News from National
Don’t Forget: National Assembly on April 18
VOTF’s 2015 National Assembly takes place on Saturday, April 18, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. For information, registration and discounted hotel rooms, please click here .
The featured speaker is a clergy sexual abuse survivor who pioneered child protection standards and is now an advisor to Pope Francis. Workshops include work on a new process towards healing the People of God; a case study on the good, bad, and confusing in diocesan finances; lay input options for the 2015 bishops “family life” synod; an interactive session on clergy/lay dialogue; and a workshop with Fr. Tom Doyle.
We’ll be at the same beautiful venue where we held last year’s assembly, and discount hotel rooms are available. Spring is a special time in New England, and the picture here of springtime in Hartford really doesn’t do the city justice.
Come and greet old friends and make new ones. We are looking forward to seeing you there!
Prayer for the Lenten Season
Psalm 22: 2-6, 12
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why so far from my call for help,
from my cries of anguish?
My God, I call by day, but you do not answer;
by night, but I have no relief.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the glory of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted;
they trusted and you rescued them.
To you they cried out and they escaped;
in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
Do not stay far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is no one to help.
International Women’s Day
Check out Focus in this issue for links to reports about an International Women’s Day event in the Vatican. The event was remarkable for several reasons: naming the “tone deaf” words of bishops and Pope Francis himself; clear statements about the need for gender equality (some from attending clergy), and participation in the Mass homily by Kerry Robinson, executive director for the National Leadership Roundtable in the U.S.
Ms. Robinson’s presence alone delivered two messages to bishops with a revisionist mindset: (1) If it’s OK for a lay person to deliver a homily in the Vatican, why not inyour diocese? (2) If it’s OK for a female to deliver a homily in the Vatican, why not in your diocese?
Check out some of the many reports on the event.
Happy Second Anniversary Pope Francis!
As Pope Francis celebrates his second anniversary, take a look at this moving tribute:
Widen the Circle
VOTF has been working with several other groups to urge US Bishops to “widen the circle”, and invite more lay representation to the 2015 Synod of Bishops and the Family.
They wrote a letter which will be sent to all English-speaking bishops and Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. The Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family takes place this October.
COR, Catholic Organizations for Renewal, to which VOTF belongs, also has put up a website to help facilitate input into the synod — OurCatholicFamily.org
Let the Synod leaders hear your voice on the issues that matter to you.
Highlighting issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Court rules church can’t shield $60 million in abuse cases
“In a blow to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in its ongoing bankruptcy, a federal appeals court on Monday (Mar. 9) put a $60 million cemetery trust fund back in play to potentially settle claims related to sexual abuse by.” By Bruce Vielmetti and Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
— Cemetery fund not protected from creditors, By Associated Press in The New York Times
For women’s day, group takes a message to the Vatican
“Today (Mar. 8) is International Women’s Day, and the Vatican is opening its doors to a group of women from all over the world pressing for greater participation in the Catholic Church. Today’s event was inspired by Pope Francis’ statements that women should have a fuller role in the life of the church.” NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli has the story.” By Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio
— Women see themselves left out amid talk of change in Catholic Church, By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times
— Vatican event tackles women’s equality, inclusion, ordination, By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
— Vatican opens doors to debate on women’s role in the Church and the world, By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
— Exploring the pope’s vision for women in the church, By Carolyn Y. Woo, Catholic News Service on Philly.com
— ‘Voices of Faith’: Dr. Astrid Lobo from India tells her story, By Vatican Radio
Clergy sex abuse victims in Montana’s diocese of Helena to receive $20 million in payments
“Hundreds of victims of clergy sex abuse that spanned decades in Montana stand to receive payments totaling about $20 million, after a federal judge on Wednesday (Mar. 5) confirmed the bankruptcy reorganization plan for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena.” By Matthew Brown, Associated Press, in Huffington Post
U.S. priest tells Irish safeguarding meeting: Church is not haven for abusers
“The Catholic church is ‘no longer a safe haven for child abusers,’ said a top priest psychologist who advises the U.S. bishops on child sexual abuse. Msgr. Stephen Rossetti told hundreds of Irish delegates to the first national conference on safeguarding children that the Catholic church in the United States spent $43 million on child abuse prevention and education just last year.” By Sarah MacDonald, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
Cincinnati archdiocese to tweak morality clauses
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati plans to update language in its teachers’ contract following acommittee’s suggestions on its morality clauses. Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the tweaked language in the contract will clarify what is expected of employees.” By Associated Press on cruxnow.com
Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …
Weymouth VOTF affiliate will view and discuss films on clergy abuse by BC professor/documentarians, John J. and Susan A. Michalczyk.
On Tuesday, April 14th we will focus on the stories of Catholic Whistleblowers who support survivors regardless of the retaliation they experience with “A Matter of Conscience: Confronting Clergy Abuse.
Come and be inspired!
St. Albert’s church hall (downstairs)
1130 Washington St.
All welcome! Refreshments and plenty of parking.
Letter to the Editor
As I’m preparing the house for guests who will visit my family while I’m away for a Lenten retreat, I thought of the spiritual and physical housekeeping we do during Lent:
The Lenten Dust
Dust you are
And to dust you shall return.
Must and dust, disorder—
For cleanliness we yearn.
Thrust the vacuum forward!
Clear up—feng shui to learn!
Trust we must, expunge the dust
To purity return.
Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, atVineyard@votf.org. Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.