News from National
VOTF Appeal: A Surprise Personal Connection
If you are not a monthly Partner, be sure to check your postal mail this month because our very important fiscal year-end appeal should be arriving. You will notice that we refer to the Bing Crosby movie “Going My Way” in the letter. We thought you might get a kick out of our own real-life connection to that movie! Here’s a note from VOTF member Suzanne Travers:
"Going My Way" was written by Leo McCarey about a cousin of mine: Msgr. Nicholas Conneally.
He was founder and pastor of the church in Santa Monica CA and Leo was a parishioner there.
Nicholas was a real curmudgeon!
He had two other brothers who were priests in some Irish order, and they were sent from Ireland to "mission territory" here.
They also brought over their sisters from Ireland. One sister died in childbirth, and what was the father going to do with an infant and still manage to work? So Nicholas took the child into the rectory and had the housekeeper raise him -- I guess the curmudgeon wasn't too bad!
The child, Stephen, grew up to join the Marines and fight in the Korean War. When he came home, he entered the Carmelites and served for years in Africa. Suffering terribly from frostbite (Korea) and malaria (Africa), Stephen then retired to Knock, Ireland. The Conneally family is very close to Knock and he wanted to be with relatives when he retired.
Stephen is buried in Knock, and if you go there, you will see on his gravestone the Marine Corps emblem and the Carmelite emblem -- and the American flags we send over.
Prayers for Another Healing Circle
Please pause for a moment and pray that each of the participants in the June 7th Healing Circle in Boston will experience a sense of being deeply heard and affirmed as they tell their stories. We ask that the Holy Spirit be present among us that day and each day going forward on this journey, so that those harmed by hierarchical malfeasance will find inner peace.
We are sad to report the retirement of Jayne O’Donnell as our Development Coordinator, effective July 1, although she will still be around to help the new Coordinator! Plus she will continue her work on VOTF’s Healing Circle initiative.
It has been a complete pleasure to work with Jayne all these years, first in her role leading the trustees’ Development Committee and then as our Coordinator. It will be impossible to replace her. We can only hope that we find someone as easy to work with and as talented as Jayne, because we know we cannot duplicate her passion and dedication to and knowledge about VOTF.
Fourth Diocesan Synod in Bridgeport
We have all taken note of the wonderful pastoral efforts of Bishop Frank Caggiano in Bridgeport CT, including his outreach with the Bridgeport VOTF affiliate. This is a report on the 5th session of the Synod he has called in the diocese.
Report on the Fifth General Session submitted by Jamie Dance
Bishop Caggiano called the session to order, and Morning Prayer and the Blessing of Mothers followed. Bishop led off the program with a presentation entitled “Genesis” and Global Initiatives. This speech gave the context for our day and the local initiatives that will be formally presented at our next Synod meeting on May 30.
Seven principles will serve as our guide. The first isChange, a conversion and spiritual renewal of individuals, communities, and diocese. Second isSubsidiarity, a confirmation that the Holy Spirit is alive in all of us and that all participate in true renewal. This will insure that decisions are made, wherever possible, at the local level. Third, there must be a Buy-in by all; we are in this together. Fourth is Accountability,something that all will be held to and measured by as time passes. Bishop encouraged us to be patient because change takes time. Fifth is Creative Tension that allows for the Holy Spirit to guide us. Sixth is the Need to Plan, because the journey is as important as the destination. We must be intentional in what we do. Finally seventh, we must engage the true spirit ofCollaboration by sharing life, vision, and mission.
The Book of Genesis provides the spiritual context for these principles. As God created the world from a “great abyss,” so our diocese is creating much good in our midst. Bishop termed it “Holy Potential,” giving Our Lord the opportunity to build on the good already out there.
Highlighting issues we face working together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Senior Vatican official offered bribe to child sex abuse victim, inquiry says
“A senior Vatican official, who is also Australia’s highest ranking cleric, has been accused of attempting to bribe a victim of child sex abuse to keep quiet about the molestation he suffered from a paedophile Catholic priest. The victim, David Ridsdale, told an Australian royal commission into child sexual abuse that he called Cardinal George Pell in 1993 to report being abused by his uncle Gerald Ridsdale, a former priest who is in prison after committing more than 130 offences against children as young as four between the 1960s and 1980s.” By Oliver Millman and Stephanie Kirchgaessner,The Guardian
The nuns spoke out, but the archbishop listened
“When 25 leaders of the largest organization of American nuns met for the first time with Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle in 2012, after the Vatican appointed him to lead an overhaul of their group, they expected conflict ... But instead of lecturing the nuns — women who had dedicated their lives to teaching, health care, academia and social justice — Archbishop Sartain listened.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
Minnesota Child Victims Act continues to rock Catholic Church
“Fallout continues to jolt Catholic institutions across Minnesota as a landmark law permitting lawsuits for older claims of clergy sex abuse marks its second anniversary this week. Just last week (May 18) the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis removed a priest from active ministry in Richfield — bringing to 69 the number of accused priests it has identified since the law was passed.” By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune
The Catholic Church’s American downfall: Why its demographic crisis is great news for the country
“The big news out of the new Pew poll on Americans and religion was the precipitous drop in the number of Americans calling themselves ‘Christian’ ... But there’s another number lurking in the poll that may prove just as consequential: there are 3 million fewer people calling themselves Catholic today than in 2007, the last time Pew conducted their extensive poll. As a result, the share of the U.S. population that identifies as Catholic dropped from approximately 24 percent to 21 percent.” By Patricia Miller, Salon
Catholic Church ‘buried head’ to abuse, says priest convicted of indecent assault
“Catholic church leaders buried their heads about clergy abusing children in Ballarat and should have made victims a priority, a priest convicted of indecent assault has told the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.” By Megan Neil, The Guardian
They’ve been told to ‘get over it’ for 700 Sundays. They come anyway.
“The Cathedral of the Holy Cross cast a shadow over his face, but Richard Orareo stood tall, with one hand holding his cane and the other holding a poster of a girl who was raped by a priest from kindergarten through the seventh grade. The church bells began ringing just as Orareo began to speak to a crowd of 20 other survivors gathered in front of the church.” By Allison Poole, Boston.com
Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus ...
On Tuesday, June 9 at 7:00 PM, the Weymouth VOTF affiliate will have Sr. Maria Delaney, SND as its speaker. Sister Maria just completed her term as a member of the international leadership team for the Sisters of Notre Dame deNamur. She will speak about her experiences as a woman religious.
Our meeting is held at St. Albert the Great Church, 1130 Washington Street (Route 53) in Weymouth, MA.
All are welcomed. Refreshments will be served.
Looking for a good read to kick off your summer? Have one to share? Send in a review!
This month’s America Magazine discusses John Haught’sWhat Is God? How to Think About the Divine (1986).Reviewed by Father Robert Lauder, What is God? is available through VOTF’s Amazon link.
Please send them to Siobhan Carroll, Vineyard Editor, atVineyard@votf.org. Unless otherwise indicated, I will assume comments can be published as Letters to the Editor.