Here is an example of the courage and perseverance of our Roman Catholic Women Priests. “Blessed are you when people insult you, and persecute you….because of me….Rejoice and be glad …for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5: 11,12) Jesus
Blessed are you, Suz, Martha, Juanita, Jennifer, Donna, Kay, Anna, Vicki and all who stood for justice and the sharing of information about women in the priesthood at this important conference on religious education.
RCWP woman priest Suz Thiel Reports this morning (2/18/17) on activity during the LA Religious Ed Conference:
“Our days at the LA Religious Ed Congress completed and a beautiful visit with Regina and Charlie Nicolosi concluded, we would like to share some of the highlights of our experience at the Congress.
Thursday is youth day: Suz (Thiel), Martha(Sherman) and Juanita Cordero handed out over 400 RCWP bracelets to young men and women while maintaining control of the banner in windy conditions. Having exhausted our supply of bracelets we passed out about 250-300 cards with photos and our mission and ministries.
Friday more cards given out with banners blowing once again windy conditions. Hydration is really important when you are engaging with people,both informing and defending our movement. Suz and Juanita both felt the crowds were a bit smaller, but when you are at an event that typically draws 35,000-40,000, you rub elbows with all sorts.
We had “toilet paper” man. He stood beside us, calling us Protestant filth and offering squares of tp to those accepting our literature. He devolved into Protestant shit and announcing Jesus as a misogynist. Protestants in the crowd took offense. The man would not engage in dialogue. He moved with us as we tried to avoid him. Some in the crowd tried to detach him from us. We were joined by Jen O’Malley and Donna Shaw.
Some of us attended conferences; Ron Rolheiser, Jim Wallis, Thomas Groome, Michael Fish and others. Did you know that Ann, of Cards by Ann, has a science background? Great workshop on creativity and neuroscience!
Saturday is the biggest attendance day. CTA southern CALIFORNIA, Nori(ARCWP), Anna Totta(BDC) with her wife Vicki and Kay Akers joined us with more banners and handouts. “TP man” arrived with a new plan to discredit us. He printed “ABOMINATION” with an arrow right. On the reverse he had “FILTH” with an arrow left. Attendees, even some who were not necessarily supporters , attempted to engage and remove him. I must say security really had our backs during the entire conference.
The consensus seemed to be that we received more open affirmation from clergy than ever. Most of our conversations were sincere and inquisitive. Certainly we experienced some “never” and “heretics”. It was a blessing to see them read our banners and watch the wheels turn as they wrapped their minds around the idea of women priests.”
And from the blog of Bridget Mary:
We were truly blessed to have our new RCWP Priest, Rvda Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez with us in Southwest Florida from 2/22-2/27/17. Hers is a presence of compassion, humility and devotion to the poor and outcast in the midst of violence. Peace,laughter and joy are also her gifts to us.
First we worship together at the home of SW FLorida Call to Action ( CTA) President, Ellen and Jack Mc Nally in Estero and afterward we break bread together as then Deacon Maria Elena is asked to share her experiences with peacemaking and violence, especially with children and youth in Cali where she is an Elementary School Principal. We hear of children under the age of seven who are violently killed and accompany Maria Elena as she ministers to a dying young adult, shot in the street. A connection is made to the gang violence in Fort Myers where similar tragic events take place. Yet in Maria Elena’s school there is a peaceful atmosphere and ways of peace are taught and experienced with love.
CTA Members Learn about peacemaking from Rvda. Maria -Jack and Ellen Mc Nally host the event with Joe and Pat Beausoleil and Hank and Claire Tessandori and our Bishop Andrea Johnson and Priests, Judy Beaumont, Caryl Johnson and Maryrose Petrizzi and Felice Luna
Blessed Are The Peacemakers Then our group of Priests gather for a rare time together-Eastern Region RCWP and International Program Leader Caryl Johnson-From Left to right Maryrose Petrizzi, Caryl Conroy Johnson, Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia, Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez, Bishop Andrea Johnson, Judith McKloskey of the Great WatersRegion and myself, Judy Lee ,and Judy Beaumont
On Saturday 2/25/17 we gather again at the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community Church in Fort Myers for the priestly ordination of Deacon Maria Elena.
Rvda. Marina Teresa and I present Maria Elena to the Bishop
Mr. Harry Lee Gary leads us in the Psalm and Rev. Judy Beaumont reads the Gospel
Rev. Judith McKloskey leads us in The Litany of the Saints as Maria Elena prostrates to surrender herself completely to God in the Priesthood
+Bishop Andrea M. Johnson ordains her with the laying on of hands and the assembly follows. Her hands are then anointed for priestly service to the people of God as a servant leader.
Rvda Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez is presented by Bishop Andrea and welcomed by the community
And afterward we gather in Holy Communion and Holy Community:
Hank Tessandori presents a painting of Mary and Jesus at the wedding Feast at Cana. to Rvda Maria Elena. She loves this Gospel as one signifying the collaboration of Mary and Jesus in launching his ministry-seeing Mary as the first Apostle.
Above with Rev. Caryl Conroy Johnson Rvda Maria Elena holds a picture of her beloved father, Eneson Sierra and niece, Laurita, who were among the saints who blessed her this day.
VAYA CON DIOS QUERIDA RVDA. MARIA ELENA.RCWP with much love, Rev. Judy Lee, RCWP and all the community here and in Cali
On Saturday February 25, 2017 the faithful of many cultures, races and walks of life gathered as Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez of Cali, Colombia was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest by Bishop Andrea Johnson of Roman Catholic Women Priests-USA-East in Fort Myers, Florida. She was welcomed as a Priest with loud applause and much joy. Ann Palmer, 87 a lifelong ,cradle, Catholic who recently had eye surgery making walking difficult, struggled to come forward and bless our new Priest, later saying how glad she was to live to see this ordination.
The Mass was in English and Spanish and all participated in saying Jesus’ prayer in Spanish as they held hands. Rev.Caryl Conroy Johnson of Pennsylvania participated as International Program Coordinator, while her mentor Rev.Dr. Judy Lee presented her along with her dear Colombian friend and colleague, Rvda. Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia. Assisting as well were Rev. Judy Beaumont co-Pastor of the host community, Rev. Maryrose Petrizzo, also on the Program Team and Rev. Judith McKloskey of Kansas City, Missouri who was our Minister of Music along with Hank Tessandori of the church of the Good Shepherd where the Ordination took place.
In the pictures below Maria Elena is prostrating , surrendering her life to God in Priestly service in the Roman Catholic Church and, after the Bishop blesses the new priest , the people give their blessings.
All who participated in a process that took two days in which a variety of community members in Estero and Fort Myers welcomed Rev. Maria Elena Sanchez Mejia to the priesthood were moved by her humility and courage. On Friday 2/24/17 Ellen and Jack McNally ,leaders in Call To Action of Southwest Florida hosted us at their home. As we broke bread with Maria Elena we also learned of her life as a peacemaker in a poor area of Cali where she is also a Elementary School Principal and pastoral counselor.
This is our summary of why Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez will make an excellent priest, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit:
Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez is a 51 year old former Vincentian Sister who has carefully discerned her call to be a priest. She was with the Vincentian Sisters from age 16 until 1997 when she left to assist her family and also then faced her own serious illness. Her father was handicapped, blind from birth and had a trade that was no longer needed by 1997. He also was grieving the loss of his wife, her mother, who died of cancer. So Maria Elena was dispensed of her vows and went home to care for them.
Her formal degrees obtained while she was a religious sister ( her Licentiate) are in Primary Education and the assessment of children and youth. She also has an advanced degree in technology. She has done extensive mission work in the poorest communities rural and urban and always worked with youth and families. Her theological and liturgical formation was with the Vincentians in the beginning (her vows after formation were at age 23) and at various times over sixteen years of vowed religious service.
In 2007, she also was ordained as a priest in the Fraternidad de la Eucaristia, a movement founded by two ex Salesian RC priests in the Apostolic Catholic tradition. She received theological training and formation from Fr. Alfonso Cabrera and Fr. Dario Soto of the Fraternidad. Fr. Soto is respected as a renowned theologian. Maria Elena was an active and devoted priest with full communities in Cali. Maria Elena,along with other women from Cali learned about Roman Catholic Women Priests in 2012. In 2013 she applied to discern with RCWP but her process was slowed down by a diagnosis of advanced LUPUS and later a need for surgery. She also was burdened with the care of her father and concern for her young niece, Laurita, the latter of whom later died tragically of Leukemia. During this difficult time she continued with her ministry in her community serving 40-50 community members and meeting with groups for prayer services at their homes.
These are pictures of our visit to Maria Elena’s school in Cali in June 2015
In Maria Elena’s discernment she reflected much on our priestly healing roles in the community of the faithful. She described praying with the elderly, the sick and the dying and those in need of reconciliation including a moving description of a youth who was shot in the violent warfare in Colombia. She was nearby and ran to his side. He was so thankful that she was with him praying for and with him as he lost his young life. She noted that she was blessed with the capacity to listen and to put herself in the shoes of others, no matter who they are or what kind of lives they led. She also described the three month vigil with her own mother as her life ebbed away. They would sing and recite scriptures and the rosary together and it was almost as if her mother was lifted to heaven as they prayed.
Above, Maria Elena is welcomed as Priest
As a Grammar school Principal she is on the front lines in the violence experienced in her poor community. In the Litany of Saints she listed three children under the age of seven who died violently. Her way is to live and teach love and peace. Her school, that we visited in 6/15, was indeed a testament to love, peace, and joy. Beyond being the Principal she is accepted by the children and their parents as the Pastor they turn to at school and in their lives. That very day a mother sought her pastoral counsel. Maria Elena is a priest called forth by her people and she will continue to be a tireless servant priest in her community. We are blessed to welcome her to RCWP.
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
In our Gospel today Jesus instructs us in some of the most difficult ‘rules’ to live by:”….Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you….” (Matthew 5: 44). As we think about the polarized political climate of the times, the crimes against love and people, and the many acts of hatred and violence, or even about the difficult events in our own lives we marvel that an answer could be nonviolent resistance that makes its point yet commands respect, whatever the consequences to us. In the homily below Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP of Toledo, Ohio shows us how these rules for living holy and justice seeking lives are akin to the Rules For Radicals of Saul Alinsky. Indeed, loving as Jesus did is radical and radical loving often means radical disobedience to power and to hate. Leviticus 19: 18 tells us to “love our neighbor as ourselves” to live out God’s command “Be holy, For I the Lord,your God am holy”. This does not mean holier-than-thou it means radical loving and as Jesus translates, that includes loving our enemies. Paul, in I Corinthians 3:16-23 tells us that we are holy, we are the temples of the living God. God will protect God’s holy temple and we are not to act as if we are wise, rather let God use us as we are, embracing what seems foolish to others. And what could seem more foolish or actually be wiser than loving your enemies? O, God of Love, help us to learn how to love with your radical love and to follow your rules for radicals. In the name of Jesus the Christ, who lived this we pray. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP, Fort Myers, Florida –Picture Below the Good Shepherd Youth under the words of Dr. MLK,Jr. with Pastors Judy Beaumont and Judy Lee at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Rev. Beverly Bingle’s Challenging Homily:
The book of Leviticus tells us to “be holy as God is holy”
and gives us some specific ideas of what that looks like.
Don’t hang on to hate.
Don’t store up bad feelings.
Don’t try to get revenge.
Don’t hold a grudge.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Today’s psalm describes the holiness of God that we are to be like.
God pardons all our iniquities, comforts our sorrows,
redeems our life from destruction, crowns us with kindness.
God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.
Then Jesus tells us
that we have to go beyond what the law requires.
Scripture scholars tell us that this part of the Sermon on the Mount
is among the things Jesus almost certainly said.
He really said not to react violently against people who do evil.
To turn the other cheek.
If you’re sued for your shirt, to give them your coat, too.
If you’re forced to go a mile, to go along for two.
Give to everyone who begs or wants to borrow from you.
He really did say those things.
Is Jesus telling us to be doormats?”
Not at all.
It helps to have a cultural context for this passage.
Most people are right-handed,
so if someone slaps me across the right cheek,
it would have to be back-handed,
the way a powerful person
slaps someone they consider below them,
meant to be demeaning and to dishonor the person.
The expectation is that I will be slap back the same way,
and, in first century Palestine, I would get my honor back.
But if I turn the other cheek,
that person will have to hit me as an equal.
Turning the other cheek speaks loud and clear:
I will not be dishonored,
and I will not be violent.
Then there’s the shirt and coat part of today’s reading.
Jesus’ listeners would have known
that Exodus says you have to return the coat before sunset
because it’s the only covering the poor people have.
Handing over both the shirt and the coat would leave you naked.
You would make it obvious that your oppressor is an evil person.
There’s also a cultural context to help us understand the extra mile.
Roman law allowed the occupying army
to force people to carry their backpack for one mile
but no farther.
Instead of growling or grumbling about it,
Jesus suggests, go two miles.
His audience knew
that the soldier would get in trouble for violating Roman law.
Jesus reminds me a lot of Saul Alinsky,
a community organizer who put together actions
aimed at bringing about racial equality.
In his last book in 1971, Rules for Radicals,
Alinsky wrote that the threat of an action
was sometimes enough to produce results.
My favorite was his plan
to have large numbers of well-dressed African Americans occupy the
urinals and toilets at O’Hare Airport
for as long as it took to bring the City of Chicago
to the bargaining table.
Like Alinsky, Jesus tells people
to act in ways that the opponent does not expect
and to act in ways that will make the oppressor’s evil visible.
Jesus was teaching an oppressed people
the principles of creative nonviolence.
His teachings inspired Mahatma Gandhi
to his famous salt march
that exposed oppressive British taxation.
His teachings led Martin Luther King, Jr.,
to his creative nonviolent practices
of bus boycotts and restaurant sit-ins.
We are called to follow his teachings.
We’re called to love, but there are some people I don’t like.
There’s injustice, people doing wrong to others,
sometimes even to us.
It’s hard not to hate them when they hate us.
Hard to keep being gracious and forgiving them
when they misunderstand us, lie to us,
oppose us, mistreat us, threaten us.
Trying to love them is exhausting,
but we are clearly called to love.
It’s easier if we do it Jesus’ way.
We know that an executive order banning Muslims is evil.
We know that the poor live in neighborhoods
where the rental houses poison the kids with lead paint
and the stores don’t carry healthy food at fair prices.
We know that obscenity and a swastika on a garage door is evil.
We know that the poor and the middle class
carry a heavier tax burden than the rich.
We know that polluting the Maumee River and Lake Erie is evil.
And we know that we,
and our friends and neighbors, and our enemies,
are temples of God.
The Spirit dwells in all of us.
So we set out to love as God loves.
We try to love everyone.
And we set out to show our love for all people the way Jesus did.
We try to show them better ways.
We pray for them.
We help them when they’re in need.
We speak up when they’re doing wrong.
We protest and make phone calls and write letters.
When they’re oppressing people,
taking actions that bring evil to others,
we try to treat them as we would want to be treated.
We enter into dialogue.
We call them to right actions.
We pray for them,
No matter how much we hate their ideas or their actions,
we love them
and treat them with respect.
We are their neighbors.
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006
This is from Groundswell, Valerie Kaur. To sign please click on the words in the body of the article below: Sign Up For Revolutionary Love- and continue to live it! A Happy St. Valentine’s Day to All-Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP