Caracol TV Follows Roman Catholic Woman Priest Olga Lucia Alvarez in Colombia with Priests Martha Aida and Marina Teresa Included
One does not have to speak Spanish to understand the scope and importance of this excellent TV coverage of the activities of ARCWP priest Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea in Colombia, South America. Also included as she ministers to her people, is woman priest Martha Aida Soto Bernal.The Ordination of priest Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia in Sarasota Florida is included. All three are from Colombia- from Medellin, Bogota and Cali. We are blessed to have these women of deep faith and courage as our sisters in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Olga Lucia shares that there are over 180 in the women priest movement and this is growing daily. She says that from her baptism she was called to be a a priest and man-made rules cannot change this calling. She says that “excommunication” which is a form of “self-excommunication” means nothing as she has not broken herself off from the church or from the people of God whom she serves. She shares her ministry and we see her baptizing a baby, serving the Eucharist , preaching, relating warmly to children and families and doing the things that all priests do with love and joy.
Let us remember that Pope Francis, from Argentina, speaks Spanish fluently and may be watching this video right now. If so, he will see the love and affirmation Olga Lucia gives him as a Pope of the poor. If he reflects and searches his heart and conscience this Lenten season he may also find the mandate from the people and from his own heart, and the courage to ask for change in the rules made by men in the 12th century. This is not expected or needed but it would be a great surprise to the people of God.
Olga Lucia was ordained in Florida in December of 2010. Martha Aida Soto Bernal was ordained in Colombia in March of 2011. And Marina Teresa was ordained in Florida in January of 2014. There are other candidates from South America who will likely be ordained this year. We are so thankful for our South American sisters who are leading the way in Latin America.
Please click on this link to see the video:
con esperanza y gracias y bendiciones,
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP
Co-Coordinator with Olga Lucia Alvarez for Hispano Parlantes
When Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia of Cali, Colombia was ordained Priest in Sarasota Florida on January 18,2014 she made one request. She wanted Judy Beaumont and I to take her to see our people where they lived and worshiped. She said that the presence of our community of African Americans and others who participated in her Ordination procession and in blessing her made all the difference to her. She did not want to tour the tourist attractions of SW Florida and there are many,but she wanted to minister with us. So she and Rvda. Olga Lucia Alvarez went with us to visit a family in Tampa that we have ministered to and with for many years. And she visited two families with us in Fort Myers and visited our church. As she witnessed the joy and the pain seeing the hopes and the spirituality of our people she blessed them and brought great joy.
Here Rvda. Marina Teresa is in front of our Good Shepherd Church in Fort Myers,Florida
Here we are with Miriam,89, who lost her daughter Nancy to a sudden diabetes related death almost two years ago. Miriam has a very hard time living on without Nancy but loving visits sustain her. We have told part of Miriam’s story in this blog earlier when our other new priest Maureen McGill visited with her. We visited and prayed with Miriam and also took her out to a Spanish culinary feast.
Here Rvda. Marina Teresa is singing Spanish folk tunes with Miriam along with a singer that came to our table and played requests. To see Miriam’s tears turn to singing and laughter was a great joy for all of us.
Then we took Miriam to visit her sister Gloria in the Nursing Home. Here Gloria is singing the 23rd Psalm with us.
And Gloria’s sadness also turned into joy and hope.
Rvda.Marina Teresa and Linda,mother of five of our children, felt connected immediatley. They were drawn together by the Mothering Holy of Spirit of God. Here we enjoy a meal with Linda and her children. When Rvda Marina visited Linda’s home she blessed and prayed for the family. She also encouraged the young women to find the call that God has for each of them, particularly the call to serve the community.
Rvdas. Mejia Sanchez and Alvarez with Keeron Jones, 16, Efe Jane Cudjoe 21, our Brown University Junior in Pre-Med, Natasha Terrell, High School Senior and Keeondra Terrell,13. Pearl Cudjoe in the background.
The Good Shepherd Community and their priests were truly blessed by the visit of our priests from South America. Alegria-joy-was shared and experienced by all. The four ministering priests agreed: the reason for the priesthood is to serve the holy people of God, especially the African American and Afro Colombian Community and all who struggle for equality and dignity in their own lands and wherever they are immigrants and strangers.
Bendiciones, blessings, to Rvdas. Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia and Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea as they return to their own full ministries in Colombia. We are all the better for your visit.
Love and prayers,
Pastors Judy Lee,ARCWP and Judy Beaumont, ARCWP
And the Good Shepherd Community of Fort Myers, FLorida and Tampa, Florida
Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez, Roman Catholic Woman Priest from South America Attends Annual ARCWP Meeting and Ordination
Roman Catholic woman priest Olga Lucia Alvarez traveled from Colombia,South America to join twenty eight other members of ARCWP for their Annual Meeting and the ordination of five women in Falls church ,Virginia. The women came from all over the United States. Michele Birch-Conery, another international member came from British Columbia, Canada. The meeting was led by Dorothy Shugrue, of Connecticut, the Circle Leader. After electing Board Officers and welcoming new Board members, the large group broke into small groups and considered a series of Scriptural and theological questions related to call and justice and peace,the charism of ARCWP. The reflection was deep and the participation was full and enthusiastic. Olga Lucia challenged us to share our ministry with the poor and the outcast. Her ministry in Bogota and the Good Shepherd ministry of Judy Beaumont and Judy Lee in Fort Myers, Florida are two examples of justice oriented ministry. Judy Lee and Olga Lucia talked about the place of doubt and anger in developing the kind of love and compassion needed in service with the poor, especially in affluent countries. Janice Sevre-Dusynska attended two protests against Drone warfare and for peace during her time in the D.C. area. Her activism is an example of ministry risked for peace.
While in the D.C. area, priests Olga Lucia, Judy Beaumont, Judy Lee and Dotty Shugrue visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorials. These were profound meditations on the power and wisdom of gifted leaders in the fight for economic, social and racial justice. Olga Lucia reflected on hatred and the violence in Colombia and the violence in America as she visited the King Memorial and the graves of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. We reflected on the difficulty of justice oriented ministries and the challenge of living Matthew 25:31-46 and Luke 4:16-20 ministries. Throughout our time together it was affirming to be with those who share the charism and the charge of enacting peace and justice as we seek to love our neighbors as ourselves.