Monday, August 30, 2021

Homily for Ordination of Rose Mary Gordyan ARCWP and Kathleen OConnell Sauline ARCWP by Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP, August 28, 2021, Cleveland, Ohio

Bishop Mary  Eileen Collingwood ARCWP

Priests from ARCWP and RCWP join in celebration

left to right  Kathleen Sauline, Mary Eileen Collingwood and Rose Gordyan

Thank you-- each and every one of you—who came here today to celebrate the Roman Catholic ordination of Rose and Kathleen as priests.   It is an extraordinary day not only marked by their courage and faith in answering the call to be ordained in this prophetic renewal of the priesthood, but also to celebrate your courage and willingness to witness to the Holy Spirit’s movement in and among us, right here, right now, as the Spirit refreshes and infuses us with new vision and purpose.  


The Gospel chosen for today tells the story of a woman who seeks healing from a hemorrhage she suffered with for 12 years. Her story is surrounded by the plight of a father seeking healing for his 12-year-old daughter.   


Could it be that these interwoven stories are connected?  


The 12-year-old girl is at the age when the Jewish law at that time recognized her as an adult and, therefore, subject to the Law.  Yet because she is desperately ill, it is her father that seeks and believes in the healing power of Jesus.  The woman with the 12-year hemorrhage seeks healing by claiming the power from Jesus herself.


In the Jewish tradition, the number 12 represents authority, appointment and completeness.  By law, both women possessed their own authority, yet the young woman’s illness made her unable to exercise it herself.  The younger one believed in her father and counted on his faith in Jesus; the older woman believed in Jesus’ power and knew she would be healed just by touching him.  


Women are famous for connecting with one another, no matter their age or situation in life.  In this story, both women suffered, and both were completely cured through faith. Both are recognized as daughters and are rejoined with the community from which they had become isolated due to illness.  Both are healed and restored to the fullness of life as women of their time.  


Ordained women, too, are daughters, and, infused with the Spirit, we claim our right to the fullness of sacramental life through priesthood.  Our priestly presence opens doors to spread the mantel of the church far and wide.  Although we cannot fully participate in the traditional Catholic church communities from which we have become isolated, we can follow the Way of Jesus in forming inclusive faith communities that welcome all who have been disenfranchised from the religious institutions of our time, to worship and live in a spirit of true hospitality and dignity.  Today, we stand before you in faith as prophetic voices declaring the fullness of life as women of our time.  


Traditional Catholic Church polity doesn’t recognize our ordinations because we don’t support all the rules the men have established.  With their rules, they want to retain authority over all who find themselves within their domain. Like women of history, on whose shoulders we now stand, today’s women still struggle to be recognized as full members worthy of sacramental leadership. The Holy Spirit, Wisdom Sophia, upends false claims of authority by calling women to step forward as living witnesses in a renewed priesthood, restoring wholeness and holiness to the church.  Structures and rules are no barrier for the Spirit as She moves where She will. 


Brave women gave Jesus the opportunity to expand the circle of his ministry, and Rose and Kathleen are two more who continue this dynamic, releasing the captives and inviting the Spirit within them to breathe freely. 


Rose Mary Gordyan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies, and a Certification in Pastoral Ministry, completing her field experience in hospital chaplaincy and evangelization.  She has accumulated 53 Master level semester hours in Theology. In her 40 years of church ministry, she was a leader in catechetics, sacramental programs and youth ministry that expanded to include adult faith formation and ministry with the bereaved and divorced members of the wider community. Her pastoral ministry assignments included presiding at funeral services and directing retreats in biblical studies and women’s spirituality.  In addition, Rose served as Campus Minister for Marycrest, a home for homeless and delinquent women and girls in Cleveland.


Throughout her years in church ministry, her husband, Ken, was by her side supporting her call to ordained ministry providing space in their home for her studies, and willingly typed all her papers.  Now deceased, Rose feels his spiritual support as well as the respect of her two sons, as she answers her call to priestly ordination.  


Kathleen O'Connell Sauline holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with majors in Accounting and Public Administration, and earned a Master of Business Administration degree. She also has Principal and Superintendent licenses.  Kathleen is a long-time educator, embracing anti-racism as the cornerstone of her career.  She presently serves on several boards, utilizing her educational experiences. 


Her parish ministry included leading the Children’s Liturgy of the Word for 17 years.  She, along with her deceased husband, Dave, led Baptism Preparation sessions for 12 years. Dave often spoke of his devout support of Kathleen on her road toward ordination even while dealing with the aftermath of a stroke. Recently, with Kathleen’s life partner, Rafe, they are providing transitional space for a family moving to the area post immigration.  


Kathleen and her three daughters embrace an expansive faith that focuses on God's love and mercy as it is brought to life in our world through caring for one another. 

 

We members of the Roman Catholic Women Priest movement stand in solidarity with all women, taking the power we have in claiming our vocational call of equal leadership and ministry in our church and world.  Despite the opposition we face, the Divine Feminine moves us forward. We are the appointed prophets of our time!


As prophets, we now enter into the Rite of Ordination for Rose and Kathleen. 

May the Holy One bless them, and bless all of us who witness this historic moment and holy sacrament.



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