Archive | December 2013

Thanks be to God! Five Roman Catholic Women Ordained in Louisville, Ky 12/8/13

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is pleased to announce the ordination of five women in Louisville, Kentucky on Sunday 12/8/2013. . The cold and snowy weather did not deter people from attending the ordination of Mary Sue Barnett as Priest and Ann Harrington, Betty Smith ,Denise Menard Davis and Mary Weber as Deacons. Over two hundred people gathered to celebrate this wonderful event with Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan presiding. The article below is from the 
Written by
Charlie White
The Courier-Journal
Five Roman Catholic women were ordained (four as deacons and one as a priest) at Central Presbyterian Church in Louisville by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. As priest candidate Mary Sue Barnett lay prostrate in the aisle, deacon candidate Betty H. Smith got some help getting into position. Dec. 08, 2013

Five Roman Catholic women were ordained (four as deacons and one as a priest) at Central Presbyterian Church in Louisville by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. As priest candidate Mary Sue Barnett lay prostrate in the aisle, deacon candidate Betty H. Smith got some help getting into position. Dec. 08, 2013 / David R. Lutman/Special to The Courier-Journal
Mary Sue Barnett lay prostrate Sunday before members of theAssociation of Roman Catholic Women Priests and others laid their hands on her in solemn reverence and prayer.

They had a clear message for the Vatican on Sunday, ordaining Barnett as its latest woman priest.

“The time has come for a holy shake­up that will bring new life, creativity and justice to the church and beyond,” the Rev. Bridget Mary Meehan, the ordaining bishop, said during the ceremony.

MORE | Photo gallery from the ordination

More than 200 people attended the afternoon ceremony for Barnett at Central Presbyterian Church in Old Louisville.

Four other women were ordained as deacons: Denise Menard Davis and Betty Smith of Louisville, Mary Weber of Indianapolis and Ann Harrington of Greenville, N.C.

It was the second such ceremony in Louisville in the past year.

“It’s a very natural next step for me, a joy-filled step,” Barnett, 51, said after the ceremony, adding there are “women of all ages who need to be visible and need to be heard.”

She will give her first liturgies at First Unitarian Church on Fourth Street at 5 p.m. Dec. 21.

Barnett, who is married, has two sons and lives in the Lyndon area, was born and raised in the traditional Roman Catholic Church, attending St. Athanasius, Mother of Good Counsel and Church of Epiphany in Louisville. She also has taught at Catholic institutions, including PresentationAcademy, Assumption High School, Spalding University and St. Catharine College.

There are now more than 160 women priests in the association, said Meehan, of Mother Mary of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Fla.

The association’s first seven women were ordained as priests in 2002 on the Danube River in Europe, and a dozen more were ordained in the first U.S. ordination in Pittsburgh in 2006.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville officials have said Catholics should not support or participate in events held by the association, maintaining it has no connection to the Roman Catholic Church.

Some association supporters who attended Sunday’s ceremony sat on the upper level to avoid having their photos taken because they said they would be excommunicated if they were seen at the ceremony.

Pope Francis, like other pontiffs before him, has rejected the idea of women priests, although he is trying to include them more in the church.

The Rev. Janice Savre-Duszynska, an association member, said priesthood “goes beyond gender.”

She’s among those who say frescoes the Vatican recently restored in the Catacomb of Priscilla — including one that appears to show a woman being ordained by a bishop — are evidence of women deacons and priests.

But the Vatican has a different interpretation.

“This is an elaboration that has no foundation in reality,” Barbara Mazzei of the Pontifical Commission on Sacred Archaeology told Reuters last month.

Reach Charlie White at (812) 949-4026 or @c_write.

Jesus helped the blind to see. It is amazing that anyone could see and then deny the presence and meanings of those frescoes interpreted by many scholars, Gary Macy and Dorothy Irvin included. Yet, thankfully,  Even the Vatican cannot limit the powers of God to call whom God calls to serve as priests and deacons. Thanks be to God for those male bishops who helped to start this Movement in 2002. They were clear that this was done not for any individual woman but for the good of all the church, of all God’s people. Thanks be to God!  To read the stories of early women priests, including this author, the reader may be interested in Women Find A Way edited by Meehan and McGrath, or or Band N .com

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP

More Thoughts on Advent 2 from 3 Preachers -Bringing In the “Already-but not yet”


Good Shepherd Tuesday Ministry Core Group-Homeless No More And Helping Others

In my last blog I shared my homily on “Blossoming Out of a Tree Cut Down”.  Many of us, including those who are  homeless,like the Blossom from the cut off stump of Jesse, Jesus the Christ, sprout up, rise up, despite the treatment we have received. Advent is a time of sprouting into new life. For some as Pastor Reho says, it means moving away from our own dead center of “ME”. For others as Rev. Bingle says it means doing what they can do to serve others, to feed and clothe and encourage the homeless and others in trouble when the minimum wage is so low no one can live on it. May we also encourage those changes that bring new life to all, like raising the minimum wage to twice what it is now so people can live on it.

Here are two more preachers sharing the word for Advent 2. 

Rev. James Reho of The Lamb of God Lutheran Episcopal Church in Estero, Florida

“Koans are paradoxical questions that are meant to stop our ordinary ways of thinking so that our minds (and hearts) can be opened to something more.  Some famous koans include, “What was your original face before you were born?” and “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”  Sitting with such paradoxes can expand us.

This season of Advent, too, is a paradox.  On the one hand, it is a time of preparation and waiting; on the other, it is a call to awaken to God’s kin(g)dom which is already at hand, among us and within us (Luke 17:21).  Theologians often describe this reality using the paradoxical phrase “already-but-not-yet.”

The Advent paradox of “already-but-not-yet” captures, I think, how we often experience the Holy.  The more present we become to Presence here and now, the more we see new horizons unfolding into the future.  The more we experience union with God, the more we are called to continual transformation into God.  The more our Lamb of God community seeks and embodies God’s hopeful dreams for our world, the more we are called to faithful courage in furthering this “already-but-not-yet” kin(g)dom of God.

The more seriously we take the message of Advent, the more we become people of paradox.  What does this mean?  It means that we can imagine in a courageous way what our future will look like and risk making it happen, while awakening to the fact that we, already in the present, have everything we need to bring it about.  It means, too, that for God’s kin(g)dom to be more fully revealed, our own kingdoms have to move over: “what I want” sometimes needs to cede to “what best serves.”      Finally, it means that we learn to become suppler and less rigid through cultivating our inner prayer life and outer community life.

What are we waiting for?  We wait for That which is already here.

Whom are we waiting for?  We wait for Jesus Christ, who, here and now, is alive within us and among us.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?  That one I’ll leave to you to figure out🙂

See you in church,


Rev. Beverly Bingle, Roman Catholic Woman Priest in Toledo, Ohio

Last Wednesday, the temperature in Toledo was 60. This weekend the
high is 30. The forecast high for next Tuesday is 20. The Winter
Solstice—the darkest day of the year—is two weeks off. Bleak, frigid
days ahead.

Lucas County officials count over a thousand homeless people here. I
mentioned that statistic at Claver House this week, and Al, one of the
guests, estimated that there are two to three times that many because
they’re not all counted. Some live in cars. Some squat in
abandoned houses. Some go from couch to couch with family and
friends. A good number have “riverfront homes.” Some live under the
High-Level Bridge. Others under the Craig Bridge. Still others live
under the new Glass City Skyway.

A third of the homeless have a mental illness or an addiction. Some
of them are the “working poor,” not making enough money to pay minimal
expenses for food and housing. Many of them are unemployed. Many of
the women and children are fleeing from domestic violence. Some spend
their nights in one of the four homeless shelters—they’re the ones who
get counted. They walk or bike to soup kitchens and the public
library during the day while the shelters are closed. They look for
jobs without an address to put on the application, without a shower,
without clean clothes for an interview.

It’s bleak. Cold. Hard.

We gather here today, warm and safe, and hear scriptures that promise
a peaceful, happy world. We hear the Baptizer proclaim that God’s
reign is at hand. And we know that something’s wrong with this
picture. What were those words of scripture we just heard? Treat
poor people with fairness? No harm, no destruction on my holy

Our Pope Francis describes the problem; he says: The great danger in
today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and
anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit
of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our
interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns,
there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.

John the Baptizer is more blunt about it; he shouts: You pack snakes!
Give some evidence that you mean to reform!

Glory be to God, our Holy Spirit Community can give evidence. We
consistently spend our time and our talent and our resources to, as
the Psalmist puts it, “rescue the poor when they cry out.”

Last week you brought canned goods and sweaters, cash and toys,
Christmas decorations and socks, cereal and lots of plastic bags and
containers… all donated by you for the hungry and the homeless in our
midst. During the week each of you ministers at home, at work, with
friends, among strangers. You’re at the Assumption Outreach Center,
Helping Hands of St. Louis, Hospice, Claver House, the St. Vincent de
Paul Society, Pax Christi, the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition, Call to
Action, to name just a few. You contribute, over and above what you
give for our Community’s efforts, to causes ranging from ISOH/Impact
disaster relief to the Padua Center’s tutoring program. In two weeks,
on the 22nd we’ll address another of our five potential focuses for
systemic change to serious problems in our world, this time looking at
the systems and institutions that contribute to addiction.

We can see the problems. We are already part of the solution, and we
are working towards doing even more.

So a shoot will sprout—a branch will blossom. In the darkness of
winter, in the darkness of our world, we can walk in the light of

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor,

As we celebrate Advent 2, the Sunday of Peace and Preparation let us pray for the grace to work for justice in order to pursue peace. Let us join John the Baptist in giving some evidence that we mean to change our hearts and lives to serve one another and the “least” among us this Advent season. 

Pastor Judy Lee,ARCWP

Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Florida

Blossoming Out of a Tree Cut Down-Homily for the Second Sunday in Advent-12/8/13


“On that day,

A shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse;

From Jesse’s roots, a branch will blossom.

The Spirit of God will rest there…” (Is 11: 1-2a).

Have you ever felt like a tree cut down? Like a dead, sap bleeding, or dying stump instead of the flourishing tree you were before the axe of life’s events did its work? Do you know people who have been cut down before they could even grow? Or those who grew well until hard events cut them down? I know and serve such people and I know what it feels like to be a tree cut down. Poverty is a great axe that cuts new and older trees down without mercy. After almost thirty years of serving the homeless, I still wonder how anyone survives it. How physical survival is possible let alone emotional and spiritual survival. I have learned sadly that some do not survive. We have a Wall of Remembrance in our church where candle lights remind us of the lights that went out while homeless. But most do survive and I see those shoots coming forth and blossoming every day. It is a miracle of the spirit. Yet, if I do not speak and act prophetically, if we all do not cry out at the structures that continue to produce homelessness and act to remedy it, we are silently and tacitly in the tree cutting business.


 And I see the fruits of racism in the lives of all I serve, black, white, brown, yellow, poor or rich. Race still can put limits on growth, interactions, and opportunities despite the ultimate great success of the Civil Rights Movement. Whole peoples and nations, whole forests can be wantonly cut down by prejudice, discrimination, oppression and exploitation. The Jewish people were cut down again and again throughout history and yet they survive and Israel lives. The prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist would say-yes, yes, live on, but continue to ACT for Justice and peace.  Now, in Palestine, in the spirit of God, act now for justice, and peace.  

And let us act to accept and respect difference. Difference such as gayness or facing a host of other life challenges strikes blows to the young trees that can bend and break them.  Much of youth suicide is connected to being different and to being bullied about it one way or the other. I serve the “trees” cut down and I see the shoots coming forth and the fruits blossoming despite the stunting experiences endured. I rejoice at those shoots and tend them carefully. I know it in my people and I recognize it even as I know it in myself. I know it intimately, from growing up in relative poverty, from being a woman, from facing homophobia and heterosexism in its many subtle and not so subtle forms, from health challenges that change everything in one moment, from facing many losses, and from the aging process that keeps one humble.  

And so I look to the root of Jesse, to the shoot that came out of the cut off tree, from the stump itself and blossomed, died and literally rose to lead us as the people grafted into the tree of Jesse, the tree of life. I look to Jesus the Christ whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas, whose presence we welcome into our lives and see in every suffering and beautiful face, and who comes again in us as we are Christ to one another and who will come back again when the job of building the kin(g)dom of God is closer to completion. I look to this Christ to know that we can all grow back beautiful and strong from the stump of a tree. The Christ who grew from the tree of cut off and restored Israel, the Christ who grew from the wood of the Cross, who knew how to suffer with the suffering and how to bring rising to new life to each and every one of us.   I love this shoot sprouted from the cut off tree, from Jesse’s roots. I wait for the fullness of Christ dwelling among us. I stand with the rough clad John the Baptist in our Gospel for this day (Matt 3: 1-12) and baptize with water waiting with him for the coming of the baptism of fire and the passion for justice and peace into each life redeemed by baptism. Together we are waiting to see, watering, and nurturing the life inherent in the seed through baptism.  Sometimes with John and with Christ Christ we must even be abrasively prophetic to cut away the weeds that choke out the new life.

During Advent we wait for the coming of Christ even as the ancient prophets waited for and heralded the coming of the Messiah who would bring in the reign of God-when justice and peace would wed and love would be the rule. When “the lion would lay down with the lamb” when there would be no predators or oppressors and all would dwell together in a peaceable kin(g)dom, paradise regained where there would be justice and fairness, especially for the poor and disinherited (Is 11:1-10).  Isaiah wrote late in the seventh century when the Northern kingdom (the northern outskirts of Jerusalem) was annexed to Assyria and Judah lived uneasily in its shadow as a tributary. He longed for Israel (and the known world) to be a free and peaceable kingdom where the faithful could live a life of loving God and especially the poorest of their neighbors. It is said that prophets afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted. In this case Isaiah is both challenging and comforting the afflicted Jewish faithful who are oppressed and perhaps emerging and reuniting from exile. God will restore the remnant of Israel.  Yet the prophetic voice reaches beyond those times to the coming of the Messiah from the root of Jesse, the father of King David, the shepherd king of Israel. The writer of Matthew shows Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy.  Yeshua bar Joseph, Jesus son of Joseph, as his patriarchal lineage was then traced, was in the line of Jesse. The Epistle (Romans 15:4-9) also tells us that we are to accept one another as Christ has accepted us. Through Christ the Gentiles also have cause to “glorify God for showing mercy”, God’s praise spreads throughout the nations. How thankful we are.

 I love the words of John the Baptist- don’t just count on your religious connections “Give some evidence that you mean reform!” “Produce that fruit as evidence of your repentance”! (Matthew 3:8). Act, don’t just talk.   And what fruit is that? -It is the fruit of justice- preparing the way of our God is preparing the way of love-love of God, of neighbor and of justice and peace. The Psalm of the day,Psalm 72, is the hope of the poor- “For they will rescue the poor when they cry out, and the afflicted when they have no one to help them…the lives of the poor they will save”. (Psalm 72:13-14). The TIB translation broadens the “king” to the leaders. Yes, God will raise leaders to save the poor, it is the job of the Christ and it is our job. To the extent we leave it undone we need to repent and to do it!   Pope Francis was caught sneaking out at night to give food to the poor-we don’t even have to sneak! Amen.  

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee,ARCWP.

Co-Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Fort Myers, Florida 

Hooray! My New Book “The House on Sunny Street” Is Now on Kindle and Nook!


Take a look! This story is faith-full, funny, poignant, outrageous, and full of surprises.  If you want to know what makes this person, priest and pastor who she is-start here! If you like stories about Brooklyn, inner city issues, coming of age, class in America, race relations, difference, faith and inspiration, or stories about making it against the odds, check it out.

Follow me through the decades and see why I am so thankful!

There is universal appeal to this story.

It is great that it is now available on Nook and Kindle so it is more affordable and at your finger tips! $9. 95 and Cyber Monday sales are on!

 October 16, 2013 on Nook and Kindle 12/2/13
This is the inspiring story of a Brooklyn child and her beloved, unique, strong and joyful family plagued with many problems and trials, their house, and a glorious ever-changing neighborhood. It celebrates the redeeming power of groups exemplified by a diverse, funny and outrageous group of young people coming of age with the help of a neighborhood church. It captures two Brooklyns-one white and one black over two and a half decades (1943-1966) and the ending of an era. The Epilogue skips through time bringing the reader up to the present time with God’s many surprises and blessings for the family and friends who lived on Sunny Street, also known as St. Mark’s Avenue. This is a story of faith and triumph against the odds, the intricacies of class, race, and difference and the ultimate power of love.
The book I wrote about The Good Shepherd Ministry with the homeless in Fort Myers: Come By Here: Church with the Poor is also available on KINDLE. (Will be on Nook too).    Do check it out!

Pope Francis Blesses Statue of Homeless Man

  1. First, we share our response to this very special statue and the blessing. This figure of a homeless man as Christ sleeping on a bench is, sadly, highly realistic art. We have witnessed it for years,and we have reached out in response. But structural change is needed and changes in the minds and hearts of people will help make this happen.We have served the homeless in New York City, Hartford, CT and Fort Myers, Florida since 1982. Sadly the man(or woman or youth) is STILL on the bench there and across the relatively “affluent” USA. In our work in Guyana, South America and in Medellin, Colombia, South America people lying in the streets wrapped in plastic against the elements abound. Perhaps as our Pope of the poor, Francis, draws attention to this immoral phenomena of homeless people living and dying in our streets actions to change this in all places will spring forth. That is our prayer.
  2. Our Good Shepherd Ministry has served the homeless in Fort Myers, Florida since 2003 when we bought a home for a homeless family. In 2007 we started feeding the homeless and hungry in Lion’s Park with the Lamb of God Lutheran Episcopal Church ,continuing it on our own until 2009 when we bought another house for a church and transitional living facility for homeless people.  We continue in this hard work and have many good volunteers to help us. But, structurally, things are bad for the homeless in SW Florida and everywhere, and they and do not easily change. May this statue of Christ as a homeless man and the Pope’s blessing help inspire change to happen so no one has to live on the streets. All blessings to the artist, Tim Schmalz.
  3. Here is this excellent article from CTV,Kitchener,Ontario,Canada, 


Twice-rejected ‘Jesus the Homeless’ statue gets blessing from the pope


A St. Jacobs-based sculptor’s statue depicting a homeless Jesus has found a new home in the Vatican. Priya Mann has the story.
 Corinne Ton That, 
Published Friday, November 29, 2013 9:38AM EST 
Last Updated Friday, November 29, 2013 10:08AM EST

It was a statue that couldn’t find a home: a life-sized sculpture of Jesus depicted as a homeless man sleeping on a park bench, wrapped in a blanket, with his crucifixion wounds evident on his bare feet.

But after being rejected by two renowned cathedrals – St. Michael’s in Toronto and St. Patrick’s in New York — ‘Jesus the Homeless’ finally found a fan in the Vatican: Pope Francis.

Sculptor Tim Schmalz travelled to Rome with ‘Jesus the Homeless’ last week to present the statue to the pope.



Homeless Jesus

Pope Francis examines the ‘Jesus the Homeless’ sculpture in Vatican City as creator Tim Schmalz looks on in the Vatican.

“The first thing he did when he saw my sculpture was he prayed, and then he blessed the piece,” Schmalz told CTV News. “And to have Pope Francis bless your sculpture is one of the most amazing experiences possible.”

Father Terry McGuire, a retired Catholic priest living in Waterloo, Ont., isn’t surprised the statue caught the pope’s attention.

“To me it coincides with Pope Francis in terms of his care and concern for the poor,” McGuire told CTV News. “And Tim has a way of bringing out the feeling.”

Schmalz, a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, lives in St. Jacobs, near Waterloo. He specializes in large-scale bronze Christian-themed works, which have been commissioned for public monuments and Christian churches.

He was inspired to create the 2.5-metre bronze statue after seeing a homeless person wrapped in a blanket in Toronto.

“Initially what I basically thought in my heart or in my head was: I just saw Jesus,” Schmalz said. “And I wanted other people to have that experience when they see homeless people or marginalized people, to see that relationship with Jesus.”

The estimated $25,000 statue, which took about eight months to create, was funded by private donors. It eventually found its way to the Jesuit School of Theology at the University of Toronto’s Regis College.

“Unlike a lot of sculptures of Jesus that have ever been represented that are meant to be put on a pedestal, this sculpture meant to be put just on a city street,” Schmalz said.

Schmalz also sent a ‘Jesus the Homeless’ replica to Chicago, where it’s awaiting a permanent home. Another copy is on its way to Perth, Australia.

And the sculptor has been working with the Vatican to find a place for the statue in Rome, where they hope to install it near St. Peter’s Square.

With reports from CTV Kichener’s Priya Mann and CTV Toronto’s Calvin Ton