Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

VOTF 2018 Conference

Voice of the Faithful 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise

The horrific grand jury report of clergy sexual abuse of children in six Pennsylvania dioceses and abuse by a cardinal of the Church, Theodore McCarrick, which caused him to set aside his red hat, have stoked the flames of Catholic anger across the globe. Now is the time to gather with like-minded Catholics and raise you voice to “Keep the Faith, Change the Church.” Register now for Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise. Time is running short. The conference is Oct. 6.

Take a look at our agenda ...

Early Bird reduced-price registation in effect only until 12 a.m., Sept. 16, 2018!

With a theme promoting Progress & Promise, Voice of the Faithful's 2018 Conference will take place Oct. 6 in Providence, Rhode Island.

VOTF's 2018 Conference will feature three speakers who will engage attendees on issues closely related to our mission and goals.

VOTF's return guest speaker will be Marie Collins, a forceful voice for clergy abuse survivors, a lay member of Pope Francis' initial Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, and counselor to bishops' conferences worldwide on best practices for protecting children from abuse. She is making a return visit. She spoke at VOTF's 2015 conference in Hartford, Connecticut, and at this year's conference, will update us on the Commission's work -- including the obstacles she has faced.

Regarding the present state of the clergy sexual abuse scandal Marie was recently quoted in National Catholic Reporter saying: "I think this is a very significant time in Pope Francis' pontificate. At this point, with devastating revelations around the world, and a high-profile visit to a country (Ireland) where we've had this history, he's got to address it."

Prof. Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D., also will speak. He is professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova, an internationally known theologian, expert on Vatican II and Pope Francis' leadership, prolific writer and sought-after speaker. He will address us on Vatican II's legacy for the laity, offering his view on what it means to be a lay person in today's Church. His views on the Church from Western European and American perspectives is sure to be thought provoking.

Regarding that particular perspective, Massimo recently wrote in America magazine: "With the recent revelations about Theodore McCarrick, new investigations into the seminaries of Boston and Lincoln (Nebraska), and the grand-jury report from Pennsylvania, the sex abuse crisis has reached a new stage. If this is, as many believe, the most serious crisis in the Catholic Church since the Protestant Reformation, then the analysis of this systemic failure of the institutional church needs to take the long view, comparing this period in the church’s history to others in order to discover where exactly things went wrong.”

Our third speaker will be Fr. William Clark, S.J., S.T.D., who will talk about lay leadership in our Church. Fr. Clark specializes in systematic theology, particularly ecclesiology. His work is about grounding lay leadership in a theology of the people, according to the teachings of Vatican II. He is particularly interested in parish life and issues affecting local church communities. He also has extensive experience in parish pastoral work and retreat direction.

In addition to these important presentations, attendees will hear VOTF leaders talk about progress and promise in three major areas:

  1. Healing the wounds of clergy sexual abuse — The facilitators of our Broken Vessel™ Healing Circle program, former trustees Jayne O'Donnell and Bill Casey, will present an overview of Healing Circles and a progress update. By describing what a Healing Circle actually looks like, they will share with us how effective this restorative justice model can be in helping to heal those the clergy abuse scandal has harmed. 
  2. Holding dioceses accountable for financial transparency — VOTF's Financial Working Group, led by trustee Margaret Roylance, will announce the results of its second annual survey of diocesan online financial transparency. As in 2017, the FWG will study all 177 U.S. dioceses and rank them according to their degree of online financial transparency. The FWG's initial 2017 study revealed a wide disparity in online financial transparency. Based on responses to the initial report, we anticipate some movement toward greater financial transparency to be shown in this second report.
  3. Developing resources for lay leadership — The issue of leadership in the Church, always a focus for VOTF, will become increasingly problematic as the U.S. clergy continues to shrink, making the substance of lay leadership increasingly important. VOTF has formed a Collaborative Inquiry Team, which includes one of our speakers, Fr. William Clark, to seek funding for a study to answer the question: What forms of lay spirituality will provide the basis for effective lay servant leadership in faith communities without a pastor? Members of the team will lead this discussion at our Conference.

Register for the conference at this link. Early Bird Special reduced price of $85/person will be in effect only until 12 a.m., Sept. 16, 2018. Full-price registraion after that will be $125 per person. You must pre-register by 12 a.m., Oct. 3, 2018, in order to receive your box lunch at the conference. Students -- please note that the low-cost $25-per-person student registration will end at 12 a.m., Sept. 25, 2018. Anyone who wishes to mail their registration to VOTF may download this registration form and mail it to VOTF, ATTN: Conference, P.O. Box 423, Newton, MA 02464.

Join us to discuss how we will continue to raise Spirit-led voices for our Church.

Attendees  at Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Progress will have the opportunity to see WaterFire, downtown Providence’s premiere event. WaterFire is the type of sight and sound extravaganza that is hard to capture in words but has captured the imaginations of more than ten million visitors. With more than eighty sparkling bonfires, the fragrant scent of aromatic wood smoke, the flickering firelight on the arched bridges, the silhouettes of the firetenders passing by the flames, the torch-lit vessels traveling down the river, and the enchanting music from around the world, WaterFire engages all the senses and emotions of those who stroll the paths of Waterplace Park. Don't miss VOTF's 2018 Conference and make WaterFire part of your plans. A lighting is presently planned for sunset on Oct. 6. Click here for more information about this spectacular event …

Name of Event:
VOTF 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise

Cost per person:
$85/Person Early Bird Special
(Full -price registration will be $125/person)

Click here to register.

Date: Oct. 6, 2018

Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Providence Marriott Downtown
(Click here to go to the City of Providence's GoProvidence website, where you can find out all about this great city's attractions.)

Make your hotel reservation now at a reduced rate by using this link to go to Marriott's Voice of the Faithful reservations page. VOTF's 2018 Conference takes place at one of the most popular times of the year for visitors to New England — Columbus Day weekend — so book your hotel room now. Reduced-rate rooms are limited.