Sunday, June 5, 2022

ARCWP Ordination of Katie Anne Nimcheski as Priest, June 4, 2022, in Albany, New York- Homily by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Katie Nimcheski ARCWP and Phot


The reading today by Audre Lorde. Perhaps it seemed a bit unusual that on such a happy and blessed occasion as today that I bring up the subject of anger. But, I cannot pretend to feel something else. This calling to the priesthood has been bittersweet. The more I have learned about the early church, and the more I have learned about Jesus’s ministry, the angrier I became realizing how far Christianity has strayed.

While taking the People’s Catholic Seminary classes for ordination, I have also been working on a 76 credit hour Master’s of Divinity with another Christian Seminary as part of my requirements for military chaplaincy. So for the past two years, there have been many days when I am enraged by what I am learning. The People's Catholic Seminary classes were teaching me the knowledge that had been lost or changed over time by the hierarchical church.  And, my general Christian Seminary often teaches and preaches half-truths, exclusivity, and distortions of the gospel of Jesus, which further enraged me.

When I came across Audre Lorde’s speech, I immediately connected with the words...especially the ones that mention an “arsenal of anger.” I have acquired a very large arsenal of anger. I can even visualize this space. It’s like a small underground, bunker-type room. A dark place where I have ruminated on the centuries of men who have kept their feet on the necks of my sisters…suffocating, oppressing, stifling progress, halting the spread of the Gospel.

However, thanks to the Upper Room Community here, my family, and God's presence, I have begun to learn what to do with that arsenal of anger. So the first reading allows me to acknowledge my anger as part of what brought me here. The second reading defines love. And, the gospel brings them both together. 

For me, this miracle of Jesus turning water into wine represents the transformation needed of me today as I give my vows to this calling. In the story, feeding the wedding guests water was going to be an embarrassment and an early end to the celebration. In this same vein, as a priest, I cannot feed people with my anger. It would be an embarrassment to this community and my family, and it would end my effectiveness before I have even begun. 

I must transform my anger into love in the same way that the water was turned into wine. Marrianne Williamson wrote that, “Angry people cannot create a more peaceful planet. But, the unhealthiest thing to do with anger is to deny you have it. Always seek less turbulent skies. Hurt. Fly above it. Betrayal. Fly above it. Anger. Fly above it. You are the one flying the plane.”

In the miracle story, I found it comforting that Jesus didn’t make wine out of thin air. He needed the water in order to make the wine. I too know that I needed this anger in order for the Holy One to turn it into love. As Audre Lorde wrote…”it is to be used to fashion a better world.” Today marks that official day where I will vow to turn my arsenal of anger, that danky basement room into a beautiful wine cellar instead….filled with the choicest and most decadent wine you’ve ever tasted. Wine that represents unconditional love and sacrifice. Martin Luther King Jr. said, Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I hope to represent our Upper Room Community and ARCWP well, and I hope to make my family proud. Ultimately though, I must obey God and not men, so please be patient with me and pray for my discernment that I know the difference between the water and the wine. 

Bridget Mary:

It is with great joy that we gather today to ordain Katie Anne Nimcheski a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Albany New York!

Katie describes her call to live gospel equality in these words: 

“Women are the largest group of oppressed people in the world and have been for far too long. Violence against women continues to be a major issue due to the fact that many institutions and countries around the world continue to treat women as property. These atrocities towards my gender will not cease until every corner of the globe treats women as equals, made in God’s image. We are a universal church with an immense amount of power; therefore, we have massive influence on many lives and could use that power to elevate women around the world. Ultimately, I have come here to dismantle the systemic sexism of the Roman Catholic hierarchy by preaching the inclusive gospel of Jesus.”

Mary Ann Matthys, who was ordained a deacon yesterday, wants to “co-create a world where everyone has an equal seat at the table and all are included.”

Twenty years ago on June 29, 2002, seven courageous women boarded a boat on the Danube River in Passau, Germany and were ordained priests. 

These women stood in the prophetic tradition of holy obedience to Spirit’s call to change an unjust law that discriminates against women. They began a global movement that altered two millennia of Catholic teaching prohibiting women’s ordination. 

In 2022, the original seven have grown to almost 300 in 13 countries and 34 states.

Researchers are now studying the impact of, what I call, our “holy shakeup” on the institutional Roman Catholic Church. 

In a recent academic study, entitled “Choreographing the Dance of Dissent: Roman Catholic Womenpriests’ Claims to Authority published on April 12, 2022, authors Christina Gringeri from the University of Utah and Alexandra Himonas from Georgetown University examine the ways women priests and bishops are changing the institutional Church.

After interviewing over 100 priests, deacons and bishops in our movement, they reach this stunning assessment:

“In their ministries, the women priests are effectively altering the daily practices and teachings of Roman Catholicism. Women priests…claim their authority from within doctrine and scripture while being both insiders and outsiders.  Women- priest led communities become spaces where the dominant model of gathering, teaching and sharing of the Roman Catholic Church is reimagined into places of greater equality and inclusion; they are communities of humans who dare to engage an exodus from the institutional church in order to forge new ways of being and gathering, not unlike the Israelites leaving Egypt behind.” (p. 12)

Like Miriam and the Exodus women, women priests are leading the way as we dismantle a male clerical domination domination model in every area of Church teaching and ministry. 

in his new book The Truth at the Heart of the Lie, James Carroll describes his disillusionment as a Catholic. He challenges the ways the Church has institutionalized its power and control through an all -male hierarchy. He believes that reform-minded Catholics can change the culture from within by embracing anti-clerical and misogynist resistance in a spirit of love. 

Here we are gathered ready  to take another step in our dissident dance on the inside edge of the Roman Catholic Church!

We rejoice that Spirit energy is moving within us, and working through us, lighting a blazing fire of love and gender equality -for all in our Church and world as we ordain Katie today.

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