Archive | May 2014

Six Roman Catholic Women Ordained in Cleveland on May 24,2014

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The Laying on of Hands on Marianne Therese Smyth  by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan

Pastor Judy Beaumont and I were happy to attend this wonderful ordination of four women priests and two women deacons in Cleveland on Saturday 5/24/14. The church was packed and joy,happiness and expectation filled the air.

This was an especially happy occasion for me as my cousin Marianne Therese Smyth was one of the newly ordained priests. It was my joy to present her to the Bishop and the community along with our cousin, Jackie Weinmann Marion who also participated in the Procession and the ceremony, helping to vest Marianne and presenting her with a chalice and paten from the family.

Marianne and Judy Lee

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Jackie Weinmann Marion bringing up the Chalice and Paten

Marianne,a mother of two and a grandmother of four, is theologically and experientially prepared for the priesthood. She was a third order Carmelite for five years, undertook much advanced study and spent her professional life teaching and counseling special education students and later was devoted to the care of her elderly and much beloved mother, Betty whose spirit was very much with us.  She is presently preparing herself for ministry with the dying and their families by taking an eleventh month course and practicum called “Companioning the Dying”. She feels blessed by this ministry  especially when called in to accompany someone at the eleventh hour. Marianne has conveyed that she is trying to live her life as a “conscious sacrament” and that she feels called to celebrate sacred connectedness and God’s boundless love for everyone. She will also be celebrating with the Living Waters Inclusive Catholic Community with RCWP Bishop Andrea Johnson and Priest Gloria Carpeneto and others in Catonsville, Maryland.

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Left to right: Marianne T. Smyth, Irene C. Scaramazza and Mary Collingwood, Three Newly Ordained Priests

Each one of the women ordained is a special and courageous woman. We are truly blessed to have them with us in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

Below Front: Mary Bergan Blanchard, Irene Scaramazza, Priests, Susan Guzik and Barbara Billey, Deacons,  Bishop Bridget Mary,and Mary Collingwood and Marianne Therese Smyth, Priests. Rear: Other ARCWP Priests Attending

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Article from Bridgetmarys.blogspot

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photos of ARCWP Cleveland Ordination by John Kuntz, Article by Tom Feran of The Plain Dealer

 

Catholic Women Priests ordain six in emotional ceremony despite church’s stance (slideshow)BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — A message of inclusiveness as well as faith was delivered on Saturday when six women were ordained as priests or deacons in a ceremony sponsored by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Presiding Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, of Sarasota, Florida, said the ceremony was held at the Brecksville United Church of Christ because of the lack of institutional inclusiveness in the Catholic church, which says the ordination has no validity and incurred automatic excommunication.
Meehan pointedly cited in her homily the story from the Gospel of John of the woman at the well. In it, Jesus crosses several social boundaries to ask for water from a Samaritan woman. The exchange becomes the longest individual conversation in scripture, and the first time Jesus reveals himself openly as the messiah.
The church was filled for the emotional ceremony, nearly two hours long, which included ordinations of two Northeast Ohio women: Mary Collingwood, of Boston Heights, as a priest, and Susan Guzik, of Eastlake, as a deacon.
Collingwood and Ann Klonowski, who was ordained last September, will say Mass weekly at 5 p.m. Saturdays starting June 7 at Brecksville United Church of Christ.

TV Coverage: http://www.19actionnews.com/story/25605356/women-priests-ordained-at-brecksville-event

Posted by Bridget Mary Meehan at 12:30 PM No comments:Links to this post

 

ARCWP Ordination:Homily by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, May 24, 2014, Cleveland “Women Priests Sharing the Living Water of God’s Love of All”

 

Today we rejoice that the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain 6 women:

Deacon Barbara Billey who lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, has been married for 32 years. She is currently a counselor and art therapist. Barbara, a Doctor of Ministry candidate, has a particular interest in women’s spirituality and a passion for integrating sacred arts in liturgy.  

Deacon Susan Marie Guzik from Eastlake, a suburb of Cleveland, is a widow, mother, grandmother. She received certification as a Lay Ecclesial Minister in the Diocese of Cleveland. Susan has volunteered in the Diocese as a pastoral minister and for the past seven years served as the Director/Advisor of the Stephen Ministry Program at St. Mary Magdalene Parish.

The following women will be ordained PRIESTS:

Mary Bergan Blanchard from Albuquerque, NM, is a former Sister of Mercy, a widow, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer and licensed counselor. After retiring in New Mexico, she served as a Mental Health Counselor in a Roman Catholic Church for twenty years. 

Mary Eileen Collingwood, from the Cleveland area, is a wife, mother and grandmother who, with her advanced degree in theology, has served for 40 years in church ministry and taught theology on the high school and college levels.  In the parish she was Director of Religious Education, Coordinator for Marriage Preparation and Pastoral Minister.  

has  advanced degrees in theology, pastoral counseling, and family therapy.  She is currently working as a hospice chaplain having completed her Provisional Board Chaplaincy Certification.

Marianne Therese Smyth, from Silver Spring, MD; is a mother of two sons. She is a hospice volunteer with Montgomery Hospice and has worked for 25 years as a para-educator with special needs 
students. She has a Masters of Education in counseling, a certificate in theological studies and serves the Living Water Inclusive Community in Catonsville, Maryland.

 These women, like the Samaritan woman have left their water jars behind. They come today to share the living water of their lives with God’s people.


The story of the Samaritan woman at the well records the longest conversation between Jesus and anyone in the gospels. This sacred text reveals that Christ is the “wellspring of love” that will fill us forever. Eve­ryone is invited to drink the “living water” and belong to the community of faith. Jesus’ trademark is inclusiveness.  There are no outsiders. All that is required is that we worship in spirit and truth.

In the encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus goes beyond the social and religious taboos of his times.  It is astonishing for us and shocking even for the apostles that Jesus confided his identity as Messiah to a woman who does not belong to the religious establishment and who is a foreigner and divorced.

 

According to biblical experts, the woman understood Jesus’ mention that she had no “husband” not as a call to true repentance, but as a call to true worship. Other commentators believe that Jesus’ referral to the woman’s “husbands” pointed to the Samaritan practice of intermarriage outside the tribe, a custom that caused tension with the Jews because it destroyed Jewish ancestral lines. No matter what interpretation we accept, the Samaritan woman continues to live in couples today who reflect the face of God as they live as spiritual equals in committed, covenantal relationships.


So too, today, Roman Catholic Women Priests are listening and responding to God’s Living Water flowing through us as we evangelize our church with the good news that all are invited to live Gospel equality now in inclusive communities where everyone is welcome. 

Like the Samaritan woman, we too are daring and bold women, who are leaving our water jars behind, because we are being and encountering the Living Water of God’s love every day on the margins of our church.  Beyond our comfort zone and off the power grid we minister to the family of God who do not have a spiritual home – divorced and remarried Catholics, gays, lesbians, transgender, women who are excluded from liturgical leadership, youth and many others who are seeking a contemporary model of Church that is aligned with Gospel values.

 

In his recent book, A Call to Action:  Women, Religion, Violence and Power, President Jimmy Carter, who supports women’s ordination and women’s equality in all religions, finds it “ironic” that women are welcomed into many professions “but are deprived of the right to serve Jesus Christ in positions of leadership” as they did in the early Christian churches. The former president said that the violence and abuse of women in society is directly connected to the spiritual inequality of women in religious practice. He said that he would become a Catholic when he is invited to do so by a female priest!  I assure you that we have issued an invitation!

World-renown Spanish human rights activist, Sister Teresa Forcades, affirms the vision of Vatican 11 and suggests that Pope Francis might be an agent for change. In an article entitled: “Activist Nun -Change Comes from the Bottom” written by Janice Sevre-Duszynska and published by the National Catholic Reporter:

 “Sister Teresa said that it must be the people in the church who will promote the acceptance of contraception and an end to the church’s homophobia and who become voices in the struggle for justice for women.” ‘We now have women priests with the people from the bottom up,’ Forcades said with a smile. ‘The people are ready.’ ”

 

 

Twenty years ago, on May 22, 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” (“Priestly Ordination”) which reserved priesthood in the Catholic Church to men only.”This teaching that ‘women are not fully in the likeness of Jesus’ — qualifying, as it does, as a theological explanation — is utterly and demonstrably heretical,” said Augustinian theologian John Shea in  his 2nd letter to U.S. bishops.

Despite two decades of blatant discrimination of women and  denial of women’s basic human rights as spiritual equals before God, justice is rising up for women in the church in grassroots, inclusive, Catholic communities. With almost 200 Roman Catholic Women Priests in the international movement, a renewed priestly ministry is flowering in 10 countries. Catholics worldwide are embracing a new model of church led by women and men.

In imagining a dialogue with our beloved Pope Francis, I would invite him to consider faithful dissent in our church as healthy. I would ardently appeal for the end of discrimination, spiritual violence and bullying toward any member of the Body of Christ, including the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and for the cancellation of ecclesiastical punishments, including excommunication against women priests and our supporters. Let us pray that the Spirit will move our Pope to affirm all of us as beloved sisters and brothers in the family of God. 

 

 

I believe that on a deep, mystical level women priests are beginning a healing process of centuries-old deep misogyny in which spiritual power was invested exclusively in men. With your prayers and commitment, we are recovering the dropped thread of our sister women in the early Church who embraced with dignity their full right to preach, to proclaim and to lead worship.

Now we ordain you, our beloved Sisters, Mary, Marianne, Mary, Irene, Barbara and Susan.   In solidarity with Jesus and the Samaritan woman may you be God’s living waters bringing refreshment to the arid structures of our Church and beyond. May you help to liberate God’s people from oppression by  acts of justice, compassion and love.  May you  foster spiritual renewal in inclusive faith communities of equals.  

Today, all of us rejoice that Christ Sophia, Wellspring of Wisdom, is in our midst!

Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., a Sister for Christian Community, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2006. She was ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009.  Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 20 books

THANKS BE TO GOD !

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP

 

 

 

 

 

NCR Online Article on A New Day For Women Priests

In this article woman priest and activist Janice Sevre-Dusynska talks about a new day for women priests and the ordination of three priests that will take place on Saturday 5/24/14 in Cleveland, Ohio. Two Deacons will also be ordained at that time. The NCR aritcle is introduced by two pictures from the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers, Florida where Judy Beaumont and Judy Lee are Co-pastoring women priests. Here is both the article and the link: 

ncronline.org/news/people/new-day-dawning-women-priests-20-years-after-ordinatio-sacerdotalis

New day dawning for women priests 20 years after ‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’

  • Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan prays with 16 confirmands from Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers, Fla.
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COMMENTARY

Twenty years after Pope John Paul II issued the May 22, 1994, apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalisreserving priesthood for men only, the women priest movement in the Roman Catholic church is rising up. A new day is dawning.

“Like Deacon Phoebe, Junia the Apostle, Mary Magdalene and the women of the Gospels, women priests today are following the call of Jesus by serving inclusive eucharistic Catholic communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments,” said Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, who will ordain six women — four to the priesthood, two to the diaconate — on Saturday in Cleveland.

The unswerving desire and sense of urgency from the Spirit’s calling continues. Despite 20 years of blatant discrimination of women and denial of women’s basic human rights as spiritual equals before God, women priests are serving in priestly ministry. With almost 200 Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a renewed priestly ministry is flowering in 10 countries. Catholics worldwide are ready for a new model of church led by women and men. In the United States, approximately 150 women priests are serving in 60 inclusive liturgical communities and providing sacraments.

While some women priests are former nuns, others are single, married or divorced; converts to Catholicism; gay or straight. They have made their living as teachers, school administrators, professors, nurses, counselors, attorneys, chaplains, social workers, artists, authors and more. Some are Catholic Workers caring for immigrants and the homeless. One is an architect. Several have done resistance and spent time in prison and/or jail. Others have worked for the church in various capacities.

Mary Collingwood of Boston Heights, Ohio, is one of the women who will be ordained as a priest Saturday in Cleveland. Collingwood is a wife, mother and grandmother who, with her advanced degree in theology, has served for 40 years in church ministry and taught theology at high school and college levels. In the parish, she was director of religious education, coordinator for marriage preparation, and a pastoral minister. On the diocesan level, she was an administrator and served on various boards and councils and as an activist for church reform.

“Women are being called by the Holy Spirit to image the Divine Feminine through ordained priestly ministry thereby restoring the wholeness of God’s presence in our church,” Collingwood said. “Personally, this entails ordination and embracing circle leadership as an egalitarian model of decision-making within Roman Catholic communities.”

Mary Bergan Blanchard, once a teaching Sister of Mercy in the Albany, N.Y., diocese, left the order in the late 1960s to teach the disadvantaged in Boston. She later married a widower with five children, and they eventually had a son of their own. She and her husband retired to Albuquerque, N.M., where she worked as a mental health counselor for 20 years at her parish church. Blanchard wrote a memoir, Eulogy, calling for changes in canon law. She complained that the “greatest sin of the Catholic Church is its failure to treat women as equals.”

Upon hearing about the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests at age 82, she studied to become ordained. “If we are truly the Light of the World, it’s time to flick the switch,” she said.

With advanced degrees in theology, pastoral counseling, and family therapy, Irene Scaramazza of Columbus, Ohio, is currently working as a hospice chaplain.

She is being ordained a priest “because God continues to call me to deeper union lived out in service to others,” she said. “For me, ministry means immersing myself in the life of the people I serve and together discovering our living God.”

For 35 years, Marianne Therese Smyth of Silver Spring, Md., has worked as a para-educator with special needs students. She has been serving with the Living Water Inclusive Community in Catonsville, Md., and has a Master of Education in counseling.

“I am becoming a priest because God asked,” Smyth said. “God’s inclusive love cannot be expressed or shared from a strictly male point of view. That was not the message of Jesus. My love is hospice ministry, and I will be expanding into bereavement work and healing modalities such as Reiki.”

As the women are ordained, communities rise up around them.

During his 2013 Easter homily, not long after he was elected to the papacy, Pope Francis affirmed women as the first witnesses to the Resurrection. “This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria,” he said. ” … The women are driven by love and know how to accept this proclamation with faith: they believe, and immediately transmit it, they do not keep it for themselves.”

Women who have accepted the call from God to priesthood and who have become women priests want to share, as Francis said, “the joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, the hope that fills their heart.”

[Janice Sevre-Duszynska is a Roman Catholic Womanpriest, peace and justice activist, and a retired teacher.]

Celebrating the Women of The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

 

In May flowers begin to bloom everywhere and even in Florida the season is festive as welcomed rain begins to fall and gentle breezes blow.

It is a month of expectation and renewal and a time for celebrations of Mother’s Day and Graduations. This year we have had much

to celebrate at our Good Shepherd Church.

 

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This is Donnie and Lauretta celebrating each other for Mother’s Day

The month of May has been packed with wonderful celebrations in our Good Shepherd Church.  We have had Mother’s Day,  Graduation Day and Birthday Celebrations.

And we also had Rose and her much loved dog reunited as Rose moved into our Hospitality room at Joshua House on May 2nd.

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Rose and Shinji on Move-in Day

Mother’s Day was a very special event honoring all of the women in the church. Each woman was given a personalized gift and Pearl Cudjoe made a wonderful meal that Linda Maybin helped her to serve.

 

 

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Pearl and Linda are serving Robert and Lili with Jakeriya in the background. 

The congregation also presented Pastor Judy Beaumont and I with gifts for Mother’s Day.

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Pearl Cudjoe and Marcella and Jakeriya present a gift to the surprise of the Pastors

On May 6th members of the Board also met to plan summer activities and we celebrated Doreen Sookdeo’s Birthday as well

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Hank Tessandori, Evelyn Efaw, Stella  Odie Ali and Doreen Sookdeo with Pastor Judy Beaumont

On Sunday May 18th we celebrated the Birthday of our church Grandma, Mrs. Jolinda Harmon who has brought her daughter Linda and fourteen of her Grandchildren to attend Good Shepherd over the past five years.

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Mrs. Jolinda Harmon in yellow with her Grand daughter Natasha Terrell whose Graduation on 5/17 we also celebrated.

Grandsons Ty Powell in front and  Keion Lewis beats drum in rear.

Pastor Judy Lee Blessing Grandma Harmon

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Natasha Terrell graduated from Cypress Lake High School on Saturday 5/17/14.  She made all A’s in her Senior year. She has been accepted to three Colleges and , so far. plans to attend the University of South Florida,St. Pete Campus to study Nursing. She hopes to become a neonatal Nurse.  She was given gifts and a special blessing then a hearty round of applause.

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We are so proud of Natasha!

Here Grandma Harmon and Natasha share a cake.

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And later Lili brought her dog Spike and her new bike to visit us. She was in an accident with a car.  She was not hurt but her other bike was beyond repair. She depends on her bike to get to work. She was distraught, but her son Gaspare, now completely recovered from his surgery, helped her to get a gently used bike. His recovery and his assistance made for a very happy Mother’s Day for her.She also had her rear basket filled with her Thrift Store Treasures,  videos for our Good Shepherd children.

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We are so happy to celebrate all of our Good Shepherd women and their families and to see joy replace sadness and struggles

as we become Church together!  May is a wonderful month for celebration! Thanks be to God!

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee,Pastor

Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Chava’s Beautiful Reflection and Prayer

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Chava, We join you in prayer for Santiago to be able to stay and for all immigrants whose families are broken by the need for real immigration reform-like Jesus would do it-welcoming the stranger, having a room for everyone in his Dad and Mom’s house!  (And that is the Gospel of the day, room for everyone!   John 14:2 )

bendiciones, Judy Lee

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church 

Bulletin for Sunday, May 18, 2014 
Fifth Sunday of Easter

Dear friends,

It’s May! The lilacs are blooming, there are blossoms on the apple trees, and it’s time to start planting gardens. Folks in the migrant community have already been planting onions for weeks. Sometimes on a busy day when I have done many interesting things, I stop and realize that all day long, since before I got out of bed and long after my work day was done, people have been bent over, planting onions. I don’t think I could do for ten minutes what they do every day for 12 or 13 hours. Whether it’s cold, or hot and muggy, or even lightly raining, on they go. The only thing that stops work is heavy rain like we had this Friday.

This month as I enjoy the beautiful flowers and rejoice in all the green [one day I couldn’t remember the word for green … verano? (summer) …verdura? (vegetable). Now when we pass a field lush with green winter wheat, Santiago says, “look, honey! The fields are vegetable!” Hahahahaha.] – in the midst of all that rejoicing, we are scared, because May 28 is growing ever closer.

On that day, Santiago will go to court for the third time. It is hard to think past the 28th because we don’t know what will happen that day. Last year when he got that date to come back, I thought that surely there would be immigration reform by now.

In recent weeks I have felt God reminding me to look at my story and remember. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” Thy rod and thy staff — that means, even though we can’t see the way, all we have to do is keep our eyes on the shepherd’s staff up ahead, because it doesn’t matter that we don’t know the way, the shepherd can see the road ahead even though we can’t and will guide our feet on safe paths. And I can’t think of that psalm without remembering the time that I was in the mountains in Utah and a storm came up, and I realized that I didn’t need to pray and ask God to keep us alive, because we were in the hands of God, and living or dying, nothing could separate us from the love of God. All was well.

That memory does not stop me from shamelessly praying for a miracle! But deeper than that desperate prayer, I know that God has brought us safe thus far and God will lead us home.

Monseñor Romero once said that those who walk with the poor will share the fate of the poor. In El Salvador in 1980 that meant sharing in being disappeared, beaten, tortured, and found dead, and I am grateful that in this moment and place it does not mean that. But all over the country there are people who are terrified that a loved one might be deported, and I am one of them. Pray for Santiago, please. And pray for all those facing separation and deportation and all the families that have been split apart by our terrible laws and broken immigration system. We need a better way.

Love to all
Chava

Rev. Chava Redonnet

Becoming The Living Church: Homiletic Dialogue for the 5th Sunday of Easter by Women Priests Revs. Bev and Judy

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Here we present two complementary homilies on texts for the Fifth Sunday of Easter. It is interesting and inspiring to see the Spirit working to teach through the meanings and illustrations of two women priests. First is  Ohio’s Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle’s homily and then is my own.

Let us pray: Our living God, raise us up with Christ so we may become the church You want us to be. Help us to remove all negative divisions from us, especially those we create ourselves. Help us, each one, to give our gifts and talents, our very selves so that we may welcome all to the many rooms in your house, so that we may become, with Christ, the ever growing and always welcoming living church. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Christ, who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forevermore, Amen!

Rev. Bev’s Homily:

In “Finnegan’s Wake,’ James Joyce wrote

that Catholic means “Here comes everybody,”
and he’s right.
Jesus tells us:
The kin-dom of God has many dwelling places.
Many mansions.
There is room for everybody.
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It didn’t take long, though,
for us Christians to stop acting Christ-like.
Already, in the Acts of the Apostles,
we read of the problem
of some folks taking more than their fair share.
The Greek widows are being shorted in the bread line.
Disputes.
Conflict.
Distractions from prayer and scripture.
So they worked out a way to include everybody,
and their actions and their words
attracted even more people to the faith.
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We still have the conflicts,
and we still have people working for peaceful resolutions.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)
continues, in response to the doctrinal investigation
by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF),
to show us what spirit-filled discernment
and respectful dialogue look like.
Frank Bruni in Wednesday‘s Blade wrote about
the teacher contracts in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati,
calling the hierarchy’s new requirements “archaic fixations”
that show their “sad knack for driving people away.”
On the other hand,
he points to Pope Francis’ encouragement to priests
to be real shepherds.
This past Tuesday the pre-Vatican Tridentine Mass
was prayed for Fr. Steve Majoros’ funeral–
all in Latin, black vestments, priest with his back to the people.
Contrast that with our weekend Masses at Holy Spirit, in English,
everybody in a circle (well, more like a rectangle).
Our church includes all of that here in Toledo,
and even more variety in countries around the world.
Ours is truly a catholic church, in the best sense of the word.
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How do we survive?
The first letter of Peter gives us a clue
when it calls Jesus the cornerstone.
That’s the first stone,
the one that sets the level for a building.
The other stones are positioned in relation to that stone,
and the building is solid and straight.
Those other stones–that’s us,
the living stones that make up the church.
As long as we work on being in right relationship
with Jesus and each other, the faith holds.
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So we keep working at it.
Last week we thought about
how to be good shepherds to the people in our lives.
This week Jesus tells us he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
and that no one can come to God except through him.
We misunderstand if we think that he means
that only Christians are going to some heaven
up in the sky above the clouds.
Jesus embodies the Way:
he shows us how to live a life of integrity
with love for the whole community of life.
And he tells us that the Way requires Truth,
so that pride, deception, fear, and selfishness have no place.
And he tells us that following his Way brings Life:
each of us fully and eternally alive,
conscious expressions of the Divine Presence.
If we don’t live that way,
we will not have life;
we die.
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Ann Graham Brock, in her book on Mary of Magdala,
analyzes the New Testament and other ancient writings,
observing that the early church had two criteria
for designating some Christians as apostles.
First, apostles had a post-resurrection experience of Jesus,
and second, they were sent to tell the good news to others.
Every time we come to Mass,
we tell each other that we are the Body of Christ.
Christ is present, as Vatican II tells us,
in the Word proclaimed,
in the bread and wine shared,
in the gathered assembly.
So every one of us is an apostle:
we have experienced the risen Jesus–in each other!
Every one of us is commissioned–by our baptism–
to tell the good news.
As valuable as the early writings are–and they are foundational–
God has not stopped talking to us.
Revelation continues.
We, individually and collectively, grow and develop;
we discover new realities;
we evolve.
Our language changes;
our understanding grows more complex.
We have new insights into ourselves and God.
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It’s not magic.
It’s mystery
because we are limited individuals–works in progress–
on the Way.
Our hearts need not be troubled–
there’s a place for us.
The kin-dom of God is at hand.

 
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

 

Rev Judy’s Homily: 

The Scriptural Readings for this week are wonderful guides to becoming church. The American psychologist,Gordon Allport developed a whole psychology of “Becoming” seeing people as unique works in progress and never finished products. In individual growth and development both being and becoming are essential components as one moves toward  socialization and individuality.  And so it was with the early church, and so it is with us. Indeed we can always plea: “Don’t be so hard on me, God is not finished with me yet!”. As church, as the body of Christ we are ever becoming Christ-like as we follow the Way, the teachings and actions, of Jesus but we are on shaky ground if we think we have already arrived. The Way is not easy and we are always in process as we learn and express it as individuals and as church.

Acts 6:1-7 shows the new church growing and encountering problems- between the Greek speaking Jews and those who spoke Hebrew, the original followers of Christ. The Greek speaking widows were being neglected in the established food program. To solve this problem, divisions and dissension had to be put aside as new leaders were chosen with the specific job of feeding the widows.This also left the Apostles free to pray and preach.Here we see the praying and laying on of hands, or perhaps the ordination, of what may be the first deacons. With this division of labor the word spread, the material and spiritual needs of the new Christian community were met, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem “increased enormously”.  What a great example of becoming church-of learning how to do it in a particular community in the context of great growth!

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The Psalm (33) is illuminating commentary on this process of a church becoming- “The Creator loves justice and right (and fills the earth with love)!” is the refrain (TIB). The context and content of practices that are just and right and loving( like feeding people in need with equanimity) are fixed characteristics of the becoming church. What is not just, right and loving, is not church and needs to be remedied for our effort at becoming Christ’s body-the church. As Pope Francis has recently noted any attempts at skewing the church toward inclusivity is not Christ’s vision for the church, or his. Yet, the leadership and the work it will take to make the church inclusive of the divorced,those on the LGBTQ spectrum and of women in the church who are called toward ordination as deacons and priests as well as married priests lies before us and is almost daunting. Without this work, the church is not “just, right and loving”. It is no longer becoming but quite stuck in muddy neck deep traditions that stultify and exclude, causing dimunition and not the growth of the church.

I Peter 2:4-9 speaks of Christ as the living ,chosen and precious cornerstone of the church and of ourselves as living stones being built in around the cornerstone. We are further called “a chosen people, a royal priesthood…a people set apart” to become church whose ” good deeds will glorify God”(v.12). This is about the “priesthood of all believers”, the right and the responsibility of all believers to enact and build the becoming church. How then, can the traditions and canons of men (like Canon 1028 saying only men can be ordained) decide that only some are to be priests? How can total categories of people be left out by virtue of gender, orientation or marital status? The church is the priesthood of all believers. If it is not, it ceases to be and to become, it is dead and dying.

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The Gospel (John 14:1-12) is about inclusion-“In God’s house there are many dwelling places” meaning that all people and nations are welcome in the living church with the living Christ as its head and all believers as the live building blocks of the living church. Welcome too are all cultures and all expressions of human efforts to know God, yet we are blessed to know God through knowing Christ.  It is also about seeing Jesus the Christ as the Way, that is Christ’s actions and teachings as the road map to becoming church and the people of God.  And it is about seeing the oneness of God and Christ for Christ is in God and God is in Christ. And we too  are in God and God is in us through Christ.  Hence we now have the power to build this church, to build it on justice ,right and love, to build this church that is ever becoming- to bring it finally into being. What an awesome opportunity and responsibility,made possible only by the grace of God!

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, Pastor

The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Fort Myers, Florida

Honey , I Shrunk the Church….By Theologian Mary E. Hunt

  • Mary Hunt, Feminist theologian and  Author of  Fierce Tenderness, a paradigm for our relationships with God based on a model of Friendship, has a strong view of the Emperor’s new clothes here. I agree with Mary Hunt on many things and disagree on some as well. But her points here are well taken. Perhaps her pessimism is not. I have greater hope of Pope Francis based on his priority on the poor and preference for the “smell of sheep”.  Hunt is right that he cannot make important changes to truly include all at the Table by himself. The rest of the hierarchy or kyriarchy has to help him and so does each and every member of the flock. Those of us who stand for the inclusion of all and the ordination of women and married priests as an act of justice and the best chance of the church to expand and grow, must not keep silent. In that spirit I share Mary Hunt’s thought provoking article here.Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP: 
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Church: The Vatican Manages Sexual Abuse, Canonization and the Nuns
  • By MARY E. HUNT
  • The Vatican’s Secretary of State and UN Ambassador prepare for UN Committee Against Torture last week.
  • Mary E. Hunt
    Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., is a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. A Roman Catholic active in the women-church movement, she lectures and writes on theology and ethics with particular attention to liberation issues.

  • Whatever happened to that great big Roman Catholic Church? It seems to be shrinking before our eyes despite unprecedented media attention. No amount of hype can disguise the Vatican’s disappearing act at the United Nations on sexual abuse, the sleight of hand in Rome at the papal canonizations, and the failed attempt to usurp women’s power through the hostile takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) that may still turn the nuns out on their ears. The “leaner, meaner” church desired by many conservatives during the John Paul II/Cardinal Ratzinger era is on the horizon, indeed may already be in place. Signs are hard to miss—even for those with papal stars in their eyes.

    Many were thrilled by the election of Pope Francis. They were hopeful that with his pleasing personality, personal commitment to simplicity, his “Inequality is the root of social evil” tweet, and positive pastoral instincts he would bring about a new day for Catholicism. I wasn’t entirely convinced; it takes more than one person, however charming, to dismantle a system that’s rigged in favor of a few and needs complete overhaul in order to function like a “discipleship of equals.”

    I remain open to the possibility that the big tent that ought to be Catholicism may one day lower its top and open its flaps. But I’m no more persuaded now than I was four months ago—and perhaps a little less. The institutional church now appears more like a pup tent from which all but the most entitled are excluded. A review of current affairs demonstrates the reasons for my concern.

    Sexual Abuse

    That great big institution with a global reach that divides up the known world into dioceses has suddenly evaporated. It’s now a country of 109 acres, roughly an eighth the size of New York’s Central Park, with a population of about 600, many of whom are posted abroad. Did someone cast a spell? Was there a natural disaster that I missed in the news? No, the Holy See signed some United Nations’ treaties and now, when confronted with abiding by them, is scrambling for legal cover.

    The gentlemen are claiming that they meant for the treaties to apply to their headquarters, located in Vatican City, but not for the corporate entity, the thousands of dioceses they oversee on the planet. Those folks are suddenly on their own when it comes to liability. Rome’s hands are off.

    The Holy See is the “juridical personification of the Church,” considered the government of the Catholic Church. It is located in Vatican City (which really is not, by most lights, a state). Will the real Roman Catholic Church please stand up? This is all quite murky, resulting in the current ambiguities. Some of these distinctions emerged in the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929 when Italy gave the land that is now Vatican City to the institutional church.

    But in fact they’re distinctions without much difference, except apparently, when it might be convenient. Since when does anything apply only to the papal enclave? Maybe the contract for mowing the grass, but certainly not the institution’s position on birth control as part of government-funded health care, or even divorce and remarriage when it comes to who is welcome to receive the sacraments. The long arm of the Vatican reaches into those matters, but the real estate shrinks right up to nothing when liability lurks.

    In early 2014, the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which monitors implementation of that Convention, questioned Vatican officials about sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic clergy and its systematic cover-up by church officials. Former sex crimes prosecutor for the Church, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, in watershed testimony, admitted that the Vatican bore some responsibility but insisted that steps were being taken to prevent the obstruction of justice and—hopefully—future abuses. By way of defense, the Holy See claimed that its responsibility in terms of the treaty literally extended to its gates, inside of which few (probably fewer than a dozen) children live, not to its dioceses around the world. Needless to say, the Committee, with ample cause, took a dim view.

    Once again in May 2014, the United Nations trained its attention on the Roman Catholic Church as a global institution, not a tourist destination. The Committee Against Torture (CAT) that monitors compliance with that UN Convention is now insisting that sexual abuse of children by adults in authority qualifies under its definition of torture, which is defined as (emphasis mine):

    Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.

    It’s that last part in bold that’s so chillingly familiar in the Catholic cases.

    This time, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s U.N. ambassador, tried to take refuge in its postage-stamp sized headquarters as the extent of its responsibility, the same shrinking tactic, with similar results. He didn’t take exception to the definition of torture in the Catholic case, leaving open many questions.

    The Committee’s Vice Chair, highly regarded human rights advocate Felice D. Gaer, pushed Mr. Tomasi on the obvious: by distancing itself from the vast majority of the Roman Catholic Church’s corporate being, the Holy See “would create important gaps in the coverage” of the treaty as written and intended. In essence, cases of sexual abuse that did not take place within the confines of Vatican City would not be the Church’s responsibility. This is a hard case to make since the headquarters, not the dioceses, laicized 848 priests and punished in a lesser way 2,572 from 2004 to the present.

    The institutional church is shrinking before our eyes precisely to avoid potential litigation. If a crime is prosecuted as torture, the statutes of limitations in many jurisdictions no longer apply. In essence, this could result in a new spate of lawsuits against the institutional church especially by people who were unable to articulate the harm done to them within the time limits set on reporting/litigating sexual abuse cases. No wonder officials are willing to make the embarrassingly dubious argument that they are really only a little tiny place after all. Would that such modesty were employed when it comes to contraception or marriage equality where the Vatican spends millions of dollars trying to make its view stick all over the world.

    Canonization

    A similar disappearing act took place during the recent canonization (that looked oddly like a coronation) of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. John XXIII seemed to disappear in a sea of Polish flags celebrating John Paul II. I wasn’t there, but from television and press reports one got the sneaking suspicion that this wasn’t really about two saints, but rather one prominent one and a runner-up who was grandfathered in. After all, John XXIII’s case had been made far earlier and it would have been unseemly to fast track John Paul II, despite his popularity.

    The media largely bought the Vatican’s talking points that this twofer celebration was meant to unite widely divergent contingents of Catholics. Juxtaposed were the aging progressives who remember and thank John XXIII for his leadership of Vatican II, and those with shorter memories who have known only a more doctrinaire church led by John Paul II, and by extension, Pope Benedict XVI who arguably called many of the shots in the latter years of John Paul II’s papacy before assuming the Chair of Peter himself.

    I daresay the reality was a bit more complicated than that, beginning with the transparently messy theo-political process of naming saints at all. The speed with which John Paul II glided through the hoops and hurdles made clear just how fishy, not to say corrupt, the whole deal is. The requirement of two miracles was suddenly waived in the case of John XXIII with the assurance that people already consider him a saint. That is a claim most of us would make about our mothers, but that doesn’t get them the Vatican treatment.

    In my view, all of this amounted to a timely reinforcement of the monarchical model of church. Lest anyone labor under the delusion that things have really changed with Pope Francis, the celebration featured the kyriarchal church doing as it pleased—clergy dolling up in their best duds, bureaucrats putting the current pope through his paces to be sure that he’s really what the cardinals elected him to be—namely, a “company” man in every sense of the term (The Society of Jesus, of which he is a member, was called “The Company of Jesus” by its founder Ignatius). It was a time to fill hotels and buses with pilgrims, many from Poland, who favor a model of church that is telegenic, profitable, otherworldly, elitist, and hierarchical. That John XXIII convened a council at which seeds were planted for a very different model—a more horizontal, participatory church—was all but lost in the incense.

    Editorial cartoonist Tom Toles depicted the whole farce in a memorable cartoon in theWashington Post. Gazing at a poster that says “Prevent child abuse,” a person asks, “What do you call someone who drags his feet on identifying and punishing abusers?” A person reading from the works of John Paul II replies, “Saint?”

    Enough said.

    The contradictions of the whole event were not lost. The hoopla of an outdated organization was used to celebrate one of its own, and, ironically, one of the people responsible for its potential transformation. No wonder the John Paul II people were there in droves and many of the John XXIII types took a pass.

    The net impact of the canonizations was to reinforce and reinscribe the hierarchal, clergy-centric church by naming two of its recent leaders as saints. Pretty clever. And it worked effectively to shore up the foundations once again and assure people, especially those inside the walls of the Vatican, that they are still firmly in charge. The rest of us have been “disappeared” in the incredible shrinking church.

    Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)

    A slightly different kind of shrinkage can be seen in the failed attempt on the part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to domesticate the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The Congregation issued a Doctrinal Assessment in April 2012 alleging that the women were not upholding and promoting the institutional church’s view of the world.

    For the next five years they were to reform themselves and function under the aegis of Archbishop Peter Sartain and two auxiliary bishops who would review both their annual meetings and publications. The Vatican’s unrealistic hope was that the women would see the supposed error of their ways and comply with the Vatican’s wishes, parroting their theology and championing their priorities.

    In fact, what has happened in the two years since the hostile takeover is something quite other. The nuns (who after all are lay people until the first one is validly and licitly ordained) enjoy a great deal of support among other rank and file Catholics, more support than most of the clergy. The women’s ministries focus on those who are poor, marginalized, ill, young, or otherwise on the periphery of an unjust world. They are Earth-loving and engaged in structural change to eradicate injustice. Their simple lifestyles and commitments to the poor are well known. Their contributions to theology and ministry, their ways of being responsible adults in mature, loving communities are something for the clergy to emulate, not condemn.

    Alas, when Cardinal Gerhard Müller made his April 30, 2014 Opening Remarks in a meeting with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious he complained that the women were going about their business without feeling any need to consult Archbishop Sartain on matters that are internal to LCWR. No surprise there. The women characterizedthe meeting as “respectful and engaging” and let the prelate prattle on in the press.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back was apparently LCWR’s decision to honor Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University and a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood, with their Outstanding Leadership Award at their August 2014 Assembly.

    The U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine singled out Professor Johnson for criticism in 2011. They declared that her book, Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God (NY: Continuum, 2007), contains “misrepresentations, ambiguities, and errors that bear upon the faith of the Catholic Church” and “contaminates the traditional Catholic understanding of God.”

    Few reputable theologians shared this assessment of her work; most colleagues praised her as doing solid feminist work in an ecclesial context. Sales of her book increased with the attention, but there’s no trivializing the harm done by such egregious judgment of the Bishops’ Committee. Still, Elizabeth Johnson continues to write and teach according to the data she gathers, exhibiting the kind of leadership that LCWR values, and well within the conversations and parameters of the institutional church.

    If LCWR really wanted to pull the prelates’ pigtails they could have chosen to honor theologian/philosopher Mary Daly posthumously for her earthshattering insights that took the world “beyond God the Father.” Or they could recognize the leadership of theologian and biblical scholar Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza who named “kyriarchy” as interlocking forms of oppression that privilege some and oppress others with the Roman Catholic Church as Exhibit A, and offered a biblically-based antidote to it—namely, the concept of a “Discipleship of Equals.”

    Or, they could extend their praise to theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether who has spelled out the historical foundations of women’s full personhood, connections between Earth and the divine, and useful insights into ministry, ordination, and ethics. LWCR could look south to Latin American theologian Ivone Gebara who articulates consistent, justice-focused ideas that reflect her context and commitments. All of these women fit LCWR’s stated criteria and push the theological envelope far beyond the confines of the institution. Elizabeth Johnson was a wonderful choice, and there are many other fine picks for the future. The Cardinal’s negative reaction only reveals the size of the gap between the women’s reality and the worldview of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    The other issue that got Mr. Müller’s goat was the LCWR’s exploration of the various relationships between religion and science which the Vatican mistakenly collapses into something generically pegged as “conscious evolution,” a phrase used by one of LCWR’s plenary speakers, Barbara Hubbard. While Hubbard’s work is helpful, there is much more at play: how faith and reason function in postmodernity; the various new cosmologies that ground theological thinking; and the exciting insights emerging from gene theory, to name just a few examples. LCWR provides educational opportunities for its members. Perhaps the Congregation thinks they’re still learning the alphabet, but these women are sophisticated thinkers, well read, and eager to plunge into the complexities of our day. Drawing a parallel between such study and the “Gnostic tradition” makes no apparent sense. Do the men have any idea of what Gnosticism was, or is it just a scary word thrown out to make a point?

    I doubt that it occurred to Mr. Müller to ask Mr. Sartain—just sort of archbishop to archbishop if you know what I mean—why he thinks the women did not ask his permission or beg his pardon about their choices. The answer is because they don’t need it. I’m left to imagine these teeny, tiny archbishops and the great big women they need to control. The men must be terrified in their impotence.

    This time around Cardinal Müller’s trump card was in an expression set off by commas toward the end of his discourse. Having worked himself into a lather over the nuns’ purported failure to comply, he closed his statement with the notion that religious life can “only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church. The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See [emphasis mine], has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in hand.” I.e., shape up or ship out. This threat—to make the institutional church even smaller by ousting LCWR and probably replacing it with the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious that would be more likely to do the men’s bidding—is consistent with the other two examples of church shrinkage.

    Small can be beautiful, and less is usually more. But as the kind of shrinkage to which I’ve pointed continues, the robust, diverse, committed Catholic community that so many hoped would accompany Pope Francis’ papacy seems a distant dream. The  current reality more closely resembles a bad movie. With many others, I’m working on a different sequel, one that features expansion and inclusion, openness and a warm embrace for all.

Two Women Priests’ Homilies for the Good Shepherd( 4th) Sunday of Easter 5/11/14

Here we present Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle’s Homily with thanks to her for sharing it and my own reflections and brief homily for this special Sunday for good shepherds and mothers.

 

IMG_0142This Sunday we listen for the voice of our Good Shepherd and we hear the voice of Mother God, even as we also celebrate the mothers and all of the women in our lives. In a sense this Sunday is the Feast Day of our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community and it is very special that it is also Mother’s Day.

Unlike the male priests who are called “Father” we as women priests are not called “Mother”, but in our community that does not deter some of the members using that title in a very real sense. Nathaniel always calls me Mother, for example. He is now a 50 year old man whom we met as a homeless man in our outdoor worship services in the Park from 2007-2009.  The brother of a local preacher whose beloved parents are deceased, he struggled with untreated mental illness and could simply not take hold of reality enough to negotiate work or housing. He simply slept outside anywhere he could.  He was drawn to our worship. He is a man of faith and has a beautiful reading and singing voice. We helped him to connect to the mental health system, become housed in 2008, access a Social Security Disability income and reunite with his brother and family. His life is now completely changed and he attends our church regularly both on Sundays and for homeless outreach on Tuesdays. He enjoys leading the singing with his rich voice. We were particularly moved as he was Confirmed with our sixteen individuals on April 26th. Dressed in his navy blue Sunday Suit, his strong  voice resonated as he read the reading from Isaiah 61: ” I have been anointed to preach good news to the poor…” And he does this with his life. When we offer the sign of peace, he always says “Peace be with you, Mother”. And I always reply: “Peace be with you, my son”.  When he prays he always starts  “Loving God,our Mother and Father God, I thank you for my church family”.  So today we thank God for loving us like a mother hen spreading her wings around her chicks as Jesus wanted to do with his beloved people (Luke 13: 34 b) and for  God, our Shepherd, and Christ as the Good Shepherd giving everything for the flock.  We are thankful for our Mother God and for all mothers whose voices guide us and comfort us.

We present here our brief homily and that of Rev. Bev. Bingle, for she is right on that we are also now the shepherds to one another.

 

The Voice You Know: Homily for Fourth Sunday of Easter- May 11th 2014    Pastor Judy Lee

Prayer: Our Loving God, You are our Shepherd. Yours is the voice we know. And you have given us other guiding voices. On this special day for Mothers and all women thank you for the feminine voices that lead us on your path, including Your own. Grant that we may heed Your guidance and recognize it when we hear it. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Brother Who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, One God forevermore. AMEN.

Liturgy of the Word   Listen Now…

Acts 2:14,36-41  Be baptized then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit-3000 added

Psalm 23 R. Adonai, You are my Shepherd,I have no wants

I Peter 2:20-25 You were straying now you have returned to the Shepherd

Holy Ground  Alleluia  I am the Good  Shepherd, I know my sheep and…  John 10:1-10

Homily: Shepherds and mothers are a lot alike. It makes sense that we can celebrate both the Good Shepherd and our Mothers today. In fact Shepherds are like Mother God. The Gospel says: they know their sheep by name and the sheep know their voices. The first voice we respond to in our lives is our mother’s voice. We hear it in the womb and we know it always. I can hear my mother’s voice right now. I will never forget it. The voices of my mother and Grandmother and all of my shepherds will guide me until the end. 

In Nigeria where almost 300 school girls were kidnapped by terrorists there is great mourning and prayer. “Bring back our girls” is the plea and the prayer now echoed around the world. Indeed we do pray for them. The faces of the mothers are in pain beyond description. One bereft mother said to the TV reporter: “Let them come and burn my house and take all I own. Let them even take me, but let them bring back my girl”. She would give her life for her daughter, she would do anything to find her. And this is what God through Christ did and always does for us. God continues to be both our Mother and Father God, and our Good Shepherd. Our Mother God’s voice, like the voice of that Nigerian Mom, and like the voice of the Shepherd calling the sheep will never stop calling us. And we know it, and hear it and get back on the path of life if we have lost it (as 1 Peter says). We have been baptized and are full of the Spirit which is the voice that guides us, comforts us, chastises us, loves us beyond all words, and leads us on. It is our Mother’s voice, let us heed it, serve one another, and be ever so thankful for it. Amen!

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, Good Shepherd Co-Pastor

Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle’s Homily-We Are Called To Be Good Shepherds like Jesus  

In today‘s second reading from the first letter of Peter,
we are reminded that we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus,
that is., do no wrong, speak no deceit,
do not return insults, do not threaten.
Mostly it’s what not to do.
John’s Gospel is much more positive about how to follow Jesus.
John gives us the extended metaphor of the good shepherd
as a picture of the life and mission of Jesus.
_____________________________________________
When we say we want to follow Jesus,
we commit ourselves to becoming good shepherds.
As the Second Vatican Council ended,
women religious around the world
entered into the process of discernment, reform, and renewal
that the documents called for.
The Sisters read the signs of the times
and went about doing good,
tending their flocks of school children
and hospital wards full of ailing people
and everyone in between.
Good shepherds.
_____________________________________________
Lots of examples out there:
Mother Teresa did it in Calcutta.
Dorothy Day in New York.
Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
The first responders on 9/11.
The shepherding goes on all the time,
in lots of different places and widely different shapes.
_____________________________________________
Monday I drove to Claver house as usual, my car stuffed
with your donations of food and clothes and bus tokens
and to-go containers and toiletries and puzzles.
Good shepherds you are,
tending the flock of folks on the margins in downtown Toledo.
_____________________________________________
Tuesday I wrote a $500 check and mailed it off
to help The University Church with their garden project
for the needy in their neighborhood
because you authorized the donation at last week’s meeting.
at our last Community meeting:
Good shepherds you are,
reaching out with a hand up
for a flock of hungry kids and their families.
_____________________________________________
Wednesday my car was broadsided
as I headed over to our book discussion,
and two of you phoned the next day
to check up on me and make sure I was okay.
Good shepherds, tending to me.
_____________________________________________
Life presents us with endless chances to be good shepherds.
Parents and grandparents do it–
the constant tending of the baby,
the nurturing of the teen,
the letting go as their offspring step into the world on their own.
On this Mothers’ Day
we’re especially conscious
of the many ways mothers “lay down their lives”
for their children.
Friends do it, too, over lunch or on the phone late at night,
listening, just being there.
Spouses, neighbors, teachers, even strangers at the Sav-A-Lot
lay down their lives for others.
____________________________________________
Yes, we are called to be good shepherds, just like Jesus.
And it’s inspiring to see you answering the call.
I’m grateful.

 
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor