While, we, Roman Catholic Women Priests already do exist, we are validly ordained but “illicit”. Like the Episcopalian women who stepped out and were validly ordained for the Episcopal church in the 1970’s we hope that we are a wedge that will open the door for women’s Ordination within the Roman Catholic Church. It worked for that small group of Episcopal women priests, will it work for us within the Roman Catholic Church? It will have to, for that is where we are firmly planted, not starting “something new”. Many of us say, “well, probably not in my lifetime, but it will work- women will be both validly AND legally ordained within the Roman Catholic Church”. From seven validly women ordained on the Danube river in 2002, and the three women Bishops validly ordained by a male bishop in good standing in the following year, now there are over 265 Roman Catholic Women Priests and the number grows steadily. Yet, it is still the RC Church that must make a move to make it happen “legally” for both women and married priests.
Here is an article from another blog site that gives some hope for the present time.
Dr. Maike Hickson, blogger and author of A Catholic Witness in Our TIme has written this article entitled “Ban on Female Priests Not A Dogma-Says Key Amazon Synod Organizer” This is about Bishop Erwin Krautler who also sites the work of Bishop Fritz Lobinger regarding hopes to ordain married male priests and women as priests. Krautler,retired ArchBishop of Xingu, Brazil knows all too well that millions of people all over the world are not being served by any priest and that ordaining well prepared local people (male and female) would be an answer to this travesty. In March of 2018 Bishop Krautler met with Pope Francis who encouraged him to “make bold proposals” in the Amazon Synod that will begin on October 6th in QRome. It appears that Krautler has done this and we can only pray that our beloved Francis, for such he is to those who love his take on social justice and the Gospel, and others in high places will be open to hearing these bold proposals about ordination. We look forward to the Amazon Synod and pray for open ears and eyes to receive it.
Here is the link to the excellent article by Dr. Maike Hickson on Lifesite News.
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Rev. Dr. Judith A. B. Lee
Our Good Shepherd Ministries and the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Fort Myers continues to exist and flourish in its 12th year despite the many recent events and changes over the years. Pastor Judy Lee continues as Pastor with Pastor Marina Teresa who generously gives her able assistance in shepherding the flock. While we lost our co-founder and co-Pastor Judy Beaumont on January 1, 2018, her spirit remains with us and guides us still.
I recently visited one of our members since 2007, Lauretta Rasmussen who is in the hospital with advanced cancer. She was in good spirits and told me immediately that she was happy to see me, and that Pastor Judy B. was already there with her. I had no doubt of that as Pastor Judy had a special relationship with Lauretta not only as Pastor but as Rep Payee for many years. It was Lauretta who had presented her to the bishop for her diaconate Ordination in 2011 and stood by her side with Judy’s sister Jill Bergner and others at her priestly Ordination in 2012. So today we ask your prayers for Lauretta and God’s blessings upon her. Below Lauretta is worshipping with us in 2018.
While over 17 of our original members who were formerly homeless and some of our supporters as well have gone home to their loving God in the past few years our congregation remains vital and committed to serving God and one another and all of their neighbors. This church of the poor and not poor together comes in all colors, cultures,sexual orientations, ages and states of life. We are united in the love and service of Christ. It is such a blessing to be one with them.
We have come together to worship several times this year. Each time 30-40 of our members squeeze into Pastor Marina’s centrally located home to worship, to pray, to share a meal and to celebrate birthdays and many other life events.
The pictures below taken by Maya Rismay Cummings are from our church gathering on August 31st, 2019. Pastor Judy Lee presided, with Pastor Marina Teresa and our special Lector Joelle White who read to us about “Mother God” from Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Oliver’s Heart Talks with Mother God for the Children’s sermon. After spirited worship where the Gospel for the day, Luke 14: 1,7-14 has Jesus telling us to invite EVERYONE to the Table we also blessed and celebrated those with Birthdays, and return to school and those coping with illnesses. The “Birthdays” were Quayschaun Crews, Brenda Cummings and Jolinda Terrell as well as our beloved deceased Linda Maybin, mother of Quay and Jolinda and four others present as well as her mother Jolinda Harmon and her nieces and two grandchildren also present. Maya Rismay Cummings was joyfully returning for her last semester at FGCU and Natasha Terrell will be continuing courses at FSW College while Joelle White and Ni’yah Battles were returning to Middle School and Keion Lewis to High School, and we also had Courtney Bolt starting First Grade and Zee Tobias in the third grade. Special healing prayer was also given to those battling cancer and other life threatening illnesses. Those who were left out in Jesus day were the maimed, the blind, the lame, the ill, and the poor. Sometimes people with “disabilities” and the poor are still left out today as well as those of the LGBTQ community and people of different lands and cultures and languages, especially those from Hispanic and Muslim countries. Sadly racism still exists. We prayed to learn to include everyone in our lives and in the church of Christ. No one is to be left out.
As I write this I am particularly thankful to those churches where Roman Catholic Women Priests serve and have served that continue to send us spiritual and material support and also to the individuals who tithe with us and remember us in so many ways with prayer and material help. In this year, 2019, Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community in Newton, New Jersey renewed its quarterly giving while Sophia and Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota and Living Waters Inclusive Catholic Community in Maryland gave sustaining gifts to our fund to assist one dear member on a fixed income who is battling advanced cancer with her basic needs. The response to this need from individuals as well will take this member up to January in her rent and for other needs. The response overwhelmed us with gratitude and joy. Such giving also enabled us to place a homeless couple from Tennessee in a Motel overnight so St. Vincent De Paul could give them bus money to return home and to supplement starting school needs and other needs of daily living on low or fixed incomes. We forestalled eviction and electric shut offs in three situations and helped members to fix and maintain vehicles needed for transportation. As members faced the news of Hurricane Dorian possibly approaching we were able to help them with needed supplies like water,food and batteries. Additionally we helped two families to keep their pets by having them vaccinated and receiving Veterinarian care. We are so pleased to say that our donations were just about equal to our needs during the first nine months of 2019. God truly provides through the generosity and giving of our sisters and brothers in the wider community and our own. Thanks be to all who have shared with us and many blessings.
In turn our church gathered a large amount of clothing for another ministry to the homeless that gives out clothing and was caught short due to the heavy rainy season. Our member Brenda Cummings takes care of clothing for this ministry and alerted us to the need. And two of our members, Kathy Roddy and Pearl Cudjoe and, whenever she is in town Cyrillia Rismay provide hot meals and desserts for our gatherings and there are always many plates to take home. Other members also contribute beverages and desserts. Most of all, each one contributes caring and love so that all experience the love of God in Christ in one another and in our gatherings.
We are truly thankful for our co-Pastor Rvda. Marina Teresa and our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community and for all who support her in so many ways. Thanks be to God!
Blessings and Love to You,
Pastor Judy Lee,RCWP
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee,DMin,DSW,MSW
First, I would like to say that i am sorry I missed so many good blogging opportunities in the past year. It was a year of grief work for me and I was also working on completing a book about our beloved departed, Judy Beaumont my partner in life and ministry. It has been heavy to carry the ministry without her physical presence, though she is still the wind beneath my wings. The name of the book is : The Courage To Love and Serve: The Life Story of Judith A. Beaumont-A Roman Catholic Woman Priest and A Saint for our Times. It is now completed and will be published by Outskirts Press within a few months. I will keep you posted here, and maybe share some of it here as well.
Having completed it I am returning to blogging as the spirit calls. I am glad to be back!
But now, I want to share a strong and important statement from our Bishops in the RCWP Movement.
“WE THE UNDERSIGNED BISHOPS OF THE INTERNATIONAL CIRCLE OF ROMAN CATHOLIC WOMEN BISHOPS EXPRESS OUR ANGUISH, SADNESS AND INCREDULITY AT THE CURRENT TREATMENT OF CHILDREN AT INTERNATIONAL BORDERS OF THE UNITED STATES. WE SPEAK OUT AGAINST ANY FAILURE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE WATER, FOOD,CLOTHING,BEDDING AND SHELTER TO MIGRANT CHILDREN, AGAINST THE SEPARATION OF CHILDREN FROM THEIR PARENT/S,AGAINST THE HOUSING OF CHILDREN BEHIND BARS IN FACILITIES THAT ARE OFTEN FORMER PRISONS, AND AGAINST ANY FAILURE TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE CARE AND SUPERVISION FOR THESE CHILDREN. WE SEE THE TREATMENT OF CHILDREN AT INTERNATIONAL BORDERS AS A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS.
AS WOMEN OF CHRISTIAN FAITH, WE TAKE SERIOUSLY JESUS’ COMMANDMENT TO TREAT ALL PEOPLE AS WE WISH TO BE TREATED.
WE CALL UPON CHRISTIANS WORLDWIDE TO CONSIDER THE HUMANITARIAN ISSUE,REGARDLESS OF THEIR POSITION ON INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION, AND TO TAKE ACTION CONSISTENT WITH THEIR CONSCIENCE ON BEHALF OF CHILDREN BEING HELD AT ALL INTERNATIONAL BORDERS THROUGHOUT THE GLOBE.
+Marie Bouclin, Bishop Emerita, Canada
+Merlene Olivia Doko,Bishop Emerita, U.S.
+Patricia Fresen, Bishop,South Africa
+Joan Houk, Bishop Emerita, U.S.
+Andrea Johnson,Bishop Emerita, U.S.
+Jean Marie Marchant, Bishop,U.S.
+Ida raming, Bishop,Germany
+Sibyl Dana reynolds,Bishop Emerita, U.S.
(This was also written in German)
<img src="https://judyabl.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/20190119_162145.jpg" alt="20190119_162145" width="3120" height="4160" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-17139"/
Thank you to our Bishops!
Many struggle with the traditional church these days. Attendance is markedly down in the Roman Catholic Church in the USA and Ireland and in all of the major Christian denominations in the USA as well. Some of the key issues are issues of injustice- the sex abuse scandal especially in the Roman Catholic Church where until Pope Francis recent strong stands massive abuse was hidden and the offenders passed along from community to community; the denial of complete acceptance to the LGBTQ community in Catholicism and recently in the major decision by the Methodist Church where 53 percent of the clergy voted not to give full access and acceptance to the LGBTQ community members and to clergy who are in that community and the denial of ordination and clergy membership to women in Roman Catholicism and some of the other Christian denominations.
In a world already full of injustice, conflict and violence the church should stand , as Jesus most certainly did, for the acceptance and inclusion of all, including the outcast and the stranger. Thereby it should attract a variety of members, young as well as old, and of all social classes, races, cultures and orientations and identifications. On Ash Wednesday (this year Weds. March 6th) we are told to “turn away from sin and believe the Gospel”. ( I actually say “turn away from sin and believe and live the Gospel”. In the passage from the book of Joel (2:12) we are asked to return to God with all our hearts. The 40 days of lent are then an opportunity to take stock of ourselves, move away from preoccupations with self and give ourselves away to the poor, to those who are mourning and those in need of healing and to all those who need a word and act of love and compassion. That is we are to return to “increasing Christ within us” “living Jesus” (as the Salesians say). As part of this many need to take stock of how they feel about the traditional church and its subtle and not so subtle decisions to become an exclusive group. If we are to include all who are excluded as Jesus did, where and how can we best do that.
Some have decided to do that by leaving the RC church per se becoming a part of independent Catholic churches, or joining other Christian denominations,and some continue under the Roman Catholic rubric, following the best of the traditions and yet breaking the man-made laws that exclude. Roman Catholic WomenPriests are in this latter category. We like to say we are not leaving the church but are risking criticism and, yes, ostracism, to lead the church in a new era of true Christ-like inclusion at the Table and at the altar. Whatever you discover this Lent about the direction of your journey to the cross and to the resurrection,it is important to join with other believers as you journey for it is the community that brings the living Christ in our midst and forms the mystical body of Christ that lives and gives hope to our lives.
Here is a link to a NCRonline article written by NCR Staff (National Catholic Reporter) where several people including some women Roman Catholic priests give their thoughts on leaving the church. Leaving or leading- it is up to you to be Church. Blessings to you as you walk this Lenten journey.
Love and blessings,
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Pastor and Director Good Shepherd Ministries of SW Florida and
The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Fl
On Saturday February 23rd The New York Times Opinion page had this excellent opinion by Alice McDermott, author, novelist and essayist: Why the Priesthood Needs Women.
Of course, I am in total agreement with Ms. McDermott but want to point out to Ms. McDermott and readers that we are already here since 2002 when highly prepared Roman Catholic women were ordained on the Danube river and in 2003 a bishop who is still fully in communion with the RC Church ordained women bishops- for the sake of the church- who have passed down the line of Peter validly although illicitly through the Roman Catholic WomenPriest Movement. This Bishop’s name name will only be revealed upon his death although our bishops know it and have met him. Perhaps the women priests of RCWP International (and ARCWP) are not mentioned as we have broken canon law stating that only men can be ordained. But as St. Augustine noted an unjust law needs to be broken. And it has been so that now there are over 265 ordained RC women in the priesthood throughout the world. Thanks be to God for this start , not only at justice but at creating a priesthood of women and men who live out their Holy Orders in shepherding the people of God, especially those who are sometimes left out by the institutional church- the divorced, the LGBTQ community, and many others on the margins who have not been welcomed to the table of Jesus by the traditional RC church which, a table he has spread for all.
Today, 2/2/2019 Rev. Dianne Willman, Roman Catholic Woman Priest has sent us a link to the youtube video of the highlights of her January 19th Ordination-you might want to get closer to the experience by viewing it. We thank Rev. Dianne and send blessings to her as she begins her priestly ministry in J’Burg ,South Africa.
On Saturday January 20th, 2019 Dianne Willman was ordained the first Roman Catholic Women Priest in Johannesburg, South Africa. She joins Mary Bernadette Ryan, RCWP and Elizabeth Ann Ralston, RCWP and Bishop Patricia Fresen, RCWP, all native South Africans, in the priesthood in South Africa, and over 265 ordained RC women world-wide. We published news of this Ordination on 1/21 and now will share pictures and more information from this amazing holy event.
This is the entrance to the Mass of Holy Orders, Bishop Patricia Fresen Presider and primary celebrant.
This is the moment Bishop Fresen begins the most holy moment of the laying on of hands.
Members of the clergy and those present are also invited to either extend hands or come forward and lay hands on the newly blessed priest.
Rabbi Julia Margolis, the first woman Jewish Rabbi in South Africa was also invited to participate in the ceremony. She wrote a beautiful letter of blessing and welcome of Dianne to the clergy and affirming inter- religious collaboration and support. Rabbi Margolis is the Chairperson of the South African Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity. Rabbi Sa’ar Shaked, Chair of the Rabbinic Council also wrote her a beautiful letter of blessing.
Also present at this historic Ordination was Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a former Maryknoll priest who had his faculties taken away by the Church and also removal from his beloved Maryknoll Community because of his outspoken support of women priests. His attendance along with Bishop Patricia Fresen’s return to South Africa after living in Germany for many years after she lost the support of her lifelong Dominican Community gave palpable and poignant reality to the risks women and men take to obey God’s call to obey conscience in the matter of women priests in the Roman Catholic Church. Rev. Caryl Conroy Johnson of Pennsylvania, an Eastern Region RCWP Priest and International Program Coordinator for RCWP, and Rev. Diane Dougherty, ARCWP of Georgia were also present to celebrate this joyful Ordination.
Once again we give our blessings and hearty congratulations to rev. Dianne willman, RCWP.
Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Pastor Good Shepherd Ministries of SWFL