Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Janet Blakeley and Sally Brochu, Two Grandmothers, Partners for 20 Years, Will Minister Side by Side as Deacons at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida

Partners called “to minister side by side”
There is good news in Sarasota! Two grandmothers are going to be ordained deacons.  Janet Blakeley and Sally Brochu, partners for 20 years, co-preside regularly at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community (MMOJ). They are shining forth love, emotional honesty, mutual partnership and the values of the Gospel.
Today one of the hot-button issues of our time is gay rights. In sacramental community we are healing the soul wound, the grave dishonesty that has been so damaging to gays and lesbians in our church. In the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests we are leading the church in affirming the full equality of gay women by publicly ordaining Sally and Janet as deacons.
The Vatican has made a groundbreaking change in their attitude toward gays. In a recent document they stated that homosexuals had "gifts and qualities to offer" and raised the issue of greater acceptance of same sex couples. 
Now will the Vatican take the next step and let their gay priests out of the closet and accept them as they practice their priesthood? Will the Vatican give their gay priests the public recognition of honoring them for who they are, for the holiness of their being and the gifts of their public ministries? The Vatican must not only change its tone but also its teaching on homosexuality. On Saturday, November 1, 2014, at 2 p.m. the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain a catacomb woman priest and two deacons in Sarasota, Florida. Isabel Angelica Fajardo of South America is the catacomb name of the woman who will be ordained a priest. Partners Janet Blakeley and Sally Brochu will be ordained deacons. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota. The ceremony will take place at St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34238. All are welcome. A reception will follow in Stewart Hall.

Bridget Mary's Response:

Sally Brochu and Janet Blakeley have been leaders and co-presiders at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community(MMOJ) for over a year. Both women have excellent theological backgrounds and  have ministered in the Roman Catholic Church for years. All of us at MMOJ have been blessed by their liturgical and spiritual service. They are our beloved sisters and companions on the journey to justice and equality for all members of our church. 
Yesterday,  Vatican announced a change in tone toward homosexuals.  It opened the door a crack in its recognition of gays, lesbians and transgender as gifted and blessed members of the Catholic Church.  I see this decree as a positive step. However, in order for the Catholic Church to truly be a welcoming community, the hierarchy must change its teaching and allow everyone to receive sacraments because everyone is the beloved of God and a cherished member of God's family. In our inclusive Catholic communities in the women priests' movement, all are always welcome at the Banquet Table. I pray that the institutional church will soon do so too. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
To be ordained a deacon:
Janet Blakeley, 80, of Nokomis, a suburb of Sarasota, raised three children and a second family of grandchildren. Janet earned a Master’s degree in Clinical/Pastoral Counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston. In addition, she has graduate courses in Scripture and Theology from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Lay Ministry Training Institute, Boston, Andover-Newton Seminary, Boston College and Boston University. She has spent a lifetime in various ministries – church musician, parochial school administrator, parish adult education leader, volunteer in Haiti and spiritual director. “Sally and I love our life at Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community and we look forward to serving there. We see it as a tremendous blessing to be moving toward full involvement with ARCWP. Thank you for holding onto the dream until we could be part of it.”

Sally Brochu, 73, of Nokomis has three children, 10 grandchildren and recently four great-grandchildren from a 32-year marriage. Involved in parish life, Sally was invited to attend the Center for Parish Ministry in Maine, a three-year commitment of learning and preparation for ministry. She earned a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Emmanuel College in Boston. After fulfilling Clinical Pastoral Counseling requirements, Sally became a Board Certified Chaplain through the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. She worked as the Director of Pastoral Care for a Catholic Regional Medical System in Maine for 10 years. “I loved working with a compassionate and professional chaplaincy team and our ministry to so many people at their times of need, but I also observed and experienced some of the inner workings of a hierarchical church that has lost its way. It became clear to me that there needed to be another model of church. To find it in ARCWP is remarkable and exciting as we work together to build a new model of Church with Jesus as the center and the Spirit guiding us forward.”

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