May 09, 2005

A voice for the laity

The Journal News

(Original publication: May 9, 2005)

OSSINING In the northern suburbs, the Voice of the Faithful is a passionate but small voice, a voice of experience but not youth, and a voice that speaks mostly from a single parish.

More than 100 of the faithful came last week to that parish, St. Ann's Catholic Church in Ossining, to celebrate the second anniversary of their chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a national Catholic group seeking a greater lay voice in the church.

They started with an anniversary Mass at which a woman wearing a pink shirt offered a "reflection on the homily" not a homily itself, which is reserved for a priest or deacon. Cecilia Brennan, a Catholic school teacher, delivered a heartfelt but mainstream message, asking parishioners if they were rooted in Jesus instead of their jobs and worldly achievements.

"The things of this world will never satisfy like the Spirit," she said.

People asked for prayers for the new pope, for parents and children, and for "those excluded from this Catholic Church." After Mass, they headed downstairs for a lecture on the laity's role and a piece of frosted anniversary cake.

Three years after Voice of the Faithful rose up in Boston to respond to the then-shocking priest sex-abuse scandal, one of the few healthy, growing chapters in the 10-county Archdiocese of New York is the one at St. Ann's. Otherwise there are two chapters in Manhattan Voice of the Faithful prefers to call them affiliates and a new, fledgling one in Larchmont. Some Westchester residents belong to a group in Fairfield, Conn. And that's it.

Posted by kshaw at May 9, 2005 07:57 AM