In the Vineyard  ::    May 21, 2009   ::    Volume 8, Issue 10

National News

VOTF National is moving! On May 21 we are trekking about 15 minutes down the road from our current office, to a suite in Needham MA. The move cuts our costs and – truly exciting for any office denizen – gives us windows that actually open!

The move does not change our mailing or e-mail addresses. All snail mail to VOTF should still go to P.O. Box 423, Newton, MA 02464. Our e-mails remain the same as well.

Our phone numbers will change, because Needham uses a different area code, but calls to our current phone number will automatically transfer to the new offices. If you have us in your phone book, insert this new office number: 781-559-3360. For the new fax number, use 781-559-3364.

Please Join Us!
2009 Voice of the Faithful National Conference
Making our Voices Heard
Hosted by the Long Island Voice of the Faithful
October 30-31 2009
Featured Speakers:   Joan Chittister, O.S.B and  
Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J.
Location:   Huntington Hilton, Melville, Long Island
Click here for hotel information
Join us as we pray together as one voice, learn about VOTF’s current strategic plan and exciting new projects, and participate in stimulating conversations. It is a great chance to catch up with old friends and make some new ones as we convene some of the most active and committed Catholics to “make our voices heard.”

Help Wanted
We are looking for someone with experience who is willing to help us organize and edit a Program Book for the October Convention on Long Island. The Program Book is essentially a fund raiser and will include paid advertisements and messages from our affiliates, members, associates and well-wishers from around the country. It will also include a limited amount of material specifically relating to the conference, such as Conference Program, President’s Welcoming Message, Special Award Winners, etc. If you are willing to lend a hand in this important endeavor, please contact Kevin Connors at or 516-796-2231.

News on the Strategic Plan

In the last issue of In the Vineyard we reported on VOTF’s strategic plan and the recent meeting in Hartford where the different platforms presented their ideas. In this issue of In the Vineyard, Bill Casey updates us on what is happening with the Platform Committee to Protect Children and Support Survivors and the principal initiatives they are proposing. We hope to hear from the other Platforms in the coming weeks as well.

The Mission statement for the Platform Committee to Protect Children and Support Survivors is as follows: VOTF recognizes and respects the life-long struggle of childhood victims/survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy and religious in our church community.  In order to protect children and advance healing and justice for victims/survivors, the committee has come up with the following three main goals for their work:

News from the Affiliates

Tips for a Successful Q&A Session
Alice Campanella, the tireless leader of the VOTF Affiliate Leader listserv, has put together some excellent guidelines for hosting a Q&A session in your affiliate. If you are a leader who is not on the listserv please contact Alice at to be included on the Listserv.

How do you make your members feel included? How are you attracting new members? Many of us are always looking for ways to attract new members to our affiliates and ways to keep the interest of our current members. For most of us, that means finding good speakers and topics, pursuing a VOTF project our members are interested in and especially making any new members feel welcome and "connected.”

Attracting people to a meeting—even our long time members—is only half of the equation. Once we GET them there, it is important that we model the behavior and community support that we hope to spread throughout the Church. Read more

International News

By Sean O’Conaill
The long-awaited report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was just published. The critical areas to look at are the conclusions drawn about culpability. The state is unlikely to be exonerated, as it funded these institutions.  Nor will the wider Irish society that tended to turn a blind eye.  But what will be said about the role of the church, which ran these institutions, benefitted financially from the state support given, and had a clear moral and spiritual duty of care?

The Irish Bishops Conference meets June 8-10.  We will be watching very closely to see how it will respond – especially to see what responsibility is accepted and what explanation given.

The Dublin report is now reported to be with the Irish government until mid to end of June.  Publication will probably quickly follow, but this is not certain.

A long journey in search of justice for victims of abuse
Irish Times

Site Seeing

Are Newt Gingrich and Cardinal George more Catholic than the Pope? Amy Sullivan from Time Magazine looks at the issue.

America’s Michael Sean Winters weighs in on the Obama/Notre Dame controversy, calling on the laity to make their voices heard – “The laity must do their part. You can bet that most bishops have received plenty of phone calls and letters and emails from conservatives in the past two months. I wish that as many liberals would have done the same. But, more than that, I hope that all Catholics make their views known to their bishop. I hope that those who feel conflicted because of the President’s pro-choice position alongside his demonstrable commitments to policies that evoke long-standing objectives in Catholic social thought, that they will especially make their positions known.”

Sex abuse suit names Catholic brother

A New Mexico archdiocese begins background checks on all priests serving in the diocese.

Obama’s Speech at Notre Dame – “Conciliatory Fighting Words”


The Vineyard calendar is published twice monthly. If you have something to include about an event in your area, please send it to

VOTF Regional Meeting, Thursday, May 28, 2009, 7:30 PM, Manhasset, NY
Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D.,
Internationally Acclaimed Catholic Scholar, will speak on
"Rome, Women, and the End of Catholicism"

Dr. Zagano has lectured throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and currently holds a research appointment at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island, New York. Among her twelve books is the award-winning  Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the  Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church.
More information at

Boston College’s Church in the 21st Century Online Workshops beginning soon:
Encountering Jesus in Scripture, 2 weeks: June 1- June 12 Workshop provides guided discussion around the Fall 2008 issue of C21 Resources, a free publication of Boston College Church in the 21st Century Center. Based on the C21 Resources issue of the same name, it is an Advent opportunity to reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The readings, 24 pages of brief articles compiled and edited by Fr. Daniel Harrington, S.J. and Dr. Christopher Matthews, are ideal for a busy person who wants quality material in short segments.
More information at

Doing any shopping lately? 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.

Book Review

Oops! We don’t have one! If you’ve read a book or seen a movie you would like to recommend (or warn against!), please let me know!

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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