Saturday, May 7, 2022

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community , Liturgy, "Companions in Caring for the Hurting" , Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 7, 2022, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan and Beth Ponce; Readers: Mary Kay Staudohar and Jim Brandi; Prayer Leaders: Mary Al Gagnon and Jerry Bires, Music: Linda Lee Miller, IT Peg Bowen, Cheryl Brandi, and Rick Miller


Zoom link for video - 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time


Meeting ID: 815 3407 5389

Passcode: 803326

(Note -- if you have a problem with the above link, open your ZOOM app and insert the Meeting ID number and Passcode)

Theme: Companions in Caring for the Hurting 

Beth:   Introduction

We warmly welcome you and are happy you have joined us in our second hybrid liturgy at St. Andrew and on Zoom.  We are all one community, living and loving in the goodness of our Creator.  Let us now begin our celebration!

We invite you to pray the liturgy and respond where it says “ALL.” All Zoom participants will be muted during the liturgy, except for the readers and prayer leaders for their parts. If you would like to make a comment at our shared Homily time or time of introductions, on Zoom, please raise your hand, and the IT leader will alert presider. Our goal is to alternate at the Shared Homily between Zoom and those present at St. Andrew.  At St. Andrew’s, please raise your hand and we will pass the mic to you. It is important to use the microphone so you can be heard on Zoom.  

Please have bread and wine/juice nearby on Zoom as we pray our Eucharistic prayer at home. Please be patient as we are trying our best to make it work!

Opening Song: Companions on the Journey with Carey Landry, Video by Bridget Mary Meehan


Bridget Mary: We begin our liturgy in the name of our Creator, the Source of all being, and of the Son, eternal Word, and of the Holy Spirit, Sophia Wisdom.

ALL:  Amen.

Bridget Mary: My sisters and brothers, God is with us.

ALL:  God is with us Indeed!

Opening Prayer:

Bridget Mary: We are companions on the journey through whom God is speaking today.  Let us pray that we may listen to the voice of the Holy One speaking in our relationships, challenging situations and the chaos of our world.

Transformation Rite:  

Beth:   We pause now to remember the times we have not born fruit in our caring for self and others. Take a moment to recall one missed opportunity, one broken or damaged relationship.  

(Pause briefly and extend your arm over your heart)

Beth and All: As we ask for and receive forgiveness, we open our hearts to Infinite Love embracing and healing us. Let it be so. Yes, Alleluia!

Gloria by Marty Haugen  - video by Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Theresa Streck

Liturgy of the Word

 First Reading:  

Jim Brandi: A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles 13, 14, 43-52

Paul and Barnabas traveled on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day, they entered the synagogue and sat down. When the meeting finally broke up, many worshippers and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to hold fast to the grace of God.

The following sabbath, almost the entire city gathered to hear the word of God. When the members of the synagogue saw the crowds, they became very jealous and countered with violent abuse whatever Paul said. Paul and Barnabas spoke out fearlessly nonetheless: :The word of God has to be declared to you first of all; but since you reject it and thus convict yourselves as unworthy of everlasting life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For thus were we instructed by God: ‘I have made you a light to the nations, a means of salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and responded to the word of God with praise. All who were destined for life everlasting believed in it. The word of God was carried throughout that area.

But the members of the synagogue worked upon some of the leading men and women of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So the two shook the dust from their feet in protest and went on to IIconium; but their disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. 

These are the inspired words from the Acts of the Apostles and we respond, 

ALL:  Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 100

Mary Kay

Response: Alleluia

Sing a joyful song to the Beloved 

all peoples of the earth!

Serve Love with a glad heart!

Join hands in the great Dance of Life!

Response: Alleluia

Know that the Beloved of your heart 

is the Divine Presence!

Love created us 

And we belong to the Most High:

We are born to be loving expressions 

Of the Creator’s Divine Plan.

Response: Alleluia

Open the gates of your heart 

with gratitude

And enter Love’s court with praise!

Give thanks to the Beloved,

Bless Love’s Holy Name!

Response: Alleluia

For Love is of God and lives

In your heart forever,

With faith, truth and joy now

And in all that is to come.

Alleluia, Amen!

Response: Alleluia

Second Reading:  “Companioning” 

Companioning is about being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain.

Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being;
it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out. 

Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect. 

Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head. 

Companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing those struggles. 

Companioning is about walking alongside; it is not about leading or being led. 

Companioning means discovering the gifts of the sacred silence; it is not about filling up every moment with words. 

Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic. 

Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them. 

These are the inspired words of Alan Wolfelt and we respond, 

ALL:  Thanks be to God.    

Alle, Alle, Alleluia: Linda Lee


Beth: A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said: “my sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.  No one can take them out of my hand. My Abba, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Holy One’s embrace.  In the Holy One, we are all one.

Bridget Mary:  Homily: Companions on the Journey: A Call to Action 

by Bridget Mary Meehan 


On one of my trips to Ireland I attended an entertaining demonstration on herding sheep in County Kerry. Brendan Ferris of Kells Sheep Centre used distinctive pitches and rhythms on a tiny whistle to move the Border Collies and sheep in one or another direction. 

Sheep are programmed from birth to recognize and respond to one voice. In what looks like a lively dance, the dog and sheep respond to the different tones of the shepherd’s whistle by moving together around the green hill. 

Like the people in rural Ireland, Jesus’ listeners lived in a world where shepherds and sheep were part of daily life. Everyone understood that good shepherds cared for their sheep and searched for the ones who wandered away. 

The image of the good shepherd reminds us that caring for everyone especially those who are hurting in our world is the call of discipleship today.

In our second reading, when Paul and Barnabas preach the good news of God’s love for everyone including the Gentiles the synagogue leaders were outraged and expel them from their town.  So, Paul and Barnaba shake the dust off their feet and move on, and are filled with joy because they believe in the power of God’s Spirit speaking through them. 

Like Paul and Barnabas, we too can experience the presence of the Holy One in the midst of the hardships and challenges we face today.  We can draw on the strength of the Risen Christ within us, empowering us to act with confidence and compassion no matter what circumstances or setbacks we face.

This week a leaked Supreme Court opinion on abortion sent shockwaves across our country.

Thousands gathered to protest or support the end of Roe around the country. Many people who are pro-life and/or pro-choice are debating moral questions such as when does human life begin? Who should decide? What- if any- is the community’s role in the protection of human life from conception to birth and beyond which includes access to health care, medical insurance, contraception and education? How do to support pregnant women ‘s right to control their bodies and decisions about their reproductive health? What -if any- role should federal or state legislators or courts have in regulating abortion? 

According to the leaked document, the majority of the Supreme Court have decided to overturn Roe v.Wade and end a woman’s constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy up until the point of viability.

In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the court majority held that a women’s right to choose to end a pregnancy was protected by the Constitution, but that states could limit that right after the second trimester or 28 weeks, when a fetus might survive outside the womb.

The majority of Americans support upholding Roe and say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases and -by a wide margin- see abortion as a decision to be made by a woman and her doctor, not by lawmakers. 

Last week an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 57% of Americans oppose a ban on abortion after 15 weeks; 58% say abortion should be legal in all or most cases; and 54% say the court should uphold Roe, compared with 28% who say the ruling should be overturned.

An abortion law that has no exceptions will have devastating impact on the lives of women who are raped, children who are victims of incest, women whose health is at risk, and women’s human rights to control their bodies.  

Both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice advocates could do the following:

  1. Call legislators to express opposition to criminalizing abortion.
  2. Provide free birth control as an effective way to prevent abortions.
  3. Offer age-appropriate sex education -with parents’ permission -in schools. 
  4. Support federal and state policies, laws, and non-profits that provide prenatal care for mothers and babies from conception to young adulthood, help single mothers as well as struggling families with costs for food, housing, child-care, education, and job training . 

Within each person is the life that is God.  Within each pregnant woman is the life that is God. 

God speaks through pregnant women who give birth, through women who decide to abort, and through us.  

Let us listen to God speaking through them.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Community Sharing:  (remember, if you would like to make a comment, on Zoom, please raise your hand, and the IT leader will alert presider.  Our goal is to alternate between Zoom and those present at St. Andrew.  At St. Andrew’s, please raise your hand and we will pass the mic to you.)

Statement of Faith:

Mary Al and ALL: 

We believe in God, the creator and lover of all.  We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who shows us how to live in the fullness of God’s love.  We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, who empowers us with spiritual gifts for loving service of our sisters and brothers.  We believe in Shekinah, God’s dwelling among the people.  We believe in Sophia, Holy Wisdom, leading us to justice, and equality.  We believe in Christ Sophia, nourishing us with abundant life as the Body of Christ at the table, on the table and around the table at the Banquet of love.  

(Source: Bridget Mary Meehan)

Prayers of the Community

Jerry B: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we pray for the needs of the people of God in our community and around the world.  Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words “I bring to the table….” 

Response to each prayer:   Amen

Joan M: MMOJ Book of Intentions

Please share your spontaneous prayers beginning with the words, “I bring to the table….” .

(as a reminder, please wait for those on Zoom to add their intentions before concluding)

Jerry B: We give thanks for all whom we held in the circle of grace and will continue to pray for and serve. ALL:  Amen. 

Liturgy of Eucharist

Preparation of the Gifts 

Bridget Mary: Blessed are You, O Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of Life. 

ALL:  Blessed are You forever.   

Beth:   Blessed are You, O Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink. 

ALL:  Blessed are You forever.

Bridget Mary:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Jesus in communion with all who proclaim the liberating power of  your Spirit, rising in our midst.

ALL:  Amen.

Preface:   Eucharistic Prayer

Jerry B.: O Heart of Love, You dwell in us,

Mary Al and ALL:   And we dwell in You.

Jerry B: O Pursuer of Justice, You speak truth through us,

Mary Al and ALL:  In service to our sisters and brothers.

Jerry B: O Source of All Life, in you we live and move and have our being,

Mary Al and ALL:   All the days of our lives.

Jerry B: Your Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is rising up in our struggling world.  Just as the Holy One enveloped Jesus at the end of the darkness of death, we too can trust that God will have the last word in our lives as indeed God had the first, as we join the angels, and saints and all people in joyful praise for the gift of life.    

Holy, Holy, Holy   (Karen Drucker) Linda Lee Miller

Eucharistic Prayer

Beth: O Heart of Love, Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala and the Easter women as they stood by the broken body of Jesus and encountered the Risen One.  Your Spirit moves through us as we serve the broken body of Christ rising up in love in our world today.

Please extend Your hands in blessing.

Bridget Mary and ALL: 

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 table with 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.”


Beth 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.”


Beth and ALL:   Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died in all who have died.

Christ is rising within us each moment.

Christ comes again and again everywhere each day.

Mary Al: Embracing Presence, we remember all the companions who have gone before us:  Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, and all holy women and men who rise up in loving service to transform our world.   For it is through living as Jesus lived, and loving as he loved, that we awaken to Your Spirit empowering us to work for justice.

Great Amen by Linda Lee

Communion Rite: 

The Prayer of Jesus

Jerry B:   Let us pray as Jesus taught us. 

ALL:   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 we need.  

You remind us of our limits, and we let go. 

You support us in your 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, Miriam Therese Winter, MMS

Sign of Peace

Mary and ALL: Jesus said to his disciples, My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.”   The peace of the Holy One is also with You.  

Let us sing this beautiful song of peace especially for peace between Russia and Ukraine that our sister, Mindy wrote.

Peace Throughout the Land by Mindy Lou Simmons

Beth: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread: 

Beth and 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.

Bridget Mary:

This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing.  Blessed are we who are called to the table.  We are the Body of Christ.

Communion Song:  A Mother's Day Prayer

Prayer after Communion  

Beth:   Divine Presence, we are strengthened by sharing this Sacred meal as community.  We go forth to care for the broken-hearted, sick, lonely and grieving in our midst.  Bless our companioning ministries. Bless all mothers. And together we say, 

ALL:   Amen  

Bridget Mary:  Gratitude, Introductions, Announcements

Concluding Rite

Bridget Mary: The Holy One is within You. 

ALL: And also within You.

Bridget Mary: Please extend your hands as we pray our final blessing: 

May we be the face of God to each other.  

May we call each other to extravagant generosity!  

We go forth with the energy of Spirit within us to heal and transform our church and world. 

Closing Song:  Dance Then Wherever You May Be


Eucharistic Prayer written by Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan 

Please send MMOJ donations to:

St. Andrew United Church of Christ

6908 Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL  34238

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