Friday, December 12, 2008

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Interview on "Your Turn" on FOX TV in Tampa

From left to right) Judy Lee, Roman Catholic Womanpriest, pastor of Church in the Park and Good Shepherd House Church, Ft. Myers, Florida
Bridget Mary Meehan,(Roman Catholic Womenpriest, pastor of Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic House Church in Sarasota, Florida) Kathy Fountain, (host of "Your Turn) Kevin Murray, theologian and married priest
Mozella Mitchell, chair and Sr. Professor at the University of South Florida, an African American Theologian
Debate on FOX on Roman Catholic Womenpriests on Dec. 11th, 2008
Roman Catholic Womenpriests Judy Lee and Bridget Mary discussed the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, highlighting the example of Jesus who chose women and men as disciples and apostles, the twelve hundred year church tradition of women as deacons, priests and bishops, and the call for a more inclusive, Christ-centered RC church in the 21st century. Kevin took the institutional RC church's view that women were not ordained in the magisterial tradition and that the RC bishops, by their silence, were supportive of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests' movement. Bridget Mary responded that RC male bishops would indeed welcomed by the movement who now has the couragous witness of Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest facing excommunication for his participation in a womanpriest ordination. Mozella Mitchell gave an overview of the movement from a historical, feminist view, placing it in the context of liberation theology, and citing it as an example of people empowerment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Roman Catholic Womanpriest: The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community Launches, Ft. Myers, Florida

Roman Catholic Womanpriest Judy Lee of Ft. Myers, Florida gathers with community to bless Good Shepherd House.
The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
2621 Central Ave. Fort Myers, Florida,33901
Mass: 3:00 on Saturdays and other special times of celebration.
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Here are some pictures from our first House Church Mass of the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community-12/6/08-Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Presiding in a communitarian Mass. The people were joyful, prayerful and thoughtful. And we were all thankful for our church-for one another

In the pictures you can see us preparing for the Church Blessing withwater; A joyous Advent celebration; and some shots of the community at worship and serving the Eucharist. It was a wonderful beginning attended by seventeen people for the full celebration and two others additionally. Ten were members of our Church in the Park and four of those are now housed next door in our Joshua House. Nine CTA members were also present. It was a joyous time for all of us.
"What a moving and delightful day this was! Hank, one of our CTA members, surprised us with a Communion solo. We didn't know he had such talent! The liturgy was beautiful and seeing the men's new house was especially thrilling. How happy they are with their simple home. It sure beats the woods!" Ellen McNally

Heaven's Gate by Stephanie Salter

By Stephanie SalterThe Tribune-Star
The place: Heaven's gate.
The time: Around 2028, give or take a few mortal years.
The scene: A large crowd of newly dead, not yet liberated from their earthly forms, is trying to maintain order despite a cluster of men who shout, wag their fingers and, occasionally, shove.
"Gentlemen, gentlemen! For pity's sake, please!" one of the non-combative people in the crowd cries out. "What in God's name has you behaving in such an unholy way?"
A man whose body is of average size, but whose essence emanates a royal purple aura, whirls around with a contemptuous look. Pointing to another man, also of ordinary physical dimension, but whose aura seems made of sunlight, the angry man barks:
"What is he doing here? He has no right whatsoever to stand among us at the gates of heaven. Don't you know? He was excommunicated!"
The non-combative person, who is long-limbed and thin, appears to be male, but he has an androgynous quality that sets him apart from the others.
"You mean he's Roman Catholic, and he so offended the church leadership that he was officially denied the sacrament of Communion?" the gentle man asks.
"Correct!" booms the purple-aura man.
"What did he do?" the quiet man asks. "Was he among the thousands of mentally sick Catholic clergy who sexually abused children? Was he among the hierarchy who knew of these men's illness but, in the name of protecting the church, continued to assign them to parishes and contact with more children?"
The purple-aura man grows more purple. In a low voice, heavy with fury, he responds: "He was indeed a priest. His name is Roy Bourgeois. But his excommunication had nothing to do with that unfortunate subject."
The non-combative man smiles broadly and embraces Bourgeois. "Father Roy!" he exclaims. "I know of you. Your tireless efforts to bring peace and justice to the oppressed of Latin America are legendary among good people of many faiths. Your courage in non-violent protest of the military training facility known as the School of the Americas is much admired."
Bourgeois bows his head. "Thank you," he says, humbly. "I became a Maryknoll priest in 1972 after I was in combat in Vietnam. I served for 36 years until …"
The quiet man asks, "What did you do to warrant the ultimate deprivation of Christ's body and blood in Communion?"Father Roy sighs and answers, "I concelebrated a religious ceremony with a woman priest. I publicly advocated the ordination of women priests. I refused to recant my belief that God calls women and men to priesthood and that Catholic teaching to the contrary was wrong and unsupported by Scripture."
At this, the purple-aura man explodes: "I am a cardinal, the head of the Vatican office that warned Roy Bourgeois in 2008 to recant or face excommunication!"
"You were," the thin, non-combative man says.
"Were what?" the purple-aura man snaps.
"You were a cardinal and the head of an important Vatican office," the quiet man says. "Your earthly life is over. You're just another soul here, waiting to pass through the gates of heaven. All wait regardless of their mortal status: Catholic popes, Anglican archbishops and Episcopal bishops, directors of the mighty Southern Baptist Convention, television evangelists, pastors of megachurches. And the admission criteria are deeds, not job titles."
A man who hasn't spoken but who had been among the arguing, shoving cluster steps toward the thin, androgynous man. He, too, emits a purplish aura, but it is more violet than royal.
"What do you know about Anglicans?" he says, with noticeable irritation.
"I know some of them in the Episcopal province of the church pulled away from the Anglican Communion about the same time Father Roy got into trouble," the quiet man says. "Four bishops in the United States and thousands of U.S. and Canadian laypersons, formed their own province, the Anglican Church of North America. Their objections centered around ordination of homosexuals and church blessings of same-sex unions."
The quiet man continues: "As I recall, two of the bishops also shared the Catholic hierarchy's prohibitive view of women priests, even though the Episcopalian Church had been ordaining women since 1976. Funny, if only Father Roy had been Episcopalian. He would have been celebrated by most of his church instead of excommunicated. Aren't religious rules fascinating?"The violet-aura man looks as if he's been slapped.
"Rules?!" he fumes. "We are talking about morality. God's will. How dare you trivialize that by calling it 'rules'?"The thin, quiet man raises his hand in reconciliation.
"I'm sorry," he says. "I meant no offense. By chance, were you one of the dissenting bishops?"The violet-aura man nods.
"Did you also agree with some of your fellow dissenters that women never should have been ordained in the Episcopal Church?" the quiet man asks.
"No, I did not," says the violet former bishop. "The bishop who presided over the entire U.S. Episcopal Church in 2008 was a woman. She did a perfectly fine job."
The thin, gentle man mumbles, "rules," turns back to Bourgeois and asks, "Father Roy, what did you tell the Vatican when you were given 30 days to recant?"
Bourgeois pulls three sheets of paper from the breast pocket of his coat and says, "This is my letter."
The quiet man takes them and begins to read to himself. Tears well in his eyes. He says to the crowd, "Listen," and reads aloud.He quotes Bourgeois' citation of a 1976 report, commissioned by the Vatican and conducted by Scripture scholars who found "there is no justification in the Bible for excluding women from the priesthood." He reads Bourgeois' question, "Who are we, as men, to say to women, 'Our call is valid, but yours is not?' Who are we to tamper with God's call?" His voice rising, the thin, gentle mans reads on: "Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard or how long we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always immoral." The recitation continues, of Bourgeois' process of "prayer, reflection and discernment," the compulsion of his conscience "to do the right thing," and of the realization through his social justice struggles that there "will never be justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained."
The thin, quiet man finishes reading, presses Bourgeois' letter to his own heart and, finally, hands it back to the former priest."Look," he says, pointing to the gates. "They open for you, Father Roy."
Bourgeois seems overwhelmed. He moves toward heaven, then stops abruptly.
"Wait a minute," he says. "I just realized. There are only men in this crowd. Please, don't tell me heaven is as sexist as mortal life?"
The thin, quiet man actually chuckles. "No, no, Father Roy," he says. "Most of the women are already inside."

Stephanie Salter: A Catholic priest is about to be excommunicated; guess why
Stephanie Salter can be reached at (812) 231-4229 or
Used with Permission

Female Priests Altar the Rules

Monday, December 8, 2008

Homily of Janice Sevre-Duszynska: Walking with Mary in Prophetic Obedience

Janice Sevre-Duszynska conversing with Fr. Roy Bourgeois who co-celebrated ordination of Janice as a Roman Catholic Womanpriest in Lexington, Kentucky on Aug. 9, 2008
This photo was taken at SOA Watch in Ft. Benning, GA. (above)

Liturgy SOA Watch: Janice Servre-Duszynska gave homily and presided. (photos below)

Homily for the Friday Night Mass at Ft. Benning (Progressive Catholic Coaltion): November 21, 2008

...And Fr. Roy accepted my invitation to participate in my ordination ceremony as a Roman Catholic woman priest.

Join with me: How sweet to my taste is your promise! How sweet to my taste is your promise!

We the people of God welcomed Fr, Roy to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lexington, KY, where he co-celebrated my Ordination Mass with women priests and the non-ordained. He laid his hands on me in blessing after woman Bishop Dana Reynolds ordained me the 33rd Roman Catholic Womenpriest in the United States. (tambourine)

Then in a homily that shook the Earth all the way to the Vatican -- which will never be the same -- he proclaimed: "We need the wisdom, sensitivity, experiences, compassion and courage of women in the priesthood if our church is to be healthy and complete."

It is written: "As many of you as were baptized into Christ, you have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." Paul in his letter to the Galatians 3: 27-28. (tambourine)

And every day Fr. Roy was teaching about women priests. And whenever and wherever he spoke about the School of the Americas, the people of God grew excited and were full of joy (tambourine) as they clapped for his courage to walk alongside women . And with tears of joy in their eyes they asked him questions about his participation in my ordination -- his solidarity with women priests and, truly, women everywhere... (tambourine)

And everyday he has also been teaching his fellow priests who live in fear of the Vatican, (while Christ calls us to liberation, not fear) asking that "we break our silence and address this issue of the ordination of women in our homilies, in our clergy meetings and with our bishops." "Silence is the voice of complicity," says Fr. Roy.

Many of the chief priests, bishops, cardinals and the pope, meanwhile, were seeking to muzzle him through excommunication, but they could find no way to keep him quiet because all the people were hanging on his words and rising up (tambourine) ...rising up (tambourine)...rising up (tambourine).

Fr. Roy -- who has ears which hear the Living God -- will not recant what his conscience tells him Jesus would do.

For after witnessing the atrocities of the war in Vietnam, Fr. Roy had taken the scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and land. Yes, he took it and swallowed it and ....hmmmm (tambourine) tasted as sweet as honey...the vision of a just and peaceful world where human beings live into the fullness and richess of God's glory....

But, when he had eaten it, what? His stomach did turn sour and churned with the chaos of the injustices, the inequalities, the sufferings of the poor, the exploited, the killings, the lack of peace...the crucified Living Christ , the Living Christ crucified...especially in Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia, Iraq...within the United States Government, within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and, yes, within the Vatican.

Now as then, the voice from heaven continues saying to him: "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings"...even those who sit on the throne in Vatican City. (sound of The Wind).

So Fr. Roy goes up to the angel. You know our Fr. Roy. He tells the angel, Okay, give me that small scroll." (The Wind) . He swallows it...(tambourine)


Today is a day of much meaning for justice and peacemakers. Today the Church celebrates the feast day of The Presentation of Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem. Some Jewish parents, not content with the general conscecration of their children to God, brought them to the temple at three years old. Joachim and Anna took Mary to live in the Temple for the next nine years of her life. (Introduce archaeolgist/theologian Dorothy Irvin's calendar on Women's Leadership in Early Christianity and show pictures). Here these girls and boys were dedicated to divine service and learned how to prophesy...through song and dance as well as with the harp, tambourine and lyre...

Let's make a noise unto our God now as we prophesy as justice and peacemakers this weekend. (Feel free to stamp your feet, shout out, sing out...)

In the first centuries, in both the eastern and western churches, Mary was considered a priest in addition to a prophet.

We remember her also today for a poignant prayer for the oppressed throughout the ages that came to her through the prophetesses Hannah and Anna. I think I'm going to rename The Magnificat -- "Dominican Sister Marge Tuite's Prayer." Like she taught me in the early 80s, it makes the connections between sexism and racism, sexism and militarism, sexism and imperialism...

This prayer has taken on even more meaning since Fr. Roy's prophetic action for me as a woman priest and all women called to ordination, for our Roman Catholic Church and the discipleship of equals to which Jesus calls us.

Today I ask you -- prophets of justice and peace -- to pray with me, this modern version. I prayed it daily in federal prison for crossing the line at Ft. Benning...

The text is from Margaret Cessna of the Sisters of the Hearts of Mary.
It is based on the prayer of Mary, woman of all women. Let us join our hearts and spirits with hers as we sing a new song to celebrate the women of all times and places. (tambourine)

Let us begin:

My soul magnifies the Word...And my spirit rejoices in God who loves me....For this God, Who is, has done great things for me...My heart and my body give breath to the world...My spirit, courageous, gives meaning to hope...The God Who Is tender lives deep in my heart, holds close the children, my gift to creation...Fills friends who hunger with goodness and peace...The God Who Is mercy forgives when I fall...Welcomes my efforts...Heals deepest pain...The God Who Is promise gives life to my word...Gives glory to my life, the life of the world...My name is called blessed on the lips of all ages...Holy is God's gift...Holy is God's name.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mary, Mother of Jesus House Church Retreat and Liturgy on Dec. 6, 2008

Welcome to Mary, Mother of Jesus, Catholic Community/House Church.

On Sat. Dec. 6th, 2008, members of Mary, Mother of Jesus community,(some of our snowbirds are not in Fl. yet) met for prayer, reflection and discernment. Our prayer and sharing led us to conclude that our ministry in the local church in Sarasota/Venice is to reflect God's love embracing all by living this vision of inclusivity and compassionate care and outreach to our sisters and brothers. We are called to "shepherd"-- to give comfort to God's people now.

We consecrated ourselved to be the hands and feet of Christ in our local communities. One of our prayers is that our brothers, priests, religious and bishops, will embrace Jesus vision of justice for women in the church and work for a renewed priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church as an inclusive, renewed discipleship of equals.

Tomorrow, Dec. 8th is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Mary, Mother of Jesus is the role model of our local Sarasota House Church Catholic Community. Our work for justice, equality and a renewed priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church is rooted in the prophetic vision of Jesus which is echoed in Mary's prayer for justice, equality and empowerment. Mary’s prayer, the Magnificat, reflects the prophetic vision of Jesus who rejects domination and injustice and calls us to mutual service and empowerment. Mary prays to the Holy One who has done great things for her and portrays God as the liberator of the marginalized and oppressed. “God raises up the lowly and puts down the mighty from their thrones.” As we know, women continue to be the oppressed of the oppressed in our world to this day.

In praying the Magnificat, we stand with Mary, the simple teenaged, pregnant, but unmarried woman of faith, in her clairvoynat perception of God's relationship with us, through the strong langugage of her prayer. In this prayer, Mary is a symbol of strength, comfort, and power for the disinherited and powerless of the world. She is companion, champion, and change-agent for the righteous poor, who will triumph over oppression and experience the justice promised to them by God. (Praying with Women of the Bible, p.105)
Jesus, Mary's child, called women and men to be disciples. "With Jesus went the Twelve, as well as some women he had healed of evil spirits and sicknesses; Mary of Magdala, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Suzanna; and many others who were contributing to the support of Jesus and the Twelve with their own funds. " (Luke 8:2-3)

It is obvious from the archaelogical evidence that the early Christian community upheld Mary, Mother of Jesus, as mentor of women leaders and office holders in the early church. In St. Priscilla’s catacomb, there is a beautiful frescoe of Mary, dressed in bishops’ robes and seated on a bishop’s chair, present at the ordination of a woman priest. Mary is also depicted in a group portrait with Episcopa Theodora in a mural in St. Praxedis Church in Rome.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, may we live your prophetic call as witnesses to justice, equality, mutual service and empowerment.