Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Historic Ecumenical Eucharist on Maundy Thursday: St. Andrew UCC and Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida

On Holy Thursday, April 17, 2014, members of St. Andrew UCC and Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community shared Eucharist together. The congregation came up to the table in intimate groups of twelve. Pastor Phil and Bishop Bridget Mary prayed with each group.
The liturgy began with a dramatic reading of the Last Supper. See clips below.
The Twelve apostles were represented by members from both congregations and Bridget Mary played the role of Jesus. Pastor Phil Garrison, Carol Ann Breyer, Rev. Michael Rigdon and  Pastor Donna Papenhausen shared the role of narrator. 
Below are brief clips of our historic Eucharistic celebration. We, the Body of Christ, are living Jesus' vision "that all my be one." All of us are called to love and serve one another. Let us join the cosmic dance of creation to the heartbeat of Divine Love!
















"In Defence of the Ordination of Women"/Cape Breton Post/Canada

http://www.capebretonpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/2014-04-17/article-3693258/In-defence-of-the-ordination-of-women/1


..."It's refreshing to see that various clergy are coming to the defence of the ordination of women including Rev. John Shea, an Augustinian, who taught theology in the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.
In a recently letter written at the start of Lent, the second of two letters he has written to fellow clergy including Cardinal O”Malley of Boston, Shea insists that there has never been a “clear and credible theological explanation for the exclusion of women from the Catholic priesthood.” In fact, he sees the church's teaching that women are not like Jesus as heretical.
Before putting pen to paper, Shea stopped his active ministry as a priest. After writing his first letter, his career as a professor was terminated and he was the recipient of two “canonical warnings” that he would be punished with a “just” penalty for speaking out on this topic.
Meanwhile, a Franciscan Friar, Fr. Jerry Zawada of Wisconsin, has been deprived of his priestly faculties for concelebrating Mass with a woman priest, Mother Janice Sevre-Dusznska, in 2011, just as Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest, was excommunicated and eventually dismissed from his Order for having been part of Dusznska's ordination ceremony in 2008 and for speaking out publicly in favor of women's ordination.
Like Bourgeois and brother priest Jesuit Fr. Bill Brennan who had his priestly ministries removed for participating in a liturgy with Rev. Sevre-Dusznska, Fr. Zawada feels very strongly about the ordination of women. He's very aware that his superiors and the hierarchy don't think he is observing his vow of obedience, but feels he must follow his conscience.
Zawada, who has been a peace activist and hopes to continue to share his life with the poor, is also a proponent of a married clergy. Given that married Anglican priests were recruited and welcomed into the Catholic church when they refused to accept the Church of England's decision to ordain women, many Catholics are left shaking their heads.
Meanwhile, as the Vatican has added “attempted” ordination of women to its list of “grave sins”, Shea, in his letter to fellow clergy, reminds them that for centuries permissibility of slavery was seen as part of the “ordinary infallible teaching” of the church, but is now considered as an “inherent evil” by that same church.
As well, racism and religious intolerance were also part of “the ordinary infallible teaching” of the church, but over a long period of time and immeasurable..." 

The washing of feet: a call to love and a challenge to gender and privilege By Savi Hensman 17 Apr 2014

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/20427

..."The footwashing scene occurs only in John’s gospel, though Matthew, Mark and Luke also depict the ‘last supper’. By this point, Jesus has gathered a large following, especially among the marginalised and dispossessed, but become a focus for the hostility for much of the religious and political elite...Throughout all the gospels, Jesus constantly overturns expectations of how society is supposed to function and indeed what God is like.In John’s gospel, the day after Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, he is condemned by the secular and religious authorities and crucified. His mother and the disciple Jesus loves in a special way, who lay against his breast during supper, are standing by. He tells them, “Woman, here is your son”, and ”Here is your mother”, after which the disciple takes her into his own home, joined in a family linked through love and faith not birth. And, though society does not greatly value women’s testimony, on the third day it is another woman, Mary of Magdala, who is chosen to be the first witness of the resurrection.The way of love, where food and drink are shared with the physically hungry and God’s own self is offered as spiritual nourishment, is profoundly challenging. Following this path may involve straying far outside one’s comfort zone, even risking one’s life. Yet it leads to hope, and – Christians believe – triumph over death itself."

"Homeless in Holy Week", Letter to Editor by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140417/LETTERS/304179999/2163/OPINION?p=3&tc=pg

Homeless in 'holy week'
As our religious communities celebrate Passover and Easter, I wonder how much longer it will take to provide adequate shelter for the homeless in our community.
The Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions teach that we must care for our brothers and sisters in need. We are taught that whatsoever we do to the least among us, that we do to God.
So, during this "holy week," let's examine our consciences and ask ourselves, if God came down to earth as a homeless person today, would God find a home here? Would God be welcome in Sarasota? But wait, God is already here!
Bridget Mary Meehan
Sarasota

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Holy Thursday, by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

A week ago yesterday,
along with 150 other people from various faith traditions,
I participated in an interfaith Seder
in preparation for this year's Passover celebration.
Rabbi Samuel Weinstein presided at the event
at Temple Shomer Emunim in Sylvania.
We prayed together,
listened to a historical and theological explanation
of the ritual and the symbolic food,
sampled the bitter herbs-- maror--
and the boiled egg, haroset, parsley, motzoh...
and drank four glasses of wine.
We made new friends and shared our stories.
It was the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples
the night before he died.
_________________________________
Four days later, on the night before Passover,
a neo-Nazi charged into a Jewish facility
in Overland Park, Kansas,
a JCC and temple just like the one we had gathered in.
His vicious anti-Semitism took three lives.
_________________________________
Tonight we Christians
begin our annual celebration of the paschal mystery.
It's not easy to pull our focus away from this violence.
Yet the Passover continues for our Jewish brothers and sisters,
in spite of the hatred aimed at them.
The Triduum begins for the grieving families
of the Methodist grandfather and grandson
and the Catholic mother killed in Overland Park,
in spite of the tragedy visited on them.
With them, we assert once again
our faith that God acts in history
and that God's action is good, not evil.
_________________________________
We Christians see the paschal mystery--
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again--
as a universal pattern.
As Fr. Richard Rohr puts it,
"Life will be death, failure, and absurdity,
which can lead to renewal, joy, and beauty.
The pattern is inevitable, universal, and transformative."
Jesus reveals and lives this pattern
and tells us that we can trust it.
The pattern is everywhere,
and Jesus is our model and our guide.
Each of us experiences the same pattern in our own lives.
We are born. We live. We die.
And we are reborn to live again.
Each of us has lived and re-lived that pattern many times already.
We have started something--schooling, marriage, job, friendship--
and given it our best.
And along the way we've failed, fallen short of the mark,
then picked up the pieces and tried again.
Our hope, as it's said, springs eternal.
We keep on keeping on.
We get up and go again.
_________________________________
At that interfaith Seder the pattern of our history,
of our human lives and deaths,
and of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection,
merged for me.
I knew the presence of my ancestors in faith.
I enjoyed the presence of new friends.
I felt the presence at the table
of Jesus the Jew
and the risen Christ.
It's that same paschal mystery we celebrate in our three-day ritual,
beginning tonight.
It's all one event, a remembering of life and death and resurrection;
it's all one with our own lives and Jesus' life.
_________________________________
Over the next three days,
you and I will give witness to Jesus' commitment
to live in love and truth, faithful to God's will,
even at the cost of his life.
The commitment transforms him,
as it transforms us
when we ground ourselves
in God's unconditional love
and Jesus's prophetic example.
Tonight we remember and celebrate in our table fellowship
the call to serve one another--
to wash one another's feet.
_________________________________
No matter the challenge,
with God's love we rise again,
and again.

--
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor
419-727-1774

"Female Priests in the Catholic Church" by Jennifer Lee on April 15, 2014/Interview with Diane Dougherty, ARCWP

http://www.the-broad-side.com/female-priests-in-the-catholic-church-jennifer-lee

Diane Dougherty
"Since Easter is upon us I thought I would talk with a priest about the roots of the springtime religious holiday of Easter.
I grew up in a Catholic family and always wanted to discuss the roots of Easter with a priest. I found one who was willing to talk to me. Her name is Diane Dougherty. We went beyond the roots of Easter and discussed the role of women in the Catholic church.
JL: Where are you a priest?
DD: I am a priest serving in an LGBTQ church, First Metropolitan Community. I am helping them give form to their children’s ministry and work with members on various actions such as gaining access to same sex marriage throughout Georgia legislature. I also have home masses and advocate for women’s ordination wherever I am called.
JL: How did you become a priest?
DD: I have an equivalency of a Masters of Divinity and 37 years of working in a multitude of ministries within parishes and dioceses, which is a requirement for ordination. I completed mentoring and seminary training program provided by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. I was ordained a deacon by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan in Sarasota, Florida in February, 2011, and a priest in Atlanta at First Metropolitan Church on October 20, 2012.
JL: Were there ever women priests?
DD: For the first 1200 years [of the existence of the Catholic Church] women were serving as priests, bishops, deacons and in many areas of the church. If you go to the Cathedral of St. Augustine in Hippo, which is now the Cathedral of Annaba, there is a mosaic that says, “Here lies Guilia Runa priest…” This meant she was on staff as a priest in the 5th Century AD...."

Jennifer Lee is a filmmaker who lives in Los Angeles. She has spent many years working on Hollywood films and used her free time (when she had it!) making her own films. Her latest film, “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation” is being screened in numerous public libraries across the nation during Women’s History Month. Jennifer was recently named Global Ambassador for the Global Media Monitoring Project.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Letter to Bishop Frank Dewane from Sonia Pressman Fuentes, a Holocaust Survivor

Dear Bishop Dewane:
 
For many years now at about this time of year I receive your invitation to attend a Holocaust commemoration.  I have never attended, and I realize you are entitled to know why.
 
In addition to being a Jew and a Holocaust survivor, for the past fifty years, I have been a feminist activist in Sarasota and elsewhere.  I abhor the Catholic Church’s medieval positions with regard to women and other matters of human rights. Your policies against the ordination of women, against the use of contraception (which is ignored by the vast majority of your members), and against abortion and your requirement of celibacy for most of your priests are anathema to me. Your policy involving celibacy goes against everything we know about man’s nature.  It is absolutely ridiculous to require adult men to be celibate.  What these policies have produced, among other things,  is a worldwide epidemic of priests who abuse young children and other priests who cover such acts up.
 
I will certainly not be associated with any such church or diocese.  Please, therefore, remove me from your mailing list.  At such time as you give up these antediluvian principles and join the 21st century, you can let me know, and I will be happy to attend your Holocaust commemorations.
 
Best,
Sonia
Sonia Pressman Fuentes
Speaker, Author, "Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give You,
The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter
"

Civil Same-Sex Marriage: A Catholic Affirmation


rainbow wedding ringsby Lisa Fullam [more]
Abstract
Many Catholic contributions to the debate over civil same-sex marriage are too broad or too narrow. Too broad: civil same-sex marriage is sometimes described as parallel to same-sex marriage in the Church. Too narrow: some Catholic contributions to the discussion have centered on reproductive capacity, ignoring Catholicism’s rich tradition which values marriage beyond procreation. Here, I consider Catholic moral tradition on civil law: civil law is approached in light of the common good, expressed in contemporary societies in terms of equal civil rights. Second, I examine magisterial contributions to the public debate, which are framed in terms of a reading of natural law based in the Scriptural interpretation of Pope John Paul II. Such religious arguments may serve as normative for marriage within the Church, but do not reflect Catholic norms for civil law. Finally, I offer reasons Catholics might advocate civil same-sex marriage.


Radical Grace | Trailer for Documentary About Three Irrepressible Nuns

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuCYkAbbOek
      

Published on Mar 21, 2014
http://www.RadicalGraceFilm.com When the Vatican censures American nuns for "radical feminism," three sisters stand up for their spiritual convictions. A documentary film in progress by Interchange Productions and Kindling Group in association with KatLei Productions.https://www.facebook.com/RadicalGrace...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Eyes to See" Homily by Deacon Paula Hoeffer RCWP/ Resurrection Community, An Inclusive Catholic Community in Cincinnati

Eyes to See                Paula Hoeffer  04/09/14
Left to right Jancie Sevre Duszynska, ARCWP and  Deacon Paula Hoeffer, RCWP/USA
Paula will be ordained a priest in May in Cincinnati. Both are members of Resurrection Community in Cincinnati, Ohio
04/09/14



(1 Samuel 16,1b,6-7,10-13a & Luke 7,36-46))

Need I only say the name “Susan Boyle” for you to recall the cheeky middle-aged plump woman who has on Britain Has Talent. And you may also recall the smirks and cynical looks from the judges as well as the audience when she first appeared on stage.
Then, from within,   with clarity and beauty, came the song “I Dreamed a Dream.” Her singing stunned the judges and audience!
“Pay no attention to appearances” that was God's advice to Samuel in our first reading, as he was to choose a new leader for the Israelites from among Jesse's sons.
 God is telling us to look beyond the gift wrap, to the gift within, to the heart, the place where God dwells in each of us.
In today's Gospel reading, we hear the Pharisees say,
“If this fellow were the Prophet, he would know who this woman is who is touching him, and what a low reputation she has.”
Well Jesus did know who this woman was. He saw the gift within, he saw her heart.
I saw something on YouTube called God's Glasses, that illustrated this way of seeing so well. As a man is leaving his house he is clearly irritated by the happenings in his life. First
a kid on a skateboard gets in his way,
then the traffic jams,
then someone “steals” his parking space,
then a long line in the coffee shop....
well you get the picture, nothing is going right. Then someone approaches him and hands him a pair of glasses. When he puts them on, it's as if he had prayed, “Open my eyes, God, help me to see.”
Because now through the glasses, as he views everyone he encountered that mourning, they had labels on them which spoke of their heart. Labels like:
                grieving her best friend
                or discontent with life
                or fighting additions
                works two jobs to feed her kids
                just needs a hug
                recently lost his job
                or needs someone to listen and care
                feel worthless.
Remember, God said “Pay no attention to appearances.” Wouldn't it be astonishing if we all had those glasses?....those glasses of compassion. Not just for seeing into the heart of casual encounters as this fellow did, but what about when we are in conflict with,
or judgmental toward those with whom we live, toward our spouse,  ... our friends, our family, our coworkers,. Or even as Jesus said “our enemies.” ….or the patriarchal church.
It's not easy, especially when dealing with difficult people or situations to see beyond appearances into their heart. It's easier to see them through our eyes.
We see the hurt they cause us.
We see the wrong they have done us.
We see their actions through the lenses of our own personal experience and feelings.
Through God's eyes we could see them as a hurting, frightened,lost or misinformed person.
Through God's eyes we see their woundedness, their confusion, their fear, their brokenness.
And if we seek wholeheartedly, we could even see their possibilities instead of their liabilities. Looking beyond appearances takes the focus off of us and keeps us from taking things personally....looking beyond appearances into their vulnerable heart, bypassing the wrapping paper to get to the gift.
Those glasses can be transforming not only when looking at people, but also at life situations. My diagnosis of cancer, a rare gastro-intestinal tumor, suspicious liver, blood clot , possibly inoperable, was not a pretty wrapping paper.
But beyond the appearance of this ugly gift wrap I eventually discovered a valuable gift inside.
        The gift of appreciating the present moment
...the gift of a deeper trust and faith in God
...the gift of accepting and embracing my mortality
..the gift of a joy-filled gratitude love for life, for Ed, my family and friends, and my community. Yes all of you. I am so grateful for your prayers, your hugs, your encouragement, your love,....these are gifts to me.They have lifted me up.
Sometimes I think little people have a way saying the simple truth without ever realizing it. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, my six year old grandson came up to me and said, “Congratulations on your cancer, Grandma!” I didn't know what he meant by that then, or if he even knew, but now I know, the cancer was a gift!
Now here is the good news... we all own a pair of those glasses!
Jesus said, “I will send my Spirit to be with you always.”
How do we convert initial appearances to transforming gifts? Symptoms to significances? We go deep within our own hearts, in quiet meditation, and listen to the Spirit.
I invite each of us to take a brief moment now to reflect on a current situation or a person in our life that we would need to look beyond appearances and into the heart and listen to what the response might be.
(Allow a few minutes of quiet)
Take some time this week to take that to prayer. Open my eyes, God, help me to see!




Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community Palm Sunday and Rev. Chava’s Reflection Rev. Chava’s Reflection

http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/good-shepherd-inclusive-catholic-community-palm-sunday-and-rev-chavas-reflection/

Jimmy Carter Addresses Women's Rights on the Colbert Report

http://blog.cartercenter.org/2014/04/08/president-carter-discusses-womens-rights-on-the-colbert-report/
Clip where Jimmy Carter said he would become Catholic if a female priest invited him to do so.
He also talks about the letter Pope Francis wrote to Carter in reponse to raising the issue of women's equality in the Roman Catholic Church! A must see!

Monday, April 14, 2014

" Survivor Campaigner seeking ‘Rescue Services’ and ‘Safe Space Provisioning’ for survivors of clerical child sexual abuse" /Ireland

Mark Vincent Healy: 087-6374006
http://www.thejournal.ie/author/mark-vincent-healy/
Pastoral care’ implies that a relationship exists
..."Indeed ‘pastoral care’ implies there is a relationship between those involved, and in that relationship there is a ‘trust’. I think you would be very hard pressed to find any survivors or their families expressing anything other than their feelings of betrayal and demands for justice, which invariably intensify in failed and harrowing protracted judicial processes in the vast majority of cases.
I think the initiative by the Papal Advisory Council of Cardinals will need to consider ‘how badly have we [the church] messed up that relationship?’ The legal process does nothing to show there is anything but self-interest and self-preservation.
Those faced with causing scandal through perpetration or facilitation are thrown into survival mode. Their state of affairs triggers a ‘flight or fight response’ in order to survive what presents itself as a ruinous situation to the reputation and existence of those causing such scandal. Since the 1980’s the response was one of insurance and lawyers, hardly the expected response of professed ministers of the living God.
Scandal is the drawing of another into doing a wrong because of the gravity of an offence caused. Clerical child sexual abuse has clearly drawn hierarchical figures within the Catholic Church into responses that served the ‘rescue of reputation’ of particular dioceses or congregations rather than the ‘rescue of children’ sexually abused by clergy...."

St. Andrew UCC and Mary Mother of Jesus Prepare Easter Bags for the Homeless at Sanctuary Sarasota

left to right, Carol Ann Breyer, George Goethe, Mary Al Gagnon,
Bridget Mary Meehan, Nancy Goethe, Lee Breyer
George and Nancy Goethe 
Left to right, Mary Al Gagnon, Lyndel  Spence, Lee Breyer, Carol Ann Breyer, Bridget Mary Meehan

On Monday, April 14, 2014, the Ecumenical Homeless Ministry Team from St. Andrew UCC and Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community filled 50 Easter bags with items such as body spray, combs, socks, devotional books for Sanctuary Sarasota administered by Vallerie Guillory from Trinity Without Borders. 
*Lyndel Spence, a PhD candidate and researcher, from  the University of Sydney in Australia  joined us. She conducted interviews with some of our leaders including Pastor Phil. Lyndel is doing her PhD project on the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement and our communities.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Homily for the Mass on Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP


So we gather this week to remember
the presence of God acting through Jesus of Nazareth.
Today we remember the story
of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem,
told by Matthew to show Jesus
as the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies
for the coming of God's reign on earth.
It's that reign we celebrate today.
It's that reign we continue to seek and to build.
This weekend
we listen to Matthew's account of Jesus' passion and death.
It is significant that, on the other 51 Sundays of the year,
we hear stories of Jesus' life and ministry--
51 to 1--51 on his life and ministry
as opposed to 1 on his suffering and death.
Those 51 other weeks of Gospels
lay out the reasons for Jesus' suffering and death:
he spoke truth to power;
he ministered among and to the poor and downtrodden;
he offended those few Jewish leaders
who cooperated with their foreign oppressors;
he called ordinary people to take part in the kin-dom of God;
he angered and frightened the powerful Roman occupiers.
_________________________________________
Pope Francis, in a homily two weeks ago,
reflected on the situation Jesus found himself in
as a result of his teaching ministry.
The Pope said that Jesus, with simplicity and strength in God,
made trouble for the corrupt leaders with the people.
And step by step, they ended up convincing themselves
that they had to kill Jesus.
____________________________________
Like Jesus, we are called to life and ministry.
To serve the poor.
To minister among the oppressed.
To speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.
Like Jesus, we are called to stand firm in the face of opposition.
Like Jesus, we will sometimes suffer
for what we believe and what we do.
Even so, let's continue to follow Jesus' Way.
The kin-dom of God is among us.
Let us remember.
Let us rejoice.

--
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor
419-727-1774

"Local woman to be ordained as Catholic priest" by Steven Spearie

http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140412/NEWS/140419782/10298/LIFESTYLE


"Mary Keldermans is recounting the story of the finding of the Christ child in the temple — the Gospel of Luke’s depiction in which Jesus is left behind following Passover in Jerusalem and found by Mary and Joseph three days later among the temple elders — when she remembers her own brush with a lost child.
“We had gone to a magic show at Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois Springfield) and we were going to Howard Johnson afterwards for ice cream,” she recalled. “On our way there, one of my sons yells out, ‘Clare (my 4-year-old daughter) isn’t here.’ I said, ‘What do you mean Clare isn’t here?’
“So I tore back to the campus, panicked, overwhelmed at the horror of what I’d done, and there she was, with two older gentlemen holding her by the hands. She’s crying. I’m crying. And I just said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’ ”
What’s missing, added Keldermans, is that for so long, Roman Catholics have only heard the interpretation of Scriptures, including the story of the lost child, from male perspectives, mostly through homilies.
“I can look at that story,” said Kelderman, who has six children and five grandchildren, “and have a different experience. Mary was a Jewish mother who was worried sick about her son. I know what she felt like. I know what she felt like to have a teething child, to have teenagers.
“It brings the story closer to Jesus being my brother.”


Read more: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140412/News/140419782#ixzz2yoaEnNxj

Shouts of Victory: Palm Sunday Homily with Rev. Judy Lee ARCWP and walking Through Holy Week with Rev. Deniray Mueller

IMG_0028Rev. Judy’s Homily-Palm Sunday April 13, 2014: Shouts of Victory
Churches all over the world will be adorned in palm branches this Sunday commemorating the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem seated on the back of a donkey. In our church as in many Roman Catholic and other churches, people will gather outside in a procession to the church carrying palms and singing Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest, as was done for the first time by the crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem.
The Gospel of Matthew (21:1-11) will be read and we will see Jesus enacting the prophecy about the coming of Zion’s ruler in Zechariah 9:9-10. “Rejoice in heart and soul….Shout with gladness daughter of Jerusalem! Look! Your ruler comes to you: victorious and triumphant, humble, riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”(TIB) The NAB translation of this verse read: “Shout for joy…See, your king shall come to you; a just savior he is, meek and riding on the foal of an ass”.   The Peshitta (Near Eastern translation from Jesus’ Aramaic) reads “…he is righteous and a Savior, lowly and riding…upon a colt, the foal of an ass”.  The fulfillment of this prophecy about the Messiah is why Jesus sent his disciples to get the colt he would ride on into Jerusalem.  To ride on a donkey in that age was more a sign of humiliation than royalty, for only the poor rode on donkeys. Royalty rode on fine horses or in transport pulled by powerful steeds.  So, here is Jesus the king of the poor and outcast, for he had loved them, healed them, taught them and won their hearts, now welcomed by them with great joy. They spread their cloaks on the ground before him and shouted “Hosanna” which means “Save” in Hebrew but is a song of praise. Matthew’s Gospel says “the whole city was stirred up” at his arrival.
The account of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem is in all four Gospels. John’s Gospel (Ch 12) adds that the people recalled the raising of Lazarus and thronged around him. “Look, the whole world has gone after him! (12:19b). In Luke’s (Ch 19) account Jesus was asked by the Pharisees to quiet his disciples. He said that if they were quiet even the stones would cry out! This was a time of acclamation and joy, the universe itself was in accord. I think that the joyful shouts of acclamation filled Jesus’ heart and even for a short while he knew that despite what lied ahead, and he had already predicted that, he had accomplished his mission, the ordinary, the poor, the sick and the outcast along with his other disciples, men and women and children, knew who he was and would carry on his work. This deep knowledge and his always close Abba, Amma God (Papa, Mama) gave him the strength to face what was ahead of him.
And, then as he drew close to Jerusalem, Jesus wept for Jerusalem and the people as they did not accept the prophets before him, or him-“you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you”- and destruction not peace would come to them.  The oppressors would win after all in Jerusalem and for this, he wept. Then, he entered the Temple and further enraged the authorities by throwing out the money changers and the sellers of animals, doves and others, for sacrifice. In essence, He set those birds and animals free and put the place where God was supposed to live back into God- perspective. God doesn’t want any form of animal or living sacrifice, God wants lives and hearts full of justice and love for everyone.   This is to be a house of prayer!  The ensuing parable of the tenants in the vineyard (Matt 21: 33-45) where the owner has to send his son because the others collecting the debt were killed and the son is also killed but the vineyard is given to other tenants, tells us what will happen next.
On Palm Sunday I like to savor the victory with Jesus.  Jesus joy was short lived because his work was not done-he kept on going with his actions and his teaching. I think the strength of the Heartfelt Hosannas propelled him on. I also think that it may well have been a different crowd that shouted “crucify him” while his loyal group of lowly folks, lowly like him, were overwhelmed by the greater powerful interests of the religious establishment and the Roman Oppressors.
The Roman Catholic Liturgy really rushes Jesus’ moments of victory as once the palms are placed down, the entire Passion is read for the Gospel. Yes, Jesus will be killed in a brutal and slow tortuous way. But even there he will make a statement of victory. When we rely on the English translations from the Greek alone we may miss this shout of victory from the Cross. In Matthew 27:46 we have Jesus saying the Aramaic words “Eli, Eli, L’mana Sabachtani.” In English that is translated “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It is phrased as a question and is taken to mean the abandonment of God. But Aramaic scholar Rocco Errico (Let There Be Light, pp. 12-13) points out, it can also be understood as a declaration: “O God! O God To what (a purpose) You have kept me!” or “O Sustainer, O Sustainer! To what a purpose you have left me.” “Left” does not mean abandoned but it means spared to fulfill an end or destiny”. God never forsook or abandoned Jesus, and God will never forsake us.   It is a cry of “I have accomplished it” (Like the “it is finished” in other accounts). The Lamsa version of the Aramaic translates, “for this was my destiny!” In other words, in addition to the words of forgiveness and inclusion (for the thief) from the Cross we have a sense of completion of Jesus’ work -only to be topped by the resurrection! And that indeed is the conclusion of Holy week-rising from the dead!
Amen to the Victory of Palm Sunday and the Victory of the Cross-God is with us until the end, and will raise us up! Amen!!!
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP

HAPPY HOLY WEEK  by Rev. Deniray Meuller -The Garden Community Outdoor Church ,Ohio

This past weekend was beautiful — sunny (finally!), with bright flowers starting to pop out everywhere and little birds singing. Winter seems to have finally left, at least for a little while. A friend of mine, said to me, “You must be busy getting ready for Easter. So what’s the thing to say — do you tell people “Happy Holy Week?’”
“Well,” I said. “You could say ‘Happy Easter,’ when it’s actually Easter day, or ‘Christ is Risen!’. But until then it’s kind of confusing: there’s a lot of different stuff going on in Holy Week.”
Think about it. During Holy Week, we wave palms in the air and hail Jesus as king, the long-awaited messiah who’s going to save us, then we change our minds and scream that the Romans should crucify him; we share a loving last supper with Jesus and he washes our feet, then we sneak out after dinner and betray him. Jesus begs us to stay with him, we promise we will, then we don’t. We abandon him, he’s arrested and beaten; he forgives us, then we run away. Then Jesus is killed; we lay him in the tomb and weep; we go back for him, then he’s gone, then he’s back, and then — wait! — he’s not dead at all.
We call this week before Easter Sunday ‘Holy Week’ because it was originally the time of the Feast of Passover when the Jews were saved in Egypt, and because of the miraculous things that Jesus did in the last week of His Life.
We witness to Christ in song and story throughout Holy Week.
On Palm Sunday we process with our palms and incense and songs. We celebrate Jesus triumphantly riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Men, women and children lined the streets yelling ‘hosanna’ and waving palm branches. They were greeting the messiah who they believed had come to save them.
Holy Monday we remember Jesus’ throwing all the money changers and vendors out of the Temple. The Temple in Jerusalem was the center of worship for the Jews and they were required to present money and animals for sacrifice to the priests when they visited. Animal vendors, and money changers had set up booths in the court. People believed that God actually lived in ‘Most Holy of Holy Places’ the inner sanctum of the Temple. This desecration angered Jesus so much that he turned over the tables of the money changers and ran all the animal vendors out.
On Holy Tuesday, Jesus spent most of the day on the Mount Of Olives, where he preached what we now know as the’ Sermon on The Mount’, telling crowds of people what the Kingdom would be like and how we could join Him.
On Spy Wednesday we remember Judas Iscariot, a zealot, who thought he was doing the right thing by agreeing to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He thought that if Jesus was jailed, the people would rise up and overthrow the Romans.
On Maundy Thursday, Jesus shared a common meal with his disciples – this has become the celebration we call Eucharist or Communion. Many churches strip their altars and cover any icons and statues on Maundy Thursday in preparation for the mourning of Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday. There will be no celebration of Communion until the resurrection.
Many other churches hold feet washings, washing each other’s feet, to commemorate that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Jesus reminds us that we are to love each other as he loved us.
IMG_0055 (1)

After the meal, Jesus went to the Garden at Gethsemane to pray. He asks the disciples to stay and pray with him, but they all fall asleep. Jesus is left to pray for strength for what is to come by himself, abandoned by his own disciples.
Judas then identified Jesus for the Roman guards with a kiss and He was taken away by the soldiers.
We don’t know why this Friday got the name of ‘Good Friday’ - it certainly was not a fun day. Jesus was brought before Pilate, the Roman governor, and sentenced to death. He was then forced to walk to the Hill of Golgotha, carrying the cross on which he will be crucified. There is a commemoration of this walk called the ‘Stations of the Cross’ where participants remember each of the steps to the crucifixion. Here at Trinity, we do a Stations of the Cross around the Statehouse, interweaving Jesus’ trials with social justice issues.
It is generally accepted that Jesus was nailed to the cross around noon on Good Friday and died after three hours. Many churches, including Trinity, hold a vigil with readings and music during this three hour period. The Bible says that when Jesus died, the world turned black, which scientists think was a solar eclipse in the middle of the day.
Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross and buried in an unused tomb.
Holy Saturday ends the season of Lent for Easter Sunday will be a celebration of new life. Holy Saturday is a day of waiting for the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Some churches hold a twilight or midnight vigil waiting for the resurrection; others have people praying throughout the night, waiting for Easter Sunday.
The word ‘Easter’ comes from the German ‘ostern’, meaning the direction from which the sun rises, celebrating the spring sun, when all things return to life again.
Some churches, if they do not do an Easter Vigil, hold a sunrise service to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as the sun comes up. This is a day of great celebration with banners and special music and great feasting. We have left the penitential season of Lent and are reveling in the fact that with the death and resurrection of Jesus, we all have new and eternal life. All our sins have been forgiven with His death and have been promised a place in Heaven for eternity.
So this Holy Week, think about each of the days and what preparation you can make to be ready for the festive celebration of the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.
Let us pray:
Dear Lord, was we approach the week of the trials of your Son, let us remember our own shortcomings and vow to cleanse ourselves of those things that keep us from you. By raising Christ, your Son, you conquered the power of death and opened for us the way to eternal life. Let our celebration raise us up and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
 The Rev deniray mueller
Legislative Liaison
Diocese of Southern Ohio

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mr. and Mrs. Jesus: 'Gospel Of Jesus's Wife' Papyrus Not A Forgery, Harvard Says by SCOTT NEUMAN April 10, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/10/301432378/gospel-of-jesus-wife-papyrus-not-a-forgery-harvard-says?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20140411&utm_campaign=dailydigest&utm_term=nprnews

The tiny fragment, 
written in Egyptian Coptic, 
contains a purported 
reference by 
Jesus to his wife. 
New evidence dates it to between 
the sixth and ninth centuries.

Bridget Mary's Response;
Mr. and Mrs. Jesus, now doesn't that sound wonderful!
This also may give an extra push to the Roman
Catholic Church to go with optional celibacy!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org


Friday, April 11, 2014

Abuse Scandal, Accountability, Pope Francis v. Fr. Doyle - Myth v.Reality

http://christiancatholicism.com/abuse-scandal-accountability-pope-francis-v-fr-doyle-myth-v-reality/

Pope Francis Challenges "Dictatorship of Narrow Thought"/ How about Challenging Vatican to Back Off Modern Day Inquisition?

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-warns-against-the-dictatorship-of-narrow-thought/
Bridget Mary's Response:
I agree completely with Pope Francis's homily.  However, I'd like to see him apply the "dictatorship of narrow thought" to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and their failures to affirm the freedom of conscience of many Catholics today who are living in prophetic obedience to the Spirit including Roman Catholic Women Priests and our supporters. The Pope needs to acknowledge the elephant in his own living room and  to challenge the Vatican to back off  the modern day Inquisition!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

"Secrets of the Vatican" Watch online pbs.org/frontline/secrets-of-the-vatican/

This Week's Pick:Secrets of the Vatican: FRONTLINE's February 2014 film exploring the scandals that rocked Benedict's papacy, including clergy sex abuse, and illuminating the challenges facing Pope Francis as he tries to reform the powerful Vatican bureaucracy.
Why Watch Now? Today, in a speech to members of the International Catholic Child Bureau, Pope Francis made one of his strongest statements yet on clergy sex abuse, calling it "evil," saying that he feels compelled to "personally ask for forgiveness" from victims, and stating that sanctions "must be imposed" on clergy who abuse children.
Where to Watch: Online at pbs.org/frontline/secrets-of-the-vatican/ 

Carter: Pope Said He Wants to Boost Role of Women in the Church By Melanie Batley

http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/jimmy-carter-pope-women-catholic-church/2014/04/11/id/565090/

"Former President Jimmy Carter has revealed that Pope Francis told him in a correspondence that the future status and role of women in the Roman Catholic Church should be "improved or enhanced."

In an interview with Time magazine, Carter said he wrote a letter to Pope Francis urging the church to do more to denounce atrocities like genital mutilation and, in some societies, the continued practice of child marriage, and he was pleased with the response. 

"His letter was very gracious to me, his response. He said that he thought that the status of women and the role of women in the Catholic Church in the future should be improved or enhanced. I was very pleased to get that response," Carter said.

Francis:Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

"I noticed that now, about 10 days ago, Pope Francis appointed an eight-person committee to deal with the problem of priests abusing children. Half of the committee members were women, one of whom had been abused as a girl by a priest."

Carter said he hoped to have the chance to meet the Pope.

"If he comes to the United States, I'd like very much to meet him. If I go to Italy, I will certainly request to meet with Pope Francis, whom I admire very much."

In the wide-ranging interview, Carter talked about a number of the themes in his recent book, "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power."

Carter, a deeply committed Christian, explained the contention in his book that Jesus Christ was the greatest liberator of women in his culture."


Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Jimmy-Carter-Pope-women-Catholic-Church/2014/04/11/id/565090#ixzz2yd66Jepr 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Priest as "Midwife of Grace"- Rebuilidng a Church of Justice and Compassion

Former Dominican Priest and author of dozens of books on spirituality, Matthew Fox, has a new blockbuster book out: Letters to Pope Francis,  Rebuilding a Church of Justice and Compassion which outlines a reform/renewal agenda for Pope Francis.
In the section on revisioning the sacrament of ordination and priesthood, he affirms that Jesus did not ordain anyone at the Last Supper and agrees with historians that the priesthood developed in the second century. 
He states; "I have proposed that the basic meaning of priesthood, its archetypal power is as a "midwife of grace" I propose that if anyone is doing good work among us,  work that qualifies as a midwife of grace, that person is a priest."
Albany Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy are April 7, 2014 liturgy .
Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP is one of the  presiders in this community. 
Matthew goes on to make the case that "such people need instruction in the experiences of grace...The need to get in touch with their mystical selves and prophetic dimensions of their work."
He challenges Pope Francis to get rid of seminaries, in his words, "do away with the  "hothouse atmosphere of make- believe clerical worlds."  "Let them learn of the mystical and prophetic paths, "Fox pleads, "elbow to elbow, and shoulder to shoulder with the artists, therapists, social workers, teachers activists and others who are learning it...And working with the poor and not just others involved in formal education. "
I highly recommend this book for folks interested in renewing and reforming the Roman Catholic Church. 
I believe that our international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is offering a new paradigm that affirms a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. We offer an inclusive sacramental ministry with the people of God. In our grassroots communities we are working to rebuild a church of justice and compassion where all are welcome and all celebrate the sacraments.  

One example, the community prays the Eucharistic Prayer and shares in the dialogue homilies. In my local Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, we have ordained and non-ordained co-presiders who function together in liturgical planning and leadership.  Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"No mandatory reporting in Italian norms for handling abuse allegations" Carol Glatz

http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/no-mandatory-reporting-italian-norms-handling-abuse-allegations

ROME

"The Italian bishops' conference encouraged its members to cooperate with civil authorities in cases of clerical sexual abuse, but said the bishops have no legal obligation to report abuse allegations to the police or other civil authorities.
In addition, the new Italian church norms say the bishops "are exonerated" from releasing to the state documents in their possession or information connected with abuse cases.
Because a bishop is not a public official and is not charged with duties of "public service, he does not have the juridical obligation -- save for a moral duty to contribute to the common good -- to report to civil judicial authorities news he has received concerning illicit matters" of sex abuse, the guidelines said..."
"The guidelines also stated that the Holy See and the Italian bishops' conference as a whole hold "no responsibility, direct or indirect, for eventual cases of abuse."
Bridget Mary's Response:

What a cop out! The Vatican and bishops hold the top administrative positions in the church! How can they claim  "no responsibility, direct or indirect...etc.?
So much for transparency and accountability in the Catholic Church!
 The Vatican is quick to punish women priests and our supporters, but does nothing to pressure the Italian bishops to turn over priests abusers as a matter of justice and care for Catholic youth who are victimized by clergy. Jesus would weep at this sad state of affairs.
Where is their pastoral heart reflecting the Heart of Christ's love and compassion? 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org