In the Vineyard   ::    February 12, 2009   ::    Volume 8, Issue 3

National News

Nominations for Board of Trustees Sought
VOTF is inviting nominations to our Board of Trustees. See details here.  Candidates should be individuals of high character and diverse talents who have been involved in VOTF and have exhibited an understanding of and commitment to the VOTF mission statement and goals.

News from the Affiliates

Each month, In the Vineyard hopes to spotlight one of our VOTF affiliates: what they are doing and who their members are. If you would like to have your affiliate included, please send a note to If you would like to start an affiliate in your area and are looking for some guidance, please contact Alice Campanella at Alice has information, handouts and suggestions on ways to get started and would be happy to help.

Affiliate Spotlight- Bridgeport Voice of the Faithful
Submitted by Tony Wiggins

The Bridgeport affiliate began with a series of meetings in the St. Jerome Parish (Norwalk) basement after a few of us returned from the first VOTF National meeting in Boston in February 2002. We elected our first Board and Officers, and adapted a constitution. Our Pastor, Fr. David Blanchfield, was supportive, and other parishes in the diocese joined since they didn't have enough interested members to form their own chapter. 

When Bishop Lori learned of the formation of a VOTF Chapter, he was not supportive. He mentioned to Fr. Blanchfield that he was against it because of certain speakers who had addressed the National Meeting in Boston. In particular, Frances Kissling who had publicly supported Freedom of Choice in the past.
Read more about the Bridgeport VOTF

News from Ireland
Submitted by Sean O’Conaill (VOTF Ireland)

In Ireland, we’re in the eye of the hurricane, where all is strangely still.  Three reports are still pending, and the delay in two of these suggests that the second half of the storm could be much worse than the first.  It’s probably due to heel dragging on transparency – and that can’t be for no reason.

We hear vague reports of church-state conferences on repairing the deficiencies of the last government audit of dioceses – but nothing final.

Bishop John Magee is still clinging on in Cloyne.  Three archbishops are still backing him.  Are there ‘issues’ with their own dioceses?  Is this a case of bishops hanging together for fear of hanging separately?
Read more from Ireland

Planning to give a gift to someone on Valentine’s Day? If so, please shop at! Anything you purchase from by following a link to their site from VOTF means a small donation to VOTF! And we get that donation on books, DVDs, CDs, electronic equipment, apparel, toys and more, even gift certificates.

Site Seeing

National Catholic Reporter’s John Allen discusses the need for transparency in all aspects of the Catholic Church these days.

More on lifting the excommunication of Bishop Williamson;

An interesting article from on Pope Benedict and “cafeteria Catholics”;

The UK’s Tablet weighs in on the Pope’s lifting of the excommunication;

Marci Hamilton comments on the Federal Investigation into the Catholic Church's Los Angeles Archdiocese and why the Grand Jury probe should be welcomed;


The Center for Catholic Studies of Fairfield University and Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport are sponsoring a conference entitled “Do This in Memory of Me.” The Future of the Eucharist.

When: Saturday, March 28 with  registration at 9:30 am and a closing liturgy at 4:00 pm.
Where: Fairfield University
To Register:

Featured speakers are the noted liturgist, John Baldovin, S.J. whose most recent book is Reforming the Liturgy, and Ann Riggs of Rivier College, who will speak on Women and the Eucharist: Can the Body of Christ be Female?

For more info

Boston College’s C21 Center is sponsoring “Christian Spiritual Practices: Drawing from the Storeroom Both the Old and the New”

When: Saturday, February 14, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Where:  The Heights Room, Corcoran Commons, Boston College Lower Campus
Registration: 617.552.6501

More info

Letters to the Editor

Members Speak Out In Letters to Local Papers
VOTF member, John Ryan, submitted the following letter to several Illinois papers:

In January 2004, the National Lay Review Board established by the Catholic Conference of U.S. Bishops and chaired by now Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke counseled the bishops as follows:

“Many diocesan attorneys counseled Church leaders to not meet with, or apologize to victims even when the allegations had been substantiated on grounds that apologies could be used against the Church in court.  The Review Board believes that offering solace to those who have been harmed by a minister of the Church should have taken precedence over a potential incremental increase in the risk of liability.”

Such counsel fell on deaf ears in the case of Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky.   Just months later he adopted a policy of not meeting with victims, refusing to negotiate settlements, and relying upon  statutes of limitations to prevent victims from litigating.
Read the rest of John’s letter

VOTF member, Janet Hauter’s letter was published on 2/3/2009 in Chicago’s Daily Herald (Suburban edition)

Headlines are filled with corruption after corruption incidents in our state. Will it ever end? I subscribe not until the citizens of this great state say "Enough!"

The recent decision allowing records to be sealed in yet another tragic case related to convicted pedophile and defrocked priest Daniel McCormack is evidence of the continued insensitivity of our Cardinal and his staff. The majority have retained positions or been promoted and this case did not demand sealed depositions - unless there is more to hide.

I am incredibly disappointed in this decision as it shields us again from corruption in this Archdiocese.
Read the rest of Janet’s letter

Voice or Renewal/Lay Education Lenten Reflection

Submitted by Anne Southwood

As we did during the Advent season, VOR/LE (Voice of Renewal/Lay Education Working Group) will again do a Sunday Gospel Reflection Series during Lent. You can join VOR yahoo group discussion list members, offering reflection on how each Lenten Sunday gospel speaks to you by subscribing to the VOR/LE list:

The Teutonic word Lent has been used since Anglo-Saxon times to translate the Latin term/concept quadragesima (of forty days). Results below of a simple online search of Lent reflect different approaches this pre-Easter season:

In the time of Gregory the Great (590-604) there were apparently at Rome six weeks of six days each, making thirty-six fast days in all, which St. Gregory, who is followed therein by many medieval writers, describes as the spiritual tithing of the year, thirty-six days being approximately the tenth part of three hundred and sixty-five. At a later date the wish to realize the exact number of forty days led to the practice of beginning Lent upon our present Ash Wednesday.

From Catholic Encyclopedia,

Since the Church has restored the rite of initiating adults into the Christian faith, Lent has taken on a different meaning—one that goes back to the fourth and fifth centuries. At that time, the 40 days before Easter were the final stage of preparation for those about to be baptized. The rest of the Church prayed and fasted in solidarity with them.

Today, with the presence in most Catholic parishes of a group of adults visibly making ready to receive the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil, Lent has regained that "baptismal" emphasis. We still can decide on a Lenten observance—fasting, prayer, almsgiving—but we do it with the purpose of recalling our Baptism, of deepening our commitment to Christ. And we do it in solidarity with those preparing to be baptized or received into the Church.

From www.Franciscan

From the 2009 Benedict XVI Lenten message:

‘In the New Testament, Jesus brings to light the profound motive for fasting, condemning the attitude of the Pharisees, who scrupulously observed the prescriptions of the law, but whose hearts were far from God. True fasting, as the divine Master repeats elsewhere, is rather to do the will of the Heavenly Father, who ’sees in secret, and will reward you’. He Himself sets the example, answering Satan, at the end of the forty days spent in the desert that ‘man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’. The true fast is thus directed to eating the ‘true food’, which is to do the Father’s will. If, therefore, Adam disobeyed the Lord’s command ‘of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat’, the believer, through fasting, intends to submit himself humbly to God, trusting in His goodness and mercy .


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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