Sunday, August 2, 2015

In 1979 Sister Theresa Kane Invited Pope John Paul 11 to Open All Ministries to Women, In 2015 Women Priests Lead the Church in Inclusive, Egalitarian, Empowered Communities

Women Priests Co Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP, Sally Brochu, ARCWP, and Pastor Phil Garrison St. Andrew UCC
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Liturgy on Aug. 1, 2015  at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota Florida

Advocacy for women's equality existed before Kane gave her address at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. At the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) meeting in 1975, a resolution for women to be in all ministries passed almost unanimously, and two years later, the Sisters of Mercy of the Union endorsed a similar statement.
By the time Kane, as LCWR's president, welcomed the pope, she knew what she would say. Visible glints of support were present in the crowds that day; a group of sisters wore blue armbands to signify advocacy for women's ordination.

Bridget Mary Meehan:  I was there and witnessed Sister Theresa Kane's unforgettable address. The atmosphere was electric, filled with Spirit energy and anticipation. On that day, new hope for gender equality filled my soul  when I heard Sister Kane's prophetic words, and saw nuns wearing the blue armbands promoting women's ordination. Wow, talking about being outside my comfort zone, and challenged to move in a different direction than anything I had known as an IHM Sister.  Some of the nuns even stood on the pews to get a better view of the Pope as he processed in to the Shrine. 

"That's where I became alive," Kane said. "It has become a vision, a passion, a focus for my life, and a priority. My greeting was considered a commencement. It was not the end of my responsibilities. ... For me, it has been a lifelong journey."

Bridget Mary Meehan:  In 1979, I was on a leave of absence from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters in Philadelphia. My dear friend, Sister Regina Madonna, a nun also on leave of absence and I went early to the Shrine to secure seats, never dreaming of the seismic shift we were going to become part of as Sister Kane addressed the pontiff. 

As the spokeswoman for LCWR, Kane was also conscious of herself as "a voice in the desert," she said. "I needed to speak not just for women religious, but for all women. That particular moment was somewhat of an inclusive mindset that deepened solidarity."

Bridget Mary Meehan: On July 31, 2006, I was ordained a priest in the first U.S. ordination. When I returned to Florida, a group gathered with my Dad and me for house church liturgies. Our close-knit community grew and flourished and became known as Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community. Now we are a dynamic community with presiders that include married priests, women priests and  community members. Each week we celebrate liturgies where all are welcome to receive sacraments on Sat. at 4 PM at St. Andrew UCC.

When LCWR gave Kane the Outstanding Leadership Award in 2004, her speech at the ceremony mentioned what she calls the "colonizing spirit" -- the idea that as long as there is no gender equality, women, without meaning to, take a secondary role and fail to recognize their own power.

Bridget Mary Meehan: The Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a holy shakeup! We are no longer asking for permission from the institutional church. We are leading the way, united with all the baptized as a companionship of empowerment.  

It is Kane's belief that until the church achieves radical equality, "we have a sacred responsibility as women to pursue this vision. We really can stand strong and stand firm and say gender equality is a gift from God. As martyrs of old, we're willing to die for it, but more importantly, I'm willing to live for it."...

Bridget Mary Meehan:While Pope Francis promotes an economy of inclusion, the entire church must promote a church of inclusion with the full equality of women in all areas of ministry including ordination.  Woman Spirit is rising up in love for justice now!

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, (ARCWP) will ordain 3 women bishops on Sept. 24, 2015 in Pendle Hill to grow our movement. Communities are calling forth women as deacons and priests. We need more bishops to keep up with our growth. The primary mission of our bishops is to ordain women to serve inclusive Catholic Communities in a discipleship of equals. Our new bishops-elect are Olga Lucia Alvarez of Colombia, South America, Mary Collingwood of Hudson, Ohio, USA, Michele Birch Conery of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.  I am a bishop in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. I was ordained a bishop in 2009.

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