Saturday, June 20, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Father's Day Liturgy 2020 - Presiders: Debra Trees, ARCWP and Bill Roylance

Josie McPherson with her dad, Milton McPherson
Welcome and Theme: Father’s Day – a time to remember the Men in our lives who have had a profound impact on us to help shape the person we are today. We celebrate the men throughout the world who hold in compassion and love the children entrusted to their care.

Opening Prayer - Source of Life, we thank you for the fathers in our life. Whether our actual father or another man who touched our lives with love, encouragement, example and support, we are grateful for their presence. Today as we celebrate with the men in our community and world, we hope that all of us emulate the wonderful characteristics of Father. We wish for them every joy in their discipleship of emulating Jesus’s call to love. Amen.

Opening Song: God Beyond All Names

First Reading from The Best Part of Life, Anya Seton

I was a restless little girl, greedy for sensations, hankering too much for the next moment, without savoring the now. My father, Ernest Thompson Seton, was a naturalist and a great admirer of our Indians. In both capacities he had learned the art of wonder - simple looking, without strain or self-consciousness, until he really saw.

Long ago, at our Connecticut home, he would take me on walks, which often bored me, for suddenly he would stop stock-still on the road, gazing up at a bank.

“What are you staring at, daddy?” I would clamor. “Do let's go on!”

“Look, child!” he would answer, smiling. “What do you see?” And i would see nothing but a dull mass of Stones and dead leaves, while I tugged at him impatiently.  “Look again!” he would command, unmoving. And at last I learned to see what he did, the glimmering petals of spring beauties, or hepatica, the turquoise glint of a fallen robin’s egg, a baby rabbit peering out from under a toadstool, the chipped rosy quartz of an Indian arrowhead dropped three hundred years before.

Gradually I learned one of the most comforting truths in life - that the present moment is always filled with curious treasures, if we but quiet ourselves and look deep.

Two often through the years of marriage, motherhood and writing of my books, I have forgotten this lesson and plunged into hectic rush, until the mind and nerves get frazzled and the body therefore sickens. Then I'm stopped by the echo of my father's voice – “Wait a minute! What's the hurry? Stand still and look until you really see!”

Perhaps this command is easiest to follow with regard to nature and art, but it does not depend on these to yield its magic balm. There is no person, no situation which cannot cause wonder, if we will stop and gaze as though for the first time.

Goethe said, “the highest to which man can attain is wonder.” And the faculty does seem to lead to humility and gratitude and happiness.

These are the sacred words from Anya Seton, and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN.


Gospel Matthew 10: 26 to 30.  

Do not, therefore, be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed which will not be revealed, nor anything hidden which will not become known. What I tell you in the dark, say again in the light; and what is whispered in your ear, proclaim on the housetops. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; rather be afraid of the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for one copper coin? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. While as for you, even the hairs of your head are numbered.

These are the sacred words from Matthew, and the Community affirms these words by saying, AMEN.

Homily Starter: Deb

I think fathers get a bad rap sometimes. They are not considered as loving as mothers, not thought of as giving a big hug, and might in contrast be the disciplinarian. They are not the ones at home in our culture, at least in the past. Not the cooks, cleaners and ones helping with homework. Father’s Day was not even celebrated in the United States for many years as Mother’s Day had traditionally been.

In our Catholic tradition though, we are steeped in the concept of Abba God as Jesus shared with us. Fathers Day was celebrated in different ways and in different cultures, possibly for over 1500 years. Jesus shows us a relationship with our creator who cares so deeply about us, that even the hairs on our head are counted. How amazing that we are that unique and special!

Today, we celebrate those father-figures in our lives – Dads, Husbands, Brothers, Sons, Uncles, Friends and Neighbors. The ones who gave the hug, shared time and talent to teach us things. The ones who listened when we went to them and asked for help. The ones who stood by us.

Jesus presented a relationship to his neighbors, (and subsequently to us) that confirms that he thought of God as Goodness and Love, and not a punitive bringer of judgement, hell-fire and brimstone. This concept of a loving Abba-God based in Scripture is a wonderful way for us to be in relationship with the men in our lives, today.

Homily Starter, Bill:

Several months back I had one of the those: “Ah Ha” moments. A time when you take the time to re-examine what you thought was true.                   
I was out running errands with my son in his car. Along the way he stopped for gas. Looking out the window I was amazed to see my son jiggling with the handle of the gas pump so the meter read a five or a zero. It is was the same thing I have been doing for years.  I thought this was strange because I never suggested to my son to do this when he filled his gas tank.

The next day I shared this story with my mother. After hearing the story my mother said, “Oh that is something your father used to do that would drive me crazy.” It was at that moment I came to realize I was more like my father than I had ever imagined.
                                                                                                                        I find this funny because growing up in the 60’s I wanted my dad to be just like those dads I watched on TV. I wanted my dad to be just like Ward Clever - A dad that would sit you down and have long heart-to-heart talks. A dad that would give you a pat on the back when you were finished talking.                

My father was nothing like that.  We never sat down to have heart to heart talks. My father was also always very reluctant to share any form of affection.  I was 47 years when I heard my father say, “I love you”.

What I came to realize in that “Ah Ha” moment was that the values that I learned from my father came from the example he set. The values of honesty, hard work and self-sacrifice.                                

It wasn’t till after my father passed away in 2015 that l found out what my father did during the war. When I would ask my father “What did you do during the war?”, his only reply was “I was stationed on a small island in the Pacific.” In my mind I thought my father's war experience must of been just like the TV show McCale’s Navy.

This was not true. What I discovered was my father was stationed in probably one of the most dangerous places in the South Pacific: IL Island, Okinawa, Japan. I found out that my father’s job as a signalman was to help direct Navy planes when they landed or took off. My father risked his life everyday while he was there.

Many of the people my father served with never made it home. My father was like many of the people of his generation. He never talked about it. He never thought he was a hero. He never expected that he should be praised for what he did.

I believe my father and many of the people of his generation were willing to serve for one very simple reason. They believed it was the right thing to do.

In September my third grandchild will be born. I often wonder what my grand-children’s’ lives will be like.  Will they keep jigging the handle on the gas pump till it reads either a five or a zero? Lord I hope not!

Let us hope and pray when our grandchildren look back on the year 2020, they will able to discover the positive things we did to make the world we lived in a better place. Let us also hope and pray that they will be a light to future generations.

Shared Homily. Deb: Please feel free to share your insights.

Statement of Faith

We believe in the Holy One, 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 the Divine Word,
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion,
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's
prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe that We are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of divine love,
a source of wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of peace in the world.

We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One,
the life that is our innermost life,
the breath moving in our being,
the depth living in each of us.

We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now,
stretched out all around us for those
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it,
and hands to make it happen. 

As we prepare for the eucharistic meal, we recognize that just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. We pray today, this special litany of blessings and intentions in honor of Father’s Day.

Holy One.
Today we ask You to bless our earthly fathers
for the many times they reflected the love, strength, generosity, wisdom and mercy that You exemplify in Your relationship with us.
All: Cradle us in your heart.

We honor our fathers for putting our needs above their own convenience and comfort;
for teaching us to show courage and determination in the face of adversity;
for challenging us to move beyond self-limiting boundaries;
for modeling the qualities that would turn us into responsible, principled, caring adults.
All: Cradle us in your heart.

Not all our fathers lived up to these ideals.
Give them the grace to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes.
Give us the grace to extend to them the same forgiveness that you offer us all.
Help us to resist the urge to stay stuck in past bitterness,
instead, moving forward with humility and peace.
All: Cradle us in your heart.

We ask your blessing on those men who served
as father figures in our lives when our biological fathers weren't able to do so.
May the love and selflessness they showed us
be returned to them in all their relationships, and help them to know that their influence has changed us for the better.
All: Cradle us in your heart.

Give new and future fathers the guidance they need to raise happy and holy children, grounded in a love for God and other people -and remind these fathers that treating all with dignity, compassion and respect is one of the greatest gifts they can give their family.
All: Cradle us in your heart.

We pray that our fathers who have passed into the next life have been welcomed into Your loving embrace,
and that our family will one day be reunited in your heavenly kingdom.
All: Cradle us in your heart.

Please voice your own silent intentions.

Deb: Holy One, You Cradle us with selfless love, strength, generosity, wisdom and mercy, hear our prayers this day. Amen.

(Source: Modified from Tony Rossi, The Jesuit Online Resource for Father’s Day)


God Beyond All Names, who gives life and breath to everyone and everything in our world, let us find life, breath and meaning for ourselves and our world.
We celebrate and give thanks, together, for the men in our communities. That women and men are different invites us into partnership, invites us to share the burdens and the joys of life.

In the gentle care of the Holy one we find our home. And in the living Spirit we are united this day in offering praise as we sing: 

Blessed be our God

Blessed be our God!   
Joy of our hearts, source of all life and love!   
God of Heaven and Earth!  
God of Heaven and Earth!  
Dwelling within, calling us all by name!   
Alleluia, sing! Alleluia, sing!  
Gift of love and peace!  
Gift of love and peace! 
Jesus Christ, Jesus our hope and light!  
A flame of faith in our hearts! 
A flame of faith in our hearts! 
Proclaiming the day, shining throughout the night!  
Alleluia, sing!  
Alleluia, sing! 
(Alleluia Sing by David Haas)  

Great Mystery with a father’s heart, you gather us as your children. You comfort and hold us in your warm embrace. Eternal and loving Source of Life, we thank you this day, for being part of your family.

Great Mystery, with a father’s heart, love surrounds and supports us, in good and difficult times, in the midst of joy and pain, always and everywhere. We are never left alone nor abandoned.

When we hurt we are held in love’s embrace. When we are afraid we are surrounded with compassionate care. When we are hungry we are nourished with the bread of life.

Deb: Please extend your hands as we pray the prayers of consecration

We are grateful for the God Beyond All Names at our Eucharistic Table and for this bread and wine which reminds us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world, standing in solidarity with the oppressed and the broken.  

All: On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet.  
All lift their plate as the community prays the following: 

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:  
Take and eat, this is my very self. 
 (consume bread and pause)  
All lift their cup as community prays the following: 

Then he took the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying: 
Take and drink. 
Whenever you remember me like this, 
I am among you. 
(drink and pause)  

ALL: We share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace. 

For those who have been blessed with an awareness of parental care, who have looked to be guided and nurtured, we give thanks, and we pray for unity of the human family.  May we cradle others, that they too may enjoy a life of nurturance and acceptance.

For those who hunger and thirst, who are lost and alone, who yearn to be given new direction, new hope and new life, we pray that they experience through us care, compassion and love. Let us be seen and known as faithful followers of Jesus the Christ through this community of faith. Help us to uphold the teachings of Jesus, our brother, as we seek to bring justice and peace to the world.

For the many strengths of men, their gifts of selfless love, strength, generosity, wisdom and mercy and so much more, we are grateful.

So, we trust that the Spirit of the Holy One will continue to beckon us to live out the Gospel values of compassion and equality, bringing peace and justice to the world in which we live. AMEN.

Deb: Let us pray the Prayer of Jesus:

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 your give us all we need,
You remind us of our limits, and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage,
For yours is the dwelling place within us,
The empowerment around us.
And the celebration among us. Now and forever. Amen.
(From Miriam Therese Winter)

Communion Meditation: The Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler and Kenny Rogers.
Upper Room Tribute to Fathers 2020

Bill: Let us pray together our Closing Prayer and Blessing.

We give our thanks, Creator God, for the fathers in our lives. ...

For those who are fathers, we ask for wisdom and humility in the face of the task of parenting. Give them the strength to do well by their children and by You.

Give us all as Community, the vision to support the men in our lives as they walk in your Divine Footsteps.
In Your Holy name, O God, we pray.  Amen,

(The Eucharistic Prayer modified from the Upper
Room Mother’s Day liturgy, 2020.)

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