Minutes of Steering Committee,

Winchester Area VOTF, Jan. 29, 2003, 7.30 p.m.

In attendance: Bob Morris, Anna-Marie Ferraro, Anne Harris, Paul Kellen, Louise Aleo, Frank Brophy, Dee Ingalls, Jeanne Martin, Clare Keane.

The Opening Prayer was offered by Paul.

Financial Status: Anna-Marie passed out an updated statement. We have been quite successful with passing the basket at Monday night meetings and have a healthy balance. Anna-Marie will have copies of this financial statement available at next Monday's meeting. Bob has not billed for some website and phone expenses.

Jan 13 and 27 meetings: There were microphone problems with Jacqui Landry's presentation. In future we should alert speakers to the need to hold the mike up to their mouth. On Jan 27, attendance was excellent despite the record cold. The presentation by Phil Saviano and Carol McCormack was moving and very well-received.

Paul spoke about the protest in Manchester N.H. on Jan. 26. A number of people attended from the Winchester Area VOTF. There were 200-plus protesters. Many marched carrying pictures (some of themselves). Fr. Doyle spoke in support of the survivors. He noted how grateful he was to them for the support he receives to help him overcome the shame he feels when he says the four words "I am a priest."

Website: Regina asked working groups to send reports for their sections. There are currently placeholders for many of the groups. Louise has a submission for the structural change group and Christina will forward the priests' survey information soon. Jeanne says that the stories of abused women are now on the VOTF Central website. Regina is adding Fr. Nestor's talk on Feb. 10 to the Calendar page, with a link to St. John's Seminary. She also asked people to let her know when they find out they have not received emails sent to the mailing list. Anne offered to check the error messages containing the undeliverable email addresses. Frank stressed the importance of this, as VOTF Central wants an updated mailing list shortly to confirm the 25,000 membership number. Regina will also update the Excel spreadsheet.

Clare brought the group up to date on the priests' survey and read the project overview page, partly to reassure people that the priest support group had clearly stated the number of priests this survey represented. The interviewed priests will shortly receive the survey document and will have a chance to react before it is made public via the website.

Christina is still hoping to invite all priests whose parishes are represented in WAVOTF to a potluck towards the end of March.

Future Meetings: On Feb.3, the meeting will be in the church. The education piece will be given by Jim Skahan on Cardinal Newman. Christina will summarize the survey of priests. Jan will talk about Council elections and present the Structural Change document for discussion. Fr. Nestor will speak about present-day priestly formation on Feb. 10. There will be no meeting on Feb. 17, Presidents' Day, and the next Steering Committee meeting will be on Feb. 19.

Jan. 12 Introduction to VOTF: This presentation was given following the 5 p.m. Mass and drew very few people. The group discussed the advisability of holding repeat presentations with a view to recruiting and expanding. What is next for VOTF? Have we reached all who would consider joining? Will there continue to be a large group of people who will come to individual meetings but limit their involvement in the organization? Dee, Anne, and Anna-Marie will work on a parish questionnaire aimed at finding out how the people in the pews feel about VOTF.

Jeanne Martin passed out a draft of a survey aimed at Catholics who belong to an ethnic minority. She would like to help them to feel more involved in the current life of the church, but realizes that the approach has to be geared sensitively toward different cultural mindsets. Clare offered to help with the construction of a survey.

Future Meetings: Fr. John Sassani is scheduled to speak on March 3; Fr. O'Malley will be invited to speak at some future time. Regina has invited Fr. Christopher Coyne to come to a Steering Committee meeting and he is considering it. Bob also mentioned that we might try to encourage Bishop Lennon to visit, since his former parish is represented in WAVOTF and since he is eager to do parish visits.

The group closed the meeting by praying the Our Father.