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A Year Devoted to Peace: Jesus Christ, Peacemaker

Sunday, January 22, 2023, 4:30 PM. on Zoom

Speaker: Terrence J. Rynne, Professor of Peace Studies at Marquette University

Jesus Christ, Peacemaker: a New Theology of Peace, with Terrence J. Rynne, professor of Peace Studies at Marquette University.A new theology of peace renders the just war theory near mute by making Jesus and his teachings the cornerstone of both theory and practice. Rynne believes that Jesus Christ and the early church can only be properly understood through a nonviolent lens. Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection should be seen as the offer of God’s forgiveness, not a bloody sacrifice to appease an angry god. Jesus presented a foretaste of this reality with his continuous dialogue with opponents and his radically inclusive community. Jesus did not allow his disciples to violently defend him when he was arrested. This injunction against violence to defend others is the cornerstone of Rynne’s argument against the just war theory.

TERRENCE J. RYNNE is co-President of the Sally and Terry Rynne Foundation which is dedicated to peacemaking and the empowerment of women, and is the founder of Marquette University’s Center for Peacemaking. He currently teaches Peace Studies at Marquette University. Previously Dr. Rynne was President of the Rynne Marketing Group, a nationally recognized healthcare marketing firm. He has served as a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago and was a faculty member of the Archdiocesan Seminary at Mundelein. Dr. Rynne’s MBA is from Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in theology is from Marquette. He is the author of Gandhi and Jesus: The Saving Power of Nonviolence and Jesus Christ, Peacemaker: A New Theology of Peace.

A Year Devoted to Peace: St. Francis' Journey as a Peacemaker

Presented November 13, 2022
Speaker:  Ken Butigan

A Zoom link will be included in VOTFNJ's monthly VOICE and in the e-invitation to the program. Please join on Zoom at 4:15 PM to allow us to start on time.

Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi proclaimed with their lives the Good News of Gospel nonviolence, challenging the violence and injustice of their times. In light of their journey from the violence of war to the vision of universal communion, we will explore stories from the lives of these founders of the Franciscan tradition that dramatize the healing power of conflict transformation and peacemaking. Eight centuries on, we have much to learn from these spiritual giants about the nonviolent life as we confront violence and injustice today.

KEN BUTIGAN is a peace and justice worker, Pace e Bene workshop facilitator, and writer for two decades. Ken joined the Pace e Bene staff in 1990. He developed and for several years directed Pace e Bene’s “From Violence To Wholeness” program, and was actively involved in creating Pace e Bene’s Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living program. Ken has published six books, including Nonviolent Lives: People and Movements Changing the World Through the Power of Active Nonviolence, Pilgrimage through a Burning World: Spiritual Practice, and Nonviolent Protest at the Nevada Test Site. Ken teaches at DePaul University in Chicago, where he also lives with his spouse Cynthia Okayama Dopke and their daughter.

A Year Devoted to Peace: Meeting Thomas Merton Again for the First Time

Presented October 23, 2022
Speaker: Kathleen Deignan, CND, PhD

Born into a world of war and ecological devastation, of crisis and existential challenge, Merton opened pathways of spiritual recovery by daring to explore old and new routes toward human liberation and peace that became for him, and for many, saving orientations. Renew an old friendship with him or make a new one during this reflective engagement with one of the great luminaries of the Christian life as lived in 20th century America, facing the same questions we do: how shall I renounce violence, racism, ecological degradation, materialism, distortion of truth, and betrayal of those made poor?  Deeper still: how shall I become the voice and soul of “The Faithful?”

KATHLEEN NOONE DEIGNAN is a sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame and founding director of the Deignan Institute for Earth and Spirit at the University of New Rochelle, NY, where she has been Professor of Religious Studies for more than 40 years while guiding The Merton Contemplative Initiative and co-convening The Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue. Sister Kathleen is also a GreenFaith Fellow and sits on the board of the American Teilhard Association. Past President of the International Thomas Merton Society. Her books include When the Trees Say Nothing: Thomas Merton’s Writings on Nature, and Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours, including an audiobook that includes her sacred songs and psalmody. She has just completed co-editing a volume forthcoming from Orbis Books in Spring 2023 – Teilhard de Chardin: A Book of Hours. Sister Kathleen is also co-founder of Schola Ministries – a project in service to the contemplative and liturgical arts which has produced a dozen compact discs of her original sacred songs at www.ScholaMinistries.org. Her music can be found on YouTube: Kathleen Deignan Music.


Resources on Systemic Racism

The VOTFNJ Coordinating Team has compiled a resource list on the subject of systemic racism, offering theological readings as well as historical and political perspectives. Download it here.




Dr. Shannen Dee Williams was with us on November 21, 2021. Her book, Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle is available through VOTFNJ. Please email if you would like to purchase a copy.

Confronting Systemic Racism

VOTFNJ Offered Two-part Online Series on Racism

Moderator, Peg Pipchick PhD APN, Member of Voice of the Faithful New Jersey
Peg Pipchick is an Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse and Marriage and Family Therapist who has spent the last five years trying to understand the true facts about Racism and Slavery in the United States.

Racism in the Catholic Church
Event held Sunday, January 24, 2021

Program readings
Please click on this PDF to access these readings:

  1. Open Wide our Hearts, 2018 pastoral document of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  2. Interview with Bryan Massingale SJ, in Commonweal. 
  3. Daniel F. Horan OFM, When Will US Bishops Address Evil Systemic Racism? 
  4. Shannen Dee Williams, The Church must make reparation for its role in slavery, segregation. National Catholic Reporter 
  5. Black Catholics: Words Not Enough as Church Decries Racism AP article.
  6. Desegregating the Altar: The Josephites and the Struggle for Black Priests. Book review by Randall M. Miller, published in U.S. Catholic Historian. 
  7. Oral History interview with Sister Gwynette Proctor. From “Habits of Change: An Oral History of American Nuns” by Carole Garibaldi Rogers (Oxford University Press, 2011).
  8. Pope Sends Strong Message to US Catholics After Floyd Death AP article. 
  9. Church of St. Francis Xavier, New York. Pastoral Council Statement on Communal Commitment to Establishing Racial Equity and Dismantling Racial Injustice.

Read more ...

In the Prophetic Tradition: Raise Your Voice!

VOTFNJ NCR 2019 1Dear VOTFNJ brothers and sisters,

The self-inflicted wound of the clerical sexual abuse crisis has brought our beloved Church to the point of implosion--at least the hierarchical clerical culture of our Church. It is, in one way, a good thing! This means that the wound has been exposed and now the healing may begin; the rebuilding of the Church can commence. What is good can be retained and what has gone off course can be rooted out and left behind.

As members of the laity, committed to our baptismal promises, we can - and must - participate in the rebuilding of our beloved local New Jersey church. In this packet of materials you will find helpful resources, appropriate contact information, and informative background articles. May we suggest a few things that we all can do to move the healing forward?

VOTFNJ has developed an Action Packet of practical steps you can take to confront the abuse crisis in our Church.

Join Us to Support Refugees in New Jersey

 Refugee Assistance Update

RAMP tag stackedAt VOTFNJ's invitation, a steering committee for refugee assistance held its first organizational meeting on May 23, 2016 at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. The result: a coalition of 23 member organizations which have named themselves, Refugee Assistance Morris Partners (RAMP). Their stated purpose: "...to assist vetted Middle Eastern and other refugee families to transiton to productive lives of dignity, safety, and hope in the Morris County area of New Jersey." The group has partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and with the Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ).

Learn more about RAMP here.
Learn more about RAMP's partnership with CFNJ here.
Donate to RAMP here.

If you would like to join this multi-faith and civic effort, check for the opportunities available here. Contact RAMP This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and to receive updates.






VOTF National News & Views

votfnj sStay in touch and informed!


Read In the Vineyard and stay abreast of VOTF national activities and views here.

Road to Recovery

VOTFNJ is pleased to support ...

Road to RecoveryRoad to Recovery, a non-profit organization that offers compassionate counseling and referral services to survivors of sexual abuse. Launched in 2005 to provide direct assistance to victims of clergy sexual abuse, R2R has expanded its mission to include survivors of all sexual abuse. Learn more.

VOTFNJ Coordinating Team member and President & Co-Founder of Road To Recovery, Bob Hoatson, a former priest turned Whistleblower, tells his private experience of Clergy Abuse and Cover-Up, what he witnessed on the inside, and what he's doing about it now. Learn more and purchase here.


Liturgies of the Word

Liturgy Celebrating the Life of Gerry Gannon
January 15, 2022
4:30 PM
on Zoom

Presider: Mark DeStephano
Zoom details will be provided in the invitations to the liturgies and presentations.
We invite everyone not only to join our liturgies but to actively participate! Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to be a reader or present the Eucharistic prayer.

We grieve the passing of Gerry Gannon who transitioned into his new life in the Divine Presence on Christmas Day. Gerry was a member of VOTFNJ with his wife Mary, and served on its Coordinating Team. He also was co-founder with Mary of RAMP, Refugees Assistance Morris Partners. You can read more about Gerry in his obituary here.

To honor Gerry's life and his commitment to those in need, donations can be made to a charity of your choosing or one of Gerry’s favorites: RAMP (Refugee Assistance -Morris Partners), PO Box1544, Morristown NJ 07960; St Vincent Academy, 228 West Market Street, Newark, NJ 07103;Nourish NJ, 57 E Park Place, 2nd floor, Morristown, NJ 07960; The Migrant Center of the Church of St Francis of Assisi, 135 W 31st Street, New York, New York 10001.







THE VOICE - VOTFNJ's Monthly Newsletter

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Living the Gospel - Intentional Eucharistic Communities

Intentional Eucharistic Communities (IECs) are those small faith communities, rooted in the Catholic tradition, which gather to celebrate Eucharist on a regular basis. Born in the enthusiasm flowing from Vatican II for a church of the people, some IECs were instituted in parishes, some were created as alternatives to the parish, some retain close ties with the institutional church, and some function independently. VOTFNJ considers itself to be an Intentional Eucharistic Community.dove08

Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community is the "Sister Community" of VOTFNJ. Their Morristown Liturgy meets the 2nd Sunday of each month at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 100 Harter Rd. Morristown, NJ at 4:30 p.m. Follow Sophia on Facebook. During ths pandemic, you can join Sophia's Zoom liturgies on Sundays at 10:50 AM. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

The Christian Community usually has a liturgy with Peter Krebs at 10:30 AM each Sunday in room 110 on the first floor of the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station NJ.

The Emmaus Community welcomes all at mass every Sunday at 9:30 AM at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Sterling NJ.

Upcoming Events

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