Saturday, March 7, 2020

Rev. Annie Watson ARCWP Celebrates 4th Year as Assisting Priest at St. Stanislaus in St. Louis

Annie Watson ARCWP on Fourth Anniversary of priestly ministry at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, St. Louis, Missouri

On Sunday, March 1, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in St. Louis, Missouri 
celebrated the four year anniversary of Rev. Annie Cass Watson's tenure there as an Assisting Priest. The parishioners at St. Stanislaus affectionately refer to her as "Mother Annie." The celebration included a cake, flowers, and fellowship. Annie spoke at each Mass, thanking them for their hospitality and willingness to accept a woman priest. Annie was called to be the first women priest in the 140 year history of this church. Fr. Marek Bozek, the Pastor, serves as her mentor and friend. 

"Jesus Christ, the Feminist Who Unlocked Women's Potential" by By Damaris Parsitau

https://www.theelephant.info/features/2020/03/06/jesus-christ-the-feminist-who-unlocked-womens-potential/

"Why does the church exclude women in its leadership, despite the pivotal role they play in the very life and sustenance of churches? Why is it silent in the face of so much suffering, pain and violence? Why is it not ordaining women? How can the church become progressive and radical in its thoughts and put the welfare of women and children at the centre of its theologising? In the words of Dorothy Sayers, perhaps it is no wonder that women were first at the cradle and last at the cross. They had never known a man like Jesus – a prophet and teacher who never nagged them, never flattered them, never dismissed their voices and talents, never patronised or cat-called them. For the Christian woman, Jesus is not just the ideal friend and companion, he is also the one who has their backs."

Read more at: https://www.theelephant.info/features/2020/03/06/jesus-christ-the-feminist-who-unlocked-womens-potential/
The Elephant - Speaking truth to power.

Sign Up Now for One-Day Retreat at Solas Bhride, Kildare, Ireland - August 8, 2020

Come join Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Theresa Streck for a one-day retreat at Solas Bhride Center, Tully Road, Kildare Town Co. Kildare, Ireland. The one-day retreat focuses on sacred practices and compassionate action for personal and social transformation.

20 Euros - Retreat limited to 20 participants 
Bring a lunch and food to share. 

Register now at: https://pcsretreatholymystery.blogspot.com
For more information contact Bridget Mary at sofiabmm@aol.com


Proudly Sponsored by: Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
https://arcwp.org/ and People's Catholic Seminary 
https://pcseminary.org/


















Thursday, March 5, 2020

Celebrate International Women's Day by Sharing New Documentary that Includes Ordination of a Woman Priest- Film in German With English Subtitles- Marie 2.0 Movement


Ordination of Shanon Sterringer ARCWP in Linz, Austria on August 3, 2019


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW2L1iXzK9I

https://www.ardmediathek.de/ard/player/Y3JpZDovL3N3ci5kZS9hZXgvbzEyMDg2NTk?devicetype=pc&fbclid=IwAR2bwUdN-stslLSQ1VdKVpCww6ttvsfAa5gztmQoIIyjoafaJOTstr76xyU

 See clip of ordination of Shanon Sterringer ARCWP approximately 26 minutes into the film. 
 26.08-30.13 


Dr. Shanon Sterringer, ARCWP, was ordained a priest in Linz, Austria - August 3, 2019


Left to right: Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP, Shanon Sterringer ARCWP and Bishop Christine Mayr Lumetzberger RCWP

Mary Magdalene Revealed, The First Apostle, Her Feminist Gospel and the Christianity We Haven's Tried Yet by Meggan Watterson

“Every nature, every modeled form, every creature, exists in and with each other.” This is how the Gospel of Mary opens after the initial missing pages, and I am not sure if there was ever a more eloquent way to describe love. It’s not a love we’ve seen in practice very often. Sometimes, in moments of crisis. But it’s a love that renders us all equal. It’s a love that says I am not separate from you. We exist in and with each other. It’s a love that reaches everything, and everyone. If we all exist in and with each other, then we are all inextricably connected. There is no stranger, no immigrant, no alien, no other." Gospel of Mary, Mary Magdalene Revealed


"We See Transformation All Around Us", Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Second Sunday of Lent, March 8, 2020, Beverly Bingle RCWP


In the late ‘60s 
Malvina Reynolds, Alan Greene, and Harry Belafonte 
wrote the hit song Turn around:
“Where are you going my little one, little one, 
Where are you going, my baby my own,
Turn around and you’re two, turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of the door.” 
We know exactly what that kind of transformation is. 
We’ve been through it. 
It’s transfiguration. 
It’s a mother going from the pain of birthing 
to the joy of holding her baby. 
It’s seeing the difference between 
the ambulance ride to the hospital 
and the ride home to the family. 
And it’s not just in human beings: 
caterpillars turn into butterflies, and eggs hatch into chicks. 
This past week I spotted the green blades of daffodils 
pushing their way through the drifts of brown leaves 
in the garden. 
We see transfiguration all around us. 
__________________________
Just as important as the story of Jesus’ transfiguration 
is the story of transfiguration of the DISCIPLES 
through THEIR EXPERIENCE of Jesus. 
Matthew paints it in a mythical scene—
the high mountain that stands for God’s presence, 
the bright light, 
the intimate connection with Moses the lawgiver 
and Elijah the prophet, 
the idea of setting up tents 
like the ones that sheltered the Israelites 
on their journey to the promised land. 
Matthew uses those references to Jewish history 
to communicate the disciples’ growing vision of Jesus 
as much, much more than a carpenter from Nazareth. 
They understand that they are to LISTEN to him. 
It’s like God is speaking. 
__________________________
Matthew follows this transfiguration scene 
with nine chapters of parables and healings, 
each piece showing another detail 
that confirms the disciples’ understanding of Jesus 
as the “chosen one,” the “long-awaited Messiah.” 
The disciples come to the understanding 
that Jesus is the beloved Son of God. 
They are called to FOLLOW him. 
Like Abram and Sara, who are called away 
from the security of country, people, and parents... 
like Paul, who is called from persecuting Christians...
like their ancestors in faith... 
Peter, James, and John, are called to leave everything 
and walk in the way of Jesus. 
__________________________
We answer calls in our own lives. 
Maybe we look at our job 
and dream of something more fulfilling. 
My brother Bob saw his life as working in an office 50 weeks a year 
so he could go fishing for two weeks. 
So he walked away 
from that high-paying corporate management job 
to start a charter fishing business. 
Or maybe we look around and see that important parts of our life 
are being put on the back burner. 
My brother Bill turned down the Houston Oilers and the Buffalo Bills 
so he could put his highest priority on his young family. 
__________________________
You all do it, sometimes in a big way, 
but more often in the ordinary daily choices you make. 
Just look around this room, this high mountain in Toledo. 
Why do Tom and Mary Jean pack up 
and go all over God’s green earth to visit their kids, 
or see their grandkids graduate, or play a basketball game, 
or get confirmed? 
Why does Megan spend all that time preparing classes, 
teaching, researching, writing, and meeting with students?
Why did Fidelis go to Haiti to work with the poorest of the poor? 
Why does Sue, with that nagging back pain, 
come here week after week, all the way from Whitehouse, 
to minister to us with her music? 
Why is Sallie planning her retirement 
around involvement with social justice organizations? 
Why do Anne and Tom work 
to bring social justice activists like Kathy Kelly to speak here? 
Why work for peace and justice, why teach, 
why advocate for a clean Lake Erie, why Tree Toledo, 
why volunteer in a soup kitchen or a pantry, 
why haul Meals on Wheels to seniors, 
why go to City Council hearings, why go to Dining for Women, why help the downtrodden 
get a driver’s license or a birth certificate…
the list goes on and on. 
__________________________
More than that, 
why aren’t the first responders rushing in here every weekend 
when YOUR bright light is sending out a glow all over town?
Like Peter, I should build tents for each one of you 
because it’s obvious that the spirit of God is in you. 
You shine like the sun! 
Thanks be to God!

Public Domain

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Be Part of the World's Healing Everyday by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

   I  see the face of Christ everyday at McDonalds. Most days I go there to enjoy ice coffee and a protein bar. I never know who is going to show up on any given day.  Today, I picked up Carol, seated below and brought her with me where we met Judy, Steve and Randall.
Judy, (left) standing next to Steve, runs a clothing outreach at a local  Baptist Church.  Steve is having problems getting used to his new teeth. Carol, who has difficulty walking, is seated at the table.


Randall likes to read the newspaper and solve puzzles. He is presently unhoused and comes into McDonalds for a sandwich and coffee. 


I enjoy my conversations with Paul who shelters a homeless man, in his home.  Paula and Dotty who are regulars were not able to come today. Paula was taking care of her daughter who is seriously ill.  In this photo Paul is conversing with Carol. 
A Reflection:
Look around and see the light that endures in every person especially in those who are struggling with different kinds of special needs.  

Offer tender care and comfort. 
Do small acts of kindness.
Speak words of encouragement.
"I am with you."
"Don't be afraid."
"You are not alone. "

Be part of the world's healing every day!
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP




Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community @ Sun City Center March 5 2020 Lent: Time of Reflection

Opening Image by Aalmeidah-Pixabay
MMOJ community members anointed one another for health during coronavirus outbreak. 



 
All: Infinite God in whom I live and move and have my being (arms outstretched), Holy Spirit Sophia in every person and all Communities (hands in Namaste position, bowing to person across from you), Inner God, my brother Jesus: I am your light for the world (hands crossed over heart) Amen.

Presider: God lives within us all. All: And also, within you.

Opening Prayer, All: Loving Companion, I open myself this Lent to go deep into my heart where you dwell in infinite goodness. May I let go of anything that prevents me from seeing, feeling, thinking or acting according to your Way of Loving and serving.  May I grow in kindness, compassion and joy in my thoughts, actions and ministry. Amen*

Communal Reconciliation Rite
Presider: We pause now to remember the times that opposing forces have influenced us and pray that we will make wise choices according to our best selves to grow more deeply loving in challenging relationships and situations. Recall one missed opportunity, one broken or damaged relationship. Now imagine this person or situation in the light of divine healing love as we ask for forgiveness, and make wise choices according to our best selves.
(Pause)
Presider: Let us extend our arms in a sign of mutual forgiveness as we pray:  
All: I love you, Please forgive me, I am sorry, I thank you.
See Sheet for Readings
First, Psalm Response: 
Second, 
Gospel reading 


Profession of Faith. All: We believe in God who is calling us to spend these 40 days in time set aside for reflection on our faith, hope, thoughts, words and actions.  
We believe in Jesus Christ our brother and Beloved Son of God who spent time in the desert in prayer and wrestling with his human temptations before beginning his own ministry of teaching, healing and forgiving. 
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia who was present with Jesus in the desert and is present with us now.  Sophia calling us forward on our journey of spiritual evolution into Love as our Brother Jesus lived. 
May we spend these days in reflection so we might grow more Loving as we minister for justice, peace and equality with our own lives and in our communities. 
We believe in the Communion of Saints our heavenly friends and family, who support our spiritual transformational journey while on earth.  We believe Sophia your Spirit is guiding us as we live in the Holy Mystery of Creation. Amen. 

Presider: O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings during our Lenten journey.  Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens for healing of body, mind and soul. 
Response: Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of your world.

Please add your own intentions

Presider: Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God.
All: Amen

PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS
Presider:  Blessed are you, O Loving God. This bread is your MMOJ community in our Lenten reflections as we try to follow the Path of Jesus.  Made by human hands, we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of Life.   ALL:  Praise to God, fill us with your Easter hope to come. 

Presider:  Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all.  This wine is our desire to gather in prayer and worship that we might have a fruitful Lent filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Through your divine providence, we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink.  ALL: Praise to God, fill us with your Easter hope to come. 

All: Divine Presence, we are united in this sacrament by the love of our Brother Jesus Christ and all who seek to be the Compassion of Jesus this Lenten season across our world and in our time. Amen. 

Eucharistic Prayer. All Sing: We are holy holy holy (x3) We are whole; You are holy holy holy (x3) You are whole; I am holy (x3) I am whole; We are holy holy holy (x3) We are whole. 

Presider:  Please extend your hands in blessing.

All: We are ever aware of your Spirit in us and among us at this Eucharistic table and we are grateful for this bread and wine which reminds us of your presence with us now and our call to be the Body of Christ in the world.

All: On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at supper with his companions and friends.  Jesus reminded them of all that he taught them, and he bent down and washed their feet. 

Presider lifts plate as the community prays the following:

All: When Jesus 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.
 (pause) 

Presider lifts the cup as community prays the following:

All: Then Jesus 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.
(pause) 

All: Let us share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of Justice and Peace. 

All (2nd Invocation of Spirit, with hand on each other’s right shoulder): Like Jesus, we open ourselves up to your Spirit Sophia, for it is through living as Jesus lived, loving and healing others we awaken to your Spirit within each of us this Lent, moving us to glorify you, at this time and all ways. 

Prayer of Jesus “Our Father and Mother”
Song of Peace Joy is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me, flowing out into the desert, setting all the persons free. Peace is flowing...Hope is flowing…Alleluia

Litany for Breaking of Bread. 
All: Holy One, we will serve the least and the last.
Holy One, we will care for our sisters and brothers in need.
Holy One, we will advocate for justice and peace. 

Presider: Jesus came to liberate, heal and transform each of us and all of us in Your world. All are invited to partake of this banquet of love and to live as the Heart and Hands of our Cosmic Christ. All: We are the Body of Christ, in our place and time.

Prayers of Gratitude from community

Final Blessing. 
All (hand extended over community):
May Holy Sophia, guiding Spirit nudge you to pay attention when opposing forces within tug and pull and you are caught in the tension of choices. May you trust that Holy Sophia will continually lead you to make wise decisions toward the good. Amen**

Presider: Let us go forth as members of Mary Mother of Jesus on our Lenten journey. May we with Jesus celebrate our resurrection on Easter Sunday.  
 All: Thanks be to God. 



*Opening Prayer: Joyce Rupp: Jesus, Friend of My Soul, 
** Final blessing: Joyce Rupp: Jesus Friend of My Soul, adapted from p. 17. 

Opening Image by “Aalmeidah-Pixabay”

Thanks to and adapted from a liturgy by Michael and Imogene Rigdon of MMOJ-Sarasota

First Reading: from Joyce Rupp “Jesus, Friend of the Soul”  
“By spending time with the qualities of Jesus, we are able to become more acquainted with his personal traits of goodness.  We do so by going to where his Spirit stays-in the home of our hearts and the larger dwelling place of the world. As our hearts ignite with a renewed desire to give ourselves more totally to the abiding love of Jesus, we become credible invitations for others to come and see this divine Companion who enthralls us with his Beloved Presence.”

Reflection: When do you feel the Beloved Presence of Jesus? What are the qualities of Jesus that come to your mind? Will you follow where they lead this Lenten reflection time?

Psalm 140 From Psalms for Praying; Nan Merrill
Response: We desire to be a channel of peace. Guide us and Love us into new life!
Deliver me, O give of Breath and Life from any fears we have; help us confront any inner shadows.  They distract us from all that we yearn to be, and hinder the awakening of hidden gifts that we long to share with others. 
Response: We desire to be a channel of peace. Guide us and Love us into new life!
We desire to be a channel of peace; to reflect the beauty of Creation! We want to manifest your love to all whom we meet, and mirror your mercy and justice!  Guide us, O Beloved, that we may become spiritually mature; Love us into new life! 
Response: We desire to be a channel of peace. Guide us and Love us into new life!
For are we not called to make Love conscious in our lives? Reawaken our sense of wonder that we may childlike be; That we might flow in harmony with the universe, and be a bearer of integrity?
Response: We desire to be a channel of peace. Guide us and Love us into new life!
We know that You stand beside those who suffer, and You are the Light of those imprisoned in darkness.  Surely you will guide us into the new dawn that we may live as co-creators with You! 
Response: We desire to be a channel of peace. Guide us and Love us into new life!

Reflection: What words in the psalm/or response touch you this Lent?

Second Reading from Isaiah 58:1-10 
“Is this not the fast which I choose…Remove the chains of injustice! Undo the ropes of the yoke! Let those who are oppressed go free, and break every yoke you encounter!  Share your bread with those who are hungry and shelter homeless poor people! …if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light will rise in the darkness and your shadow will become like noon.” 
Commentary by Sr Melannie Svoboda, SND  (Living with Christ pg. 200) 
 “Share your bread with those who are hungry” You can’t get much clearer or more specific that that.  We are called to feed the hungry… We can do this in many ways: by contributing goods to our local food bank, by helping out at a soup kitchen, by writing a check, by delivering a meal to the homebound.  But the word “bread” can mean other things besides physical food.  People are hungering for more than physical nourishment.  
This Lent look around and ask yourself:  -Who in my life is hungering for my time or attention?  -Who is craving a compliment or simple recognition from me? -Who needs my encouragement or advice? Who could use a hug or my companionship? Who needs my prayers? 
Isaiah says that there is “magic” in giving bread to others: it brightens up our entire life. “God of endless giving, help me to satisfy the hunger in at least one individual I encounter today.”

Reflection: Have you thought of “hungering for bread” this way before? Is there something that comes to mind because persons “hunger for more than physical nourishment” that I can do this Lent? 

The Gospel Reading reflection is adapted from “Wonderous Encounters” by Richard Rohr

Temptations Are Attractions to Partial Goods Mark 1:12–15; Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13

In all three Lectionary cycles, the Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent is devoted to the temptation scene of Jesus in the desert from Matthew, Mark, or Luke. That seems to be the way that Jesus experiences his forty days in the desert, so it seems like an appropriate way to start ours.

(What is the) meaning and application for us today? I see the three temptations as the primal and universal temptations that all humans must face before they dare take on any kind of power—as Jesus is about to do. They are all temptations to the misuse of power for purposes less than God’s purpose. They are sequentially the misuse of practical everyday power, the misuse of religious power, and the misuse of political power. (my emphasis) These are the constant tragedies that keep defeating humanity. Jesus passes all three tests, and thus “the devil left him” because he could not be used for lesser purposes. If you face such demons in yourself, God can and will use you mightily. Otherwise, you will, for sure, be used!

But let me point out something we almost always fail to notice. We can only be tempted to something that is good on some level, partially good, or good for some, or just good for us and not for others. Temptations are always about “good” things, or we could not be tempted: in these cases, “bread,” “Scripture,” and “kingdoms in their magnificence.” Most people’s daily ethical choices are not between total good and total evil, but between various shades of good, a partial good that is wrongly perceived as an absolute good (because of the self as the central reference point), or even evil that disguises itself as good. These are what get us into trouble. (my emphasis)

Jesus is the master of spiritual discernment here, which is always much more subtle and particular than mere obedience to external laws. Note that Jesus quotes no moral commandments here, but only wisdom texts from Deuteronomy.

These are the inspired words of Richard Rohr and we affirm them by saying, All: AMEN.

Reflections Have you found within yourself these temptations? In the past? Or the present this Lent?




Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Celebrate International Women's Day with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Meet us and Our Inclusive Communities and Ministries

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

A Renewed Priestly Ministry in a Community of Equals


Prophets of justice and equality in the Catholic Church

Sacramental ministers in inclusive communities

non-clerical and non-hierarchical in a community of equals

proclaimers of the gospel from women’s experiences

pioneers of women’s rights as human rights.

worshiping communities 
https://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/find-a-community/

Stations of the Cross Art Work by Brother Mickey McGrath OSFS - An Inspiring, Provocative Resource for Lent and Good Friday Prayer

https://www.trinitystores.com/mcgrath-collection/stations-cross




Brother Mickey's contemporary Stations of the Cross provide inspiring prayers and art work for praying the Stations on Good Friday. I highly recommend them for individuals and faith communities. You could write in a prayer journal your personal Stations of the Cross as a spiritual exercise during Lent. 

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Monday, March 2, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for First Sunday in Lent 2020 - Presiders: Lynn Kinlan, ARCWP, and Mary Lynch


Lynn: Welcome to our Upper Room celebration beginning Lent. Our theme for today is the opportunity to make Lent into a big and wondrous blessing by seeing it as a time to fine tune spiritual balance rather than a time of being put to the test by a devil figure or a God who punishes.

Mary: Our Opening Prayer is called Lenten Psalm of Awakening by Edward Hays  
Come Life-giving Creator and rattle the door latch of my slumbering heart. Awaken me, as you breathe upon a winter-wrapped earth, gently calling to life an emergent Spring.
Show to me these Lenten days how to take the daily things of life, and by submerging them in the sacred, to infuse them with a great love for you O God and for others.
Guide me to perform simple acts of love and prayer, the real works of reform and renewal of this overture to the spring of the Spirit. O holy one, help me not to waste these precious Lenten days of my soul’s spiritual springtime.

Opening Song: Psalm 139 sung by Kathryn Christian
https://youtu.be/gziFMFEFdQA

First Reading: from the Book of Genesis
Humankind was created as God’s reflection:  in the Divine image God created them; female and male.  God blessed them and looked at all creation and proclaimed that this was good — very good. Yahweh then planted a garden to the east in Eden and caused every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, to spring from the soil. In the center of the garden were the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Yahweh settled the two humans in the garden of Eden so that they might cultivate and care for the land. Yahweh directed the two humans,
“You may eat as much as you like
From any of the trees of the garden—
Except the tree of
The Knowledge of Good and Evil.
You must not eat from that tree,
For on the day that you eat from that tree,
That is the day you will die.”
This are the inspired words from the Book of Genesis and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Gospel Reading: Mathew 4:1-11
Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit, to be tempted by the Devil. After fasting for forty days and forty nights, Jesus was hungry. Then the tempter approached and said, “If you are the Only Begotten, command these stones to turn to bread.”
Jesus replied, “Scripture has it, “We live not on bread alone but on every utterance that come from the mouth of God.’”
Next, the Devil took Jesus to the Holy City, set him on the parapet of the temple, and said, “If you are the Only Begotten, throw yourself down. Scripture has it, ‘God will tell the angels to take care of you; with their hands they will support you, that you may never stumble on a stone.’”
Jesus answered, “Scripture also says, ‘Do not put God to the test.’”
The Devil then took Jesus up a very high mountain and displayed al the dominions of the world in their magnificence, promising, “All these I will give you if you fall down and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to the Devil, “Away with you, Satan! Scripture says, ‘You will worship the Most High God; God alone will you adore.”
At that, the Devil left and angels came and attended Jesus.
These are the inspired words of the gospel writer known as Mathew and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Lynn: Homily Starter

Some of the best news in our Hebrew and Christian Bible happens in three parts right at the start: Eve and Adam are created in the divine image of God.  God immediately blesses them. And thirdly, God proclaims that the whole of Creation is good— very good. 
How different would our Christian DNA be if, for our First Communion, we had memorized this passage instead of prayers on the loss of heaven and the pain of hell and pleas to Mary to pray for us sinners? 

Which is not to say that we should disregard the shortcomings that began with Adam and Eve and continue with us as we neglect the glory given us, choosing instead to nibble on an apple that is partly good and partly rotten. Sometimes, we can let our fears get the best of us and be distracted into work that is not the life of the Spirit. Perhaps, that’s what happened to Jesus in the desert. But more on that later….

When Mary and I got together to plan this liturgy, we tried to imagine Lent as a time to fine tune spiritual balance rather than a time of being put to the test by a devil or a God who punishes.  We have four suggestions for a start on Lent which are not original with us; they come from ideas raised organically within this community. We hope one or two may resonate:
First, Lent can be a big and wondrous blessing when we focus on nature and the blessing of all Creation. Our Wilderness devotional provides journaling and artistic openings to become prayerfully observant about our world and spiritual leanings in ourselves. Our deacons and priests are each available to anyone wanting help in the search for a balance of personal spirituality during Lent or anytime. We can pray with you, listen and spend holy time with you in the Spirit.     

Second, God gives us the freedom to do well and the freedom to get caught up in our own wayward agendas. Seeking Divine inspiration helps us to become the blessed person we are created to be. We can practice forgiving ourselves. We can refuse to be hounded by regret over the past or second-guessing about the future. Living in the present makes God’s Presence real.
 Third, we can resolve to do one or two new things. Where is my kind voice the next time I witness racial, gender or ethnic prejudice? Do I stay silent and not ‘make it a big deal’ or do I call out speak up even if the culprit was “only joking’? We can watch community announcements for more ideas. A couple of our members are following an online Ignation Solidarity and Action program of “Fasting from Food Waste”. Others are going to a Capital Border Watch fundraiser.

Finally, we can embrace a multi-faceted humanity rather than the dualism of good and evil. Each of us knows the promise of delight and the pain of grief and suffering and we bring to our days every shade in between.  Can we be compassionate with others no matter the shade they throw? Shall this effort be rooted not merely in human willpower but prayerfully in the Spirit?
Jesus was seeking Spirit balance when he went alone into desert. He had just heard from God at baptism: “This is my Own, my Beloved, on whom my favor rests.”  - maybe an echo of the Genesis blessing of Eve and Adam.

Jesus secreted himself in a plain and empty place, monotonous and austere. The desert gives him silent pause for the challenge ahead. Maybe, he wrestled with what it means to be God’s Own which is at once reassuring but also a high bar. Rather than tussle with a devil figure, it is likely Jesus faced down demons of his own to vanquish pride, ego and the lure of a power trip to realize the His God-given blessing.

In the silence he becomes better at listening.  In the baking sun maybe he grows in understanding of the shades between good and evil. The desert solitude may have helped him to know himself better so that he could serve others and lead us all to Easter. May we seek and be blessed to find the balance that Jesus found on our wilderness journey to Easter this year.
Is the Genesis blessing on Eve and Adam given you? What will it cost you to take to heart that like Jesus, You are God’s Own? How will you make this Lent a big and wondrous blessing in your life?

Communion Meditation Song is We Are All Angels by Karen Drucker
https://youtu.be/TV3gCB2Er7g

Closing Song Be Light for Our Eyes by David Haas
https://youtu.be/DD8OvgXxixc 

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Shelley Rae Gilchrist to Be Ordained a Priest by Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in DeLand, Florida on March 14, 2020



Shelley Rae Gilchrist ARCWP
Press Release:
From the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests http://www.arcwp.org

Shelley Rae Gilchrist of DeLand, FL to be Ordained Priest

Contact: Shelley Rae Gilchrist, 651-321-3675, keturay@gmail.com

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-505-0004, sofiabmm@aol.com(For history of women priest movement).

On Saturday, March 14, 2020 Shelley Rae Gilchrist of Deland, Florida will be ordained a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota. The service will take place at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 116, Clara Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720. 

All are welcome.

A mother and grandmother, educator and actress as well as hospice chaplain, Shelley says she felt an early call to priesthood from her saintly French Canadian grandmother. More recently she discerned it from prayer and her participation in the liturgies and community at the Heart of God Ministry of ARCWP priests Miriam Picconi and Wanda Russell in Titusville.  “Maybe it was the voice of my grandmother, but so much of my spiritual journey began to make sense,” she said. She has been preparing academically for her priesthood through the People’s Catholic Seminary.