In the Vineyard :: July 15, 2016 :: Volume 16, Issue 13

VOTF at the AUSCP Assembly (continued)

By Svea Fraser

In our workshop on Clericalism, we offered anecdotal evidence of clericalism on the part of both clergy and laity, and challenged each of the attendees to make one small change in the way they related to the laity in order to strengthen the slow crawl towards cultural change.  

We also attended some of the other events at the Assembly. The Tuesday night Vespers was a very moving experience, and we were pleased that Donna not only contributed to its preparation, but took part as one of the leaders during the service.

Donna also attended Sister Carol Zinn’s address (she was the first keynote speaker) and one by theologian Massimo Faggioli, and we all enjoyed the report from Fr. Peter Phan, who challenged us with a metaphor of God as migrant—which is particularly timely right now. For me it offered a whole new paradigm of relating to our Triune God, whose very life on earth began on the move as the Holy Family escaped to Egypt.  

The earliest days of VOTF found those of us committed to our “Support Priests Goal” encouraging listening sessions and opportunities for dialogue with priests. But dialogue at any level was discouraged (seen suspiciously as dissent), and it was very difficult to engage many priests in conversations about clericalism, celibacy or collaboration. Now, with the passage of time, the award-winning Spotlight movie, and most of all the election of Pope Francis the tide has turned.

For me, being together in Chicago, working together as disciples on a mission to change from “ranking” to “connecting” was delayed gratification!   

We closed our workshop sessions with a blessing, from we the laity upon the priest attendees:

Go forth in peace and courage
to make our church a
communion of holy collaboration,
so that together we might
share the joy of the Gospel
in our thoughts, in our words, and especially in our actions
through the power of the Holy Spirit.

May God bless us all
in the name of
God, the Migrant,
and of God’s Son, Jesus Christ
and in the love of the Holy Spirit.

We had a good time together, and were only three of a small handful of women.


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