FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2015
SOA WATCH INCLUSIVE BILINGUAL LITURGY LED BY ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS OF BOTH GENDERS UNITES AMERICAS AND CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF JUSTICE-MAKING
Fr. Roy Bourgeois, 706-682-5369
On Saturday, November 21, 2015 a bilingual inclusive liturgy led by Roman Catholic priests of both genders will take place during the 25th School of the Americas Watch gathering at the gates of Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA. The Eucharist will begin at 4 p.m. in the Sycamore Room of the Columbus Convention Center. It is part of the weekend events for justice that begin with bilingual workshops on Friday, November 20th and a march on Saturday to the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA. It ends on Sunday with a solemn procession and litany as participants hold up white crosses with the names of those killed by soldiers trained at the SOA.
“As women priests we are making the connections between oppression of women in our religion and violence toward women and their children in our world,” said Sevre-Duszynska, a former SOA Prisoner of Conscience who has been a priest for seven years.
Fr. Roy Bourgeois who founded the School of the Americas Watch in 1990 participated in her ordination on August 9, 2008 in Lexington, Kentucky and gave a prophetic homily in support of women priests. Because he refused to recant his support of women priests, he was excommunicated by the Vatican and thrown out of the Maryknolls. A former Naval Officer and Maryknoll priest for 38 years, he spent his first five life-changing years as a priest with the poor in Bolivia.
“Who are we as priests to say that our call as men is valid but theirs as women is not?” asks Fr. Roy Bourgeois.
The SOA is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers who have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. More than 300 people have spent more than a total of 100 years in federal prison for nonviolent civil disobedience to shut it down. The annual SOA Watch vigil held the weekend before Thanksgiving has been the largest gathering of peace activists in the world.
Cuban-born Deacon Silvia Brandon-Perez from the East Bay in California will give the homily. She and musician Charlie King will lead the community in song.
“The only way we are going to have peace in the world is to stop engaging in violence and militarization,” she said. “Our streets are no longer safe, and most of the violence is coming from those who have sworn to protect the people. Governments, including our own in the U.S., create situations of violence and unrest throughout the world, both by actual violence and by economic violence, which in turn breeds more violence that turns into terrorist attacks. It is time to turn swords into plowshares.”
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests recently ordained Olga Lucia Alvarez of Colombia the first Latin American woman bishop.
The theme of this year’s Eucharist sponsored by the Progressive Catholic Coalition is “Solidarity with the living martyrs of Latin America, Palestine and the whole wide world seeking justice.”