..."The churches are called ecclesias, the word derived from the Greek verb for “calling together.” Five were started last year in the Netherlands by Catholics who broke away from their existing parishes, and more are being planned, said Franck Ploum, who helped start an ecclesia in January in Breda, the Netherlands, and is organizing a network conference for the groups in the two countries."
"At this sturdy brick church southwest of Brussels, men and women are trained as “conductors.” They preside over Masses and the landmarks of life: weddings and baptisms, funerals and last rites. Church members took charge more than a year ago when their pastor retired without a successor. In Belgium, about two-thirds of clergymen are over 55, and one-third older then 65."
..."Yet they appear to be on a collision course with the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Belgium. The Belgian church has been staggering from a sexual abuse scandal with 475 victims, and the resignation of the bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, who last April admitted to years of molesting a boy who turned out to be his nephew."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
It seems like more and more Catholics today are on a collision course with the Vatican. Yet at the same time, new hope for a more vibrant Catholic Church is blossoming in grassroots communities. Kudos to Belgium Catholics leading the way. The Vatican cannot control the movement of the Holy Spirit in the church. Let us pray that more courageous women and men in parishes who do not have a resident priest will either call forth women priests or married male priests or go ahead and celebrate Eucharist themselves, knowing that the Holy One is in their midst when two or three are gathered together in God's name
Bridget Mary Meehan, email@example.com