Saturday, March 7, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Report from Janice Sevre-Duszynska on 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women

Janice Sevre-Duszynska presiding at liturgy at
Dorothy Day House in Washington DC

What a place to be, here in New York at the UN for the 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women!

With 5,000 registered NGO participants, mainly women from all over the world, I have met women from Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Argentina, and many other places. I have attended talks on HIV/AIDS; how it is spread, how to prevent it, and the care-giving involved. I have also learned much about disarmament, gun control, human trafficking, engaging men in sharing responsibility, religions and sexual reproductive rights, and about violence towards women. I will have much to share with you all....

Dorothy Irvin and I are staying with Anglican sisters at their Community of the Holy Spirit (on West 113th Street, just up a hill from the Hudson River). Every morning we take an hour-long bus ride to the UN. There we attend discussions of the 45 member states, and we also spend much time across the street at the Parallel Events in the Church Center. This is where organizations meet to give talks on their specialty issues.

I am still awaiting word on whether I will be able to give my 3-minute oral statement. After hearing the talks it is quite apparent that patriarchal religion is a root cause of violence in our world.

This afternoon Dorothy will be giving a talk to Gabriella's community on Staten Island. I must leave now.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Cloud of Witnesses Retreat

Alexandra Caverely-Lowry dancer
Bishop Patricia Fresen in background
Ordination in Ottawa, Canada

But tonight, in our Cloud of Witnessing with you RCWP on the way to the episcopal ordinations in April, we acknowledge all of us in our sexualities but in particular our lesbian women and gay men. We acknowledge our heterosexual married couples and divorced women. We acknowledge our women
who are mothers with children and grandchildren from their unions straight or gay. We acknowledge you who are single mothers and we acknowldge the many single and single aging women amongst us in our full embodied physical selves and in our sexualities. We acknowledge our embodied selves in our pleasures and in our pain for it is true that in pain we are still embodied, no more nor less
than in all of our humanly embodied experiences..

Thus tonight we especially pray:

Loving Mother and Father God,
Jesus our brother,
Wisdom Sophia, You who are the Source of our being, fill us with new and fresh energy.

Let the fire of your Divine energy and our humanly embodied energy merge.
Help us to accept your Life within us
in every cell of our body.

We ask, knowing that we will receive all
that we need to appreciate our physical realities ,so that we may be wholly in relation with those we love.

In community, let us embrace one another
remembering the delicacy and value of
ourselves as sexual persons in all of our
differences. Let us value those differences
for the building up of your kindom for in
equitable love of women, of men and of children ,your kindom will become more whole
and holy.

Sustain all human rights workers especially those of the Courage Campaign . Keep them united in solidarity as they teach in their equality teams county by county in the state of California.

Sustain us in all that we do in standing in prophetic obedience for the ordination of women and for the full equality of all women and men in our RC Church and in all of the People of God in all Christian denominations, faith traditions and spiritualities.

Through our belief that you are all Love we ask You to raise your love amongst us by opening our love for each other. We ask you this in hope for the full human rights in equality for all people and especially in ending discrimination based on our sexuality.

Gracious Creator God, we love you. We worship You as the all One who knows how to love fully.and who fills the Universe with sustaining and everlasting Life.

Ideas from Monica Kilburn Smith
and Michele Birch-Conery
March 5, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Cloud of Witnesses Retreat

Painiting by Rose Mewhort,
RCWP candidate/British Columbia, Canada
We invite you to a time of prayer, reflection and silence.

Fundraiser for RCWP-Southern Region-Auction of Vacation home for a holiday in Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

One of our generous donors has offered a holiday at his vacation home in North Carolina to raise funds for Roman Catholic Womenpriests in the Southern region.

Location: Mars Hill, Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, USA
Accommodations: Cabin, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Baths (Sleeps 8)
Located in beautiful Wolf Laural Gated Community. 1 mile from Appalachian Trail. 1000 square feet of deck over looking the Big Bald mountain. Sleeps 8 with 2 master suites and a loft that is a great hideaway for kids. Has a very cabin feel. Ski resort is part of Wolf Laurel. With tubing and skiing available. Can rent bikes in the Summer to ride on ski slopes. Our property is very secluded in the woods. Must see to appreciate. Minimum bid $500.
Many holidays are still available, but you will want to select and book early if the week/weekend you chose falls on a holiday. You must select dates within the next 12 months.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests; "Vatican Justice" link to article in Ms. Magazine

Maryknoll priest, Ft. Roy Bourgeois co-celebrated with women priests at the Ordination liturgy of Janice Sevre-Duszynska in Lexington, Kentucky on Aug. 9, 2008.

Ms. Magazine article:

"Nearly 5,000 Catholic priests [in the U.S.] have sexually abused over 12,000 Catholic children…but they were not excommunicated,” says Father Roy Bourgeois, who faced the latter scenario after helping celebrate what the Vatican considers to be an illegitimate ordination mass in August 2008. "

Monday, March 2, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Cloud of Witnesses Retreat: Patricia Fresen- Bishop- Europe West

A Painting by Rose Mewhort
RCWP Candidate, British Columbia, Canada
to accompany
Bishop Patricia Fresen's Prayerful Reflection
inspired by HIldegard of Bingen's
"Viriditas--All Verdant
The Greening Power of God"

Viriditas - The Greening Power of God (Prayer inspired by Hildegard of Bingen)

(Hildegard made up the word viriditas, or “greening power” to express divine energy filling all of creation, including humanity,
with vitality and creativity. She speaks of God’s love as “greening love” and believes that Christ brings “lush greenness to
shriveled and wilted people and institutions. She speaks of the Divine Word (Dabhar) as “viriditas”: “ The Word is all verdant
greening, all creativity”, she says. Hildegard calls God “the purest spring”. (Matthew Fox)

We will celebrate the ordination of our four new bishops in Springtime, when the greening love of God is freshly evident after
the long winter. Viriditas, says Hildegard, is the power of springtime, a germinating force, a fruitfulness that comes from God
and permeates all creation.

Inspired by Hildegard, let this be our prayer:

Loving, lifegiving God, we pray that you will shower the earth, all of humanity and the church
with greening refreshment, the vitality to bear fruit.
May your Spirit bring to our shriveled and wilted church, lush greenness.

Bless abundantly Dana and the four bishops-elect: Bridget Mary, Joan, Regina and Andrea
with your greening love.
May they be filled with your compassion in their pastoral ministry.
May they bring fresh, creative solutions to old problems and new challenges.

May all of creation, including humanity, the church and all of us in RCWP,
be filled with your divine, greening energy
as you move us forward towards a “new heaven and a new earth”,
towards a human community which is more respectful, more compassionate, more loving.

Patricia Fresen -Bishop- Europe West

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Sacramental Theology from a Feminist Perspective: Extravagant Affections by Susan Ross

Image of women celebrating Eucharist in St. Priscilla's catacomb
Courtesy of Dorothy Irvin

Susan Ross in her book ,Extravagant Affections, sums up some of the challenges and connections we face as reflect on sacramental theology from a feminist perspective.

“the jars of ointment of the church, the sacraments, need to be broken open, by all people, but especially by women. The horror of Jesus’ disciples at his allowing a woman to anoint him with costly oil is echoed today by the refusal of magisterial Roman Catholicism to allow women to preside at the Eucharist and to act as sacramental ministers. Jesus praised the women as a model of true discipleship for the entire community.”

We are this kind of paradigm shift now when the people of God are claiming their rightful role as equals in the church. Catholic feminist ministries for 25 years have been forging connections and meeting the challenge to dismantle the dominator model that continues to divide and cause divisiveness. We are forming partnerships. We are birthing a new model of grassroots communities of justice-seekers. We are opening up and offering alternatives in worship.

The jars of ointment that Susan Ross refers to is God’s own extravagant affections for humankind. She advocates neither adaptation of the existing sacramental system nor wholesale exodus from it. “Rather I argue for ways of expressing this ambiguity, within and alongside the sacraments. … I am convinced that sacramental theology is in need of some kind of feminist response. .As gifts of God’s extravagant affections and our own for God and for others, the sacraments provide opportunities for Christian women and men to express, play celebrate and live out the “riotous plenty that is God.”

The mystery of the divine cannot be contained in symbol but glimpses of who God is and who God is not is revealed at the same time. God is always so much more than we can name or imagine!! Therefore, in our prayer and ritual we need a rich variety of names and symbols to reflect the mystery of God beyond all names and symbols.

Roman Catholic Theologian and archaeologist, Dorothy Irvin in a recent conversation pointed out that in St. John Chrysostom's liturgy, the priest represented the people in the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist, the focus was on God’s action. Christ was represented by the poor, the hungry, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned.

For twenty-five years, Women-Church groups have created sacred space for women to gather to celebrate liturgy in open, creative, life-giving ways that affirm the fully equality of women. We shared our stories and celebrated that yes, we women are the body of Christ and our stories and lives are holy.

Mary Beben and I wrote a book, Walking the Prophetic Journey for small Eucharistic faith communities that put together some of the liturgies that we had designed in our communities as resources. It was such a joy to write Eucharistic prayers that used feminine imagery for God and listed women’s names in the tradition as witnesses to the Gospel in these creative works of the imagination. The books sold out and now I provide this resource in electronic form and on cds!

What I see happening as RCWP emerges and claims our charism of a renewed priestly ministry is a new energy in the community for creating together a community where all are welcome at the banquet table especially the most alienated, rejected and marginalized members of the church and indeed outside the church. There are no boundaries. Christians form other churches are warmly welcomed to the table too.

What I hear from members of my community that gives them hope is that the people of God are experiencing women as revelatory of the divine. RCWP are reminding the church that women are equal images of Godde. A number of women have told me that they watch the videos that I put up on youtube and google because they want the reality to sink into their souls, to feel it in the marrow of the bones!

In Fl. and N.VA. enthusiastic Catholics gather in Mary, Mother of Jesus House Church. So I feel that we have come fully circle! We feel much closer to Jesus and the women leaders of the early church. We can identify with Jesus' ministry which was inclusive, non-hierarchical, challenging rules and regulations, the stus quo, especially by including the lowest, most marginalized as the priviledged. They were the people of God so highly favored, a reversal of the dominator model. In our sacramental celebrations, we have people who have been in the heart of the church for years and people who have been alienated for a number of reasons.

Our challenge is how to transform the existing Eucharistic liturgy with its patriarchal bias reflected in its prayers, and co-create the new together to reflect the mutuality, justice seeking, life affirming discipleship of equals. We definitely need new Eucharistic prayers for starters!!

We are a community where all are welcome at the banquet of love to experience the extravagant affections o f God in community, in creation, in our work for justice and equality in our world.

As we affirm women’s co-equal leadership in the sacramental tradition, we are creating a healing, reconciling, transforming community of co-responsibility and mutuality.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Cloud of Witnesses Retreat

March 1 09

This is the "Listening to the Hearbeat of God" painting. If you look carefully the image structure looks a lot like the human heart in open heart surgery.

Only a nurse or doctor would get it. I have to tell people. So many of nature's images are echoed in the structure and movement of the body.

Viridissima Virga
Hildegard Von Bingen

Greetings to you Verdant rod
burst forth in the rush of wind
burst forth from sacred prayers.

When your time had come
blossoms opened on all
your branches.
The WORD rang out.

Greetings to you
The suns' warmth streams
into you
like the penetrating sweetness
of balsam.

and MBC