In the Vineyard :: August 10, 2012 :: Volume 12, Issue 13

News from National

Room Reservation Deadline August 16 for 10th Year Conference
You have only a couple of weeks to reserve your hotel room at a discounted price for VOTF's 10th Year Conference. On Aug. 16, the Marriott Boston Copley Place Hotel, where our conference takes place Sept. 14-15, will release our discounted room block.

If you reserve your room before Aug. 16, the cost is $199 per night, double occupancy. If you wait until after Aug. 16, the cost will be $259. Click here NOW to go to our special Marriott reservation page where VOTF's conference discount Group Code is already filled-in. And visit our 10th Year Conference web pages to find out more about the conference, to register, read about our speakers and more.

Reserve your discounted room TODAY at the Marriott Boston Copley Place Hotel and be in the middle of the action for VOTF's 10th Year Conference!

Two to Receive St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award During VOTF’s 10th Year Conference
Two people will receive VOTF’s St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson of the Year Award during the 10th Year Conference in Boston next month. This recognition represents only the fourth and fifth times in its 10-year history VOTF has presented the award.

The recipients are authors and educators Joseph F. O’Callaghan, Ph.D., Norwalk, Conn., and Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., Hempstead, N.Y.

The St. Catherine of Siena award recognizes exemplary lay leaders who enthusiastically use their gifts in the Church’s service and whose example encourages all Catholics to use their talents for the betterment of the Church.

“Catherine of Siena’s deep faith propelled her to care for those labeled as least in her society,” said Mary Freeman of Saunderstown, R.I., award committee chair. “Neither hardship nor schism, war nor persecution detained her from being about the Lord’s work. Through her convicted faith, she was an innovator who was led by the Spirit and an agent of change in the tumultuous events of her lifetime. The Church ultimately recognized her contribution by proclaiming her both a saint and a Doctor of the Church.”


Two Win $200 Dinner Certificates in 10th Year Conference Raffle
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve drawn the two winners in the 10th Year Conference dinner raffle. Our first winner is Brad Pritts, long-time VOTF leader in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the second winner had not been reached by press time, so we’ll announce that winner later. Each raffle winner receives a $200 Dinner Certificate for Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant in the Copley Place Mall, just a few steps from the Marriott Copley Place Hotel, where our 10th Year Conference takes place. The winners won’t even have to go outside to get to the restaurant. They also can take as many people to dinner as they want, but anything over $200 will be on them. Congratulations!

News from National

SNAP Recognizes Wisconsin Priest & VOTF Affiliate Leader
During Its 2012 Annual Conference in Chicago

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has recognized a Wisconsin priest who is scheduled to speak at Voice of the Faithful’s 10th Year Conference next month and a VOTF Washington state affiliate leader.

Description: C:\Documents and Settings\SIO\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLK180\James Connell.jpgDuring its 2012 Conference in Chicago, last month SNAP presented its Millstone Award to Rev. James E. Connell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and an advocate on behalf of victims/survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse. The award’s name refers to the Biblical passage in the book of Matthew 18:6, which is inscribed on the award: “But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

According to SNAP, Fr. Connell received the award “in admiration and appreciation for your dedication and willingness to help SNAP protect kids and heal survivors. We remain grateful for your courage, compassion and commitment to keeping kids safe.”

In his activities for victims/survivors, Fr. Connell said he was catching up to where he should have been years earlier. “I had explained to my parishioners two years ago, as I was beginning to stand publicly with SNAP, I cannot change the past, but I can be different in the future. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Fr. Connell is a featured speaker at VOTF’s 10th Year Conference in Boston, Mass., Sept. 14-15. His presentation, titled “Speak Up for Those Who Cannot Speak for Themselves,” will be delivered on Sept. 15 at the Marriott Boston Copley Place Hotel.

Fr. Connell is a Canon lawyer and pastor of St. Clement and Holy Name of Jesus parishes in Sheboygan, Wisc. Also, as a former member of the Milwaukee archdiocese’s clergy sexual abuse audit review board, he has called for Church leaders to reveal the complete truth about clergy sexual abuse because, he said, “only from such a revelation can this poison be removed from the Body of Christ.”

SNAP also presented Robert Fontana of Yakima, Wash., with its 2012 Lay Person of the Year Award. Fontana is a long-time leader of VOTF’s Central Washington state affiliate. SNAP presented Fontana with the award “in admiration and appreciation for your courage and constancy in speaking and exposing truth, demanding justice and offering support to survivors.”

“It was gratifying to receive recognition for all the work that my wife and I have put into VOTF Central Washington,” Fontana said.
Description: C:\Documents and Settings\SIO\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLK180\RobertFontanaDavidClohessy.JPG

Our Members Speak Out
Edward Greenan of Jamestown RI recently had his letter to the editor printed in the Providence Journal. Mr. Greenan wrote to commend the newspaper for printing an op-ed in support of the nuns. To read Mr. Greenan’s response and the original op- ed click here...

Survivor Credits VOTF with Helpful Response
Earlier this year, Carolyn Disco, a long-time VOTF leader in New Hampshire and past recipient of VOTF’s St. Catherine of Siena Layperson of the Year Award, received a letter from a survivor of horrific abuse by her own father, an Anglican priest. The survivor reported the abuse to someone at her church, who sent her report to the attorney general. Action was taken against her father by an Anglican official and the AG promptly investigated.

Jane (for Jane Doe) said she believed VOTF’s work in New Hampshire had contributed to the helpful responses she received. She also said she thinks VOTF’s survivor support efforts are having an impact on other religious groups. Jane’s story is riveting. Her courage and grace are astounding. She agreed VOTF could publish her letter in hope that the letter will assist outreach to other survivors.

Please note: The letter was redacted to protect Jane’s privacy but at her request does show the name of her abuser. The person identified in the letter is the Rev. Dr. Curtis Wallace Hanners, Jr., who died July 12, 2010, in Lancaster NH at the age of 78.

Here is a link to Jane’s letter --

The Top Ten Reasons Not to Miss the Tenth Conference

  1. You will get coal in your stocking at Christmas if you miss it.

  2. Cardinal Law doesn’t want you to come!

  3. You won’t receive any freebies.

  4. You’ll miss out on a fabulous fall weekend in New England.

  5. You won’t know what everyone else is talking about on Monday.

  6. Seven of the most prestigious speakers in the Catholic reform movement will be asking where you are.

  7. Your voice will not be heard!

  8. You’ll miss being a part of history.

  9. If not now, when? If not you, who?

  10. We will miss you

Voice of the Faithful FOCUS,
August 9, 2012

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


NCAA Penalties Should Apply to Vatican, Too
Many were pleasantly surprised by the severity of the sanctions the NCAA placed on Penn State University following the school's release of the investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal by the law firm of former Attorney General Louis Freeh. The NCAA's measures evidenced an appropriately serious approach to unspeakable crimes. At the same time, the NCAA's aggressive sanctions contrasted sharply with the lack of appropriate response to much greater crimes on the part of Roman Catholic clergy.

LCWR 'Gathers Collective Wisdom' of Members to Discern Next Steps
ST. LOUIS -- The much-anticipated gathering of 900 U.S. Catholic sisters who make up the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) opened here Tuesday night with song, prayer, and references big, small, and in-between to the Vatican’s attempted take-over of the group. References to the Vatican’s critique of the group, which came in an April 18 announcement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, came early in the two-hour event, with LCWR president Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell telling the assembled that “we don’t have to remind you that our gathering this week is an historic time in the life of this organization.”
 -- Keynote: LCWR 'Seed Bed' for 21st Century
 -- What LCWR Teaches Us about Church Leadership
 -- LCWR Past Presidents Reflect on Vatican Mandate
 -- LCWR to Determine Course at Next Week's Annual Meeting
 -- A Latina Nun Defends Her Sisters Accused of Straying from the Church
 -- Vatican II at Heart of Dispute between American Nuns and Catholic Church
 -- Vatican Battles with Catholic Women: Fight with Religious Group Will Help Catholicism

More Than a Hint of Hypocrisy
This is a must-read article!
The recent interview of Bishop Leonard Blair by Terry Gross, host of NPR's "Fresh Air," provided an interesting and revealing contrast to that of Sr. Pat Farrell, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, who was interviewed the week before. Listening to the two interviews was like listening to the ecclesial version of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Their language, what they view as important, what their lives are spent doing are so incredibly different that one has to wonder if any conversation, never mind dialogue, could be possible without an interpreter.

Women Will Create Change in the Catholic Church
If the Catholic Church is ever to fulfill the promise of Vatican II, it will be the women who make it happen, writes Ian Harris. If your conscience collides with authority, which will win? If you pledge loyalty to an organization, institution or country, are you bound to obey whatever the circumstances? The questions are those of the whistle-blower, the party politician, the conscientious objector - and in the United States today, the Catholic nun.

Sheboygan Priest Fr. James Connell Honored by Sex Abuse Survivors
Note: Fr. James Connell is a featured speaker and Mass celebrant at VOTF’s 10th Year Conference in Boston in September.
A Sheboygan priest and former vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, who has become a vocal advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse, is being honored in Chicago on Sunday at a national gathering of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Six Things Catholics Don't Know About the Church
See how many of these historical tidbits surprise you!
There are some things that everybody knows about the Catholic Church, even if you aren't a Christian. Read these six things Catholics don't know about their church and see how many surprise you. 

The Second Vatican Council Has Already Made Us Free
Over the weekend, an editor on the Internet observed that many events this year commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council "seem to be wakes, lamenting and grieving over the lost opportunity."
Rather than wring our hands over what the church has become under back-to-back popes who have acted in an arrogant and authoritarian manner, we should celebrate what Vatican II has already done for us.

Read the rest of this issue of Focus here...

Pray for the Sisters
Leaders representing tens of thousands of nuns across America are gathering this week for the Leadership Conference for Women Religious 2012 Assembly, in St. Louis. Uppermost on their agenda will be the April 18 Vatican mandate that they reform according to a recent doctrinal assessment of their activities.

Read Sr. Joan Chittister's assessment of the situation facing the nuns -- LCWR to Determine Course at Next Week's Annual Meeting -- She was LCWR's first president.

Voice of the Faithful has supported and continues to support our sisters against the Vatican's crackdown:

  • VOTF financially supported the Nuns Justice Project website.

  • Our members have taken part in scores of rallies across the nation supporting the sisters.

  • VOTF immediately issued a national statement to the media and posted it on its blog in support of the sisters and has posted many subsequent blogs supporting our nuns.

  • VOTF was involved in the effort to collect more than 60,000 signatures on an online petition showing solidarity with our nuns.

Now enlist the power of prayer as our sisters chart their future in the Catholic Church. 

N.B. -- National Catholic Reporter columnist Jamie Manson, who will participate on a panel during the LCWR 2012 Assembly, will speak at Voice of the Faithful's 10th Year Conference in Boston.

The Associates chapter of Trenton of the Sisters of St. Joseph, has decided to pray wherever we are at 8 AM every morning from Sun. Aug. 5th to Sat. Aug. 11th.  Please join us them  in this prayer and pray that that the Holy Spirit will inspire the courageous women meeting in St Louis and guide them to a response to the Vatican that is aligned with God's desire for them.

God's Spirit - LCWR Prayer

In this time of pain and promise,
we call on God’s Spirit to bless
the leadership of LCWR, the Sisters of Saint Joseph, and all women religious
who strive to live the gospel in these uncertain times.

We call on the Spirit of God to reveal
the way forward that is faithful to God’s  
dream for women religious and all God's people.

May all who are called to engage
in prayer and conversation come to
the table with hearts that are open,
transparent, and faith-filled. May their
reflection be marked by a deep listening
to the voice of the Spirit at work in 
our world.

May the holy ones who have gone
before us inspire us by their courage
and wisdom and affirm that we are 
not alone.

May all women religious and their associates continue to faithfully live the questions of our time and witness to
the people of God that we are women and men
at home with mystery and filled with
fierce hope for our shared future.

Adapted from the Prayer for LCWR by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM

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