Rev. Judy Beaumont, Roman Catholic Woman Priest Presides at Magdala Celebration On Thursday July 18th,2013 Southwest Florida Call To Action members and friends gathered to celebrate the Eighth Annual Magdala Celebration. Eighteen enthusiastic and thoughtful participants included representatives of Pax Christi, Rev. Joe Irvin’s Bootstrap Ministry of Cape Coral, the Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, and the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community of Fort Myers where Judy Beaumont,and Judy Lee, Roman Catholic Women Priests are Co-Pastors. Rev. Judy Beaumont put together and led an inspiring liturgy that celebrated Mary of Magdala as Apostol to the Apostles and other woman leaders noted in the Scriptures as well as the nineteen women who were auditors at Vatican II. These diverse women were called to represent the world-wide church born anew in the promise of the Council. They paved the way for female theologians and for the increased participation of women in the life of the church.
Mike and Imogene Rigdon of Venice led the group in a rousing chorus of “Standing On The Shoulders” written by Joyce Rouse. As they sang “Standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before us, we are stronger for their courage,we are wiser for their words…” each one present recalled the people in their lives, well known and unknown, who led the way for the new and sometimes revolutionary roles of women and the laity in the church. The shared homily included these reflections. Cardinal Leo Suenans was remembered as one of the Bishops who spoke at the Council of calling for the participation of ” the other 50% of the human race”. Some also remembered pre-Vatican II Catholic Action Movements including Pat and Patty Crowley and their Catholic Action and Christian Family Movement. All of this paved the way for Call To Action to form in Chicago in the late 1970’s. Reflections included the sentiment that the shoulders of those present would be there “to hold the ones who follow us”.
Judy Beaumont presided at the Eucharist and all said the words of consecration and wore stoles to symbolize the priesthood of all believers. The assembled closed with blessing one another, asking the Spirit of God to aid them to “warm frozen hearts and subvert frozen structures for the sake of the Kin-dom.
By Ellen McNally and Judith Beaumont as shared with Rev. Dr. Judy Lee
Photo by Michael Rigdon
It is easy to love your neighbor as yourself when your neighbor has become your friend. Judy Beaumont and I and our family of pets- dogs,cats and birds,moved to Eastshore Drive over fifteen years ago. We knew no one but we were warmly welcomed into a Group of neighbors who celebrated Birthdays of all members and enjoyed gatherings especially around holidays. Our next door neighbor Gene, Imogene Ryan, a woman of great faith, was a prime mover in the group and she also became someone to share faith and prayer with. We have become very good back door friends and enjoy praying together when either of us has the need for sharing prayer requests. We love to share stories of life on our lake and call to remind one another to look for the visiting otters or ducks or coots. Gene’s daughter Jane and her husband Eric Salna (also sometimes our CBS weatherman!) are also part of our special group on occasion. Gene supported us when one of our foster daughters from Connecticut came to live with us for a year. That was a time of much prayer. And we have supported one another through very serious illnesses and the losses of loved ones.
Sonja Miller too, is a very special friend. We share the love of cats and Sonja is a proud mother of two of our Mama cat’s kittens. They were adopted when we had the Church in the Park and a homeless couple living in the woods realized that they could not care for their kittens. The first year we adopted one and found a home for another one. The second year Sonja adopted two beautiful white kittens and in the third year the couple split up and left the cats so I had to go into the woods and gather them. Mama Guinevere and five kittens walked quickly into our carrier and were happy to have an inside home. The kittens were so beautiful we thought them immediately adoptable. But only two were adopted as the rest had Feline AIDS like Mama Guinevere. So they are still with us-still quite well and sassy as can be. Sonja and I visit the siblings and help with cat care. But now, most of all Sonja and Judy and I share the commonality of surviving cancer. Though we have different types and manifestations of cancer, we each know the territory and are so happy to have someone to share with. We are a natural support group for one another and can share the feelings and fears when we wonder “if the other shoe is going to drop”. We bolster each other up and pray with and for one another. We have the same wonderful Doctor, James Reeves, at Cancer Specialists of Florida and we are blessed to have each other as company on this road. Sonja attends a more formal support group and we have supportive friends but we all thank God for providing the support we need right where we live.
Because of illness, and aging, and probably because of feelings about our ordinations as Roman Catholic Women priests, the original group that included three other wonderful women, has grown smaller in recent years. We pray for all of our neighbors and group members but Gene and Sonja are the blessings of Eastshore Drive for us.
These are our Fourth of July 2013 pictures, and some of our cats!
It is so good to love our neighbors!
They came. They came to our Tuesday Ministry, July 2,2013, in the flash flood,thunder and lightening type of summer rain we are having here in Fort Myers, Florida. They came by foot, by bike and by bus. Only Roger has a car and he brought two others. Almost everyone was dripping wet. We gave out shirts and towels. Lauretta opened her heavy backpack and gave out mangos from her tree to everyone. The mangos were exquisite and she was applauded. Chris settled her 3 month old baby and two year old in. Little Carl was given a big new truck and he moved it around the circle. Kathleen, 70, wiped her face and silver hair with a towel and sat by her favorite person, Mr. Gary who welcomed her warmly.
Some came because they were hungry and Ellen McNally the local Call to Action President and her husband Jack,85, brought a tantalizing homemade Lasagna with garlic bread that cooked in the oven awaiting presentation with a delicious green salad and deserts. Call To Action is a progressive Catholic group with chapters throughout the United States and they support women priests. On our Ministry Tuesdays they make this a literal form of support by bringing and serving the food prepared by themselves and other CTA members. They are an important part of our Good Shepherd Ministries, served by two Roman Catholic women priests, myself, Judy Lee, and co-pastor Judy Beaumont. Ellen and Jack are a part of the family that gathers on Tuesdays. They were with us in 2007 when we joined a ministry of the Lamb of God Lutheran Episcopal church in feeding the hungry and homeless on Saturday nights in a local park. They were with us in 2008 when we drew up to a hundred and fifty people on our Friday night Church in the Park. They were with us in late 2009 when we purchased the house that we turned into a church and a transitional shelter for homeless people. And they remain with us now as we continue the feeding traditions on Tuesdays and Sunday after church. No one needs come to church to be fed, the hot food is served after the church service and all are welcome to any part of the afternoon. They also can get food from our food pantry at those times. They are among the over 70 homeless people we have now gotten into affordable housing and assisted in getting incomes. And they are the newly homeless or unemployed or living on low fixed incomes who seek our support. They come to minister to each other. Those with homes bring those without homes and resources to be helped.
They come because we are family to those who have no families and friends to those who have no friends. They come because they are hungry for affiliation and acceptance and love and a place to have fellowship and thank God together as much as for food and a host of social and spiritual services. Most love coming to the worship and discussion of the day’s Scriptures that takes place before the meal.Our group meeting is lively and animated. People were were shunned and scorned by others now lead the group.
Today’s Scriptures were the story of Joseph forgiving his brothers in Genesis 49 and of Jesus telling his followers not to be afraid and to trust God’s love as God knows when a tiny bird falls and how many hairs you have on your head. Joking about his shaved head, Mr. G. led the discussion of forgiveness sharing that for the first time he was able to ask a family member for forgiveness. He said it was easier for him to forgive than to ask for forgiveness. But a weight was lifted off of his chest. This resonated with many as they shared stories of forgiving and being forgiven. Lauretta tied the two Scriptures together as she said “I know the love God has for me because of this church. When I came to the church when it was in the park, I was out of my head. I needed forgiveness from so many for the things I did. I disrupted everything. No one wanted to come near me. I was thrown out of every other church and was so hungry. This church welcomed me as I was and cared for me as if I was a little sparrow with broken wings. The pastors and all of you who were there loved me back to health. I could not accept my mental illness and would not take my medicine. But through your love today I am happy to take my meds, I have a lovely home and am reunited with my family,and most of all you are my family. That’s why I bring you fruits and honey and things all the time.” Everyone applauded her and the meeting went on.
After the meeting I spoke with Chris who is newly housed with her two babies. We agreed to help her pay her electricity deposit or she would lose this precious housing. This is not something we do often as the line then goes around the block.But we could not see her lose this precious housing. She was also delighted at the gifts of clothing for her children and herself and her developmentally slow older brother. As I held the tiny baby who already wheezed with asthma I thought of those sparrows and prayed.