Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mary Mother of Jesus Liturgy: Celebration of Our Mystical Oneness in the Cosmic Christ /Presiders- Maureen McGill ARCWP and Jim Marsh ARCWP




From the Cosmic Christ  Eucharistic Prayer, written by Bridget Mary Meehan for ARCWP and  adapted by Maureen McGill, ARCWP and Jim Marsh, ARCWP), free download available on www.arcwp.org-worship aides)

Presider One: First Invocation of the Holy Spirit (all with hands outstretched)
Sophia God, sanctify the offering of our lives and these gifts as they become the Body and Blood of our brother, Jesus.

Invoking the memory of the tradition (all with hands extended)
All : On the night before he died, while at supper with his friends,
Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them saying
take this all of you and eat and drink; this is my body which is given up for you.
(pause briefly)
In the same way after the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine,
he said the blessing, gave the cup to his friends and said: drink this all of you.
this is my blood which shed for you. Do this in memory of me.

Eucharistic Acclamation: This bread is you, this bread is me. We are one body, a reflection of God's treasures in communion with all creation.

Second Invocation of the Holy Spirit:(placing hands on each other's shoulder)
Presider 2: Christ of the Cosmos, we thank you that there are galaxies too numerous to count, that our bodies are made of stardust and that every place we turn, you are present loving us. You call us "beloved" and invite us o the dance of creation in the mystical celebration of our oneness with all living things. Continue to infuse us with Sophia, Holy Wisdom, that we may never cease to rejoice in you, the Mystery beyond all comprehension.

Voice 3: Christ of the Cosmos, we remember that it was you who said that anything you have done in the name of the Creator, we can do too and even more.

 Voice 4: Christ of the Cosmos, we remember Mary, your mother and faithful disciple, and St. Francis who sang canticles to brotehr sun and sister moon. We remember our sisters and brothers, the great cloud of witnesses who have cared for earth's creatures and have blessed our world with their loving service to God's people. May we praise you in union with them and give you glory by working for a more just and peaceful world.

Doxology:
All: Thought Christ, with Christ, and in Christ in unity with Sophia, Holy Wisdom, all glory, honor and praise to you, loving God forever and ever.
Great Amen

Prayer of Jesus: adapted from Miriam Therese Winter
O Holy One, who is within,
we celebrate your many names,
Your wisdom come,
Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us,
Each day you give us all that we need;
You remind us of our limits, and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us, now and forever.
Amen
Peace Gesture: All join hands and sing {peace is flowing like a river" (love, joy)
Fractioning of Bred
Presider 1: Christ of the Cosmos, we are one with you and all creation.
Christ of the Cosmos, we work at healing our earth.
Christ of the Cosmos, we celebrate justice rising up everywhere.
Presider 2: This is the Cosmic Christ,
in whom all creation lives and moves and has its being.
All are invited to the feast. Be nourished!
All: We are the Body of Christ. 

Thanksgiving Prayer After Communion:
Presider 1 Lover of the Universe, fill us with awe at your extravagant love flowing through all living things. May we immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature that surrounds us each day. We ask this through our brother Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit. All:Amen.
Community Blessing:
All: May our nurturing God bless all gathered here,
in the name of the Creator,
in the name of Mary's child,
and in the name of hte Spirit as we serve one another and care for the earth.
Dismissal 
 Presider 2: Our Eucharist is ended. God in peace with the Cosmic Christ. Let our work and service continue.
Closing Song: We have the whole world in our hands to the tune of He has the whole world in his hands...

Homily by Olga Lucia Alvarez ARCWP: Liturgy at SOA Watch Vigil at Ft. Benning, GA.

From left to right: ARCWP Priests: Olga Lucia Alvarez, Janice Severe-Duszynska, and Katy Zatsick 
(photos taken by Barbara Zeman, RCWP)
(The huge Center Hall of the Convention Center was nearly filled to capacity. People who came
up to talk had tears in their eyes, saying that this is the kind of liturgy they've been waiting
for all of their lives...
We are grateful for Olga being with us and her strong and touching homily. We are also much appreciative
of Judith Bautista's poem, "From Below," which Olga selected as the reading. Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP)

I’ll never believe without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into the spear wound.”  John 20: 25

Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea ARCWP
Translated by John P. Wentland

The Gospel text we just heard leaves me disturbed and makes me reflect basically on various aspects: the fear, the cowardice of the disciples and the honesty of Thomas.

We notice in the text that the disciples are hiding in an unknown place, with the doors firmly closed, we're never told where, or at least the text doesn’t tell us.

Many of us are locked in, paralyzed, full of fear and cowardice. We wait for an announcement from heaven… Only the presence of Jesus through the Ruah [ ר֫וּחַ ] of God is able to dislodge us from the situation of terror, pessimism and distrust. We have to discover his presence within each of us, an attitude which will help to fulfill our heartfelt desires in a commitment, not only of word but with concrete action.   
Thomas, called “Twin”—known as well as “The Doubter”—offers us the principal key to how, as disciples, we can implement our work of actual commitment.  
Thomas was not hiding; he was outside confronting the dangers of the enemy, and encountering the material and sociological terrorism. He was not living some kind of utopian dream, full of some fantastic illusion.
Thomas not only challenged the disciples; his challenge is also for all of us when he says: “

I’ll never believe without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into the spear wound.”  John 20: 25
from left to right: Olga Lucia Alvarez, seated Janice Sevre-Dusynska, Katy Zatsick



Thomas invites us to become aware of the reality we live in this world, in our countries; wars popping up mercilessly against innocent people. He invites us to not only see, but to touch, live and feel the pain, of the ones suffering, living in prison, tortured physically and psychologically. Knowing the reality of the immigrant, the displaced, those without family, without home, those sick, the unemployed, the marginalized, those abandoned, the hungry, those without health, without education. Knowing the situation faced by women and men, excluded because of for their sexual or gender option, those rejected and excluded for thinking differently!
Every suffering human being is a Christ who shows us, his extended, his feet, the wound in his side and his tortured body, so that we might put our finger and feel completely their pain and sorrow, making them our own, healing them with our sisterly and brotherly love.
May we accept Thomas’ invitation to live the Gospel challenge.
Let us present at the Offertory, our cowardice, our indifference, our fears, in the face of the obvious actions—violations of human rightscarried out by our governments, actions that wound, mistreat and kill our indigenous peoples, our peasants, our black populations, our elderly, our defenseless and innocent women and children. Their only sin is to live amongst such over-abundance. That's why they are displaced, threatened and killed so that their lands can be appropriated just as King Ahab took over the vineyard of Naboth (1 Kings 21).
In our country, this is what we live every day, and not because that’s what the media tells us, because, after all, to them, everything is a "false positive"—the opposite of the little boy who cried “Wolf”, they say “Everything’ll be fine!” This experienced pain comes directly by word of the widows, the elderly, the faces of the women and children we see on the streets of our cities, sitting at the foot of a traffic light begging for a piece of bread, with a sign proclaiming: "We are displaced from the violence!” whether they be in Cauca, Uraba, Caquetá, Chocó, the areas we know where are located U.S. military bases, where the two flags—our Colombian tri-color and the U.S. red-white-and-blue—wave so closely in unison. If you hold out your hand to these suffering people, you are likely to be  identified as someone who is helping the armed opposition groups. Of this no one says anything; there is no commentary, no questions, for fear of receiving "a stray bullet."
What are we about to offer at our Offertory? Let’s share publicly that we are going to offer in our Eucharist the making real and living his presence through that invitation Jesus offers us each day, touching and healing all injustice and sorrow:  
“Do this in memory of me”   1 Cor. 11:24



++++++++++++++++++


“SI NO METO MI DEDO EN LA SEÑAL DEJADA POR LOS CLAVOS Y MI MANO EN LA HERIDA DEL COSTADO NO LO CREERÉ”
Juan 20: 25

 Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea ARCWP
El Evangelio que acabamos de escuchar, me deja inquieta y me hace reflexionar fundamentalmente, en varios aspectos: el miedo, la cobardía de los discípulos y la honestidad y compromiso de Tomás.
Observamos en el texto que los discípulos estaban escondidos en un lugar desconocido, con las puertas bien cerradas, nunca se supo dónde, por lo menos el texto no nos lo dice.
Muchos de nosotros/as, estamos encerrados/as paralizados/as llenos de miedo y cobardía. Esperando un anuncio del Cielo… Solo la presencia de Jesús a través del soplo de la Ruah, es capaz de sacarnos de esta situación de terror, de pesimismo, desconfianza. Tenemos que descubrir su presencia en el interior de cada uno/a de nosotros, actitud que nos ayudará a llevar a cabo nuestros sinceros deseos en el compromiso, no solo de palabra sino con hechos concretos.
Tomás, el llamado “Mellizo”, conocido también como el incrédulo, nos da la clave principal, para que discípulas y discípulos podamos realizar nuestro trabajo de compromiso real.
Tomás, no estaba escondido, él estaba afuera desafiando los peligros del enemigo y desafiando ese terrorismo material y sicológico. Él no estaba viviendo de utopías, ilusiones o fantasías.
Tomás, no solo  retó  a los discípulos, discípulas, también el reto es para todos/as nosotras/os, cuando dijo:
“Si no meto mi dedo en la señal dejada por los clavos y mi mano en la herida del costado, no lo creeré” Juan 20:25
Tomás, nos invita a tomar conciencia de la realidad que vivimos en este mundo, en nuestros países; las guerras que brotan sin piedad contra seres inocentes.  Nos invita a no solo mirar, sino a tocar, vivir y sentir, el dolor, del ser sufriente que vive en una cárcel, torturado/a, física y psicológicamente. Conocer la realidad del inmigrante, del desplazado, sin familia, sin hogar, enfermo/a, sin empleo, marginado/a, abandonado/a, con hambre, sin salud, sin educación. Conocer la situación que viven mujeres y hombres, excluidos/as por su opción sexual o de género. Rechazados/as y excluidos/as por pensar diferente!
Cada ser humano sufriente, es un Cristo que nos muestra, extendiendo sus manos, sus pies, la herida de su costado y su cuerpo torturado, para que metamos nuestro dedo, palpemos su dolor y tristeza haciéndola nuestra, curándole y sanándole con amor en sororidad fraterna.
Aceptemos la invitación de Tomás que nos desafía a vivir el Evangelio.
Presentemos en el Ofertorio, nuestras cobardías, nuestra indiferencia, nuestros miedos, ante los hechos palpables de nuestros gobiernos, que hieren, maltratan y asesinan a nuestros indígenas, campesinos, afros, ancianos, mujeres y niños indefensos e inocentes. Su único pecado es vivir en la abundancia. Por eso les desplazan, amenazan y asesinan para hurtarles sus tierras al igual que lo hiciera el rey Ajab, con la viña de Nabot (1 Reyes 21).
En nuestro país, esto es lo que vivimos a diario, y no porque nos lo digan los Noticieros, ya que para ellos, todo es “un falso positivo”. El dolor nos llega directamente narrado por las viudas, los ancianos, rostros de mujeres y niños, que vemos en las calles en nuestras ciudades,  al pie de un semáforo, mendigando un pedazo de pan, con un aviso diciéndonos: “Somos desplazados de la violencia” bien sean del Cauca, de Urabá, el Caquetá, del Chocó, zonas donde sabemos están ubicadas las bases militares de los EE.UU, donde ondean muy unidas las dos banderas, nuestro tricolor colombiano y la americana. Si tiendes la mano a estos seres sufrientes, te confunden con alguien que está ayudando a los grupos alzados en armas. De esto  nadie dice nada, no se comenta, no se pregunta, por pánico, a recibir “una bala pérdida”.
¿Qué vamos a presentar en nuestro Ofertorio? Compartamos públicamente qué vamos a ofrecer en nuestra Eucaristía para hacer real y viviente su presencia de aquella invitación que Jesús nos hace cada día, palpando y sanando toda injusticia y dolor:

“Hagan esto en memoria mía”   1 Corintios 11:24



CONTACT: Jack Wentland, CORPUS, FCM, CITI

LATIN AMERICAN WOMAN PRIEST TO GIVE HOMILY AT EUCHARIST
REMEMBERING MARTYRS FOR JUSTICE IN LATIN AMERICA

For the eleventh year, the Progressive Catholic Coalition (PCC) will offer a Mass at which both women and men priests preside at a Mass offered at the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) gathering in Columbus, GA. On this 25th Anniversary of the martyrdom of two women coworkers and 6 Jesuits at University of Central American in El Salvador in 1989, this Eucharist calls attention to the need to continue the workclose the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, located in Fort Benning Georgia, whose graduates lead the attack on the Central American Jesuit University.

Just as in previous years, PCC organizers expect hundreds to take part—from among the thousands of activists who gather at the event. Each year the “Eucharist of All the People” has  prayed for justice in Latin America and asked blessings on the efforts for justice in the Church. 
On Saturday, November 22, 2014, participants will gather in the Columbus Convention Center at 5:30 PM for Eucharist. The theme of the liturgy is “Women and Men Witnesses to Justice in Latin America.”
This year the homilist will be Colombian Roman Catholic woman priest Olga Lucia Alvarez, ordained in 2010 in Sarasota, Florida and serving in her native Colombia. She is the first Latin American woman ordained priest. There are now three other women priests working in Colombia.

The PCC is an adhoc planning community that grew out of a recognized need to bring to participants in the SOAW event—especially the young who may not be aware of the reform movement in the Catholic Church—the message of hope for justice in the Church. The justice issues represented by the PCC include ordination of women, optional celibacy for priests, marriage equality & openly embracing all people of every sexual orientation, academic freedom for theologians, greater lay  participation, financial accountability/transparency, transparency of diocesan files of credibly accused sex offenders, justice and due process in church affairs, true religious freedom for all—including women religious. The church reform organizations sponsoring PCC@SOAW 2014 include: Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Call to Action-usa, CITI Ministries, Inc., CORPUS, Federation of Christian Ministries, Roll Away the Stone and Women’s Ordination Conference.

In addition to the Eucharist, the Progressive Catholic Coalition maintains an Information Table on Ft. Benning Road on November 22rd and 23th to offer information about the work of their sponsoring organizations.

# # #


++++++++++++++


Prominent Theologian: Elizabeth Johnson, Spirituality and the Evolving Earth, youtube lecture at Boston College

 http://frontrow.bc.edu/program/askthebeasts/
(highly recommended lecture , and new book, Ask the Beasts )

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community for Feast of Christ the King by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

The Jesus Seminar prints today’s Gospel story in black.
It’s the voice of Matthew’s community, not Jesus.
They write it down, probably in Syria,
shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem,
making a point about what Jesus’ teaching means to them.
They look around and see the outcasts of their world—
the poor and the weak, the ill and the abandoned.
Their own dispersion
after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70
has made them outcasts, too.
So they express what Jesus would say,
based on where they are, what’s happening around them,
and how they apply Jesus’ teaching to their own situation.
____________________________________________________
It’s obvious, as Catholic scripture scholar Raymond Brown points out,
that “the verdict is based on the treatment of deprived outcasts,”
the very treatment Matthew’s community is experiencing
not only from the Romans
but also from the leaders of their own Jewish religion.
They understand the message of Jesus
to demand a very different standard from the “insiders,”
those leaders both religious and political,
who pay more attention to the rich and the powerful
than to the whole people of God
and the Way of Jesus.
____________________________________________________
Matthew tells his Last Judgment story in the context of monarchy,
but we don’t have that context here in our lives today.
Pope Pius X set up this feast of Christ the King in 1925
in the middle of a conflict between the Vatican and the state of Italy
about who was in charge.
That controversy was settled four years later with the signing of the
Lateran Pacts,
so that church-state context is gone, too.
The worldview in Matthew’s time
allowed for kings and thrones and angelic escorts on high.
That’s gone, too.
The facts of our scientific cosmology
place the context of today’s story
firmly into the world of our imagination.
____________________________________________________
So what’s left?
Not kings, not judgments in the sky.
What’s left are outsiders and insiders,
exclusion and inclusion,
and the clear message of Jesus:
nothing can separate us from God’s love
except our own failure to love and serve others.
Our tradition is full of examples of people
easily identified by the sheep-goat metaphor of today’s Gospel passage.
On the one hand we have someone like Francis of Assisi kissing a leper,
and on the other hand we have religious and civil leaders
conspiring to burn Joan of Arc at the stake.
____________________________________________________
We can still recognize those insiders and outsiders,
those sheep and goats,
today.
Some high-profile sheep:
• Protesters this weekend standing vigil at Fort Benning
to remember the victims of the School of the Americas;
• TUSA, ABLE, and TCC—Toledoans United for Social Action,
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Toledo Community Coalition—
and other local groups
working to protect poor children from lead paint poisoning.
____________________________________________________
And countless lower-profile sheep. I look out and see each of you:
• meeting the emergency needs of the poor for food, clothes, and housing;
• contributing to organizations like Catholic Charities
and the Campaign for Human Development
and Habitat for Humanity
that empower the poor to build new lives and better neighborhoods;
• tending to how and where you buy what you need,
being careful that your purchases don’t support injustice
like child labor, human trafficking, harmful labor practices,
or environmental degradation; and
• taking the time to visit friends and family in hospitals and nursing homes,
write to relatives and neighbors in college or in the military or in jail,
and to listen to the joys and sorrows of the people you meet along the way.
____________________________________________________
And what about the goats?
In Matthew’s story, neither the sheep nor the goats
knew what they were doing.
They both ask when it was that they did or didn’t do the right thing.
But the image Matthew uses
makes the sheep and goats clearly distinguishable,
if only they would look around.
Just as we can easily tell the difference between a robin and a turkey,
so we can look around our world
and see who’s being excluded
and who’s doing the excluding
and who’s doing the including,
or who’s not being served
and who’s failing to serve them
and who’s trying to serve them.
____________________________________________________
The hard part, I think,
is looking in the mirror
to see if I am being a sheep or a goat.
And the hopeful part
is seeing that God is in everyone,
everywhere,
so there’s always another connection with the Divine Presence
as we continue along the Way.

--
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
419-727-1774

SOA Watch Vigil Remembers Massacred of Jesuits, Preferential Option for Poor, Promotion of Justice and Non-Violence in Latin America

This November marks the 25th anniversary of the massacre at the University of Central America. As we call out the names of the martyrs killed by SOA graduates and respond “Presente!” we will also recognize the connections to struggles today at the Mexico-US border, the slaughter of the 43 young Mexican activists, the community-opposed Escobal mine in Guatemala, the militarization and oppression in Honduras and Colombia and the communities like Ferguson, Missouri all across the Americas facing militarized police forces.  In the quote below we hear the voice of Ignacio Ellacuria echo today...( In the U.S. Catholic Universities like Jesuit-run Marquette in Milwaukee accept federal dollars for a ROTC program for all branches of the military -- and teach reflexive killing. 
En la lucha, Janice

November 17
Blessed Among Us
Ignacio Ellacuria and Companions
Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador  (d. 1989)
Twenty-five years go, in the early morning hours of November 16, 1989, army commandos invaded the University of Central America in San Salvador, roused the sleeping Jesuit community, and sprayed them with machine-gun fire on the garden lawn. The victims included six Jesuit priests along with their housekeeper and her teenaged daughter.
For years the Jesuits had angered the ruling elite by siding with the oppressed in the bitter social conflict that divided the country. Spanish-born Ignacio Ellacuria, rector of the university, had emerged as a particularly effective advocate of national dialogue and a critic of injustice. For his efforts he was derided in right-wing propaganda as the “brains” of the “communist” movement. The Jesuits were no communists. They were priests who struggled to live out the Church’s preferential option for the poor and who had committed themselves to the Jesuit mission: “service of faith and promotion of justice.” They had committed the university to this same mission, believing that in a world of conflict a Christian university must stand with the victims of violence.

During a rebel offensive that spread to the capital city, top military commanders issued an order to eliminate all suspected leftist sympathizers. The Jesuit-run University was among the targets. The massacre of the UCA martyrs was the grim conclusion of a decade that began with the death of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Peace negotiations, begun the next year, were concluded in 1992.



On Saturday morning, Olga Lucia Alvarez and Janice Sevre -Duszynska  drove about an hour from Columbus to Lumpkin, Georgia where 1,000 peacemakers from our SOAW vigil gathered in front of the courthouse to rally against unjust immigration laws and inhumane for-profit detention centers .  Across the street people were taking photos outside this "Christian Gun Sales" shop.  How ironic!
Roy Bourgeois and Barbara Zeman RCWP

Always remember that there is no conversion to God if there is no conversion to the oppressed.”
                                                 Ignacio Ellacuria, SJ
From Blessed Among Us by Robert Ellsberg

Friday, November 21, 2014

Jimmy Carter says religious discrimination is partly to blame for violence against women


Former US president Jimmy Carter says restrictions on women priests, imams, and pastors is a misinterpretation of the Bible and the Quran. 
By Margery Eagan
On Spirituality columnist November 21, 2014
Religious discrimination against women, including in Catholicism, is largely to blame for violence and injustice against women around the world. And that violence and injustice “is the most important and unaddressed and serious affliction of human rights on earth,” former US president Jimmy Carter said this week.
Treating women “as inferior in the eyes of God” gives tacit approval to subjugate them in all other aspects of life, from the courts to the military to the business world, Carter said an interview with me this week on WGBH radio. Carter also spoke at Harvard Divinity School to promote his provocative new book, “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power.”
“I wrote the pope a letter after publishing the book,” Carter said, forwarding the book and urging Francis to rethink the prohibition on women priests. In a “very nice letter back, [the pope said] women’s involvement in leadership should be enhanced or increased, but he didn’t say how.”
Carter called restrictions on women priests, imams, and pastors a misinterpretation of the Bible and the Quran. This subjugation, he said, has played a role in the epidemic of sexual assaults on American campuses and in the military, where cases are often poorly prosecuted or not prosecuted at all; unequal pay for women, and an unabated sex trade here and worldwide. Some Muslim countries, he pointed out, bar girls from school and, most horribly, enforce genital mutilation.
Since leaving office, Carter, now 90 years old, has won the Nobel Peace Prize and become a tireless crusader for social justice and human rights. He has written more than two dozens books; he said he wrote “A Call To Action” to bring more attention to the abuse of women and girls, calling it “almost beyond comprehension.”
After 70 years as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, he and his wife Rosalyn left in protest about 15 years ago because they could no longer justify its discriminatory policies. The denomination refuses to allow women to be pastors or deacons or chaplains in the military. Now he teaches at Emory University in Atlanta. He also teaches Sunday school at his new church: “a little church in Plains with a woman pastor, where Rosalyn is a deacon and my sister-in-law is chairman of the board of deacons.


"Walking the Walk" by Rev. Judy Lee, RCWP, Reign of Christ, Nov. 23, 2014

http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/walking-the-walkrev-judys-homily-for-the-reign-of-christ-sunday-nov-232014/


A few weeks ago I was visiting our youngest Sunday school class, for 4-6 year olds, and they were coloring two pictures: a picture of cute little sheep and lambs in a field and a picture of Jesus carrying a little lamb in his arms. The teacher, one of our parents,  was teaching: God loves you and God takes care of the little sheep; Jesus loves you and takes care of you. I sat down and praised the work they eagerly showed me. We sang “Jesus loves me” and I got ready to go, saying that they were a beautiful group of little lambs. Bobbie,6, asked me what a lamb was. I said a baby sheep. Riah,5, said to me “Well, I am not a sheep!” I had to agree that they were beautiful little girls and that God loved each of them very much. It was too hard to explain that sheep stand for many things in the scriptures, including God’s people,but I gave it a good try.
IMG_0015
In the first reading for this Sunday,Ezekiel 34:11-12, the prophet Ezekiel is following up on a ten verse challenge to the shepherds of Israel who have lost the sheep, who take care of themselves instead of the flock, who actually feed off the flock. In verses eleven and twelve God takes the sheep back and looks after them, searching for them, rescuing them and giving them good pasture land.  In Verse 16b God says “I will shepherd the flock with justice”. God, the Good Shepherd, goes on to say that the fat sheep push the thin ones out of the way and drive away the weak sheep. Reading this passage as a 21st Century Christian and Roman Catholic Christ follower, I am pleased that we can dissent even as Ezekiel did. Rev. Charles Curran,  a famous moral theologian who disagrees with the church on many things, calls this loyal dissent. Isn’t this what the prophets did? Isn’t this what Ezekiel is saying? Watch out you so called shepherds-you are losing the sheep and driving them away. Pope Francis lives a lifestyle of simplicity and reaches out to the poor and outcast no matter what the other shepherds are doing. He challenges us to “have the smell of sheep” on us-to be deeply and closely involved with the sheep.
IMG_0031
Jesus, in the famous Matthew 25:31-46 passage, minces no words. He is telling us that to walk the walk of building the kingdom/kin-dom of God we are to feed the hungry, give the thirsty a drink, shelter the  homeless, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, and visit the prisoners. To do this is to serve Jesus, the Christ. To do this is to serve God. To do this is to care for the sheep.In another Jesus given metaphor: if we love him we are to feed the sheep, ewes, and lambs. Anything less than this is to talk the talk sitting on our rear ends. It counts for nothing.  In this passage Jesus also separates the doers from the talkers and lets us know clearly that “as often as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these,you neglected to do it to me” (V.46). There is no eternal life in this. Love is an action word. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta says: “Love is not words. It is action. Our vocation is to love”.
IMG_0180IMG_0184
The Good Shepherd is both the name and the metaphor for our church. We teach that each one is to serve the next one. We serve mostly the hungry, homeless, formerly homeless, underemployed,unemployed, thirsty, not well clothed, sick, prisoners and other outcasts. We serve one another. There are moments of great joy in our church and tomorrow we will affirm the baptism of a young adult man who was almost dead from an opportunistic infection, struggling for life in the hospital a year ago to date. As he was baptized by me in the hospital he is really happy to make and affirm baptismal promises when he is healthy again a year later. He has a difficult life of battling opportunistic infections and sometimes he is difficult within his family as he and they deal with what it means to battle virulent disease so young. Yet, we are so thankful for the miracle of his life and his desire to follow Christ.  The work of such service is often joyful.  But just as often it is very difficult as the needs never stop, and the resources ,including human resources needed to serve, are never enough. There are moments of almost screaming-help, we can’t do this anymore,send some help, please!  There are moments of impatience and frustration- saying when will that one ever see the light for his or her life? There are moments of anger when one larger sheep grabs all the best food being served or when we are treated to a diatribe of curse words as someone frustrated with not having what is needed yells at the closest people he or she can find.  There are no saints here, just a small group of  very human folks trying to be good shepherds. And we can only pray that at the end of the day, we too will be lifted up and carried by the Shepherd. This is our faith. And in the meantime, let us continue the work of the reign of God,the work of the good shepherd.
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Co-Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pope Francis Demands Just Distribution of World's Resources

ROME (AP) — "Pope Francis demanded a more just distribution of the world's bounty for the poor and hungry Thursday, telling a U.N. conference on nutrition that access to food is a basic human right that shouldn't be subject to market speculation and quests for profit.
"We ask for dignity, not for charity," Francis told the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
His speech came a day after more than 170 countries at the conference adopted new voluntary guidelines to prevent malnutrition, promote healthy diets and reduce levels of obesity around the globe.
Currently, one-third of the world's population suffers from nutritional deficiencies of the sort that caused 45 percent of all child deaths in 2013, according to U.N. data. At the same time, 42 million children under age 5 are overweight and some 500 million adults were obese in 2010."

Joan Chittister: You can lose everything, but win in the end by simply going on

"By Margery Eagan
This column appeared in Crux Nov. 14, 2014
"The day before Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley went on “60 Minutes” to declare the Vatican investigation of American nuns “a disaster,” the woman who once led those nuns, Joan Chittister, knocked it out of the park before 600 rapt fans who packed the Wellesley College chapel Saturday."...
“The rising comes when we are able to commit our lives to something worth being condemned for,” said Chittister, a Benedictine nun....
Chittister told the women there: no matter how old or tired or sick you are, decide what you can do in the time you have left, and do it. “Choose what’s best in life over what is comfortable. Chose witness in life over the country club scene … Find a purpose large enough on which to spend yourselves. Torture, climate change, something that says, ‘my life isn’t over. This is yet to be done.’ What will they remember about you when you’re gone? What are you doing now that will not be forgotten? You can say, ‘Oh, I don’t go to those rally things.’ Honey, I hope you remember that explanation when your own property is under water.”
...Remember, she said as she ended to a prolonged standing ovation, “These 14 stations are not about suffering, but about how to live through suffering. They’re not about the death of Jesus, but about Jesus’ life born in us to support us through our own death and resurrection.

“We are not meant to be the people of the cross. We are people of the empty tomb. We are alleluia people … And He is here, with us. Emmanuel, Emmanuel.”

Open Letter to Cardinal O'Malley by Erin Saiz Hanna and Kate McElwee ,Women's Ordination Conference, November 20, 2014


Dear Cardinal Sean O’Malley:
In what has already become an infamous “60 Minutes” interview, you stated
to Norah O’Donnell: “If I were founding a church, I’d love to have women priests. But Christ founded it, and what he has given us is something different.”
As women born well after Vatican II, we are constantly asked: “Why would any young, educated woman choose to stay in a Church that purposefully denies her equality?” We stay because we believe that Jesus did give us “something different.” Jesus gave us the Gospel message of equality and social justice, where all people are made in God’s image and welcomed at the table.
Unfortunately, the Catholic hierarchy has given the Church only misguided, theologically dubious doctrines that have been refuted time and time again. You may not have founded our faith, but in today’s Church you do have a voice, authority, and a vote, which is something denied to women.
Thanks to the work of historians and theologians, including the Vatican’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1976 that concluded there is no theological basis to exclude women from the priesthood, we believe that Jesus did not ordain anyone, male or female, but actively sought out the companionship, conversation, and witness of women.
In all four gospels, Mary Magdalene was the primary witness to the central event of Christianity — Christ’s resurrection. In John’s Gospel, Jesus called on Mary Magdalene — a woman — to preach the good news of his resurrection to the other disciples. The Scriptures also mention eight women who led small house churches, including Phoebe, Priscilla, and Prisca. And, not least of all, Mary of Nazareth, who answered her vocational call from God and first brought Jesus, body and flesh, into our world.

Cardinal Sean, please stop making Jesus your partner in gender discrimination. As Catholics, we believe “every type of discrimination … based on sex … is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent” (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, #29). By perpetuating a system that excludes women from sacramental ministry, and denies women their baptismal equality, the Catholic Church implicitly gives permission to the rest of the world to oppress and dominate women.
As you mentioned in your interview, women do have important roles within the Church: the majority of lay ministers and church administrators are women. However, until the vocations of women are not just valued in our Church, but recognized and empowered at every level, as equals to men, the hierarchy will remain of place of painful discrimination.
We implore you to stop endorsing the tragic message that the Roman Catholic Church, the world’s largest organized faith community, chooses to oppress women because it’s what Jesus wanted. Furthermore, we would welcome a personal meeting with you in order to have a conversation about women’s ordination, and the true poverty of a Church that excludes the theology, leadership, and vocations of half its members.
Faithfully,
Erin Saiz Hanna and Kate McElwee
Co-directors of the Women’s Ordination Conference
Founded in 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference is the oldest and largest national organization that is working to ordain women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. Erin resides in the Greater Boston area; Kate lives in Rome.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ARCWP Priests and Deacon Celebrate Liturgy in Home in Lexington, KY.





Left to right,  ARCWP- Deacon Annie Watson,
ARCWPPriests Olga Lucia Alvarez, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, and Donna Rougeux
ARCWP Priests, Deacon and Family Celebrate Liturgy in Kentucky
This past weekend Olga Lucia Alvarez from Colombia presided at  a liturgy at Janice Sevre-Duszynska's home in Lexington, Kentucky. Donna Rougeux, Annie Watson, and some of Annie's family members were present. We then shared a wonderful meal together prepared by Janice. Annie's son, Andrew, spent an hour or so speaking to Olga about life in Columbia.  It was so wonderful to see a young man so excited about our movement!

Peace,

Annie Watson

Please Don't Blame Your Sexism on Jesus/Bridget Mary -Cardinal O'Mallley looked like a deer caught in the headlights defending the indefensible, sexism, in the Catholic Church/interview with Norah O'Donnell on 60 Minutes!

http://questionsfromaewe.blogspot.com/2014/11/please-dont-blame-your-sexism-on-jesus.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QuestionsFromAEwe+%28Questions+from+a+Ewe%29
Bridget Mary's Response:
Cardinal Sean O'Malley looked like a deer caught in the headlights, defending the indefensible, sexism in the Catholic Church in the 60 Minutes interview with Norah O'Donnell on Nov. 16,2 014.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org,  
sofiabmm@aol.com

Quesstions from a Ewe
"You see, Sean tells us it's not him and the rest of the clergy who are sexist; evidently it's Jesus who is.  Sean really, really, really and I mean a million times really wishes he could ordain a woman but gosh darn it, even though Jesus said Peter could hold whatever he wanted loosed or bound....there was a disclaimer written in invisible ink only discernible by clergy eyes that says something like this, "except when it comes to ordaining women, approving of homosexuals or using birth control...there I draw the line guys...and I mean the 'guys' part literally..."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Church of England Officially Accepts Women Bishops, Pope Francis and Women Priests- a Path Forward

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/church-of-england-women-bishops_n_6173980.html

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Twenty years after women were ordained as priests, the Church of England is set to appoint its first woman bishop by year’s end or at the start of 2015.
On Monday (Nov. 17), the church’s two most senior leaders, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, signed the change into church, or canon, law after asking the General Synod, made up of bishops, clergy and laity, to signal their approval by a show of hands.
The shattering of what’s called “the Church of England’s stained-glass window” marks the culmination of years of campaigning for reform.
Bridget Mary's Response:



Newly Ordained ARCWP  Priest on left: Judith Bautista, from Colombia, , Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,, Deacon Janet Blakeley,
on right, Deacon Sally Brochu and Olga Lucia Alvarez from Colombia, Nov. 1, 2014, Sarasota, Florida
From left to right, newly ordained  ARCWPdeacons: Sally Brochu, Bridget Mary Meehan, and Janet Blakeley at Nov. 1, 2014 ordination in Sarasota, Fl. 
Now it is time for  Pope Francis to change official teaching on women priests and support gender equality in all areas of the church's life. The international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is living Gospel equality in inclusive Catholic communities. Pope Francis could begin this journey to justice for women in the church by lifting the excommunications and punishments against women priests and our supporters and declare a new day of welcome for all who are live and minister on the margins as witnesses for justice. In the Gospels we encounter Jesus with lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, the poor and sick. He ministers on the margins with the marginalized. So do women priests. We are on the margins of our church. We invite all those who are not welcome in the mainstream church, the divorced and remarried, LGBT, women, and many others who are alienated from Catholicism to come to the Banquet of God's boundless love. We are one with the community of the baptized rising up for justice for all of God's people, especially the most vulnerable and rejected. 
We welcome dialogue with Pope Francis who said that" inequality is the root of social sin."
We agree! This includes sexism in the Catholic Church.  So let us move forward to a new day of healing and welcome for women as spiritual equals in the Catholic family. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Bishops, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests