Thursday, December 14, 2017

Silent Night/Each Holy Child by Shaina Noll, Beautiful Musical Video for Christmas and Every Day

Silent Night, Holy Night
All is calm, all is bright
On every birthday, each mother and child
Each holy infant is tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Each holy child, sleep in peace

You were born, a holy child, a holy child
You were born a holy child
Every child, a holy child
On your birthday, a holy child
You were born, you were born holy, too.

Silent Night, Holy Night
All is calm, all is bright
On every birthday, each parent and child
Each holy infant is tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Each holy child, each holy child,
Each holy child, sleep in peace.

Each child that’s born
A holy child

Five Years since Sandy Hook, Praying for Victim of Gun Violence

Today marks the fifth year since the Sandy Hook massacre. Tonight's vigil will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of mass shootings, other homicide victims, and those who have lost their lives to suicide and accidental shootings. We will gather to remember individuals, hear inspirational thoughts and music, and reflect on the epidemic of gun violence in our nation.

God of the broken-hearted,
God of the broken heart,
receive our sighs
too deep for words.
In your time,
by your grace,
heal us.
In this meantime,
hold us
as we weep.
Hold us and rock us
with the rhythm
of your own

J. Harader

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community At Sun City Center “Come to the Stable in Your Heart” Dec 14, 2017 , Katy Zatsick ARCWP, Presider

All: In the name of God our creator, and of Jesus our beloved Brother, and of Sofia Holy Spirit our wisdom. Amen. 
Presider: God is with you. All: And also with you.

Opening Prayer. 
All: O God, Source of all good, you constantly broke through our history calling us to love, peace and justice.  Your Word made flesh in Jesus is a new call and a new beginning.  As we celebrate his birth we ask to renew this vision and our fidelity to Jesus who is the Way. We ask this in his name. Amen. 

See Sheet for Readings
First Reading: 
Psalm Response: 
2nd Reading: 
Gospel reading 
Shared Homily “Who am I as I visit the stable this year?”

Profession of Faith. All: We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus the Christ our brother and Beloved Son of God who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices. We believe in the Communion of Saints our heavenly friends and family, who support us on life’s journey. We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world. We believe that all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously. Amen.

Presider: Always mindful of God’s love and care for us, we bring the needs of God’s people to our loving Creator and Sustainer.
Response: Emmanuel God with us, hear our prayer.   
Presider: That the 2018 Federal and State budgets will provide for the Common Good of Americans and a healthy environment for all, we pray. Response. 
Presider: For what else should we pray…
Presider: We know you hear our prayers; those we speak and those we keep in our hearts. Energize our community coming to the stable especially at this Christmas season. All: Amen

Presider:  Blessed are you, O God, Seeker of all.  This bread is your MMOJ community coming to your birth place in our hearts bringing ourselves as a gift for you.  Through your divine providence, we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of life.   ALL:  Praise to God forever.
Presider:  Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all.  This wine is our desire to live following your Way for healing and peace.  Through your divine providence, we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink.  ALL:  Praise to God forever.
Presider: Divine Presence, we are united in this sacrament by the love of our Brother Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate and all those who seek to be the Compassionate presence of God in our world ALL:  Amen. 
All: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal and the gifts of faith and hope may we become your new creation. Amen. 

Eucharistic Prayer. 
All Sing: We are holy holy holy (x3) We are whole; You are holy holy holy (x3) You are whole; I am holy (x3) I am whole; We are holy holy holy (x3) We are whole.

All: Come Holy Spirit and settle on this bread and wine. Fill them with the wholeness of our living Cosmic Christ born in a stable and living in us today.

Remembering Jesus.   (hand extended in blessing): 
All: On the night before he died, while at supper with his friends, Jesus took bread, broke it, and shared it with those present, saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat. This is my body which will be broken for you.”(Pause)

Then Jesus took a cup of wine and shared it with those present, saying, “Take this all of you and drink. This is the cup of my life-blood. Do this in memory of me.”

All (2nd Invocation of Spirit, with hand on each other’s shoulder): Come Holy Spirit to rest on us. Refreshed from our worship together and joined with Jesus’ parents Joseph and Mary, the shepherds, and the wise ones; may we extend your Love and peace to all we meet. Amen 

Prayer of Jesus “Our Father and Mother”
Song of Peace Love is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me, flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free. Hope is flowing…Alleluia

Litany for Breaking of Bread. 
All: Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power. We will do so! 
Loving God, you call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will do 
Loving God, you call us to be your presence in the world. We will do so!

Presider: This is Jesus born in a humble stable who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this banquet of love and to live as the Heart and Hands of Christ in our times. All: We are the Body of Christ.

Prayer of Thanksgiving (Didache, 100CE)
Men 1: For the thanksgiving, give thanks this way: First, for the cup: We thank you, Abba God, for the sacred vine of David your son, whose meaning you made clear to us through our brother Jesus, yours ever be the splendor. 

Women 2: And for the bread fragment: We thank you, Abba God, for the life and wisdom whose meaning you made clear to us through Jesus, yours ever be the splendor. 

All 3: As this fragment was scattered high on hills, but by gathering was united into one, so let your people from earth’s ends be united into your single reign, for yours are splendor and might through Jesus Christ down the ages.

Prayers of Gratitude from community

Final Blessing. 
All (hand extended over community):
        May Gods Light encircle you
        May Gods Love enfold you
        May Gods Peace encourage you
            May God’s Hope fill your heart                                and soul.
        May Gods Presence enrich you
        As we celebrate the birth of Jesus in the stable and in our hearts each day. Amen 

Presider: Let us go in the peace, faith, and hope of Christ, let our service continue! All: Thanks be to God.

A Very Merry and Blessed Christmas to you all and to your families and friends.
A blessed and safe New Year in 2018. 

Thanks to and adapted from a liturgy by Michael and Imogene Rigdon of MMOJ-Sarasota

First Reading: “Receiving” as told by Latifa Amdur  (read by a woman)
I was practicing as a naturopath in my small clinic in one rom of my two-room home in Sololá, Guatemala, 1973. I knew midwifery was next.  My midwife and I were the only ones present at my son’s birth that same year.  She had arrived just I time to catch him.  It was, and remains, the most precious moment of my life.  I knew I had more karma with that.  I had spoken with my neighbors about the local comadrona.  One day I was walking back from market with my son, Dov, on my back and she approached me.  Shew as tiny, maybe 4 feet 8 inches, thin, her unwrinkled skin tight across her high cheekbones, her grey hair in thin braids, and her sparkling black eyes meeting mine.  She wore traje (traditional woven Mayan dress) from Sololá.  We were the only people on the path.  Ancient comadrona and a gringa medicine woman.  An odd couple.
Without introduction she said “Tienes que aprender a reciber el nen.” “You will learn to receive the baby. (Not deliver, but Receive!) And that’s what we spent the next two and one-half years doing together.”  
“Learning to receive.  We receive a baby.  We don’t deliver it. We receive the gifts of the Creator.  We don’t make them happen.  We receive love, we can’t make people love us.  When we risk learning to receive, we risk getting what we want.”  The inspired words of Anne Wilson Schaef.  All: Thanks be to God. 
Psalm Response: Men recite bold, women respond.
Come o Wisdom, Sophia’s Child and Mary’s too
Bring us back to you.
Come O Adonai, Child of Ancient Israel
Set us free of fear, despair, and misogyny.
Come O of Flower of Jesse’s tree, uproot our hatreds.
Wash us clean in just-reign waters
Plant us deep in thee.
Come O Key of David, Open heaven’s gate.
Unlock, unblock, this captive Church
Too long enthralled with (power).
Come O Radiant Dawn, dispel death’s dark shadow.
Light the way of all who long
To preach, to teach, to consecrate Heavenly Hosts
Of God’s indwelling.
Come O Emmanuel, God’s gladsome “with us” news,
Strengthen weary arms, steady trembling knees.
Bring surcease of sorrow.
All: Come O Advent Light, Pierce December gloom,
Quicken our waiting world with life’s fresh blessed tomorrow.
Bring joyful tidings of God’s new birth.
Come through the labor of a woman, borne
So all know well Emmanuel.  Amen        (Chris Schenk CSJ, 10/98 based on the O Antiphons)

Second Reading: “Her Amazement at Her Only Child” by Karol Wojtyla* (read by a man)
“Light piercing, gradually, everyday events; a woman’s eyes, hands used to them since childhood.  Then brightness flared, too huge for simple days, and hands clasped when the words lost their space.

In that little town, my son, where they knew us together, you called me mother; but no one had eyes to see, the astounding events as they took place day by day.  Your life became the life of the poor in your wish to be with them through the work of your hands. 

I knew: the light that lingered in ordinary things, like a spark sheltered under the skin of our days—the light was you; it did not come from me. 

And I had more of you in the luminous silence than I had of you as the fruit of my body, my blood.” The Inspired word of Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II.  All: Thanks be to God. 
Gospel: Luke 2:1-19  In those days, Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a consensus of the whole Roman World.  This first census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All the people were instructed to go back to the towns of their birth to register.  And so Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the city of David—Bethlehem, in Judea, because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David; he went to register with Mary, his espoused wife, who was pregnant.  While they were there, the time came for her delivery.  Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son; she put him in a simple cloth wrapped like a receiving blanket, and laid him in a feeding trough for cattle, because there was no room for them at the inn.  
There were shepherds in the area living in the fields and keeping night watch by turns over their flock.  The angel of God appeared to them, and the glory of God shown around them; they were very much afraid.  The angels said to them, “you have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good news to you—news of a great joy to be shared by the whole people.  Today in David's city, a savior—the Messiah---has been born to you.  Let this be a sign to you: you'll find an infant wrapped in a simple cloth, lying in a manger.”  Suddenly; there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in high heaven! And on earth, peace to those on whom God's favor rests. “

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see this event that God has made known to us.”  They hurried and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger; once they saw this, they reported what they had been told concerning the child. All who heard about it were astonished at the report given by the shepherds. Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. The Good News of our salvation.  ALL: Glory and Praise to our Brother Jesus, newborn Prince of Peace.

* (translated by Jerzy Peterkiewicz, Karol Wojtyla- Collected Poems, page 45, Random House, 1982)  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Women's Ordination Worldwide, and Women's Ordination Conference Make the "List of Dissenting Catholic Charities: Changing the Unchangeable"

There are several 501(c)(3) and membership organizations demanding that the Church ordain women priests. Among these are Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests(ARCWP), Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW), and Women's Ordination Conference.

My comment: I view this title as a honor and an opportunity to spread the word to supporters of women's equality worldwide! Capital Research Center is not promoting us, but I think many people will want to support justice and equality in the Roman Catholic Church by donating to our non-profit organizations. Yes, we are changing the unchangeable by ordaining women priests now and advocating for a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. Bridget Mary Meehan, www,

Interfaith panel describes women's struggle for equality in religious traditions by Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

A Woman's Place" panel discussion was held at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan on Nov. 13, 2017. Seated from left to right are: Rabbi Miriam Farber Wajnberg, director of Adult Jewish Learning and Interfaith Engagement at JCC Manhattan (moderator)*, and panelists Sarah Sayeed, Rabba Sara Hurwitz, Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry, and Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane. (NCR photo/Jamie Manson) *An earlier version of this article misidentified Rabbi Farber Wajnberg.
"The panelists included Rabba Sara Hurwitz, the first officially ordained Orthodox Jewish Rabba; the Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry, an ordained Christian minister and preacher who was recently named one of Time's "12 New Faces of Black Leadership"; Sarah Sayeed, a Muslim woman who serves as senior advisor in the Community Affairs Unit of the Mayor's Office of the City of New York; and Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane, who famously greeted Pope John Paul II during his visit to the U.S. in 1979, by urging him to include women "in all ministries of our church."
The panel was presented in conjunction with the New York film debut of "Radical Grace," which documents three irrepressible women religious who challenge the Vatican and risk their place in the church to follow their social justice callings.
Each of these panelists said it was a keen sense of God's presence in their lives that called them to dismantle the patriarchal structures of their beloved religious traditions. For all of them, the work of bringing about equality has not been without profound risk and stinging punishment.
For Hurwitz, her journey towards becoming the first Orthodox Rabba began with a deep sense of faith that she experienced as a child. "I had this idea that I had to fulfill a vision of justice that was coming from heaven," she told the audience.
In the Jewish tradition, "God's throne is surrounded by four pillars: justice, righteousness, kindness and truth," Hurwitz explained. She felt called to bring "the pillars into the world and into my work."
Guidry's first sense of a calling also began in early childhood. Raised Catholic, she remembers becoming conscious of patriarchy and gender inequality as she was preparing for confirmation. When she asked why women could not be priests, her teacher told her that such "questions were not allowed in our Catholic education."
When Guidry's mother joined a Pentecostal church, it was her first experience of seeing a woman function like a clergyperson.
"It was a watershed moment for me," Guidry recalled, "seeing someone who looked like me proclaiming, serving, administering sacraments, and leading God's people."
The question of whether women should serve in equal roles to men also ignited the prophetic voice of Kane, who recounted a story about Loretto Sr. Mary Luke Tobin at the Second Vatican Council.
"There were 15 women from the entire world in a room with 600 or 700 men," said Kane. "Women were not allowed to speak in public at the council. [Tobin] raised question of whether the church should open itself to women in all forms of ministry in the church. That radicalized me."
Ten years after Tobin offered her challenge, Kane was invited to welcome John Paul II on behalf of U.S. women religious. The Catholic Church's continued minimization of the voices of women was apparent in the invitation. "The only instruction I got was to 'be brief because, you know, he isn't coming to listen to you,' " Kane recalled.
Kane said that her bold welcome was possible because she had spent a decade studying women in church and society with other nuns. "Having this education continually, it was not unnatural for me to greet the pope by saying 'if the church is to be faithful to the teachings of Christ, then the church as an institution must provide the opportunity for women to be in all ministries of that church.' "
For Sayeed, the exclusion of women from the Muslim community runs even deeper than religious leadership. "There is an understanding that men are required to go to Friday prayers," Sayeed said, but that women are not.
"Women are invited, but on Friday they are often told that there isn't enough space," she said. "So they tend to not go to the mosque."
When women do show up, they are often assigned to the basement where they cannot see the imam. "There are all kinds of ways that we have found to create distance between women and mosque spaces," Sayeed said.
Without women, there are also no children at the mosque, she pointed out. "There is no experience of praying with the congregation, so they lose touch with their culture and faith."
And yet, when Sayeed tries to navigate the mosque space to be more inclusive, she is often criticized for "making the mosque a more Western place, more of a feminist place."
Like Sayeed, each woman on the panel had a tale to tell about being disciplined for questioning or dismantling their religious institutions' exclusive structures.
Hurwitz said that when she was first ordained in 2010, there was little blowback. But when congregational officials later changed her title from "maharat" to "rabba," she said, "It created a firestorm."
Thirteen rabbis signed a statement calling for her excommunication. Additional edicts were decreed in 2013, 2015, and earlier this year.
"The 'r-b'-sounding title was too much for the Orthodox community to handle," she recalled. 
Hurwitz said she has gotten used to doing things that make people uncomfortable, but ultimately remains mystified by all of the opposition. "All we're trying to do is serve the community and bring the voice of justice and Torah and religion and God and humanity to more people."
On of one of her darkest days, she received a phone call from an anonymous man telling her that she was destroying the Orthodox community.
"I didn't want to be the cause of any destruction ever," Hurwitz said. "We were very close to rolling back my title and to saying that maybe it was too much too soon."
But a sudden influx of letters from 11 year-old girls changed her mind. "The letters said, 'now we have a role model, now we can see ourselves having a place in the Orthodox community with women amongst its leaders,' " Hurwitz recalled. "That's what kept me going."
Sayeed, too, finds hope in the words and witness of other Muslim women, especially those from the past. "Women have been spiritual anchors for all time, for all people. It is important as a Muslim to reclaim that history."
For example, it was Kadija, Mohammed's first wife, who "had faith in him and inspired him to preach," she said. His second wife, Aisha, conserved the Hadith, the first written record of the sayings of Mohammed.
"Women are intimately connected with safeguarding faith and spirituality," Sayeed said, "I try to remind our communities that women were very much a part of the Prophet Mohammed's mosque."
Guidry said that she likewise finds inspiration in the history of women in the church.
"I feel that any woman who has ever stood in a pulpit is in some sense raging against the machine," she said. "When I stand in the pulpit to proclaim, it is my act of devotion and my act of protest."
Preaching a radical message about racism, white supremacy, and the theological sanctioning of misogyny has brought Guidry more than her share of backlash. After one of her recent sermons, an open letter of concern was written about her and circulated around the country.
Though she agreed that this fierce opposition is a sign that she is "doing something right," she said, "it is also humiliating and traumatizing and hurtful and isolating."
Guidry said it is essential and urgent that women to stand up for one another. "We have to have each other's backs," she said. "Sisterhood is one of the most radical ways we can resist the structures of patriarchy."
After her recent controversy, Guidry said she was warned that her radical message might lead churches to stop calling her to preach. But like the three panelists with whom she shared the stage, she finds the courage to make history by remembering the women who came before her.
"In the history of women who do ministry, we didn't wait for anyone to call us," Guidry said. "We just did it. I don't have to wait until some tells me its okay to speak. I speak when God says speak."
[Jamie L. Manson is NCR books editor. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics.]