Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pope Francis and Women in the Church/ Will the Pope Appoint Women to top Deicison-Making Jobs in the Vatican?

Pope Francis is saying positive words, but words must be followed by actions on behalf of justice. Pope Francis should appoint women to top decision-making jobs in the Vatican Curia.And he should reverse the harsh punishments against women priests and our supporters as   steps toward embracing women as partners and equals in the church. Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,,

VATICAN CITY -- "Pope Francis on Wednesday said women play a "fundamental role" in the Catholic Church as those who are mostly responsible for passing on the faith from one generation to the next.
While the new pope stopped far short of calling for women's ordination or giving women more decision-making power in the church, his remarks nonetheless signaled an openness to women that's not often seen in the church hierarchy.
"In the church and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord," the Argentine pontiff said during his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square.
On March 28, Francis surprised Catholics -- and drew the ire of traditionalists -- when he included two women in a foot-washing ceremony at a youth prison in Rome.
Critics say the rite is a re-enactment of Jesus' washing the feet of the 12 male apostles, and the inclusion of women might reopen the debate over the ordination of women to the priesthood.
As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the future pope clearly stated his opposition to women priests. Still, advocates for women's rights in the church hope Francis will give women more leadership positions within the church.
"There are some lay people in the Vatican leadership," said Sister Christine Anderson, a British nun who trains women leaders in Catholic organizations throughout the world. "There is no reason why (women) couldn't be there too.
"Many women have more theology than some priests. So it's not that we are not trained. ... I think it's really that we just have not grown up yet as a church," she added.
Sister Chris Schenk, executive director of FutureChurch, a Cleveland-based group that advocates for a greater role for women in the church, said Francis has been "doing great" at the symbolic level since his election, but "the proof will be in what steps the Vatican takes to begin to incorporate women's voices and experience at all levels of Church ministry and decision-making."Bridget Mary's Response"Pope Francis is saying positive words, but words must be followed by actions on behalf of justice. Pope Francis should appoint women to top decision-making jobs in the Vatican Curia.And he should reverse the harsh punishments against women priests and our supporters as   steps toward embracing women as partners and equals in the church. Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,

Read more here:

Pope Francis Appoints Franciscan as Head of Religious Life Institutes/Surprise Appointment/ Positive Sign

"In his first significant appointment to the Roman Curia, Pope Francis has taken the highly unusual step of naming the actual head of a religious order, Father Jose Rodriguez Carballo, as Secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated life and the Societies of Apostolic Life (formerly known as ‘The Congregation for Religious’).
When the Pope chose him, the 59-year old Spanish priest was Minister General or head of the largest group of the Franciscan family – the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), which has some 15,000 friars in 113 countries. He was first elected to that post in 2003, and re-elected for another six-year term in 2009 as head of an order that is contracting in Western Europe and North America, holding steady in Latin America, and gaining vocations in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

The Vatican broke the news of Father Carballo’s appointment on April 6, and said Pope Francis has raised him to the rank of archbishop.
Born in Lodoselo, Spain in 1953, Carballo did his early studies in schools run by the Franciscans in that country and, in 1973, was sent to do biblical studies in Jerusalem. After being ordained priest in Jerusalem in 1977, he gained degrees in Biblical Theology in the Holy City and a further degree in Sacred Scripture from Rome’s Biblical Institute. In the following years he held increasingly high posts of responsibility in the Franciscan order in Spain and, in 2003, was elected Master General of the worldwide order. "

Pope Francis and the Role of Women in the Church/ How About Women Leaders in the Vatican Curia as a First Major Step

"Pope Francis again emphasized the role of women in the Church in his Wednesday General Audience catechesis, the third time in a week that he chose to focus on women, Vatican Radio reports.
On Holy Saturday he had dedicated his Easter Vigil Homily to the women as the first witnesses to the novelty of the Resurrection.
On Tuesday morning he had spoken of the tears of the Magdalene and how we should follow her example of faith in our life’s journey.
On Wednesday he expanded his reflections to the women of the world, whom he said have a special and fundamental role in the Church and the transmission of the faith . Departing from his scripted text, as is now his very own tradition, he appealed: “Mothers go forward with this witness to the Risen Christ!”

Bridget Mary's Response
Since women were the primary and first witnesses to the Resurrection, the church should treat them as equals and affirm women priests as leaders in a renewed church of equals.  Pope Francis is definitely going in the right direction! We pray for major changes. Perhaps, he will appoint women to lead the Vatican Curia, now that would b a welcome change for starters! Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,

Friday, April 5, 2013

"Please Don't Call It Love" by Jamie Mason/Hierarchy Must Treat Gays, Lesbians and Transgenders as Equals
Excellent article by Jamie Mason, challenging hierarchy's anti-gay attitudes and teachings.
It is all about equality and justice.

...."When Stephanopoulos pressed Dolan to articulate how he could push an agenda against marriage equality without seeming anti-gay, Dolan appeared baffled (one of his standard rhetorical devices), saying:
“Well, I don’t know. We’re still — we’re — we’re trying. We’re trying our best to do it. We got to listen to people …”
Apparently, for Dolan, “trying our best” in 2012 looked something like this:
  • Co-signing an anti-marriage equality document with some of the most vociferous anti-gay leaders of Evangelical churches.
  • Refusing to respond to a letter and petition written by Joseph Amodeo, a former member of the junior board of Catholic Charities of the New York archdiocese, pleading with Dolan to meet with LGBT homeless youth, many of whom were thrown out of their homes by religious parents. Amodeo later resigned from the board, without public reaction from Dolan.
  • Failing to speak out when his brother bishops and priests turn the Eucharist into a political weapon, denying communion to LGBT people and those who support marriage equality.
Given the harm of the recent past, it is understandable that Dolan’s head-scratching felt a bit disingenuous to many Catholic gays and lesbians.
Of course, Dolan isn’t the only hierarch claiming to love gays and lesbians while also simultaneously working to ensure that they do not receive equal rights under the law. When Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was named to his current post in San Francisco, he declared in his first press conference:
“The challenge for us in the church is to help people who are in a situation of a sexual orientation where they feel alienated from the church and sometimes experience it very directly. We need to continue to learn how to be welcoming, let them know that we love them and we want to help them.”
Cordileone made this statement in the wake of his years of intensive organizing against marriage equality in California, which earned him the dubious title “Father of Proposition 8.”
Cordileone further demonstrated his perverse notion of love this past Holy Thursday when he literally created a sign of division on the San Francisco archdiocese’s Facebook page.
The archbishop and his communications team posted a graphic of a white division sign and the citation “Luke 12:51” on a red square. (Luke 12:51 is the verse in which Jesus says, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division.”)
The symbol was intended to mock an image, created by the Human Rights Campaign (a gay rights group), that depicts a white equal sign on a red square. The group encouraged supporters of marriage equality to use the symbol as their Facebook avatar while the Supreme Court heard arguments on issues related to same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act.
Cordileone’s divisive post was reportedly deleted after eliciting more than 350 angry responses on the archdiocese’s Facebook page.
Much as Cordileone’s Holy Thursday message offends me, at some level I appreciate his graphically transparent depiction of his beliefs. Dolan, on the other hand, seems to want to ride the waves of good vibes being felt by Catholics and non-Catholics worldwide in response to Pope Francis’ recent series of humble and inclusive acts.
But for all of his radical reaching out to the margins, less than three years ago, the new pope himself had less-than-loving words for gay and lesbian couples seeking equal rights. In a strongly-worded letter to a group of Benedictine nuns, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio wrote:
“Let's not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God's plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that's just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God… Let's look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the Argentine family in this moment... May they support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God.”
While it may be true that Dolan, Cordileone and even the new pope are seeking a more pastoral approach to gays and lesbians, I really wish that they would stop calling it love.
Love does not ignore letters pleading for dialogue and reconciliation."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

“I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” by John Chuchman


Jesus never intended that we worship Him. 
He came to show us how we might become more like him,
more fully human.  
He even said, “Greater things than I have done you will do.” 
He came to remind us that greatness is found in every one of us 
“The kingdom of God is within you.”  
Jesus’ Consciousness is seeing God or Spirit in everything,
 in everyone that is.
Christian theology has focused on men and woman as sinners,
We are to grovel before God, hoping and praying for forgiveness.
In Christian services we say
Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.” 
Not once but three times.
We've been conditioned
to look upon God as either a punishing parent
or a hanging judge.
“Lord have mercy. 
That's the attitude of a slave toward a master,
not of a child to a loving God.
It makes no sense.
We are not children speaking to an abusive parent.
We are not accused criminals standing before a hanging judge.
 Those words make no sense
coming from a child toward a loving God.
Much of even present day theology depicts us as sinners
in need of redemption by someone outside ourselves,
someone who will pay the price for our sins by his death. 
 It pictures God as demanding the death of Jesus as that savior.
Jesus was not crucified because
God demanded he pay that price for our sins. 
He was crucified because men found his message too challenging,
too at odds with the prevailing consciousness of His time.
The Jesus story is never the story of a savior of the sinful
but always the account of a community of people
who experienced in Jesus a fully alive human being. 
Jesus was a God infused human being. 
The Jesus story is less about God taking on flesh
but more about the human realizing its divinity.
"I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly."  
An excerpted and reformatted piece
by Paul Feldman of Hamilton, Montana, priest for 18 years.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community Celebrates Seder on April 2, 2013

Terry Binder, (middle, black blouse) presided at Jewish Seder Celebration

Katy Zatsick, baked Lamb Cake to share as Passover Dessert

Close School of Americas Whose Graduates Murdered Thousands Including 4 Church Women, Bishop Romero, Jesuits, their Housekeeper and Daughter/Article by Lisa Sullivan, Photos by Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Parque Cuscatlan, Monument to Memory and Truth
Here the names of 35,000 disappeared are etched in the wall. Many of the dead
are nameless as entire villages were wiped out during the war which was funded
by the US.

Jesuits and Housekeeper and daughter who were murdered in El Salvador
We gathered for a press conference along with the co-madres who dress in black 
and wear white babushkas. They are the committee of mothers and relatives of 
prisoners, the disappeared and the politically assassinated of El Salvador, 
founded in 1977.
Chapel dedicated to Four Women Raped and Murdered in
El Salvador for Prophetic Witness

From the body of a martyr, maize, the life force of the Salvadorans, takes root.

SOA WATCH Delegation to El Salvador, March 2013

by Lisa Sullivan

If ever there were a more compelling tale to  provoke a stampede to shut the doors of the School of the Americas, it would be the tale of tiny El Salvador. As 25 of us discovered on a recent SOA Watch delegation there, even former  supporters admit: the time has come.

The legacy of that school is etched in blood on the hearts and minds of Salvadorans, and on the walls, parks and pastures of their cities and towns. A wall in central San Salvador with 35,000 names engraved, most of them murdered by orders by  SOA graduates.  A makeshift cross under the shade of a conacaste tree where four bodies of US churchwomen were dumped. A garden where rose bushes grow on the spots where six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter were murdered by the SOA- formed Atlacatl Battalion.  A closet with the possessions left behind by MonseƱor Romero, assassinated on orders of an SOA graduate. There are no shoes: Romero was buried in the only pair he owned.
That is the image that clings to me the most. El Salvador was a nation of one pair of shoes.  After  dozens of people attending Romero's funeral were gunned down, the massive crowd scrambled for safety. The next day,  many  returned cautiously: they were looking for their one lost pair of shoes.
But, these one-pair-of -shoes-per-person were our sworn enemies. From the mid 1980's to early 1990's, we sent a million dollars a day to the Salvadoran military to wipe them out. We printed handbooks to show just how to torture them. We taught their fellow citizens how to shoot down those dared to raise their voices   The blood of tiny El Salvador is on all of our hands.
This is why we began our delegation's first meeting, in El Salvador's Congress, with just one phrase: forgive us.  As we filed into a  hearing room with the Justice and Human Rights Commission, most of the congress members were busy on cell phones or laptops.  Each of us stood to say our names, our professions, our town and then, one word:  perdon. By the time the 9th or 10th person stood, there was utter silence.  As we reached the last person, there were tears. Hearts broke open, real dialogue ensued, and at the end of the session, even those representing the rightwing parties agreed that this school must close. 
Thanks to the hard work of the Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad (CIS) and its director Leslie Shuld, who did a stellar job of setting up the delegation, all three candidates slated to run for president next February agreed to meet with us at length. GANA candidate, ex President Tony Saca charmingly side-skirted the issue via his US-embassy translator. ARENA's vice candidate went to great lengths to try to explain how his party is changing, without offering a position on the SOA. What else could he say, given that ARENA's found Roberto D'Abuisson ordered the murder of Romero. 
Only Salvador Sanchez Ceren, candidate for the FMLN and current vice president was unhesitant and uncompromising in his support: closing the SOA is a just and moral cause. I share this vision with you.... as long as this school exists, hate and war .. will be the result. El Salvador must become sovereign and independent and make its own decisions.  We can only hope that he will win and be firm in his commitment to sovereignty. His current boss, President Mauricio Funes allowed the US embassy to replace his entire FMLN Security ministry with handpicked SOA graduates.
El Salvador is a place where the Pentagon's two rote arguments for keeping the SOA open just don't hold water. Those arguments are: 1. It's a new place with a new name, and 2. All those messy problems were in the past,.
The  publicity department of WHINSEC seems to be doing a poor job, as even the High Command of the Salvadoran Armed Forces used  the term Escuela de las Americas (Spanish for School of the Americas) to refer to the current school. During our hour long meeting, only one of the 12 commanders at our meeting table used the term WHINSEC. Some even visibly flinched when we showed them the list of graduates with each name methodically blacked out with magic marker by the US government. They had been told it was a source of pride to be an SOA graduate.
Above all, the Pentagon insists that the problems of the SOA lie in the past. El Salvador, however, the past is the present.  In a country where  tens of thousands of children were orphaned, where hundreds of thousands lost family members, where millions fled north, where millions more left without a mom or a dad, the present is a predictable outcome of such a past.
It is therefore not too surprising that more people have lost their lives at the hands of gang members and criminals in the decades following the war. When Lady Liberty refused to open her arms to those fleeing the US-funded civil war, survival was found in the only space providing welcome in US teeming cities: gangs.  This made-in-the-USA problem became El Salvador's own, as daily planeloads  of jailed gang members were shipped back to El Salvador, some not speaking even a word of Spanish. Should it be a surprise that the streets of San Salvador became such tough places? Valiant efforts by many, such as Fr. Antonio Rodriguez of the Mejicanos parish, have made significant inroads of incorporating this lost generation into the fabric of society. A truce between the two major gangs has halved the murder rate, but all agree that much needs to be done.
And should it be a surprise that the land itself of El Salvador was left open for pillage? When the blood of its youth was left spilling in the streets and the muscle of its work forces packed north to do the jobs no one else there wanted, all was left was the tiny land of El Salvador itself. Under the empty cornfields and deserted pastures the eyes of hawks saw gold. No matter that the water itself must be poisoned to eke it out, life itself is dispensable in El Salvador. Or, so thought the mining corporations before they faced opposition from community leaders such as Marcelo Rivera Moreno, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 2009. Although the Salvadoran government currently has a moratorium on mining contracts, the Canadian Pacific Rim company has invoked a provision of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and is seeking $200 million in damages.
On our last day in El Salvador I was reminded how this fragile land continues to push open our hearts.  At the sign of peace in the anniversary mass for Monsenor Romero, Salvadorans hugged us with sincerity. The final blessing from the altar was an invocation that we should all be Romero. Yo soy Romero! shouted the crowd. Then the final words solidaridad con  Honduras! They suffer today what we did yesterday.
How unique I thought, how totally like El Salvador. To embrace strangers whose nation had caused them untold suffering, to assume forthright the task of building justice, to step beyond one's pain to help one who suffers even more. El Salvador breaks you open and spins you around, but then you land on your feet and know which direction you are heading.
Lisa Sullivan
Latin America Coordinator
School of the Americas Watch
Apartado Postal 437 Barquisimeto, Lara

Monday, April 1, 2013

Good Shepherd's Celebration of Easter Vigil in Ft. Myers, Florida

Youth get ready for Procession

Good Shepherd Children ring bells on Easter Sunday


Co-Pastors, Judy Lee, seated and Judy Beaumont, preside at Easter Sunday Liturgy

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Easter Vigil/Mini-Movie Clips

Jean Brgant , co presider and photographer, proclaims Word at Easter Vigil

Light of Christ Has Come Into the World/ Lee Breyer Prepares Easter Candle and leads Procession

Michael Rigdon Sings Exultet

Renewal of Baptismal Promises with Katy Zatsick

Presentation of the Gifts/Offertory

Eucharistic Prayer/Community Members Pray


Prayer of Jesus/

Sign of Peace/Group Hug/Peace is flowing like a river/Alleluia

Breaking of the Bread/Communion

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Homilies Link

To view the Homilies page, visit us at

"Women Seek Expanded Role" by Kim Grizzard/The Daily Reflector/Article about Ann Harrington, Candidate in ARCWP

"In her 1962 class picture, Ann Harrington sits four rows back in Sister Mary Rosanna’s fourth-grade class. But some 40 years after her days at Our Lady of Hope, Harrington is ready to move to the front.

The wife, mother and longtime Catholic is a candidate for ordination to the diaconate of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The movement, which began in Germany a little more than a decade ago, has since ordained 150 women, all without the approval of the Vatican or the blessing of the Catholic Church.
Ann Harrington is in pink sweater two to the right of Bridget Mary Meehan at Mary Magdala Liturgy in N.VA.

“It’s very much like the civil rights movement ... Rosa Parks sitting down on the bus saying, ‘I’m not sitting in the back of the bus anymore,’” Harrington said. “I’m not sitting in the back of the Catholic Church anymore.”

Harrington will talk about her journey this week as the Interfaith Alliance of Eastern Carolina shows the film “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican,” an award-winning documentary which chronicles the stories of women who have risked excommunication to pursue what they consider to be a calling from God.

“Why are we, in 2013, even having this discussion?” Harrington, 61, asked. “It makes no sense. Women have been in every field. They do everything.

“The problem is that when a woman feels called by God to be a (Catholic) priest, there is no way for her to answer that call.”

The Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of women as priests or bishops. Though the idea of women’s ordination has been discussed for decades, Pope John Paul II declared in 1994 that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.”

Newly elected Pope Francis made headlines last week for becoming the first pontiff to wash women’s feet, an act he performed during a Maundy Thursday ritual at a juvenile detention center in Rome. Though this move upset some traditionalists, Francis is considered a conservative, and he has written of his opposition to ordaining women...."




Easter Vigil Photos at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida on March 30, 2013

Pat MacMillian presents overview of Easter Vigil and welcomes newcomers and community
Carol Ann Breyer, co-presider gives out candles
Bridget Mary Meehan Greets Girls at Easter Vigil
Helen Duffy and Jack Duffy, original founders of MMOJ enter St. Andrew for Easter Vigil
Mindy Lou Simmons and Edita were our music ministers for the Vigil
Lee Breyer (left) accompanied set Easter Fire and Conducted Lighting of Candle

Community during Lighting of Candles/light of Christ

Michael Rigdon sang Exultet

Katy Zatsick led blessing of water and renewal of Baptismal Promises

Community blessed one another with Easter Water

Community blessed one another with Easter Water
Eucharistic Prayer- Community Prays Together
Marilyn Jenai (left) and Eileen Miller (right)
Yvonne Aarden Proclaims Epistle and also made bread for Eucharist

Jean Brgant, co-presider, proclaimed the Exodus Reading 

Katy (left) Bridget Mary (right)
Approximately 100 people attended our Easter Vigil at Mary Mother of  Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community on March 30, 2013.