Archive | March 2014

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



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

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,

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


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.  



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

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


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

“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:
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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.




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,

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


Pastor Judy Lee,ARCWP

Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Fort Myers, Florida


Women Priests Make a Lenten Journey


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.



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.





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.











IMG_0199 IMG_0006


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!

IMG_0055 IMG_0045 IMG_0051 IMG_0186 IMG_0185 IMG_0139 IMG_0141 IMG_0134



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.


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.




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?




A Special Birthday Blessing for Adult Confirmand Mr. Robert Swanson


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


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



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! ”


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 to honor his legacy. You may view the video at Feel free to post, embed or review the video. For more information go to 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,

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

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,

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

Good Shepherd’s Efe Jane Cudjoe, Youth Leader, Travels The World






Our Youth Leader, Efe Jane Cudjoe is on a Semester Abroad from Brown University. She was chosen to visit Viet Nam, South Africa and Brazil with a small group of other outstanding students. She is studying communities and their medical services in these very different places. She is an ambassador of God’s love and care for all people as she lives and learns on three Continents. Her witness of love is especially powerful as she experiences a world shaped by apartheid-apart-hate, until the victories of Nelson Mandela and all those courageous persons who fought for freedom with non-violent protest and sealed it with unexpected love and tolerance.  She already knows, having been born and raised a first generation African-American  in Florida that freedom and all civil and human rights are won through non-violent action and Christ-like courage and love but that decades later  there is still much more work to be done to nourish equality in the hearts of people and in the essential systems like schools and employment and medical care.  We are eager to learn the lessons she learns in South Africa. And we also will attend carefully to her lessons from Viet Nam encountered so many years after the least popular war in American history.  How exciting it is that we can now send young people to share and learn from the wisdom of these cultures-as our swords are finally beaten into plowshares. In this context,  our youth are the plowshares preparing the fields for a new level of knowledge and understanding.

Below are two messages from her with pictures from Viet Nam and South Africa. All of our love and blessings go with you, dear Efe Jane.


March 24,2014


“The trip we are about to embark upon is unfathomable and totally inaccessible to the majority of people in the world… we will make the experience about reciprocity and exchange.” During our time in Brazil, Vietnam & South Africa we will be investigating the ways in which communities can ensure the health and well-being of all citizens amid mounting challenges created by changing economic, environmental, and social forces.

Effie Jane's photo.
Effie Jane's photo.
We made a home cooked meal at our hostel, and ate it on our balcony, which looked out onto the sea.
Effie Jane's photo.
Molo! Pastor Judy Lee & Pastor Judy Beaumont and All, 
(Molo means hello in Xhosa)

I hope this email finds you and Pastor Judy Beaumont well! 
I also hope everyone at Good Shepherd is doing well too! 
I am currently writing you from Muizenberg in 
South Africa. 
For the next two days, we will be staying 
in a backpackers hostel. 
We are currently going to be in a hostel because
 we just returned from
 our two week stay in the village-Zwelethemba. 
Zwelethemba is a primarily black community and was an all 
black community during apartheid. I had an amazing time 
not only learning 
quite a few words in Xhosa 
(the X sound is made with a clicking noise made
 by clicking the tongue against the top of the roof) 
but also 
getting to bond with my home stay mother in addition 
to learning of the hardships and triumphs 
that many of the individuals in the community have faced. 
Amidst various issues such as high rates of 
HIV and unemployment 
to name a few,
 the love that the community exuded 
is one that I will truly never forget. 
During our time in Zwelethemba 
we not only heard the rich stories 
of our homestay mothers but we were 
also given the opportunity to go on site visits, 
such as our visit to a TB hospital. 
On Monday we will be heading to the Bo-Kaap, which is a 
primarily 'colored' and  Muslim community in the 
center of downtown Capetown. 
Although I know the experience will certainly differ 
than that which I had in Zwelethemba I am so excited. That being 
said my time in South Africa has been amazing thus far. 
It has taken a bit of time for me to get use to the  
racial categorizations in addition to the long history 
surrounding the use of such 
categorizations. But although these divisions 
based upon race are highly evident
 I feel so welcomed in this environment. 
Each day I am so thankful for this experience 
and I am certain that without 
your continual love and support 
in addition to that of Good Shepherd and 
Dad, Mom and Nana, none of this would have been possible.
 I'm still unable to believe that I have been given 
this opportunity and I'm so grateful.
 Please send my love and blessings to all 
at Good Shepherd and please let them 
know that I am doing well. I miss everyone dearly!

Love & Blessings,

Efe Jane

 P.S. I will be sending more pictures soon!

We love you Efe Jane,
You are Christ’s love to the world,
Your Pastors Judy Lee and
Judy Beaumont and
The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
of Fort Myers, Florida

Pour It Out! Rev. Judy’s Homily for the Third Sunday in Lent


Pastor Judy Beaumont and visiting woman Priest Judith McKloskey serve the Living Water at the Good Shepherd Church 

In the Lenten spirit we begin with a prayer: “Our loving God, we thirst. Our lives are dry as the desert in the noon day sun. We have climbed the craggy mountain to find You and we have miles to go and we are thirsty. We are thirsty for You, for your love, for your truth. Yet we push You away with our self-importance, our busy-ness our arguing and our tests. We thirst for love and You pour it out in our hearts, yet we turn away. Still, you draw water from a rock and place within us a bubbling spring of life. We thirst for justice yet we look for immorality and fault in other people and nations rather than join together in working for your kin-dom.  Help us to drink the water of understanding that Jesus offers and forgive us for our self-centeredness. May we join with inspired and courageous women and men of all nations to build Your kin-dom now and forever….Amen.”

The readings for this Sunday are alive with hope, meaning and symbolism. In the reading from Exodus 17: 3-7 we have hard rough craggy rocks and desperately thirsty people and we have life giving water.  Imagine a land and a people completely dry and thirsty. Imagine wandering in this place for years hoping to find your promised land.  I’m sure I would be one of the loudest grumblers. I remember my terrible thirst when I could not have water by mouth after waking from a major operation. All I wanted in all the world was that water.  Poor Moses, he is doing his best and everyone is turning on him. God has him turn it all around and bring water flowing from the rocks of Mt. Horeb.  Sometimes I wonder if in his frustration if Moses didn’t just hit the rock as hard as he could, like impetuously kicking a stone before you even if it breaks your toe, releasing an underlying stream!  God is still with Moses and the people. The rock is struck and the water flows.  Yet in the Psalm (95) we are asked not to harden our hearts by the kind of faithless grumbling and arguing that took place in the desert with Moses. Hearts can become hard as rocks. Only with faith can we knock them hard enough to find God in our midst and make the sweet water of life flow again.

In the Epistle (Romans 5: 1-2.5-8) we learn that through Christ we can look forward “confidently and joyfully to the day on which we will become all that God has intended” (Rom 5:2 The Inclusive Bible). “And such a hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (v. 5).  Instead of hard, wizened dysfunctional hearts the flowing water of God’s love fills our hearts and enlivens us.   Wow! Like water pouring out of the rock, God’s love is poured out in our hearts!  When one of our founding Bishops, Patricia Fresen, was ordained by the male Bishop in communion with the Church, she was told “this is not for you, it is for the church”. Indeed, the love poured into our hearts is meant to be shared with all of God’s people. It is not for ourselves to keep. By the water liberally poured on our heads in baptism we all are ordained with God’s love to serve one another.  In this Lenten season we need to look within and act outwardly. What are we doing to share the outpouring of God’s love with the most outcast and thirsty for love and acceptance and basic sustenance among us? This is what Jesus shows us in the Gospel when he talks with the Samaritan woman at the well.


 Good Shepherd’s Pearl Cudjoe and Kathy Overby and Kathy Lauwagie our “Snowbird members” serve a hot meal

as Rev. Judith Mc Kloskey stands ready to help.

In the encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4:5-42) we have Jesus breaking cultural and religious taboos in order to offer the “living water”-not only to a maligned woman who has to come alone to the well in the heat of the day and not with the other women, but to a much maligned nation-Samaria. In Aramaic idiom “living water” is a metaphoric way of saying “true teaching”.  In John 7:37-38 when Jesus says “come and drink” he is saying come and learn. And if we do believe in (and believe in means more like love Jesus and his way) and drink-learn the way, “streams of living water will flow” from us. We too can share the living water with everyone! The living water is the teaching that is salvific, saves lives.

Jesus is breaking stereotypes and making new paradigms. Jesus starts a conversation with a Samaritan woman by asking for a drink of water. It turns out to be the longest conversation that is ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels. The content is extremely important. Jesus tells her who she is, that he knows her, she has had five husbands and is now with a sixth. Perhaps she had to marry her deceased husband’s brothers in a Levirate marriage. She may or may not be a sinner, but Jesus is not condemning her. This is about a sinful nation, one that has turned away from God, more than it is about a sinful woman. She has the temerity to argue with Jesus and to discuss as Rabbis would.  But Jesus is extending himself both to the woman (and by extension to all women) and to the nation through empowering her to be an apostle to her people. He is presenting himself, his teaching as living water, true teaching. But is this water only for the “Chosen” people? No, it is for everyone, for women, for men and children, for all people and for all nations, even those thought to be “enemies” and “worshippers of other gods”, in this case, for Samaria. Samaria was a country known in the Hebrew Scriptures for the worship of Baal and other idols (yes, we recall from last Sunday that Elijah challenged King Ahab and his 850 prophets on Mt. Horeb in what was then Samaria). In John 7 people also called Jesus a Samaritan in a highly pejorative way. The Jewish people saw the Samaritans as a mixed race people having a religion that was not faithful to Jewish Law because of so much intermarriage. Samaria had fallen by that time to five rulers with different religious proscriptions. The Samaritans saw themselves as following the Law. They fought with the Jews over where to worship God and that is one of the dialogues Jesus has with the woman at the well.  He tells her that God is a Spirit Who must be worshipped in spirit and in truth not in a particular place. That prompts her to mention the Messiah and Jesus tells her that he is the Messiah. Imagine that! In his time men did not even talk to women let alone share earth shaking information. She then runs and tells everyone and many come to learn from and believe in, love, Jesus.

Through this woman, whose name we wish we knew, Jesus is offering the living water, his way, and himself to a small, powerful, and despised nation. Jesus is radically inclusive here. He does the forbidden-talking with a woman- and even more taboo, he is talking with a Samaritan. He reveals God’s identity (Spirit and Truth) and his own identity as Messiah to this woman and her people.

He transforms her as one ignored by men and possibly shunned by her own people to an apostle. He certainly does not see her as a worthless woman nor does she act like one when she boldly speaks with him and then goes and tells who he is. She and her people are then transformed by the outpouring of God’s love.

Let us follow Jesus in pouring out God’s love and the waters of life on everyone!

In the pictures below we are singing joyfully.


IMG_0097 IMG_0120

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP

Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Fort Myers Florida

Woman Priest Chava Redonnet’s Lenten Reflections

Our sister Priest Chava Redonnet,RCWP shepherds the Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Community in Rochester, New York. It is a community of migrant workers and immigrants. It is a community of poor folks and strangers to our land. Her loving care makes them welcome and she and her community live inclusion where “All are Welcome” at the Table, always. These are some of her Lenten reflections.  We begin with her Second Sunday Reflection that reflects on Pope Francis’ words of guidance and direction for the church. Then we present her First Sunday Reflection on our interconnectedness as a Christian community.  We are so thankful for her witness and faithfulness to the Gospel during this Lenten season.

Rev. Judy Lee,ARCWP


Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, March 16, 2014
2nd Sunday in Lent
Dear friends,

“All the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of
belief. …We should not even think that ‘thinking with the church’ means
only thinking with the hierarchy of the church.” (Sept 19, 2013)

“I want things messy and stirred up in the congregations. I want you to
take to the streets. I want the church to take to the streets.” (July 25,

“We understand reality better not from the center, but from the outskirts.”
(May 27, 2013)

“This is what I am asking you [priests] – be shepherds with the smell of
sheep.” (March 28, 2013)

And finally, what to look for in a candidate for bishop: They should be
“gentle, patient and merciful; animated by inner poverty, the freedom of
the Lord and also by outward simplicity and austerity of life.” They should
“not have the psychology of ‘princes.’”

All these quotes are from Pope Francis. One year ago this week, two pretty
wonderful things happened. We got a pope who is on fire for the poor of the
world, who startles the world with his simplicity, and who seems to realize
that the hierarchy as it exists is a problem. He has a long way to go
regarding women, but I have faith in his ability to grow. At some point the
light will dawn, that keeping women down contributes to the suffering of
the poor majority of the world. In the meantime, we women priests have the
freedom to create our own ministries and to dream a new church into being,
and we’re doing that. So in this moment, all really is well. It will unfold
in time. When we are finally welcomed into the church, it will be a new
sort of church. Personally, I have no desire to go around in a black shirt
and have people treating me deferentially because I’m a priest. That would
be the opposite of what I’m called to do.

The other wonderful thing that happened a year ago was that baby
Cristiancito was born!!! Today, March 15, is his first birthday. He is
learning to walk and is surrounded by love. What joy!

Here are two upcoming events. This coming Thursday, March 20, there will be
a talk at Nazareth College by one of my favorite theologians, Jeanette
Rodriquez. Most of what I know about Our Lady of Guadalupe I learned from
her books. The talk is in the Schultz Center at 7 pm and is free.

The following 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. More information at  Hope to see you there!

Hope you are having a blessed Lent, with lots of growth and new life!
Blessings and love to all,

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

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, March 9, 2014
1st Sunday in Lent
Dear friends,

On Tuesday I performed a ritual that happens several times each year, going
to the closet in my study that serves as a sacristy, and trading the colors
of one liturgical season for another. The green of ordinary time went back
in, and I withdrew purple candles, stole and altar cloth. This simple
action connects our little church with the wider church all over the world
as we settle in to Lent: not only in our use of color, but in the objects
themselves. I hung up my green stole, a gift from my daughters at my
diaconal ordination in Philadelphia in 2009, and took out a purple one,
both stoles woven by women in Guatemala. I hung up the green altar cloth I
bought at Nueva Esperanza in El Salvador, and replaced it with a purple
shawl I bought from a woman in Ataco, El Salvador, who told me she wove it

I replenished the hosts that will be used at Mass, remembering that they
were a gift from Caryl Marchand over at Mary Magdalene Church, as were the
candles we used at Advent. That got me thinking about Denise Donato, and
what a blessing it has been to have her support and encouragement these
past several years. That same day I talked on the phone with my bishop,
Andrea Johnson; the network of women priests is a strong, sure web, tying
us together. I thought of the Sophia Community in New Jersey, led by Mary
Ann Schoettly (who was ordained a priest when I was ordained a deacon),
that supports our little church with a regular contribution each month. And
of Olga, the woman priest in Columbia who puts the Spanish version of this
bulletin on her blog each week, and Judy Lee in Florida who often passes on
the English version on her blog. We are so connected, in a web that is much
bigger than one could ever realize from being at our tiny Sunday Masses at
St Joe’s.

The connection goes beyond women priests. I think, of course, of Jim Callan
and his advice when St Romero’s began: Show up no matter what, and give
your best. But there is also the Federation of Christian Ministries, of
which we are a member community: churches all over the United States that
are led in many ways, often by male priests who are married. And the
Greater Rochester Community of Churches, that breaks beyond
Catholic/Protestant walls and unites Jesus-lovers of many denominations,
working together to build the Kindom of God. There is our personal
connection with Shekina Baptist Church in Santa Ana, El Salvador, breaking
not only denominational boundaries, but national ones as well.

And finally, there is our migrant church, now spread from Western New York
to Florida and Mexico. We just got the good news that one of our guys in
the Alternatives to Detention system has “graduated” to a monthly phone
call and no longer has to report in to Buffalo every second week. Three
others are still reporting but we celebrate with him. Think of the work
that will no longer be lost, the gas that will be saved. I am so grateful
to Charley Bowman in Buffalo and others who can be counted on to help with
driving. That’s another network! All the folks working for the rights of
farmworkers, for immigration reform and in little, persistent ways being
community to folks who are nearly invisible in our society but who are
suffering so much from our deportation system.

Though spread so far, we are together, we are one. Gracias a Dios por todos!

Blessings and love to all,

PS My diaconal ordination in 2009 was held in a Reconstructionist Jewish
Synagogue in Philadelphia, Mishkan Shalom. Recently there was an article
about their work with undocumented people. I knew they were kindred

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