News for VOTF members in the Boston Archdiocese –


The next phase of Structural Change.

VOTF Boston Council

The new VOTF Boston "Council" will channel the energy of local affiliates, providing leadership focus on issues specific to this Archdiocese. The Boston Council will support lay participation in decisions affecting the future of our Church. At the same time, it will facilitate greater communication and internal organization within the five regions of the Archdiocese.




The year 2004 will mean a new beginning for members of the 45 VOTF affiliates in the Boston Archdiocese. It will now be possible to speak as one lay voice to the Church and secular community.


The call to create a distinct Boston "voice" coalesced after the June conference of all affiliates in the Archdiocese. An organizing team has produced the following document for the creation of a distinct VOTF Boston, expected to begin in February.


The new VOTF Boston "Council" will channel the energy of local affiliates, providing leadership focus on issues specific to this Archdiocese. The Boston Council will support lay participation in decisions affecting the future of our Church. At the same time, it will facilitate greater communication and internal organization within the five regions of the Archdiocese.


This document for implementation of the new Boston Council creates an umbrella organization of all affiliates in the Archdiocese. It outlines rationale, articulates goals and concomitant tasks, and sets guidelines for election and practical functioning.


This document is geared to create a "hit-the-ground-running" governance structure able to communicate well in both an internal and external posture.


Each affiliate will be represented on the Council. Therefore, it behooves all non-ordained Catholics who want a more active voice in their Church, assuming Baptismal responsibility, to join an existing VOTF affiliate within the appropriate region of the Archdiocese.


With sincere wishes for a joyous holiday season,


The VOTF Boston organizing team:




Central - *Robert Ott, Chair ( 617 527 5722) Eleanor Hartnett, Leslie Dennis


North - *Robert Morris (781 721-1399), Jack Whelan


South - *John Hynes (781 828-3340) Anne Southwood


West - *Lois Mastrangelo (617 936-8588), John Magilligan


Merrimac - *Maurice Donovan ( 978 465-0620)


*contact person for further information


Plan of

The Voice of the Faithful Organizing Team  for a  Boston VOTF


At the time of the June 7 VOTF/Boston Conference, VOTF leadership had numerous discussions with a variety of constituents. As a result, VOTF leadership realized there was a need for, and considerable interest in creating, a mechanism to enable VOTF to act in coordination with all of the Parish Voice Affiliates in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB). Such coordinated action would allow VOTF/Boston to implement the recommendations of the June 7 VOTF/Boston Conference, and develop plans for carrying out National VOTF's Strategic Plan in the RCAB. Thus, the VOTF's Organizing Team was formed to put together a plan to create an "umbrella organization," which the Organizing Team now proposes be called the Boston VOTF Council. The Organizing Team was asked specifically to design processes for: creating a Boston “umbrella” organization, electing representatives of the Parish Voice Affiliates to that organization, and establishing a structural plan for carrying out the work of the new organization.


Rationale for a Boston VOTF Council


It is crucial that Voice of the Faithful in Boston establish a local identity that sets it apart from National VOTF. What is established must be readily identifiable to the local Catholic Community, and to the leadership of the RCAB, as Boston’s own VOTF – an organization that very specifically represents all Boston Parish Voice Affiliates in communication and negotiation with the leadership of the Boston Archdiocese.


We cannot continue to rely on National VOTF to speak for Boston. The collective "voice" of the Boston affiliates must

a)     begin to speak up about the continuing need to support victims/survivors, and priests of integrity; and

b)     b) become an effective advocate for organizational openness and transparency within the operations of the Boston Archdiocese. Through coordination and planning, a Boston VOTF Council will focus and concentrate the energy and ideas of local affiliates.


Goals of the Boston VOTF Council


To support National VOTF, its mission, goals and Strategic Plan.

To bring together all Boston parish affiliates to be a unified voice in speaking to the leadership of the RCAB, to the Catholic community, and to the community at large.


To provide leadership in identifying archdiocesan-wide issues, implementing strategic actions to support victims/survivors and priests of integrity, and promoting full lay participation in addressing issues of concern to VOTF affiliates.


To increase the Catholic community's awareness and understanding of the critical importance of active lay participation at all levels of Church governance in the RCAB, and to promote full and open discussion about decisions impacting the life and future of the Church in Boston.M


Composition of, and election process for, the Boston VOTF Council


The Council will consist of a representative from each Parish Voice Affiliate, who will be elected/selected by a particular affiliate by whatever process is agreed upon by the members of that affiliate. A representative will serve for a term of two years. A representative may serve for two consecutive terms. Affiliates will complete the election/selection process by January 31, 2004, and will notify their region's representative on the Organizing Team of the results.


In order to carry out the planning and day-to-day leadership functions of the Council, a Steering Committee will be elected. The Steering Committee will consist of one member from each of the five RCAB regions. By February 15, 2004, the elected affiliate representatives from each of the five regions will elect one of their members to serve on the Steering Committee. Steering Committee members will serve for a one-year period. The Steering Committee will meet once a week in its formative stages. Meetings will occur at the same time each week in order to ensure continuity and maximize participation by the members.


The Steering Committee will elect a Chairperson and other officers of the Steering Committee, as appropriate. The Steering Committee will determine attendance standards for its members. The Chairperson will also appoint a Moderator (if desired) to conduct Council meetings.


Functioning of the Boston VOTF Council


In its early stage, the Council will meet frequently -- biweekly during its developmental period, and continuing on a regular basis thereafter. Meetings will be open to the full membership.


An “important decision” will be made only after efforts to collaborate with and seek feedback from affiliates. On occasion there may be a need for “emergency action” on a critical matter, in which case, the Steering Committee will have the authority to act on behalf of the Council without prior discussion and review. Although both the Council and the Steering Committee will strive for consensus decision-making, important decisions will be decided by a recorded vote with a “majority” in favor required for passage. As early as possible, the Council will define what it means by “important decision,” “emergency action,” and “majority.”


The Council's groundwork on key issues will take place in working groups, or similar structures. The Council will address the question of funding to support its activities once it develops an action plan.


Tasks of the Boston VOTF Council


Among other tasks, the Council will:


Identify and address key diocesan issues e.g. the bannings

Develop policy

Maintain and develop relations with affiliates in support of their functioning at the parish level

Centralize communications, including with Priests Forum, Survivor groups, and archdiocese

Facilitate organization at the regional level within the archdiocese

Media response

Plan major diocesan-wide events

Fundraise in support of VOTF goals


Voice of the Faithful is recognized as one of the most promising lay organizations to evolve in the Catholic Church. Your support is absolutely necessary for us to continue. The online donation form and the mail in donation form are both quick and easy ways for you to participate, and we are most grateful.





Mission Statement


To provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.


Our Goals


1. To support those who have been abused


2. To support priests of integrity


3. To shape structural change within Church



Pray Each Day

at Noon


Jesus, Lord and Brother, help us with our faithfulness. Please hear our voice, and let our voice be heard. Amen.



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