Friday, December 10, 2021

My First Decade as a Presbyter by Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP



Olga Lucia at Women's March for Peace in Colombia

On December 11, 10 years ago, I was ordained by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan in Sarasota, Fla.

I felt accompanied by the Afro Community accompanied by Rev. Judy Lee, which reminded me of my services in the Afro communities of Barranquilla and Buenaventura.

I was impressed by the imposition of hands on behalf of the Community present, they made me feel that, as a Church People of God, they were the ones who gave me the authority and power to serve them as a presbyter.

The homily given for the occasion by our Bishop Bridget Mery struck me when she said that I had been called to be a prophet.

Only with the passage of time, little by little I have been assimilating what it is to be a prophet. The concept of prophet as such, I have been decontextualizing it, it is not divining the future, it is denouncing the reality of marginalization, oppression, submission to which we women have been exposed within the institutional Church of the patriarchal clerical system.

I understood that it takes courage and bravery to announce the Good News in the midst of a structure that is deaf.

This is what the Vatican is showing us in its latest reform of the Canons of December 8, 2021, in the midst of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, since the Revised Code of Canon Law 1379 comes into force, which makes us the affront of placing the ordination of a woman and the sexual abuse of a child in the same category of serious crime.

This Canon is totally misogynistic, aggressive and offensive against women. This Canon together with Canon 1024 of the same clerical patriarchal concept. Not to mention the Gratian Decree 1140 which aberrantly labels us women as not being the image of God.

It seems that the Institutional Church would like to ingratiate itself with the Mother of Jesus, since it places her high on its altars, dressed in cloth embroidered with golden threads, crowned with precious stones, earrings, ring, sandals, necklaces and golden scepter. Granting her magister honoris causa diplomas in dogmas.  Trying to forget his prophetic political, social and religious manifesto proclaimed in the Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55. The Magnificat shows us a humble woman, but not silent and submissive. She was aware of the situation of violence and oppression of the imperial power of her time.


This ignores, hides and denies Mary's identity as a simple, hard-working, suffering woman, just like our women of the countryside, of the working class neighborhoods, the migrants, ignoring the culture, customs and Judeo-Christian values of Nazareth.

Today, Mary summons us and invites us women to stand up, to sign with her, just as we have signed and have adhered our signatures to other denunciations, to sign with her, the Magnificat manifesto, and to show the world that the Movement initiated by her Son continues to advance in spite of the canonical norms and prohibitions.

 
46My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
47My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior;
48For he has looked upon the humiliation of his handmaid.
From now on all generations will rejoice in me,
49for the Mighty One has done great works for me:
his name is holy,
50and his mercy reaches to his faithful ones
from generation to generation.
51He does exploits with his arm:
He scatters the proud in heart,
52he lifts up the mighty from their thrones
52he lifts up the mighty from the throne and exalts the lowly,
53he fills the hungry with good things, and the rich he sends away empty.
and the rich he sends away empty.
54He helps Israel, his servant,
remembering mercy
55As he promised our fathers.
in favor of Abraham and his descendants forever.

Celebrating my First Decade as a presbyter: I sign and renew my prophetic commitment in holy obedience to the Spirit of the Ruah=Holy Spirit, who enlightens, strengthens and accompanies me, to continue announcing the Good News to my people.

*Roman Catholic Presbyter


December 11, 2021

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