Saturday, February 1, 2014

Newly Ordained Priest Maureen McGill Co-Presides with Bridget Mary Meehan at First Liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community on the Feast of St. Brigit of Kildare and Presentation of Jesus in the Temple at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Florida

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, 4 PM liturgy at St. Andrew UCC
in Sarasota, Fl. on Feb. 1st, 2014
left; Mary Murray welcomes community,
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Maureen McGill and Bridget Mary Meehan, co-preside at liturgy

 Dr. Mary Bridget Duffy Reads Stories about St. Brigit of Kildare
from Praying with Celtic Holy Women by Bridget Mary Meehan
and Regina Madonna Oliver

Maureen prepares to proclaim Gospel of Presentation of Jesus 
in the Temple
Maureen shares story of call to priesthood, then 
community shared in dialogue homily

left to right: Bridget Mary Meehan and Maureen McGill 
at Offertory

MMOJ Community Prays Eucharistic Prayer Around Altar

left to right Carol Ann and Lee Breyer, married priest couple
 Bridget Mary Meehan,ARCWP Maureen McGill, ARCWP
Roman and Teresa Rodriguez
Ford Englerth
Consecration: All raise hands as the Body of Christ

Communion: the Body of Christ Shares the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ
All are welcome to receive Eucharist

Katy Zatsick, ARCWP greets Sister Priest, Maureen McGill and Visitor after liturgy

O God of compassion and healing,
You gave Holy Brigit to us as a sign of your love.
You caress us with the warmth of the sun,
You encircle us in Love's embrace.
You are behind us and before us.
You are above us and beneath us.
I consecrate all that I am to you.
Feb. 1st  2014
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Feast of St. Brigit of Kildare
A Meditation: “Called to the Messengers of God’s Liberating Love”
Relax and become aware of your breath.
As you breathe in and out, be conscious that the boundless love of God
fills your being… Divine love goes before you and behind you..
 encircles you, your loved ones,  and all creation forever…
Guided by the Holy Spirit, Simeon and Anna saw a light that shone in the darkness of rejection and opposition that Jesus would encounter…
Prophets Simeon and Anna remind us of the light of God’s  Spirit accompanies us in the darkness, no matter what the obstacles, challenges, heartaches we face in our lives and in our world…
St. Brigit of Kildare’s attitude of openness and generous welcome to all provides a model for us especially for the many people marginalized or even anathemized by their traditional religion. She lived the spirit of Jesus as advocate for justice and compassion to those in need…
Like Simeon, Anna and St. Brigit of Kildare , we are called to be messengers of the light of God’s liberating love to all especially those who are in need.
A table blessing attributed to Brigit reminds us that God’s justice will triumph at the Banquet of Love…
Let us live as if Brigit’s vision is a reality now….
 “I should welcome the poor to my feast, for they are God’s children. I should welcome the sick to my feast, for they are God’s joy. Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place, let the sick dance with the angels. “
Failte St. Brigit, and Prophets Simeon and Anna!

Homily for Feast of Presentation by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP, Pastor Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Toledo, Ohio

It's not easy, 2000 years after the fact, to relate to the holy
writings of our tradition. We live in a different time, a different
culture. We see the world differently, know a reality that would not
have been recognized by our ancestors in faith. And they lived in a
world view that we find equally foreign.

Today's readings present us with that challenge. Our first reading
speaks about what Michael Morwood calls "an elsewhere God"--one who
lives above the clouds and will be sending a messenger to purify this
wayward people. Our psalm asks God to listen to us, as if God had
ears. In our second reading, Paul talks to the Hebrews in terms of
what we now call "atonement" theology, presenting God as sending Jesus
to earth to die so he could make up to God for our sins. And in
today's Gospel Matthew tells us about the traditional Jewish custom of
presenting an eight-day-old child at the Temple--that part we can still
relate to, given our Christian practice of presenting infants for
baptism--but then he adds the testimonies of Simeon and Anna, in which
they foretell Messiahship for the baby in speeches that amount to
predestination theology.

In 2014 we see the world differently. We believe that God's divine
presence is not only elsewhere but everywhere, in everyone and
everything, each of us called and anointed to bring light to the
world. We understand creation to be enormous, stretching into the
multiple universes of outer space. That leads us to the question of
what we are to make of these texts. We cannot take them literally, in
the way that most of us were taught as children. We can't read them
as history, or biology, or cosmology. We have to search them for the
faith truth they hold.

One of the ways to look at these readings that fits with our current
understanding of creation is to recognize Jesus as a unique expression
of the divine. With Matthew, we can imagine in the infant Jesus the
divine spark that would eventually set fire to the disciples and the
world. Jesus, our model of life and prayer and justice and peace,
truly brings light to the world.

Matthew's story of Simeon and Anna recognizing the future greatness in
the infant Jesus reminds me of one of my own family's legends, a story
told often in the gatherings of my childhood. It seems that, on the
morning I was born, my father phoned his sister in Toledo to share the
news. Aunt Lillie shrieked with joy, "I knew when I woke up this
morning that something wonderful had happened in the world, and now I
know what it is!" Every child's birth should be greeted with that
kind of recognition of the spark that has flamed up in a new and
unique expression of God among us. Too often in our world, that
divine spark is quenched and the flame flickers out. We know the
tragedies: injustice thwarts and demoralizes, poverty stunts and
kills, abuse weakens and warps, trafficking molests and murders.

This is Super Bowl weekend. Millions of us North Americans will
gather to enjoy the game, have fun with family and friends, share
food. It's a tradition of our culture. For too many, though, the
Super Bowl will be an occasion of violence and degradation. They are
the children, women, and men who will be victimized when they are sold
for sex or enslaved for work. Large sporting events provide an easy
market, a lucrative business opportunity for traffickers. The Super
Bowl has been called the single largest human trafficking incident in
the U.S. Toledo is a hub for sex trafficking. We have the appalling
distinction of ranking fourth in the nation.

Shedding light on the crime of human trafficking is the key to
bringing this issue out of the shadows. I have seen some of you at
the vigils, praying and calling attention to the issue. Our local
religious sisters are collaborating with faith communities of other
denominations to raise awareness of this crime. They will soon open
Rahab's House right here in Toledo, a facility that will shelter
trafficked women and shepherd them into freedom.

On this same Super Bowl weekend we celebrate the Presentation of Jesus
in the Temple, our traditional day for blessing candles to symbolize
the light of the world. Like every other person on this planet, each
one of us is born to be light to the world. As we continue to work
for social justice, each of us as individuals and together as a
community, let us be thankful that we are blessed with the ability to
let our light shine. So let's let it shine!

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Friday, January 31, 2014

St. Brigit of Kildare- A Gutsy, Compassionate Woman

Bridget Mary Meehan at St. Brigit's Well, Liscanor, County Clare, Ireland

 St. Brigit was born in 494 to a Christian mother and a pagan father. There are many stories about her that are steeped in the druidic folklore of the early Celtic goddesses.

According to the Old Irish life of Brigit, Archbishop Mel ordained her a bishop. She founded a double monastery of women and men in Kildare where celibate and married monks and nuns lived in what today might resemble a Christian village. According to Cogitosus, her biographer, she co-presided at Kildare with Bishop Conleth. 

St. Brigit of Kildare was quite a character! She was known for her compassion to the poor. One time, she gave away her father's sword to a beggar. Is this an early example of distributive justice to help the poor and stop warfare at the same time?!  Another time, she gave away Bishop Conleth's vestments to the poor, but mysteriously, they reappeared before he celebrated liturgy!

Many healing miracles were attributed to her.  See my book, Praying with Celtic Holy Women for some delightful tales! Join me on a Celtic Mystical Journey from Sept. 3-12th, 2014 in Ireland. For more information, email me at
On the eve of St. Brigit's feast, children in Ireland often weave St. Brigit's crosses out of rushes and hang them over the door in their homes. When I celebrate ordinations, I wear a large St. Brigit's cross as my pectoral cross.
Our family always displayed a St. Brigit's cross in our home.

It is not unusual in Ireland to see St. Brigit crosses hanging over barn doors as a sign of protection for animals. St. Brigit is often depicted with a cow. I used to have a statue but when the statue fell, the cow broke off.
There are many wells that celebrate the blessing of St. Brigit in Ireland. I prayed at two in Kildare, one in Faughart, and one in Liscanor near the Cliffs of Mohr.  In the photo above, I am standing next to items and notes of thanks for healings and/or prayers for healing hung on the wall in front of the well.  On one occasion, I brought back at least a gallon of water from the holy wells in Ireland and used the blessed water in healing rituals, and shared with anyone who wanted it.

One of my favorite Celtic  prayers is:  
“Brigit’s Table Grace” 

     I should like a great lake of finest ale
            for all the people.
     I should like a table of the choicest foods
     for the family of heaven.
     Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
     and the food be for giving love.
     I should welcome the poor to my feast,
     for they are God’s children.
     I should welcome the sick to my feast
     for they are God’s joy.
     Let the poor sit with Sophia

     at the highest place
     and the sick dance with the angels.
     Bless the poor, bless the sick,
     Bless our human race.
     Bless our food, bless our drink, all homes,
     O God embrace.

St. Brigit of Kildare stained glass window in St. Patrick's Chapel, Ballyroan, Ireland

Kansas City Seeks to Shutter Jail/ Peace Activist and Woman Priest Jail Sevre-Duzynska called conditions "appalling"

Peace activist Janice Sevre-Duszynska has spent time in various jails around the country, but says she’s never encountered anything as wretched as Kansas City’s police detention unit.
Miriam Pepper | The Kansas City Star
Kansas City’s detention unit on the eighth floor of Police Headquarters offers spartan accommodations.
“This is an appalling place to be, undignified for any human to be,” she said last week, recalling her experience July 13 when she was part of a group taken to detention on the eighth floor of Police Headquarters after a demonstration against Kansas City’s nuclear weapons parts factory.
“You go to jail, you don’t expect it to be the Hyatt or the Marriott,” she conceded. “But it was very archaic and rundown.”
Read more here:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Sentence Postponed for Transform Now Plowshares"/ Face Long Sentences/ Judge Not Sympathic to Defense Contentions
by Patrick O'Neil/NCR
"The critical point is contrition, and I don't think any of the defendants are contrite about what they did," the judge said. "The defendants will not be given acceptance of responsibility."
Thapar also denied the defendants' claim that they deserved leniency because they believed their "criminal acts" at Y-12 "were committed to prevent a perceived greater harm" (the possible use of nuclear weapons). Thapar said, "I understand that the defendants perceived a greater harm, but I think the United States has a different point of view."
The judge still will hear arguments for departure based on the argument that the case includes "special or unusual circumstances." Toward that end, the defense called four character witnesses, each of whom praised the defendants as committed peace activists who were led to nonviolent direct action out of their love for creation and humanity."

President Obama Addresses Issues of Inequality / U.S. Roman Catholic Hierarchy Must Affirm Women's Consciences and Equality in Affordable Contraceptive Coverage

There was much to like in President Obama's State of the Union speech last night.  I really appreciate the President's focus on issues of equality such as equal work for equal pay, raising minimum wage and immigration reform to highlight a few of his goals for our country in 2014. 
Pope Francis's critique of economic in justice should motivate us to adopt changes that help all people flourish: ‘“Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”
 The achilles heel of the U.S. Roman Catholic hierarchy is its opposition to implementing  contraception coverage offered in the Affordable Care Act for its employees. This too is an issue of conscience and justice for women in our country.  Women need to have affordable birth control as part of their basic health care coverage so that they can "live and thrive" and stay out of poverty. The hierarchy must treat women as equal images of the divine in every teaching and mandate if they are to be a moral voice for justice in our world. 

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

NETWORK's National Social Justice Lobby's Response to State of the Union

The bipartisan, lengthy ovation for Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg, the grievously wounded Army Ranger, served as the most compelling message of President Obama’s State of the Union Address last evening. In a touching tribute, the president described how the young man sacrificed so much and worked so hard to come back from his injuries. Thankfully, he did not have to struggle alone for, as President Obama noted, he had grown stronger “with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him.”

Caring for one another, hard work and service to the nation, along with opportunity and fairness, are bedrock American values.

That is precisely why there should be strong bipartisan support for many of the issues the president spoke about in his address. Equal pay for equal work should be a given, along with healthcare for those previously denied insurance because of preexisting conditions. We must repair our tattered immigration system, which divides families. And it is simple justice that no full-time worker should have to live in poverty. President Obama was right to highlight all of these needs, and more.

Sadly, the present hyper-partisan Congress has found it almost impossible recently to come together in support of such commonsense principles. We trust that will change, and we call on Congress to make that happen for the good of the entire nation.

If it does not, we fully support President Obama’s use of executive orders to promote the common good. His current action to raise the minimum wage for government contract workers is a good first step.

The inspiring story of Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg also served to remind us of the terrible costs of war and that violence in any form, whether it involve the use of armed drones or direct combat, creates unacceptable suffering in our world. That is why we strongly support the president’s call for diplomacy to address international threats.

We heard applause when President Obama stated that “when women succeed, America succeeds.” That goes for everyone—women, men, children, people at the economic margins, people struggling to find a job, families able to purchase their first home, and everybody else in our nation. And that is why addressing injustice, including huge wealth and income disparities, helps everyone—the 100%.

As Pope Francis recently stated, “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.” Our entire nation deserves to live and to thrive.
We strongly agree with the president that this can be “a breakthrough year for America,” but we need congressional action to fully realize that dream. NETWORK intends to lobby, organize and educate throughout the year to make that dream a reality.

Press Release: NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Responds to President Obama’s State of the Union Address FOR RELEASE: January 29, 2014 CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Members Share Liturgy with Homeless at Sanctuary of Sarasota

Bridget Mary and Will 
Today Jean Brgant, Janet Blakeley, Sally Brochu, Carol Ann, and Lee Breyer and I shared a joyful interfaith Eucharistic liturgy with a gathering of homeless folks at Sanctuary of Sarasota which is coordinated by Vallerie Guillory and a group of generous volunteers.
 I met Vallerie at the World Day of Peace on Saturday at the Unitarian Church in Sarasota. She invited me to do a service. "I have called everywhere looking for a priest or minister to do a service, she looked at me pleading,  but could not find anyone who would come,  will you come?" I said yes! Then at our Sat. evening liturgy I shared Vallerie's request with members of Mary Mother of Jesus Community.  Immediately a ministry circle volunteered: Jean, Janet, Sally, Carol Ann and Lee said they would join me this week and Jack Duffy said that he would report for duty the following week!
Carol Ann, in blue, Janet, right in white and Jean behind Carol Ann 

I prepared a two-page Interfaith Eucharistic Service.

Today before we left my home, I told our group that we were on our way to a new spiritual adventure. Indeed, we had never heard of the shelter and did not know where it was located. But, after one wrong turn we found it.  Sarasota Sanctuary is located in a large field, behind the Dealer's Choice on the west side of 301 as you are going south out of Sarasota,  When we arrived we saw round 60 people, mostly men, sitting under an open tent like shelter, some folks were sorting clothes and others were cooking on the grill. Once we arrived Vallerie introduced us and the  our interfaith Eucharistic service began. 
cross given as gift 

It was a honor to worship on this holy ground with God's people who have so few material goods but whose smiles touched our hearts.  We invited all to receive the sacred  bread and grape juice. Most did, some did not. All were respectful.   As I gave each one the Eucharist, I said: "my brother/ my sister, you are the Body of Christ," And so they are! God's words to us is "whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, that you do unto me."

homeless guests gather for lunch after liturgy

After we concluded  our interfaith Eucharist, volunteers served food to the gathering. Several women coordinated the clothing distribution and an artist told us she had come to paint a mural on the trailer that served as their center.  One gentleman gave me a hand-woved cross, a gift that I will always cherish that was made by one of the young women in the group.  When we were leaving, Vallerie hugged me and said "You rock, Missey!"
I will never forget our first spiritual adventure at Sarasota Sanctuary. We will be returning. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Sentencing of Sr. Megan Rice, Greg Obed and Mike Walli Delayed Until Feb. 18th- A Report from the Courthouse by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP

Peace activists from both coasts and across the US gathered to support Megan, Greg and Mike. Plenty of media also .
From right to left: Women Priests Diane Dougherty, Janice Sevre Duszynska and Max Obuszewski  at Festival of Hope,
a interfaith prayer vigil where activists who came from as far away as both east and west coast to support
Sr. Megan, Michael and Greg for their

witness to peace. 
Peace activists hold banner in support of Sr. Megan, Michael and Greg in Knoxville, TN at sentencing hearing

Four character witnesses spoke including friends Kathy Boylan from Dorothy Day CW in DC and John LaForge from NukeWatch. Mary Evelyn Tucker, a professor of religion at Yale, spike eloquently about Megan and her work for peace. 
Earlier a spokesperson for the company that runs the y-12 plant at Oak Ridge told the courtroom that the government was billed $53,000 for damages caused by the Plowshares  We found those fees outrageous.
We sang "Hold On "and waved to Megan, Greg and Mike and they smiled  as they wer e taken out.
Unexpected snow Tuesday in East Tennessee delayed the sentencing. 
The federal courthouse in Knoxville closed early Tuesday and the trio's sentencing hearing will continue Feb. 18, said Sharry Dedman-Beard, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney William Killian. 
Janice Sevre Duszynska, ARCWP,

Bridget Mary's Response:
Our country should be giving Sister Megan, Michael and Greg, a peace award for their prophetic witness to the importance of ridding our world of weapons of mass destruction through work for justice and peace for all.  Why do we have thousands of nuclear weapons to destroy the world how many times? It is insanity and money can be spent better on the needs of the poor and on education and jobs for a decent living. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Take ACTION Now- You Can Help! Write letters for justice!
On 28 July 2012, peace activists Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed echoed Guevara's sentiments through the means that each activist must strive to do throughout their lifetime - put their political philosophy into practice.

They peacefully engaged the U.S. Military and Nuclear Industrial Complex with a measure of fortitude 
that many tout, but only few actually exercise. With the intent to take symbolic action against the mere existence of nuclear facilities built to exemplify our country's commitment to pronouncing, maintaining, and expanding its military nuclear warfare capability these individuals proceeded uninhibited through maximum security Oak Ridge Y-12 Nuclear Facility in Oak Ridge, TN only to be confronted once they reached the core of the newly built half-billion dollar Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility (HEUMF)...
Write to them.  The addresses are listed below:
Gregory Boertje-Obed 22090
Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Drive
Ocilla GA  31774
Michael Walli 4444
Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Drive
Ocilla GA  31774
Megan Rice  22100
Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Drive
Ocilla GA  31774
You must make sure to include your entire return address on the outside of the envelope. No staples or 
paperclips can be included in your mail; no oversized envelopes. Magazines and books must be sent directly
 from the publisher or bookstore/Amazon. Photocopies of brief articles are likely to be permitted (based on our past experience). If you include inappropriate material or fail to comply with these rules, your mail will not get through—it will be returned to you.
Write to Judge Thapar. 
US District Judge Amul R Thapar
c/o Professor Bill Quigley
Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice
7214 St. Charles Avenue
Campus Box 902
New Orleans, LA 70118
 If you care to send a copy to OREPA that would also be appreciated:
From the Transform Now Plowshares website: "Our purpose with these letters is not to reargue the case, nor is it to condemn nuclear weapons production—the judge is not engaging those issues at this time. Our purpose is to address the legal system’s distortion of the nonviolent action of the TNP resisters and to provide support to the judge for a sentencing decision that takes into account the nature of their action and their nonviolent behavior throughout their action."
Learn more about the case -

Sermon by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple
..."God took human history seriously and so fulfilled promises God had made earlier to a Simon and to a faithful widow, Anna. God became a real human being; God took on our humanity – why? Other clever people said God became a human being so that we could become God. The epistle of St Peter speaks daringly of us as partakers of the divine nature...God loves us with a love that will not let us go, a love that loved us before we were created, a love that loves us now, a love that will love us forever, world without end. A love that says of each single one of us: “I love you, you are precious and special to me, I love you as if you were the only human being on earth, I love you and there is nothing you can do to make me love you more because I already love you perfectly.”How incredibly, wonderfully, it is that God says to you, to me: “There is nothing you can do to make me love you less. I take you, I take you very seriously, I take you – you – body and soul, you the visible and the invisible of you, I love you, I love you, I love you.”(Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the retired Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa)

"Pope Francis, The Times They Are a Changin"

Photos of Pope Francis

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Correcting the Theology of Women that Currently Exists"/ A Must Read for Fans of Pope Francis

Bridget Mary's Response:
Insightful and humorous essay for fans of Pope Francis who realize 
he doesn't get it when he starts talking about women!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

"Guilty Nuclear Resistors Write Essays for Judge"/ Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP by Megan Fincher/National Catholic Reporter

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Silenced but not Silent these Priests Are Moving Right Along:Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Fr. Tony Flannery, Fr. John Dear
"All three men have spoken out or acted in ways that have drawn the ire and severe reprisals from Catholic Church authorities. They have been punished in various ways for their dissent from either Church teachings or policy or both. The one thing they have in common is that they will not be kept down or silent in the face of injustice..." Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Fr. Tony Flannery, Fr. John Dear