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

CHAVA’S REFLECTIONS

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,
2013)

“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
https://www.facebook.com/events/227909904065220/  Hope to see you there!

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

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
herself.

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,
Chava

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
spirits!!
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/thepulse/item/64762-families-facing-deportation-find-support-in-local-congregations

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

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