Friday, August 12, 2011

200 Priests Sign -Express Support for Maryknoll Priest Roy Bourgeois/CTA Link


Fr. Roy and Bridget Mary
at Janice Sevre-Duszynska's ordination
in Aug, 2008


Check out breaking news on CTA's website: www.cta-usa.org





1) 200 priests sign for Roy -- Press Release





2) The story of his second canonical warning





3) Links to both of the New York Times articles .





WUKY: Priest Excommunicated For Kentucky Ordination Faces Dismissal From Order (2011-08-11)


Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Ruth Steinert Foote,
Bishop Dana Reynolds, Janice
Sevre-Duszynska at ordination
on Aug. 9,2008 in Lexington, KY
http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wuky/news.newsmain/article/1/0/1839257/LocalRegional.News/Priest.Excommunicated.For.Kentucky.Ordination.Faces.Dismissal.From.Order
LEXINGTON, KY (wuky) - A nationally known priest who participated in a ceremony in Kentucky ordaining a woman is refusing to recant his views despite pressure from his order and the Vatican. Rev. Roy Bourgeois was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church in 2008 for taking part in the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska. Since that time, he's continued his affiliation with Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers but remains staunch in his support for the ordination of women. Mike Virgintino, communications manager for the order, said, "Maryknoll has tried to foster dialogue regarding this issue and now it's come to a time when Maryknoll can do no more." But Bourgeois is still defiant, despite a second canonical warning from the order. Sevre-Duszynska, who continues her work for the church, sees inspiration in Bourgeois' unyielding stance. "Father Roy Bourgeois is a modern day prophet who has been following the primacy of his conscience," she said. A decision on Bourgeois' removal from the order is expected in the next few weeks. Then it would be up to the Vatican to decide whether he can remain a priest. Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, a documentary about the women's ordination movement in the Catholic Church featuring Janice Sevre-Duszynska ,will be screened at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington August 16th.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Vatican Aims to Regain Trust of US Religious Women," / Vatican in Damage Control Mode/Nuns' Triumph Advances Women's Equality in Church

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-aims-regain-trust-us-religious-women-official-says
Aug. 10, 2011
In the final stage of the apostolic visitation of U.S. women's religious communities, the Vatican congregation overseeing the study not only is facing mountains of paper, but must try to rebuild a relationship of trust with the women, said the congregation's secretary.

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS)

"In an interview Aug. 10 with Catholic News Service, Archbishop Tobin said the congregation hoped its review of the visitation reports and its responses to the participating religious communities would be marked by dialogue and would be a step toward healing..."I'm an optimist, but also trying to be realistic: The trust that should characterize the daughters and sons of God and disciples of Jesus isn't recovered overnight. I think women religious have a right to say, 'Well, let's see,'" he said.
The former prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Franc Rode, initiated the visitation in January 2009, saying its aim would be to study the community, prayer and apostolic life of the orders to learn why the number of religious women in the United States had declined so sharply since the 1960s.
The congregation, which has a staff of 40, including only three native English speakers, will need help reading, assessing and responding to the reports, he said.
One possibility, Archbishop Tobin said, is to ask religious congregations based in Rome to allow U.S. members of their general councils to serve as consultants to the congregation and help go through all the reports.
The fact that Cardinal Rode had decided the visitors' reports would not be shared with the individual communities was only "part of the real harm done at the beginning," Archbishop Tobin said. The situation was exacerbated by "rumors and, I would say, some rather unscrupulous canonical advisers exploited that" by sowing fear that the Vatican would replace the leadership of some communities or dissolve them altogether.
"It's like Fox News, they keep people coming back because they keep them afraid," Archbishop Tobin said.
"But certainly, on our side of the river or our side of the pond, we had created an atmosphere where that was possible," and where the idea that some communities would be closed down "didn't seem to be so outlandish."
"It's like preaching; it's not what you say, it's what they hear ... and what a lot of these women heard was someone telling them their life was not loyal and faith-filled," he said.


Bridget Mary's Reflection
The Vatican is obviously in full damage control in the fallout of their failed witch -hunt like investigation of the nuns. The nuns' prayer-power and holy witness to Christ has overwhelmed the Vatican investigation!
Archbishop Tobin gets that it will take a mighty long time!
Rebuilding trust will demand a Vatican transformation of a patriarchal structure that treats women as second class citizens. An impossible dream! Let's hope not! The Holy Spirit is working in the people of God who support the egalitarian vision of a Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered church, not an all-male boys club!
The Nuns vs. Vatican is not only a tale that vindicates the nuns, but also, a story that promotes the cause of women's equality. In the end, justice always prevails. We are reaching a tipping point for a more open, just, inclusive church. We now have a renewed priestly ministry of women in the Roman Catholic Women Priests' International Movement that reflects the vision of Jesus' love for all in grassroots communities.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
sofiabmm@aol.com
www.associationoformancatholicwomenpriests.org



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Irish Prime Minister Challenges the Vatican and Us" by Thomas Doyle in National Catholic Reporter

http://ncronline.org/blogs/examining-crisis/irish-prime-minister-challenges-vatican-and-us
"Kenny told the Parliament "the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism … the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day."
These or similar sentiments have been repeated time and time again by critics of the Vatican's consistently inadequate response to the clergy sexual abuse nightmare over the past two decades.
What is utterly remarkable and undoubtedly an historic bombshell is the fact that they were spoken by the Prime Minister of Ireland before the Irish Parliament
. "Read the full text
"This groundbreaking address buries the destructive myth that the institutional Catholic church with its monarchical governing structure is some sort of superior or exalted political entity with self-created rights to subvert the civic order of any society that calls it to accountability for the behavior of its privileged class.
Charlie Flanagan, chairman of Fine Gael, the single largest party in Ireland and lead party in the ruling coalition, framed this in a stark and eye-opening way in his call for the expulsion of the Papal Nuncio: "If any foreign government conspired with Irish citizens to break the law here, their ambassadors would be expelled..."
The Taoiseach repeated this sentiment by reminding the Irish lawmakers and indeed everyone that Ireland is not Rome.
"Nor is it an industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish Catholic world. This is the Republic of Ireland 2011. A Republic of laws, of rights and responsibilities…of proper civic order…where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version…of a particular kind of morality…will no longer be tolerated or ignored."
This is much more than a stirring address to the Irish parliament. It is the voice of a long awaited and sorely needed liberation from the chains of a clericalist control that sacrificed the very ones Jesus spoke out so passionately in defense of. This liberation is essential not only in Ireland but in any state or country where the Catholic church hopes to regain its relevance not as a gilded institution but as a Christian way of life. One can only hope that this momentous breakthrough and long-awaited challenge will be taken up in every other country where children have been violated by the Catholic clergy or religious..."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Ireland is leading the way for other countries to hold the Vatican accountable for the global sexual abuse crisis. The church needs radical reform of the clerical culture that put the protection of clergy above the pastoral care of children and people. We need a renewed priestly ministry within an empowered community of equals that is transparent and accountable.The Vatican cannot act as if it is above the civil law. Canon law does not trump civil law.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vatican Summoned Cardinal Policarpo to Rome/Demand Clarification of Endorsement of Women Priests

Policarpo summoned to Vatican for his statements on the ordination of women priests
A cordial exchange between the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, and the Lisbon Patriarch took place a few days ago


ANDREA TORNIELLI

VATICAN CITY
"The Lisbon patriarch, José da Cruz Policarpo, who during a recent interview stated that “no fundamental obstacle” exists, from a “theological stand point,” to the ordination of women priests had an exchange with the Papal Secretary of State Bertone, after he received a letter from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, cardinal William Levada,who invited him to clarify his position. "

This is according an article by António Marujo published by the Portuguese newspaper
Publico. The Vatican Insider has also written about it, reporting the clarification published by the Portuguese cardinal.

"It has just been confirmed that the seventy-five year old patriarch of Lisbon, will be serving another two years as leader of the diocese in the Portuguese capital. During a long interview with the monthly publication “OA”, the Portuguese Law Society magazine, discussing the topic of women priests, states that “John Paul II at one point seemed to have settled the controversy.” Reference is made to the apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994), one of the shortest documents written by Wojtyla, with which the Pope, after the Anglican Communion’s decision to open the ordination of women, confirmed that the Catholic Church would have never done it. "

“I believe,” cardinal Policarpo said, “that the issue cannot be settled in these terms. From a theological stand point there is no fundamental obstacle (to women priests, Ed.); there is this tradition, let’s call it that way; it was never done any other way.”

"In response to the interviewer’s question, intrigued by the cardinal’s statement that no theological reasons exist against the ordination of women, Policarpo answered, “I do not think there is any fundamental obstacle. It is the fundamental equality right of all members of the Church. The problem is rooted in a very strong tradition, which originates from Jesus and the ease with which the reformed Churches allowed women to become priests.”

A few days after, the cardinal disclosed a letter in which he clarified his thoughts, stating that he never “systematically analyzed the matter.” “Reactions to this interview forced me to ponder on the matter with more attention and I realized that, by not paying due attention to the statements of the teachings of the Church on the matter, I helped trigger these reactions.” Policarpo then added, “It would be painful for me if my words were to create confusion in our obedience to the Church and to the words of our Holy Father.”

"Now, the Portuguese daily paper reveals a behind the scenes description of what happened over the past weeks, stating that the Lisbon patriarch was summoned by the Papal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. The conversation took place in Castel Gandolfo in the first half of July, while the Portuguese cardinal was in Rome to participate to a plenary session of the newly formed Papal Council for the new evangelization. Publico writes that Policarpo was treated with extreme kindness “because the Vatican was afraid he would react negatively to a strong reprimand.”

"On July 2, a few days before the meeting with Bertone, Policarpo had received, through a papal nuncio in Lisbon, a letter by cardinal William Levada, prefect of the former Holy Office. According to a testimony obtained by Publico, the letter apparently had him very worried. For this reason, on 6 July, the patriarch wrote a clarification statement. The Portuguese daily paper, however, highlights that this was not the first time Policarpo had made statements of this kind about women priests: however, it was the first time that his words had been reported by the international press. "

"António Marujo’s article provides several of the cardinal’s statements as examples. In 1999, a year after his appointment as Lisbon patriarch of the diocesan center, Policarpo led people to believe that the matter of women priests had not been settled at all and that what was needed, was a period of maturing of the communities and the Church, since today the idea of “women carrying out duties that were unthinkable thirty years ago is now accepted within the Church.”

"On May 2003, in Vienna, the cardinal responded in a similar fashion to a question during a press conference in which mention was made to a letter sent by Pope John Paul II in 1994 and the Congregation’s subsequent clarification of the Doctrine of the Faith. Policarpo explained that in his opinion the matter “is not settled that way; from a theological point of view, there is no fundamental obstacle; there is this tradition, let’s call it that way... it was never done any other way”. In that same interview, the Lisbon patriarch stated that at the present time it was not appropriate to raise the issue because it would have triggered “a series of reactions,” but he concluded saying that “If God wishes it to happen, and if it God’s plan, it will happen.”


Bridget Mary's Refelction

No surprise here! Policarpo summoned to Vatican for his statements on the ordination of women priests

Cardinal Bertone summoned Cardinal Policarpo to the Vatican for some heavy-arm twisting to reverse his supportive statement on women priest.


Sort of like throwing Cardinal Policarpo's miter in the Tiber River. This is another example of bullying by Bertone and Levada. My bet is that Policarpo, a saavy prelate, is biding his time and will not recant on this issue like Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who faces expulsion from his Maryknoll Order because he will not recant his support of women priests.

Perhaps, some bishop or cardinal, who agrees with Policarpo, may simply go ahead and ordain more women priests. Justice and equality for women in our church including ordination is the voice of God in our time.

The good news is that in spite of Vatican punishments and threats, our movement is growing and gaining more support each day. One can say that the Vatican is the gift that keeps on giving! Let us pray that the holy shakeup will continue as Catholics in grassroots communities experience a renewed priestly ministry in our church. At the end of the day, sexism is a sin, and like racism is always wrong. TheRoman Catholic Church should follow the example of Jesus who called women and men to be disciples and equals. The Risen Christ first appeared to Mary of Magdala not to Peter. The Risen Jesus called Mary to be the apostle to the apostles. In Romans, Paul affirms the woman apostle, Junia, as a honored teacher who inspired him by her courage.
Women are not misbegotten males, as the church has taught for centuries. Women are equal images of God by baptism. It is time that the Vatican follows Jesus example of Gospel equality and repents of its sinful discrimination against half its members! The full equality of women in the church is the voice of God in our time.

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/
sofiabmm@aol.com



"Order Dismisses a Priest Trying to Ordain Women"/ New York Times/Global News Article


Fr. Roy holds cup at ordination
of Janice Sevre-Duszynska in
Aug. 2008

Article by Laurie Goodstein/NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/us/09priest.html?_r=1

..."Father Bourgeois has gone further than any other priest in good standing to ally himself publicly with the growing women’s ordination movement. The group Roman Catholic Womenpriests claims to have ordained 120 women as priests and 10 as bishops in the last few years. The Vatican regards the ceremonies as illicit and invalid. Father Bourgeois participated in one such ceremony in 2008, and since then has given speeches around the country in support of female priests. "
“They want two words: I recant,” Father Bourgeois said. “And they can’t get that out of me. For me, the real scandal is the message we are sending to women: you’re not equal, you cannot be priests, you’re not worthy.”


All Voices -Global News article:

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9896197-removal-threatened-for-catholic-priest-who-supports-womens-ordination

Under pressure from the Vatican in Rome, the Maryknoll Catholic religious order has given notice to Fr. Roy Bourgeois that he will be dismissed from the order and his priesthood because he does not recant his support for women priests. Prior to the action, Fr. Roy had responded to the "second cannonical warning" that threatened this move with this statement: "As people of faith we believe in the primacy of conscience. Our conscience gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do what is right, what is just. What you are asking me to do in your letter is not possible without betraying my conscience. In essence, you are telling me to lie. This I cannot do, therefore I will not recant. I firmly believe that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave injustice against women, against our Church, and against our God."

Fr. Roy's lawyer had asked the public to manifest support of the priest by contacting the Superior General of the Maryknoll Order, Father Ed DoughertyEd Dougherty, asking him not to expel Father Roy Bourgeois for advocating for women priests. However, that effort was fruitless. Bourgeois' case will now move to the Vatican which will process his formal removal from the priesthood, known as laicization.
Hundreds of priests had publicly supported Father Roy’s right to speak his conscience. Thousands more women and men across the world support this issue and Father Roy as well. The Women's Ordination Conference continues to urge Bourgeois' supporters to sign their online petition as a means of expressing their support.
A sampling of statements supportive of Bourgeois from prominent Catholics includes the following:
"The culture of bullying within the Catholic Church cannot be tolerated any longer," said Erin Hanna, Executive Director of the Women's Ordination Conference. "It is contrary to the gospel itself to bully and dismiss faithful priests who dare to break the silence in support of women's rightful role in the Church."
"Jesus
Jesus himself welcomed women as well as men into ministerial leadership," said Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action's Executive Director. "It is a shame our Church does not do likewise."
"The Vatican does not excommunicate the pedophile-priests who have raped and sodomized Catholic youth, or punish the bishops who covered up these crimes. Yet, now in this outrageous action they stand ready to defrock Fr. Roy, priest of the people and prophet for justice who has served God for over 40 years as a well-known peace and justice activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee," said Bridget Mary Meehan, from the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Suzanne Thiel of Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA affirmed: "Regardless of personal consequences, Fr. Roy refuses to be cowed by men who support an unjust law that knowingly discriminates against half the Body of Christ. He sees the face of Jesus in his sisters."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vigil in support of Women's Ordination, Maryknoll Headquarters, 8/14 @ 9:30 am/Letter from Bill Quigley's -Fr. Roy's Attorney


Fr. Roy Bourgeois holds up Cup
at ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Dear Supporter of the Peace and Justice Movement,
Father Roy Bourgeois has been given 15 days to recant his public support of Women's Ordination or be dismissed from Maryknoll. Now is the time to stand in solidarity with Roy and equal rights for woman.
We are outraged at Maryknoll's use of the term "scandal" when referring to Father Roy. How can an organization that promotes peace and justice worldwide turn its back on this Viet Nam vet turned Maryknoll priest, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, is the founder of the School of the America's Watch, and is the epitome of everything we thought Maryknoll stood for?
We encourage the Maryknoll leadership to reflect on this question and examine their consciences as one of their most cherished members, Father Roy Bourgeois, has done: "As priests we say we are called by God. Who are we to say that God would not call a woman?"
Please join us for a peaceful Vigil in support of
Father Roy and Women's Right to Ordination
Sunday August 14 Maryknoll Headquarters, Ossining, NY
starting at 9:30 -- the weekly public Mass at the Chapel begins at 10:30.

For more information about the Vigil, including transportation, call Anne Dowling 917 860-1794 annedwl@aol.com
For more information about Father Roy Bourgeois http://www.womensordination.org/content/view/108

Letter from Fr. Roy's Attorney: Bill Quigley
August 8, 2011
Dear Friends:
Our brother, Father Roy Bourgeois, needs your immediate solidarity. The Maryknoll community has taken another step towards expulsion of Father Roy for speaking out in favor of the ordination of women priests. Father Roy has said that, as a matter of conscience, he must speak out against the exclusion of women from the priesthood both because it defies faith and reason and because the exclusion is rooted in sexism. Despite the threats to expel him, Father Roy refuses to recant. It is time for people of good will to take action. Please contact Father Ed Dougherty, the Superior General of Maryknoll, and ask him not to expel Father Roy Bourgeois for advocating for women priests. Here is how to contact Father Dougherty:Father Edward DoughertyMaryknoll FathersPO Box 303Maryknoll, NY 10545-0303Fax: 914.944.3600 or Phone: 914.941.7590Email: mklcouncil@maryknoll.orgI am one of the lawyers on the team working with Father Roy. Below is a link to the letter Father Roy recently received from Maryknoll. It is the official second and perhaps final notice threatening to immediately expel him from the community. Below is a link to Father Roy’s response to Maryknoll. You can read it and see where he stands. His letter is a simple direct invitation to dialogue about inclusion of women in the priesthood and a call for the protection of conscience – key foundation principles in any institution which respects human dignity. Contrast his letter with one from Maryknoll and judge which best reflects the spirit of hope, justice, respect and love.

Father Roy's Letter to Maryknoll:
https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/727/images/FatherRoy.pdf

Maryknoll Letter to Father Roy:
https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/727/images/Maryknoll.pdf

Father Roy has been a priest for 39 years and a member of Maryknoll for 44 years. We cannot allow Maryknoll, pushed hard no doubt by fundamentalist forces of the institutional church in Rome, to silence a prophetic voice of conscience and justice. Galileo was silenced by the church in 1633 for saying the earth revolves around the sun and they did not admit their error and apologize until 360 years later in 1992. Truth and justice cannot be expected to wait that long.
Hundreds of priests already publicly support Father Roy’s right to speak his conscience. Thousands more women and men across the world support this issue and Father Roy as well. Maryknoll cannot and should not be party to a modern day silencing. Thank you for your action and solidarity. Please send me a copy of what you send Maryknoll and I will make sure Father Roy knows of your support.
Peace and justice,
Bill Quigley


Maryknoll Priest Faces Removal from the Priesthood; Receives Second Canonical Warning for His Support of Women’s Equality in the Catholic Church


Fr. Roy gave homily at Janice Sevre-Duszynska's
ordination in Lexington, KY in 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2011

Under pressure from the Vatican, the Maryknoll Catholic religious order has issued a second canonical warning to Fr. Roy Bourgeois stating he will be dismissed from the order and his priesthood if he does not recant his support for women priests. Fr. Roy responded to this latest threat: “As people of faith we believe in the primacy of conscience. Our conscience gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do what is right, what is just. What you are asking me to do in your letter is not possible without betraying my conscience. In essence, you are telling me to lie. This I cannot do, therefore I will not recant. I firmly believe that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave injustice against women, against our Church, and against our God.”
"The culture of bullying within the Catholic Church cannot be tolerated any longer," said, Erin Hanna, Executive Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference. “It is contrary to the gospel itself to bully and dismiss faithful priests who dare to break the silence in support of women's rightful role in the Church.”
“Jesus himself welcomed women as well as men into ministerial leadership,” said Jim FitzGerald, Call To Action’s Executive Director. “It is a shame that our church does not do likewise.”
"The Vatican does not excommunicate the pedophile-priests who have raped and sodomized Catholic youth, or punish the bishops who covered up these crimes. Yet, now in this outrageous action they stand ready to defrock Fr. Roy, priest of the people and prophet for justice who has served God for over 40 years as a well-known peace and justice activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, ” said Bridget Mary Meehan, from the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Suzanne Thiel of Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA affirmed: “Regardless of personal consequences, Fr. Roy refuses to be cowed by men who support an unjust law that knowingly discriminates against half the Body of Christ. He sees the face of Jesus in his sisters.”An online
petition, sponsored by the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Call To Action USA, and Roman Catholic Womenpriests–USA, Women's Ordination Conference, and co-sponsored by 15 church-justice organizations, has garnered over 8,000 signatures of Catholics across the globe and continues to build momentum.

###The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests are ordained women who live and minister in the United States and South America. The Association prepares and ordains qualified women to serve the people of God as priests and uses equal rites to promote equal rights to achieve justice for women in the church. For more information, visit
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org
Contact: Bridget Mary Meehan, 703.505.0004

Call To Action (CTA) educates, inspires and activates Catholics to act for justice and build inclusive communities through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression principles. An independent national organization of over 25,000 people and 53 local chapters, CTA believes that the Spirit of God is at work in the whole church, not just in its appointed leaders. For more information, visit www.cta-usa.org
Contact: Nicole Sotelo, Director of Communications, 773.404.0004 x285

Roman Catholic Womenpriests USA’s mission is to spiritually prepare, ordain, and support women and men from all states of life, who are theologically qualified, who are committed to an inclusive model of Church, and who are called by the Holy Spirit and their communities to minister. For more information, visit
www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org.
Contact: Suzanne Thiel, 503.784.3330

Women's Ordination Conference, founded in 1975, is the oldest and largest national organization that works to ordain women as priests, deacons and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic church. WOC represents the 63 percent of U.S. Catholics that support women's ordination. WOC also promotes perspectives on ordination that call for more accountability and less separation between the clergy and laity. For more information, visit www.womensordination.org.
Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna, Executive Director 202.675.1006 (office), 401.588.0457 (cell)

A Blessing for the Students and Teachers At The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community







A Blessing for the Students and Teachers At The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

This week our children and youth returned to school here in Fort Myers, Florida. So, Sunday August 7th included a special blessing for both students and teachers. In a joyous celebration that held forty enthusiastic worshippers in our small housechurch, seventeen young people and two adults stood for a blessing. The students included Efe Cudjoe our Associate Teacher and Youth Worker who will be leaving for Brown University who came forth and received our gift of love and our "sending forth". The students ranged from our bright little Joelle who is finally in Pre-K to three High School Seniors, three Sophomores and Middle and Elemenatary Schoolers. Of the two men who were blessed one is starting a vocational program in plumbing and the other is a Professor at FGCU.We also welcomed back two of our older members who are in recovery from serious medical situations and we had a time for healing prayer as well. The Mass was in English and Spanish to accomodate our Latin Americans present. Three of our members, Pearl, Cyrillia and Lili provided an international hot meal for all that was truly a feast. They had dishes from Africa, St. Lucia and Italy. After the celebration and Sunday School, the students received school supplies and gifts of clothing to start school. They were expecting the supplies, but not the clothes and their expressions of gratitude were so heartfelt that we were truly moved by them. The word that best describes the entire day is "Alegria"-gladness,exultation. The pictures are taken just before the Mass with Efe standing just behind me, and the blessing and "sending forth" during Mass.


Living with Christ,

Pastor Judy

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP

Fort Myers, Florida

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Where in This World?" by Diana Milesko-- Celtic Spirituality for Women Today


Celtic Spiral of Life: Bru na Boine/Newgrange,Ireland




Where in This World”

by Diana Milesko


Where in this world does a woman turn, to find affirmation, guidance and peace?

Where to find unconditional love?

Where to find whispers of God?

No martyr I, nor suffering for God...

But little questions eat away my humanity.

What dignity have women? How reflect the immortal God-Presence?

Why shunned, shackled, shut down in vision, in love?

Look to Celtic Holy Women, so long ago, for inspiration.

Then look to women around me

finding virtures of those ancient Celts - everywhere.

Not canonized by papal decree but popular acclaim? - Much the better.

A true reflection of the God-Presence in all.

St. Ita of Killeedy, nurtured foster children; founded an abbey;

taught youngsters, including

Brendan the Navigator, who sailed to the Isle of the Blessed.

America?

So, too, my friend, E, offers true faith, simplicity and generosity.

Caring for a granddaughter who, at age four, contracted type 1 diabetes,

E generously shares the gifts given to her.

St. Monenna of Killeevy a healer and interceesor for Peace.

St. Patricks’ sister and Mother of St. Mel,

She taught, “Every failure in life can be blessed.”

So, too, my friend, Ursula,

who offered laughter, comfort and peace.

A sickly child sat on her lap,

a portly pillow, a “thin place”, where earth and heaven meet,

a place to cavort with God and Joy.

St. Melangell, patron of ecology and holistic healing.

So too, my friend, Johanna,

who decades ago, nursed a child to health,

canned blueberries and other delights from her garden.

Said, “Not sick? Go to a doctor, he’ll make you sick.”

Walked five miles, daily, up the mountain

to attend mass.

St. Cannera of Bantry Bay in County Cork, persistent;

she buttressed the dignity of women.

Her spirit reflects this safe harbor,

this “thin place”

where God the touches earth;

Years ago, my son and friends limped into Bantry Bay

their little sailboat,

tattered and damaged,

after capsizing in a Gale

while crossing the Atlantic.

God kept them safe.

I rejoice when St. Cannera says,

“Christ came to redeem women no less than men.

“Women, as well as men, can enter the heavenly kingdom.”

Faith is a community of equals assert the gospels;

St. Cannera - a strong and loving confrontation with male authority.

So, too, my friend, F,

Who left the Catholic Church, became a Buddhist,

wryly observing, “I can’t sing; but I chant well.”

F displays the kindness, humility, joy, and razor-sharp intellect

of an Intelligent Universe.

She inspires and challenges me.

St. Winefride fled persecution. Despite beheading, was restored to life;

a survivor; showed healing love and strength.

So, too, my friend Z, who bore the agony of infidelity;

then watched, helpless, from her office,

as friends perished in the World Trade Center on 9/11;

who woke, mornings afterwards,

blankets ripped apart by fingernails cutting into them;

as loss and grief cut into her heart.

Who showed strength; how women survive

in the face of violence, emotional and physical,

how they move on with dignity and peace,

despite cruelities and persecution.

Others: too many to dwell on.

Perhaps a list, a summary, or less;

but lives as meaningful and hopeful

reveal the Life-Force that guides us all.

St. Godnait of Ballyvourne, compassionate and forceful community member.

So, too, my friend J,

who welcomed me to a new community,

encouraged me, a “soul friend.”

St Dymphna of Achill Island fled from evil.

A survivor and healer.

So, too, my friend, H, who bears many illnesses and griefs with patience

yet eases my sorrows with advice and listening.

St. Non of Holy Birthing.

So, too, my friend, B,

who revealed natural childbirth and nursing

in an age of anesthetics and bottle fed babies.

What joys she unlocked!

St. Tegla, promoter of wellness and balance.

So, too, my friend, K, yoga teacher; runner; smiler;

“Don’t let that in your karma,” she says of negative thoughts.

And smiles again.

St. Dwynwen, patron of lovers.

So, too, my two-year-old grand-daughter, S.

I stoop to tie her shoe. She grasps my head for balance;

says, “I love you so much, Grannie.”

My heart soars; it reaches God and flutters down to earth.

I am healed.

St. Brigit of Kildare, Bishop invested by Bishop Mel, nephew of St. Patrick.

Symbol of wisdom; advocate of women’s roles,

healer, and Abbess of broad reaching powers.

Like a Druidic mother-godess, a woman of compassion, hospitality and charity.

So too, my friend, BMM,

who restores hope in God’s unconditional love,

offers comfort and

stands, a shining inspiration to the marginalized today.

St. Hilda of Whitby who nurtures giftedness.

So, too my friends, Antoinette and M,

who joyously embrace the responsibility of children;

loving them, teaching them,

being patient with them,

encouraging them.

These women, like Celtic Holy Women, they are the soul of God.