Newsletter, March 20, 2013

ACC LogoAmerican Catholic Council 
Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II

Entering into the season of Easter renewal…  
NEWSLETTER                                           March 20, 2013        

COR update
IEC project update
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Prayer for Pope Francis

Gracious God,

We lift up your servant Jorge Mario Bergoglio

newly elected to lead the People of God.

May he find inspiration in his chosen name: Francis

May he hear the call to “rebuild the church” as did Francis of Assisi,

to eschew outmoded traditions and unnecessary pomp, as did Francis of Assisi …

May he see the essential dignity in each person, whether leper or lord, as did Francis of Assisi …

May he understand the connectedness of all beings and nature – fostering respect for “Brother             Wind”and “Sister Water”as did Francis of Assisi …

May he discover new ways of being church in today’s world, just as Francis of Assisi did in founding a new order in his time…

And may he be open to the voice of the Spirit and the signs of the times,

as our Church enters into the Easter promise of new life,

the unfolding of the mystery of God’s grace, the revelation of our redemption

in the glory of the Risen Lord. Amen!

Articles worth the Read and Listen
ACC’s New National “Sounding” Board
Leads Us To Future
We are thrilled to report that we had a generous and affirming response to our call for volunteers for the ACC “Sounding Board.”  The following people will be working together on a monthly basis for regular discussions and will be available for consultation via email when we have “breaking news” in between calls. We are happy to welcome this diversity of participants from around the country:
Connie Aligada (MN)
Gerry Bechard (MI)
John Chuchman (AZ)
Robert Cortegiano (NY)
James Ewens (WI)
John Frank (FL)

Janet Hauter (IL)

Rosemary Hosie-Tackes (MT)
Martin Leahy (PA)
Anne McCarthy (PA)
Helen McCarthy (ON, Ca)
Sheila Peiffer (NY)
Gaile Pohlhaus (PA)
Rodger Powers (CA)
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Rolling Away the Stone:  The season of
New Life in the Church….

Let’s Roll Away the Stone…TOGETHER!

We are living in historic times! We witnessed the resignation of a Pope and the election of a new Pope, whose first actions raise hope for a new kind of papacy: We have never witnessed the humility of a pope who began his pontificate by asking the people to pray for him before he prayed for the people. He is a leader who slipped out of the Vatican to visit a Cardinal who had suffered a heart attack and who stopped other cardinals from kneeling before him. As cardinals approached him to kiss his ring, I heard that he reached out and kissed their ring! I had tears in my eyes as the stories began to define the man and point to a new era of collegial and responsive leadership.

This time of transition calls us to a new level of responsibility. We all know the power of prayer so between now and Pentecost (May 19, 2013), let’s make a commitment together to pray for Pope Francis to continue to demonstrate a Church of the people. See that prayer in this newsletter edition (to the left). May his initial humble behavior portend great change and great good for our Church!

Is it soup yet?

The short answer is NO. Since the close of our intense, fourteen week “Institute” on Dr. Gene Sharp’s non-violent resistance methods last November, a dedicated committee has bee  n developing a summary of the course’s conclusions and a strategy for action.

There is tremendous creative energy in this first phase of our strategic planning work that will soon be available and which is currently being “vetted” by our Institute colleagues and new Sounding Board. We are entering sacred space with this new pope as we witness a new era of leadership where we hope the baptized will be viewed as having worth and dignity, the dignity bestowed on us by our God.  May this promise inspire many of us to get involved!

We are excited about the potential of launching a new initiative that builds on the work of our listening assemblies where we moved from our pain about and for the institutional Church to solutions. A universal result of these assemblies was empowerment!  Innovation is very present in the emerging initiative which we hope you embrace with enthusiasm and that energy.

Please watch for the Special Edition of the newsletter defining in detail who the ACC is becoming and how we plan to invite you to “the party” to roll away the stone together! It is, after all, the Resurrection Season soon. Janet Hauter

With Easter hope,
Janet Hauter, National Chair, ACC

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Update: Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR)
Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR), the coalition of Catholic reform organizations, met in Washington, DC at the beginning of March for their semi-annual gathering. This year, there was a special air of excitement in the room, since Benedict XVI had resigned and we were waiting the process of choosing the next Pope to begin.
As usual, we spent some time sharing our current activities with each other and exploring our various approaches to the challenge of changing the Church. We also examined a report prepared by a committee about how to modify the structure of COR going forward in order to facilitate more collaboration on specific projects. We agreed to run a “test pilot” of a sub-committee on “Movement Building” which will meet between now and the fall in order to have a proposal ready for the next meeting, just prior to the CTA annual conference.Press Conference

COR Meets the Press!

In anticipation of the upcoming historic papal election, COR called a press conference and was pleased to be able to hold this event during the meeting on Friday morning, with all member organizations represented, including ACC. We even made the local CBS news in the DC area! Once the new Pope was elected, our press release was reissued as a response to the conclave.  CLICK HERE for the COR Press Statement.

Through COR, the ACC is part of two other important coalitions: NunJustice and IMWAC (International Movement We Are Church).

NunJustice was formed almost a year ago, in the wake of the mandate issued against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious last April. Since then, under the aegis of NunJustice, there have been hundreds of vigils and prayer services, thousands of petition signatures, significant redirection of funds from regular giving to religious orders, thousands of Christmas cards and messages sent to the US Papal Nuncio and the Bishops’ oversight committee, and thousands praying a special Ash Wednesday and Lenten prayer for the sisters.

As April 18th approaches, the anniversary of the mandate, NunJustice is planning to write open “op ed” letters to Pope Francis, asking him to rescind this decree and allow the sisters to continue doing their good work unimpeded by an “investigation”. Watch for a request to sign on to this letter!

When Benedict XVI resigned, IMWAC swung into action and asked representatives from all its global members to convene in Rome to address the changes hoped for with a new Pope. Several COR members traveled to Rome for this event, including Anthony Padovano (CORPUS) and Nicole Sotelo (Call to Action.) IMWAC held meetings and several press conferences. Now, with the election of Pope Francis, IMWAC is looking for one million signatures on a petition to the new Pope. Please sign! And please share this petition link with others so that its impact can be felt.

IEC Project (Intentional Eucharistic CommunitiesIEC logoOn Sunday, March 10th, Sheila Peiffer was able to attend a NOVA liturgy in the DC area and meet for lunch afterwards with some of the IEC committee members from several of the communities in that area. It was great to put faces with names and we were able to agree on some principles going forward, so progress was evident! Soon, the IEC website will get managerial help and this will enable posting of new materials and resources. We continue to work on gathering the resources, so feel free to be in touch with  Sheila Peiffer if you want to contribute.
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