Saturday, August 22, 2020

Songs for Aug. 22nd Liturgy- Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Peg Bowen ARCWP

Let us now sing our opening song:  Companions on the Journey





Alleluia

Alleluia



ALL:  Holy, Holy, Holy (adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)

We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x , You are Holy, Holy, Holy, I am Holy, Holy, Holy, We are Holy, Holy, Holy

Sung Amen


Peace Is Flowing Like a River by Carey Landry



Communion Meditation: 



Closing Song: 

Blessing to the World, by Karen Drucker, Recorded for MMOJ Liturgy by Linda Lee Miller

You are the heart, you are the hands,
You are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who you are, and all you do,
Is a blessing to the world.

We are the heart, we are the hands,
We are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who we are, and all we do,
Is a blessing to the world.

I am the heart, I am the hands,
I am the voice of Spirit on earth,
And who I am, and all I do,
Is a blessing to the world.

You are the heart...you are the hands,
You are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who you are, and all you do,
Is a blessing to the world... we’re a blessing to the world.



Liturgy: Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP


Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Aug. 22, 2020, 21st Week of Extraordinary Time, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Peg Bowen ARCWP, Readers: Judy and Kevin Connelly,Music Minister Linda Lee Miller

MMOJ- Over 40 participants in our Eucharistic Liturgy

photo by Wylly Suhendra on Unsplash
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

21st Sunday in Extraordinary Time
August 22, 2020

Theme:  Empowered and Responsible for the Well-being of All

Welcome and Gathering

Presider 1:  Welcome to our liturgy with the Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome. In the early Jesus movement, the word church referred to gatherings which met in the homes of the followers of Jesus.  These gatherings had no hierarchical structures, no priests, nor did they meet in church buildings. Contemporary scholars remind us that Jesus did not give his movement a specific authority structure. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus gave the “keys” to Peter and to the community. So, what does it mean to be empowered and responsible for promoting the flourishing of God’s people, and creation in our church and world today?

Presider 2:  We invite you to pray the liturgy and respond where it says “All.” 
All participants will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. Our readers today are Judy and Kevin Connelly.  Please have bread and wine/juice nearby as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.


Let us now sing our opening song:  Companions on the Journey




Opening Prayer

Presider 1:  Like Peter, we, the community of faith, are given the keys to the kindom. Like the early followers of Jesus we are aware of the Christ Presence within us and within all. We are called to do everything we can to promote the human rights and well-being of all God’s people in a peaceful and just world. We will do so.   ALL:  Amen

Communal Reconciliation Rite

Presider 2:  We pause now to remember the times we have failed to challenge hierarchical control and doctrines of domination that violate freedom of conscience and human rights. Now imagine ways we can confront discrimination and injustice in the Church and world.   (Pause briefly. Then extend arm and let healing love flow from you to all people.)
ALL:  We love you, Please forgive us, We are sorry, We thank you.

Gloria

ALL (and Presider 2):  For the generosity of strangers, who help others in good times and bad times, we say glory! For all who lobby for justice and human rights in the Church and world, we say glory! For essential workers, doctors, nurses, and teachers, who work side-by-side to face the challenges of the worldwide pandemic, we say glory. For an awareness that no spiritual authority outside us is greater than conscience, the voice of God that speaks within our hearts, we say glory. For the gift of love that cherishes human beings, of all races, genders, and ethnic identities, as spiritual equals in the Body of Christ, we say glory!

Liturgy of the Word

(Judy Connelly) Our First Reading is from Doors to the Sacred and What Jesus Meant

Jesus told his disciples if they wanted to be great, they would need to serve others. The earliest disciples of Jesus saw their role as one of ministry or service. At the beginning, Peter acted as leader of the Twelve and a speaker for the group.  However, neither Peter nor the other disciples were priests or bishops. The Catholic biblical scholar, Raymond Brown wrote, “Peter never served as bishop or local administrator of any church, Antioch and Rome included.”  There are no texts in the gospels in which Jesus passed on special power to perform sacramental actions like baptizing, laying on of hands or presiding over the Eucharist by a well-defined rite. 

The idea that there is an “apostolic succession to Peter’s fictional episcopacy did not arise for several centuries, at which time Peter and others were retrospectively called bishops of Rome to create an imagined succession. Even so there has not been an unbroken chain of popes. Two and three claimants existed at times, and when there were three of them, each excommunicating the other two, they all had to be dethroned. The Council of Constance started things over again with a new appointment in 1417.”

This is the reason that the apostolic succession which the RCWP Movement claims dates from the 16th century, and in the broadest sense has its origins in Mary Magdalene and the women leaders in the Jesus movement and in early Christian Communities!

These are the sacred words of theologian Joseph Martos in Doors to the Sacred (pp. 406-407) and historian Gary Wills in What Jesus Meant (pp. 80-81).

(Kevin Connelly) Responsorial: Psalm 138
(adapted from Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill)

Our response is:  I give you thanks, O Blessed One.

Before all the people, I sing your praise.
I am delighted that You dwell within me,
In the Sacred Chapel of all souls;
My gratitude knows no bounds.

Response: I give you thanks, O, Blessed One.

For you are the Holy One, the Life of our life.
On the day I called you answered me;
The strength of my soul You increased.

Response: I give you thanks, O, Blessed One.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
You preserve my life;
You are a loving Presence as I face my fears and doubts.
Your strength upholds me.

Response: I give you thanks, O, Blessed One.

Alleluia

(Peg Bowen) Gospel: A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew 16:13-20

When Jesus came to the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples this question: “What do people say about who the Chosen One is?” They replied; “Some say John the Baptizer, others say Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  “And you,” he said, “who do you say that I am?”

“You are the Messiah,” Simon Peter answered, “the firstborn of the Living God!”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon ben-Jonah! No mere mortal has revealed this to you, but my Abba God in heaven. I also tell you this, your name now is ‘Rock’, and on bedrock like this I will build my community, and the jaws of death will not prevail against it. Here I’ll give you the keys to the reign of heaven: whatever you declare bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you declare loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Then, Jesus strictly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

These are sacred words from the Gospel of Matthew in the Inclusive Bible and we affirm them by saying  
ALL:  Thanks be to God.

Alleluia

Homily Starter:  In the Gospel of Matthew 16 we hear the words of Jesus that give apostolic authority to Peter. But, as historian Gary Wills points out, in the same gospel Jesus gives the power not to Peter exclusively but to the followers as a community. “In truth I tell you {hymin plural) that whatever you tie on earth will have been tied in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven” (Mt. 18:18). From this Augustine concluded that Peter is just “a representative of the church”- and in fact the community as a whole had the power to include or exclude members in the early gatherings. The idea that Peter was given some special power runs into the problem that he had no successor.”
(What Jesus Meant, pp. 80-81).

The traditional understanding of millions of Catholics and the hierarchy is that one must obey church doctrine on every issue because Jesus gave the keys to Peter and through him to the popes and the bishops in communion with him.  If we accept the scholarship that I share with you, we are on solid ground to reimagine that Jesus entrusted spiritual authority in the entire believing community.

I have a sign in my kitchen that reminds me daily of my fallibility and humanity.
“Embrace the imperfections, the chaos, the holy mess of your beautiful life.”

As I reflect on our two thousand year history of clerical domination and sexism, I see a lot of messes in our Roman Catholic stories, but, we are also a pilgrim people on the way to fuller equality and justice by living the change we have dreamed of in inclusive communities like Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community. We are bearers of hope and possibility- messengers of healing and love!

People today ask me, why do I belong to the Roman Catholic Church since they have excommunicated me multiple times. My response is that I cannot leave my precious family- who now number approximately 1.3 billion. All the baptized are spiritual equals in the Church. The hierarchy is not the Church alone, they are only part of it, even though they think they are in charge of it. We, the people of God, are co-responsible and empowered to be prophets of Jesus’ vision of inclusivity and equality for the flourishing of the Church and the world.

Seven Women, including Christina Moreira, who was ordained at St. Andrew in 2015 in Sarasota, wrote a letter to the papal envoy in Paris, volunteering to fill open ministerial positions including bishop, priest and pastor in communities in France. In response, the nuncio invited them to individual meetings with him in September.  So is this the beginning of an historic dialogue between a representative of Pope Francis and seven feminists including a woman priest advocating the full equality of all baptized in the Church? Stay tuned, Church!
Bridget Mary

Homily Sharing: 
What spoke to you in our readings and homily starter today? What did you hear?
What gives you hope? What challenges you?

Communal Statement of Faith

ALL (and Presider 2): 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 Jesus as a vehicle of God's love, a 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 hands to make it happen.

Prayers of and for the Community

Presider 1: We now remember all those who need our prayers. Our response is:
ALL: We remember and we pray.

Presider 2: We pray for our MMOJ community, especially for all those who are listed in our book of intentions.
For what else should we pray?

Presider 1: We remember these and all unspoken intentions.
ALL: Amen.

Preparation Of The Gifts

Presider 1:  Blessed are You, Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread, to share, the Bread of Life. 

ALL: Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.  

Presider 2:  Blessed are You, O Loving One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to share, our spiritual drink. 

ALL:  Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.

Voice 1:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Christ, whose presence we are as we proclaim the liberating power of your Spirit, speaking through our faith community, calling us to work for a more compassionate and just world.  
ALL:  Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer

Voice 2: Your Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is rising up in all who work for humanity’s healing and well-being especially now during this Covid pandemic and turmoil. With thankful hearts, in the company of all holy women and men, your Loving Spirit rises up within us, works through us and we sing:

ALL:  Holy, Holy, Holy (adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)

We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x , You are Holy, Holy, Holy, I am Holy, Holy, Holy, We are Holy, Holy, Holy

Voice 3:  O Heart of Love, Your Spirit moved through Peter, Mary of Magdala and all who serve the needs of their sisters and brothers. Your Spirit moves through us as we live our oneness and diversity in these chaotic times and promote human rights and the primacy of conscience.
Please extend your hands in blessing.

Presider 1 and ALL:   You Pour out Your Spirit anew upon this bread and wine and upon us as we become more deeply the Christ Presence in our world.

On the night before he died, Jesus came to the table with his family and the women and men he loved.  Jesus took bread blessed and broke it, saying,  “Take, eat, this is my body.  Do this in memory of me.”  (pause)

Presider 2 and ALL:   After supper, Jesus poured a cup of wine and shared it with his friends, saying,  “This is the cup of the covenant of my love.  As often as You drink of it, remember me.”

Presider 2:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

Presider 2 and ALL:   Christ has died in all those who have passed away;
Christ is rising in all those working for the well-being of humanity; 
Christ comes each day in our prayers and actions for a renewed world with justice and equality for all.

Presider 1:  Holy One, we remember and we are grateful for the companions who have gone before us: Mary, Mother of Jesus, Peter, Mary of Magdala, and all holy women and men who embrace every race and culture as Your own. May we be one as You are one in us and we in You.  We are grateful for our brother, Jesus, and we follow him…

(Presiders lift bread and wine)



For it is through learning to live as he lived,
And why he lived,
And for whom he lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to heal all divisions caused by our rituals, rules and theologies,
At this time and all time and in all ways.

Sung Amen

The Prayer of Jesus

Presider 2:  Let us pray as Jesus taught us: 

ALL:  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 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.  Amen   (Miriam Therese Winter)  

Presider 1:  Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.” 
Let us place our hands in front of us, palms up, as we sing, Peace Is Flowing Like a River by Carey Landry

Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me. Flowing out into the desert, setting all the people free.   Love is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me. Flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free.   Healing's flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me. Flowing out into the desert, setting all the people free.   Alleluia

Communion

Presider 2: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread

ALL:
Holy One, You call us to speak truth to power; we will do so.
Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of healing and justice; we will do so. 
Holy One, You call us to be Your presence in the world; we will do so.

Presider 1:  This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to this table.  
ALL:  We are the Body and Blood of Christ for the world.

Please receive/share Eucharist now.

Communion Meditation: 

Presider 1:  Thanksgiving: Please unmute yourself if you have a thanksgiving to share.  Any announcements or introductions?

Concluding Rite

Presider 2:  As we go forth, we pray:  Holy One, Your presence is within us as we work for justice as co-equals responsible for the flourishing of your people. 
ALL:  And also within You.

Presider 1:  Please extend Your hands as we pray our final blessing:

ALL:  We go forth to live the Christianity that affirms our communal responsibility to live as the Christ Presence in the world.
We rejoice that Love is within us.
We celebrate Love outside of us.
We go forth, called to action and empowered by your Spirit to move mountains!

Closing Song: 

Blessing to the World, by Karen Drucker, Recorded for MMOJ Liturgy by Linda Lee Miller

You are the heart, you are the hands,
You are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who you are, and all you do,
Is a blessing to the world.

We are the heart, we are the hands,
We are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who we are, and all we do,
Is a blessing to the world.

I am the heart, I am the hands,
I am the voice of Spirit on earth,
And who I am, and all I do,
Is a blessing to the world.

You are the heart...you are the hands,
You are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who you are, and all you do,
Is a blessing to the world... we’re a blessing to the world.



Liturgy: Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP


Friday, August 21, 2020

German Archbishop Calls for Open Debate about Women Priests in the Catholic Church , Women Priests Offer Hope for Equality, Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/08/20/german-archbishop-debate-women-priests-deacons-catholic



Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP in circle with Good Shepherd Catholic Community  celebrating Sacrament of Confirmation 
by Colleen Dullen, America Magazine
Archbishop Hesse said new arguments had emerged in the conversation around women’s ordination that needed to be addressed.

My Response: Perhaps, Archbishop Hesse understands that Roman Catholic Women Priests inclusive ministries and communities are offering a model of equality, inclusivity and hope for equal roles for women in all ministries in the Church  that can no longer be dismissed by the hierarchy. The good news  is women priests are here serving the Church now!
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP
https://arcwp.org

Archbishop Hesse is a member of the forum on “Women in Ministries and Offices in the Church” in the “synodal journey” reform project launched by the Catholic Church in Germany. The project places laypeople—represented by German’s prominent lay organization, the Central Committee of German Catholics—in dialogue with that country’s bishops on a range of topics relevant to the church today, including sexuality, priestly celibacy and women’s roles. The lay committee openly supports ordaining women both as deacons and priests.
[Related: Will Germany’s ‘synodal journey’ change the Catholic world?]The archbishop said he hoped the reform talks would examine controversial issues and that the bishops would convey the results to Rome. “But I also hold the realistic view that this will not answer or resolve the issues,” he said. When asked whether he supported the priestly ordination of women and people who do not identify as men, Archbishop Hesse said he was entering the reform talks with an open mind. “If the results are already fixed at the beginning, then I have no interest in the [synodal journey].”
























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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Celebrating an Expanding Theology of Christ Presence in Eucharistic Liturgies in Times of Pandemic Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP


During this time of pandemic, women priests and inclusive Catholic communities are walking toward the future as we celebrate Eucharistic liturgies on Zoom. We are co-creators of an expanding, evolving theology of the Christ Presence within us, and within community in our Eucharistic liturgies.  

Our ordained presiders at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, my faith community, invite those who gather each week with us on Zoom to have bread and wine/juice in front of them.  We invite everyone to pray the words of consecration and to receive Communion. After participants have received Communion at their own tables, they share their experiences of thanksgiving.  I often hear and feel the Christ Presence speaking though them, offering words of comfort, strength and blessing.


At the Last Supper, Jesus said, "All of you, take and eat, do this in memory of me." He addressed all the disciples, not just the male apostles. So today, we are responding to Jesus invitation which empowers all the baptized to preside at Eucharist.

Small faith communities are challenging the hierarchy over its power and control over who can celebrate Eucharist.  In grassroots gatherings they acknowledge a cosmic citizenship as people of God and model the equal ministry of women and men. They believe, as Paul did, that in the body of Christ there is no Jew, Greek, slave, citizen, male or female. (Gal.3:20). All are welcome at the eucharistic celebrations, not only families, but single parents and children, the divorced and remarried, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people, and all those who find themselves on the fringes of the institutional church for whatever reasons have a honored place at the sacred meal. 


Contemporary theologians and spiritual leaders today offer a rich variety of insights into the Eucharist as a celebration of the divine presence rooted in the Jesus movement that reflects inclusivity, community, equality and justice.  The following authors provide a sample of an evolving theology of Eucharist for the 21st century.


Unsplash: Debby Hudson



Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, presents the Christian sacrament of Eucharist or “communion as an experience of embodiment and relationship. More than a theological statement that requires intellectual assent, the Eucharist is an invitation to socially experience the shared presence of God, and to be present in an embodied way. “Jesus didn’t want his community to have a social ethic; he wanted it to be a social ethic. Their very way of eating and organizing themselves was to be an affront to the system of dominance and power. They were to live in a new symbolic universe, especially symbolized by what we now call open table fellowship... the Eucharistic meal was from the very beginning a gathering of both women and men, which shows how Christians understood equality.” (Eucharist Meditation, July 2018)

In her book, Extravagant Affections, Dr. Susan Ross describes celebrating Eucharist with a group of women in the 1970’s as a powerful experience that felt like the early Christians who gathered secretly to reflect on Jesus’s teachings and to bless bread and wine in a time of persecution.  Dr. Ross’s words about her group’s celebration of Eucharist, echo the comments that women priests often get in response to our liturgies on Zoom “When I later told a fellow student, who was a priest what we did, he commented that whatever it was that we did, there was no “real” presence because of the absence of a priest. Yet this group of women of which I was a part felt that this ritual was profoundly eucharistic: we had shared together, felt among us the presence of Christ, acted in continuity with thousands of years of the same actions.” (Susan Ross, “Women, Worship and the Sacraments,” in Extravagant Affections, p.221.)

Author Sheila Durkin Dierks identified 100 gatherings in the United States of women who meet regularly to celebrate Eucharist in each other’s homes without an ordained presider. She shares the stories of women doing Eucharist and addresses the questions such a new phenomenon raises in her book Women Eucharist (Woven Word Press, 1998).

In his book The Future Of Eucharist, theologian Bernard Cooke observes that a new understanding of the resurrection in the Vatican II church has broadened the church's understanding of "real presence" and helped people to appreciate Christ's loving presence in the believing community. According to Cooke, while individuals may have specific functions within the gathered assembly, the entire community performs the eucharistic action (p. 32).  If this is so, then those gathered are the celebrant of Eucharist. It is the community that “does” the Eucharist, not the presider alone. (p. 32)

Jesus disapproved of the sacrificial system and confronted the religious leaders, the priests. In the Gospels, the priests are the most active plotters to kill Jesus. There is no scripture basis for the Catholic Church’s claim that the apostles became priests at Last Supper and that Peter was the first Pope. Jesus did not ordain anyone.  The early Christian movement functioned without priests. Garry Wills writes: “Nowhere is it indicated that there was an official presider at the Christian meal (agape) much less that consecrating the bread and wine was a task delegated to persons of a certain rank. When the term priesthood finally occurs in the Pseudo Petrine letters it refers to the whole Christian community.  In 1 Peter 2:5 and 1 Peter 2:9, Peter refers to himself as a “fellow elder” among the other elders” (Garry Wills, What Jesus Meant, pp 69-70).

Historical scholarship supports this conclusion and goes even farther. Dr. Gary Macy, author of The  Hidden History of Women’s Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West, states that in the early church women were ordained into various roles but in the eleventh and twelfth centuries a new definition of ordination was applied which excluded them. Dr. Macy concludes that in the understanding of late antiquity, regardless of who spoke the words of consecration - man or woman, ordained or community - the Christ presence became a reality in the midst of the assembly. Contrary to the mindset of many contemporary Catholics who think that the way the Church is now was the way it was from the beginning, Dr. Macy observes that the theology of the early Middle Ages was very broad in application. It was far less rigid than has usually been imagined and more open to different liturgical practices than we have realized. In other words, people were not declared heretics or thrown into prison for not following the norms (National Catholic Reporter , January 9, 1998, p.5).

The Dutch Dominicans in their groundbreaking work, “The Church and the Ministry” addressed the pastoral dilemma Catholics encounter:
“With some emphasis we urge our faith communities, the parishes, to realize what is at stake in the present emergency situation of the shortage of ordained celibate priests and to be allowed to take the extent of freedom which is theologically justified to choose their own leader or team of leaders from their own midst. …If a bishop should refuse such a confirmation or `ordination' on the basis of arguments not involving the essence of the Eucharist, such as obligatory celibacy, parishes may be confident that they are able to celebrate a real and genuine Eucharist when they are together in prayer and share bread and wine. In this line they would in fact hope for a liturgy in which the words of institution could be pronounced both by those who preside in the Eucharist and by the community. Pronouncing these words is not thought to be the sole prerogative of the priest; were this the case, how could one avoid a form of power and of rite that is almost magical? The words constitute a conscious declaration of faith by the whole community, which lends its voice to the person presiding in the celebration.” http://natcath.org/mainpage/specialdocuments/The_Church_and_the_Ministry.pdf

Today, many Catholics are pilgrims in exile, walking a desert path as the Holy One leads them out of legalistic modes of worship and into the worship of spirit and truth that does not revere power, but respects individuals as sacred, and connects to the blessedness of all created beings. They gather at a common table where everyone is welcome. As they struggle toward genuine expression of an ancient faith, they bring with them, the deep joy of self-knowledge and an understanding of an evolving universe as the Body of Christ.

Women in mutual partnership with men and women-led house churches and alternative communities are empowering all to live a discipleship of equals. There are a myriad of innovative communities today like Roman Catholic Women Priests, the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, and Women-Church feminist based communities. They are an emerging church where women are moving from the margins to the center. While some women and men also participate in traditional parishes, intentional communities mark a shift which is already taking place as people claim the sacraments as their own, outside of institutional boundaries. Some apply a “both/and” theology and say that the Body of Christ is on the table, at the table and around the table (Eucharistic Prayers for Inclusive Communities, Vol 1, Introduction-Bridget Mary Meehan p. vi-vii, Woven Word Press, 2008).

This is not a question of “playing Mass,” observes Susan Ross, “but of challenging the powers that tried to keep the sacred bottle up in expensive… clerical jars. My own sense is that the criterion for authentic Eucharist ought not so much to be location or whether there is an “official” presider but rather to what extent the Eucharist “effects what it signifies- that is unity, community, a sense of radical inclusion… a living out of the real presence of Christ in the midst of human life…The sacraments are increasingly in the hands of the community, not solely in those of the priest and, thus the institutional church” (Susan Ross, Extravagant Affections: A Feminist Sacramental Theology,  226, 213).

Carol Christ points out that groups that experiment with liturgy are not recognized by Protestant denominations or by the Roman Catholic church as legitimate sites of worship. She notes: “Though women continue to be ordained as ministers and bishops in Protestant churches, they must affirm classic doctrines and dogmas as part of their ordination process and are not generally given leeway to disagree with them.” (“Judaism or Christianity: Which Tradition Is More Open to Feminist Change?” by Carol P. Christ, https://feminismandreligion.com/2020/08/10/judaism-or-christianity-which-tradition-is-more-open-to-feminist-change-by-carol-p-christ/)

In an article entitled “Sacraments as Energy: A Search for A New Paradigm -a feminist-friendly approach to sacraments,” Susan Roll proposes a new paradigm for sacraments as forms of energy. The static model of reality which explained sacraments in Aristotelian categories of matter and form has given way to dynamic models of matter and energy “A sacramentality of energy can be articulated from three different angles: first, in terms of the action of the Holy Spirit; second, from scientific advances in quantum thinking, and the third from new spirituality. This paradigm applies to both Baptism and Eucharist.”

A community encamps, wherever it happens to rest for this moment in time, around the Christ Presence that infuses our communion as One Body. Like a pillar of fire guiding the people of the covenant on the way of love and justice, our lives are holy, blessed and broken in the mystery of God's transforming love in service of others, especially those in need. Use of digital platforms like Zoom enable us to communicate and to build community as we experience Real Presence in new ways connecting and energizing us across thousands of miles in a time of pandemic. (Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Beben, Walking the Prophetic Journey, Introduction)