Saturday, December 5, 2020

Pressure to say Mass this Christmas Is Taking a Toll, Say Priests in Ireland by Sarah Mac Donald, Irish Independent

 https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/pressure-to-say-mass-this-christmas-is-taking-a-toll-say-priests-39828007.html


Priests are being put under “unfair pressure” to provide multiple masses and manage cleaning procedures for churches this festive season, a representative body has warned.

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) said in a statement that the lifting of restrictions on public worship has created “particular difficulties for priests and Parish Pastoral Councils (PPCs), especially in organising masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day”.

The body warned that having mass with a congregation in every church in every parish in the country for Christmas may be “a price too high to pay”.

In the statement, the Association, which represents more than one-third of Irish priests, said it was “an open secret that there is huge concern, if not alarm, in parishes regarding how the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day masses can be organised and the need for caution in delivering a safe and manageable outcome”.

The group stated that priests and parish councils “are being placed under undue and unfair pressure to multiply masses, to organise a ticket allocation system, to agree unrealistic and dangerously inappropriate measures to sanitise church buildings, and to recruit unrealistic numbers of volunteers”.

It stressed that every parish is different in terms of priest numbers, size of churches and the resources available to effectively steward, sanitise and oversee the relevant protocols such as social distancing and mask-wearing in order to ensure that people worship in safety.

It stressed that the one thing all parishes have in common is that “huge numbers of people – way beyond the number at typical weekend masses – traditionally gather in churches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day”.

They said there are fears this year that arrangements will be overwhelmed by numbers gathering both inside and outside the church, creating a dangerous and unmanageable situation.

According to the ACP, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for parishes and churches, and the worry is that with the end of Covid-19 in sight now that vaccines are on the way, their particular church and parish may be the scene of a cluster of Covid cases “with devastating consequences”.

“In present circumstances we need to err on the side of caution and wisdom,” the priests’ group stated.

Some parishes are closing their churches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and keeping masses online through their webcam facility. Others are combining this with the opportunity for individuals or families to receive communion and visit the crib on Christmas Day by attending at the church within specified hours and with supervised protocols in place.

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Second Sunday of Advent - Presiders: Donna Panaro, ARCWP, and Diane Geary

photo by MT Streck

The Zoom link is: 

Meeting ID: 825 1215 9155
If you are unable to join via the Zoom link, please join by dialing: 
        +1 646 558 8656

Welcome and Theme- Kim

Welcome to the Upper Room community. We welcome friends near and far to this celebration. The second Sunday of Advent is dedicated to peace. Today we will look at the way in which Jesus our brother and role model came to experience the peace that passes all understanding so as to become a beacon of peace in our world.  We believe that if there is no wisdom, there is no peace. We believe that to know wisdom is to know peace. 


Lighting of Advent Candle – Lynn W

As we light today’s candle, remember that Jesus came into the world so that we are now messengers by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To prepare the way for just peace is a choice that we must make daily. Messengers know that what we see is not all there can, will, or should be. Messengers face the troubles of the world receptively, perceptively, and attentively as they proclaim, “We shall overcome.”


Opening Song 

Every Valley


https://youtu.be/tjiQUPGScG0
 


LITURGY OF THE WORD 

 

First Reading: Dave D. 

Isaiah 40: 1;3-8


Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

A voice cries out, “Clear a path through the wilderness for YHWH!

Make a straight road through the desert for our God!

Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low;

Let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges become a valley!

Then the glory of YHWH will be revealed, and all humankind will see it.”

The mouth of YHWH has spoken!

A voice commands, “Cry out!”

And I answer, “What will I say?”

All flesh is grass and its beauty is like the wildflowers:

The grass withers and the flower wilts when the breath of YHWH blows on them.

How the people are like grass!

Grass withers, and flowers wilt, but the promise of our God will stand forever.”


These are the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah and the community affirms them by saying: Amen


2nd Reading- Terri K. 

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

These are the inspired words from the Gospel of Mark and the community affirms them by saying: Amen


Alleluia (Dennis)


Third Reading: Debbie T. 

Excerpts from: The Wisdom Jesus, Chapter 2, Jesus in Context by Cynthia Bourgeault


Jesus was a Near Eastern event. We need to keep reminding ourselves of this.

The Christianity of the East saw things radically differently. Theirs was not a soteriology, but a sophiology. The word “sophiology” has as its root the word “wisdom.”  Christianity was supremely a wisdom path. For the earliest Christians, Jesus was not the Savior but the Life-Giver. In the original Aramaic of Jesus and his followers there was no word for salvation. Salvation was understood as a bestowal of life, and to be saved was “to be made alive.” Entering the waters at the hand of John the Baptist, Jesus emerged as “the Life-Giver.” He came forth also as “the Single One” or “the Unified One.” Nowadays we’d call him “the Enlightened One,” a person whose life is full, integrated, and flowing. Jesus’s disciples saw in him a master of consciousness, offering a path through which they, too, could become enlightened ones. A sophiological Christianity focuses on the path. It emphasizes how Jesus is like us, how what he did in himself is something we are also called to do in ourselves.


Jesus stayed close to the perennial ground of wisdom: the transformation of human consciousness. He asked those timeless and deeply personal questions: What does it mean to die before you die? How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one? Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself? These are the wisdom questions, and they are the entire field of Jesus’s concern.


These are the inspired words of Cynthia Bourgeault and the community affirms them by saying: Amen


Shared Homily  

 “Then the glory of YHWH will be revealed, and all humankind will see it,” says the prophet, Isaiah. As we come together on this second Sunday of Advent, during a global pandemic, with a country in political and social unrest, experiencing the holidays on zoom instead of in person, with refugee children still living in cages at the border, how can we see the glory of YHWH? I can relate to the song in movie, The Grinch called “Where are you Christmas?” This year, I ask “Where are you glory of God?”. In times like these there is a need to find a path that brings comfort. We need to find the good news that the gospel writer talks about and revisit these familiar scripture passages in order to gain a deeper understanding of what we hope will be birthed in us anew.


Cynthia Bourgeault contrasts sophiology with soteriology. Most of us were raised on Western Christianity which is grounded in soteriology. This teaches that Jesus died to atone for humanity’s sins that originated with the naughty disobedient woman named Eve.  Bourgeault points out that this western stance is not congruent with the actual context of who Jesus is. Eastern Christianity and sophiology can give us a more accurate lens to understand what the good news is. 


Sophiology is a school of thought which holds that Divine Wisdom (or Sophia) is identified with God's essence. The gospel writer pictures John the Baptist introducing Jesus as “one who is more powerful” and who will “baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus therefore baptizes with Wisdom. Power for Jesus was not political or rooted in institutional religion. He prayed alone during every significant event in his life and spoke in parables, consistent with the wisdom traditions of his time. His power was that of transformation of consciousness. Preparing the way of the Lord means we can access Divine Wisdom when we follow the example of Jesus to become “Life-givers.” Preparing the way of the Lord puts us on the path to enlightenment, to becoming a person whose “life is full, integrated, and flowing.” The good news is we have the capacity to cultivate Divine Wisdom within ourselves. Jesus teaches and models that we have the ability “to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being” 


When grounded in Sophia Wisdom we awaken to a mindful presence that allows us to live fully and peacefully now, on earth. When we know wisdom we know peace. This inspires us to let go of our little life so that we can live the bigger one that is filled with meaning and purpose. People who have been the principal figures in social movements can easily be understood as those who embodied wisdom and then acted with courage. Dorothy Day, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., the Danube Seven, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the four women martyrs of El Salvador were grounded in wisdom. Like followers of Jesus, people who came in contact with these individuals or their stories responded to the wisdom of their message. The way to prepare the way of the Lord is to do what Jesus and countless wisdom figures have done. They start with knowing that it begins as an inside job rooted in cultivating personal alignment with the mind and heart of God. As we prepare the way of the Lord may we embrace the wisdom path of Jesus so that through our efforts all will come to know the peace of God’s kin-dom. 


Statement of Faith: Margaret and Ed  

 
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. 

 

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST 

 

Dennis:  Prayer intentions

 

Donna: Source of light, we seek you in this season of winter, when the days are short and we lift up our hearts and ease our souls into that quiet place which is your presence among us.    

 

Diane: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together.  

(written by Jay Murnane) 

 

Diane:  Source of All That Is, we seek you in this season, when the earth is resting and preparing for new life. Like the earth, we long for new life and hopeful beginnings. This is the time of the pregnant woman, filled with life and hope powerful enough to topple structures of oppression.  This is the time of her song of fidelity and celebration. 

 

During this gentle season of Advent, we recognize that you have made us capable of bringing forth justice, like a rising sun. One with all who have gone before us, we sing this song of praise: 

 

Alleluia, Sing! By David Haas

https://youtu.be/E9Yo34Irn6Y



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! 


We thank you for those in times past who believed the good news and lived what they believed. 

 

Blessed is Isaiah and every visionary who insisted on a better future that would break through the deception, disaster, and broken promises of the age in which they lived. 

 

Blessed is John, in the stark desert of careful focus, inviting the people to be born again in your love.  

 

Blessed is Miriam, who believed the words of Isaiah and opened herself up to the unbelievable. 

 

And blessed is her child Jesus, who felt the sorrows of humankind in his soul, and responded with deep and tender compassion. 

 

Diane: 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. 

 

 (Lift plate) 

 

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: 

 

Take and eat of the Bread of Life 

Given to strengthen you 

Whenever you remember me like this 

I am among you 

(pause) 

 

(Lift cup) 

 

Donna: Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace 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. 


Let us share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace

(Consume the bread and wine)
(pause) 


Communion Song 

Ancient Wisdom, Mother Earth

https://youtu.be/KgZknWMnZbc

Diane: We give thanks for our tradition, which is a living history of your love for all creation. We join ourselves with that tradition, as the visionaries and healers and peacemakers of our own time in history. 

 

We celebrate the many creative traditions which guide and form us and we are grateful that there are many paths to wisdom and life. 

 

Each Advent we make a place in our prayer for all those who are oppressed and marginalized in so many places throughout this earth, and right here among us. 

 

We are grateful for the gift of your Spirit, always drawing beauty and balance out of chaos.  And like Jesus. 

 

Standing where he stood,  

and for what he stood,  

and with whom he stood, 

we are united in your Spirit, 

and worship you with our lives,  

 

Donna: Let us pray as Jesus taught us: 

O Holy One, you are 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, Amen.             Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter 


BLESSING 

Diane: Let us pray: 

May we continue to be the face of God to each other.  May we call each other to extravagant generosity!  May our light shine for all to see, and may our name be a blessing in our time! 

 

All: AMEN 

 

Closing Song  

Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord

https://youtu.be/8E5VHT3kfQ0




Thursday, December 3, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Second Sunday of Advent December 5, 2020 Presiders: Mary Kay Staudohar and Kathryn Shea, ARCWP


 


Zoom link -4 PM Eastern Standard Time

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86240868327?pwd=ZWNhdHRudTlFSjVBRlF5QVo5L3VGZz09

Meeting ID: 862 4086 8327

Password: 1066


Theme: Prepare Our Hearts in Faithful Anticipation


Welcome


(Mary Kay) We warmly welcome you to our inclusive Catholic community, Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida. All are welcome here. We invite you to pray the liturgy where it says: All. And please, sing your heart out while muted! Everyone will be muted during the service. We ask all our readers to “unmute” for their reading and then “re-mute” again. All are welcome to share as inspired after the homily starter - unmute yourself and remember to re-mute yourself after your sharing. Please have bread and wine or juice with you as we pray our Eucharistic Prayer 


Advent Candle Lighting and Blessing Prayer


(Kathryn) Like our ancestors, we honor the cycles and the seasons that remind us of the ever-changing flow of life of which we are a part.  Ritual acts give life meaning—they honor and acknowledge the unseen web of Life that connects us all.

ALL:  We light this second candle and remember our ancestors who feared death, evil and the darkness of winter.  We, too, in our day fear the darkness of war, the pandemic, discrimination, xenophobia and selfishness that threaten to isolate us and consign our planet to an eternal winter. And so we respond: Let us kindle the light of peace!

Gathering Hymn:  “Come As You Are” – by The Many



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLQsfto8LyE&feature=share


Opening Prayer


(Pause briefly and reflect on the need to grow more in love with others and with creation.)

(Mary Al):  We give you thanks most loving and compassionate God, for this time of waiting when we search to find you present in our midst.  Open our hearts to finding you in new and unimaginable ways during this time of waiting.  Plant the seed of your presence deeper in us and help us to nourish it into new life.  


Liturgy of The Word


(Cheryl) First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5; 9-11

Comfort, give comfort to my people, says our God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end.  A voice cries out in the desert:  prepare the way of the Lord!  Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.


Go up on to a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! He comes with power, the Holy One, who leads by his compassion.  Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.


These are the inspired words from the prophet, Isiah, and the community responds, AMEN!

      

Gospel Acclamation:  Alleluia  


https://youtu.be/gIHnZn3JjcM


(Jim B) Gospel Reading:  Mark: 1:1-8

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert; “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of forgiveness.  People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their lack of faith. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”


These are inspired words of the evangelist named Mark, and the community responds, AMEN!


Shared Homily/Community Reflection


Profession of Faith


(Harvey and ALL): 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 vehicles of God’s divine love, as spreaders of Jesus’ wisdom and truth, and an instruments of their 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. 

 

Prayers of the Community


(Mary Kay):  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 people throughout our world to our gracious and comforting God. 

Response: We are filled with joy as we awaken to your call.

(Mary Kay):  For what else do we pray? (Response)

(Mary Kay): Joyful God, we know you attend to our prayers and respond with your wisdom and love.  In you, we place our faith.  ALL: Amen.


Liturgy of the Eucharist 

 

(Joan M) Source of light and joy, we seek you in this season of winter, when the days are short and we lift up our hearts and ease our souls into that quiet place which is your presence among us.  Please join us in praying the Eucharistic prayer.  

(written by Jay Murnane) 

 

(Joan M & All):  Source of All That Is, we seek you in this season, when the earth is resting and preparing for new life. Like the earth, we long for new life and hopeful beginnings. This is the time of the pregnant woman, filled with life and hope powerful enough to topple structures of oppression.  This is the time of her song of fidelity and celebration. 

 

During this gentle season of Advent, we recognize that you have made us capable of bringing forth justice, like a rising sun. One with all who have gone before us, we sing this song of praise: 


Song: Holy, Holy, Holy


https://youtu.be/orKBBIj5LZA

 

(Jerry):  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! We thank you for those in times past who believed the good news, and lived what they believed. 

 

(Anna D):   Blessed is Isaiah and every visionary who insisted on a better future that would break through the deception, disaster and broken promises of the age in which they lived. 

 

Blessed is John, in the stark desert of careful focus, inviting the people to be born again in your Love.  

 

Blessed is Miriam, who believed the words of Isaiah and opened herself up to the unbelievable. 

 

And blessed is the child Jesus, who felt the sorrows of humankind in his soul, and responded with deep and tender compassion. 


(Joan P) and All: 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)  

 

(Kathryn and 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. 

 

(Presider lifts plate)  

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: 

 

Take and eat of the Bread of Life 

Given to strengthen you 

Whenever you remember me like this 

I am among you 

(pause) 

 

(Presider lifts cup) 

 

(Judy): Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace 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. 


Let us now eat and drink this bread and cup as we proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace.  (please take/share the Sacred meal at this time)

 

(Kathryn and All):  What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.    


Communion Meditation and Reflection:  


Be Still and Know that I am God


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KIcWmHWjIY&feature=share


Introductions/Prayers of Gratitude/Announcements


Closing Prayer

((Ann C. and ALL)  Christmas Eve Prayer
Adapted from Frank Borman, Apollo 8 space mission, 1968

May we be love in the world in spite of human failures.

May we trust our goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
May we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
May we show what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace.

Commissioning

(Jack D):   May we all go in the peace that Jesus gave us, caring for one another.  May joy abound as we walk with our brother, Jesus, on our journey of compassion.  Let our service continue! 

All:   Thanks be to God; let it be so. 


Closing Song:  Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord from Godspell


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSIs1MHdFQY&feature=share


If you want to add an intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayer book, please send an email to katyrcwp@tampabay.rr.com

If you want to invite someone to attend our liturgy, please refer them our website at MaryMotherofJesus.org      

To support our community, please send your check to:

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

St Andrew UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd, Sarasota, Florida 34238