Archive | December 2014

Rvda. Marina Teresa, Roman Catholic Woman Priest Celebrates Christmas Mass in Colombia

10863492_10152704418313393_107903165_n Rvda.  Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia,RCWP of Cali,Colombia celebrated a Christmas house Mass with members of her community. This woman of deep faith, courage and passion for justice, especially for the Afro-Colombiano Community, celebrates with holy passion for the Eucharist, Christ present with us and for the people of God. Many attended and also enjoyed the fellowship afterward. She is making a major difference in the lives of so many, especially the women,youth, and children of the community.

Here are some fotos of the joyful celebration:

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Que Dios te Bendigas, Rvda. Marina Teresa! Vale,vale!

May God continue to bless and protect Rvda. Marina Teresa and her community.

Love and blessings, amor y bendiciones,

Rvda. Judy Lee, RCWP

Fort Myers, Florida

A Blessed Christmas-With God Nothing is Impossible! Rev. Judy and the Good Shepherd Community


Christmas is filled with seemingly impossible events-events that are, however, totally possible with God. The words of the prophet Isaiah, speaking almost 900 years before Jesus was to be born forecasts the coming of the greatest Light who would be born a baby and called “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Protector Forever, Prince of Peace” (Is 91-6). God will come to us as a tiny baby. The Awesome and great God of the entire Cosmos will be born into human life to show us how to live, and die and rise again. He will show us how to welcome everyone to God and leave no one out in the cold,to bring peace in a troubled world. Like Mary, who is asked to be the God-bearer, we are told as we hear the Christmas story once again “With God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37). Young Mary gets past her fears and is open to having this very special baby who will be called Yeshua, Jesus,  “Deliverance”. Joseph does not divorce her but embraces her and takes care of her. The baby is born in the space designed for animals, a most humble birth. The Shepherds are the first to be told about this event, and frightened though they are, they go and see the baby and go and tell the Good News of his birth. Along with Mary who said that the hungry will now be filled and the rich will go away empty, they, the lowly and often untrusted outsiders, the shepherds, are the first evangelists.(Luke 1 and 2). Later, the magi, astronomers, learned individuals, or kings, will follow their bright star and find him. And they will not tell the wicked and jealous king Herod about this newborn king so Joseph and Mary will flee to Egypt until it is safe to come back(Matthew 2).  How could these humble parents afford the trip to Egypt, perhaps with the gold and gifts that the Magi brought-or simply because “with God, nothing is impossible”. Christmas at its root is the impossible made possible, God made flesh and dwelling among us.

How do we enact Christmas this year with the deluge of human need and troubles ever increasing before us? We do it with faith, faith that embraces even the impossible. Faith that doesn’t need proofs for everything, faith that includes feelings of reverence and deep love. For me, that is a faith that makes me want to bow down on my knees and say “thank you God!”  and it is now and always has been the people of God that have taught me this faith.  Fourteen year old Keeondra saved her money and bought her Pastors two little ceramic snowmen this Christmas, one had the word “faith” on it, the other “peace” She explained in her hand-made card that “the church was where people found peace” and that the faith of the pastors grows faith in the people “who may not know God without it”, and that is how she chose those snowmen for us.   Keeondra is on the right in the picture on the right below. She is with her youngest sister Jakeriya and her brother Quay who nearly died of an opportunistic infection in November 2013, and who renewed his faith in reaffirming his hospital bed baptism just a few weeks ago. His life and affirmation of Life is one of the impossible events made possible by the faith that Keeondra is referring to as she affirms the miracle of faith. Also, several of our formerly homeless people have called and let us know how grateful they are to be enjoying their homes this Christmas. One man, Lloyd has now moved to Maine and married his High School sweetheart and he was able to get HUD housing in Maine after having it here as well.  Roger, our first housed person brought a donation to the church as he often does and prayed a prayer of thanks long with Lauretta and Nathaniel during our Prayers of the Faithful. Gary also spoke of the Peace of Christ at Christmas. And the “peace in the church” that young Keeondra was referring to in her card includes having a place to live in the apartment behind the church for her family of seven as they get back on their feet once again. Theirs is a faith of new life and second and third chances, a faith of the possibility of new things happening. A faith that includes her older sister being the first generation of their family members to be in college and doing well as of this September (on the right in the picture on the left below) .


And so this Christmas-tide we are asked to have the kind of faith that embraces what may be or seem to be impossible. The kind of faith that can see the great Light still among us, that can affirm the coming of the Christ who is with us still, the kind of faith that is for all people and welcomes everyone to the Table. The faith that can take the hopes and dreams of our lives, however impossible or broken they may be and breathe them into live reality. This is the faith that gives birth to love,no matter what.

In our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community the possibly impossible has been possible this Christmas. Due to the generosity of individuals,like Mary Pautz, Ellen and Jack McNally, Peter Lee, Ellie VerNooy, Danielle Nisivoccia, Jean Bauer, Pearl Cudjoe and Judy Alves, Rudy Elder, Monica Piccirillo, Evelyn Touhsaent and her husband Cliff, and Joan B. Volkmuth and Klaus Helf, Katy Zatsick and Bridget Mary Meehan, Phyllis Owen and Michele Nowosad, Stella Odie-Ali and Hank and Claire Tessandori,  and special organizations, like the Orioles, a local Social Club pictured below on left, and Gini Beecroft,Tom Rutkowski and the Breckinridge Community and Red Thread Group, Lisa Munklewitz and the Lamb of God Church and Thrift Store, below on right, we were able to give meaningful Christmas gifts to over thirty-five children and young people and over twenty-five adults,and also to serve wonderful Christmas meals all during advent. What a joy this is!

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Our Sunday school has increased by six young people most of whom participated in our Christmas Pageant. It was great joy to see them learning the Gospel by acting it out. Here are some of them at rehearsal. After the rehearsal, Niyah,6, went outside by herself and knelt down at the Nativity scene, placing her hands over her heart as Mary did. We caught her there praying and she smiled for the camera. She has been doing this quietly and spontaneously since she was three years old,somehow drawn to Mary. We especially thank our Junior and Little Lambs teachers, Pearl Cudjoe and Linda Maybin for their year long assistance, and Efe Jane Cudjoe for her youth leadership.


One of the miracles of Christmas was that Niyah’s Mom, who has sent her since she was two without accompanying her and her sisters and brothers, came to church to see the Pageant.


The joy and laughter as the congregation watched the Pageant was overwhelming. Joelle White was Mary and Keion Lewis, Joseph. The part of Mary’s donkey was played by Jakeriya Maybin and the Angel by Arnya Jackson. The reverence of the children was most moving. And Santa Claus, (Hank Tessandori) paid us a visit that caused squeals of delight.


These young girls are holding “the Baby Jesus” and his “sisters” , dolls lovingly made for them by Helen Hearn, a compassionate and highly skilled octogenarian, who also makes extensive wardrobes for each doll.

IMG_0251Arnya,7, just loves her new doll. Her face says it all for the joy of Christmas at the Good shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in fort Myers. Thanks be to God! To quote our wise Keeondra, “MERRY CHRISTMAS-HAVE FAITH !”


Love and Christmas Blessings throughout the New Year,

Pastor Judy Lee,RCWP

Pastor Judy Beaumont, RCWP


Almost Christmas-Reflections of Three Roman Catholic Women Priests

We must apologize for the lack of activity in a season where there is plenty of reflection and activity to share.  I have missed being here with you.  My computer crashed and it has taken a while to restore it but we are happily back now. And, perhaps even more than that our preparations for the needs of our people in this season keep us going 24-7. I am happy to share and echo Rev. Chava Redonnet’s reflections  about seeing the face of Jesus all around us this Christmas season. And I am also happy to share Rev. Bev’s 4th Sunday Advent Homily.

This Sunday is the fourth Sunday in Advent and we will light the candle of love in our Good Shepherd Community.  We will also welcome the Christ-Child a few days early and celebrate Christmas with our community. For many reasons celebrating the Sunday before is an assistance to our people in meeting the needs of their families for Christmas. Our children are planning a great Nativity Pageant and Santa will be visiting both children and parents and adults afterwards.  We will be sharing this with you for Christmas.

On this Fourth Sunday we reflect with Second Samuel 7 that from the house of David the temple will be established. From the shepherd David to the shepherds on the plain who heard and saw the announcement of Christ’s birth, the temple of our living God has been in the hearts of God’s people. Mary, who was perhaps a young temple servant before her betrothal to Joseph, chosen to bear Christ into the world, the God-bearer, became the willing temple of God.  Asked to be a God-bearer, she said yes, despite her fears (Luke 1: 26-28). And, the prophet Isaiah anticipated this child that would be born to us: Wonderful Counselor, the Strength of God,Eternal Protector,Champion of Peace ((Is 9:2-7). The humble shepherds too, terrified by the astronomical events leading them to the Christ child in the lowly manger,  said yes to going and telling the Good News, becoming the first evangelists(Luke 2:1-14). In our church we also see that God calls us, the poor and the little ones of the world to bear Christ and the Good News. So may whatever frightens us and makes us hold back in bearing and sharing the Good News be put in perspective in this season of love and joy, and let us boldly go forth and tell.

Advent and Christmas Blessings, Rev. Judy LeeIMG_0083


Rev. Chava’s Reflections

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, December 21, 2014
Fourth Sunday of Advent

Dear friends,

As the pre-Christmas frenzy approaches fever pitch in this 3rd week of Advent – Christmas parties! Hannukah parties! Buying! Wrapping! Baking! Cleaning! – I love to go into the chapel at the nursing home, and sit in front of the manger scene. It’s not life-sized, but it’s pretty big, with a cave full of straw, and a few more animals each week. This week a shepherd appeared with a lamb, among the cattle and donkeys and sheep, all sitting in silence and calm, waiting for the baby and his parents, who will appear as part of our Christmas service next week.

As I look at all the tinsel and glitter and stuff, elves and snowmen and pre-Christmas sales, I sometimes wonder, “Where is Jesus in all this?” There is so much that feels important this time of year – traditions and time with family, greeting old friends, little acts of thoughtfulness – it’s all lovely, just all sobusy – and in the meantime, there’s that silent, waiting manger.

So where is Jesus, this Christmas?

Here are some places I’ve seen him, lately.

Jesus is being told he has to work on Thanksgiving, getting an order of cabbage ready to ship.

Jesus is sitting in an immigration courtroom, heart pounding, afraid he is about to be separated from those he loves.

Jesus is in a wheelchair, yelling at the aide who is sitting beside her, holding her hand: “Help me! Help me! Why won’t you help me? Is it because you’re a jerk?!”

Jesus is lying on a city sidewalk, unable to breathe.

Jesus is pounding on the door at St Joe’s on a Sunday morning, yelling to be let in to use the bathroom.

Jesus is waiting for his monthly immigration phone call, scared he’ll somehow screw it up and have to go back to detention.

Jesus is looking through garish displays at Walmart, trying to find affordable gifts for loved ones.

Jesus is clinging to the body of her dying daughter, sobbing “I love you,” And Jesus is lying in that bed, rope burns on her neck, a tear rolling down her cheek, listening to her mother grieve the life she chose to end.

Jesus is also marching through city streets, chanting, “Black lives matter!”

Jesus is sitting at a table, organizing ways to advocate for immigration reform.

Jesus is in the farmer welcoming farmworkers to worship in a vacant migrant dwelling.

Jesus is building bridges between countries that have been enemies for 54 years.

Jesus is in the next person who walks through the door, an occupant of the next car that passes by, the light in each person that is walking around, shining like the sun.  Don’t miss him!!


Blessings to you this Christmas, and may you find moments of stillness, and grow in ways you’ve never dreamed.

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

A member community of the Federation of Christian Ministries

Rev. Bev’s Homily

Just in time for Christmas,
today’s readings shed light on God’s identity—who is God?—
and on our own identity—who are we?
These scriptures speak to us of incarnation—
the mystery that we celebrate this coming Thursday:
God-with-us in human form.
Our first reading from Samuel
starts with King David trying to put God in a box,
but our God-beyond-all-names speaks out:
I have been with you wherever you were;
I was with you no matter what you were doing,
and I will be with you and your offspring,
from all eternity and for ever.
God is with us.
Paul, in our second reading, makes clear who we are:
we are the ones with strength from God;
we are the ones to whom God’s mystery is revealed;
we are the ones who give glory to God through Jesus;
we are the people of God,
giving praise by following the Way of Jesus.
Our identity—our very being—is part of God.
We are in God.
Then our Gospel tells the same truth
in the story of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth,
servants of God and women of courage,
open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
They don’t see how or why, but they go ahead anyway, in trust.
They say yes to carrying children and giving birth
in the midst of the oppression and violence
of the Romans who occupy their land.
They recognize God’s presence
alive in each other and in their children.
Not only is God with us, God is within us.
So the scriptures tell us that God is with and within us,
and we are in God, always, for ever and ever.
But that has to make sense in terms of the reality of our daily lives.
The world we live in
is not always an experience of “forever” and “always.”
It’s not always an experience
of God who is, who is with us, who is within us,
and we don’t always experience ourselves as in God.
Too often life is made up of lost jobs, dashed hopes,
fleeting friendships, broken marriages, and aging and dying
in a world of violence and bloodshed.
It’s as if God has abandoned us,
like in that last line of today’s Gospel: And the angel left her.
Down at Claver House Tuesday
we talked about the morning news report
of the murder of a hundred Pakistani students,
and some of the guests, haltingly at first,
began to talk about the horrors of the wars they had served in.
George talked of Korea,
Jim and Daniel of Viet Nam,
Chris of Afghanistan.
Tough men.
Yet tears came to their eyes when they remembered,
as if it were yesterday,
the grief they felt 40, 50, 60 years ago.
A brother killed on his third tour in Vietnam,
a note from his buddy
found tucked by his name in the Memorial Wall in Washington.
The 18-year-old who took a bullet in his heart
the day after he arrived on the battlefield.
The chaplain reading Last Rites over still bodies.
And the grief they still feel.
The sad understanding how hard it is to unlearn that training to kill.
Their broken families.
Their broken lives.
They remember.
They marvel that they’re still alive, and they are grateful.
They don’t understand how they survived
and some of their buddies didn’t.
In spite of it, and because of it, they go on,
having faith that God was with them then
and is with them now,
and, they told me,
they believe that God remains
with and in those who didn’t come home.
In the encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict wrote this:
Seeing with the eyes of Christ,
I can give to others much more than their outward necessities;
I can give them the look of love which they crave.
It’s that look of love that I saw in those men Tuesday
they listened to each other with respect and understanding,
that look of acceptance and love that each of them craved.
In five [four] days we’ll be celebrating the Nativity of the Lord—
Christmas with its joy and song,
family traditions and special meals with loved ones.
The turmoil in our world—and even in our family circles—
can make us question if God is really with us and within us.
That’s why we have to see our world,
and all the people we meet,
with the eyes of Christ.
As much as we love our perfect spouse and our perfects kids,
as much as we love our perfect selves,
we have to love the in-laws and the outlaws,
the uncle with the off-color jokes, the whiny aunt,
the inconsiderate neighbor, the judgmental friend,
the ex-offender, the old college buddy with too much to drink.
All of them.
We have to love the vet who killed in our name,
and the draft-dodger who left for Canada.
Every one.
We are called to see our world with the eyes of Christ,
to look on ourselves
and everyone else
with that look of love,
so we can know who God is
and who we are.
So we can see Christmas.

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

Rev. Beverly Bingle

Christ is Born!  Shout it out!IMG_0019

Shout it out! AMEN!

Fr. Tony Flannery-Hope with the Pope and Women Priests

From the Irish Times:

Marginalised Catholics ‘very hopeful’ about papacy of Francis

They see him ‘returning to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council’

‘They are uplifted by some signs of hope among US bishops –  for instance the Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley (above), in a recent television interview, stating that the Vatican investigation of the US women religious was a “disaster”.’ Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images‘They are uplifted by some signs of hope among US bishops – for instance the Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley (above), in a recent television interview, stating that the Vatican investigation of the US women religious was a “disaster”.’ Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Tue, Dec 9, 2014, 00:01

I have recently returned from an 18-city speaking tour in the US, organised by the network of Church Reform movements. They impressed me. Their commitment to the faith is strong, but they believe that the church as institution is not working, and that it needs urgent reform.

They display great energy and enthusiasm, and in my experience they are warm, loving people looking for a deeper spirituality and sense of community in their church. Their knowledge of theology is impressive.

More than half the people attending one gathering at a Call to Action conference in Memphis last month had masters degrees in theology. They are not the people who have left the church, but they are on the fringes. It was sad to see such an enormous resource being left unused by the church authorities.

The bishops in the US are much more vocal than our bishops who, with one or two exceptions, are quiet men who mostly avoid the public glare. The US “culture warrior” bishops take a strong public stance on some moral issues, mainly contraception, abortion and same-sex marriage.

Their doctrinaire statements, often followed by the sacking or excommunication of people who, according to them, violate the rules, drive many away from the churches.

Those who do not give up entirely often respond by setting up their own small communities, where they come together to pray, read the scriptures, and celebrate the Eucharist, with a married priest, with one of the Roman Catholic women priests or with no priest at all.

Love of God

The official response is excommunication, but the people I was meeting are not concerned. They don’t believe that a decree from any human person can cut them off from the love of God, which they say they experience deeply in these small communities.

The Pope Francis effect is significant among them. They are very hopeful as they see him returning to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. They follow church affairs closely and showed significant interest in the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome.

They are able to debate knowledgeably where Francis is trying to lead the church. They are uplifted by some signs of hope among US bishops – for instance Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley, in a recent television interview, stating that the Vatican investigation of the US women religious was a “disaster”, or the new Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, stating clearly at his consecration that he fully supported Pope Francis.

In the US church context, that was a political statement, nailing his colours to the mast, leaving people and bishops in no doubt where he stood.

Many people I spoke to believe the church as institution is in the process of collapse, and is beyond recovery. That may be true. All institutions are under pressure today, and it is impossible to know what shape things will take. But fragmentation is a danger in the US church.

Credible leadership

The absence of coherent and credible leadership is tragic. The recent US bishops’ conference was a good example. Tom Reese, of the National Catholic Reporter, described them as being like deer caught in the headlights, not knowing which way to turn.

The agenda from Rome appears to be less concerned with sexual morality and is emphasising social justice and care for the poor and those on the margins. Some of the more vocal bishops are uncomfortable with this.

Their statement on preparation for the further Synod of Bishops next October, that they would await instruction from Rome on how to proceed, was a clear indication of what Reese was referring to. It contrasted with the clarity of Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster. He asked all the parishes to take the time to discuss the documents of the synod last October during the next six months.

While in Memphis I visited the Civil Rights Museum, and listened again to the speeches of Martin Luther King. What the US church needs is someone with a dream, and with the strength of character to lead the people out of the miasma they are in, and bring them to the promised land – the Reign of God that Jesus talked about.

Fr Tony Flannery is a Redemptorist priest and founder member of the Association of Catholic Priests who was silenced by the Vatican in 2012. Since then he has been active in the Catholic Church reform movement. His website is

Advent Two: Reflections with Rev. Chava and Rev. Judy

There is something about advent that quiets us down in our spirits and helps us to reflect on the essential meanings of the coming of Christ. Florida is known for its long and bright days even in winter. But still the darkness comes earlier and evening is longer than we like. Activities stop earlier and there is time to think and reflect on the beautiful prophetic readings about the long awaited messiah, Deliverance, Emanuel,God With Us. The reading from Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11 is particularly moving to me. The early verses in this Scripture herald John the Baptist who is the voice, the thundering voice, in the wilderness making straight the way of our God. The Gospel,Mark 1:1-8 has John thundering his message to the people. Turn yourselves around, turn back from your way to God’s way, to loving God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself, turn back to a life of justice and peace. Turn back to Love.  The last time I preached on this text I dropped a huge book on the floor with a great clamor. Speak up, speak up with God’s message!  This is not a time to mumble! The best news is coming, announce it. God’s love and justice has been born among us and we will learn to live love and justice as we follow the way of Christ.


Isaiah 40:11 speaks to our congregation growing from the bottom up, full of children, mothers, youth and new Christians. On Sunday we had 21 children with us, including six that have been coming for just a few times.  “Like a shepherd you feed your flock,gathering the lambs and holding them close,and leading mother ewes with gentleness.”  The same strong and gentle God who holds the little lambs close, the God with Mother/Father arms to embrace,protect and comfort, sends his own Beloved child as a helpless baby to be cared for and loved.  With this same God love and faithfulness will meet and justice and peace kiss each other and embrace(Psalm 85:10). And God will help us when we just cannot get this right. I think of the mothers in my flock who carry the heavy load alone, sometimes near breaking. I think of those who have been beaten,used and exploited in the name of “love”. I think of the children who do not have what they need to grow materially, physically,intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. I think of the children being raised by other relatives and foster parents who have lost both parents to drugs, alcohol, violence death and illness. I think of those living with those types of caregivers here and now in our midst. Then I think of the one parent who faithfully rounds up all of the children in her neighborhood to bring them to church.  We will hold them close and treat the ewes with tenderness. But it will take more than us to turn this around.  I am sickened by the violence all around them. Our little nine year old who lost his five year old cousin to a drive by shooting a few weeks ago now has a husky eleven year old telling him “watch your back, I’m going to get you”. And that happened right after church so I could intervene. But it will take God to keep him safe and to bring justice and peace to his world.


And so my heart resounds with Rev. Chava’s reflection on her little flock. She is so right that the number in the flock is immaterial, God is there for each one, carrying each in God’s ample arms. And sometimes God’s arms are our own tired limbs. Sometimes they help someone change out of soiled clothes, and sometimes they help people step out of soiled lives and take on new life.  Rev. Chava’s love holds them close and her passion for justice never tires, although I know she does. I sometimes join her in wondering “shall we continue?” “Are we doing enough”? And even CAN we continue? This shepherding is hard work! And justice is so far off. I rejoiced with Rev. Chava as her young man from Mexico was granted his wish of a Voluntary Departure in a speedy way as someone spoke for him-and was heard, miracle of miracles. Someone representing justice. I was glad in an immigration system where there is little justice that some little justice did happen. I was glad last week when President Obama made some definite beginning steps in repairing that broken system and can only pray that partisanship can finally be put aside to serve the needs of all concerned for we need the labor as much as the workers need the work and the recognition of their families. Perhaps that is a “Hail Mary” but we can pray for it.

As we face the coming of the Christ-child, let us hold all children close and work and pray for justice.

Rev. Judy Lee,Co-Pastor The Good Shepherd Community

And here is Rev. Chava;s lovely reflection:

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, November 30, 2014
First Sunday of Advent

Dear friends,

Happy Advent! May the peace and stillness of this waiting time fill your
soul, and balance the sometimes frantic energy of the weeks that lead up to

We had a lovely Advent Mass at St Romero’s this morning, with a surprise
visit from Ann and Nancy who visit about once a year from Penn Yan. Bob
McBride is almost always present these days. He’s the member of the St
Joe’s community with responsibility for our overnight shelter. Another
woman came in as well. It’s usually like that – Bob, and one or two people
who come once or twice. Last week there was a man who is part of the
Sanctuary Village under the bridge, and Carol who is one of our regulars.

Every now and then I ask God if it’s time to stop the Sunday Mass. In the
past, any time I asked that question a dozen or so people would show up for
Mass. For us, that’s a crowd! Lately the answer to that question has not
been numbers, but a deepened appreciation for what we offer in this simple
Mass. There are some people who come back over and over, for whom I think
our Mass is a place where they are known and loved, no matter how long they
have been away. There are others who come once and are never seen again,
but the moment when they were here was a blessing. I’m thinking of a time
when it was just one man from the street, and me. His faith was so deep!
After communion he asked if he could sing something, and made up a song on the spot about what a blessing it was to be worshipping together.

We have tossed around the idea of looking for another place for Mass on
Sunday mornings.  Some folks who live at St Joe’s have said they would come if it didn’t feel so much like work – and that’s a reasonable thing for
them to say, because in fact Sunday mornings can turn into a sort of extra
hospitality time. We try not to do that but sometimes there’s an emergency,
like the Sunday a woman came in who had soiled her trousers and needed
sanitary supplies. Most of the Mass time was devoted to taking care of her,
and I was awfully glad we were there to do it. Then she and I had a lovely
Mass together.

I don’t think numbers are important to God. God loves us one person at a
time, and I think it’s enough when we do the same.

In the migrant ministry it was an interesting week, as I accompanied one
young man to court. Ironically, he wants to go back to Mexico – he has been
here ten years and misses his family. A year ago he wanted to go back, but
his court date got postponed for a year. So he found a job in a dairy farm
and has been working. Finally his court date came around. He quit his job
and moved in with his aunt, making plans to go to Mexico a few days after
his court appearance. He was hoping for Voluntary Departure, in which one
pays one’s own way out of the country, and has no deportation history to
prevent coming back at some later time.  Either way, he knew he was going
back, and he’s ready!

So we went to court. His lawyer, Richard Link, told the judge he wanted
Voluntary Departure. The judge checked with the government attorney, who
said there was no obvious bar to his being granted that. “Okay,” the judge
said. “We’ll schedule him for a hearing. Next available date is in April

My heart sank! Richard said, “Ah, your honor? He was hoping to go back to
Mexico this weekend!” And to the judge’s credit, he found a way to schedule
the hearing that very afternoon. Richard and I made phone calls and
rearranged our days, and the three of us went to lunch and then returned
for the hearing.  Our young friend was put in the witness box. “Have you
ever been arrested?” the judge asked him. “No.” “Have you ever done
anything for which you could have been arrested?” again, no. Actually, this
young man is the sort of person we ought to be begging to stay! But he was
granted Voluntary Departure, and should be able to get his bond money back,
as well.

I tried to explain the meaning of the word “irony” but couldn’t do it.  The
next day, he and his aunt and uncle came over to my house for Thanksgiving
dinner, and we said goodbye. If all goes well, he will be back with his
family by Christmas. Please pray for him as he journeys home.

Much peace to you this Advent. You are always welcome at Sunday morning

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
A member community of the Federation of Christian Ministries

A Blessed Second Week and Second Sunday of Advent!

Giving Thanks-November Highlights at Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

We have had some very happy events in our community that we would like to share with you so you can join us in thanksgiving.

First we would like to share that one of our young adult men celebrated the year since his baptism with an affirmation of baptismal vows before the whole congregation. He was baptized in the hospital a year ago as his life was truly touch and go. He was able to participate in his baptism in the hospital and was surrounded by his family but it remained hazy in his memory. In what is nothing short of a miracle he slowly regained his memory and his health over the year, So he wanted to make his baptismal vows in a more complete way when he was fully aware and before the congregation. On Sunday 11/23 this event of thanksgiving and affirmation took place. It was an affirmation of his life as well as his baptismal vows.He took the name John for his baptismal name. He began by saying.” Today I want to affirm my Baptism. I promise to love Jesus and to want to follow Jesus the Christ.”

John gathers with his parents and GodparentsIMG_0028  IMG_0044He receives the white stole of Baptism and the Light of Christ

IMG_0043 IMG_0059 John celebrates with his Grandmother and family members afterward. The joy experienced by all present was palpable.Below are his sisters and cousin. And his brother and his little niece.IMG_0063.


We also had two Birthdays to celebrate: Keeron, 17, and Keeondra, 14. I can barely reach Keeron’s head for a blessing. IMG_0052


And here are our triplets who celebrated their sixth birthday the week before! And below is one of our Moms, Awsha, with her beautiful baby girl.


We are so thankful for this new life in our church.  Love and blessings to all as we now enter Advent and await the coming of the Christ-child once again and appreciate all the faces of Christ in our midst.

Love and blessings, Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP