Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pray for Victims of Violent Crime: 18 people shot in Arizona, including a Congresswoman, a child and a judge

God of love,
We pray for healing for Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, and all those who have been injured in Tuscon, Arizona
and for comfort for the families of all those who died in the tragedy.
We are one people, one world in your Heart of Love. Make us instruments of your peacewhere there is hatred, may we sow love, as St. Francis prayed.
The New York Times today reported, "Under Siege, She Offers Thousands a Refuge of Hope," by Mohammed Ibrahim and Jeffrey Gettleman:
On May 5, 2010, 750 militants surrrounded Mama Hawa's hospital in Somalia. The gunmen confronted her:" Why are you running this hospital... You are old. And you are a woman!, But in spite of the destruction , she challenged the gunmen, "if I die, I will die with my people and my dignity. You are young and you are a man, but what have you done for your society.?"In the end because of her courage and the outrage expressed by her people at the violent behavior of the gunmen, they backed down and issued an apology for their destructive behavior.
In the face of hate, anger, and outrage may our response always be non-violent and peace-filled. May we be confident that God's strength within us, will in the end, overcome evil. As Christians, may we reflect Jesus forgiveness and compassion for all. May we build bridges of understanding and mutual respect toward all our sisters and brothers in the family of God as we work for peace, justice and equality in our world.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Hers is the Ministry of Yes." Ministry of Janie Spahr, a Presbyterian Minister

Janie Spahr, a friend and colleague of some of our Roman Catholic Women Priests, ministers to the gay, lesbian and transgender community. Read this moving article about an inclusive community's struggle for justice.,0,2374328.story?page=1&track=rss

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Saying Bishops are Scared, Panelists Urge Laity to Take Lead/Growing Alienation of Women

Jan. 04, 2011
Jerry Filteau is NCR Washington correspondent.
We are becoming a do-it-yourself church” for the laity, said Jesuit Fr. Thomas J. Reese, one of three senior fellows of the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington who spoke at “The Future of the Church: A Woodstock Forum on Sources of Hope,” held at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia Dec. 5.
The U.S. Catholic hierarchy today is fearful and defensive, a far cry from the collaborative, pastorally transformed hierarchy that emerged during and after the Second Vatican Council, said Dolores R. Leckey, former longtime head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Laity, Family, Women and Youth, and a noted writer on spirituality."

"He said that for him the most depressing finding of the Pew study was that 71 percent of former Catholics said the reason they left the church was “that my spiritual needs were not met by the church -- in other words, our fundamental product failed.”
"Another major negative factor in U.S. Catholic membership trends, Reese said, is that in the United States today, many of those leaving are women."

“In the 19th century we lost men in Europe. We didn’t lose the women,” he said. “Today we’re losing women too. ... Mothers are more important to the Catholic church than priests, because they are the ones that pass the faith on to the next generation. They are the ones who teach the kids how to pray, answer their questions about God, etc. Women are absolutely essential. If we lose women, we might as well close shop. And then the worst thing about this is that the more educated a woman becomes, the more alienated she tends to become from the Catholic church.”....

Bridget Mary's Reflection

Of course, women are alienated! The language of the liturgy is exclusive, all male imagery is used in Catholic worship and there are no women priests at the altar in Catholic parishes. The "elephant in the Roman Catholic living room" is the issue of gender justice and the empowerment of the people of God in leadership roles that are decision-making in our church.. Women priests are integral part of justice for all. We need a people-empowered community of faith to meet the spiritual needs of Catholics today in vibrant worshipping communities as well as a strong prophetic presence as we stand in solidarity with the poor and oppressed to change the structures of domination that breed injustice and violence.

Roman Catholic Women Priests are offering a renewed model of priestly ministry in a community of equals in the grassroots communities where we serve. We are not leaving the church, but leading our beloved church into its future now. For many it is a holy shakeup whose time has come!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Archdiocese in Wisconsin. to Seek Bankruptcy Protection

Jan 4, 2010, 9:29 PM EST
Archdiocese in Wis. to seek bankruptcy protection
By DINESH RAMDE Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Tuesday it would file for bankruptcy protection because pending sexual-abuse lawsuits could leave it with debts it couldn't afford.
The Milwaukee archdiocese is the eighth in the U.S. to seek bankruptcy protection since the clergy abuse scandal erupted in 2002 in Boston. The other seven are in Davenport, Iowa; Fairbanks, Alaska; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; Spokane, Wash.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Wilmington, Del.
Tuesday's announcement drew scorn from attorney Jeff Anderson, of St. Paul, Minn., who has filed 23 lawsuits against the archdiocese. He said he was scheduled to depose Milwaukee Bishop Richard Sklba on Thursday and he thought the bankruptcy filing was intended to delay that. Church officials in other dioceses also have filed for bankruptcy on the eve of trials or major depositions to avoid having to release information, he said.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"St. Joseph’s Hospital: A Phoenix in the Desert" by Jamie Manson/NCR Commentary/We are the Body of Christ

St. Joseph’s Hospital: A phoenix in the desert
By Jamie L Manson
Created Jan 04, 2011
Jamie L Manson [1] on Jan. 04, 2011

..."Because a mother of four had her life saved under harrowing circumstances, the sacramental presence of Jesus was forced to evacuate a Catholic hospital in the Valley of the Sun. It’s a sad loss, really, since the body of Christ dwelt peacefully at St. Joseph’s for over 115 years..."
..."Bishop Thomas Olmsted, the hierarch who made the decision to pull the Eucharist from the chapel at St. Joseph’s Hospital, has been called “ ‘a man of the rules and a company man’ who puts the institutional church ahead of people,” according to an NCR report early last summer.
But one wonders whose rules he was playing by when he chose to rip the Catholic designation from this hospital founded by the Sisters of Mercy. "
"If anyone doubts that misogyny played a role in this case, one need only recall that Olmsted is the product of a Vatican that, in March 2009, defended a Brazilian archbishop who excommunicated the mother of a 9-year-old girl who received an abortion after being raped by her stepfather. The father faced no ecclesiastical punishment. "
But in the midst of this darkness, there is an unexpected beam of hope. The response of the staff of St. Joseph’s has demonstrated as much moral courage as it has deep theological truth. Not only have they refused to allow the hierarchy to use the Eucharist to bully them into submission, they have reaffirmed the holiness of their daily work. “St. Joseph’s will continue through our words and deeds to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus,” said Linda Hunt, president of St. Joseph’s Hospital. “Our operations, policies and procedures will not change.”
..."But now institutions are reaching a breaking point. Those who once trembled in fear when the hierarchy wielded its power now tremble in holy anger.
Though St. Joseph’s can no longer call itself Catholic, it heralds a new vision of church. .."
"Though they will be denied the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist, the Eucharist will rise out of St. Joseph’s every time the sick are healed, the frightened are comforted, the lonely are visited, the weak are fed, and vigil is kept over the dying. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Jamie Manson's analysis of the consequences of Bishop Olmsted's decision to remove the designation of Catholic- including the Eucharist from from St. Joseph's Chapel- is excellent. Indeed, St. Joseph's response heralds a new understanding of Catholicism emerging from the heart of the church. In my view, St. Joseph's Hospital is truly a "Catholic" hospital we can be proud of and one which St. Joseph would affirm if he walked the earth today. Don't you think that St. Joseph, who saved Mary's life, would save a pregnant woman's life at risk in similar circumstances as the Phoenix mother today? Don't you think that Christ's sacramental presence is celebrated in the care for the sick, the Body of Christ, among us every day as Jamie articulated? We, the Body of Christ, share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ in all our thoughts, words and actions-- this is what it means to be a sacramental church we can proud of and one where, no matter where we are- we, the Body of Christ, can live passionately every day of our lives. And no bishop or pope has the power to control God's presence among us, thanks be to God!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Bishops vs. Nuns: Who Spoke for God in 2010?" Nuns and Women Priests Lead the Church into its Future Now

While bishops govern and "manage," it is nuns who save lives
By Eugene McMullan
Religion Dispatches (CA)
January 2, 2011

"The nuns may also see themselves as speaking for God. Many would embrace Sr. Schneider’s definition of religious life as a “prophetic life-form.” Others might see themselves simply as persons created in the reasonable image and likeness of God, persons who read for themselves, think for themselves, work, pray, attend mass and come to their own conclusions. They, too, cling to the Logos (or Sophia).
Because the bishops claim to have exclusive possession of the measuring stick of orthodoxy (Rule of Truth), nuns are less likely than bishops to make doctrinal statements. That being said, nuns are quite devout and typically orthodox. The U.S. nuns are not “bad Catholics,” as the Vatican implied with its notorious apostolic inquiries. The real issue is their criticism of the bishops, and their commitment to the principles of Vatican II. In a letter regarding women’s ordination, NCAN stated, “This teaching cannot be infallible because the teaching is unjust and, therefore, in error.”
Clearly for these religious sisters, the Word of justice/love supersedes the dictates of the church."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Excellent analysis, by Eugene McMullen!
Truly the nuns are walking in the spirit of Jesus and demonstrate the compassionate spirit and common sense approach that most Catholics profess and practice.
The National Coalition of American Nuns are a gutsy group of Sisters who speak truth to power, including the male hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Yes surely, as the nuns speak for justice for all on the controversial issues of our time. As the nuns state, the teaching on women's ordination cannot be infallible because it is unjust, in error. Authentic teaching cannot contradict Jesus's example of inclusion of women as partners and equals and the church's early history of women in ordained leadership. The National Coalition of American Nuns and Roman Catholic Women Priests are leading the way to a holy shakeup of the Roman Catholic Church in which women will no longer be silent on issues that impact their lives and human welfare. We are putting our energies to renewing our faith worship, practices and witness in grassroots communities that are egalitarian and prophetic! Amen, Sisters, keep leading the way!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Celebration of Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Wise Women/Epiphany/ A Roman Catholic Liturgy Affirming Wise Women

Sheila Carey, performed a
Liturgical Dance honoring
Mary Mother of Jesus
at beginning of homily,
following by
community shared on topic:
What difference would it have made if
church and society listened to wise women?

Figurines of 3 wise women/Epiphany
beside Gospel Book

On Jan. 1, 2011, Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida celebrated the feast of Mary, Mother of God and the Epiphany. At the Gathering Hymn, "We three kings of Orient are, the presiders processed up the aisle, carrying figurines of 3 WISE WOMEN. We placed them on the altar next to Gospel Book. See photo below.

The community recited the following

Men: "What would have happened if wise women had come to the stable instead of wise men?" ;

Women: "The wise women would have arrived on time and helped with the delivery. They would have clean the stable and brought practical gifts. "

Lee and Carol Ann Breyer, one of our priest partner couples brought the wise women figurines from an artist in North Carolina and Lee was the innovator of this creative theme for our liturgy.

A couple proclaimed the Gospel from the feast of Mary Mother of God and the Epiphany. At the homily time, Sheila Carey led our reflection with a liturgical dance in honor of Mary, Mother of Jesus. See movie clip on youtubebelow.

Our homily reflection was the community's response to the the question: what difference would it have made if the church and society listened to the wise women in our tradition and in our midst. Most of the women in the assembly shared their perspectives on this fundamental issue.

Our music minister, Mindy, sang original music that drew the assembly into praise and worship on the theme of living in the light of God, our Love in this moving liturgy.

At the Eucharistic Prayer, the community gathered around the altar to recite the prayers as the Body of Christ. All were welcome to receive Eucharist at this Sacred Banquet.

See Movie of Liturgical Dance with Sheila Carey:

For upcoming events sponsored by our inclusive Catholic liturgies:visit:

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests