Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Homily- "We Are Making History: A Renewed Model of Priestly Ministry" by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan/ Florida Ordinations

Homily: “We Are Making History: A Renewed Model of Priestly Ministry”
The Ordinations of Dena O’Callaghan, Katy Zatsick as Roman Catholic Womanpriests
And Mary Ellen Sheehan as a deacon
By Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Today Dena O’Callaghan and Katie Zatsick are making history as they answer God’s call to a renewed model of priestly ministry as Roman Catholic Womanpriests. Mary Ellen Sheehan is making history as the first woman from Georgia to be ordained a deacon by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests Movement.

The Roman Catholic Womenpriests Movement is living Jesus example of Gospel equality and reclaiming our early Christian tradition of women in ordained leadership. The movement, Roman Catholic Womenpriests is a justice movement for the full equality of women in the Catholic Church, not a splinter group.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests reject the automatic excommunication issued by the hierarchy. Pope Benedict canonized Mother Theodore Guerin, an excommunicated nun in 2005, and will canonize Mother Mary MacKillop, another excommunicated nun in 2010. So, my sisters and brothers we are in good company, and perhaps even on a fast tract to Sainthood! We are not leaving the church. We are leading the church.

Nearly 5000 priests in the U.S. have sexually abused over 12,000 Catholic children, but they were not excommunicated. Something is radically wrong with a hierarchical system that does not hold the bishops accountable for such a devastating crisis.

In our scripture, we encounter Samuel who discovered God’s call with the help of his wise mentor Eli. Dena, Katy and Mary Ellen have discerned their call to serve God’s people within supportive networks of families, friends and communities who have accompanied them on this journey to holy orders on this joy-filled day.

At the Last Supper, Jesus addressed his mandate: "Do this in memory of me" to women and men, therefore empowering women to preside at Eucharist which they did in the house churches in the early centuries of our history. Romans 16 uses the word eklesia ("church") to describe the group that gathered in the home of Prisca and Aquila, a husband-wife ministry team. Paul praises the missionary co-workers in these words: "Greet Prisca and Aquila who work with me in Christ Jesus …Greet also the church in their house" (Romans 16:3-5).

Seven percent of Americans attend religious services in home churches according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. According to Robert Putnam, a Harvard Kennedy School professor and author of American Grace, approximately 16% of Americans are unaffiliated with any religious denomination. Putnam believes that the disillusioned today reject the “one size fits all” approach and are looking for a church that is more homemade and where women play important leadership roles. Many of our Roman Catholic Womenpriests serve God’s people in house churches. Dena O’Callaghan and her priest husband John serve a community that meets in their home in Ocala, Florida.

Jesus treated men and women as equals and partners. Among his disciples were many women. In our Gospel today, the women encounter an angel who shares the good news of the Risen Christ.

“The women were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James. The other women with them also told the apostles, but the story seemed like nonsense and they refused to believe them….”

How long O God, How long will we have to wait for the male apostles to get it!
Here we are 21 centuries later! The Vatican claims it has no authority to ordain womenpriests as if God is suddenly impotent before women. Some things never change, do they!

In the beautiful story of Emmaus, Jesus walks with the disciples. Some scripture scholars think the two may have been a married couple. Be that as it may, they did not recognize the Risen One until they sat down for supper and in the breaking of the bread, their eyes were opened to the dazzling splendor of resurrected glory in their midst.

Today, we also encounter Jesus in the breaking of the bread with open eyes and burning hearts. Today, Dena, Katy, and Mary Ellen answer God’s call and join us in recognizing Jesus in our midst calling us be the Body of Christ, serving the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ .

Women were ordained as deacons, priests and bishops until the 12th century. Scholars including Dorothy Irvin, Gary Macy, Ute Eisen, Carolyn Osiek, Shaun Madigan, and many others reach similar conclusions. The beautiful banner in our sanctuary depicts a scene of an early church Eucharist.

Sexism which is always a sin is the root cause of the institutional church’s exclusion of women from priesthood.

Like Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat and sit in the back of the bus helped to ignite the civil rights movement, Roman Catholic Womenpriests are disobeying an unjust law that discriminates against women. The ordinations of Roman Catholic Womenpriests are valid because of our unbroken line of apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic male bishop who ordained our first women bishops is a bishop with a line of unbroken apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church in full communion with the pope. Therefore, our bishops validly ordain deacons, priests and bishops.
We are part of a worldwide movement that claims equality as a human right. In a recent address, former president Jimmy Carter who is a member of the Elders, an eminent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela to address issues of human suffering, said: “We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasize the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world's major faiths share.”
According to the Pew Survey one in ten Americans are former Catholics. There are legions of women who feel like second-class citizens in their own church, divorced and remarried Catholics, gays and lesbians and all those on the margins of church and society.

Like the Disciples at Emmaus, the infinite boundless love of Christ ignites the fire in our hearts, the passion in our souls to serve God’s beloved people, especially those who are rejected or marginalized in inclusive communities where all are welcome. The world is our parish.

Blessings on you, Dena O’Callaghan, Katy Zatsick and Mary Ellen Sheehan, faith-filled women of courage, as you step forward into your future as Roman Catholic Womanpriests and deacon to serve God’s people!

— — — Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., a Sister for Christian Community, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2006. Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 18 books, including
"The Healing Power of Prayer" and "Praying with Women of the Bible.". She presides at liturgies in Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Church in Sarasota, Florida and in N.Va. She was ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009. Dr. Meehan can be reached at The website, BridgetMarysBlogspot.

1 comment:

在一起 said...