Archive | March 2014

Rev. Chava’s Reflection on the Blindness of Prejudice with Pastor Judy’s Commentary

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This is a beautiful reflection by Rev. Chava Redonnet  on how ingrained the blindness of prejudice and discrimination is in our world. Rev. Chava discusses the repeat of the black and white doll test in contemporary Mexico. This test was originally done many decades ago in the United States with the same results, black children preferring white dolls. During the Civil Rights era in the United States the tests were repeated many times as consciousness was raised and black is beautiful was internalized. Finally the black dolls were seen as most beautiful by black children. I am not sure what would happen if the test were given here these days. I do know that of my beautiful black children in the Sunday School and Youth Group only one or two at most color Jesus and his followers black or even light brown. Mostly they leave the white page showing and leave him white despite my constant and strong teaching that Jesus was of Near Eastern Semitic heritage and with all probability did not have light skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. We are blessed to have a wonderful artist in our church,Hank Tessandori, who painted Jesus as Near Eastern for us and in all of our pictures he is various shades of brown.    We also have images of an African Jesus with Jesus Mafa paintings displayed. We use only culturally African American or ethnically mixed educational materials. Still our kids do not paint or color him brown without our encouragement. Our younger children seem to be hearing us and seeing what is on the walls while our older children leave Jesus white. We keep at it for we think it is critically important that our children see themselves and God’s Beloved Jesus as beautiful in shades of brown or black.

The problem exists in all non- white groups as Rev. Chava notes as she illuminates the legacy racism that insidiously becomes internalized. In our Good Shepherd church, we have one family where the mother is from Southern Italy. Recently she gave a gift to the church of a beautiful large picture of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus. I very gratefully accepted it as it was a true gift of love and thanksgiving on her part. Yet, I did not put it up as the Jesus was light white skinned with bright blue eyes. She had the courage to ask me why I did not put it up. I explained that as she could see in our other pictures of Jesus, that he looked more like her (she is distinctively dark) than like Robert Redford or Paul Newman and most of our people are dark so they need to know that Jesus looked more like them.  She said “Your’e kidding,right? Every picture of Jesus I ever saw in Italy had the blonde hair, blue eyed Jesus. I thought it was truth that Jesus looked like Northern Italians and Germans but not like me”. I said that we have no photos, of course, but Jesus was a person of his Jewish and Near Eastern Culture. I think he looked more like you. She said “My God, I was the blackest sheep in my family and my blue eyed sisters called me the black dog. I hope one day that they learn this too-don’t put the picture up , Pastor Judy, let these kids learn that Jesus looks like them.” She added “thanks for telling me this, I really did not know Jesus could look like me.”

 

This is Rev. Chava’s Reflection

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, March 30, 2014
4th Sunday in Lent
Dear friends,

A friend who works at a Catholic Worker house in Mexico posted something on
facebook today that broke my heart. It was a video of an experiment in
which Mexican children were shown two baby dolls, identical except for the
color of their plastic skin.  Child after child was shown the dolls and
asked which was pretty, which ugly, which doll was good or which doll was
bad, and child after child identified the white doll as pretty and good,
and the black doll as ugly and bad. One or two were able to say “they’re
the same,” but others, asked why the doll on the left was ugly or bad, said
clearly, “because it’s brown.” Racism is deep, not only in our culture here
in the United States, but in lots of other places. I remember being in El
Salvador and watching TV, and realizing that although most people on the
streets have Indian features, all the actors on TV looked European.

Racism is our inheritance, along with the profound economic inequalities in
the world. Most of the kids in that video had light brown skin, somewhere
in between those two dolls. They are “mestizo,” mixed race, which in Mexico
means that they are descended from Indian women raped by Spanish soldiers,
centuries ago. That’s most of the population of Mexico. In this country, we
have the legacy of slavery. When I was growing up, the image of slavery I
got from school and movies (like “Gone With the Wind”) was enforced
servitude, people being made to work and not being free to leave. The
reality was so much worse. Have you seen “12 Years a Slave”? or read Toni
Morrison’s book “Beloved”? To be a slave was to be treated as less than
human. Because I am white, I have to look at the legacy I inherited from
slavery: a legacy of denial and blindness as well as privilege.

So that, I think, is original sin. Original sin isn’t some stain on our
human character because Adam and Eve ate some apples. It’s the human legacy
of inequality and injustice that we often can’t even see because it’s
normal. That was what hit me, watching “12 Years a Slave”: all that used to
be legal. What horrors am I accepting as normal, today?  How about the 80%
of the world living on less than $10 a day? How about, it costs as much to
gift-wrap an item on Amazon as most people in El Salvador earn in a day? Or
that little kids are growing up in neighborhoods where I’m scared to drive
down the street?

Rachel McGuire tells the story of a white woman at a conference on racism,
who, feeling the target of accusations about this collective legacy, cried
out, “I wasn’t there!” When I read that, I recognized the feeling. It’s not
my fault. I’m not to blame. But you know what – it’s not about fault, or
blame. It’s about responsibility. We’ve inherited a world of racism and
injustice, and some of us benefit from it. So what are we going to do about
it?

First, I think, we name it. We look at it without fear and recognize these
gross inequalities and feel the anger and shame and horror without hiding
from it. And then, well, I don’t have any long-term answer but I think we
commit ourselves to keeping our eyes open. We move out of our comfortable
blindness and into recognizing that the system is not fair and we’ve got
the easy side of the equation, the side where there’s three meals a day and
shoes and running water and people being polite to us in stores and at
airports because of the way we look, dress and speak. And we recognize the
people on the hard side of that equation as our sisters and brothers, with
the same need to be fully alive and fully themselves that we have, and the
same loves and hopes and aspirations. And we recognize that our privilege
is a handicap that we can’t even see. And we repent of it, not with
sackcloth and ashes, but with humility and listening and open eyes.

Like the man in this week’s Gospel, we are blind from birth, and it’s not
our fault or our parent’s fault, but we sure do need to be healed of it.
Let God put mud on our eyes, and may we see the reality around us.

May the next generation of children see every doll as beautiful.

Blessings and love to all,
Chava

Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph’s House of Hospitality
402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620

Madre Maria y Bebe Jesus by La Tienda de la  Sororidad in Cali,Colombia, SA

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Flame of Anger,Why I disobey …My Bishop By St. Hildegard of Bingen

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priest’s Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,center below, comments on a prayer by St. Hildegard of Bingen and prays for us with this Saint of prophetic disobedience.  

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Flame of Anger, Why I Disobey …My Bishop” by St. Hildegard of Bingen, Patroness of Excommunicated, Interdicted, Silenced, Catholics

http://cyber-christian-community-wa-inc.org.au/CR_page1.html
A Prayer for Catholics who have been  Excommunicated, Interdicted and Silenced because of their support of women priests, including prophetic male priests: Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois,  Jesuit Bill Brennan,  Franciscan Jerry Zawada,  and  the many more,  too numerous to mention,  members of the faithful who have been fired or are under threat of ecclesiastical penalties for following their consciences.

St. Hildegard of Bingen, pray for all those condemned by the hierarchy for their prophetic obedience  to the Spirit in support of justice and equality for women in the church.  Walk in solidarity with us as we work for the reform and renewal of our beloved church. 

This prayer was written by St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179).
 
Flame of Anger
 
You ask why I disobey you, my bishop;
 
I answer in a spirit of prayer,
 
As I hope you did too in addressing me.
 
I, the Abbess, disobey, and all my sisters choose to disobey,
 
Because in such obedience is only darkness.
 
In our disobedience is light for our spirits,
 
So has God shown us.
 
I am not just disobedient,
 
I am outraged.
 
A thunderstorm of outrage shakes my soul.
 
In God’s truth I say to you:
 
‘You are wrong and we are right.’
 
We are obeying Christ,
 
We are following Christ,
 
We choose not to insult Christ,
 
As obeying you would force us to do.
 
 
Because of what you call our disobedience,
 
You have forbidden us to sing our psalms.
 
You have deprived us of the Food of Life.
 
You have cut off the streams of life, the sacramental graces.
 
God told me to tell you this also:
 
Beware of closing the mouths of those who sing God’s praises.
 
‘Who dares to de-string the harp of heaven?’ God asked me.
 
‘Only the devil,’ I whispered.
 
 
Ask yourself, O bishop, whose side are you on?
 
 
Excerpts from Letter to the Bishop written by Hildegard of Bingen aged 80
St. Hildegard’s convent was interdicted by her local bishop because she refused to obey an order issued by him. 
www.arcwp.org

Fr. Jerry, Punished by Vatican for Concelebrating with Woman Priest Says “I Will Not Do Penance For My Convictions”

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Father Jerry Zawada saw the light that God calls whomever God will call to serve as priests. He, and Frs. Bill Brennan and Roy Bourgeois have had the courage to walk in the light with ordained women. We are so thankful for each of them, for their courage and vision. The response of the Church has been severe punishment to them. But we know that they are priests forever and that we and all of God’s precious people are blessed by their service and their prophetic disobedience. As we share this news about punitive action we pray that Pope Francis ,whose eyes are open and actions strong  on many of the church’s abuses regarding priorities, power and money, will also see and act on its unjust and vengeful treatment of women priests and their male priest supporters. Lift the “automatic excommunications”, lift the punishments. Who are we to judge the call of another? The call to serve as priests and the call of conscience to support women priests is a sacred call. We are so grateful for Fr. Jerry who risks all in his life as a peace activist and a supporter of women’s ordination. 

Below is the Journal Sentinel story of 3/28 about Fr. Jerry and Bishop Bridget Mary’s response. 

Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, ARCWP

 

vatican punishes priest for Saying Mass with Female Priest/ Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP/Fr. Jerry Zawada is a Prophet

 
http://www.jsonline.com/news/religion/vatican-punishes-wisconsin-priest-for-saying-mass-with-female-priest-b99235591z1-252965231.html

“A 76-year-old Wisconsin priest and peace activist has been ordered by the Vatican to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance for concelebrating the Catholic Mass with a female priest in 2011.
Father Jerry Zawada had been previously sanctioned by his religious order, the Franciscan Friars Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province in Franklin, for the November 2011 incident, pending Vatican review.
The Vatican order, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith this month, strips Zawada of his right to function publicly as a priest, and orders him to spend his life in prayer and penance at the order’s friary in Burlington.
“I don’t mind the prayer part,” Zawada told the National Catholic Reporter in an interview this week. “But…when they say that I need to be spending time in penance, well, I’m not going to do penance for my convictions and the convictions of so many others, too.”
Zawada could not be reached at the Burlington friary on Friday. A friar who answered the phone there said he had fallen and was taken to the hospital.
Zawada is among two Milwaukee-area priests sanctioned for concelebrating Mass with Mother Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a Milwaukee native ordained in the dissident Catholic womenpriest movement, at annual protests at Fort Benning, Ga.
In 2012, Milwaukee Jesuit, Father Bill Brennan, was ordered not to celebrate the Eucharist or other sacraments publicly, or present himself publicly as a priest, for saying Mass with Sevre-Duszynska in November of that year. That sanction followed the excommunication and defrocking of School of the Americas Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who participated in Sevre-Duszynska’s 2008 ordination in Lexington, Ky.
The Roman Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of women.
Sevre-Duszynska, of Lexington, is ordained in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Women Priests say their ordinations are valid because they were conducted by bishops who stand in “apostolic succession” — the line of Catholic bishops who stretch back to Jesus’ apostles. The Vatican rejects that argument.”

 

Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/religion/vatican-punishes-wisconsin-priest-for-saying-mass-with-female-priest-b99235591z1-252965231.html#ixzz2xIrz1WI4
Follow us: @JournalSentinel on Twitter

ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary’s Response:
It is a sad day for the Roman Catholic Church when the Vatican punishes  contemporary prophets  and human rights activists like  Fr. Jerry Zawada, a faithful priest for following his conscience in co-presiding at a liturgy with Roman Catholic Woman Priest, Janice Sevre-Duszynska.  

Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada, Jesuit Bill Brennan and Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois are contemporary prophets standing in solidarity with Roman Catholic Women Priests on our journey to gender justice and equality in the Roman Catholic Church.  Our sister, Janice Sevre Duszynska invited her brother priests to co-preside at liturgies. Their “yes” is a historic step forward for the church and reflects the sense of the faithful in the United States and Europe. We are leading the church into a new era  partnership and equality in grassroots communities.

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Janice Sevre-Dusynska in Middle

 

 

 

 

 

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith  (CDF) should affirm  the primacy of conscience, a central Catholic teaching, not persecute Catholics who follow their consciences. Every Catholic is obliged to follow his/her conscience even if it means excommunication as St. Thomas Aquinas, medieval theologian taught. Women priests and our supporters are living prophetic obedience to the Gospel. We are following our consciences. 

Therefore , our brothers in the CDF should cease and desist  from all forms of spiritual violence and bullying including ecclesiastical punishments such as excommunication against women priests and our supporters.  We are your beloved sisters and  brothers, members of the Catholic family, by our baptism. Please treat us as Jesus would– as spiritual equals.

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

Pastor Judy’s Homily for the Fourth Sunday in Lent: Who’s Blind?

Who’s blind?” the Pharisees demanded of Jesus-are you calling us blind? (John 9:40). What would Jesus say to the leaders of the church today? And what about our own blindspots?  During this Lenten season we are all asked to look at our blindspots. We are asked to see what prevents us from seeing all of God’s people with compassion and equanimity-with chesed and tzedakah , with loving-kindness and with justice and viewing the world through God’s eyes. The reading in 2 Samuel 16 says that God does not see as we see for we look at outward appearances while God looks on the heart. Indeed Jesus cuts through to the heart of the matter many times in the Gospels. We exclude and God includes. We judge and God offers loving-kindness also translated as mercy. We are ethnocentric and egocentric and God welcomes all to the Table. We uphold the laws and rules of religion and Jesus cuts through to the spirit of the law which is always love and justice. The Gospel for today shows Jesus’ compassion for a blind beggar while the religious of the day say that healing on the Sabbath makes him a sinner and a heretic. They could not see the man before them and they could not see Jesus for who he was. Jesus called it like it was-they were blind.

Jimmy Carter has written a book ” A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power” just released by Simon and Schuster in which he makes the connection between religious subjugation of women and violence and discrimination against women throughout the world.  He also is calling it as he sees it, and he strongly supports the ordination of women as priests. In his book he notes how the Scriptures are taken out of context and used to validate oppression and discrimination.  He says:

“So you can pick out individual verses throughout the Bible that shows that the verse favors your particular preference, and the fact that the Catholic Church, for instance, prohibits women from serving as priests or even deacons gives a kind of a permission to male people all over the world, that, well, if God thinks that women are inferior, I’ll treat them as inferiors. If she’s my wife, I can abuse her with impunity, or if I’m an employer, I can pay my female employees less salary.”

The problem lies not only with Christianity, he says, but many of the world’s major religions.

Religious texts are interpreted “almost exclusively by powerful male leaders within the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and other faiths, to proclaim the lower status of women and girls,” Carter writes in the book. “This claim that women are inferior before God spreads to the secular world to justify gross and sustained acts of discrimination and violence against them.”

Carter may have joked on an NPR talk show when he said in response to a question “are you going to become a Catholic?” that he would indeed do so when the Pope ordains women. Yet he truly believes that Pope Francis may have a different response than his predecessors to women’s ordination.  As woman priests, we in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests are asking Pope Francis and the Curia to see as God sees, to look upon the hearts of those called by God to serve as priests whether women, married men or openly gay individuals and look again at the distinctly man-made rules that prohibit the ordination of any but celibate non-openly gay males.  We are praying that they may see, illuminated in the Christ-light, what they have done and continue to do to women and all of the faithful by denying that God can indeed give the church the power to ordain women. We pray they may see as God sees.

Another example of blindness: here in Florida the State Legislature voted to turn down billions of dollars to extend Medicaid to the working poor. They wanted to subvert Obamacare by this action.  Hence, Millie, one of our church members who works extremely hard cleaning big stores, is exploited by one of her two employers and makes under $17,000 a year for a family of three AND she would have to pay $300 a month for medical coverage. She cannot afford to give what is a fourth of her monthly salary to do this. Had the Florida legislature accepted the money her costs for medical coverage would be minimal and affordable. Surely they go to church and other houses of worship and congratulate themselves for the blow against Obamacare when it was a direct blow against the hardworking poor. Whether its politics or religion or personal viewpoints: blind is blind.

 The theme of seeing flows through our Scriptures today. When Samuel was called to anoint a king, he looked at Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son who was tall and strong and good looking and thought “well, this is easy, he’s the one!” But God had another of Jesse’s sons in mind, one not even grown enough to be in the group under consideration. Now, David was a good looking young man, but he had not even been in the running. God chose him and explained to Samuel that God looks on the heart and not the appearance when God chooses people and fills them with the Holy Spirit.  God sees differently than we do.   God also sees to it that our needs are met. The wonderful Shepherd Psalm says that God feeds and leads and cares for us like a loving tender mother does.   In the Aramaic idiom, God leads us into pastures of strength (green pastures) and by restful waters, teaching us what we are able to learn-to enlighten us so we may see what is true.  And God anoints each of us, choosing us to love and serve.

In Ephesians 5 we are asked to live as children of the light-seeing- and to rise up from the dead and see with Christ’s light. But how does Christ see? The same way God does, looking on the heart. Jesus does not see a blind beggar but a man who is a true visionary, one who can see that he is the Messiah, God’s Chosen and Anointed. He sought the man out twice-once to restore his sight and once to be with him in his rejection from the Temple authorities after he took them on with great insight.   You see, he could see who Jesus was, his sight was excellent!

Like the Samaritan woman at the well last week whose name has been lost forever, we wish we knew what this man’s name was. Even in the Scriptures women, “foreigners” and blind or lame or mentally or physically ill people are anonymous and invisible. Jonathan Swift said “”vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” He also quoted another writer of the 16th century saying” There are none so blind that those who will not see.” Cynic and satirist though he was, in this he saw what God saw. Singer and song writer Ray Stevens uses this line in Everything is Beautiful, a song that begins with the children’s hymn “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”  All God’s children deserve homes and food and opportunities for education and a good life and yet we inure ourselves to the poverty all around us.

We have seen so many pass by on the other side of the street to avoid looking at the homeless begging in their midst.  We have heard good people say “I don’t give them anything, they will only go out and do drugs”. Our church serves the homeless. We do so with eyes wide open. It hurts to see. We know that some are homeless for reasons of economics in a society where the safety nets for the poor and the working poor are full of large gaping holes. We know that some are homeless because of divorce,deaths and families falling apart. We know that some cannot compete in the new technology. We know that some are too sick to work and yet denied disability benefits. We know that some are mentally ill and falling through a system that no longer gives adequate time or resources to their treatment and rehabilitation. We know that some are addicted to legal and illegal drugs. We know that there are many children and old people in their number. We know that there are few shelters and services and resources for the great numbers of homeless people.  We know America has turned its back on the problem, blaming it on the victims.

We know how hard it is to serve people in church week after week,to look them in the eye, when it takes so long to house them and they must sleep on the streets or in cars. In seven years we have helped nearly a hundred people to become housed, and many  to access incomes.  It is barely a dent in the problem, but I am so thankful for this little church that does what it can,welcoming everyone and feeding them every Sunday both physically and spiritually. We do see- our poorest neighbors are visible and welcomed.  We do what we can but it is not enough. We do not have the resources to do much more.  We see, and when we see what God sees we also weep for there is so much more work to be done.

The Pharisees on the other hand were blind to the way God sees. They ignored this blind man and passed him by a million times. Then they demonized and victimized him. They thought that he or his parents had sinned so he deserved his blindness and shunning and marginalization. And they put religious rules about the Sabbath above compassion for a human being. Moreover, they were totally blind to who Jesus was. Yes, Jesus who turns things upside down called them blind and saw in the blind beggar the makings of a strong disciple. Indeed, “God has chosen the weak and foolish of this world” to usher in the kin-dom of love and justice. Wow!

We too are like the Pharisees, we may see some of what Jesus saw, but what and who are we still ignoring and misjudging? Jesus, wash the scales off our eyes so we may see.                                                                 IMG_0180

Amen.

Pastor Judy Lee,ARCWP

Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Fort Myers, Florida

 

Women Priests Make a Lenten Journey

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This is Gaspare and Marcella with the other Good Shepherd Youth

 

 

 

 

 

Today we offer some special moments in the Lenten Journey of Pastors Judy Lee and Judy Beaumont, Roman Catholic women priests   and co-Pastors of The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community. Many steps and much prayer make up our journeys of reflection, deepening commitment and renewal as we walk toward Easter with Jesus.

A journey of this Lenten season has been accompanying Gaspare who is 26 in his decision to have a life giving serious surgery. After much prayer and counseling he finally agreed to the operation. Bravely and in faith he was operated on the morning of March 25th,2014. We brought him to surgery at 5:30 AM and anointed him before his surgery at 7:30. He placed his trust in our loving God and entered surgery with confidence. The surgery was a success and laproscopic means were possible enhancing recovery time. By this evening he was resting nicely and in excellent early recovery. We prayed with him and his mother, Lili, sister Marcella and Charlotte Williams a dear family friend. The miracle was not only his acceptance of the surgery and its success, but his turn of heart to buy into life. We thank God for this young man and ask continued prayers for his recovery.

 This is Gaspare in his hospital room in recovery with Pastor Judy Lee  

Another of our Lenten Journeys is to continue serving a hot lunch to the hungry and to assist people in gaining access to affordable housing. Below are three women who volunteer with our ministry. Gini Beecroft, on the right, and her husband Paul supported our ministry over five years ago. When he went home to God almost three years ago Gini continued her generous giving of self to the Ministry serving and preparing food with members of her Breckinridge Community. She also had donations for Paul’s Memorial given , in part, to our ministry. Here Gini and her friend are resting with Kathy (middle) after serving our people a hot lunch. Kathy herself became homeless after a series of unfortunate life events out of her control and now with great gratitude and joy awaits her own affordable townhouse through Goodwill Industries Housing for the physically disabled.

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Here is Kathy with Kris and Stacie who are also going to move into Goodwill Housing. We have just accompanied them to their housing interview and all were delighted to learn of their acceptance and seeing their new homes.  We are praying for a move-in date before Easter, but two are going into new housing and it may take a bit longer.

 

 

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We have also been accompanying some of our Tuesday church members to apply for social security benefits. Tom is also celebrating his 62nd Birthday with us.      Robert and Eddie have Birthdays as well.

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We also spent some quality time re-uniting with family and friends,

 

 

getting back to nature

 

and renewing our souls!

 

And yet, the journey continues and we are so thankful!

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Blessings as we serve one another, refresh and renew,

Pastor JudyIMG_0131

Women Priest Led Good Shepherd Church Prepares for Confirmation

On Sunday March 23rd, 2014 eight young people (ages 12-18) and three adults stood up individually, said their names clearly and responded to the Question: “What do you seek from the Church?” with the resounding answer “Confirmation!”They were met with a round of loud applause and affirmation. As some were not present this question will be asked again next Sunday and we expect several more responses. How exciting this is as the people prepare for Confirmation which will be on April 26th at 4PM in our Bishop’s home church in Sarasota Florida.In a very real way the whole church is involved in the process of mentoring and preparation.

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In a class afterward when youth and adults were joined for a period of time Linda Maybin, mother of five of the young people said” I just decided that I had to lead the way and take my faith the next step. I look forward to the Holy Spirit filling me with new gifts so I can serve God’s people”. In the Junior and Senior classes the youth focused on reconciliation and “bringing clean hearts” to God and naming for themselves what things they were truly sorry for. They shared these things with me as priest and with one another by writing and drawing themselves into a poster about the Seven Sacraments. They also thought about ways they may offer their gifts to the community.  As our community is focused on helping the homeless and hungry they could find ways to fit themselves into our service. They also began work in little Confirmation Journals where answers are not right or wrong and their thoughts and efforts mattered.

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The Junior Class Works on Their Posters With Their Teacher, Mrs. Pearl Cudjoe.

Joelle who is seven(top left) says “I want to follow Jesus and I love God”.

What more is there to ask?

 

 

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A Special Birthday Blessing for Adult Confirmand Mr. Robert Swanson

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Mrs. Cyrillia Rismay teaches “Oh How I Love Jesus” to our “Little Lambs Class” The Triplets will be baptized on Easter.

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Tom is coming to the table where Lisa Munklewitz and Pearl Cudjoe are serving the Sunday meal.

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Linda and Natasha,Jolinda, Keeondra, Jakein and Jakeriya talk about what Confirmation means to them.

 

They talk about becoming more mature Christians. They talk about  how the oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit “sealing the deal”. IMG_0129

They talk about becoming full members of the Church.

 

 

 

 

Pastor Judy Beaumont shares a Confirmation Poster with our Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan who sends messages of affirmation to our young people.

Thanks be to God for the enthusiasm of our people as they dedicate themselves to a life of love and service to one another. This is the prayer the congregation prayed for them. It is from the Rite of the Church.

“Come,Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,

and kindle in us the fire of Your Love.

Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created,

and You shall renew the face of the earth! ”

Amen!

Pastor Judy Lee

good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Fort Myers, Florida

 

 

Rev. Chava’s Reflection on Blessed Oscar Romero’s Death Anniversary 3/24/14

Indeed Blessed Mon. Oscar Romero has risen in the people of El Salvador and all,like Rev. Chava, who seek justice and love God’s holy and oppressed people.

On this 34th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero, you might be interested in the music video produced by The MartyrsProject.com to honor his legacy. You may view the video at http://youtu.be/21CN815v2G0. Feel free to post, embed or review the video. For more information go to TheMartyrsProject.com. I urge you to view this moving video and hear the moving song “Let My Blood Be A Seed of Freedom”.

And now, This is Rev. Chava’s beautiful reflection:

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, March 23, 2014
3rd Sunday in Lent
Dear friends,

The first time I was ever in the San Salvador airport, I was scared. A
group of us were going to El Salvador as part of a Divinity School class,
and for months we had been learning about the terrible history of the civil
war there in the 70’s and 80’s. Walking through the airport, I couldn’t
help but think of Jean Donovan, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clark and Ita Ford,
who were met at the airport by a death squad in 1980, driven out to the
country and killed. Even though it had been 25 years, the memory was fresh
and just being in that airport felt scary.

And hot. Whew, the heat hits you when you get off that plane and walk
through customs. Especially in December, when you left your winter coat
behind just six hours before, and suddenly there’s a kind of heat we just
don’t get in Rochester, New York, thousands of miles to the north.

The second time I was there, I was on my own. That was scary, too! It would
be several visits before I realized that this country, that the State
Department warned was dangerous to visit, and the doctor warned was
dangerous to my health because of malaria and dengue fever, this country
with all its frightening history was to my friends who lived there, simply,
home.

On my third visit I was met at the airport by friends. When you walk out
the door of the airport there is an empty space roped off, and behind it
are hundreds of people waiting to meet people getting off the planes. As I
scanned the crowd, I saw my friend Moisés, jumping up and down and waving,
way at the back of the crowd. A whole carful of people had come to meet me!
And this once-scary country had become for me, a place where my friends
lived.

El Salvador has itself been going through a transition, with different
people in charge. This week their Congress voted to rename the airport. It
will now be known as the Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero International
Airport of El Salvador.

Monseñor Romero is also said to be in the final phase of the process of
canonization. Ever since we started calling our little church by its
nickname of Saint Romero’s, I’ve said that he’s a saint the way I’m a
priest: the reality is there, whether the Vatican recognizes it, or not!
But it looks like the Vatican might recognize him, after all!

All these things are signs of life and hope. It’s like spring. A crocus
comes up, we get another blizzard. The sun comes back out, the snow melts,
some snowdrops bloom. It gets cold again. But eventually – well, we all
know: you can’t hold back the spring!

…so hold on to your hope.

One of the men in our migrant community had an accident at work this week,
and drove a nail into his leg with a nail gun. It lodged in the bone, and
took surgeons two hours to remove. He is doing fine, now, but will have to
be out of work for a bit. Please pray for him as he recovers.

Blessings and love to all,
Chava

Monday, March 24, is the anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero,
for whom our church is named. Two of the men responsible for his death were
trained at the School of the Americas in Georgia, now know as WHINSEC.
There will be a vigil outside the Federal Building here in Rochester,
sponsored by ROCLA, Pax Christi Rochester and SOA Watch Rochester, at 4 pm on Monday the 24th.  Hope to see you there!

Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph’s House of Hospitality
402 South A