous discussion of the Introduction and chapter 1, and will lead discussion of chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the encyclical, using questions from Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J.’s A Readers’’Guide to Laudato Si with Study Questions to Help in Reading the Encyclical; the guide was published in the National Catholic Reporter and can be downloaded free from their website.

All are welcome. There is no charge for the program.

Spotlight on Philadelphia Child Abuse
The end of 2015 once again, had the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the spotlight when a Pennsylvania appellate court ordered a new trial for Msgr. William J. Lynn, overturning for a second time a landmark verdict that was the first conviction nationwide of a Catholic Church official for covering up child sex abuse by priests.


You can also read an earlier paper by Father Tom Doyle on Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Questions, Comments?

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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