Revda. Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia embarking in the La Balsada in honor of Mary with her community on the river Cauca, Cali, Colombia
This is an especially insightful spiritual Reflection by Rev. Chava Redonnet of the Oscar Romero Community in Rochester New York. Amen to her words of wisdom. The hymn she discusses, written in both English and Spanish, was also the offertory hymn at my Ordination to the priesthood on 7/20/2015 along with Gloria Carpeneto of Maryland and Gabriella Velardi Ward of Staten Island, New York as Priests and Mary Ann McCarthy Schoettly, Deacon. As I recall, the choice of that hymn was unanimous and its meaning special to all there. From that time on Mary Ann became a loving supporter of our Good Shepherd Ministry to the homeless. Her Sophia Community in New Jersey continues their generous support of our ministry as well as Rev. Chava’s ministry to the migrants. i join Chava in thankfulness for the life of Rev. Mary Ann Schoettly who left these shores too early to join that great cloud of witnesses on the other shore surrounding us with love.
The chorus of that hymn- Lord, You Have Come to the Seashore (Spanish Pescador de Hombres- is particularly meaningful and lovely:
O Lord, with your eyes set upon me,
gently smiling, you have spoken my name:
all I longed for I have found by the water,
at your side,I will seek other shores”.
by Cesareo Gabarain, Published by OCP, 1979,1987.
Rev. Judy Lee
Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church Bulletin for Sunday, February 1, 2015 Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear friends, “Lord, when you came to the sea shore, you weren’t seeking the wise or the wealthy, but only asking that I might follow.”
Back in April of 2009 when Mary Ann Schoettly was ordained a priest and I a deacon in a synagogue in Philadelphia, that was the offertory song. Mary Ann chose it. I don’t remember what significance it had for her, but when I think back on it – when I remember standing to receive the offertory gifts of bread and wine as a newly ordained deacon, hearing that song all around — well, I kind of get shivers, because there was no way of knowing then how important that song would be in my ministry just a few years later.
On the long drive back and forth from the city to way out in the country, I usually sing. It helps me stay alert! But singing my favorite songs to Santiago, I sometimes become aware of how many of our hymns and songs are written from the point of view of persons of privilege. Like “Good King Wenceslas” – which ends, “you who now will help the poor, will yourselves find blessing.” The beautiful thing about “Pescador des Hombres,” which we know in English as “Lord, When You Came to the Seashore” is that it is written from the point of view of someone without power or privilege, someone who simply says, take me and use me, Lord.
A transformative moment for me in ministry happened at St Joe’s one Tuesday afternoon about ten years ago. I was talking with one of our guests, who was telling a very long story. As I listened, in the front part of my mind I was hearing her story. In the back part, I was trying to pray for her. But the prayer wouldn’t come. It was like it was stuck. “Huh,” I wondered. “Why can’t I pray?” Then I realized that it was because I was praying down. I was praying like, me and God were going to help her. Like I had it all together, and she did not. I realized in that moment that if I was going to pray for her, it had to be the prayer of an equal, one child of God for another. It was startling because I didn’t realize until then that I had that attitude.
The good news is, once you’ve had a moment like that, it’s hard to go back. It’s like you’re standing on the bottom rung looking up, and always aware that things look different depending on where you are on the ladder – and that as long as others are standing on that bottom rung, that’s where you absolutely want to be until you can all climb up that ladder together and look at the magnificent view. I suspect that’s liberation.
So thanks, Mary Ann posthumous thanks for choosing a song that we would sing again and again at St Romero’s. Your ministry was shorter than any of us wanted, but it sure was prophetic!
Still looking for volunteer English teachers for Tuesday nights in the Spring and Summer, and for a Religious Ed teacher for Thursdays. All in English! Keep warm and drive safely in all that snow!
Love to all , Chava Oscar Romero Church An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition Mass: Sundays, 11 am St Joseph’s House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620 A member community of the Federation of Christian Ministries