Friday, May 24, 2019

Why does Francis' passion for justice and unity stop short of women? by Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter, My response

Pope Francis smiles as he walks past pilgrims during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 8, 2019. (Credit: Remo Casilli/Reuters/CNS.)


My response: Kudos to Jamie Manson for her response to Pope Francis on women deacons. As she points out: "
This latest episode is yet another example of the Catholic Church's perpetuating and justifying notions of gender inequality that are the root of women's suffering globally." The institutional church treats women as second class citizens. As equal images of God all positions and leadership roles should be open to women. Unfortunately, Pope Francis does not seem to understand that this is a social justice issue that impacts the church's credibility as a messenger of the Gospel in our world today. Jesus treated women as disciples and equals, so should the church.  It is incomprehensible that Pope Francis and the hierarchy continue to blame God for the church's long history of sinful misogyny in the 21st century. 
 The international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is leading a path forward to gender equality in inclusive communities of equals where all are welcome to celebrate sacraments and live the Christ Presence that embraces all in our world. 
 Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, https://arcwp.org


"In June 2016, just after Pope Francis announced he would create a commission for the study of the history of women deacons in the Catholic Church, he joked to journalists, "When you want something not to be resolved, make a commission." Apparently, he wasn't kidding after all.

On May 7, while aboard the papal flight from Macedonia to Rome, Francis announced that, after three years of study, the papal commission was unable to find consensus and give a "definitive response" on the role of women deacons in the first centuries of Christianity.


He claimed that what remained unclear was whether women deacons received a sacramental ordination.

"It is fundamental that there is not certainty that it was an ordination with the same formula and the same finality of men's ordination," he said.

Anyone who has ever listened to Francis speak about women knows why this would be such a crucial distinction for him. Like popes before him, Francis believes strongly that women are not entitled to sacramental power or authority and that it is God's intended purpose that men and women have different roles in the church.

In follow up comments to the Union of Superiors General (UISG) — the women religious whose dialogue with the pope prompted him to call the study commission on the women's diaconate —in Rome on May 10, the pope said that the individual members of the commission will pursue studies on their own but remained ambiguous about whether he would call to commission back together.

"I am not afraid of studies," Francis said aboard the plane. That may be true, but what is also becoming clearer and clearer is that the pope is afraid of women in his church having even the modicum of sacramental participation that the diaconate would give them.

Why else would he question what decades of scholarship has made abundantly clear? There is ample historical evidence that women did serve as deacons. It's even in the canon of the Bible: Paul mentions the deacon Phoebe in the letter to the Romans.

Splitting historical hairs is not what Francis' papacy is known for. Back in 2015, the pope told the bishops at the synod on the Family "that the Church should not be a stuffy 'museum of memories,' but have the courage to change if that was what God wanted."


During World Youth Day in 2013 he acknowledged that many people see the Church as a "relic of the past," and a “prisoner of its own rigid formulas."

But rather than showing the courage and openness to which he constantly calls everyone else in the church, Francis blames his commission for having different interpretations of history, making desperately-needed progress on the status of women wholly dependent on an elusive ancient precedent.

The pope even appears to blame God for not revealing to us whether women could have a sacramental ordination: "We need to look back to the beginning of revelation, if there wasn't such a thing, if the Lord did not want a sacramental ministry for women, it doesn't go."

And then the pope who so often preaches openness and inclusion warns that, if we don't like it, we are welcome to leave the church.

"We cannot go beyond revelation and dogmatic expressions," Francis told the UISG. "We are Catholics. If someone wants to make another church, they are free to do so."

That line is particularly glaring when you read it in the context of the countries Francis has traveled to and the people he has encountered and demonstrated openness to in the past few months.

This is a man who has visited eight Muslim-majority countries meeting with countless imams, including a February trip to the United Arab Emirates where he signed, with the grand imam of Egypt's al-Azhar Mosque, a first-of-its-kind declaration calling for Muslims and Christians to build together "a society that is open, fraternal and respectful of differences."

In April he literally kissed the feet of leaders from South Sudan in an attempt to plead with them to remain in peace.

And this most recent trip to Bulgaria and North Macedonia was one of many attempts to reach out to leaders in the Eastern Orthodox churches in his ongoing quest to achieve full communion between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Francis' boundless energy and dedication to peace and justice stands in stark contrast to the dithering way he is handling question of women deacons in his own church. His passionate cause for unity among churches and with people of other faiths, it seems, stops short of the women of his own church who are asking simply for more inclusive ways to serve.

This latest episode is yet another example of the Catholic Church's perpetuating and justifying notions of gender inequality that are the root of women's suffering globally. And that is a tragedy because Francis' power over the consciences of world leaders could have incalculable influence on raising up women to equal status, including in the countries he visits, many of which still have overtly restrictive, patriarchal cultures.

But, sadly, patriarchs still seem to dominate Francis' religious imagination. It is interesting to note that in the same press conference aboard the plane where Francis made his comments on women deacons, the pope also reflected on the richness of his meeting with Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarch Neophyte, according to NCR's Joshua McElwee:

"In the patriarchs, I have found brothers," mentioning Constantinople's Bartholomew and Moscow's Kirill by name. "I do not want to exaggerate, but I want to say the word 'holy' — men of God."

"We are brothers," said Francis. "We cannot adore the Holy Trinity without having the united hands of brothers."

But what about the 850 sisters who stood before him in Rome asking for most basic steps of restoring women to some semblance of equality with men?

Francis, it seems, would much sooner invite these Orthodox "holy men" into deeper sacramental union and participation in the Catholic Church than he would the women religious in his own church — many of whom have labored in "the field hospital" for more than 50 years.

Last year, the final document of the Synod on Youth called the inclusion of women in the church's decision-making structures a "duty of justice" that requires a "courageous cultural conversion."

But rather than treat the issue of women deacons with the same urgency that he treats so many matters of justice, Francis has communicated — like so many popes before him — that women’s legacy of leadership requires further questioning, and their participation in ministry alongside men could be a dangerous step and, therefore, must be indefinitely stalled.

In the six years of his papacy, Francis has been celebrated for his constant calls for courage, encounter, dialogue and risk-taking. How long must we wait until he offers the same to the women of his own church?"

[Jamie L. Manson is an award-winning columnist at the National Catholic Reporter. Follow her on Twitter @jamielmanson.]

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mary Hunt Responds to Pope Francis on Women’s Ordination

Pope Francis Dithering About Women, Skittish About Cops

https://rewire.news/religion-dispatches/2019/05/15/pope-francis-dithering-about-women-skittish-about-cops/

The ordination of women, whether as deacons, priests, or bishops, is the persistent nightmare of pope after pope who seem to prefer a wizened little church over a robust religious community. Women’s ordination would signify intellectual and spiritual acceptance of gender equality and the end of centuries of discrimination. With a little bit of luck, it might hasten a move in the direction of new, democratic, participatory forms of church. Likewise, turning clergy sexual abuse cases over to law enforcement would be an admission that the church cannot police its own, that thousands of children and vulnerable adults have suffered because church leaders refuse to give up power. Alas, the hierarchy rejects change, manically swatting it away at every turn while Catholics exit in droves.
Even so timid a move as ordaining women deaconsthat is, sacramentalizing and acknowledging that the bulk of the church’s ministry is now done by womenis too much for these men. Asked about the work of the commission he set up to study the question of allowing women to be deacons, Francis dipped and dithered in one of his airplane pressers, this time en route back to Rome from North Macedonia. The matter is apparently so trivial that it can be handled off-the-cuff with reporters and not dignified at the outset with a proper report, document, or even press release. Any wonder women feel dissed?

Mary Hunt: Article Responding to Pope Francis

https://rewire.news/https://rewire.news/religion-dispatches/2019/05/15/pope-francis-dithering-about-women-skittish-about-cops/religion-dispatches/2019/05/15/pope-francis-dithering-about-women-skittish-about-cops/

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Targeting Pope Francis by John A. Dick in Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church

Targeting Pope Francis
John A. Dick, Ph.D., S.T.D.


Catholic fundamentalists are taking aim on Pope Francis. On April 30, a group of 19 Catholics, called more or less "prominent," released an open letter to the bishops of the world, accusing Pope Francis of heresy.
Certainly, a formal public accusation of heresy against a pope by a group of Catholics, associated with Catholic universities and institutions, cannot simply be ignored. When one examines their accusations, however, one sees a list of what I would call more administrative and public relations issues than strict theological problems: Francis' efforts to expand relations with China, his work in interfaith dialogue, and what I would call his "perceived" openness to L.G.B.T. people.
The papal critics also take issue with "Amoris Laetitia," the 2016 apostolic exhortation on family life issued by Pope Francis. Some bishops have interpreted it as opening the way for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. This is more about church discipline than theological heresy. In the days of widespread Catholic clerical sexual abuse of children, men, and women religious, enabling divorced people to receive communion is not high on my list of Catholic worries.
Finally, the signers of this anti-Francis letter lapse into complete foolishness when they complain that, at the opening mass for the Synod on Youth in 2018, Pope Francis carried a staff in the form of a "stang" an object used in satanic rituals. No. Francis is neither satanic nor diabolic. Some of his theological critics however are devious old demons.
Francis is not a heretic. There will be no burning at the stake in front of St. Peter's. But is Francis blameless? I don't think so.... Francis can appear friendly, down to earth, and like-able. I do criticize him, however, for his leadership short-comings.
A number of my friends are appalled that I would dare criticize Pope Francis. My criticism, however, is constructive. It is neither nasty nor demeaning. Constructive criticism helps the individual as well as the institution.
I suggest that Pope Francis is a well-intentioned old time administrator trying to save his collapsing institution. He cannot see that his Catholic Church needs major structural change and rebuilding. It is time for the Church of Rome to become less Roman.
If I were to write a letter to the Pope Francis, here are the concerns I would mention:
(1)PR PACKAGING: Be careful about the public relations trap of saying the catchy phrase, that draws applause and headlines, like "who am I to judge?" And then you fall back into the old ecclesiastical homophobia. (Which in today's Vatican is quite ironic to say the lest.) Positive words need positive action. You praise women but then complain that "every feminism ends up being a machismo with a skirt." You have a clever speechwriter but people are getting mixed messages. And nothing really changes.
(2)REORGANIZATION: I think it is great that you want to reorganize the Roman Curia. It is greatly needed. So far it looks to me, however, like you are still locked in a bureaucratic institutional mindset. You are still re-arranging the deck chairs on what appears to be a sinking ship. Disband burdensome structures. Decentralize, and decentralize ....Retire the old bureaucrats. Maybe you should move them into an old folks home in Castle Gandolfo. Give more decision-making responsibility, around the world, to local committees of bishops, lay and ordained experts. They know local conditions and needs. The days of imperial Rome, with its overpowering central administration, are gone. Over. Finished. Let's move ahead.
(3)CLERICAL CLOTHES: Signs and symbols are important. Please stop the wearing of outlandish medieval and Renaissance clothing by church leaders. It is outdated and silly. It doesn't fit. It is offensively archaic for church leaders who proclaim simplicity and solidarity with the poor. I understand it costs about $6,000 to put a cardinal in his "simple" red uniform, from red hat to red socks. And that is just for starters....
(4)INFLATED TITLES: While you are at it, drop the archaic language of "monsignor," "your eminence," "your excellency," etc. We are brothers and sisters.
(5)SISTERS: And yes, we are brothers and SISTERS.... In the community of faith we are equal. We don't need a papal commission to determine this. We know who we are today and we clearly understand our history.Get on with it. Acknowledge the many women today who are already ordained ministers: deacons, priests, and bishops. And let all ordained ministers get married if they so choose - men and women, gay and straight. There is great richness in the community of believers. Let's acknowledge it and promote it. It would certainly provide a more realistic, balanced, and healthy church environment.
(6)INTELLIGENT REALISM: Speaking about being realistic, lets acknowledge that we grow in our understanding of human nature, of history, and of course in our understanding of Sacred Scripture and theological tradition. If we are solidly anchored in our Faith, we understand the need for development in our Belief. We do not fear it. Healthy growth in understanding promotes a healthy Faith life. We either grow or we become old relics. I do respect you, but you really do need remedial theological education. You and most of your close collaborators.
(7)OPUS DEI: Speaking of your collaborators, I realized long ago that many of them belong to Opus Dei: a very secretive, very powerful, and ultra-conservative Catholic organization. For me, this is a very big red flag. Opus Dei behavior is often closer to the style of Franco of Spain than to Jesus of Nazareth. This is a serious issue. Unlike the DaVinci Code it is not fiction.
(8)POWER: The Catholic institution is still caught up in a distorted understanding of power as power OVER people. Often unexplained and secretive. Indeed, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith used to be called "the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition." Thanks to Constantine and a long line of popes who followed his example, power over people became the Catholic way. But now seriously, Brother Francis, Jesus was not an imperial power boss. He understood that pastoral ministry is a ministry of support and empowering people to take charge of their lives. It is not an exercise of power OVER people.
A CONCLUDING NOTE: Like you I am an old Catholic. I am not anti-Catholic. I am grateful for the many ways in which our Catholic tradition has educated and formed me as a person and a believer. Right now however, I fear that our tradition is on its death bed. It is not finished, however. You can help change course before its too late. And Francis please don't allow those old unhappy traditionalists, who call you a heretic, to get under your skin. Be strong.
Please do acknowledge however that you do need better advisors. Talented young men and women from a variety of disciplines. Not just a bunch of aging bishops in colorful dress.
And you do need to put constructive action behind your pleasant-sounding words.
John A. Dick, Ph.D., S.T.D. (ARCC Vice President and Treasurer)  is a historical theologian - retired from the Catholic University of Leuven and the University of Ghent

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community, Fourth Sunday of Easter 2019, Presiders: Elena Garcia, ARCWP, and Michael Rigdon, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons


WELCOME/GATHERING SONG: “Canticle of the Sun” - (By Marty Haugen)

Refrain

The heavens are telling the glory of God,
and all creation is shouting for joy.
Come, dance in the forest,
come, play in the field,
and sing, sing to the glory of our God.
Verse
Sing to the sun, the bringer of day,
He carries the light of our God in his rays;
The moon and the stars who light up the way
Unto your home. Refrain.
Verse

Praise to the wind that blows through the trees,
The seas mighty storms, the gentlest breeze;
They blow where they will, they blow where they please
To please our God. Refrain

Verse
Sing to the earth who makes life to grow,
The creatures you made to let your life show;
The flowers and trees that help us to know
The heart of love. Refrain





Presider: As we gather together in this sacred place and share in this banquet of love, let us do so in the name of God, our Creator, of Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier. All: Amen.





OPENING PRAYER:

All: Christ our hope has risen, Alleluia, Alleluia Presider: Let us rejoice and give thanks All: Alleluia Presider: Glory to you Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit All: Christ our hope has risen, Alleluia, Alleluia Presider: My sisters and brothers, God is with you! All: And also with you

PENITENTIAL RITE Presider: Creator God to whom all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and from whom no secrets can be hidden, cleanse our hearts by the inspiration of Holy Wisdom. All: Open them to new understanding. Presider: You are the Good Shepherd; you know us and you call us by name. All: Forgive us for the times we fail to recognize the good shepherds in our midst and heed their prophetic call. Presider: you give us the gift of Peace. All: Pardon the times we have not used our energies to create a world of peace and harmony. . Presider: We accept your love and understanding of the frailty of our human nature. All: We ask for the grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness, caring and compassion. Presider: And we join with you, Jesus, in believing that the strength and insight of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world. All: Amen. (All raise hands extended in blessing over one another)

Presider: God, you sent Jesus to be our shepherd, All: Help us to embrace the mystery of salvation, the promise of life rising out of death. Help us to hear the call of Jesus and give us the courage to follow it readily that we too, may lead others to You. We ask this through the power of Holy Spirit Sophia Wisdom. Amen.

GLORY TO GOD

All: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all God’s people on earth. Creator God, heart of the universe, we thank you for the breath of the Spirit sustaining everything that exists, everywhere in the cosmos. Through the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, you gave us the grace to know that you are always among us – and that we can experience you in our brothers and sisters. We give you glory and praise through Jesus Christ, our brother, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.

LITURGY OF THE WORD:

First Reading: From “The Healing Power of Peace and Nonviolence” These are the inspired words of Bernard Haring and we affirm them by saying: Response: Thanks be to God

Psalm 100 Response: Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved all peoples of the earth! Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved all peoples of the earth! Serve Love with a glad heart! Join hands in the great Dance of Life! Response Know that the Beloved of your heart is the Divine Presence! Love created us and we belong to the Most High We are born to be loving expressions of the Creator’s Divine Plan Response Open the gates of your heart with gratitude and enter Love’s court with praise! Give thanks to the Beloved, bless Love’s holy Name! Response For Love is of God and lives in your heart forever, With faith, truth, and joy, now and in all that is to come. Alleluia ! Amen ! (Psalm 100 adapted by Nan Merrill)

Second Reading: From “Stations of the Cross of Non-Violent Love” These are the inspired words of Emmanuel Charles McCarthy and we affirm them by saying: Response: Thanks be to God

Gospel Acclamation: # 565 - “Alle, Alle, Alleluia!”
Gospel: John10: 27-30 These are the inspired words of John the Evangelist. Response: Glory and praise to Jesus, the Christ

SHARED HOMILY:




Homily for the 4th Sunday After Easter/ Good Shepherd Sunday (Inspired by Sophia Wisdom/delivered by Elena Garcia)





“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” These words of Jesus refer to the Paschal Mystery which we celebrate at Easter. And so it is most appropriate that this Fourth Sunday of Easter be celebrated as Good Shepherd Sunday.

The image of the Good Shepherd is one of the most primitive, the most enduring and the most endearing images of Jesus. It is found first of all in the Old Testament. “For thus says Sovereign YHWH: I myself will look after my sheep... and a bit further it says “As a shepherd tends his flock, so will I tend my sheep”... and again “the lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal.” (Ezekiel 34:11) It is also one of the most beloved Psalms, “The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I will want.” (Psalm 23)

In the New Testament, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd, fulfilling God’s oath to his people. His mission is to the lost sheep of Israel. He will leave the ninety-nine in the flock in search of the one lost stray. He will lay down his life for his sheep. He will be the shepherd at the last judgment who will separate the sheep from the goats.

This image of the Good Shepherd does not move us as it did the people of Israel, and the early Christians. But if we really want to understand the Scriptures and to know our true relationship with God we must understand the image of the Shepherd and his sheep.

The people of Israel and the early Christian community cherished this image of the Good Shepherd. In Biblical times sheep were very important. They provided both food and clothing. The pastures available were such that they imposed on the shepherd the nomadic life. He had to travel with his sheep from one region to another as the seasons changed. This created a close rapport between the shepherd and his sheep. The Shepherd cares for his sheep, calls them by name, leads them to pasture and water, finds shelter for them in inclement weather, defends them against bandits and wolves, and willingly lays down his life for them. The sheep have great confidence in the shepherd. They recognize his voice, obey his commands, and they follow wherever he leads them. The people of Israel and the early Christian community understood the rapport between the shepherd and his sheep..

Unfortunately, shepherds and sheep are not very common or relevant in our high tech, computerized world. And we do not like to think of ourselves as dumb, submissive animals. We are, after all, sophisticated human beings. We have an intellect and a free will, we go where we will and do what we want. And we don’t like sheep dogs yapping and snapping at our feet. But perhaps we are more like sheep than we care to admit. Just like sheep we seem to be oblivious of everything except the plot of grass that surrounds us here and now. We spend all of our time feathering this little nest here as if it will go on forever. Just like sheep we are not conscious of the ravenous wolves that surround us in the counter-culture in which we live. To say nothing of the wolves that come to us in sheep’s clothing. And just like sheep we always think that the grass is greener on the other side, so we stray from the flock.

Consider for a moment the concept of relationship and responsibility. Can you think of a time when you thought you lost someone or something? The realization that your child or a family heirloom entrusted to you is missing. The child was in the store with you just a minute ago and you look around to notice that absence. The family heirloom has been passed on to you for keepsake and now it is nowhere to be found.. Initial awareness of the absence renders you anxious, physically weakened, and focused on one and only one task, search and find. And nothing can distract you from that task as you remind yourself how it is that you were entrusted with the care of that person or thing and how much it means to you. So you call the child by name, each time a bit louder and each time with more intensity and you go in search of the loved one. And every passing moment is agonizing, until you spot the beloved somewhere in the store wandering and looking lost. And a mixture of emotions comes barreling onto you, but the greatest of these is relief and gratitude and a renewed commitment to watch over, protect and provide safety. The importance of that person or thing in your life has defined your response to your call to relationship.

In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that we are his beloved, that as we grow to learn the sound of his voice, we will follow it, that he will never let anyone separate us from his hand and that of Abba God, for He and Abba God are One.

Whether we appreciate it or not, the image of the Good Shepherd and his sheep is enshrined forever in the Bible and in Christianity. And in reality and truth it fits every generation, even our own.

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.” (John 10: 27)

How do we get to know and recognize that voice? You might begin by having a quiet time each day, when you turn off the radio, TV, internet, cell phone, put everything on the back burner. A time to put aside all things, a time to put aside all manner of doing. A time to be. A time to let go of all striving and working and struggling. A time to let go of all preconceptions of yourself and of God and just let you be you and let God be God. Know that God longs for this time with you. Know that the living God has been waiting for you. Holy Spirit will guard your heart, your soul and your mind . Jesus the Christ is ever present, closer than your own breath. You are embraced by love at this very moment You can trust that love for it is the very presence of God dwelling within you and around you. What a great blessing it is to be able to recognize the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and to follow him with great joy and confidence wherever he may lead us.

“The Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want.”




Questions for Consideration

~ What has been your experience of losing someone and then finding them?



~Does the invitation to learn the voice of Jesus and follow him resonate with you? How has it been operative in your life’s journey?






Statement of Faith Taken from “The Friends in Faith” and shared by Joan Meehan




ALL: Gathered together as people of faith, we profess our belief in a God who is larger than we can name, unable to be contained, yet present in each one of us. We have come to know this God in the living of our lives, and in the holiness of the earth we share.




We believe in a God revealed in all peoples—all genders, religions, and orientations. We embrace a compassionate God, who champions justice and mercy, and is always faithful when we call. Our God gives and forgives, patiently loving without conditions.

We gratefully believe in a God who feels our deepest struggles, and celebrates our greatest joys. A God who both dances with us in celebration, and holds us when we cry. This God is not “other” to us, but shares our breath in every moment, and promises we are never alone.




We believe in a God who believes in us- believes that we are precious and incredible gifts, worthy to claim image and likeness to the divine. We hold fast to our God who journeys with us, who continually calls us to choose the shape of our days through the choices we make. This God accepts us as we are, and shares each hope we have for our becoming. This is the God in whom we believe, our Creator, our Mother and Father who became human in Jesus, our brother. Our God is the Spirit of Life, the voice that continues to speak love, and asks us to answer. In this God we choose to believe. AMEN




GENERAL INTERCESSIONS

Presider: We are people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that we send blessings to those who are struggling and who need to experience hope, to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their loss, to those who are facing medical challenges that they be granted hope and healing. We bring the needs of the people throughout our community and our world to our gracious God. (After each intercession, the response is) All: Loving God, bless our petitions.

Presider: That those who are hungry and homeless, especially the children, may receive the food and shelter that they so badly need, we pray. All: Loving God, bless our petitions.

Presider: For what else shall we pray?

Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. Strengthen us as we strive to respond to the needs of your people. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus, the Christ. All: Amen.

Offertory Song-
“Shepherd Me, O God” #468 Refrain and Versus 4 and 5







PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS

Presider: Blessed are you, gracious God of all life, through your goodness we have this bread, wine, all creation and our own lives to offer. All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider: Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers. All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider: Pray my friends that as we celebrate this breaking of bread and blessing of wine we accept more fully the mission of our Church by actively living our response to God’s call.

All: May our gracious God accept these gifts for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good, and for the good of all our Church.

Presider: God is always with you. All: And also with you. Presider: Together, we lift up our hearts. All: To God and one another we lift them. Presider: Together, we give thanks to our gracious God. All: Indeed, it is right to constantly give thanks and praise.

Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our table, now invites all of us to join him at his. There is room and a place for everyone at this table. Please join us in this circle of love that feeds us all on our life’s journey. (Everyone is welcome and has a place at God’s table.)

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER Presider: As we recognize God within each other, let us greet one another at this table.

All: Namaste! Namaste! Namaste! (I bow before the presence of God in you!)

Voice: Gracious God, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit who enlivens all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and all for whom we pray today. We join together with our community, with all creation everywhere, with all those who have gone before us and live in the eternal now (Names of our loved ones............)

Let us sing:
All: We are holy, holy, holy (x3), we are whole. (You, I, We) By Karen Drucker

Voice: We thank you for our brother, Jesus, who showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands. He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.



(Place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right) Voice: Loving God, let your Holy Spirit rest upon us, your people, converting us from the patterns of the world, until we conform to the shape of him whose food we now share.



(Extend hands as together we recite the epiclesis and consecration)

All: O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these gifts, gathered from the fields and placed on our table. May She have them become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our brother.



On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Once again he showed us how to love one another.



Presider 1 lifts bread.



All: Having washed the feet of those gathered with him, Jesus took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying, Take and eat, this is my very self.



Presider 2 lifts the wine.



All: Then he took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:

Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you.

Whenever you remember me like this, I am among you.



Presider 1: Let us pray the mystery of faith.



All: This bread is you, this bread is me. We are one body, a reflection of God’s treasures, in communion with all creation.



Voice: Christ of the Cosmos, we thank you that there are 18 galaxies for every person, that our bodies are made of stardust. Every place we turn, you are present, loving us. You call us, “beloved” and invite us to join the dance of creation in a mystical celebration of our oneness with all living things in your divine love.



Voice: Christ of the Cosmos, we rejoice that You, who are more than we can imagine or dream of, dwell in mystery beyond all comprehension. We remember that it was you, who said: “Anything I have done in the name of the Holy One, you can do, too…and even more.”



Voice: Christ of the Cosmos, we remember Mary, mother of Jesus, faithful disciple and St. Francis who sang canticles to brother sun and sister moon. We remember our sisters and brothers, the great cloud of witnesses who have cared for earth’s creatures and have blessed our world with their loving service to God’s people.



Presider: We praise you in union with them. We awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to worship you truly, O Holy One, at this time and all time and in all ways. Amen.



Presider: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:

Adapted from Miriam Therese Winter



O Holy One who is within, around and among us,
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.

Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us, 
now and forever. Blessed be! Amen



Presider: Deliver us, God of Love, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us holy in your sight and protect us from all anxiety and fear. We watch and wait, discerning signs that You are continually with us. All: Amen.

THE SIGN OF PEACE

Presider: Jesus, You said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you. My peace I give you.” Look on the faith of all gathered here together and grant us the peace and unity of your kin-dom where you live forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Presider: May the peace of our gracious and loving God be always with you. All: And also with you.

Presider: Let us join hearts and hands and pray for peace in our world as we sing: “Peace is flowing like a river” love, joy, alleluia

LITANY FOR THE BREAKING OF BREAD

Presider: Loving God,
All: You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God,
All: You call us to be the presence of Jesus in the world. We will love tenderly. Presider: Loving God,
All: You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.

Presiders: (Lift Body and Blood of Jesus the Christ) This is Jesus, our Light, who liberates, heals and transforms our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.

All: We are the Body of Christ.

Chant: “Sanctuary” God prepare me, to be your sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary for you. 3x

Communion: Instrumental
After Communion Chant: “Come Be Beside Us” 3x (Jan Phillips)

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Presider: We are now your thanksgiving, our very flesh, our very blood, in union with the flesh of all the earth. All the flesh that has ever inhabited this planet, in its goodness and in its mistakes. We are your blood now, with all the blood, the unjust blood that has been shed since Abel, the holy, to the end of time. You chose to walk in radical solidarity with us and we accept your invitation. We thank you that we can walk into the City of Humanity carrying our own very little light but knowing our body is now that light. What we think, and what we feel, what we love and what we hopefully do not hate is what we carry into our world. All: Amen.

PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE / INTRODUCTIONS / ANNOUNCEMENTS

CONCLUDING RITE Presider: May God be with you. All: And also with you.

Presider: Let us call upon our gracious God as we share blessings with each other. We bless one another and pledge to live the Gospel of Christ caring and ministering to one another in love, for we are the body of Christ and the face of God to the world. All: Amen.

BLESSING (Face one person near you or find someone to face. Place your hands on that person’s shoulders or head and looking into that person’s eyes repeat together after me) Remember, that you are highly favored, deeply loved and greatly blessed.

DISMISSAL Presiders: Go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue!

ALL: Thanks be to God.


CLOSING HYMN: “We are marching in the Light of God” ( Found in the Christian Worship Collection)

We are marching in the light of God 4x We are marching, marching we are marching AHA We are marching in the light of God We are marching, marching we are marching AHA We are marching in the light of God

We are living in the Love of God 4x We are living, living we are living AHA We are living in the Love of God We are living , living we are living AHA We are living in the Love of God.

We are moving in the Power of God 4x We are moving, moving we are moving AHA We are moving in the Power of God We are moving, moving we are moving AHA We are moving in the Power of God

Repeat verse 1 and end by repeating twice We are marching, marching we are marching AHA We are marching in the light of God!



















MMOJ Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, Ascension. June 1, 2019, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Dotty Shugrue ARCWP, Music Minister Linda Lee Miller




Theme: The Spirit fills is with power to be God’s witnesses to all.

Welcome and Greeting

Presider: Welcome to Mary, Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome to share Eucharist at the Banquet Table.   We use inclusive language in our Scripture readings and prayers.   We invite respectful sharing at the homily that is related to our readings. We welcome all of you to share your intentions at the Prayers of the Faithful. In the Eucharistic Prayer we invite anyone to ‘voice’ one of the prayers if you are comfortable doing so and all pray the words of Consecration.   We welcome all newcomers and we are so pleased that you joined us today. All are invited to join us for supper after the liturgy.

Presider: In our Ascension liturgy we celebrate Spirit Presence clothing us with power to guide us so that we will be empowered to courageously witness the Gospel as we serve one another in mutual care as the face of God in our world.


Gathering Song: The Spirit is a’moving #447 (all verses)

Penitential Rite:
Presider: Let us pause now to offer forgiveness and pray for healing of all that blocks from opening ourselves relying on the power of God working within us, moving through us and loving others.
(Sing) Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us, melt us, mold us, fill us, use us. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us. ( sing 3 times)

Sing Gloria: Glory to God, glory, o praise God alleluia, glory to God, glory, O praise and alleluia. (3 times)

Opening prayer
All: We rejoice because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit of God dwelling within us. On this feast of Ascension, we celebrate your promise that we will be wrapped in a mantle of boundless love to serve our sisters and brothers each day in our world. Alleluia.

First Reading:  Acts 1:1-11
Responsorial: Psalm 104
Response: Veni-Sancte Spiritus

Bless the Radiant One, O my soul
O Heart of my Heart, you are so great!
You are clothed with justice and mercy
Arrayed in light as your fine attire
Response: Veni Sancte Spiritus

O you who know all hearts,
How manifold are your works
In wisdom you have created them all,
The earth is filled with your creatures.
Response: Veni Sancte Spiritus

The glory of the Radiant One endures forever,
for the works of love are sure.
You are ever present to us,
Even as the earth trembles,
Even as the mountains spew forth
Ashes and smoke.
Response: Veni Sancte Spiritus

May our meditation reflect Your glory.
For we rejoice and are glad in you.
Praise the Creator of the Universe!
Bless the Heart of our hearts.
As we light the flame of love everywhere we go.
Amen, Alleluia (Adapted from Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill)
Response: Veni Sancte Spiritus

Second Reading:  Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey by Maya Angelou
Alleluia (eightfold)
Gospel: Luke 24:46-53

Homily Starter: Dotty Shugrue ARCWP
Shared Homily: How do you experience the divine power that clothes you in divine love to witness the Gospel?

Statement of Faith 
All: We believe in one God, a divine mystery beyond all definition and rational understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist. 
We believe in Jesus, messenger of God’s Word, bringer of God’s healing, heart of God’s compassion, bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints. 
We believe that we are called to follow the Holy Spirit who comes with Her call to Holiness, our source of God’s wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God’s peace in the world. 
We believe that God’s kindom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and willing minds and hands to make the kindom present in our time and place. May we become joyful saints in our times. Amen

Intercessions:
Presider : On this feast we celebrate the power of God to uphold us in our call to spread the good news of divine love healing and transforming us and our world.
Our Response is Holy Spirit, you clothe us with power to live the Gospel.
Presider : For what else should we pray? (Community prayers) 
Presider : Healing God, you faithfully accompany us as we reach out in love to those who need prayer, those we say aloud and those we hold in our hearts.  As always, we make our prayer in the names of Jesus the Christ, and Spirit Sophia, our Wisdom.  Amen.

 Offertory Song: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kindom  #408

Liturgy of the Eucharist
Offertory: Presentation of the bread and wine 
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, these prayers of the heart, and our own lives to offer.  Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers.
All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider : All are welcome to join us around the table.

Presider : My sisters and brothers, these gifts give glory to the Holy One. All: Sophia Holy Spirit we remember your coming to us at baptism and confirmation and remember your presence enfolding us with spiritual power. May we all become one in love as we celebrate this holy meal.  We do this in memory of our brother, Jesus. Amen.

 Preface:
Voice 1: O Divine Flame of Love, your glowing embers dance in our hearts. Your passionate presence kindles our souls. You purify us with the searing truth that ignites our spirits. As the glowing embers of a fire penetrate the cold around us, so your tenderness sets our hearts aglow. We celebrate your nearness this day as we remember your Pentecost miracles. 

Voice 2: The wind of your life has blown across our world in the gentle breezes and thunder storms of your vision in your prophets and visionaries among us. We praise and exalt you forever with grateful hearts as we sing: 

Holy, Holy, Holy – Karen Drucker

We are Holy, Holy, Holy, we are whole; You are Holy, Holy, Holy, you are whole. I am Holy, Holy, Holy, I am whole.  We are Holy, Holy, Holy, we are whole.

Eucharistic Prayer:
Voice 3: Passionate God, you kindle your fire of enthusiasm for our mission within us. You speak to us with assurance and excitement and reveal to us the infinite, boundless, depths of your love for us.

Voice 4: You awaken us to your promises to be always present in our lives, no matter what the obstacles or setbacks we experience. Your Spirit fills us with such a hunger and thirst for holiness that our words and actions encourage others to become living signs of your love working for justice. You give us eyes to see human needs, hearts to care for our sisters and brothers and hands and feet to lighten others burdens.  In this way we walk our unique path to holiness and wholeness. 

 Invocation of the Holy Spirit (extend you hand in blessing)
All: You bless us O Holy One and you enliven all that exists. You transform these gifts of bread and wine, and our lives, by boundless grace that nourish and sustains us on our journey of our mission to be the face of God in our world.

Presider : On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions. He reminded them of what he taught them and bent down and washed their feet. Jesus returned to his place at the table, lifted the Passover bread and spoke the blessing, and then broke the break with these words,

 All: Take and eat, this is my very self. 

Presider: Jesus then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine with these words: 

All: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life for you and for everyone. Whenever you do this, you remember me. 

Presider: Let us proclaim the mystery of wonder in our midst: 

All: Jesus who walks with us on the path of holiness, you are the spark of love in whom we believe; the Wisdom of Sophia in whom we trust; and the desire for justice that consumes us. 

Voice 5: As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember our political and religious leaders, especially Pope Francis, and our Bishop Bridget Mary. We remember the communion of saints who have gone before us and all who have inspired and loved us. 
(pause to mention names).  

Voice 6: May our hearts be joyful as we dream new dreams and see new visions on our path to holiness. May we recognize Christ present in every person we encounter. May we, like Jesus, become Spirit Fire, as we fan the flames of love in our families, communities, country and all over the world.  

(Co-Presiders hold up bread and wine.)
All: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we find our mission, that we awaken to your Spirit within moving us to glorify you through lives of holiness. Today at this time and in this place and always.  Amen

Communion Rite:
Prayer of Jesus
Presider : Let us join hands and pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us. “Our Father and Mother…” 

Sign of Peace  
Presider : Let us hold hands and sing “Peace is flowing like a river…, Joy is flowing…Alleluia. 

Prayer for the Breaking of the Bread 
Presider : Please join in praying the prayer for the breaking of the bread: 

All: Loving God, You call us to be the face of God in our world.
We will do so.    
Loving God, you call us to use our gifts to build inclusive communities.
We will do so.
 Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power.
We will do so.
 (Co-Presiders hold up bread and wine)

Presider : Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. We are a spark of the Divine and God’s love fills our hearts. 
All: We are the Body and Blood of Christ for the world. 

Communion Hymn/Meditation: Spirit Come, #453
Prayer After Communion: Spontaneous Thanksgiving
Introductions and Announcements

Final Blessing (all extend their hands in blessing)
All:
May Spirit Energy ignite us to be a flame of love in our world.
May Spirit Love reconcile and heal all divisions.
May Spirit Peace enliven us in prophetic obedience.
Together, we are one in Christ, loving and serving God’s holy people.
Amen Alleluia.

Recessional: We are marching in the Light of God 

Liturgy adapted from Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP and Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP