On Saturday April 26th sixteen members of The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community of Fort Myers, Florida were confirmed in the faith by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, Roman Catholic Woman Bishop in Sarasota, Florida. Pastors and Roman Catholic Women Priests Judith Beaumont and Judith Lee presented the group of eight young people, aged 12-18, and eight adults, aged 35-61 for the Rite of Confirmation. One man, Robert Swanson, 53, was also baptized before the Confirmation. He and five others also received First Holy Communion after years of faithful attendance and Catechesis at Good Shepherd. For Robert and for each one this Spirit filled celebration represents a turning around of his life and a choice to live in the Light and share Christ’s love with others in the community. Including the Sponsors,parents and Robert’s daughter and grandsons twenty-eight people from The Good Shepherd community and over thirty members and friends of Mary Mother Of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community of Sarasota joined in joyful celebration. Almost all of the Confirmands and their families have experienced homelessness, poverty, unemployment ,healthcare and other difficult life struggles. Yet their determination to follow Christ and their love and joyful spirits lifted all present.
Pastor Phil Garrison welcomed the Confirmands and all present to the St. Andrew United Church of Christ that hosted us. Dorothy Irvin, theologian and Archaeologist who has unearthed many proofs of women’s clerical roles in the first twelve Centuries was also present. She commented that she was raised in Belle Grade, Florida and grew up in segregation as all of the older Good Shepherd Confirmands did, and witnessing our loving interracial and inter cultural celebration was especially meaningful to her. Truly here in this sacred moment, young and old, black and white, men and women, well to do and poor, American born and people of other lands and cultures joined together as a discipleship of equals in the Body of Christ. Thanks be to God!
Pastor Judy Lee makes introductions and Pastor Phil Garrison of St. Andrew UCC Church welcomes the Congregation and the Confirmands who are about to process
Gathering Around the Altar
Mary Mother of Jesus Co-Pastor Katy Zatsick with us at altar
Nathaniel Chester, Natasha Terrell and Lauretta Rasmussen and Hank Tessandori
of Good Shepherd were the Lectors. Rev. Katy Zatsick read the Gospel. Linda Lee Miska of MMOJ was the Minister of Music and Cyrillia Rismay of Good Shepherd
led in song.
The Baptism of Robert Swanson
Robert and his family and sponsors, Dr. Joe and Pearl Cudjoe gather at the baptismal Font, and Pastor Judy Lee anoints,baptizes and passes the Light to Robert. Robert’s Grandson, Craig, traces the sign of the Cross on his forehead.
In Christ you are made new!
Bishop Bridget Mary anoints each one with Holy Chrism oil making the sign of the Cross on their foreheads and saying: