Corpus.org has organized a petition for the reinstatement of Fr. Roy Bourgeois who was stripped of his priestly facilities because of his support of women priests. Please see this link:
Thanks be to God for Priests like Fr. Roy Bourgeois
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
On Saturday June 16th twenty-nine people gathered to celebrate the lives of their beloved Pastor Judy Beaumont, RCWP, Co-Pastor of Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community and ten other dear members who passed within the last 2-3 years. This includes Gary Knafla,72, who was tragically killed while crossing the road here in Fort Myers on Wednesday June 13th,2018. Eleven members of the family of Linda Denise Maybin,42 at time of passing last September,attended. Many were wearing tee Shirts with her beautiful picture on them. Also celebrated were: Dr. Teresa Sievers whose generous service enabled 35 people to get housing, Michael Murray, Ben Walden, Robert Swanson, Lynn Brown,Kathleen Vanderwarf, Ruby Tuesday(Stacie Joy Pearce),and Pastor Judy Lee’s beloved Cousin Barbara Mueller Robinson who made her transition home to our loving God on Wednesday 6/16/18.
We began with the prayer ” All-loving God, whose mercy is never withheld from those who call upon you in hope,look kindly on your servants (name of each one) who departed this life confessing your name and number them among your saints forever….” AMEN
Then loved ones and friends lighted a candle for each one. Quayschaun Crews, Linda Maybin’s eldest son lit her candle with his Grandmother’s blessings. Kathy Roddy lit a candle for her neighbor, Ruby Tuesday. Brenda Cummings lit a candle for Mike Murray and Lauretta Rasmussen lit a candle for Ben Walden. Harry Gary lit a candle for Gary Knafla and I read a verse from a song “Carry on Wayward Son” by the group Kansas that his loving family asked for me to share as his candle was light. it was noted that Gary has a Mother, Elaine Danielson who is 92 and three sisters, Peggy, Kathy and Kristy and two sons, Kelly and Aron who mourn his passing as well as his friends. “Carry on my wayward son, there’ll be peace when you are done,lay your weary head to rest,don’t you cry no more, no!…Now your life’s no longer empty, surely heaven waits for you”. The assembled were moved by the love of Gary’s family sent to us with this song.
And so it went. Pastor Marina lit the candle for Dr. Teresa Sievers noting that I was with her in Colombia when Teresa was killed. And I lit the candle for my beloved cousin Barbara Mueller Robinson whose love illuminated a large and extended loving family and everywhere they touched. At the end we all prayerfully thought about loved ones whose names we had not called today and lit a candle for those persons. And Debbie Carey then assisted her grand daughter,Courtney,5, the youngest baptized by Pastor Judy B and myself to light a candle for Pastor Judy B. to carry on her legacy of love. Looking at the twelve lit candles we prayed and took their light into ourselves to shine forth with their love.
Maya Rismay, read the Hebrew Scriptures (Ezekiel 17:22-24-God is in charge of growth and makes even the driest tree bloom, and Natasha Terrell ,Linda’s eldest daughter,read the Epistle, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10-we live by faith. Mr. Harry Gary led us in the Psalm “O, God it is good to give You thanks.” The co-Pastors, Judy Lee and Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia read the Gospel in English and Spanish-Mark (San Marcos) 4; 26-34-The reign of God is like the tiniest seed that grows a huge shade tree. The tiniest seeds can be the acts of love we share-even the tiniest act of love can grow fruit for the kin-dom. And love is also the basis for the growth of justice, especially toward the poor and all “minorities” and those living on the margins. Pastor Marina then translated a short version of Pastor Judy’s homily reflecting on the seeds of love sown and flourishing in the lives of our dear departed and, from them, seeds of love and justice growing in our own lives.
And from the Ezekiel reading we also noted that God makes even the driest branch flourish. We talked about grief and how holding on to it too long can dry us up as people and as Christians, yet God can take our dryness and make even it bloom and flourish. We prayed to flourish with the legacy of love we have received. We focused especially on the Life of Linda Denise Maybin whose family gathered with her mother, Jolinda Harmon and sister, Yolanda, five of her seven children and four of her nieces to celebrate and carry on her loving life today.
We included two more prayers for the departed and also laid hands together on those present suffering from cancer and other serious illnesses. Patricia Byrne then said a prayer for the world, especially immigrants and those separated from their children, and we prayed too for God to bring to fruit the dry branches in the church.
At the end of our Mass we included the prayer for mourners with out mutual blessing of one another: “…Loving God, comfort your family in their loss and sorrow. Be our refuge and our strength, O God, and lift us from the depths of grief into the peace and light of your presence”. Extending our hands to bless each other we said “May our loving God bless all gathered here….as we minister to one another as the people of God”. Harry Gary said “Go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue! And we enthusiastically sang I Have Decided to Follow Jesus as we parted and made ready for our Sunday meal lovingly prepared by Kathy Roddy, Ellen McNally and Pearl Cudjoe.
Above is Gary Knafla working at the church in 2009 to help make it ready as a transitional residence. In the group picture we have Gary Knafla and Mike Murray and Pastor Judy Beaumont, our angels now.
Thanks be to God for each of these precious lives and their legacy of love and justice.
Love and blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP,
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers, Florida
Announcement: Two RC Woman Priests, Good Shepherd Pastors, Will be Celebrating A Memorial Mass For Ten on Sat June 16th,2018
Even as we prepared to light our candles and say prayers for eight beloved friends two more left difficult journeys behind and went home to our loving God. My beloved cousin Barbara Robinson whose life and legacy of love we sang in the last paragraphs of this blog went home to join the company of angels and saints in the wee hours of Wednesday June 13th. She leaves a loving family and host of friends here as noted below. Her funeral will be this Saturday at 9 AM in ST. Rose of Lima church in Massapequa, New York and we will pray for her and her beloved family in our 2PM Mass as well. And we will pray for Gary Knafla,72, An early member of Good Shepherd ministries who was killed by a car while crossing the street on Wednesday as well. Gary leaves a mother, three sisters and two sons in Colorado and many friends here. He was a Veteran and a successful business owner in Colorado before living in Fort Myers and becoming very ill. He loved animals and his friends despite his advancing disability. He is remembered for his kindness.
In the past two years the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community of Fort Myers,Florida has witnessed its beloved co-Pastor Judy Beaumont and eight of the members going home to our loving God. The last one was Michael G. Murray whose life we have celebrated here last month, and Ruby Tuesday(Stacie Pearce)died in February of this year and was also memorialized in this blog. The others recently deceased are Linda Maybin,Ben Walden,Robert Swanson and Kathleen Vanderwarf. Our church member and Doctor Teresa Sievers was taken from us in a tragic murder in 2015. Each one had different gifts and was a precious part of the life of our church and ministry to the homeless and formerly homeless.
All are welcome to attend. It will be at a home in Fort Myers and to protect privacy the address is not given here but those interested may write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pastor Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia and I will preside.
I have spoken of Michael Murray and Ruby Tuesday(Stacie Pearce) in recent blogs. Ben Walden was a wonderful craftsman who made model ships and other small treasures. After he was able to have a home in Goodwill Housing he reconciled with his family and traveled to Colorado for a reunion. Kathleen Vanderwarf was mother to Timothy and they both attended church and functions as they could. They also faithfully attended St. Francis RC parish. Linda Maybin was baptized and confirmed in our church. She was a beloved mother of seven and grandmother of one, and Aunt to many as well as a teacher of our little children. She and her mother, Jolinda Harmon brought over twenty young people regularly to our church. Robert Swanson lived at and was caretaker of the church for two years. He was also baptized and confirmed at Good Shepherd. He loved his family and his little terrier.
Dr. Teresa Sievers attended church with us and also saw over 35 homeless people pro bono to help them with health needs and to qualify for housing. Her selfless generosity in this was a mark of her Christian faith. Her beloved daughters and mother also attended our church on occasion.
The Gospel for next Sunday is Mark 4:26-34 about the Christ followers’ job of sowing seeds for the kin(g)dom-seeds of love and justice- so that the reign of God can spread throughout this earth where there is so much recent violence and conflict. Jesus says that it is the smallest seed that grows the most magnificent shade trees where the birds of the air can rest. I see the smallest seeds as the small acts of love we each do. And those who have had much faith shown in endless small acts of love have left a legacy of hope that will spread through the generations. We hope to celebrate that love together on the Sixteenth of June.
This quotation of theologian Henri Nouwen from his book Bread For The Journey , (copyright 1997,Harper, San Francisco) speaks to the seeds of the kin(g)dom and what is eternal in life. They speak comfort to the mourning but also hope for the world.
“Hope and faith will both come to an end when we die. But love will remain. Love is eternal. Love comes from God and returns to God. When we die,we will lose everything that life gave us except love. The love with which we lived our lives is the life of God within us. It is the divine,indestructible core of our being. This love not only will remain but will also bear fruit from generation to generation.
When we approach our deaths let us say to those we leave behind, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. The love of God that dwells in my heart will come to you and offer you consolation and comfort. ” Henri Nouwen
As I write this I am also aware of the transitioning to God, the last days and moments, of my dear Cousin Bob’s beloved wife, Barbara Robinson. Barbara is such a strong woman of faith whose voice led the Choir in her St. Rose of Lima’s RC Church in Long Island, and it also brightened all of our family gatherings. Joy and warmth characterized her way in the world and all felt welcome and accepted in her presence. Her husband Bob of nearly 61 years,and her children Kathy and Ken and their spouses George and Lisa and all of their children and grandchildren and all of our extended family rise up every day and call her blessed. She and Bob created family as a bastion of love and support as families should be and are so often not, and love flows from them through the generations.Barbara Robinson’s life is a beautiful example of sowing the seeds of love that reverberate throughout time. And so as she joins the company of saints and angels we want her and her family to know that her love will remain forever. And she will be remembered and loved forever as will those who have departed from our Good Shepherd Community.
Love and Blessings to all who mourn and to all who love,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers Florida
In this picture are Michael Murray, Ben walden and Pastor Judy Beaumont, now in the company of Saints and Angels.
Above Ruby Tuesday/Stacie Pearce-Advocate for the Homeless.
Above-Robert, Kathleen and Linda and Pastor Judy Beaumont are in this picture.
Here Linda (middle) is standing with her mother Jolinda, sponsors, as her son Quayschaun is baptized. And below, Linda is standing with her “little lambs” class in the church.
Below is Robert with his family on the day of his baptism and Confirmation
Above, Dr. Teresa Sievers and Kathleen Vanderwarf and Linda Maybin are in this Christmas picture.
Above is Barbara Mueller Robinson next to husband Bob and with Judy Beaumont and myself and her niece Lori Whitlatch Post and son Kenneth Robinson, and our Shotwell Cousins Patty King and Dorothy Stewart at a Family Reunion. Barbara was a beloved mother to Ken and to Kathy Robinson Knoppert and several loving grandchildren and great grands and a large loving extended family.
LOVE IS ETERNAL THANKS BE TO GOD!
Welcome, Bienvenidos, To our New Colombian Woman Priests: Dear Pope Francis and Church, We Are Already Here and Serving
Despite the Church’s denial of our very valid existence we, Roman Catholic Women Priests, are already here. We have been ordained after preparation by a bishop in the line of apostolic succession flowing initially from a male bishop who remains in good standing with the church and whose identity will be publicly revealed upon his death. This initial ordination was not done for the sake of women or even for justice within the church but for the very life of the church. The reader may be interested in the book Women Find A Way, edited by Elsie Hainz McGrath,Bridget Mary Meehan,and Ida Raming, VBW Publishing, 2008, paying particular attention for the earliest history/herstory to the writings of our European Bishops and Priests, Gisela Forster, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger,Iris Muller,Ida Raming and Patricia Fresen. Other early priests including myself also have chapters in that book.
For those who seek the church’s blessings on the ordination of women and making us legal as well as valid, the church is inching forward in its acceptance of women in “high places”. Of course according to Jesus those who serve most should be last and take the lowest seat in the house. So it is not high places that women who are called as priests want, but simply to serve God’s holy people. Well over two hundred world-wide Members of Roman Catholic Women Priests and the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests have accepted God’s call and ordination without the church’s full blessing, but with the blessing of the people of God. Here are three links showing the June 8th, 2018 ordination of two Roman Catholic women as Priests in South America; the need for priests in the Amazon and the church and considering using women in meeting that need (but not as priests) and married priests; and Pope Francis appointing three women theologians to important roles in the church. Yet, he remains adamant that the church “can not” ordain women priests. Yet it is clear-it already has, both in early church history, in modern history ( eg. Ludmila Pavarova) and with the Movement of the Spirit called Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Here is Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez of Cali, Colombia who was ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in February of 2016. Then we present the recently ordained in Colombia.
In the second picture Rvda. Maria Elena is serving with brother priests at a Holy Week Mass in Cali,Colombia.
Here are some of our newest South American Priests-Welcome, bienvenidos to Blanca Azucena and Maria Teresa Martinez Maldonado:
And here are two articles taking the temperature about women and ordination. It represents some progress and “warming up”-but to what given that we are already here?!
In thanksgiving for those women who hear the call to the priesthood within the Roman Catholic Church and are courageous enough to answer and for the Roman Catholic Women Priests world wide Movement making it possible to serve as worker priests in our communities.
Blessings, Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community of Fort Myers, Florida