Archive | August 2015

Two Roman Catholic Women Priests Homilies for 22nd Sunday in OT: Rev. Dr. Roberta Meehan and Rev. Dr. Judy Lee

Here we are blessed to present two complementary homilies by Roman Catholic women Priests. Rev. Dr. Roberta Meehan  of Arizona captures the importance of living God’s Laws, while Rev. Dr. Judy Lee’s is about the statement of Jesus that we disregard God’s commandments and cling to human traditions, with its implications for the Church and women’s ordination.  Both see the heart of the Law as living justice and love with all of God’s people, especially the broken, the outcast and the economically poor.

Clinging to Human Traditions

In this Sunday’s homily we will combine the choice given us-to follow or to leave Jesus- in last week’s Gospel (John 6) with this week’s Markian Gospel (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15,21-23) about clinging to human traditions instead of God’s Law.  I am struck with the connection. To choose to follow Jesus is often to turn away from tradition-in fact tradition and ritual can almost become a ‘false god’ when it is an end in itself and not a means to doing what Jesus did-showing us how to bring God’s reign of love and justice on earth.

Clinging to human traditions ( Mark 7: 8 and 9) is exactly what we are struggling with when we struggle with the institutional church, a church that we need to be careful not to become despite our yearning for its renewal. In Mark’s Gospel,Jesus is charged with not following all of the rituals of Judaism around ritual purification (hand washing) and he quotes Isaiah who said “The doctrines they teach are only human precepts. You disregard God’s commandments and cling to human tradition”.

Human traditions can be wonderful, giving order, meaning and often joy to our lives. Family traditions, like what is cooked and served for Thanksgiving dinner or how special holidays are observed, or summer reunions enhance anticipation and give structure to our lives.  We may want to celebrate “traditionally”, “the ways we always have”, without thinking. We identify with our traditions. But indeed they are traditions and not truths or facts, perhaps. I love Christmas celebrations including the usual children’s pageant with its Nativity Scene.  As a Pastor, I find it a great way to teach and involve children, and have made that a part of our Christmas celebration as a congregation. Now, I know that the “wise men”, magi, or “three kings” were not necessarily wise, nor kings, nor three.  Mainly, I know that they, whoever they were (astrologers?), or if they were,  would have come many months after the birth of Jesus given the star’s description. And was there a real gleaming, leading, star? And was it really Nazareth or Bethlehem? It is hard to separate the traditions of Christmas from what scholarship tells us, if it tells anything on the subject.  Still, the tradition can have deep life-giving essential meaning that we can teach and live.  But what happens when traditions are presented as absolute truth? When, in fact, they are even placed above Scripture, God’s Law of love and justice and, indeed above the spirit of the Law?  That is a question Jesus raises and answers in the Gospel of Mark for this Sunday.

Non-violent resistance to man-made traditions and laws that were not God’s Law changed the direction of racist and imperialistic history in India with Ghandi, in South Africa with Nelson Mandela and others, and in the United States with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and others. The Law of love, justice and equality trumped the laws made by men. Yet, long after laws were changed and to the present time, people struggle with giving up traditions like derogatory language and white-only clubs (and later male only clubs) that were racist (sexist) and inflammatory under the new laws and traditions.

The Canon Laws of the Roman Catholic Church and many of the Papal Encyclicals are a big part of the church’s tradition. They are not Scripture and they are not all reflecting the essence of God’s Law as Dr. Roberta Meehan explains below. Canon 1024, for example, that says only men can be ordained as priests, is simply a man-made rule of the church. It is a rule that negates the early history of the church where women served and were ordained on all levels, deacons, priests and bishops. (See for example books by Gary Macy, Jan Aldridge, Dorothy Irvin and others).  This Canon Law is not infallible. Some church traditions are deemed to be “infallible teaching”. Whether one believes in this level of human teaching or not (and I think that the teaching on infallibility is, at best, fallible) it is important to note that only very few of the thousands of church canons (rules) or encyclicals have been deemed “infallible teaching” by anyone.  When Pope Francis, who is generous and humble and a most wonderful role model for serving the poor and caring for all people and for the earth, says almost out of character “the door is closed” on women’s ordination, he is in the tradition of what seems to be the infallible teaching of John Paul II and Benedict the 16th.  However, it is not even clear that this is “infallible teaching.”

A responder to a blog on the closed door to women in the priesthood notes:

“Infallible? Not quite, Rev! Pope John Paul II does not use the word “infallible” in announcing his position against ordaining women — this much is clear from your citation from Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

Further, the then CDF prefect, later Pope Benedict XVI, uses weasel language to address the  issue of infallibility — “In this case, an act of the ordinary Papal Magisterium, in itself not infallible, witnesses to the infallibility of the teaching of a doctrine already possessed by the Church.” J. Ratzinger, Letter Concerning the CDF Reply Regarding Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, dated October 28, 1995.

Without more, no one can conclude that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and its teaching on women’s ordination is INFALLIBLE.”

Bearing in mind that Jesus ordained no one (“ordination”-the Sacrament of Holy Orders- happened in later church history)  but had faithful followers who were both men and women, many feel, hope and pray that Pope Francis will be able to find or make the crack in the door. Whether he does or not, women in the Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement have chosen to follow Christ’s commandment of love and justice in breaking the tradition of Canon Law 1024 and answering God’s call to the priesthood. God can call whomever God calls, human traditions cannot limit God. Human “laws” cannot supersede God’s Laws. Obviously the man of God, the bishop still in good standing with the Church whose name will be revealed at his death, who ordained our  first women bishops in 2003, was willing to break with tradition, and break man’s laws for the life of the Church.  It is not easy to break with human /church traditions. The almost 210 validly ordained Roman Catholic women priests throughout the world are loyal to Christ and to the Church, including having the courage to break the tradition of the church regarding male only priests.  The rewards for this are in serving God’s people, including the poorest and outcast sacramentally but the “rewards” also include criticism, ostracism and cutting off from the life giving and God given love of the  formal Church.  Some of us have lost ties and relationships and opportunities to serve as well as work situations and livelihoods that have meant a great deal to us. Yet we put God’s law above man’s laws. We differentiate, as Jesus did, human tradition from God’s Law. Where human traditions actually seek to limit God’s powers and God’s Law of love we seek instead to live the Law of love and justice as interpreted by Jesus the Christ, who tells the church here:  “You disregard God’s commandments and cling to human traditions”.   Let us, as Rev. Dr. Meehan says below, be “doers of the word” enacting “religion that is pure and undefiled before God…to care for orphans and widows in their affliction…” (James 1:22b, 27) and let us follow God’s call for each one of us and God’s Law of love and justice, letting go of all human traditions that are not in the spirit of that Law.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP-USA-East

Co-Pastor of The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers, Florida


Rev. Dr. Roberta Meehan’s Homily for the 22nd Sunday – Cycle B – 30 August        2015

Dt 4:1-2, 6-8

Ps 15:2-3, 3-4, 4-5

Jas 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27

Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Today’s readings follow a marvelous theme – the law of God!  Of course for some the temptation is to say that ALL of the readings from ALL of Scripture deal with the law of God, while others squirm and wonder what is so great or marvelous about a list of laws.  And both of these statements may be true in their own way.  But, today’s readings are special in the way they develop this marvelous theme based on the REAL law of God.

We all know the REAL law, as given by Jesus (who was repeating what had been said in the Old Testament numerous times), don’t we?  Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself.  That is the fullness of the law – the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.  Jesus says it.  Jesus lives it.  Jesus teaches us about it.  Past and present.  And future.  That is the law!  But, do we believe it?  I think sometimes we do not.

Oh, but those parts aren’t in today’s readings.  True.  However, to understand the fullness of today’s message, we have to remember that that is the summation of the law as Jesus taught it.

Way back from the time of the Pentateuch onto and including the Judeo-Christian split, the people were being told – actually mandated! – to follow the commandments of the Lord but not to add or subtract from them.  What a concept!  Just follow the commands from the Lord.  Not anything else. Just the commands from the Lord.  Then Jesus simplified it.  In his own words he said that the two great commandments were a summation of the law and that everything that was needed could be found in those two love commandments.

Go back to the first reading from Deuteronomy and look at what is said.  “In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.”  Why do we insist on adding and subtracting from Jesus’ law of love?  The usual excuse that is given is that the writers of more laws – 1752 canons in the present Roman Catholic Canon (which, of course, break down literally into thousands of laws) – are simply clarifying the law.  I am not certain that is what either the Old Testament prophets or the New Testament’s Jesus meant.

The responsorial psalm today gives us some hints about what this law – this command – is – thinking the truth, no slander, no harming people, no reproaching people, no usury, no bribery.  Those, plus numerous other social points go along very well with what our religious ancestors knew to be the true law of the Lord.  The Jews knew they were required to love their neighbors.  Hospitality, helping the poor and orphaned and widowed, welcoming strangers, and sharing were paramount virtues and were required to be practiced by those who were following the Lord.  That was the real law – the real commandment of the Old Testament.  Everything from Sodom and Gomorrah to the rantings of the prophet Amos (and everything in between) speak of the essentials of these concepts that centered around loving one’s neighbor.  And, look at the New Testament.  Look at the parables of Jesus.  How many of those parables can be summed up in the ultimate hospitality of loving one’s neighbor?

The reading from James brings us closer to our understanding of our mission.  Look particularly at this line:  “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”  DOERS.  We have got to be DOERS.  That is, we have got to be DOERS of the WORD.  What is the WORD?  Jesus, of course, is the Word!  We learn that in other parts of Scripture.  Jesus is the Word.  The Gospel of John begins with “In the beginning was the Word….”  We all know that line!  DOING requires action.  We are not to sit back and just hear what is going on.  We have to DO what is going on and we have to DO the Word.  Jesus is the Word – Jesus is also the Way, the Truth, and the Light.  Rather impressive credentials!  Back in Deuteronomy we learned that we are to be followers of the law of God by DOING the commandment.  And Jesus is the Word – the Word of God.  And we are the DOERS of the Word.  Fantastic thought.  We need to DO Jesus!

What is it we are supposed to DO in order to DO Jesus?  As we listen to this message, we probably all recall the great commandment of Jesus (mentioned above) – the great act of DOING – to love God and to love our neighbor.  But, what about this church rule or that ritualistic tradition? Bow here.  Don’t talk in church.  Dress appropriately.  Look down your nose at your neighbor who is obviously committing some very horrendous sin.  Oh, the list is endless.

But, is this what we are supposed to DO?  Is this DOING Jesus?  Hardly!

Look at this Gospel of Mark.  The Pharisees were upset because the followers of Jesus were not observing ritual tradition.  Jesus became frustrated.  Jesus then made one of his strongest statements in Mark.  Jesus said, “You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”   And when we look at this in the context of the great commandment – love God and love neighbor – our understanding of the strength of this statement becomes even deeper and more profound.

Jesus went on to list a number of examples, but the essence is crystal clear.  There is only one command.  The Jews were told this in ancient times. This message was stressed over and over throughout the Old Testament.  We are to reach out – to love God and neighbor.  In the New Testament we are again told to be DOERS.  We are told to love.  Jesus gave us the beatitudes, the sermon on the mount, the sermon on the plain, and countless parables demonstrating how we can DO as he commanded.  Jesus gave us these countless parables to demonstrate how we could love. Jesus became upset with the human laws that stood between the people of God and the DOING of the gospel.

How can we defy what Jesus has taught us?  How can we put human tradition and ritualistic codes above the great law of God?  The commandment from the beginning has been to love.  There is no other commandment.  To DO Jesus (the Word) is to love.  There is no other way to love God and to love our neighbor.  And by that we are fulfilling the law and the prophets.  And that is the law of God!

— Roberta M. Meehan, D. Min.

Roman Catholic Women Priests and Women’s Ordination Conference Saddened By Brutal Attack

Followers and friends of this blog have been asking how to contribute to a fund for Rev. Alexandra Dyer, victim of a brutal caustic liquid attack. Please see below and click on GO FUND ME to contribute to this account.
We thank RCWP-USA and WOC and Rev. Susan Schessler for setting up this account.
May God bless you for your kindness and generosity.
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWPDSCF0563
Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) and Women’s Ordination Confernece (WOC) are deeply saddened by the violent attack that Alexandra Dyer, one of our women priests in New York City, experienced when leaving work onWednesday evening.  As she was getting in her car, a man approached Alexandra and threw a caustic substance in her face resulting in severe burns.  
At this time, there is no evidence that Alexandra was targeted as a result of her being a Roman Catholic priest.  Regardless of the reason for the attack, we are saddened that anyone would so violently attack another person in this manner.  
Alexandra is currently hospitalized and will have a long and difficult recovery.  We ask for your prayers for Alexandra and all those who will be walking with her on her long road of recovery.  
A friend has set up a Go Fund Me account for her to assist with any recovery costs.  We know she will appreciate any gesture of support during this difficult time.  

 The Account was set up by Rev. Susan Schessler of RCWP-USA-East,. Rev. Alexandra and I are are members of this RCWP-USA Region.  . Our Bishop is Andrea Johnson and our Administrator is Rev.Pat Shannon Jones.

All donations are most gratefully accepted on behalf of Rev. Alexandra.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) is an international movement within the Roman Catholic Church which works to build a new model of ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church. For more
Women’s Ordination Confernece (WOC), founded in 1975, is the oldest and largest national organization working to ordain women as priests, deacons and bishops int an inclusive and accountable ROman Catholic Church.  For more
Jennifer O’Malley
Erin Saiz Hanna
Co-Executive Director

 This is an article from the Queens Chronicle today (8/24/15)

Police seek man behind Sunnyside acid attack

Victim is St. Albans womanpriest, ex-QHS leader

Posted: Monday, August 24, 2015 12:49 pm | Updated: 1:07 pm, Mon Aug 24, 2015.

After a 59-year-old woman suffered third-degree burns Wednesday evening when a man tossed an acid-like liquid in her face in Sunnyside, police are searching for the suspect.

The attack took place at 5:20 p.m. outside of 33-02 Skillman Ave., near the intersection of 34th Street and 43rd Avenue, police said.

The victim, who media reports said is Alexandra Dyer, was getting into her car when a male called out to her from behind. When she turned around, the NYPD said, he splashed an “unknown substance” into her face.

The suspect is described as an adult African-American male standing around 5 feet, 8 inches tall with black hair. He is believed to be around 30 years old and was last seen wearing a black T-shirt, black shorts and white sneakers.

FDNY officials said Thursday that the substance was believed to be a caustic acid-like mixture and that the victim was transported to the Burn Center at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

Dyer, a St. Albans resident, real estate broker and ordained priest with the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests, recently was also the executive director of the Queens Historical Society. She was appointed in January but had left the position around a month ago, according to officials at the historical society.

Calls made to Dyer’s home Monday were not immediately successful. Dyer is also the executive director of the Healing Arts Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit organization located at the address of Wednesday’s attack.

An employee at Healing Arts said Thursday that staff are declining to comment on the situation.

Claudia, of C & J Picture Frames, next door to the organization, said she was “shocked” to hear of the incident.

“Usually it’s very quiet and peaceful,” Claudia, who did not give her last name, said of the neighborhood, adding that there’s always cars parked but it’s “a safe stretch.”

Become a Fan   Follow Us

Rev. Alexandra is on the right in this picture taken two weeks before the attack. (With Rev. Eda Lorello and Rev. Judy Lee.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA  PO Box  833  Anoka, MN  55303
Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA  PO Box  833  Anoka, MN  55303

Choose: Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle’s Homily for 21st Sunday in OT, 8/23/15

For this week we are thankful to Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle, RCWP of Holy Spirit Catholic Community in Toledo, Ohio for her insightful homily.

It is time to CHOOSE:

Joshua asks us to choose whether we will serve God or not.  He concludes “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”. (Joshua 24:15b).  The Psalm(34) assures us that God is close to the just and the brokenhearted and those who are crushed in spirit-how much we need to know and feel this. Knowing God in this way makes the choice an easy one, except for the level of change we may each need to make to really serve this loving God. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians encourages us to love one another, to live in love as Christ has loved us, and to be subordinate to one another. This is not easy to do. And Jesus asks us to buy into ALL that he is and has come to do, as Rev. Beverly notes so well. Jesus’ disciples do not want to know that he will have to give himself fully, even die, give his flesh and blood, for the life of the world. They do not want to have to ingest the fullness of his difficult and challenging teachings. His life example and teachings of love, justice and inclusion including defying the religious and civil authorities are hard to follow. Christ’s love that reaches down the centuries to us and to our so often troubled and often violent world challenges us and is very hard to really take in.  Jesus is aware of the hard teaching regarding who he is and what he was doing, and notes that many have left him, he asks “Do you also want to leave?” Peter answers quickly, as he often does, “Master,to whom shall we Go? You have the words of eternal life  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God”(John 6:60-69). It is easy to say we will stay, it is harder to stay and live love, live Jesus.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

                                                                    Choose Whom You Will Serve…..



Joshua calls the people to choose, and they do:
it makes sense to them
to turn away from the gods of the Amorites,
in whose land they dwell,
those Amorites with power and control and sinful ways,
and to follow the God who has walked with them
on the way to freedom.
Jesus calls his followers to choose, too,
but many of the disciples find his teaching offensive.
They don’t want to eat his “flesh and blood.”
That is, they can’t accept the whole person,
the whole teaching.
They don’t believe that his words, his way,
can lead them to spirit and life.
This is a hard thing, they say.
We would have to change our ways.
The news these days is full of comments
from people who still find Jesus’ message hard.
They’re ranting about Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’
and its hard truths for our American way of life.
Scientists have been warning us for more than 30 years,
but we have kept on destroying the earth
that is our common home.
We are using up more than our fair share of the world’s resources,
and we’re doing it in ways
that have brought the earth and its inhabitants
to the brink of a crisis.
As Fr. Jim Bacik put it last Tuesday in his lecture on the encyclical,
the bottom line is
that we here in the USA
need a conversion of heart,
a cultural revolution.
We need a reality check.
We need to change our ways.
The very next day at Claver House
I heard that we need dish towels and dish cloths
so we don’t have do laundry more than once a week.
I thought of Jim Bacik’s talk.
At home that afternoon I opened my kitchen drawer
and asked myself whether I really need
21 years worth of calendar dishtowels,
that annual Christmas gift from my Grandma who died in 1983.
Sharing the extra stuff we have with people who need it
is just the beginning.
Then there was the interview on PBS radio this week
about an easy way to stay trim:
stop eating when you aren’t hungry any more
and only eat when you are hungry.
That makes sense—very traditional advice.
What followed that, though, was a comment
that encouraged waste.
They said: Don’t eat it. Don’t clean your plate. Throw it away.
Neither the interviewer nor the person being interviewed
considered not putting too much on the plate to begin with.
Billions of people are going hungry
and we’re destroying the earth to grow food
that we throw away.
Or there’s air conditioning.
In Laudato Si’ Francis mentions it just once.
He says:
“People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity
but it has not succeeded
in changing their harmful habits of consumption
which, rather than decreasing,
appear to be growing all the more.
A simple example
is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning.”
The conservative-leaning Forbes Magazine
calls that “a perceptive paragraph,”
but the climate deniers are having a field day with it,
calling the Pope “out of touch” and “off the rails.”
I’ve found that I don’t need to turn on the A/C in my house.
I don’t have breathing problems or heart problems,
and it rarely goes over 80 here at night,
and the trees around my place cool it off quite a bit,
so that’s an easy one for me.
So is recycling and composting
and growing some of my own food
and buying clothes at the Salvation Army,
and turning off the lights when I leave a room,
and planting trees.
Not so easy is the gas furnace.
Or the car.
I try to organize my trips better.
I try to do those little things that save gas,
like turning the car off when I’m waiting for a train
and not using drive-throughs at all any more.
But I could do a lot better.
Like all of us, I have to.
Is it hard?
Is it going to cost time or money?
Yes, it is.
But we have to do it.
As Pope Francis points out,
it’s a moral question and a moral imperative:
we must change our “harmful habits of consumption”
for the common good.
How do we start?
For each of us the answer will be different,
but the principles are clear.
First, not so much:
not so much waste, not so much hoarding,
not so much buying, not so much more.
Then, sharing our bounty with those who have less.
Then, mindfulness:
looking for ways
that we can change our habits
to ones of
simplicity in our own lives
and generosity towards others.
Bottom line:
instead of what’s in it for us,
we have to ask what’s in it of God
and for our neighbors
and for our planet.
We are called to turn away
from the gods of the people who control the land we dwell in—
those who put profit above people
and sacrifice the future of our species
for their own comfort and gain.
We are called to follow
the God who is with us,
in us,
and among us.
Let’s each of us answer that call, as best we can.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

A Healing Prayer for Rev. Alexandra Dyer, RC Woman Priest Victim of Caustic Liquid Drano Attack

Dear Friends,

Our priest sister Rev. Alexandra Dyer of St. Albans, New York is in need of your prayers as she struggles for life, strength and healing in the Burn Unit after the horrendous attack of Wednesday August 19,2015 when an unknown assailant threw a liquid Drano- like substance in her face and eyes. (The NY Post account is in an earlier blog).

Our Sister priest, Rev. Dr. Gloria Carpeneto of RCWP-USA-East has written this beautiful litany of healing and we hope that you will pray it with us.

We also include the assailant and all those who act violently toward others in our prayers, that they might own up to their devastating actions and turn to God for forgiveness,healing and peace.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP


This picture was taken on 8/5/2015. Rev. Alexandra Dyer is on my right. (I am in the middle and Rev. Eda Lorello is on the left. )


A Healing Litany for Alexandra

Together we lift our prayers to you, O God of love and healing.

Loving God,  you breathe life into your whole Creation.
Help us breathe deeply of your peace and presence.

Gracious God, you give us yourself to make our joy complete.
Help us give our fear, pain, and grief to you.

Compassionate God, you move through our lives in unexpected ways.
Help us move in concert with you, as we walk the labyrinth of our lives.   

God who is Goodness, Compassion and Love, accept our thanks and praise for all the blessings of this life, especially for those graces that in this time of our friend’s suffering are difficult to see.
Divine Healer, hear our prayer.

Shed the light of your healing love on Alexandra, whose pain and suffering this day are beyond anything we can even comprehend.
Divine Healer, hear our prayer.

May she know deeply the love and support of her partner, Nelson … of her family … of her sister priests … and of all those whose hearts hold her tightly today.
Divine Healer, hear our prayer.

Grant that Alexandra may have hope in her future, courage and perseverance as she walks her healing journey.
Divine Healer, hear our prayer.

Bless all those medical professionals who will work with her; give them loving patience, wisdom, and skills during the many hours they will spend with her.
Divine Healer, hear our prayer.

Hold us in the palm of your hand as we strive to move beyond the anger and the horror we feel toward the perpetrator of this crime, and keep us on the path of understanding and loving forgiveness.
Divine Healer, hear our prayer.

For these and for all other petitions that are too deep for words, we pray to you
Divine Healer, hear our prayer.

You are the God whose promises never cease.
You are our brother, Jesus, whose presence never fails.
You are the Spirit who will brood  over our sister Alexandra, and bring her back into the fullness of life. 

We place Alexandra in your hands, as we place our trust in your tender, compassionate, and healing love.


The Last Days of Summer: Good Shepherd Kids Start School Monday


DSCF0750I don’t know about you, but I can still remember the joy of summer as a youngster. The days were long and hot enough to fry eggs on city sidewalks but adventure and fun were everywhere. Playing outside with friends, having the leisure to read new books, going to the church Day Camp, church picnics, special trips with my Mom and friends, and outings to very special places. Then there is the anticipation at the very end when a new school year is dawning.  Our Good Shepherd Ministries and Inclusive Catholic Community try each summer to make sure that some special events happen and that all of our youngsters are ready for school.

While our smallest youngsters have one more outing planned, most of our Good Shepherd Ministries kids are starting school on Monday August 24th. Last Sunday we gave out initial school supplies and worked with parents around what needs each child would have. This trip to Zoomers, a local Amusement Park was the choice of all. Eleven young people, ranging in age from 5 to 22, and two of their parents had a wonderful time. As one parent said: I haven’t gone anywhere since I moved here two years ago, this day was a time to remember for both of us.


The younger ones thoroughly explored the park.

DSCF0725 DSCF0732 DSCF0741 DSCF0744 DSCF0755

For the teens the biggest hit was the Speedy Racetrack and the Go-Carts. They were in their own heaven.

DSCF0737   DSCF0718 DSCF0738DSCF0720
Our Pizza party and playing in the arcade were also a hit-especially when we had a winner! .

DSCF0709DSCF0711DSCF0762Then, the Roller Coaster provided enough excitement for all, including pastor Judy Beaumont.

DSCF0743 DSCF0749 DSCF0751DSCF0758

And the splash of water in the Bumper boats ended the day on a cool note.

DSCF0763 As our young people return to school they need school supplies, including some expensive books for the older ones, clothing, shoes and many personal expenses that their families cannot afford. Our college student, Natasha, is starting her Sophomore year. We are hoping to help support her  financially as her Pell grant has little left over after semester tuition is paid and books and supplies are very expensive. Additionally we are in need of a donated or reasonably sold van or large car for the ministry to continue serving our youngsters. Please visit our ministry website: http:// to learn more about us and how to make a donation.

May God’s love bless you and keep you,

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee

Co-Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community,

Good Shepherd Ministries of SWFL,Inc a 501c3 Tax Exempt Organization

Woman Priest Burned in Liquid Attack

This is our sister Priest, Alexandra Dyer. We were with her in New York on 8/6 and 8/8. She is a truly beautiful person and a dedicated priest. Please pray for her and her loved ones . We have no idea who did this horrid crime or what the motivation could be, but the violent and the violence of our times are also in our prayers. This is the New York Post article today.

In prayer, Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP-USA-East

Woman priest burned in liquid attack was ‘ambushed’

The man who attacked and seriously burned a Queens woman Wednesday night — splashing her in the face with a Drano-like substance — snuck up and ambushed her as she walked alone to her car, law-enforcement sources said.

“Can I ask you something?” the assailant said, before hurling an off-brand drain cleaner in the face of Dr. Alexandra Dyer, an ordained priest who has devoted her life to helping others.

The 59-year-old St. Albans resident had just left the Healing Arts Initiative at 33-02 Skillman Avenue in Long Island City when the man, who is believed to be in his 30s, approached her around 5:35 p.m and tossed the liquid from a coffee cup, sources said.

With her face severely burned, Dyer hopped in her car and took off — but she only got about 200 feet before the pain proved to be to much for her to bear and forced her to stop.

Moments later, a passer-by heard her screaming inside the vehicle and dialed 911, sources said.

Cops soon arrived on the scene and rushed Dyer to Elmhurst Hospital with 3rd degree burns. She was then transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where she was listed as stable.

Cops are still on the hunt for Dyer’s cowardly attacker.

The active community member told investigators she didn’t know the man and had never seen him before, sources said.

“It’s sickening,” said Lorraine Gilmore, a Block Association head who lives a few houses down from Dyer. “She’s friendly, very nice, quiet. I’m saddened to hear that such a thing could happen to any individual.”

Jennifer O’Malley, Board President of the Roman Catholic WomenPriests, was also shocked to hear that someone so kind could be targeted in such a vicious attack.

“She’s a very kind, passionate, gentle woman who is following her call to God to be a priest,” she said. “I think she’s someone always willing to reach out and help somebody whose in need and to walk with them. It’s very shocking that anybody would target a human being in this violent matter.”

Describing her as a devout Catholic who loved doing ministry in the Big Apple, O’Malley explained that Dyer was someone who wasn’t afraid to help people that the Catholic Church would often turn a blind eye to.

“She’s a very compassionate person, who works with people who the institutional church may exclude for any reason,” she said. “She often administers to those who might feel marginalized or turned away from the church.”

Dyer has worked extensively with AIDS victims and the city’s homeless community, according to her LinkedIn profile page.

From 2005 to 2011, she served as the SVP and CFO of The Greyston Foundation, which is a self-sufficiency program in New York aimed to provide housing, employment, skills and resources to lift people out of poverty.

She then spent two years working as the executive director and CEO of the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, which is described on its website as a non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, HCV and other drug related harm among injection drug users and the community.

But O’Malley feels that all the good work in the world can’t change the horrible fact that some people can’t stomach seeing a woman in the priesthood.

“There’s certainly people that are very orthodox Catholics that are certainly unhappy with what we’re doing,” she said. “We are breaking Canon Law 1024, which says only a baptized male can be a priest.”

Rather than go along with the church, though, O’Malley says the Womenpriests movement believes the law is oppressive and deserves to be abolished.

“If (Dyer’s attack) was related to her being a woman priest, it fully emphasizes the need for the church to allow and accept women who are called to ordination. As long as they continue to exclude us from the church, and the longer they continue to say that women are not fully capable to be priests or to hold other positions, than it will be much easier for people like this man or anyone else to say that women don’t have to be treated equally.”

Since being ordained through Roman Catholic Womenpriests in 2014, Dyer has been a member of the St. Praxedis Roman Catholic community in Manhattan and has lived in Queens with her significant other, Nelson Padilla.

While most orthodox Catholics feel priests from being married, O’Malley says that the Womenpriests movement does not believe that being married or ones sexuality are conditions for ordination.


Where Two or Three Are Gathered: A Theology of Connection and Friendship

“I want to ask a favor. I want to ask you to walk together,and take care of one another”. Pope Francis

From the beginning we were not meant to travel this world alone. Animals and a mate and other people are important in the accounts of creation.  They were important to Creator/Birther God, who is not a distant unconcerned figure but a creator who pronounces creation “Very Good”(Gen 1:31).  We do not have to take these Genesis 1 and 2 accounts literally to understand and appreciate the broad motions of God in bringing the world, the cosmos, and all of the world’s beings into life. We see a God who cares for all of creation, setting aside only vegetables for initial consumption(Gen 1:29-30), a God who has Adam name the animals (not to dominate but to live in relationship with). We see a God who created men and women,female and male, in God’s own image (Gen 1: 27).  We see a God who is concerned that Adam should not be alone (Gen 2: 18). With the help of Adam and God (Gen 4:1) Eve gives birth to Cain and the human family began. We may be born as individuals, but we are not born alone we are  born to a mother and into a family, a community and a world. From the start, human connection is not only desirable but it is necessary.  It has been the concern and passion of my life and ministry to gather people together in love. Like Jesus I hope to lose no one and to facilitate reconciliation and forgiveness so the struggles and insults of human life do not tear people apart and leave them standing alone. Although I was born an only child, I was born into an extended family and a loving church and neighborhood community. There I have always found God’s love. And there I am never alone. I want that rich human connection for myself always and for everyone. Although some people like to see themselves as islands, it is true as poet John Donne said, that no one is an island. There comes a time when we need one another. There is a time in each of our lives to put aside and forgive anything that would keep us apart. In the spirit of my Grandmother, Ella, family matriarch, each year,usually in August, I travel home to New York to gather with family and friends. They also come and gather with me in Florida.

Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures God is in relationship to God’s people who are in relationship to one another. God makes covenants that God will keep about God’s faithfulness to God’s people no matter what. And, we see also that human love and friendship is a paradigm of God’s own love. We see how Miriam and Aaron support the prophet Moses,speak for him and literally hold up his arms when he is weary. We learn of the loving relationship between Jonathan and David. In the book of Ruth we witness the beautiful and faithful love of a daughter-in-law for her mother-in-law in troubled times, Ruth says: “Don’t urge me to leave you. Where you go I will go.  Where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God”(Ruth 1: 16). In recent years I was completely amazed, moved and thankful when difficult choices of group identification needed to be made and one of my priest sisters, Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia, said to me as I encouraged her to make her own choice: “I want to stay with you”, quoting this very verse from Ruth. We are so blessed to remain one community.


And this is Alexandra Dyer and Eda Lorello our New York sister priests who are a part of Roman Catholic women Priests- RCWP-USA-EAST.


This is my Aunt Way Kam Lee from my marriage to John Lee. She is 93,still growing a gigantic Chinese vegetable garden and and going strong. We have been laughing together for over fifty years. Along with JudyB’s uncle Jimmy who is 95 and still working we are privileged to know the most wonderful and able elders. This month, Judy and I were also blessed to have my childhood friend Daphne Dyce and her little companion Frankie visit us here in Fort Myers.



DSCF0705Below are  our beloved New YorkDSCF0680 and New Jersey friends. Danielle, and Laura, at a birthday celebration for Laura. And, Natalie P. Johnson, my terrific young cousin on my father’s side of the(Beach) family.


Below is our reunion with special friends- Dr. Danielle Nisivoccia Kavesh and  my childhood friend Dr. Barbara Ballard Grimes who grew up on St. Marks Ave. in Brooklyn with me. I am eternally grateful for forever friends.


Jesus called his followers friends (John 15: 12-15). He commanded them and us to love one another. This level of love included self-giving and selfless giving. It included a commitment to justice, inclusion and equality. Jesus broke many of the conventions of the time to welcome women and the outcast and the stranger in his midst, and in God’s service. Friends were important to him. At one point he asked his disciples: will you leave me too? He promises God’s love and his love to those who remain with him (John 14:15-27). Jesus, the Christ, cooked breakfast by the seashore for his friends. Jesus made sure that his mother would have a son and his disciple would have a mother, even from the Cross (John 19:27). He was wonderful at creating families of choice when biological families would fail (John 12:48-50).  He also knew well how lost they would feel without his physical presence and said he would  not leave his disciples  orphans. He was sending his Holy spirit to be with them (John 14: 18-21). We are not alone and we need one another to live the fullness of our faith. Faith is not lived alone but in community. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. (Matt 18: 20). Of course, we can pray alone. But there is something powerful in coming together to pray with others-to be in community with others. In a new way we discover God is in our midst. The beloved communion of saints, present and gone before, flawed and imperfect as we are, is the nexus of community growth and faith. In the picture on the left is Rev. Dr. Adele Decker Jones, who went home to God this year but remains with us in the community of saints. There is much loss that we all must face. Yet we can count on that great cloud of witnesses being with us forever.


The pictures below are taken at my “Cousin’s Reunion” in Long Island, New York, in early August as well as pictures from our church community and other beloved communities in my life. We move from the eldest to the youngest and we are so thankful for each one. I am especially thankful to my cousin Kathy Robinson Knoppert for helping to pull the family reunion together.

This is my oldest cousin Dorothy Shotwell Stewart, an artist and Great Grandma soon to be 93, and Cousin Patricia Sullivan-King. Dorothy is my Grandmother Ella’s brother Henry’s daughter and Patricia is my Grandmother’s sister Augusta’s granddaughter. With their two branches represented,  three branches and four generations of the Shotwell family are at this reunion most of them in Ella Adelaide Shotwell Robinson Weinmann’s branch. Ella was my grandmother and in many ways the founder and inspiration of my faith.DSCF0573DSCF0590

The group of 26 gathered (many still were not able to attend or far away).  Seated with Dorothy and Pat is Cousin Bobby Robinson, the eldest cousin in our branch, and our best genealogist. His grand daughter Cassidy,16, is beside him and I am behind him. His wife Barbara is standing behind Dorothy. Below: The McGarry branch of Ella’s family. Richie, Alice and Mildred(Cookie). Below that is Timothy (Robinson) Whitlatch with his family, Cecelia and Marika and Kathy and Ken Robinson with Lori (Robinson) Whitlatch Post and Juliette Post.



My young cousin Zachary Robinson, his baby Mackenzie and  her mother,Paige.   My cousin Ken Robinson with Zachary and Paige’s older daughter, Savannah. Ken’s wife Lisa, his granddaughter Mackenzie, and his daughter Cassidy.  DSCF0596DSCF0580The newest members of my extended family are,Savannah and .Mackenzie and also Efren Johannes Knoppert with his Grandfather, George Knoppert, husband of Kathy Robinson. His parents are Viviana Arcos Knoppert (of Colombia) and Jordan Knoppert. We    are so blessed to have an international and intercultural family now. From the eldest to the youngest we want to encourage ties to be kept and maintained and the love of family and friends and community be nourished forever.  Jesus, the Christ reminds us ever; Where two or three are gathered, there I am in the midst….

with love and blessings, Rev. Dr. Judy A.B.Lee,RCWP



A RC Woman Priest’s Homily for 20th Sun OT: Called to be Wisdom’s Child Aug. 16, 2015

Called to Be Wisdom’s Child: Rev. Judy’s Homily for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time-8/16/15

In the readings for this Sunday we are called to be Wisdom’s child.  The Greek word for Wisdom is Sophia so we are called to be Sophia’s child-just like Jesus, the Christ. This call to wisdom/Wisdom is easy to recognize in the first reading from Proverbs 9:1-6. Clearly Wisdom is a feminine face of God, it is not just being smart.  In this passage from Proverbs, Wisdom has built a big house and set forth a feast.  She has the guests called from a high spot overlooking the city.  She particularly invites those who are simple and naïve, those who lack understanding. For through eating at her table understanding will come. She invites the guests (and all are welcome) to eat her bread and wine. She invites them to abandon their foolishness, their folly, their immaturity so that they may live and actively walk the path of understanding.

Here Wisdom/Sophia is clearly a mother telling her children not to “act a fool, or “foo”. When I grew up in the black community in Brooklyn, New York, one would hear this same command, for it was more than a plea or an invitation, to act “like you had sense”. To act with maturity and, yes, wisdom. Any of the parents, black or white or otherwise would instruct their children not to behave stupidly. It is a Mother’s prerogative to do that as most Mother’s would not let anyone else call their children stupid. And so today we hear Mother God speaking to us; Come, eat, abandon your foolishness so you may live.


The roots of early Christian traditions of Divine Wisdom are traced to their roots in Jewish Scriptures and theology as noted in the passage above and many others like it. As Israel went through exile it was women who transmitted religious traditions. In the Hebrew Scriptures there were women prophets (Nehemiah 6:14) and both sons and daughters were admonished to walk in God’s law. In Isaiah (49:15; 42:14) God is spoken of as a consoling mother. Women of faith are accorded stature as is true later in Paul’s Corinthian community. Sarah is spoken of as a foremother in faith (Is 51:2).  In Wisdom 7:27 we read Divine Sophia, Divine wisdom “is one, yet can do everything: herself unchanging, she makes all things new”.  In I Cor 1: 30 and 2:7 we also read of the Sophia of God. As theologian Schussler-Fiorenza* notes “Chokmah/Sophia is the personification of G*d’s saving activity in the world…” Another way to say this is that divine Wisdom is seen as the feminine Spirit of God also noted in Wisdom 7:22-23, 27.  Hence God has both masculine and feminine aspects. How the genders changed so that God became only male grammatically and in thought, including within the triune God, in the Scriptural Canon is not the province of this homily, but clearly the patriarchs/fathers (including Philo) have written the rules and the matriarchs were thereby diminished, even within the theology of the One God.  Jesus is then seen as Sophia’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet, or as Jesus-Sophia or Sophia-Christ.

Trapped in institutional God-language we have only claimed a part of who God is.  We need also to seek the feminine face of God who loves and liberates, gives life, creates, and cares with a love and tenderness beyond understanding. This is how Jesus knew God- as Sophia as well as Father, as Abwoon, Birther of Creation, Amma (Mama) as well as Abba, Daddy.  We remember how he wept over Jerusalem and said that he wished he could gather her people together like a hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings ( Matt 23:37). Both Matthew’s and John’s Gospels have an undertone of Sophia/Wisdom in relation to Jesus.   Theologian Elisabeth Johnson (2003:87**) sees “an even more explicit way of speaking about the mystery of God is the biblical figure of Wisdom” (Sophia).   In the book of Proverbs she is a street preacher, life-giver, a tree of life, agent of justice, architect of creation, and God’s daring, among other roles.  As Johnson says there are options around how to see Sophia, but it is truly exciting to see God described in feminine imagery and to acknowledge our Mother/Father God who invites us to eat fully at the table of understanding. And I also think of how we started with the Good Shepherd Street Ministry for the hungry and homeless of Fort Myers, and how such street ministries everywhere offer the Bread of Life to all who pass by. ***,****


In the epistle to the Ephesians (5:15-20) we are again reminded “not to act like fools”. We are reminded to have an attitude of gratitude-to be thankful always and everywhere and to “make music in our hearts” to God. Clearly there are expectations of a follower of Christ. There are behaviors that reveal the light of Christ and Sophia Wisdom in us. And then there are behaviors that show us to be fools.  Life can be hard, especially for the poor and other vulnerable and outcast groups of people. It can be hard for any of us. And the motherly advice to find something to be thankful for in everything could easily fall on deaf ears. Yet, in church when our people speak of their experiences of God one can hear several men and women say a variation of “I thank God that I am not homeless anymore-but I learned what I needed to know from that horrible experience. I learned, for example, to depend on God and to deepen my belief.  And I learned to be there for the next one. Even as I have been helped, I will help others”. Another woman said, “I would never have asked to have cancer. I was totally terrified and wiped out by it at first. But now, I thank God for I know God and Life and my loved ones, and everyone in a new way because of it.”  Sophia God is perhaps most of all God-in- relation. And in relationships an attitude of gratitude toward each other makes up for a host of problems. Let us truly give thanks everywhere and always-that is what is wise and good to do.

And finally, the Gospel for the day (John 6: 48-58) continues the theme of Jesus, the Bread of Life. The Greek word used here for “eat” my flesh is “gnaw on it”. And we know that the Aramaic(language of Jesus) understanding is “eat my teachings, my essence”.  Don’t stand on manners and ceremonies, pitch right in and take my life, my teachings, my word and tear them apart, ingest them, digest them, and live them! Then you will live. And this table set before us is like the table set in Proverbs- go shout it in the streets: all are welcome. The elite may come but do not dominate at this table where it is right to tear apart the food and eat it with gusto.  Eat and have life, our Mother/Father God has set this table. This is Sophia’s table.  This is Jesus’, the Christ’s table. But when you take in the Bread of Life, then become it for others. Live for love, equality and justice, live for others so that they too may live. Don’t play at it and “act a fool”.


Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP-East

Co-Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community Of Fort Myers, Florida

Some Source Material on Wisdom Sophia

*Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza.  Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet (Continuum: 1994).

** Johnson, Elizabeth. She Who Is: the Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse.    (Crossroads: 1992/2003).

*** Lee, Judith A. B. Come by Here: Church with the Poor. (Publishamerica, now 2010).

****Little-Wyman, Deborah. “Come and See: A theology of the poor” In CL Howard, Ed. The Souls of Poor Folk: pp.21-28) Latham, Md. University Press of America, Inc.