Saturday, September 25, 2021

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Twenty Sixth Week in Extraordinary Time Presiders: Elena Garcia and Janet Blakeley, Lectors: Joan Pesce & Joan Meehan, Linda Lee & Rick Miller, Music September 25, 2021


Zoom link for video - 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85108095506       

ID 851- 0809-5506, Passcode 1066

Dial 1-929-436-2866 

Meeting ID: 851 0809 5506

Password: 1066                    

                      


Theme: Humanity in Progress


Welcome! (Elena) We warmly welcome you to the inclusive Catholic Community of Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida. All are welcome here. We invite you to pray the liturgy where it says, “All.” And please sing your heart out! Everyone will be muted during the service. Some of you will unmute yourself to read one of the parts, then mute yourself again. Also during the shared homily and prayers of the community, we invite you to unmute yourself to contribute, then mute yourself again. Please have bread and wine or juice with you as we pray the Eucharistic Prayer. 


Gathering 🎶 

All Sing: Everyday God:


https://youtu.be/F1oNP4vaW_c


Janet & All: We begin our celebration together ✝️ in the name of The Holy One the Source of all Being, Jesus the Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit Sophia our Wisdom within. Amen. 



Please welcome each other with a sign of Christ’s peace! Bow toward your camera with hands folded as we say together All: I bow before the presence of God in You. Namaste, Namaste, Namaste


Reconciliation Rite. Joan P & All: We pause now to remember times when messages of our unworthiness have clouded our vision of the infinite love within us. Let us imagine our imperfections, the chaos and messes of our lives all brightly lit by a love that heals and transforms us as we evolve and grow in awareness of our divinity and our humanity. (Pause for several moments. Then extend arm over your heart.) 

All: I love you. Thank you. I’m sorry. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. 


Opening Prayer. Janet & All: Spirit of the Holy One, we gratefully acknowledge your presence among us and within us. We humbly ask that our consciousness be as wide as the skies and the earth and the peoples of the earth; as deep as the past, the desert, the ocean; as tenuous as the atoms of matter or the thoughts of the human heart. Amen


Joyful Gloria:


https://youtu.be/_lA5I0nODZI


Liturgy of the Word

First Reading. (Joan M) (Please pause for a moment of silence) A reading from The Practice of Faith, page 236.


While praising grace we should not forget that it does not always rush over us in a wave of victory, sweeping aside all obstacles; nor is it a simple and unhindered growth; neither does it develop our spiritual life only to the extent that we suffer all in silence, leaving everything else in the hands of God.  Generally speaking, the spiritual life is grace precisely because it must be painstakingly cultivated day by day; it requires constant training and drilling.  In short, the spiritual life is also (even though not exclusively or even predominately) work, planned exercise, and conscious development of the believing, hoping, and loving life in us according to the laws of nature and grace, and according to the motives of a total dedication to God.


These are  Spirit inspired words of Karl Rahner, and we respond,  All: Thanks be to God. 


((Joan P)  Psalm of Praise:  ---- Response: The Whole Universe is Aflame!


Holy One, You truly contain within your gentleness, within your humanity all the unyielding immensity and grandeur of the world.

The Whole Universe is Aflame!


We love you as the source, the activating and life-giving ambience, the term and consummation of the natural world, and of its process of becoming.

The Whole Universe is Aflame!


We praise you for the extensions of your  body and soul to the farthest corners of creation through grace, through life, and through matter.

The Whole Universe is Aflame!


🎶Alleluia:


https://youtu.be/gIHnZn3JjcM

(Joan P)  Gospel: A reading from Hymn Of The Universe- Humanity in Progress #23


The development in our souls of supernatural life (based on the natural spiritualization of the world through the efforts of mankind): this in the last resort is the field where the operative power of faith is positively and without any known limits exercised.

Within the universe it is spirit, and within spirit it is the moral sphere, that are par excellence the actual subjects of the development of life.  Consequently, it is there, on that plastic centre of ourselves where divine grace mingles with early drives, that the power of faith should be brought vigorously to bear.

There above all, surely, creative energy awaits us, ready to work in us a transformation beyond anything the human eye has seen or ear heard.  Who can say what God would fashion out of us if, trusting in his word, we dared to follow his counsels to the very end and surrender ourselves to his providence?

Let us then, for love of our Creator and of the universe, throw ourselves fearlessly into the crucible of the world of tomorrow.


These are Spirit inspired words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and we respond,  (Joan P & All): Thanks be to God. 


 🎶 Alleluia:


https://youtu.be/gIHnZn3JjcM


Shared homily. (Janet) As the Spirit moves you, now is your opportunity to share your thoughts about the readings, the liturgy, or something else. Please turn your microphone on to share, then off when you’re finished. 


Profession of Faith: (Elena & All):

~We believe in the all-embracing Source of Life, birthing and healing, making all things possible.

~We believe that the transformative Divine sparks relationship across Earth and Eternity, with love beyond our wildest dreams.

~We believe that The Beloved waits patiently for us to erase the boundaries we place around human consciousness, and to realize heaven in the here and now.

 ~We believe that in the twists and turns of difficult times, The Holy One invites us into relationship with a love that can soothe and unify a hurting world.

~We believe in Jesus whose radical blend of divinity and humanity reveals the promise and the challenge of being crafted in the image and likeness of Our Creator.

~We believe that like Jesus, we are called to bring generous presence to the lonely and despairing, the hurting and broken, the yearning and

disenfranchised.

~We believe in the Spirit of Sophia Wisdom, nudging the universe to unfold as it would  making each new day one filled with promise and possibility.

~We believe that the Spirit inspires within and among us the gentleness to comfort, the daring to challenge and the strength to lift up.

~We believe in the wildfire of the Spirit, sweeping through this amazing journey of life, urging us toward wholeness, forever and ever.

(December, 2016 A Creed for all times By Lynn Kinlan)


Prayers of the Community (Joan M)

 We bring to the table prayers for our community and the world. 

 Our response is:  Christ of the universe graciously hear us!)


~We bring to the table all who have died from covid,  who suffer from “long haul covid” as well as their family and friends who bear an enormous burden of grief.  R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us!

 

~We bring to the table those who continue to suffer from active fires that have destroyed homes, hurricane devastation and flash floods. 

 R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us!


~We bring to the table all the refugees coming to our shores in search of safety and opportunities for growth.

R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us


~We bring to the table Mary Kay, Diane Burroughs, and all of our community members who need healing, comfort, and strength in their illness. 

R Christ of the universe graciously hear us! 


~We bring to the table the intercessions in our Community Prayer Book……

R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us!


Who and what else shall we bring to the table today? 

(Please unmute yourself to offer a prayer, to which we all respond:

R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us.    (Then remember to remute.) 


(Joan  M): Christ, we will be your presence in the world today and every day of our lives. All: Amen



We offer our gifts. 

🎶 All Sing: Seed Scattered and Sown         


https://youtu.be/r7CWT7q5ybQ


(Let us pause for a moment of silence before we begin the Eucharistic Prayer.)


Preparation of our Communion Gifts


(Joan M and All):  Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness, each one of us has bread to offer in this sacred meal, this grain that the earth has given and human hands have made.  It will become for us our Bread of Life.  Blessed be God for all the love that has been given to each one of us. 


(Joan P and All): Blessed are you, God of all creation.  Through your goodness, each one of us has fruit of the vine to offer in this sacred meal, that earth has given and human hands have prepared.  It will become for us our Spiritual Drink.  Blessed be God for all the graces that have been given to each one of us.


Eucharistic Prayer


(Janet and All):  Loving God, you embrace us with your extravagant affection in our times of both blessedness and weakness.  You are always with us…you live in us and we live in you.  May we reflect your compassionate care in everything we do and say with everyone we meet today.  And moved by the Spirit, each one of us will sing our shared blessing:

Song:  Holy, Holy, Holy (Karen Drucker) 


https://youtu.be/orKBBIj5LZA


(Elena  and All): Creator God, we thank you for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history – and the gift of Jesus the Christ in faith. You brought him from among all your people to baptize us in your Spirit.  His life was moved by his consuming vision of your presence both in himself and in his earthly mission.  He revealed you to us through his compassionate life well lived. And he showed us, through his teaching and example, not only how we should live, but also for what we may suffer and even die…as he did. Through him and your Spirit, you breathe life into us so that we may be witnesses to his gospel messages. 


(Janet)  When his time on earth had come to an end, Jesus - aware of and accepting his destiny - gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death.  And then, in providing an example of his wisdom for all people in every age to come, he opened wide his arms and died on a cross.  The Spirit that lived in Jesus resurrected him to a new life, a promise that he made to all of us too.  Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.

(Outstretch an arm as we pray the Consecration together.)

We remember the gift that Jesus gave us the night before he died.  He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal.  And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it.  This bread is you; this bread is me.  We are one body, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  This is the new and everlasting covenant.

(Take a short pause here)

(Elena) In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this all of you and drink it.  This wine is you; this wine is me.  We are one blood, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  This is the new and everlasting covenant.


(Janet and All): Jesus, who was with God in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth, is with us now in this bread.  The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup.  

Let us proclaim this mystery of faith…All: Christ dies, Christ rises, Christ comes again and again and again.


(Joan P): Jesus who walks with us on the path to holiness, you are the spark of love in whom we believe; the Wisdom of Sophia in whom we trust; and the desire for justice that consumes us.


(Joan M): As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember our prophetic leader. We remember the communion of saints who have inspired and loved us and all who have gone before us leaving their foot prints on our hearts.(Names………..)

All: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirit loving through us to promote justice and equality in our service to our sisters and brothers.  AMEN


Prayer of Jesus

(Joan P) & All:  Eternal Spirit, Earth maker, Pain bearer, Life giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be. Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven –The hallowing of your name echos through the  universe.

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world,

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings.

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come to earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In the times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trial too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever.  Amen

 (A contemplative prayer in the style of Taize from St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Seattle.) 


(Joan M) PRAYER FOR THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD

 ~O God of Courage, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.

 ~ O God of Compassion, You call us to be your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.

 ~ O God of Truth, You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.


Chant before Communion:  “Sanctuary”      https://youtu.be/8wUi1S8UBI0


https://youtu.be/F58K3CHK0HI


All Chant: God prepare me to be your sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary for you. 


(Joan P and  All): What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives. As we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.


(Elena) Please share Eucharist with the words “You are the Body of Christ”, “You are the Face of God”. 


COMMUNION:  “I am the One Within You” (Karen Drucker)            


https://youtu.be/wXZ6Je4xeRU


Final Prayer. (Janet) : Spirit of the Holy One, we gratefully acknowledge your presence among us and within us. We  thank you for the grace you have bestowed on us during this Eucharistic celebration, so that our consciousness  may expand to become  as wide as the skies and the earth and the peoples of the earth; as deep as the past, the desert, the ocean; as tenuous as the atoms of matter or the thoughts of the human heart.  All: AMEN



PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE, INTRODUCTIONS, ANNOUNCEMENTS


(Elena and All)  COMMUNAL BLESSING

~May you be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.

~May you seek truth boldly and love within your heart.

~May you continue to be the face of the Holy One to all you meet.

~May you hold steadfastly to your faith and belief that when the Beloved speaks, it comes to pass.


(Elena) Full of Christ’s peace, may we go out to love and serve one another in our community and in our wider world. Remember: We are the face of Christ to the world! All: Amen



Closing Song:   We Shall Be Known


https://youtu.be/Vt_VQs8LP6k



If you want to add an intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayer Book, please send an email to Joan Meehan: jmeehan515@aol.com 


If you want to invite someone to attend our liturgy, please refer them to the day’s liturgy at MaryMotherofJesus.org      


To support our community, please send your check to:

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

St Andrew UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd, Sarasota, FL 34238

A Scripture Meditation of God’s Protective Wings For Trauma Survivors by Mary Sue Barnett ARCWP



Hide me in the shadow of Your wings Psalm 17:8

My God, Holy Intimacy. You absorb the palpitations and painful constrictions of vulnerability. With Your protective wingspan, hover over, and draw me into safety. Quiet my body and spirit within the hiddenness of You. To breathe and rest.  To know relief from the turmoil. 


Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of 

Your wings Psalm 61:4


My God, Spirit of Love. You know I am near. From Your tent of safety, You whisper, You call, You summon. To draw me that much closer. Where You will listen to my heart; its beat, its cry, its emptying, its hope. In the shelter of Your wings, tend the frightful trauma and buried wounds. With the balm of deep seeing. Your eyes upon me. My eyes upon You.


My soul takes refuge in You. And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by Psalm 57:1


My God, Holy Protector. Your wings of strength hold my body and soul with care. Within Your embrace You breathe into my depths a spirit of renewal. You calm the persistent reverberations of suffering. Pressed within Your wing hold, a glint of new life shows itself. Something subtle. Shifting. Forming from the ash heap.



You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance Psalm 32:7


My God, Holy Deliverer. Your majestic wings swoop with power. Surrounding gently. Removing threat. Vanquishing danger. Though inescapable is unjust suffering, Your beloved wingbeat casts sacred layers of impenetrable shield. Guarding with vigilance my sacred center. Where we dwell together. Where I indwell You, You indwell me. Where You allow no harm. Where I allow no harm. Where there has never been harm.





For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy Psalm 63:7


My God, Spirit of Healing, I trust You, an eternally unfurling trust. Enfolded in Your care, You give sacred darkness. Where there is no light, there is stillness. Where there is stillness, You inspire Wisdom. In this womb-like place, You implant most kind hints of a new song to live. A song of horizons born of the darkness.


God shall cover you with feathers, and under God’s wings you

shall take refuge Psalm 91:4


My God, Mystery of Comfort. There is nothing so soft. So sustaining. As the in-gathering of Your Love. Like the brush of luxurious feathers upon the skin, You hold, soothe, calm, and guide. There is nothing in all the world, in all the vastness of land, sea, and skies, in all the universe. As certain and delicate as the nearness of You.



You God, are a shield around me, my glory, the One Who lifts my head high. I lie down and sleep; I awake again because God sustains me Psalm 3: 3-5


My God, Healer of depression and Rescuer from the abyss. You are never absent. You are in the middle of the fog. You permeate the chaos. You are ever present. Waiting to be perceived. Longing for the suffering heart to feel You. To reach for You. To adhere itself with abandon to Your Divine Heart. This Oneness. This Glory. Is Life.



I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself Exodus 19:4


My God, Holy and Fierce Liberator. There You are. In the dust of human anguish. Intermingled with suffering is the essence of You. For to be broken with the broken is the depth and breadth of Your Divine Compassion. Deserts of oppression. Streets of violence. Rooms of loneliness. These are no stranger to You. You Yourself taste the dust. Gasp for air. Know the suffering. Inflamed, with sound of hurricane winds, You lift the suffering out of the captors’ grasp. You bring the rejected to Your very Self. 






How often have I desired to gather the children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings Luke 13:34


Jesus, Prophet and Mother Christ. The desire of Your heart is unfathomable. So powerful the desire for Your beloved, You endure a Holy Pathos. Your wings ache to hold. Your arms tremble to give peace. Your voice breaks through and Your call sounds. And resounds. 

Echoing a mighty Love,

It is under My wings that You will heal completely.




God will never leave you or forsake you Deuteronomy 31:6


My God, My Abiding Light. My God, My Abiding Darkness.

In, With, and Through Whom, I am loved.

In, With, and Through Whom, I love.



Chaplain Mary Sue Barnett

September 2021









Sunday, September 19, 2021

"Love Letter of Unanswered Questions About Women's Ordination" by Kate McElwee, National Reporter, My Response: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP


 https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/love-letter-unanswered-questions-about-womens-ordination

My Response: 

Kate wrote: "Cloudy storytelling also surrounds the 2010 split between RCWP and the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which the author earnestly tried to tease out, and yet repeatedly encountered a code of collegiality upheld publicly." 

Jill Peterfeso did not  include a context or  update on the similarities and differences between RCWP-USA and ARCWP. Both organizations have the same vision of ordaining women in a renewed priestly ministry. Both RCWP-USA and ARCWP work together on joint projects to promote their common vision and mission. The major differences are that both organizations have unique models of governance  and preparation programs. 

 I appreciate Kate McElwee's article that both affirms the contribution of the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement, and raises raises important challenges ahead of sustainability for young women called to Orders who need to earn a living. "While priestly women will endure, and trained, capable, Catholic women will persist in ministry where the Spirit calls them, the lack of sustainable financial support often forces young women to another path."

"This living witness to the unbounded call, the limitless power of God, is one of the strongest theological arguments for women's ordination and these women courageously embody it...Community is also a central theme of womenpriests' ministries, both the element of a community calling forth a woman to lead and the radical inclusion of all people in RCWP sacraments and ritual. The healing and consolatory power of womenpriests, meeting the needs of the people of God, is equally one of the most compelling arguments for women's ordination.Today, womenpriests are not asking for permission from Rome and instead find strength in their theological acumen and their experiences of pastoring people and communities in all their beautiful complexities, which sounds refreshing and necessary."



Saturday, September 18, 2021

Homily for Albany Ordination of Julie Corron ARCWP, and Denise Hackert -Stoner ARCWP by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP




https://youtu.be/wLDsNAxEQMc

Bridget Mary


Today we rejoice as the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests ordains Julie Corron and Denise Hackert-Stoner as priests. We rejoice that the holy shakeup is alive and well in the Upper Room Community and in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Ten priests have been ordained in seven ordination in this sanctuary! (invite ARCWP and Upper Room Community to stand up or wave arms) as a witness to the birthing of the Spirit among us!


Now let us reflect on the unique prophetic vision of the 2 women we will ordain today:


Julie believes that just as our cells make up our bodies, we are all part of our God. As a result, we all have the privilege and obligation to care for each other. As a newly endorsed chaplain with the Federation of Christian Ministries, Julie lives this in her work as a hospital chaplain, being present with and bearing witness to the pain and joy and suffering and love of patients, families, and staff. Today, a day that sometimes seemed would never come, Julie answers her call to ordination with a joy-filled heart, grateful for her companions on this path.


Denise believes that we grow into our true selves not only in the momentous occasions of our lives, but also in the small, everyday occurrences, the chance encounters, passing fancies, and the choices we make on a daily basis.  For her, every moment offers the potential for growth, every day opens as a sacrament, filled with the possibility of Divine encounters.  It is in this spirit that Denise, who has recently earned a Doctorate in Ministry, has created a program of accompaniment for children in their spiritual growth.  In the spirit of celebrating our becoming the people we truly are, Denise answers her call to ordination with joy and amazement.


Julie and Denise chose our inspiring readings for today. 

In the Gospel of Mary, we encounter Mary Magdalene as apostle to the apostles. She is the one who teaches the male disciples what is hidden from them because Christ spoke within her. But Peter’s  words “Did he choose her over us?” echo through the centuries.


As Meggan Watterson writes: “There is no hierarchy in the spiritual world.  We are all equal and we are all equally trying, in our own crazy ways to love ourselves enough to see the good that is right here with us…Maybe we are all Peter. when we question how we could possibly deserve a love that is right in front of us. Maybe Mary was more loved by Christ than any other because she knew she wasn’t separate from his love in the first place. She is the woman who knew Christ by heart.” Meggan Waterson, Mary  Magdalene Revealed, pp.  185, 197


When we open ourselves to a love that is a power inside us, we can push through any darkness to bring forth a new birthing of Spirit-empowerment  in our words and actions each day. 

Visionary woman and activist, Valerie Kaur, said that when we breathe together and push together, we build a solidarity rooted in revolutionary love that liberates and transforms us. 

Since 2010, ARCWP has been pushing through the pain of the birthing process to create a new model of priestly ministry in a community of equals. As companions in this struggle, we are being set free, as we breath and push together through patriarchal resistance to birth inclusive communities where all are loved, all are blessed, and all are welcome.

We are pushing through a priest-dependent model of church in which “Father knows best” to create people-empowered ecclesial communities who minister to the needs of all and in which all voices are heard. In this sometime messy birthing process, we are learning to embrace the imperfections, the holy messes in our ever growing, evolving movement and faith communities. 

We are pushing away from a medieval theology focused on fear and sin, to discover a rich diversity of contemporary theologies that promote the love of the Holy One revealed in the teachings and example of Jesus. He taught that the God of justice and liberation sets us free to love and to set others free. The wise words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mary challenge us not to bind ourselves with rules and laws we don’t need: “Do not lay down any rules beyond what I determined for you, nor give a law like the lawgiver, lest you be confined by it”

 Like Mary Magdalene we are pushing through a centuries-old fear of women’s spiritual power, to create new models of spiritual leadership rooted in mutual partnerships in ministry. As Christ’s relationship with Mary Magdalene disturbed Peter, our women priests movement continues to threaten the hierarchy of the RC Church. On June 1, 2021, in the new Updated Code of Canon Law, Pope Francis officially placed the ordination of a woman in the same serious crimes category against the Church as the sexual abuse of a child. 

But the good news is that women priests in people- empowered communities will never stop pushing through the darkness of sexism in the hierarchical church to live Gospel equality now. 


Some people think women priests are a Catholic revolution because we are breaking the laws of the Church by ordaining women. I believe women priests in inclusive faith communities are a holy shakeup of love that is healing and transforming the Church, making us one heart in Christ!  Let us rejoice that together we are liberating theology, renewing sacramental ministry, turning the patriarchal pyramid upside down and creating a discipleship of equals! Amen, Alleluia!


Julie and Denise will continue our homily sharing now:


Julie: 

In our first reading, Robin Meyers proposes that we trade the certainty of orthodoxy for “a path that [is] not obvious, sensible or safe…not to save our souls but to restore them.” In an increasingly secular age, answering the call to ordination may not seem sensible, especially if you are a Roman Catholic woman whose ordination means immediate excommunication. Yet here we are, brimming with joy at the prospect. 

Meyers reminds us that in the beginning, it was experiential for the followers of Jesus. They didn’t have to read about the life of Jesus because they were actually there. And what does the gospel tell us that life was like? During his short life, Jesus healed the sick, he talked to women, he fed the hungry, he challenged authority, he taught that the Kin-dom of God was at hand. It can be that way again. It can be that way for us, right now, if we’re willing to let go of certainty and salvation. We can heal the sick. There are lots of kinds of illness and lots of kinds of healing. I can’t heal through the laying on of hands or by writing a prescription, but I can listen to a troubled soul. We can talk to, and show respect for, those who are not valued by society—refugees, minorities, the mentally ill, the homeless. We can feed the hungry and there are so many hungry these days. We can continually challenge authority and the bigots and the bullies around us. And we can live as though we believe that, in the words of one of my favorite songs, “Right now heaven’s right here.” Thank you for sharing that with us today. 


Denise:

In one of the oldest passages from scripture, the Exodus story tells us that “The prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.’” Exodus 15:20-21

In this passage Miriam is described as a prophet, and she was a prophet.  But as it happens, she was also a priest.  On the muddy banks of the Sea of Reeds, the Egyptian slave drivers lying defeated at her feet, she leads her community in a liturgical celebration of song and dance.  She calls the people together to recognize as a whole community the great thing that has happened, so that before moving on to whatever may come next, they can fix that event in their hearts, mark it in their history, make it part of who they are becoming.  

Like Miriam, we as women priests are crossing a muddy marsh.  Hot on our heels are the centuries of fear and hatred that have kept us from our calling, kept us in our place.  In a Church which views only baptized males as worthy of priestly vocation we have by default been deemed unworthy.  Just this summer the Vatican reiterated this unjust claim.  

Nevertheless, here we are.  I would ask that all of the ordained men and women in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests present in this church right now please stand….. thank you.  It is on your shoulders and the shoulders of the 72 sister priests who have come before us that we stand today. And from our high perch as you hold us up we can see the shore.  And on that shore stands the Church as it is called to be:  a Church of people who walk the way of Jesus; who welcome everyone, who recognize and honor the gifts and vocations of all, regardless of gender, age, race, or sexual orientation.  And even though the mud and weeds of inequality still try to pull us down we keep our eyes on that shore.  And like Miriam, we have packed our tambourines and are leading the dance.