Monday, June 18, 2018

Are women 'substantially' incompatible for the priesthood? Attempts to link maleness and priesthood through the ages have failed the test, Jun 18, 2018 by John Wijngaards, National Catholic Reporter



https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/are-women-substantially-incompatible-priesthood

My Response: This is an excellent article by John Wijngaards that should be read by  
Archbishop Luis Ladaria and the entire CDF at the Vatican. The institutional Church's prohibition of women priests is a false doctrine rooted in toxic misogyny.  As John writes, this teaching is unrelated to the Jesus story and not supported by the early history of our tradition. The international Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement is leading the way toward the full equality of women in grassroots, inclusive, faith communities where all are welcome to celebrate sacraments as spiritual equals and blessed members of our family. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, #womenpriestsnow, https//:arcwp.org, sofiabmm@aol.com



Altar servers are seen as Pope Francis leads Benediction in observance of the feast of Corpus Christi in Ostia, a suburb of Rome, June 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

What do these popes have in common? Nicholas V (1454) authorised Christian conquerors to enslave native peoples. Innocent VIII (1484) endorsed the torture and execution of witches. Benedict XIV (1745) condemned taking interest on capital loans as a mortal sin. Pius IX (1864) declared non-Christians could not obtain eternal salvation. John Paul II (1994) taught that priesthood is reserved only to men.

All defended errors based on a mixture of misread scripture and ill-informed prejudice. The only difference is that whereas the other erroneous teachings have now been discarded by the official church, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last month still repeated Pope John Paul II's mistaken view.

Archbishop Luis Ladaria writes: "The impossibility of ordaining women belongs to the 'substance' of the sacrament of order, a fact the Church recognizes. She cannot change this substance. … It is not just a question of discipline, but of doctrine." This is a massive claim that needs to be exposed for the fallacy it is.

Take note: the archbishop asserts that the exclusion of women is not just a practical custom going back to Jesus. A fundamental obstacle is at stake, a trait that makes every woman an intrinsic mismatch to the eucharistic priesthood of Christ. What is he talking about?

Editor's Note: Full original documentation for all the texts quoted in this article — and many more resources — can be found on John Wijngaards' website womenpriests.org. The site features introductory materials in 26 languages.


Disqualified by birth?

Jesus only chose 12 men in the original band of apostles. This was a symbolic act. He wanted these leaders of the new Israel to match the 12 tribal patriarchs of old. But he never created the 12 as a permanent institution. Nor did he want to establish a permanent norm of male leadership. The intention of instituting a male-only priesthood was only ascribed to Jesus by later generations who projected onto him their own conviction of female inferiority.

Some women presided at the Eucharist in early Christian communities. But the Hellenistic-Roman context in which the church grew up soon strangled such "anomalies." The reason? Women were considered mentally and physically inferior. Roman law deprived them of public office. As Augustine succinctly remarked: "Women rank below men by nature and law."


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In other words, the substantial obstacle to ordaining women lay in their inferiority as human beings. No one explained this as fully as Thomas Aquinas, heralded by the church as the champion of orthodoxy. "Even though a woman were made the object of all that is done in conferring Orders, she would not receive Orders," he taught, "for, since woman is in the state of subjection, the female sex cannot signify eminence of degree" (Summa Theologica, Suppl. 39, 1).

Why not? Like his contemporaries, Aquinas believed that the whole future child is contained in the male sperm. In procreation, a woman only contributes her womb — which is like a ploughed field in which a grain of seed has been sown (ST II, 18, 1). Every woman is flawed. Aquinas held that at birth the "female offspring is deficient and caused by accident. For the active power of the semen always seeks to produce a thing completely like itself, something male. So if a female is produced, this must be because the semen is weak or because the material [in the womb] is unsuitable, or because of the action of some external factor such as the winds from the south which make the air humid … " (ST, I, 92, 1, ad. 1).

"God's image in the full sense of the term is only found in man," Aquinas says elsewhere. "Women are created in God's image only to the extent that they too have a mind" (ST, I, 93, 4 ad 1). But women cannot use their brain fully because God "ordered men not women for intellectual activity" (ST, I, 92, 1). To use a metaphor, a woman may look like a luxury car, but she lacks a proper engine.

So is this why Jesus excluded women from his priesthood? Were they simply not fully human? Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in his 1977 commentary on Inter Insigniores, rejected women's inferiority as a valid reason. But he did not acknowledge that throughout the centuries this prejudice justified the presumed 'tradition' of barring women from the priesthood.

And if women's inferiority is not the substantial obstacle in Ladaria's view, what can he be referring to? John Paul II provides a clue in his 1988 encyclical Mulieris Dignitatem.

Not in the driving seat?

A commentary on Inter Insigniores by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1976) had already stated: "Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church, whom he won for himself with his blood. By using this language, revelation shows why the incarnation took place according to the male gender. It makes it impossible to ignore this historical reality. For this reason, only a man can take the part of Christ, be a sign of his presence, in a word 'represent' him in the essential acts of the covenant."

In Mulieris Dignitatem John Paul II expands on this theme. It was God's will from the start, he says, that the incarnation should happen in a man, a male. "The Bridegroom — the Son consubstantial with the Father as God — became … the 'son of man,' true man, a male. The symbol of the Bridegroom is masculine," he writes.

John Paul II then goes on to explain that we may "legitimately conclude" that this was the reason why Jesus disqualified women from priestly service. He wanted to link the Eucharist to male priests who could represent him in his masculine bridegroom role. He writes, "It is the Eucharist above all that expresses the redemptive act of Christ the Bridegroom towards the Church the Bride. This is clear and unambiguous when the sacramental ministry of the Eucharist, in which the priest acts 'in persona Christi,' is performed by a man." To continue our metaphor, a woman does not qualify for the race for she is not a driver, only a spectator.

Are John Paul II's speculations sufficient ground to claim that the masculinity of the ordinand is substantial to the sacrament of holy orders? He cannot claim real support in tradition. On the contrary, as numerous theologians have pointed out, his view contradicts the overwhelming evidence for the incarnation embracing both men and women. "The Word became flesh," we read in the Gospel of John. The word flesh does not have a gender. As theologian Sr. Elizabeth Johnson points out, if the incarnation was restricted to the male, the female would not be redeemed since the ancient principle applies here quod non assumitur, non redimitur – "what is not taken up [in the incarnation], has not been redeemed."

The truth of the matter is that Jesus did not, in principle, exclude women from holy orders. Attempts through the ages to conjure up intrinsic reasons for linking maleness and priesthood have failed the test. And history delivers the knockout blow. Women have been verified compatible. Enter women deacons.

During the first millennium, tens of thousands of women were ordained deacons. Their rite of ordination has been preserved. It proves that women were ordained like the men, that is, sacramentally, to use the classic term. In other words, they qualified for holy orders. For the diaconate belongs to Orders. As the Council of Trent instructed, "If anyone says that in the Catholic Church there is not a hierarchy constituted by divine ordination, consisting of bishops, priests, and deacons: let him be anathema" (Session IV, Canon 6). So where does that leave the prefect of the doctrinal congregation?

[John Wijngaards is a theologian and writer, professor emeritus of the Missionary Institute London, and founder of the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.]





Video: Come Healing by Leonard Cohen



Come Healing

O gather up the brokenness
And bring it to me now
The fragrance of those promises
You never dared to vow

The splinters that you carry
The cross you left behind
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

Behold the gates of mercy
In arbitrary space
And none of us deserving
The cruelty or the grace

O solitude of longing
Where love has been confined
Come healing of the body
Come healing of the mind

O see the darkness yielding
That tore the light apart
Come healing of the reason
Come healing of the heart

O troubled dust concealing
An undivided love
The heart beneath is teaching
To the broken heart above

Let the heavens falter
Let the earth proclaim
Come healing of the altar
Come healing of the name

O longing of the branches
To lift the little bud
O longing of the arteries
To purify the blood

And let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb

O let the heavens hear it
The penitential hymn
Come healing of the spirit
Come healing of the limb



A Conversation between Nuns and Nones: "Sisters and Seekers: Valued Conversations, Deepening Relationships" by Barbara Hansen, OP



Sisters & Seekers gatherings vary between formal and informal as the spirit calls. A comfortable, cozy gathering on a cold winter aernoon included dear friends and Barbara Hansen OP, Jarre DeWyse OP, Lucille Janowiak OP, and Mary Kay Oosdyke OP.

In April of 2017, a group of Sisters and Millennials met for the irst time at Dominican Center. This began what has become an almost regular every other Sunday night gathering. Nationally, these gatherings are named Nuns & Nones but this local one will go by Sisters & Seekers since all of us are both sisters and seekers. A "none" is a young person who when asked their religious afiliation will check NONE. Most were raised Christian, a few have no religious background.

Millennial Katie Gordon approached me in late 2016 about the possibility of starting such a group locally. I knew Katie as the program director for activities sponsored by the Kaufman Interfaith Institute and as someone I had interviewed on TV at the Grand Rapids Community Center. Katie had also authored an MLive article on the rise of religiously unafiliated Millennial nones. Together, we invited over 40 Sisters and Millennials to the irst gathering with an open invitation for them to invite others. About
https://ui.constantcontact.com/visualeditor/visual_editor_preview.jsp?agent.uid=1130627859568&format=html&print=true 1/7

5/18/2018 Community Ways May 16, 2018
20 responded. Typically, between 10-20 participants gather each Sunday evening. Many are now regulars but all meetings are open to newcomers.
For the irst year, Katie and I facilitated the meetings. After Katie left to enter Harvard Divinity, another millennial, Ellie Hutchinson, took over Katie's facilitator role. I handle room arrangements. Together we solicit topics for discussion. Conversation guidelines have been established. Near the end of the irst year, we prepared evaluative questions.
A few responses are shared here:
What draws you here? Why do you show up?
Intergenerational desire to get to know each other
Purpose of our meetings?
Build community and relationships

Learn and grow (especially in spirituality and
faith) A unique space (welcoming, quiet, relective)
Accompany each other
Intersection of faith and justice Conversations that matter
Sisters and Seekers celebrate the one year anniversary of their gatherings at Dominican Center at Marywood in Grand Rapids.
Because Grand Rapids was one the irst groups to form after a gathering on the East Coast in the autumn of 2016, hence having the most experience, Ellie and I have been blessed to be invited to two larger gatherings of Nuns & Nones. The irst was in Kalamazoo at the Transformations Center (SSJ Spirituality Center) in June of 2017 and the second in April, 2018 at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo. The irst had Sisters and Millennials from MI, IN and IL in attendance including Sr. Justine Kane. The latter one consisted of 27 participants from both coasts and Middle America. Katie Gordon has been part of both, in addition to many similar gatherings around the country.
Adam Horowitz facilitates
a conversaon of Nuns & Nones at the Fetzer Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan in April 2018.

These Millennials are seekers. They have many questions and concerns. They ind pat answers to existential questions unsatisfactory. They want to explore life's meaning and have it ok to have doubts. Loneliness and lack of meaningful community are big issues for them. Spirituality is attractive and inviting to them. They are extremely altruistic and wanting to make a difference. Among the ideas explored at the Fetzer gathering were intergenerational living and commonly shared work spaces.
Sr. Maureen Geary joined the April meeting in Kalamazoo and along with two others in congregational leadership discussed the reality of needing to ind other uses for our facilities and how these younger voices may contribute to the planning that is going on across the country in religious communities. Speaking about the day, Sr. Maureen commented, "We are all pilgrims on the journey; it is good to have new companions for the adventure. Fresh insight and eagerness to be about the good works of religious congregations, built on relationship, can lead to new ideas."

Meal times were usually at least an hour and half in length because the interchange between Sisters and Millennials at each table are so open, honest, and meaningful. In both the local and larger gatherings, the level of trust and sharing has been unexpected and wonderful. The women religious are open to learning the world in which this generation exists with challenges and opportunities way beyond anything most of them experienced at their age. The Millennials are open to and seeking wisdom from the lived experience of the Sisters with living community and being committed to service. They are interested and perhaps fascinated at how women religious remain committed to institutions that don't always recognize their gifts and presence. One Millennial shared that she has noticed Millennials tend to give up or move on when disappointed when organizations don't meet their hopes. Whereas, she observed the Sisters remain engaged for longer periods of time to question, propose and try to effect change.
Nuns & Nones is a very young movement but one that holds lots of promise as Sisters are concerned with their legacy and Millennials are looking for guides to navigate this uncertain world. Together they have much to share with each other and learn from each other.

This gathering in April, 2018 at the Fetzer Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan was a facilitated conversaon of Nuns & Nones and included the organizers of the Nuns & Nones gatherings, Rev. Wayne Muller and Adam Horowitz. We hope you are inspired to discover more about
Nuns & Nones by vising their website.

"What learnings, what untapped mutual resources might be discovered, and set free, to serve the unmet needs in the world, through an alliance of these two inspired and inspiring communities?" -- Nuns & Nones

Pope Changing Tone in Church towards LGBTQI, Time to Change Toxic Teaching "intrinsically disordered" and welcome to reception of sacraments as equal members of the Catholic family

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/pope-changing-tone-in-church-towards-lgbt-37018668.html
Fr. James Martin

My Response: I think it is a positive step that Fr. James Martin will speak at the World Meeting of Families and LGBTQI families will be welcomed to this major religious event in Ireland. "Pope Francis has not changed Church teaching on homosexuality but the Pope changed the Church's tone towards gay people which resulted in many members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender) community returning to Church life in the US, he said."
 The shakeup I would like to see is a change in the "intrinsically disordered" toxic  teaching that excludes LGBTQI who are sexually active  from reception of sacraments.     Our Church should welcome everyone. Roman Catholic Women Priests welcome everyone to celebrate Eucharist at the Table with us! Our Church needs to do so too and Pope Francis should make this clear in Ireland: All are equals and always welcome at every Table. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP #womenpriestsnow

From article citing Fr. James Martin:
He will fly back to Dublin to celebrate a Mass at 3pm for a huge public gathering in the Phoenix Park before returning to Rome. He will fly back to Dublin to celebrate a Mass at 3pm for a huge public gathering in the Phoenix Park before returning to Rome.
He is expected to meet some victims of clerical sex abuse during his Irish visit.
New York-based Fr Martin (57) told the Sunday Independent he expects the Pope to make a big impact in Ireland.
"I would say get ready to be surprised because Pope Francis usually upends people's expectations of what he is going to do or say on his trips.
"When he came to the United States, he really dazzled people by not only his words but his deeds. It was really extraordinary. People fell in love with him.
"He is an authentic apostle. And holiness is naturally attractive. He is bound to shake things up, one way or another," said Fr Martin.
The Pope's approach to LGBT people is markedly different from past pontiffs, said the priest.
"He has an entirely different flavour to his message than previous popes. His five most famous words are 'Who am I to judge?'
"That was initially about gay priests but it was expanded to include LGBT people. He has used the word 'gay' repeatedly. He has gay friends. He said that Jesus would never say to a gay person 'go away from me'.
"And the way he reaches out to LGBT people - they feel more comfortable going to church, they simply do," he said.
Controversy erupted in Ireland a few months ago when Church traditionalists succeeded in forcing the removal of images of a same-sex couple from a preparation booklet for the Dublin WMOF event.
That showed the Church was "still struggling" with the issue, he said.
"But then the invitation from the Vatican for me to speak about LGBT issues in a positive way is a huge moment in the church.
"It's not about me, it is what it says to LGBT Catholics. This would never have happened five years ago.
"In the end, the invitation for someone to talk positively about LGBT families shows what they really think," he said. Fr Martin has reportedly highlighted the need for the Church to address its use of language in the past which referred to LGBT people as "intrinsically disordered".
The use of such terminology is the focus of a petition by Irish Catholic reform group We Are Church Ireland.
The group is to petition the Pope to address the use of such homophobic terms.
Fr Martin went on to say: "Archbishop Martin said during the press conference that the World Meeting of Families is for all families and all Catholics and that includes families that have LGBT members and even LGBT families," he said.
Fr Martin welcomed the endorsement of three cardinals for his new book, entitled Building a Bridge.
He said it would be important that Pope Francis, even with his limited time in Ireland, that he addresses the question of clerical sex abuse.
"The Church can never do enough for the victims of sex abuse. Any time Pope Francis has been meeting with victims or confronting those issues, is time well spent," he said.
"It's not a crisis that is over.
"We need to continue to listen, apologise, and accompany these victims and make sure sex abuse never happens again," he said.
"I would say don't underestimate the change that has happened with regard to LGBT people over the past five years. Five years ago my book would not even have been published. That's a big change," he said.
Fr Martin was a former executive in the US financial sector who later joined the priesthood.
He said his own address at the WMOF event in Dublin will be about how parishes can be more welcoming to LGBT Catholics, their parents, their grandparents, their brothers and sisters.
His basic message to parishes on how to reach out to LGBT people will be: "Listen to them, listen to them, listen to them.
"My experience in the United States varies dramatically. In general, parishes in larger cities with greater concentrations of LGBT Catholics are doing a much better job with LGBT outreach groups, LGBT retreats, and LGBT support groups for parents.
"But then you might get a parish in a very small town that has a homophobic pastor and they are doing nothing. Or worse, they are discouraging, or insulting or excluding LGBTs either explicitly or implicitly. Some of the stories are just appalling.
"A 30-year-old autistic man came out to his family. One of the pastoral associates of the parish told him that, even though he was not in a sexual relationship, he could no longer receive Communion because he was gay and it was a scandal and that, maybe, if he wanted to, he could stop by the rectory once in a while to receive Communion.
"In the good parishes, with retreats for LGBT people, they have parish announcements about parish LGBT groups holding retreats.
"Those parishes have an open invitation to LGBT people. In other words, it is almost indistinguishable from other ministries," he said.
In general, he said the message is clear: "Just love them."
Sunday Independent

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Movie: ARCWP PARTICIPANDO EN LA MESA ECUMENICA POR LA PAZ.


https://evangelizadorasdelosapostoles.wordpress.com/2018/06/17/colombia-arcwp-participando-en-la-mesa-ecumenica-por-la-paz-olga-lucia-alvarez 

COLOMBIA. ARCWP PARTICIPANDO EN LA MESA ECUMÉNICA POR LA PAZ. Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea*

https://evangelizadorasdelosapostoles.wordpress.com/2018/06/17/colombia-arcwp-participando-en-la-mesa-ecumenica-por-la-paz-olga-lucia-alvarez-benjumea/


Ante el miedo, la inseguridad, la polarización que se vive en nuestra población, la Mesa Ecuménica por la Paz, ha convocado a nivel nacional en diferentes ciudades, el 13 de Junio/68 a orar y estar presentes para manifestar y expresar nuestros deseos por la Paz y Reconciliación fraterna en toda Colombia.
Los miembros de la Mesa Ecuménica por la PAZ de Bogotá.
Jose Atehortua. (Trinitario)Dando el saludo en la Mesa Ecuménica por la Paz, en la Iglesia de Jesus Nazareno. (Junio 13/68
Presencia de ARCWP y demás miembros de diferentes iglesias.
En la Iglesia de Jesús Nazareno-Medellin
Sol Hoyos, interviene en la oración convocada por la Mesa Ecuménica por la Paz-Medellin.
Clarita, interviene en la oración, pidiendo por la Paz y Reconciliación en nuestro Pais.

Hoy votamos por la PAZ, Y LA RECONCILIACIÓN, COLOMBIA, NO SE PARCELA, TODOS SOMOS COLOMBIA!
*Presbitera católica romana.

"Holy Celebrity: Why I want to see the Pope" by Catherine O'Mahony, Irish Independent

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/holy-celebrity-why-i-want-to-see-the-pope-37011753.html




Catherine O'Mahony
Let's just get this out there: I want to see Pope Francis. When the tickets for attending the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park are released online on June 25, I will be poised at my laptop to pounce. And if I'm unsuccessful, I'll be sad. There it is.
In many ways, to be fair, this makes absolutely no sense. I have not held a set of Rosary beads since I was seven. I ignore the calls to pay dues. I rarely attend Mass so if I do manage to snag a ticket for the Papal Mass, this will one of a tiny handful of masses I will attend this year.
I am - in essence - an á la carte Catholic, or a lapsed Catholic, or possibly a cultural Catholic. It all amounts to the same thing. Catholicism feels like a part of who I am. At certain moments it feels like a core part of who I am. But it certainly does not define me.
And yet, when life strikes a blow, the Church, with its shady interiors and unmistakable smell of varnish and incense - often beckons. When my parents died, I helped organise Catholic funerals for both of them, and took considerable comfort in the familiar ritual that eased their passing. You will also find me in a pew on Christmas Eve, and on Easter Sunday - the big days, when virtually everyone finds religion. I show up at Communions and Confirmations, and I am not only there for the party; I am moved by the beauty of those ceremonies.
Still, though, why Pope Francis?
Partly out of sheer curiosity. Pope Francis is a Big Cheese, after all, whatever you make of the Catholic Church. He is a celebrity. And, as popes go, he has more to recommend him than the average. He is gentle, unassuming. I respect the fact that he clearly has very little time for the Vatican's overblown pomp and ceremony. I like his devotion to the poor, to prisoners, to the sick. I am very disappointed with his views' on women's ordination but not enough - it turns out - to want to shun him entirely.
Then there's nostalgia. I was in primary school when Pope John Paul II showed up in Ireland in 1979 and remember feeling like the only person in the country whose family did not travel to see the Pontiff. (My best friend went and came back with thrilling tales that had very little to do with the Pope, and much to do with the terrifying risks her father had taken on the way there to beat the endless traffic, but that's another story).
Nonetheless, I was commissioned by my teacher to assemble a class project on what was - for an Irish child in Catholic school - the very biggest event of the year. I remember the painstaking Sellotaping of pictures from the paper, the careful transcription of his every word. As I laboured at the back of the classroom, I recall feeling that I was doing holy work, like I was part of it all. And yet my only encounter with the Pope was on TV.
This time I hope to change that.

Seeds of Love: Memorial Mass with RC Women Priests- 6/16/18, by Judy Lee RCWP

https://judyabl.blog/2018/06/17/seeds-of-love-memorial-mass-6-16-18/

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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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