Saturday, December 28, 2013

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordination Movies in Louisville, KY. /Enjoy clips of this blessed celebration

Welcome by Co-Pastor of Central Presybterian Church in Louisville, KY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2rx7YbKlvg

Processional: All are welcome
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6THtENTlKhc

Gloria/Sung by Choir
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhqEd86sPBI

Presentation of  Deacon Ann Harrington
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zukku40We4

Presentation of Deacon Denise Davis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwu0cACEH_s

Presentation of Deacon Betty Smith
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr7VzlmkHlM

Presentation of Deacon Mary Weber
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_QT66A9AdU

Proclamation of the Gospel by Mary Collingwood
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjIK9TvH10Y

Homily Bridget Mary Meehan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YZnk46Bks4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljw6HUuCwKs

Homily Pt. 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljw6HUuCwKs

Are you ready?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GynATrxo5Bc

Litany of the Saints
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szntCH9XU7M

Laying on of Hands by Bishop
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xXuYftSOlM

Laying on of Hands by people
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO4tob_zN14
Presentation of Newly Ordained Deacons
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT81sN3qIj8

Liturgical Dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a93spYSDBvI

Eucharistic Prayer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNJIOLgiF88

Recessiona: Marching in the light of God
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjfJaUCWDqc

Four Sentences that Will Change Your life from Imogene Rigdon's Homily Starter/Holy Family Sunday

Imogene—Homily Starter for December 28, 2013

"Today is the feast of the Holy Family—Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. In the reading from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he gives an exhortation on holiness. It is a joy to notice that the reading re-translated in the inclusive language of our modern culture and MMOJ. Paul’s exhortation for the morals of the home and household previously read, “Wives, give way to your husbands as you should in the Lord.” The inclusive translation says, “You who are in relationships, be submissive to each other. Lovers, love each other. Avoid bitterness. And if you are responsible for children, do not nag them, lest they lose heart.”
I have often wondered about being and becoming holy, as you no doubt also have wondered. Surely it is a quality of Jesus’ family, but it is also an expectation of each of us. God’s love indeed clothes us in compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness. The strength of that love can create holiness in each of us, but we know with certainty that becoming and being holy is not automatic. Being human includes sharing joy and also making mistakes and alienating others.
Ira Byock, an MD with 30 years of hospice work, in his book, 4 things that matter most: a book about living, prescribes 4 healing sentences for everyday life: Please forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. The simplicity is deceiving. The ideal is amazing.
I clearly remember a young hospice nurse talking with a dying woman’s spouse. “Your wife is sedated, and yet she is restless and moaning. Are you aware of any unresolved issues that she could be worried about?” “Oh, yes,” he said. “She and our pastor had a falling out 3 weeks ago. It has had a very negative impact on her.” Together they agreed that a healing visit from the pastor could make a difference for all of them.—Please forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you.
There is no need to wait until were dying. Using the 4 healing sentences throughout life could be our way of supplementing Gods work of holiness in us."
Dr. Imogene Rigdon, Homily Starter/Holy Family Sunday/Dec 28,2013)
Dr. Imogene and Micahel Rigdon, Married Priest Couple/Presiders

At Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota Florida, the “Clerical Team” consists of ordained and non ordained women and men including Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, Katy Zatsick, ARcwp Priest and Married priests including Michael and imogene Rigdon and Lee and Carol Breyer as well as other church members. These leaders take turns at presiding and starting the Homilies.  The Homilies are short as the homilist then turns to the congregation in interactive dialogue. This is all part of renewing the model of priesthood and liturgical celebration in churches where women priests share liturgical responsibilities. Below is a fine homily starter by Dr. Imogene Rigdon who presided with her husband Michael a Roman Catholic Priest at this evenings Mass of the Holy Family.

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family with Married Priest Couple Presiders Michael and Imogene Rigdon


























Friday, December 27, 2013

"Activists Nuns Voice Support of Man of the Year" By Darina Naidu WeNews correspondent Friday, December 27, 2013

http://womensenews.org/story/religion/131223/activist-nuns-voice-support-man-the-year#.Ur3PiJv55_M

 (WOMENSENEWS)--"In the nine months since the white smoke went up at the Vatican, many of the same nuns who were running afoul of their leadership in Rome are happy about the Vatican's election of Pope Francis, Time magazine's person of the year.

"I think the Pope is showing all of us that each of us has this same capacity for compassionate openness – this largesse of soul – that is so needed in our world," said Sister Mary Beth Hamm, social justice coordinator of Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill in Brookline, Mass.
Bridget Mary Meehan, a bishop at the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, says Pope Francis is "doing terrifically well" and that he is "moving on toward the justice of the oppressed."
But she also hopes he will move the Church toward female ordination. "It is all about equality and justice," Meehan said in a phone interview. "Ordained women in the Catholic Church is the issue because women are half, more than half, of the population in the world. The Pope needs to recognize that global and gender equality and justice are essential."
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is a group, based in Florida, of ordained women who live and minister in the United States and South America. They prepare and ordain qualified women to serve the people as priests.
Two years ago in April, the Vatican concluded an investigation of the Leadership Council of Women Religious, an organization that represents 80 percent of the nuns in the United States, and criticized their "radical feminist themes" and focus on social services at the expense of other issues, especially their silence on same-sex relationships and abortion, Women's eNews reported..Janice Sevre-Duszynska is a priest at the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. "Gays and lesbians have suffered enough," she said in a phone interview. "It was profound that he came out about the harshness of Catholicism."

Call for Female Priests

Sevre-Duszynska also hopes the Pope will call for the ordination of female priests. "We need a feminine image of God... 'it is required to open priesthood to both males and females, celibate or not celibate, gay, lesbian or heterosexual.'"
She added that she thinks the world is too capitalistic and needs to become more human-oriented.
"Too much money is going into weapons; meanwhile, the rights of the citizen are being taken away," Sevre-Duszynska said.."

Response to Article;
This excellent article by Darina Naidu for Wwe (Women’s E News) describes how activist nuns and women priests, such as Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan and Priest Janice Sevre-Dusynska of The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests support the Pope with his emphasis on simplicity and serving the poor and outcast while praying and hoping for the Ordination of women and the inclusion of those women priests already ordained. There are now over 160 validly ordained women world wide.  We are humbled and pleased to be among them. 
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee,ARCWP
Rev. Judy Beaumont, ARCWP

Pope’s Christmas Wish-Hope For A Better World-And Hope For Equality For Women Clergy?


Pope Francis,
 We in The Association of Women Priests thank you for your prayers and wishes for the world this holy Christmas-tide. We join you in these wonderful prayers.We also pray that you will look with open eyes at the way Jesus included women as equals to men in his ministry ,calling Mary of Magdala as an Apostle-and at the discipleship of his mother Mary. We hope this will open your heart to recognize your women priests who join you in your priority for the poor and outcast of this world.  We especially join you in your prayer for love and reconciliation for all people. ARCWP
 
 Pope’s Christmas Wish-Hope For a Better World
The Associated Press - By FRANCES D’EMILIO – Associated Press
 

  • In this picture provided by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis delivers his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the City and to the World) message from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. Pope Francis on Christmas day is wishing for a better world, with peace for the land of Jesus’ birth, for Syria and Africa as well as for the dignity of migrants and refugees fleeing misery and conflict. Francis spoke from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica Wednesday to tens of thousands of tourists, pilgrims and Romans in the square below. He said he was joining in the song of Christmas angels with all those hoping “for a better world,” and with those who “care for others, humbly.” (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano, ho)
    regorio Borgia)
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  • Pope Francis carries a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
    8 of 19

  • Pope Francis walks with the pastoral staff at the end of the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
  •  
  • Clergymen walk and pray during Christmas mass at the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, lead the midnight mass attended by many including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AP Photo/Musa Al-Shaer, Pool)
    15 of 19
  •  
    Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, leads the midnight Christmas mass at the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Musa Al-Shaer, Pool)
    16 of 19
  •  
    Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, bottom center, leads the midnight Christmas mass at the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Musa Al-Shaer, Pool)
    17 of 19
  •  
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, attends Christmas mass lead by Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal at the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Musa Al-Shaer, Pool)
    18 of 19
  •  
    Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, center, leads midnight Christmas mass at the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Musa Al-Shaer, Pool)
    19 of 19
  • Francis also spoke of the lives of everyday people, especially those struggling for a better life.
    Recalling the hundreds of migrants who have drowned this year while trying to reach European shores, including many close to the Italian island of Lampedusa, Francis prayed that refugees receive hope, consolation and assistance.
    He added that “our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think, too, of the elderly, of battered women” and others.
    The 77-year-old pope kept to the simple style he has set for his papacy. Wearing a plain white cassock, Francis presented a sharp contrast in appearance to the pope who stood on the same balcony on Christmas exactly a year ago. Then Benedict XVI, who was soon to stun the world by retiring, read his Christmas speech while dressed in a crimson, ermine-trimmed cape. Benedict lives on the Vatican grounds, and Francis paid a holiday call on him earlier this week.
    In another break with tradition, the Argentine-born Francis stuck to Italian for his Christmas greetings, forsaking a custom of wishing happy holidays in dozens of languages to the crowd below the balcony.
    In the Mideast, pilgrims celebrated Christmas in the ancient Bethlehem church where tradition holds Jesus was born, as candles illuminated the sacred site and the joyous sound of prayer filled its overflowing halls.
    This year’s turnout was the largest in years in Bethlehem, and the celebrations have been marked by careful optimism amid ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Leaders expressed hope the coming year would finally bring the Palestinians an independent state of their own.
    The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal, led a prayer for some 1,000 worshippers. “The whole world now is looking at Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus,” Twal said in his annual address, adding that the message of Jesus was one of “love and reconciliation.”
     

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy and Dinner/Dec. 25, 2013






Christmas: A Time to Let God Love Others Through You

As Mother Teresa said "It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you. "
May God love others through you today and everyday!
Even though, our Christmas cards depict a peaceful environment, let's be real, it was a tough time for Mary and Joseph. 
First:the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem on the back of a donkey was no joy ride for Mary, nine months pregnant. Can you imagine the stress of looking for a place to give birth?
 Let us remember the families especially single mothers who give birth to children in poverty without adequate  food, shelter or health care. 
Second: There was no hospitality inn available, and a stable, well, let's say it wouldn't be a top choice for most people. Think Barn aroma! Yet in our world today millions of people live on trash dumps among squalor without water, electricity or sanitation. 
Third: the first witnesses to the birth of Jesus were shepherds.
Shepherds were among the lowest and least of their society. So, what does this say about God's preferential option for the least among us? Are they the ones to show us the way to let God love through us? Who are our "shepherds" today?
 Christmas is the time of year we see love incarnate in so many ways. We become more aware of God's loving presence everywhere and in everyone. Christ is born again and again in our world through our compassion and generous service to others.  Let us allow God to continue to love the least and lowest in our world through us.
A holy, happy and loving Christmas!
Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp, www.arcwp.org




Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Meesage by Rev. Judy Lee, ARCWP and Rev. Chava Redonnet, RCWP-USA Woman Priest of the Migrants Shares Christmas Reflections

  http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/rev-chava-redonnet-woman-priest-of-the-migrants-shares-christmas-reflections/

We are grateful to present Rev. Chava’s Christmas reflections that takes place on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday where the candle we light represents LOVE. For us, Christmas is Love incarnate, God entering human flesh in a new way, in the form of a baby who will grow with the love of his mother and step-father,fulfill messianic prophecies of his people, and experience all that we do. He will laugh and anticipate and fill with joy. He will make many loving relationships with men and women who share his Good News.  Some will hold him up and some will let him down, badly. He will be a loving, healing,IMG_0120 challenging Presence among us. He will be  prophetic and show us the way of his God Father/Mother Who wants no less than justice ,love and peace for us and from us and gives the same.  Jesus, Yeshua bar Joseph,  will suffer, a lot, and die for his prophetic teachings. Jesus the Christ will be our salvation and our liberator.  Death could not hold him. Because of him our life is eternal. Because of him church has happened where God’s family celebrate life and worship together,leaving none behind. The Gospel of such love and life is to be shared with all people. We thank our sister Rev. Chava for braving the snow and icy conditions once again as she brings this Gospel to two men, one of whom is ministering to the other. Thanks be to God for Christmas, thanks be to God for the messengers. You be a messenger too. This is Church and this is a beautiful Christmas celebration.
Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP
with Pastor Judy Beaumont, ARCWP                                                                                                                Holding the Candle of  Love
 Rev. Chava Redonnet’s Reflections    
Sunday, December 22, 2013
4th Sunday of Advent
Dear friends,
Three years ago when we started St Romero’s in the dining room at St Joe’s, Jim Callan gave me a piece of advice. “Show up, no matter what,” he said. I managed to stick to that for quite a while, but about a year ago there came a time when I had to be away and there was no one to fill in for me. So now when I have to do that, I put signs up all over St Joe’s, put it in the bulletin, and write it on facebook, hoping no one will show up and find there’s no Mass.
This past Sunday was awfully snowy and cold, but I remembered what Jim said, and slogged my way through the snow, wondering if anyone would come to Mass at all. And it was a good thing I did, because two men showed up. One of them was a man who had been there just once before. He is an immigrant from Southeast Asia, who washes dishes at a restaurant nearby. The other is a man who is almost blind, who is often at Mass, and always asks for food. He lives just down the street. As the three of us prepared to start the service, the first man told me that he would have to leave by 11:45 because he had to go to work. My homily was about Nelson Mandela and finding reasons to rejoice (of which his life is one). When it came time for the Eucharistic Prayer, it was already past 11:30. I cut out some of the prayers so that we’d all be able to have communion together. We shared communion, and then the man from the restaurant was putting on his coat, getting ready to leave. He started fiddling with a bag that I hadn’t realized was his. The bag turned out to contain food from the restaurant that he had brought for the man who is almost blind.
“Oh, thank you! You brought me food!” he said. But as the other man was on his way out the door, the blind man added, “It’s not as much as last week!”
“He’ll hear you!” I told him.
“Well, it isn’t!”
I don’t think the man from the restaurant heard him. (Phew!)
He wanted to sing “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and even though it’s still Advent we sang it, because that’s what he wanted. And it was joyful and beautiful, just as it was.
This week we read of Joseph, getting the news that things were not as they were supposed to be. His bride-to-be was pregnant, and he knew he wasn’t the father. He must have been a mature person with a good heart, because he decided to divorce her quietly and not put her to shame. Then an angel showed up! And told him that this messed-up version of family was exactly the way God wanted it to be. And he was to name the baby “God is with us.” Emmanuel.
I think our little church is exactly the way God wants it to be, too. We’re small, we’re grouchy sometimes, but these beautiful moments happen, these moments of grace. It’s really church… like Jesus said, wherever two or more gather in his name, there he is with us.  God-is-with-us.
Please pray for one of the guys in our migrant church, who will be spending Christmas in the Detention Center. On Monday I kept getting these strange calls with a recorded woman’s voice speaking in Spanish. About the third or fourth call I figured out they were coming from the Detention Center, and a call or two later figured out what I was required to do to accept the call. It was a big relief because I knew he was there but hadn’t been able to reach him. It turned out he had court on Wednesday and needed help. I called a lawyer friend who is representing a number of folks from our church. He said he couldn’t be there but instructed me on what to tell our friend to say, that he had a lawyer but had only found him the day before, and he needed an extension. Tuesday night I was worried because I had no way to call him, was waiting for his call so I could explain what he was to do, and he hadn’t called. I asked friends to pray! And they did. And the phone rang! We went over and over what he was to do, and the next day he went in to court alone and asked for the extension, and got it. He will go to court on January 6, and the lawyer will ask for bond. Then we have to find a way to raise the bond, so stay tuned!  I will visit him Saturday.
One thing you can say about St Romero’s. We may be tiny, but it’s never a dull moment!!
Love and light and peace as you celebrate Christmas. May there be lots of JOY!!
Blessings and love to all,
Chava

Albany Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Christmas Liturgy/Presider Roman Catholic Woman Priest Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP

Albany Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Christmas Liturgy/Presider  Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org


The Good Shepherd Children Wish You a Merry Christmas / Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Ft. Myers, Florida


   
Our Rainbow Community Wishes You Peace And LovIMG_0007e Throughout the World
IMG_0152IMG_0201IMG_0194
IMG_0181
IMG_0026 WITH LOVE FROM
THE GOOD SHEPHERD INCLUSIVE CATHOLIC  COMMUNITY

Monday, December 23, 2013

Homily:"She Is Holy Paradox Within" by Mary Sue Barnett, ARCWP

Book of Sirach 24: 1-11
The Interior Castle Teresa of Avila
Luke 1:41-56

In recent months I have been doing chaplaincy work in the trauma room at University Hospital.


I have been present to individuals and families who cry out loud for a miracle.


The cries are filled with passion and seem to reverberate into the vastness of the night skies.


To be human and to cry out in grief is to know what it is like to be little. It is a contingency experience.

"I am suffering. I am afraid. I want a miracle!"


On this darkest day of the year, when night envelops creation,

there is a paradox in our midst~~~~~

We hear from the Book of Sirach that Hokma/Sophia, Divine Wisdom,

speaks of Her glory in the highest heavens.

She is mobile and She covers the earth like a mist.

She encompasses heaven and traverses the abyss.

Over the oceans, over the earth and over every nation, She holds sway.

She is eternal and holy and wants to dwell in her beloved people.


Holy Wisdom emerges from the heavens and establishes a dwelling place in ancient Zion.

 She emerges also from the heavens into our winter solstice tonight to take root within us.


Sixteenth century Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila envisioned the soul

to be like a mansion made of diamond or crystal

with many, diverse rooms~~~~

This is our deepest, most mysterious self~~

It is where our passion lies~~

From within this mansion we Experience ourselves as little~~

It is from where we most feel our contingent experiences.

This mansion made of crystal is our inner Zion, our inner Jerusalem

where Divine Wisdom chooses Her dwelling place.

When we cry out for a miracle, She is there.

Beloved Wisdom is intimate and present.
AND, Beloved Wisdom WANTS to be intimate and present.

In the deep, dark center of our being, Her presence illumines all

things, especially our cries of grief.

She is Holy Paradox that we carry within.

When Mary sings her great song of liberation, she is speaking

directly to this Holy One who is dwelling intimately within her.

Like Hannah of the Hebrew Bible, Mary's BODY and VOICE are

magnified by God's miracle when life felt painfully small.

Pregnant with Wisdom Incarnate, Mary gives voice to her soul and

speaks on behalf of those who are held captive in the world because

 of human brokenness and because of Injustice that leads to

 belittlement and bleakness.

The Holy Paradox happening in Mary's depths animates and

 emboldens her to speak about power reversals on the earth

where the little ones are raised up and tyrants are diminished.




The mansion made of crystal with many rooms where Holiness dwells

 is an image of one's individual soul.

It's also an image of the Universal Soul where we all dwell with one

 another and with all of creation and where Hokma/Sophia has chosen

 to take root.


Within this universal soul there are so many who cry out for a miracle

 because they suffer.

Like a solitary little bird sitting atop a weeping cherry tree in a cold

 downpour, so many live in a state of constant vulnerability and

contingency waiting for compassionate intervention.

On this darkest day of the year, on this Fourth Saturday of

 Advent with our eye toward Christmas Day,

let us stop~~~~~

~~~~and be still

~~~~and be silent

~~~~~~and listen

Wisdom will be waiting.

You are Her beloved and She desires to be in dialogue with you.

And in this darkest day of the year, let us imagine what it would

be like to join one another on Wisdom's path to traverse the diverse

rooms and the lands for those who suffer:

----in hospital rooms

----in inner city violence

----in shelters

-----on the streets

-----in psychiatric wards

-----in halfway houses

----in brothels

----in isolation

-----in the bleakness of depression

This is Wisdom Incarnate. This is the Christ breaking into the mystery

 of today's winter solstice, who is taking up residence in a beloved

 city, who grows tall like a cedar, who fills out with glorious blossoms

the weeping cherry tree

and who gives forth to all

her sacred fragrance.

Let us participate fully in the human cries for miracles and let us

 compose our own songs of liberation and healing

where the sounds of Wisdom reverberate from Zion forever!

Homily
December 21, 2013
Christ Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community
Mary Sue Barnett, ARCWP Priest

"Ministry of Irritation" by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP


http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Ministry+of+Irritation.-a0132053432

   On a feast day you came
   Spirit-Led, oops
   yet another woman of extravagant
     Love
   A woman who gets things done
   You did it--Spirit-Led
   you crossed the line
   and entered their space
   splashing him, rebaptizing him
   dangerously
   the oil flowed alive,
   moving in dynamic Spirited
   rhythms
   perfuming, scented, alluring
   you drew us in--anointing him

   Oh woman who dared to bring him
     Beauty
   Oh woman who dared to feed his
     soul
   who heard the Voice
   who named the Truth
   reminding him, reminding him,
   naming, calling him in your
   poetic display of divine madness
   Mary of Bethany
   an Easter Morning woman claiming
   The Easter Morning Man ...
   freeing woman
   we remember you


--Janice Sevre-Duszynska 

Lexington, Ky.

"Our Story Living Love in Wisdom's Embrace", "As If a Birth Was Happening" Newly Ordained Priest Mary Sue Barnett and Deacons Betty Smith and Denise Davis Celebrate Inclusive Catholic Liturgy in Louisville, Kentucky,

Articles about Liturgy by Deacon Denise Davis, ARCWP and Deacon Betty Smith, ARCWP
I must admit that I began the day of December 21st a bit melancholy - the eve of my daughter’s 21st birthday, I couldn’t help but admit that my beautiful baby girl was no longer mine alone. As birthdays sometimes do, that day was simply telling me it was time to finally admit  that, surely, as the lovely adult she has grown into, she belongs to the world. So, I turned my energy and efforts to the liturgy we were holding that night - the first that would bring the priestly ministries of Mary Sue Barnett to the world, ministries accompanied by the new ARCWP deacons, Betty Smith and I. And oh, what a liturgy that was!

We began as we so often do with a simple statement about an aspect of our practice, and then a contemplative invitation. That night’s statement emphasized our awareness of the Christian call to our universal priesthood, one, we told them, we would honor through three means. First,  when the words of consecration were spoken, community members - not the ordained present - would raise the plates and cups in the center of our celebration. Second, all present would raise their own hands and speak those words always reserved for the male clergy alone. Third, all would also act as ministers, distributing the bread and wine to each other, to everyone present. We told them we do those things for one simple reason: through our universal priesthood we are called to become transformational people. Together, we transform the bread and wine. Together we are called to be transformed by the bread and wine. Together, we bring that transformational power to the world, where it is so desperately needed. Our contemplative meditation was a simple one ending with this simple reminder - that, in being in our celebration that night, they were “nowhere, but now here,” their breaths intermingling into one beautiful symbol of unity.

A most sublime and sweet soprano voice then broke the silence with the familiar words, “Oh, come all ye faithful…” Within seconds, our community joined in, filling our beautiful space with song. Sitting in two concentric circles, we faced each other, all visible to the other. Two simple music stands were placed opposite each other, within the outer rim of the circle so that all were truly included. Within the circle’s middle stood three tables on which our bread and wine were resting. Two candles, standing amidst pine greens, alone, functioned as decoration. Surely, within that holy, precious space, nothing else was needed. As the song finished, Mary Sue began the liturgy with these words….

“In the name of the One who births all that is, and of Jesus - love’s Incarnation, and of the Holy Spirit, our Liberator…”

communicating so powerfully that we are a people who seek our Living God, the One who lies beyond any single specific image or name, the One who is forever surprising us. And so, we continued. A blend of male and female voices spoke the prayers and read throughout our liturgy that included a reading from Sirach and another from St. Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle. And, maybe, for the first time ever, everyone present heard the Magnificat spoken as Gospel in a woman’s voice. The opening of Mary Sue’s homily touched us all. After reminding us of her recent experience in CPE at a nearby trauma hospital she said this…..

“I have been present to individuals and families who cry out loud for a miracle.
The cries are filled with passion and seem to reverberate into the vastness of the night skies.
To be human and to cry out in grief is to know what it is like to be little. It is a contingency experience. "I am suffering. I am afraid. I want a miracle!”
She went on to remind us that on this Christmas Eve, “Wisdom  will be waiting.
You are Her beloved,” Mary Sue reminded us, “and She desires to be in dialogue with you.
And in this darkest day of the year, let us imagine what it would be like to join one another on Wisdom's path to traverse the diverse rooms and the lands for those who suffer:
----in hospital rooms
----in inner city violence
----in shelters
-----on the streets
-----in psychiatric wards
-----in halfway houses
----in brothels
----in isolation
-----in the bleakness of depression.”
Her closing words told us why it is so imperative that we listen:
“This is Wisdom Incarnate. This is the Christ breaking into the mystery of today's winter solstice, who is taking up residence in a beloved city, who grows tall like a cedar, who fills out with glorious blossoms the weeping cherry tree and who gives forth to all her sacred fragrance. Let us participate fully in the human cries for miracles and let us compose our own songs of liberation and healing where the sounds of Wisdom reverberate from Zion forever!” Silence then filled us all as those words of such deep insight and compassion resonated through us.

And then, after communion, that sweet soprano sang, this time alone,  the first verse of the beloved hymn, Silent Night. When she paused, Betty’s voice became audible, speaking words that Mary might have said that first night after all others had fallen asleep. “Joseph,” she began, “Joseph, are you awake?”  As her gentle voice continued, I couldn’t help but become aware of our own place within that sanctuary. Now past sunset, I could see through the windows, streetlights just then blinking on. Faint sounds of traffic in the distance reminded me that the world was still moving, but in that space, there within that circle, well, I was experiencing so much of what Betty was revealing of Mary’s experience.

While Mary was asking Jesus how she was to give Him, God’s miracle to her, what He needed, I was wondering what I could give to those with me as I accept this ministry, one I consider God’s miracle to me. Oh, I know my intentions are good, but I strongly suspect that, as an “ordained minister,” it is not I who will always be the one to give and guide. More than likely, it will be these people with whom I share a universal call to priesthood who will be giving and teaching me so much. Like Mary, I am humbled to be in such a place. Like Mary, I know, I have only love, really, to give.

As Betty’s voice faded, and our soprano - Betty’s granddaughter Sabrina actually - began again, we all realized that it was time for our liturgy to end. Mary Sue offered our communion closing prayer, and then our concluding rite began, culminating with a mutual blessing. With energy and enthusiasm, we sang our closing song, “Joy to the World.” And, then, of course, it was time to depart. Oh, how warmly people received our work. More than one told me how much they appreciated the sense of inclusion, the ability to truly participate throughout the liturgy, the fact that even a young boy could give his own mother the bread. A long-time community member hugged me warmly, telling me that our albs were “icing on her Christmas cake,” inspiring her because, in her eyes, those simple garments were symbols of the fiats the three of us had made. In claiming our ordination, she explained, we were saying yes to God in spite of opposition, in spite of what others might say. And so, in seeing those symbols, she is inspired to speak her own personal yes to God as well regardless of whatever opposition or dismay she may need to face as she claims her own role within our kin-dom.

As I sat in my car that night, alone, ready to drive home, I thought again of my daughter’s birth so many years ago. On December 21, 1992, I had spent that night anticipating her new life, hoping that all would go well with her delivery and then, of course, through all the years that followed. Well, here I was, 21 long years later, aware that another birth had just occurred, so sweetly timed with hers. Oh my….. what a mystery in which we live. I can only say….

“My soul proclaims your greatness, O God,
and my spirit rejoices in you, my Savior.
For you have looked with favor upon your lowly servant….”


AS if a "Birth Was Happening" by Deacon Betty Smith, ARCWP
Our whole process of getting ready was as if a "Birth" was happening.  Mary Sue, Denise and I met several times for long sessions of planning, exchanging, and preparing during a "gestation" time.   We were "fertile" with ideas and blessings during the preparations.  Our white albs would be worn in the "birthing place" as a symbol of our commitment to our ministry, (as drs. and nurses do in hospitals).  We felt "stirrings" of happiness and, yes, gleefulness, as we thought out each word and place-to-be in our church.  As Mary Sue retreated to a place of quiet, Denise and I set up the room, moving heavy chairs in two circles so all could "be in the event", pulling and placing tables for the nativity event, "laboring" as we prepared to "deliver" our Liturgy.    As friends and families began to arrive, they were greeted by all three of us.  Rosie was busy with so many behind-the-scene actions: bringing in greens for the tables,, getting the vessels ready for communion, laying out information about our future liturgies.  I had spent time with my granddaughter, Sabrina Wellendorff, going over the music and timing of the "onset" of our piece together.  As Denise invited all of us to "breathe" and "be", our parenting began.  Mary Sue, Denise and I were too humbled by what took place during the readings of the Words, Communion, sweet music,  and birthing celebration to do any more than look at each other in solidarity and sisterhood and smile.
Birthing with Mother Sophia was as powerful for me as when I gave birth to my four children.  God knows how powerful that is. 
Merry and happy holy days,
Betty