An Ellsworth man has been elected president of the Maine Chapter of Voice of the Faithful.

Bob McAteer, 70, is the first person to serve as president who lives in northern Maine. He also is the spokesman for VOTF-Maine.

The organization elected new officers earlier this month.

VOTF is a worldwide movement of concerned mainstream Catholics founded in Wellesley, Mass., in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The Maine group was formed in 2002, the same year three priests were removed from parishes in St. Agatha, Madawaska and Ellsworth.

The organization’ s goals are to support those who have been abused, to support priests of integrity and to shape structural change within the Catholic Church in full accordance and harmony with church teaching.

McAteer, a communicant at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ellsworth, said earlier this month that he joined VOTF after he learned his brother at age 8 was abused by a priest in another state.

“He didn’ t reveal it to me until he was in his 50s,” McAteer said. “I thought that maybe if I could do something here in Maine, it would help fulfill his wishes.”

McAteer said that he wanted to focus the group’ s efforts more on talking about the possibilities of restructuring the church over the next century.

“I want the church I leave behind to be better than the one I had,” he said. “I don’ t expect changes in my lifetime. We’ re dealing with a 2,000-year-old power structure but I don’ t think we should give up either.”

McAteer said that another goal was to get more laypeople from northern Maine involved in the organization.

Other newly elected officers are: vice president, Steve Roy of Cape Elizabeth treasurer, Francis McGillicuddy of Portland clerk-secretary, Jane Merchant of Kennebunkport.

For information, visit www.votf.org.

jharrison@bangordailynews.net

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