Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"A Welcoming Home for Homeless Catholics"/Inclusive Catholc Masses in Australia in Advent/Welcome to the Growing Catholic Network of Inclusive Catholic Communities


A welcoming place for "Homeless Catholics"...

"Greg Reynolds[1] chose the First Sunday of Advent as a fitting time to celebrate the Inaugural Mass for Inclusive Catholics. After all, Advent is a time of anticipation and expectation. It is a time to consider our inner yearnings and allow the reality of who we truly are to emerge. It allows us the space to ponder where Christ is in our lives today and what it is we deeply long for from our God. We can also ask ourselves what our role is in making God's presence tangible in our communities. The inclusiveness of this particular gathering certainly contributed to God's presence being felt by all."

"Around 120 people came from far and wide to attend this historical event at Caulfield in Melbourne. Immediately when people entered the hall there was a buzz of welcome and familiarity. For some it was as if they were coming home after having broken ties with their church community for many years. One person had described herself as a 'homeless Catholic' as she did not feel she belonged in her parish. This, I believe, is quite apt of how many Catholics are feeling today and this, then, explains why the churches are being deserted and people are seeking alternative forms of spirituality in different settings."

"Many people feel distressed, disillusioned and disturbed by some of the church's teachings — particularly those relating to women, people of same sex orientation, divorcees etc. Of course, many more are outraged by how the sex abuse scandal has been handled by church authorities. Greg Reynolds believes strongly in equality for all people and following the rule of 'what would Jesus do?' As we know, Jesus did not turn anyone away, nor did he put demands or set limitations on who could or could not be part of his community. Let us never forget that Jesus' blood was shed "for you and for all" and not just for the many[2] who fit into the mould of what most church authorities define as suitable to sit at the Eucharistic table. "

"Greg firmly believes in blurring the distinction between clergy and laity. He is convinced this separation is exaggerated by the use of clerical collars, elaborate vestments, compulsory celibacy and restricting certain tasks to the ordained. In future, for example, he will be encouraging men and women from his community to deliver the homily. There are many capable people who have not attended a seminary, but who quite probably have studied more theology than the ordained. However, an academic background is not what is required to reflect on the lessons of life that speak to those of us in the real world. What is required is a preparedness to share insights and prod the thinking of others by being willing to ask the hard questions — for example, why is it that there are only six sacraments for women and seven for men?"...

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Way to go, Greg and Melbourne, Australia!
There are millions of homeless Catholics, and the way the present Vatican is going, there will be more and more Catholics fleeing the doors of their local parishes seeking a home where they are welcomed and nutured.
The good news is that within the women priests communities in the United States, there are a growing number of inclusive communities in the United States that welcome all to Christ's table and that use inclusive language. My community,  Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, (MMOJ) meets on Sat. for liturgy in Sarasota, Florida in St. Andrew UCC . (starting on Christmas Eve at 4 PM)
 Two married priests and two women priests serve within a leadership circle of around 15 people in a Christ-Centered, Spirit-Empowered, justice-seeking, compassionate. community. Our community ranges in number from around 20-100 in snow-bird season. It is a joy to hear about Greg and the growth our inclusive Catholicism among our sisters and brothers in Melbourne, Australia. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

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