On Saturday June 16th twenty-nine people gathered to celebrate the lives of their beloved Pastor Judy Beaumont, RCWP, Co-Pastor of Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community and ten other dear members who passed within the last 2-3 years. This includes Gary Knafla,72, who was tragically killed while crossing the road here in Fort Myers on Wednesday June 13th,2018. Eleven members of the family of Linda Denise Maybin,42 at time of passing last September,attended. Many were wearing tee Shirts with her beautiful picture on them. Also celebrated were: Dr. Teresa Sievers whose generous service enabled 35 people to get housing, Michael Murray, Ben Walden, Robert Swanson, Lynn Brown,Kathleen Vanderwarf, Ruby Tuesday(Stacie Joy Pearce),and Pastor Judy Lee’s beloved Cousin Barbara Mueller Robinson who made her transition home to our loving God on Wednesday 6/16/18.
We began with the prayer ” All-loving God, whose mercy is never withheld from those who call upon you in hope,look kindly on your servants (name of each one) who departed this life confessing your name and number them among your saints forever….” AMEN
Then loved ones and friends lighted a candle for each one. Quayschaun Crews, Linda Maybin’s eldest son lit her candle with his Grandmother’s blessings. Kathy Roddy lit a candle for her neighbor, Ruby Tuesday. Brenda Cummings lit a candle for Mike Murray and Lauretta Rasmussen lit a candle for Ben Walden. Harry Gary lit a candle for Gary Knafla and I read a verse from a song “Carry on Wayward Son” by the group Kansas that his loving family asked for me to share as his candle was light. it was noted that Gary has a Mother, Elaine Danielson who is 92 and three sisters, Peggy, Kathy and Kristy and two sons, Kelly and Aron who mourn his passing as well as his friends. “Carry on my wayward son, there’ll be peace when you are done,lay your weary head to rest,don’t you cry no more, no!…Now your life’s no longer empty, surely heaven waits for you”. The assembled were moved by the love of Gary’s family sent to us with this song.
And so it went. Pastor Marina lit the candle for Dr. Teresa Sievers noting that I was with her in Colombia when Teresa was killed. And I lit the candle for my beloved cousin Barbara Mueller Robinson whose love illuminated a large and extended loving family and everywhere they touched. At the end we all prayerfully thought about loved ones whose names we had not called today and lit a candle for those persons. And Debbie Carey then assisted her grand daughter,Courtney,5, the youngest baptized by Pastor Judy B and myself to light a candle for Pastor Judy B. to carry on her legacy of love. Looking at the twelve lit candles we prayed and took their light into ourselves to shine forth with their love.
Maya Rismay, read the Hebrew Scriptures (Ezekiel 17:22-24-God is in charge of growth and makes even the driest tree bloom, and Natasha Terrell ,Linda’s eldest daughter,read the Epistle, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10-we live by faith. Mr. Harry Gary led us in the Psalm “O, God it is good to give You thanks.” The co-Pastors, Judy Lee and Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia read the Gospel in English and Spanish-Mark (San Marcos) 4; 26-34-The reign of God is like the tiniest seed that grows a huge shade tree. The tiniest seeds can be the acts of love we share-even the tiniest act of love can grow fruit for the kin-dom. And love is also the basis for the growth of justice, especially toward the poor and all “minorities” and those living on the margins. Pastor Marina then translated a short version of Pastor Judy’s homily reflecting on the seeds of love sown and flourishing in the lives of our dear departed and, from them, seeds of love and justice growing in our own lives.
And from the Ezekiel reading we also noted that God makes even the driest branch flourish. We talked about grief and how holding on to it too long can dry us up as people and as Christians, yet God can take our dryness and make even it bloom and flourish. We prayed to flourish with the legacy of love we have received. We focused especially on the Life of Linda Denise Maybin whose family gathered with her mother, Jolinda Harmon and sister, Yolanda, five of her seven children and four of her nieces to celebrate and carry on her loving life today.
We included two more prayers for the departed and also laid hands together on those present suffering from cancer and other serious illnesses. Patricia Byrne then said a prayer for the world, especially immigrants and those separated from their children, and we prayed too for God to bring to fruit the dry branches in the church.
At the end of our Mass we included the prayer for mourners with out mutual blessing of one another: “…Loving God, comfort your family in their loss and sorrow. Be our refuge and our strength, O God, and lift us from the depths of grief into the peace and light of your presence”. Extending our hands to bless each other we said “May our loving God bless all gathered here….as we minister to one another as the people of God”. Harry Gary said “Go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue! And we enthusiastically sang I Have Decided to Follow Jesus as we parted and made ready for our Sunday meal lovingly prepared by Kathy Roddy, Ellen McNally and Pearl Cudjoe.
Above is Gary Knafla working at the church in 2009 to help make it ready as a transitional residence. In the group picture we have Gary Knafla and Mike Murray and Pastor Judy Beaumont, our angels now.
Thanks be to God for each of these precious lives and their legacy of love and justice.
Love and blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP,
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers, Florida
Announcement: Two RC Woman Priests, Good Shepherd Pastors, Will be Celebrating A Memorial Mass For Ten on Sat June 16th,2018
Even as we prepared to light our candles and say prayers for eight beloved friends two more left difficult journeys behind and went home to our loving God. My beloved cousin Barbara Robinson whose life and legacy of love we sang in the last paragraphs of this blog went home to join the company of angels and saints in the wee hours of Wednesday June 13th. She leaves a loving family and host of friends here as noted below. Her funeral will be this Saturday at 9 AM in ST. Rose of Lima church in Massapequa, New York and we will pray for her and her beloved family in our 2PM Mass as well. And we will pray for Gary Knafla,72, An early member of Good Shepherd ministries who was killed by a car while crossing the street on Wednesday as well. Gary leaves a mother, three sisters and two sons in Colorado and many friends here. He was a Veteran and a successful business owner in Colorado before living in Fort Myers and becoming very ill. He loved animals and his friends despite his advancing disability. He is remembered for his kindness.
In the past two years the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community of Fort Myers,Florida has witnessed its beloved co-Pastor Judy Beaumont and eight of the members going home to our loving God. The last one was Michael G. Murray whose life we have celebrated here last month, and Ruby Tuesday(Stacie Pearce)died in February of this year and was also memorialized in this blog. The others recently deceased are Linda Maybin,Ben Walden,Robert Swanson and Kathleen Vanderwarf. Our church member and Doctor Teresa Sievers was taken from us in a tragic murder in 2015. Each one had different gifts and was a precious part of the life of our church and ministry to the homeless and formerly homeless.
All are welcome to attend. It will be at a home in Fort Myers and to protect privacy the address is not given here but those interested may write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pastor Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia and I will preside.
I have spoken of Michael Murray and Ruby Tuesday(Stacie Pearce) in recent blogs. Ben Walden was a wonderful craftsman who made model ships and other small treasures. After he was able to have a home in Goodwill Housing he reconciled with his family and traveled to Colorado for a reunion. Kathleen Vanderwarf was mother to Timothy and they both attended church and functions as they could. They also faithfully attended St. Francis RC parish. Linda Maybin was baptized and confirmed in our church. She was a beloved mother of seven and grandmother of one, and Aunt to many as well as a teacher of our little children. She and her mother, Jolinda Harmon brought over twenty young people regularly to our church. Robert Swanson lived at and was caretaker of the church for two years. He was also baptized and confirmed at Good Shepherd. He loved his family and his little terrier.
Dr. Teresa Sievers attended church with us and also saw over 35 homeless people pro bono to help them with health needs and to qualify for housing. Her selfless generosity in this was a mark of her Christian faith. Her beloved daughters and mother also attended our church on occasion.
The Gospel for next Sunday is Mark 4:26-34 about the Christ followers’ job of sowing seeds for the kin(g)dom-seeds of love and justice- so that the reign of God can spread throughout this earth where there is so much recent violence and conflict. Jesus says that it is the smallest seed that grows the most magnificent shade trees where the birds of the air can rest. I see the smallest seeds as the small acts of love we each do. And those who have had much faith shown in endless small acts of love have left a legacy of hope that will spread through the generations. We hope to celebrate that love together on the Sixteenth of June.
This quotation of theologian Henri Nouwen from his book Bread For The Journey , (copyright 1997,Harper, San Francisco) speaks to the seeds of the kin(g)dom and what is eternal in life. They speak comfort to the mourning but also hope for the world.
“Hope and faith will both come to an end when we die. But love will remain. Love is eternal. Love comes from God and returns to God. When we die,we will lose everything that life gave us except love. The love with which we lived our lives is the life of God within us. It is the divine,indestructible core of our being. This love not only will remain but will also bear fruit from generation to generation.
When we approach our deaths let us say to those we leave behind, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. The love of God that dwells in my heart will come to you and offer you consolation and comfort. ” Henri Nouwen
As I write this I am also aware of the transitioning to God, the last days and moments, of my dear Cousin Bob’s beloved wife, Barbara Robinson. Barbara is such a strong woman of faith whose voice led the Choir in her St. Rose of Lima’s RC Church in Long Island, and it also brightened all of our family gatherings. Joy and warmth characterized her way in the world and all felt welcome and accepted in her presence. Her husband Bob of nearly 61 years,and her children Kathy and Ken and their spouses George and Lisa and all of their children and grandchildren and all of our extended family rise up every day and call her blessed. She and Bob created family as a bastion of love and support as families should be and are so often not, and love flows from them through the generations.Barbara Robinson’s life is a beautiful example of sowing the seeds of love that reverberate throughout time. And so as she joins the company of saints and angels we want her and her family to know that her love will remain forever. And she will be remembered and loved forever as will those who have departed from our Good Shepherd Community.
Love and Blessings to all who mourn and to all who love,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers Florida
In this picture are Michael Murray, Ben walden and Pastor Judy Beaumont, now in the company of Saints and Angels.
Above Ruby Tuesday/Stacie Pearce-Advocate for the Homeless.
Above-Robert, Kathleen and Linda and Pastor Judy Beaumont are in this picture.
Here Linda (middle) is standing with her mother Jolinda, sponsors, as her son Quayschaun is baptized. And below, Linda is standing with her “little lambs” class in the church.
Below is Robert with his family on the day of his baptism and Confirmation
Above, Dr. Teresa Sievers and Kathleen Vanderwarf and Linda Maybin are in this Christmas picture.
Above is Barbara Mueller Robinson next to husband Bob and with Judy Beaumont and myself and her niece Lori Whitlatch Post and son Kenneth Robinson, and our Shotwell Cousins Patty King and Dorothy Stewart at a Family Reunion. Barbara was a beloved mother to Ken and to Kathy Robinson Knoppert and several loving grandchildren and great grands and a large loving extended family.
LOVE IS ETERNAL THANKS BE TO GOD!
Welcome, Bienvenidos, To our New Colombian Woman Priests: Dear Pope Francis and Church, We Are Already Here and Serving
Despite the Church’s denial of our very valid existence we, Roman Catholic Women Priests, are already here. We have been ordained after preparation by a bishop in the line of apostolic succession flowing initially from a male bishop who remains in good standing with the church and whose identity will be publicly revealed upon his death. This initial ordination was not done for the sake of women or even for justice within the church but for the very life of the church. The reader may be interested in the book Women Find A Way, edited by Elsie Hainz McGrath,Bridget Mary Meehan,and Ida Raming, VBW Publishing, 2008, paying particular attention for the earliest history/herstory to the writings of our European Bishops and Priests, Gisela Forster, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger,Iris Muller,Ida Raming and Patricia Fresen. Other early priests including myself also have chapters in that book.
For those who seek the church’s blessings on the ordination of women and making us legal as well as valid, the church is inching forward in its acceptance of women in “high places”. Of course according to Jesus those who serve most should be last and take the lowest seat in the house. So it is not high places that women who are called as priests want, but simply to serve God’s holy people. Well over two hundred world-wide Members of Roman Catholic Women Priests and the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests have accepted God’s call and ordination without the church’s full blessing, but with the blessing of the people of God. Here are three links showing the June 8th, 2018 ordination of two Roman Catholic women as Priests in South America; the need for priests in the Amazon and the church and considering using women in meeting that need (but not as priests) and married priests; and Pope Francis appointing three women theologians to important roles in the church. Yet, he remains adamant that the church “can not” ordain women priests. Yet it is clear-it already has, both in early church history, in modern history ( eg. Ludmila Pavarova) and with the Movement of the Spirit called Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Here is Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez of Cali, Colombia who was ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in February of 2016. Then we present the recently ordained in Colombia.
In the second picture Rvda. Maria Elena is serving with brother priests at a Holy Week Mass in Cali,Colombia.
Here are some of our newest South American Priests-Welcome, bienvenidos to Blanca Azucena and Maria Teresa Martinez Maldonado:
And here are two articles taking the temperature about women and ordination. It represents some progress and “warming up”-but to what given that we are already here?!
In thanksgiving for those women who hear the call to the priesthood within the Roman Catholic Church and are courageous enough to answer and for the Roman Catholic Women Priests world wide Movement making it possible to serve as worker priests in our communities.
Blessings, Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community of Fort Myers, Florida
Thank You beloved God
for the endlessly layered
revelations of yourself
in our midst.
Thank You for words
that cannot contain you
but may open doors
to the sacred wonder of You.
Abba, Amma God, Creator of all,
of more than we will ever know,
of billions of years of universe,
cosmos and mystery,
in our hearts
we call You our father, Daddy, and
our Mother, Mama, surely as Jesus did.
Alaha is what he said more formally
but now through his love
we are adopted and grafted in,
and can confidently say Abba, Amma too.
We do not need to know or say your name,
our Jewish brethren have such deep respect
they do not even whisper it and our Muslim
brethren say Allah and some say Great Spirit
and some Krishna-different languages all inadequate.
God words, but not Essence.
Words and concepts are not adequate
and there is no word box to put You in
yet we reach with them toward you.
One God-yes You are One and
in complete unity-Three-In-One to
those who know You as, Father/Mother, Son,
and Holy Spirit.
Creator of an all we cannot fathom,
God Son who walked this earth completely in
frail human form and
knew our experience inside out
through life and death,
Risen Christ and Holy Spirit with us still-
within, and all around us-guiding advocating,
teaching, shaping and forming and most of all,
Beloved God Who loves us deeply,
it is only through love that we can grasp
the hem of your garment,
climb through the endless green of life,
and rock to sleep on gentle seas,
or shudder at the wind, rain, and fire
that can envelop all,
look up through the layers of star filled
night and behold in awe a tiny bit of what
You have done and Who You are.
Maker of life, Maker of all,
your DNA is in us making love
possible no matter what,
making justice our ideal
and peace our blood-stained banner,
no matter what and giving us
the power to create the world You
intended to be-still, still.
Thank you for sending Jesus to show
us the way for we have gotten so lost
on our own.
He knew laughter and love,
fear, loss, betrayal,pain and tears.
He is with us always,
in the best and worse of times,
and we are not alone.
We got caught up in self multiplying rules
and made them meaningless
and confused sacrifice with the blood of
others, deemed less than us,
deemed not human when what you
wanted was our lives- our love for
You and one another.
remain with us always,
and send forth
Your Spirit to teach us Who You are
and em-power us to join with You to
renew the face and the promise
of the earth.
The readings for today are: Deuteronomy 4:32-34,39-40; Psalm 33:4-5,6,9,18-19,20,22; Romans 8:14-17 and the Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20.
Thanks be to the Triune God!
Love and blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministry Fort Myers, Florida
Feel the heat of the fire,
and the breath of the wind.
Listen to the wind,
it cools with its soft breath.
Or it roars,so loud that
it sounds like a speeding train
rushing over the house
that shakes with fear.
We hide in the closets
hoping the ravages
of the hurricane
pass us by.
Sit before the fire
on a winter’s night
or on a star filled
summer night-warmth and beauty.
Or know fire in the drought
of a Florida winter,when
it catches hold fast.
We create controlled burns
to clear debris and prevent the
spread of destruction by fire.
Yet, when it catches hold anyway,
back away, away
and watch it ignite
all the trees and brush,
homes and creatures
as it rushes through the night.
Ah, the power of wind and fire.
Ah, the power of our God
Whose Holy Spirit moves across
the face of the earth
and within us
to renew the world.
Breath of God who
gives us breath,
and life after death,
Breath your Spirit
on us again as Jesus
did on the disciples of old,
Rest on us
Spirit of the Living God,
Powerfully clear away the
self-filled, self righteous
greed and entitlement
that starves the rest of the world,
that wars with those we deem enemies,
who are your children and creatures
Create in us a new spirit,
of love, of justice,
of sacrifice when need be,
of passion for your renewed
creation,every bit of it.
Give us the languages to
speak your word of Love,
in love, with love
in their mother tongues
to everyone, everywhere,
and not to rest until the word
and the love is spoken in
the most hidden corners
of lives and places.
Come Holy Spirit,
fill our hearts and
lives, kindle them
with the fire of your
love and send us forth.
Then it will be Pentecost
Pastor Judy Lee
I have put today’s lesson in a poem but do grasp this power for yourself.
You may want to read for yourselves the readings of this day
that has the power to renew us and the face of the world, if only we let it.
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104;I Corinthians 12:3b-7 and 12-13; or Galatians 5:16-25; and the Gospel John 20-19-23.
Know that the feast of Pentecost is fifty days after Passover (and our Easter).
The feast, called Shavuot, calls the Jewish people together in an obligation to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest given back to God, and the giving of the Law, the Torah, and the covenant of God with God’s people. That’s why there were so many gathered in one place in Jerusalem when God’s Spirit suddenly entered to renew.
Start with Acts 2:1-11 and for this try your NAB, KJV, or RSV,NIV or other versions and The Message//Remix-The Bible in Contemporary Language-Eugene Peterson who writes: “When the Feast of Pentecost came,they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind,gale force–no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, alike a wild fire,the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks,and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them”.
then ponder: Psalm 104’s “Send forth your Spirit, O God, and renew the face of the earth. Then consider the variety of gifts and yet the unity of the Spirit of God in us individually and as one church with its cleansing and empowering power. And finally consider Jesus breathing new life into the disciples as he breathed on them and said ” Receive the Holy Spirit…”
Now let us receive God’s Holy Spirit as individuals and as church , community, and let us go forth and with the Spirit, renew the face of the earth. Let us overcome violence, let us reach the discontent and disconsolate with love, let us have the courage to take unpopular stands- on gun control, on unfair practices in the agriculture industry that keep the poorest among us poor,yes, write Wendy’s CEO to only use tomatoes and lettuce, etc., to use products from fair farms*, and let us join in the crossing the boundaries encompassing love of young Harry and Meghan so that well being for all God’s people is not a fairy tale. Look at this past week, look around you in your worlds and ask: where is the renewing Spirit of God needed this week and where can I carry it.
Send forth your Spirit Oh, God and renew the face of the earth, and start with me.
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministry Fort Myers, Florida
(*For support of the migrant and other farm workers, in concert with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida, for example, you can know that Wendy’s orders its farm products outside of the industry’s fair food program and also thereby subtly condones lowest pay and sexual harassment and abuse in the supply chain. You can hand write: Wendy’s Headquarters,CEO Todd Penegor and Board Chairperson Nelson Peltz, One Dave Thomas Blvd, Dublin, Ohio, 43017 with your support of the farm workers).
After meeting with Pope Francis in a three day meeting on horrific sexual abuse in the church, the Chilean Bishops all offered their letters of resignation on May 18,2018. This was in an article by Junno Arocho Esteves on Catholic News Service and released as breaking news in a Press Conference in Rome. This acceptance of the tragic travesty of clergy sexual abuse is to allow the Pope to take whatever action he sees fit regarding the culpability of the Chilean clergy in response to the courageous revelations by three survivors. Pope Francis and the Chilean Bishops have helped the church to finally turn a corner on sexual abuse but there is still such a long way to go. For the candid and heartfelt honesty of our Pope and these Bishops thanks be to God!
This is the link:
Bridget Mary Meehan,ARCWP, Roman Catholic Woman Bishop also comments on this in her blog- https://www.bridgetmarys.blogspot.com.
Here’s to a truly re-newed church as we anticipate Pentecost and the sweeping fire and wind power of the Holy Spirit in cleansing and uniting the church tomorrow.
Blessings, Judith Lee, RCWP
Pastor Good shepherd Ministry, Fort Myers, Florida
It we could do more than one thing at once, and perhaps we can, this day in the life of the Church is a trifecta of celebrations. Today in the Church we celebrate Jesus’ leaving this earth and telling the disciples to carry it on-to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature- with the giving of Spiritual gifts (Mark 16:15-20;Ephesians 4:1-13). And if we have celebrated the day of Ascension on Thursday today we celebrate the seventh Sunday of Easter and Jesus praying for his disciples who,like him,don’t quite fit into the world, “that they may be consecrated in truth” and “sent into the world” (John 17-11b-19). Then,in many countries the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is also celebrated today (still using the readings of the Ascension). Fatima commemorates when Holy Mary, Jesus’ Mother appeared to three shepherd children, two little girls and one boy in Fatima, in Portugal instructing them to pray for the world that was in the midst of war as World War I raged on taking many local men from Portugal and allied countries including the USA in May of 1917. The violence of War and the need for peace touched hearts young and old throughout the world. It also touched the heart of our loving God whose mother’s heart breaks in the face of war and injustice.
This is a link to a group of com-passionate women and men(including a Roman Catholic Woman Priest) preaching and sacrificing themselves for justice and peace today:
This calling of children, and all of God’s little ones among us, to both wisdom and holy action in prayer and sacrifice is an extension of Jesus commissioning of all disciples to make the Gospel known to the world. We know that to preach here does not mean mainly to utter words but to do all possible to work for peace, love and justice-for the coming of “the kingdom/kin-dom of God” on this earth- everywhere. We are not only to tell the Jesus/Christ story but to live it with every fiber of our beings to the good of all.
Today is, as well, in the USA and elsewhere on the globe, Mother’s Day. With the children of Fatima we celebrate Jesus’ radiant mother- with- a- message and we also remember the old adage: God could not be everywhere so God made mothers! We reflect on the essential selflessness of mothers as they give fully of themselves for their families. We remember our own mothers with all their love and all their struggles, and all of the mothers,grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends,mentors and others whose lives brought us into being not only physically but spiritually as well. In this context mothers and mothering can be of any gender, gender identity or age. Jesus himself identifies with our loving Mother God and wants to gather the loved ones “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). So today we are thankful for all those who generously give their lives so others might live with peace and justice. And we pray for the gifts of God’s Holy Spirit within us so we can accept our commission from Jesus: to preach the Gospel to all the world, to all of God’s creatures, and to the life of the planet, the earth itself and all who live upon it. And we pray to do this with our actions, and, as Francis said: only sometimes when necessary using words.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!
GO AND LIVE THE GOSPEL!
Love and blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries, Fort Myers