Minutes of Steering Committee,

Winchester Area VOTF, August 14, 2002, 7.30 p.m.

In attendance: Bob Morris, Mary and John Deyst, Barbara Doherty, Judy Eisel, Dee Ingalls, Bonnie Rodgers-Kronenburg, Paul Kellen, Anna-Marie Ferraro, Mary Lou Burke, Jane Howard, Marge Bean, Lorraine Kelly (from St. Agnes Reading VOTF), Clare Keane.

The Opening Prayer was offered by Mary Lou Burke.

Archdiocesan Presentation to Parishioners: Bob summarized this meeting for those who did not attend. Fr Sean Connor and Donna Morrissey spoke on behalf of the Archdiocese and Carol Mullin, a parishioner who is a lawyer in family court, working often with abuse cases, gave an overview of the legal side. Fr. Tom Nestor facilitated. The upshot was that the new process will take time (6 months was the minimum timeframe before Fr. Vic’s case will be heard). The definition of the word "credible", as used in the new process, was troublesome to many, since it implied only that the priest and the accuser were in the same location at the same time. Many felt it implied that a preliminary investigation had found the abuse had likely occurred. Fr. Vic’s attorney spoke very strongly against the process as he is experiencing it, with information being hard to obtain in a timely fashion. Many expressed scepticism at the assurance that if Fr. Vic is exonerated, every attempt will be made to restore his reputation; this will be difficult, if not impossible to implement.

Bob asked the committee whether they felt VOTF should respond. The consensus was that individuals should feel free to express their sentiments to the Archdiocese, but that VOTF as an organization should not make a statement, given that we cannot know how things will evolve. Mary Lou assured all that the work of the parish is continuing. There was some discussion about contacting the Globe for a spotlight report on the process.

Speaker: Fr. J. P. Martin Hyatt, Spiritual Director of the Cursillo movement, spoke on Monday evening. Judy will send him a note of thanks on behalf of all.

Updates:

Cathedral Volunteers: Marge Bean has been coordinating the volunteers who have signed up to be outside the Cathedral on Sunday.

Contact with St. Zepherin’s: Bonnie will connect shortly with Darrell Simpson of St. Zepherin’s over mutual support between parishes whose priests are on administrative leave.

Future Speakers: Sr. Janice Farnham from the Weston School of Theology will speak about Church History on August 26.

Fr. O’Donohoe will speak on September 23: the meeting will take place in the church.

Regina has left messages for Fr. Leahy (President of Boston College).

Bob has not heard back from James Carroll, whom he invited to speak.

No word on whether Anne Harris has contacted Fr. Savage.

Paul Kellen will invite Francine Cardman.

Marge mentioned that having a speaker who works with victims would be a good balance.

Jane suggested Fr. Bill Crimmell (sp?) who is chaplain at both Wellesley College and Regis College.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Curriculum: Paul has been researching this. Mary Lou says that the parish is holding a meeting for parents on September 12 on Creating a Sexually Safe Environment. Paul does not want to reinvent the wheel if others are creating a curriculum independently.

Cable Access: Dee has found out information regarding a course offered by Arlington local cable access. This course would be available to us.

Agenda for August 19: Christina has requested 20 minutes to talk about the Priests’ Survey. Louise and Cathy have asked for 20 minutes in order to present the preliminary structural change suggestions coming out of the combined chapters. Bob says that others have requested to know what the Steering Committee is doing, and he will make a presentation. Also, time will be set aside for listening to further discussion about the Archdiocese’s presentation.

There was a comment about how welcome the refreshments have been at the meetings, hospitality not being one of the Catholic Church’s most noted qualities! All were in favor of the presence of food and drink, if only to symbolize how we want to welcome all who attend our meetings.

Lay Council meeting: Michele, Louise, and Cathy attended the meeting Wellesley on August 8. Michele summarized the meeting in email.

September 8 VOTF Presentation at 9 a.m. Mass: Bob has drafted a presentation to parishioners for that day. Regina, Mary Ann Nau, and Clare will work together on a flyer about VOTF as well as a calendar of events, both of which will be available as handouts. Bob noted that many volunteers will be needed that day.

Bob requested someone stand in for him at the Steering Committee meeting on Sept. 4. Anna-Marie will assume the role.

For the Closing Prayer, the group prayed the Our Father.