Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ann Harrington, ARCWP Presides at Liturgy with Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community in Greenville, North Carolina/Homily for January 25, 2015

Ann Harrington, ARCWP Presides at Liturgy with Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community in Greenville, North Carolina

January 25, 2015 Homily

I attended a couple of MLK events last week.  The things that struck me about his message that is relevant to us here today was his call to freedom and his dream.  Freedom is one of our nations deepest calls, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is in the Declaration of Independence.  I daresay, freedom is at the core of who God made us to be and who God longs for us to be--a free people.  The women's priest movement is a social justice movement living the Gospel of Jesus freely.  No longer do we submit to the hierarchy's definition of God and we dare to claim the right to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit for ourselves. And I hope you feel free enough to confront me if something I say hurts you or our community.  Like Simon and Andrew we are dropping the nets of entrapment from our old understanding of church to the freedom of a post Vatican II, circular, egalitarian model of church. We believe we are following Jesus, who never claimed in the Gospel accounts to be God but did say, "follow me".  I do believe in the Promised Land, I see glimpses of it here and now.  I see it in your faces, I know the good things you do.  I think Jesus was pointing how to experience Kingdom living now, the parables tell of how God is working, alive and present in this world.

One thing that is always a tension for me, is how involved to be in this or that thing that comes along.  The temptation of "good deed doers" is to do too much.  Hence our Zen parable.  How to know what my package is?  Many years ago I read a book that gave me a daily focus.  What tasks do I need to do today? Who do I need to love today?  I use this as a prayer most mornings.  These questions help, along with a centering prayer practice in giving me a good sense of when to say no and when to say yes.

There is much to be concerned about in our hurting world.  Each day the news is filled with stories of horror and destruction.  How do we keep hoping in the face of this?  I remember a commercial back in the 60's asking, do you see this glass of water half empty or half full.  It was a promotion for Peace Corp and it really impressed me.  If we use the glass metaphor and move it to our world, we can say, is the world half good or half bad?  I think there is more good than bad here on planet Earth and it is important to remind ourselves of this by reading the good news and the bad news.    Last week some young people visited Mark and I from Third Street Center.  They are trying to build a community center for all of Greenville.  They left some cookies and some information (if anyone of you is interested in learning about National Building Day on April 11, see me later).  They were certainly a bright spot in my day.  I shared with them our budding community and gave them my card.  Something good is moving across the land.  We are living in a time of great transition and transformation.  We stand at a crossroads in human history and we can wring our hands and curse the darkness or we can join together to increase the light.  Being here in community increases the light.  And each day we have the opportunity to increase the light, even if it is something as simple as smiling and saying hello to a stranger.  I know well the challenges are not often that simple.  But doing our best day by day and reflecting on how well we've done at the end of the day are ways to be the body of Christ..

I urge you to go outside this week and look at nature.  In my yard the daffodils are sprouting and here we are just one month into winter and most likely will have snow and ice sometime soon.  But there they are, those daffodils, they died last spring, out of our sight they multiplied and now they are on the verge of bursting with new life.  This is reality, Jesus, the image of the invisible God, showed us this reality with his life:  he lived fully, he  surrendered to the reality of his life on earth, he died and he rose to new life.  This is the Way of God.  This is our faith.  We are part of this drama whether we want to be or not.  It is in our DNA.  The more we open to the Spirit, the more life and love we will experience.  Mother Church has told us this from the beginning.  The mystics tell us to surrender, that when we stop resisting the Truth of Life, living gets much more wonderful.  The fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,  become our companions.

My questions for reflection:

What new thing is trying to be born in you?
Are there obstacles to you living a more free life?
What is your dream for this community?

Homily by Richard Vosko: Just Show Up!


..."Jesus started to put together his A-team. The members of his club shared possessions, ate and drank together, slept very little, and did not stay in one place for long. They followed Jesus even though at times they disagreed with or misunderstood what he was saying and doing.,,, 
The word for “repent” in Greek means to change one’s mind, not necessarily to do penance. Jesus said to them, “the time has come to change your mind....” "No one can do it alone. Think of Martin Luther King Jr or Dorothy Day or Vincent de Paul. We may not always know exactly what to do or how to do it. But, we can support one another. Just showing up … is the first step."

Vatican: Not A Single Woman:



Media Links to Woman Bishop Consecrated in England/ Another Major Step Forward for Gender Equality


Longley said that Lane's ordination will likely be discussed at ARCIC's next meeting in Rome in May, and said that Catholics will have to prepare to work more closely with women bishops due to the new direction.

First female Church of England bishop: But what are women STILL not allowed to do in Britain today?
It was the first time since the club's founding in 1754 that women were ... The Church of England may have allowed women to become priests, and ...
Libby Lane, The First Woman Bishop Of The Church Of England, Just Broke The Stained-Glass ... - Bustle
Catholic Church to Keep Ban on Women Priests Despite Church of England's First Female Bishop ...
A Roman Catholic archbishop said that the Catholic Church will be keeping its ban on allowing women to serve as priests in the wake of the Church of ...
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Belfast Telegraph

The Guardian

I'm a bit of a wexter. You probably are too. And yes, that's a bad thing
This week I noticed a photograph of women priests celebrating the first female bishop, holding their phone screens aloft, like fans at a One Direction ...
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Orlando Weekly

At 80 years old, Rita Lucey defies centuries of doctrine and dogma by becoming a Catholic priest
The Catholic church shuns the very notion of women as priests – it's written into the church's canonical law that only baptized men may become priests ...
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Ecumenical News

San Francisco priest bars altar girls, sparks another controversy
“If the Catholic Church ordained women, altar girls would make sense, but the Catholic priesthood is a male charism,” he said. “Nothing awakens a ...
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Church of England gets 1st female bishop amid protests
Church of England gets 1st female bishop amid protests Centuries of ... its first female bishop in a ceremony briefly disrupted by a traditionalist priest's ...
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Karkala: Four Bishops along with priests concelebrate the solemn feast mass at St. Lawrence Shrine
Prior to the solemn mass, the Bishops and priest came in procession ... promotion of consecrated life especially that of the religious men and women.
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Liturgy Celebrating St. Brigit of Ireland, Feast Day, Feb. 1st, by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

The Irish are a people who live warm hospitality and who love to sing and dance.
 So in this spirit we welcome all to a liturgy in honor of St. Brigit of Kildare.  bishop and abbess, whose gracious hospitality to all especially those on the margins, continues to inspire people today.
Left; St. Brigit of Kildare is depicted standing next to apostles on a ancient stone altar at Rock of Cashel in CountyTipperary, Ireland
Gathering Song: “We are marching in the light of God” (substitute singing, loving, healing, African chant adapted)
Presider: In the name of God our creator, and of Jesus our brother, and of the Holy Spirit our wisdom     ALL:  Amen.
Presider:  God, our joy and delight, You are with us. ALL:  And with all.

Penitential Rite:
(Be seated. Allow a few minutes to become centered. Breathe in deeply the tenderness of God... Breathe out compassion for all living things...)

General Absolution by Community: (All raise hands extended in prayer and recite together.)
God, the Father and Mother of mercies, through his living, dying and rising, Jesus has revealed that nothing can separate us from the infinite love of God.  May God give us pardon and peace, and may we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and for our earth in the name of God our creator, and of Jesus our brother, and of the Holy Spirit our wisdom. Amen.

ALL:  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Creator God, we give you thanks. We praise you for your glory. O Jesus Christ, Holy Child of our God, you reveal the love of God that permeates our universe. You, who are one in spirit with our God, receive our prayer. For you are the Cosmic Christ, one with the Holy Spirit, forever .Amen.

Opening Prayer:
Presider: O God of compassion and healing. You gave holy Brigit to us as a sign of your love. You caress us with the warmth of the sun.  You encircle us in love’s embrace. You are behind us and before us. You are above us and beneath us. We consecrate all that we are to you. ALL:  Amen

Liturgy of the Word:
A Reading Dt:18: 15-20
Response: “We let the love wash over us. We let, we let, it be “ All sing as chant led by Mindy Simmons
Second Reading: St. Brigit of Kildare (A Reading from the Life of St. Brigit from Praying with Celtic Holy Women by Bridget Mary Meehan)
Gospel acclamation: Alleluia (sung)
A Reading from the Gospel of Mark1:21-28
Response: Alleluia (sung)
Profession of Faith:  ALL: We believe in God, the Fountain of Life, flowing through every being. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who reflects the face of God and the fullness of humanity. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God in the cosmos, who calls us to love and serve. We believe in our global oneness with all in the circle of life. 

General Intercessions
Presider: God of Abundance, we share these prayers as a community united in compassion.
Our response to each prayer is Yes!
That we may give as gift, the gifts we have received
That we, like St. Brigit, may be reflections of compassion and abundance.
That we may care for earth’s creatures.
That we may, like St. Brigit, serve those in need. (Additional spontaneous petitions)
Presider: God of healing, may be reflections of your liberating, healing compassionate love as we live our lives in love with you and with others. United in the power of your Spirit, we pray. Amen.

Preparation of the Gifts:
Collection and procession with gifts: instrumental music
Presiders (raise bread and wine):  Ever gentle God, as co-creators of our planet, we offer you the gifts of bread, wine and our lives.  We celebrate our oneness in the family of God.  In Christ Sophia, the Wisdom of God, we pray.  Amen

All are welcome to join us around the altar and pray the Eucharistic Prayer
Eucharistic Prayer:
Presider: Holy One, You dwell in us.
ALL: And in every living being.
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
ALL:  We lift them up to our Creator in whom all are one.
Presider: Let us give thanks for the gift of life.
ALL: It is right to give the God of Glory present everywhere and in everything, thanks and praise.

ALL sing: We are holy (x3), You are holy (x3), I am holy (x3), we are holy (x3) (Karen Drucker)

Voice One: Holy One, we bring you these gifts that they may become the Christ Presence as we share this sacred banquet.
(All Extend Hands) 
All: We celebrate the outpouring of your Spirit on these gifts as we remember.
 On the night before he died, while at supper with his friends, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat.This is my Body. Do this in memory of me.”  (Pause)  

All: In the same way, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said the blessing, gave the cup to his friends and said, “Take this all of you and drink. This is my Blood. Do this in memory of me.” 

Presider: The Mystery of Faith: 

ALL: This bread is you, this bread is me. We are one body in Christ.

Voice Two: Holy One, You fill our lives with your Spirit as we celebrate our oneness with all in the Heart of Love.

Voice Three: Holy One, we remember all who are working for equality, human rights and justice. (pause as community remembers and names specific people)

Voice Four : Holy One, we remember Mary, mother of Jesus, faithful disciple, St. Brigit, and all the holy women and men who have passed into Your eternal embrace. May we praise you in union with them and live your compassion and justice each day.

Great Amen:
ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in unity with the Holy Spirit, all glory, honor and praise to you, loving God forever and ever.
Sing: Amen, Amen, Amen
ALL sing: Prayer of Jesus (“Our Father and Mother”)

Sign of Peace: (Peace, is flowing like a river)

Litany for the Breaking of the Bread:
All:  God of love in you, with you and through you, we will love. God of service, in you, with you, and through you, we will serve. God of justice, in you, with you and through you, we will do justice.

Presider: Adapted from St. Brigit’s Table Blessing in Praying with Celtic Holy Women
“We welcome the poor to the feast, for they are God’s children, We welcome the sick to the feast for they are God’s joy. Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place and the sick dance with the angels.”
ALL: We are the Body of Christ. All are welcome at this feast.

Communion Song: “You are the face of God. I hold you in my heart. You are my family, You are the face of God.” (Chant by Karen Drucker
 Meditation: One World by Mindy Simmons

                Concluding Rite:
Presider:  God of Compassion, you are with us
ALL: And You love through us.

Blessing: Ancient St. Brigit Blessing (with hands extended in prayer)

ALL: May St. Brigit bless the house wherein you dwell. Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof. Bless ever hand that toils to bring it joy. Bless every foot that walks its portals through. May St. Brigit bless the house that shelters you.

Recessional: “We are marching in light of God”
ALL sing &; dance: “We are marching in the light of God” (Substitute: We are dancing, we are living, we are serving in the light of God: South African chant adapted)

Liturgy by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests