Friday, August 1, 2008

Article that was published on Google: Worldwide Audience Watch Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordinations in Boston by Bridget Mary Meehan

Worldwide Audience Watch Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordinations in Boston
Millions of people around the world watched on television as Gloria Carpeneto of Baltimore, Maryland, Judy Lee of Ft. Myers, Florida, and Gabriella Velardi Ward, of New York, New York were ordained priests and Mary Ann McCarthy Schoettly of Newton, New Jersey was ordained a deacon on July 20, 2008 in the Church of the Covenant in Boston. After the women were ordained, Bishop Dana Reynolds, the first U.S. womanbishop , presented the newly ordained to the assembly. They were received with thunderous applause from enthusiastic supporters, a reflection of Catholic attitudes around the world. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are one of the major changes that Catholics want!

Nearly 70% of Catholics in the U.S. are ready for womenpriests. In Europe, there are similar attitudes. Perhaps, the worldwide sex abuse scandals and the closing of parishes in many places explain the people’s readiness for womenpriests. Perhaps, the emperor has no clothes, the people deplore the clerical foot–dragging on gender justice issues and the exclusion of women from decision-making roles in the institutional church. According to canon law, governance is tied to Holy Orders. Therefore, women will never be equal in the Catholic Church unless they are ordained. Catholics who love their sacramental, mystical and social justice heritage, realize they have a right to the sacraments, contemplative prayer and peace and justice-making. Perhaps, the gifts that women bring for healing , community-building and working for justice explain people’s willingness to accept womenpriests now.

It is a well-known fact that in the U.S. women already make up approximately 80% of lay parish ministers . In my view, Catholics are ready to act on behalf of justice for women in the church now. We have opened a path for action. Catholics can go ahead and call forth women in their communities to be priests. There is no shortage of vocations. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are providing a path to a renewed priesthood in union with the people we serve. We are creating inclusive Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered communities.

Sometimes, I think that I am living a new chapter of the Da Vinci Code. The first ordinations of seven women took place on a ship floating down the River Danube in 2002. In our new book, Women Find A Way, The Movement and Stories of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Bishop Gisela Forster recounts the excitement of this historic occasion and the role that church officials played in attempting to interfere with the ordinations, such as attempting to rent the ship for themselves the day before the ordinations. Another mystery remains who locked the RC male bishop who had planned to attend these ordinations in his room ? In this book, twenty-five womenpriests share their stories of call and describe the many ways they are serving the people of God in house churches, parish communities, hospitals and hospice chaplaincy, nursing homes, prison ministry, ministering with homeless people, peace and justice work, spiritual direction and sacramental ministry. For more information:

The Vatican promptly excommunicated the Danube Seven . Shortly thereafter, several male Roman Catholic bishops, in full communion with the pope, ordained two of the womenpriests, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Gisela Forster, as Roman Catholic bishops .The male bishops granted this ordination in the presence of witnesses, but otherwise in secrecy to avoid Vatican reprisal. Patricia Fresen was ordained a bishop in January 2004 by the same male bishops and by Bishops Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Gisela Forster. One of the prophetic male Roman Catholic bishops told Patricia that great day: "We are not doing this for you, but so that justice can be served in our Church .” Thus, the reason that women were ordained as bishops is so that they in turn can ordain priests without risk to the many male bishops who, while courageous and supportive, risked excommunication by the Vatican for their ordinations of women priests and bishops. Women bishops ordained in full apostolic succession now ordain others validly in the Roman Catholic Church.

Jesus set the example by calling women and men to be disciples and equals. “With Jesus went the Twelve, as well as some women… Mary of Magdala…Joanna…Suzanne…and many others …” (Luke 8:1-3). St. Paul called Junia and Andronicus (a married couple) “outstanding apostles “in Romans 16:7. Paul commends deacon Phoebe as a leader and missionary in the church (Romans 16:1-2) and Prisca and Aquila as coworkers in (Romans 16:3). In the early church women presided at the Eucharist. Mary, Mother of John Mark presided over Eucharist in her home which according to some scholars was the headquarters of the Jerusalem community.

Like Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles, whom Christ called to be the first witness of the resurrection, and the women deacons, priests, and bishops, who served in the early church up to the 12th century, Roman Catholic Womenpriests are reclaiming our sacred heritage. (For two of the scholarly books on the historical research, read , The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination by Gary Macy and Women Office Holders in Early Christianity by Ute Eisen as well as epigraphic evidence found on tombstones, frescoes and mosaics in the ancient world in the calendars of theologian and archaeologist, Dorothy Irvin.) “The history of Christianity is replete with references to the ordination of women,” concludes Gary Macy, “There are rites for the ordination of women, there are canonical requirements for the ordination of women, there are particular women depicted as ordained.”( The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination, p. 4)

On July 31, 2006, twelve womenpriests were ordained in Pittsburgh, PA .in the first U.S. ordinations. I am one of the women ordained to the priesthood on that historic day. Since then Roman Catholic Womenpriests have grown. In North America, there are 61 in our community which includes 1 bishop, 30 priests, 12 deacons, 18 candidates. Our numbers change frequently with ordinations and the acceptance of new candidates. In 2008, ordinations have taken place and/or are scheduled at 8 locations from British Columbia to Boston.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests do not use titles or the trappings of clerical power, but rather serve the people in a community of equals. This is the reason I do not use the title Mother or Rev. I invite people to call me by name. In our house church liturgies, I invite people to exchange thoughts and spiritual experiences in the shared homily. In addition, the community recites the prayer of consecration/words of institution together. The Eucharist belongs to the believing community and we celebrate Eucharist together. My focus is on affirming the gifts of the Spirit in the community. My role is to serve the community as their priest.

According to a Pew Survey one in ten Americans is a former Catholic. These alienated Catholics might consider coming home to a more open, compassionate, welcoming community of faith that resembles the Christ-Vision in the Gospels. I also know devout Catholics who are tired of the man-made rules and regulations that separate them from their beloved spiritual family. One of my friends refers to the “pay, pray and obey Catholics who are weary of Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility and Guilt!” One of my goals, as a Roman Catholic Womenpriest, is to provide a safe, spiritual home that is supportive and nurturing- and at the same time holds in its heart the treasures of Catholicism: the sacraments, mysticism and social justice. I serve now by celebrating a weekly liturgy/Mass in a “house church.” We preside at sacramental celebrations in inclusive communities where all are welcome at the Eucharistic table including those who have been alienated and marginalized by the institutional Catholic church, divorced and remarried, gays, lesbians, and transgendered, women and men who no longer feel at home in their churches.

Many people have asked me about our response to the excommunication that the Vatican issued on May 29, 2008. In some ways, I believe the excommunication has been a plus. It gives us freedom to live our new model until the institutional church decides to transform the structures needed to reform and renew the church into a more open, participatory community in contrast to the clerical model of power and control that it now embraces. The Catholic Church teaches that we must follow our well-formed consciences, and not the leaders of the church, even if that means we must endure excommunication, which Roman Catholic Womenpriests reject. We are not leaving the Catholic Church, but leading our beloved community into a new era of equality and justice for women. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are devoted members of the Catholic Church who are obeying the Spirit’s call to change an unjust law that discriminates against women. St. Augustine taught that an unjust law is no law at all and one has a moral obligation to disobey an unjust law. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are as Catholic as the pope is.
Excommunication does not cancel our baptism or throw us out of the church as some in the media mistakenly report. Excommunication prohibits a person from receiving sacraments, but ,in our case, it has no effect because, as validly ordained priests , we celebrate sacraments. Nothing or no one can separate us from Christ or nullify our baptisms. If God is for us, and I firmly believe that the Holy One created women and men as equal images of the divine, nothing can stop us. As St. Paul writes: “In Christ there is no…male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galations 3:28) In our prophetic obedience we remind the hierarchy that they can no longer discriminate against women and blame God for it. The church is the people of God and all authoritative teaching must reflect the “sensus fidelium” that is “the sense of the faithful.” The papal teaching prohibiting women’s ordination contradicts the Vatican’s own scholarship. In 1976, the Pontifical Biblical Association concluded that there was nothing in the bible that would prohibit women’s ordination.

A few of our role models- in holy obedience to the Spirit in following our consciences and resisting unjust hierarchical authority- are the following holy women who were champions of conscience: St. Joan of Arc, Mary Ward, St. Theodore Guerin, and Blessed Mary McKillop. When Joan was asked whether she was subject to church authorities, she replied, “Yes, but Our Lord must be served first.” She was burned at the stake as a heretic and later declared a saint of the church, a role model for all Catholics to emulate. Mary Ward, founder of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, endured great persecution and hostility from ecclesiastical officials. She was condemned and jailed for attempting to start a non-cloistered religious order modeled on the Jesuit rule whose aim was to serve people in need , and to avoid being subject to the local bishop. More than 50 years after her death, Pope Clement X1 gave official recognition to her Institute. St. Theodore Guerin (United States) and Blessed Mary McKillop (Australia), founders of religious orders, were excommunicated by their local bishops and later declared holy witnesses by the pope. In fact, Pope Benedict XV1 canonized St. Theodore Guerin several years ago. Like these visionary women of conscience, Roman Catholic Womenpriests are faithful members of the church we love. Perhaps, one day, a future pope will affirm us as role models of faith and courage for bringing the gift of a renewed priestly ministry to the church.
For now, we are living the change we want to see happen in grassroots communities. We are pioneers for equality and justice in the Catholic Church. Each day we joyfully live Christ’s example of Gospel equality, reclaim our church’s earlier tradition of women in ordained ministry, serve God’s people in mutual partnership, lovingly and compassionately wherever they are, and whoever they are. We invite all to join us on our journey to the full equality of women in the Catholic Church! As the Irish say, “ Caed mil a failte”, a hundred thousand welcomes!
Bridget Mary Meehan
Roman Catholic Womanpriest
Spokesperson in the U.S.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Two years after Pittsburgh Ordinations, Roman Catholic Womenpriests in North America Quadruple

On July 31, 2006, 12 women were ordained in Pittsburgh, PA. On July 31, 2008,

we have 51 in the United States, 10 in Canada which totals 61 in North America.

The official count as of today is 61 MEMBERS in North America

United States =51

Bishop 1,
Priests: 31

Deacons: 8
Candidates: 11

***There are many applicants

Glory and praise to our God for the many blessings of support we have received.

Bridget Mary

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Press Release+ Article + Poll + Bio. of Roman Catholic Womanpriest: Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Janice Sevre-Duszynska
On August 9, 2008, a Lexington woman who is a peace and justice activist will be ordained a Roman Catholic Womanpriest. Janice Sevre-Duszynska of Lexington, Kentucky will be ordained by Bishop Dana Reynolds of California in the first ordination in the South.

The ordination will be conducted by Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP), a movement which is building a renewed model of priesthood for a renewed Roman Catholic Church. Its goal is to achieve full equality of women and men, and to live with inclusiveness, respect and justice for all in a community of open and affirming equals.

Janice says she will be an itinerant priest, speaking out for the voiceless and challenging the powers that be to hear the call of nonviolence and cooperation in our world community. She says Jesus revealed a gracious, compassionate and justicemaking God of abundance. "He was a radical, nonviolent egalitarian who welcomed everyone to the table. He taught us to work for the 'kindom' on earth."

In 2008, Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) are celebrating ordinations in eight locations in the United States and Canada. Our most recent ordination in Boston received worldwide coverage including the following television stations: ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Public TV as well as many radio stations. Presently in North America there are 30 priests, 12 deacons, 18 candidates, 1 bishop and many applicants. RCWP priests do not take a vow of obedience to bishops but rely instead on an informed conscience.

"We are reclaiming our ancient heritage," Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP spokesperson said. "Roman Catholic Womenpriests are following the example of Jesus who called Mary of Magdala, the first witness to encounter the Risen Christ, to be the apostle to the apostles, and the early Christian tradition of women leaders, like deacon Phoebe, priest Vitalia, and bishop Theodora, who served the church as deacons, priests and bishops. Scholars have documented that women served in ordained ministry for the first twelve hundred years of Christianity."

The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington. Local and national peace-and-justice-makers will be there to support Janice and RCWP, and to remember those who died in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9,1945. Her ordination is close to the feast day of one of her patron saints, Clare of Assisi (August 11) who, along with Francis, worked for the people, the Earth and peace.

Media are invited to a pre-ordination press conference on Friday, August 8 at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, 3564 Clays Mill Road. (For questions regarding the press conference call Janice at 859-684-4247). Media are welcome to cover the ordination ceremony on Saturday, August 9, beginning at 3 p.m. Please be respectful; this is a sacred event. An opportunity for the media to ask questions will follow the ceremony. The press are also invited to the reception and dinner following the ordination.
Article and Poll:
Jessamine woman to be ordained a priest
By Jim Niemi
Herald-Leader Religion Writer
As a young girl growing up in Milwaukee, Janice Sevre-Duszynska often fantasized about becoming a priest while helping clean the sanctuary of the church her family attended.
“I’d sit in the priest’s chair, go to the pulpit, make believe I was preaching and giving communion,” she said. “I thought, ‘Why couldn’t I be up here?’”
Now, 50 years later, she will get her wish, but it could come with a price — excommunication from the Roman Catholic church. On Aug. 9, in defiance of the church’s 2,000-year ban on women in the priesthood, she will be ordained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an activist group that has protested the ban since 2002..."
Link to article in Lexington, Kentrucky newspaper on July 30, 2008 and poll
Please vote in the poll Should the Roman Catholic Church ordain women?

BIO of Janice Sevre-Duszynska
Janice grew up in the 50s in an extended family in a Polish community on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her mother's parents had immigrated from Waclowek, Poland at the turn of the 20th century.
The oldest of four children, she lived with her parents, brothers and sister in the upstairs quarters of her Busia's (grandmother's) flat. An aunt, uncle, cousins and her Busia lived downstairs. Nearby were aunts, uncles, cousins, and her other grandparents. "I remember a deep sense of belonging, community and celebration," she said. "Our lives revolved around family celebrations, our neighborhood parish and our faith."

From kindergarten through the eighth grade she attended S.S. Cyril and Methodius school where she was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Every Saturday from the second through the seventh grade she cleaned the priest's sacristy and sanctuary with Sister de Paul. She knew from an early age that she wanted to be an altar girl and newspaper boy. " When I was alone in the church," she said, "I practiced the Mass on the altar as if I were the priest."

Her mother died suddenly when Janice was 16. Despite this devastating event, she graduated from Pulaski High School in January, 1968 and began college at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, the next month. In between work and college studies, she married and had two children. She graduated with a degree in English and Secondary Education in 1974, and in 1985 she and her family moved to Lexington, KY. In 1989 she completed an M.A. in Theatre. The following year her younger son died in an automobile accident when he was 18. A few years later she divorced.

For 15 years she taught English as a Second Language to teenagers from around the world, many of whom were refugees from violence. "I gave the love I had for my own children to them. In doing so, they saved me from the loss of my son."

She is the former chair of the Ministry of Irritation for Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), the national organization that has been working and praying for the ordination of Roman Catholic women priests since 1975. The ordinand has a long history of working for justice for women in the Roman Catholic Church. On January 17, 1998, her 48th birthday, she interrupted the ordination service at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Lexington and asked Bishop Kendrick Williams to ordain her. He did not. However, in her quest for justice for women in the Church she has witnessed to the U.S. bishops at their bi-annual meetings. Her actions included a sit-in at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. in which she took the mike and read her "Statement of Justice for Women in the Church". Before their mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception she publicly challenged the bishops to ordain women.

After witnessing for women's ordination in front of the cathedral in Atlanta, she was arrested for a sit-in inside the church when denied admittance for an ordination. For this action she spent six hours in the Fulton County (Atlanta) jail and was banned from the Catholic churches in the Atlanta archdiocese. She helped promote the Chicago billboard "You're waiting for a sign from God? This is it: Ordain women" to Milwaukee, WI (her hometown), Lexington, KY and elsewhere.

In 2001, with the help of the Women's Ordination Conference, she put up a banner on the edge of the Vatican as bishops from around the world met for a synod. It read: "Ordain Women" in seven languages and it was said it could be seen from the Pope's quarters.

As her unordained priesthood evolved, she "crossed the line" at Ft. Benning, GA in an effort to close the notorious School of the Americas (now WHINSEC), and to make a statement for nonviolence in the world. She consequently lost her teaching job when she was sentenced to three months in federal prison, but the community reinstated her upon her release.

In her priesthood "on the streets with the grassroots" she walked 75 miles in the Sonora Desert in Mexico in six days and five nights in solidarity with the migrant refugees as part of the Migrant Trail Walk. Janice participated with Pax Christi USA and the Nevada Desert Experience in a walk to the Shoshone land on Yucca Mountain to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Earlier this year she participated in an action with Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Des Moines Catholic Worker Community in Des Moines, Iowa and spent the night in the Polk County Jail with 11 other activists, including Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Kathy Kelly, when they demonstrated in presidential candidates' offices to end the war in Iraq.

Janice is a leader and activist in the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice and its Peace Action Task Group. She holds a B.S. in English and Secondary Education, an M.A. in Theatre and is working on a Doctor of Ministry degree. She writes music, poetry, essays and plays, rides horses and keeps a flower and vegetable garden. Janice shares her life with her husband, Dr. Robert A. Pohowsky, a retired geologist.
Janice was ordained a deacon at first U.S. ordinations of Roman Catholic Womenpriests on July 31, 2006.
Article in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Holy Democracy is the RC church's early tradition

"Holy Democracy in the Church"

In Bread Rising, A Report from Terry Dosh, I found the following excellent recommendation.
The Catholic Press Association has given first place in the history division to Robert Mc Clory’s
As it was in the beginning: the coming democratization of the Catholic Church (Crossroad)
In the early church democratic, lay participation was the norm and practice.
Church historian, Brian Tierney writes:
“Early Christian texts are filled with a sense of community meetings, community sharing, community participation in decisions, and above all, they reflect a strong belief that the consensus of the Christian people indicates the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the church… Whatever power prelates possessed in the early church, they possessed it on behalf of their communities and as representing their communities.”
So you mean, that "holy democracy" is our ancient tradition!! Let's reclaim it now, live it in our grassroots communities!
Thank you Terry Dosh for your excellent publication, Bread Rising!

Communication v Excommunication by Theologian Mary Hunt

Insightful and thought-provoking article by theologian Mary Hunt from Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual

Worldwide Audience Watch Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordinations in Boston -

Millions of people around the world watched on television as Gloria Carpeneto of Baltimore, Maryland, Judy Lee of Ft. Myers, Florida, and Gabriella Velardi Ward, of New York, New York were ordained priests and Mary Ann McCarthy Schoettly of Newton, New Jersey was ordained a deacon on July 20, 2008 in the Church of the Covenant in Boston. After the women were ordained, Bishop Dana Reynolds, the first U.S. womanbishop , presented the newly ordained to the assembly. They were received with thunderous applause from enthusiastic supporters, a reflection of Catholic attitudes around the world. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are one of the major changes that Catholics want!

Read full article by Bridget Mary Meehan published by Google News

Monday, July 28, 2008

How Long, Oh, Lord, Must Church Deman Women

How Long, Oh, Lord, Must Church Demean Women?
Susan Campbell
July 27, 2008
"...three women sought ordination in the Roman Catholic church last week, and for that, they were excommunicated — the church's most severe penalty. No woman in that church, either, is allowed to directly approach the throne of God. For that, she needs a (male) emissary.How long, oh, Lord, how long? ...The Roman Catholic women priests have vowed to ignore the excommunication and fulfill their duties as clergy. They will stay and seek to shepherd a group whose (male) leaders don't want them. Personally, I didn't have the guts. I left church, and can't see my way back. I wonder how many of us are out here, women (or men) who got sick at the twisting of the original intent, and simply — sadly — left?"

Contact Susan Campbell at

Will a Woman lead Anglicans?

Will a woman lead Anglicans?
Canadian cleric predicts a woman will become Archbishop of Canterbury
Randy BoswellCanwest News Service; with a file from Reuters
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Canada's leading female Anglican cleric has courted controversy at a major church conference in Britain by predicting the eventual rise of a woman as Archbishop of Canterbury."The signposts are pointing in one direction," former Edmonton bishop Victoria Matthews told Reuters this week as Anglican bishops gathered at the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference....
The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordinations Covered in Brazil, Chile, and Spain

Links to Roman Catholic Womenpriests stories: Brazil, Chile and Spain

Bridget Mary Meehan, porta-voz do grupo Mulheres Sacerdotes Católicas, disse que o Vaticano não está zangado com sua organização porque a hierarquia "sabe ...See all stories on this topic

... porque nuestros obispos fueron ordenadas por obispos católicos varones a los que la Iglesia acepta", dijo Bridget Mary Meehan, portavoz del grupo. ...See all stories on this topic

Bridget Mary Meehan, portavoz del grupo Mujeres Sacerdotes Católicas, dijo que el Vaticano está tan enojado con su organización porque la jerarquía 'sabe ...See all stories on this topic