Saturday, March 29, 2014

Women Priests Bring Healing to Church's Soul Wound by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

In response to Damon Linker's article (See link below) "Why Churches Should Brace for a Mass Exodus of the Faithful," I predict that our women priests' led inclusive, egalitarian communities will continue to grow because the Holy Spirit is rising up for justice in the people of God. In survey after survey, the "sense of the faithful "supports women priests. 

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is  blessed by the witness of  prophetic priests like Franciscan Jerry Zawada, Jesuit Bill Brennan and Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois who have co-presided at liturgies with Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP 

These courageous men have all received harsh punishments from the Vatican which include being  excommunicated and dismissed from their religious orders in the case of Roy Bourgeois, and being ordered not to function publicly as a priest in the cases of Fr. Brennan and Fr. Zawada. 

See the recent Vatican order, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) this month which strips  Fr. Zawada of his right to function publicly as a priest, and orders him to spend his life in prayer and penance at the order's friary in Burlington.

In a spirit of openness to dialogue, we ask our brothers in the Vatican to respect the primacy of conscience of women priests and our supporters. We ask you to treat us as beloved members of the Body of Christ. We are living prophetic obedience to Jesus in the Gospel who called both women and men to be his disciples and treated them as equals. We are following the early church tradition of women office holders and leaders of house churches. In response to God's call, we are leading the church into a renewal of  priestly ministry that affirms the equality of the faithful. 

I believe that on a deep mystical level  that the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is beginning a healing  process to centuries old misogyny in which spiritual power was invested exclusively in men.  Our church has a  deep soul wound that needs healing. Women priests are visible reminders that  women are equal images of God, and therefore worthy to preside at the altar. Our church needs to reclaim the divine feminine in every aspect of its life to become more healthy and whole. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, 

.."As I've argued at length, there is no indication that anything of doctrinal substance is going to change under the new pope — and least of all on the ordination of women, a subject on which Francis has explicitly endorsed Pope John Paul II's position, which unequivocally dismissed the possibility. Sooner or later — and probably sooner — egalitarian-minded Catholics are going to lose their patience with the hierarchy's unpersuasive defenses of the status quo...."

Jesus Sophia, Our Wisdom, Our Word, Our Hope of Endless Light (John 9:1-39) by Barbara J. Billey, Candidate, ARCWP

Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” In John’s Gospel, Jesus lifts a veil of darkness from the eyes of a man who has been blind from birth and restores his sight. Soon thereafter, darkness enters again as the man encounters the Pharisees who are relentless in their efforts to prove Jesus a sinner, and not of God. What does Jesus want to teach us about seeing and faith?

The Pharisees’ scorn and judgment does not deter the man who has been healed from proclaiming Jesus as a prophet. The man courageously challenges the Pharisees’ beliefs about the ways of God. He wisely suggests they might also desire to be one of Jesus’ disciples. Because he won’t reject Jesus in favor of Moses, the Pharisees cast the man out of the Jewish community. Their definition of him as one who is a sinner by reason of his blindness from birth is now fixed forever.

Imagine the man’s experience of alienation and fierce desolation. This is when Jesus, compassionate Chosen One, comes a second time and brings light to the man’s darkness. “Yes, I believe”: beyond healer and prophet, the man sees Jesus as God and worships Him.

Jesus says, “We must do the deeds of the One who sent me while it is still day for night is coming, when no one can work.” In her book The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd recounts the true story of the Grimke sisters, two women living in Charleston, North Carolina in the mid-1800s who believe African Americans and women are, in their words, “a person under God.” They give up everything: wealth, family, community and religious tradition. They risk imprisonment, even death, to emancipate slaves and to acquire equal rights for them and for women.

Despite constant fear, fatigue and self-doubt, the Grimke sisters negotiate the dark and dangerous terrain of religion, society and culture. Here, reliance on the Bible and social convention are used to justify oppression of women and African Americans. Like Jesus and the healed one, the sisters remain steadfast to their beliefs, and in the process, are judged as social pariahs. Nevertheless, they bring light to darkness by raising awareness of the issues regarding the inhumane violations of slaves and the oppression of women. They lay a solid foundation for women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who years later advocate for women’s rights to vote.

Jesus says, “I came into this world to execute justice – to make the sightless see and the seeing blind.” How are we seeing? While the faith of the man whom Jesus heals deepens, the Pharisees become more deliberate in their rejection of Jesus. They can only see Jesus through the lens of a sinner, thus they are unable to receive the kind of sight and freedom Jesus offers. Like the Pharisees, do we falsely believe we possess the light, while our prejudice and complacency force us to reject the revelation of God? Do we hold as truth and live our lives strictly according to what political and religious authorities tell us?

Jesus comes as light to a man who is blind and a beggar.  In his darkness, the man is willing to be healed and to proclaim the truth about Jesus, no matter the cost. After his second encounter with Jesus and based on his expression of faith, the healed one seems freed from the bondage of spiritual blindness. Was his capacity to see the presence of the Divine in all things heightened? Was he able to be light for others?

Jesus comes to us, too. How are we responding to the One who is light? Our contemporary culture promotes self-sufficiency and rejects the need for God. We radically respond to Jesus when we open our eyes to the needs of those around us, when we believe we have what it takes to make meaningful change, and when we do His healing justice work. We can expect joy and vitality when our hearts and actions align with Jesus.

Jesus Christ Sophia is our wisdom, our Word, our hope of endless light. Through loving relationships, prayer and Eucharist, Wisdom Jesus illuminates our way to engage the justice work of lifting people from their oppressions. He frees us to embrace our prophetic calling and to emerge from our blindness - personal and political - into the light of Jesus’ ways of seeing.

As we approach the anticipated Easter reality of our Risen Christ, let us pray our Eucharist today in solidarity with the entire Church who welcomes “Lumen Christi,” the Light of Christ. Let us enter the open, fluid space of sightless seeing, of mystery and not knowing. Let us trust Divine Presence with us here, lifting the veil of our darkness so we are free to be light for others.

Barbara J. Billey, Candidate ARCWP

Friday, March 28, 2014

Vatican Punishes Wisconsin Priest for Saying Mass with Female Priest/ Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP/Fr. Jerry Zawada is a Prophet
"A 76-year-old Wisconsin priest and peace activist has been ordered by the Vatican to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance for concelebrating the Catholic Mass with a female priest in 2011.
Father Jerry Zawada had been previously sanctioned by his religious order, the Franciscan Friars Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province in Franklin, for the November 2011 incident, pending Vatican review.
The Vatican order, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith this month, strips Zawada of his right to function publicly as a priest, and orders him to spend his life in prayer and penance at the order's friary in Burlington.
"I don't mind the prayer part," Zawada told the National Catholic Reporter in an interview this week. "But...when they say that I need to be spending time in penance, well, I'm not going to do penance for my convictions and the convictions of so many others, too."
Zawada could not be reached at the Burlington friary on Friday. A friar who answered the phone there said he had fallen and was taken to the hospital.
Zawada is among two Milwaukee-area priests sanctioned for concelebrating Mass with Mother Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a Milwaukee native ordained in the dissident Catholic womenpriest movement, at annual protests at Fort Benning, Ga.
In 2012, Milwaukee Jesuit, Father Bill Brennan, was ordered not to celebrate the Eucharist or other sacraments publicly, or present himself publicly as a priest, for saying Mass with Sevre-Duszynska in November of that year. That sanction followed the excommunication and defrocking of School of the Americas Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who participated in Sevre-Duszynska's 2008 ordination in Lexington, Ky.
The Roman Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of women.
Sevre-Duszynska, of Lexington, is ordained in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Women Priests say their ordinations are valid because they were conducted by bishops who stand in "apostolic succession" — the line of Catholic bishops who stretch back to Jesus' apostles. The Vatican rejects that argument."

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Bridget Mary's Response:
It is a sad day for the Roman Catholic Church when the Vatican punishes  contemporary prophets  and human rights activists like  Fr. Jerry Zawada, a faithful priest for following his conscience in co-presiding at a liturgy with Roman Catholic Woman Priest, Janice Sevre-Duszynska.  

Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada, Jesuit Bill Brennan and Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois are contemporary prophets standing in solidarity with Roman Catholic Women Priests on our journey to gender justice and equality in the Roman Catholic Church.  Our sister, Janice Sevre Duszynska invited her brother priests to co-preside at liturgies. Their "yes" is a historic step forward for the church and reflects the sense of the faithful in the United States and Europe. We are leading the church into a new era  partnership and equality in grassroots communities.  

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith  (CDF) should affirm  the primacy of conscience, a central Catholic teaching, not persecute Catholics who follow their consciences. Every Catholic is obliged to follow his/her conscience even if it means excommunication as St. Thomas Aquinas, medieval theologian taught. Women priests and our supporters are living prophetic obedience to the Gospel. We are following our consciences. 

Therefore , our brothers in the CDF should cease and desist  from all forms of spiritual violence and bullying including ecclesiastical punishments such as excommunication against women priests and our supporters.  We are your beloved sisters and  brothers, members of the Catholic family, by our baptism. Please treat us as Jesus would-- as spiritual equals.

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Augustinian priest: Teaching that women are not like Jesus is 'heretical' Brian Roewe | Mar. 27, 2014
"The explanation for a male-only priesthood that views women as not fully in Jesus' likeness is a heretical teaching that implies women are not fully redeemed, said Augustinian Fr. John Shea in his second such letter since 2012 to U.S. bishops on the issue of women's ordination.
"This teaching that 'women are not fully in the likeness of Jesus' -- qualifying, as it does, as atheological explanation -- is utterly and demonstrably heretical.
"This teaching says that women are not fully redeemed by Jesus. This teaching says that women are not made whole by the saving favor of our God. This teaching says that the 'catholic' church is only truly 'catholic' for males," Shea wrote."

"Who is Blind" Homily for Fourth Sunday of Lent by Rev.Judy Lee, ARCWP

Who’s blind?” the Pharisees demanded of Jesus-are you calling us blind? (John 9:40). What would Jesus say to the leaders of the church today? And what about our own blindspots?  During this Lenten season we are all asked to look at our blindspots. We are asked to see what prevents us from seeing all of God’s people with compassion and equanimity-with chesed and tzedakah , with loving-kindness and with justice and viewing the world through God’s eyes. The reading in 2 Samuel 16 says that God does not see as we see for we look at outward appearances while God looks on the heart. Indeed Jesus cuts through to the heart of the matter many times in the Gospels. We exclude and God includes. We judge and God offers loving-kindness also translated as mercy. We are ethnocentric and egocentric and God welcomes all to the Table. We uphold the laws and rules of religion and Jesus cuts through to the spirit of the law which is always love and justice. The Gospel for today shows Jesus’ compassion for a blind beggar while the religious of the day say that healing on the Sabbath makes him a sinner and a heretic. They could not see the man before them and they could not see Jesus for who he was. Jesus called it like it was-they were blind.
Jimmy Carter has written a book ” A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power” just released by Simon and Schuster in which he makes the connection between religious subjugation of women and violence and discrimination against women throughout the world.  He also is calling it as he sees it, and he strongly supports the ordination of women as priests. In his book he notes how the Scriptures are taken out of context and used to validate oppression and discrimination.  He says:
“So you can pick out individual verses throughout the Bible that shows that the verse favors your particular preference, and the fact that the Catholic Church, for instance, prohibits women from serving as priests or even deacons gives a kind of a permission to male people all over the world, that, well, if God thinks that women are inferior, I’ll treat them as inferiors. If she’s my wife, I can abuse her with impunity, or if I’m an employer, I can pay my female employees less salary.”
The problem lies not only with Christianity, he says, but many of the world’s major religions.
Religious texts are interpreted “almost exclusively by powerful male leaders within the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and other faiths, to proclaim the lower status of women and girls,” Carter writes in the book. “This claim that women are inferior before God spreads to the secular world to justify gross and sustained acts of discrimination and violence against them.”
Carter may have joked on an NPR talk show when he said in response to a question “are you going to become a Catholic?” that he would indeed do so when the Pope ordains women. Yet he truly believes that Pope Francis may have a different response than his predecessors to women’s ordination.  As woman priests, we in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests are asking Pope Francis and the Curia to see as God sees, to look upon the hearts of those called by God to serve as priests whether women, married men or openly gay individuals and look again at the distinctly man-made rules that prohibit the ordination of any but celibate non-openly gay males.  We are praying that they may see, illuminated in the Christ-light, what they have done and continue to do to women and all of the faithful by denying that God can indeed give the church the power to ordain women. We pray they may see as God sees.
Another example of blindness: here in Florida the State Legislature voted to turn down billions of dollars to extend Medicaid to the working poor. They wanted to subvert Obamacare by this action.  Hence, Millie, one of our church members who works extremely hard cleaning big stores, is exploited by one of her two employers and makes under $17,000 a year for a family of three AND she would have to pay $300 a month for medical coverage. She cannot afford to give what is a fourth of her monthly salary to do this. Had the Florida legislature accepted the money her costs for medical coverage would be minimal and affordable. Surely they go to church and other houses of worship and congratulate themselves for the blow against Obamacare when it was a direct blow against the hardworking poor. Whether its politics or religion or personal viewpoints: blind is blind.
 The theme of seeing flows through our Scriptures today. When Samuel was called to anoint a king, he looked at Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son who was tall and strong and good looking and thought “well, this is easy, he’s the one!” But God had another of Jesse’s sons in mind, one not even grown enough to be in the group under consideration. Now, David was a good looking young man, but he had not even been in the running. God chose him and explained to Samuel that God looks on the heart and not the appearance when God chooses people and fills them with the Holy Spirit.  God sees differently than we do.   God also sees to it that our needs are met. The wonderful Shepherd Psalm says that God feeds and leads and cares for us like a loving tender mother does.   In the Aramaic idiom, God leads us into pastures of strength (green pastures) and by restful waters, teaching us what we are able to learn-to enlighten us so we may see what is true.  And God anoints each of us, choosing us to love and serve.
In Ephesians 5 we are asked to live as children of the light-seeing- and to rise up from the dead and see with Christ’s light. But how does Christ see? The same way God does, looking on the heart. Jesus does not see a blind beggar but a man who is a true visionary, one who can see that he is the Messiah, God’s Chosen and Anointed. He sought the man out twice-once to restore his sight and once to be with him in his rejection from the Temple authorities after he took them on with great insight.   You see, he could see who Jesus was, his sight was excellent!
Like the Samaritan woman at the well last week whose name has been lost forever, we wish we knew what this man’s name was. Even in the Scriptures women, “foreigners” and blind or lame or mentally or physically ill people are anonymous and invisible. Jonathan Swift said “”vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” He also quoted another writer of the 16th century saying” There are none so blind that those who will not see.” Cynic and satirist though he was, in this he saw what God saw. Singer and song writer Ray Stevens uses this line in Everything is Beautiful, a song that begins with the children’s hymn “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.”  All God’s children deserve homes and food and opportunities for education and a good life and yet we inure ourselves to the poverty all around us.
We have seen so many pass by on the other side of the street to avoid looking at the homeless begging in their midst.  We have heard good people say “I don’t give them anything, they will only go out and do drugs”. Our church serves the homeless. We do so with eyes wide open. It hurts to see. We know that some are homeless for reasons of economics in a society where the safety nets for the poor and the working poor are full of large gaping holes. We know that some are homeless because of divorce,deaths and families falling apart. We know that some cannot compete in the new technology. We know that some are too sick to work and yet denied disability benefits. We know that some are mentally ill and falling through a system that no longer gives adequate time or resources to their treatment and rehabilitation. We know that some are addicted to legal and illegal drugs. We know that there are many children and old people in their number. We know that there are few shelters and services and resources for the great numbers of homeless people.  We know America has turned its back on the problem, blaming it on the victims.
We know how hard it is to serve people in church week after week,to look them in the eye, when it takes so long to house them and they must sleep on the streets or in cars. In seven years we have helped nearly a hundred people to become housed, and many  to access incomes.  It is barely a dent in the problem, but I am so thankful for this little church that does what it can,welcoming everyone and feeding them every Sunday both physically and spiritually. We do see- our poorest neighbors are visible and welcomed.  We do what we can but it is not enough. We do not have the resources to do much more.  We see, and when we see what God sees we also weep for there is so much more work to be done.
The Pharisees on the other hand were blind to the way God sees. They ignored this blind man and passed him by a million times. Then they demonized and victimized him. They thought that he or his parents had sinned so he deserved his blindness and shunning and marginalization. And they put religious rules about the Sabbath above compassion for a human being. Moreover, they were totally blind to who Jesus was. Yes, Jesus who turns things upside down called them blind and saw in the blind beggar the makings of a strong disciple. Indeed, “God has chosen the weak and foolish of this world” to usher in the kin-dom of love and justice. Wow!
We too are like the Pharisees, we may see some of what Jesus saw, but what and who are we still ignoring and misjudging? Jesus, wash the scales off our eyes so we may see.                                                                IMG_0180
Pastor Judy Lee,ARCWP
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
Fort Myers, Florida

Homily for March 30, 2014/Fourth Sunday of Lent by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Wednesday I was over at Claver House having coffee with the other
guests, and we got to talking about what we would do if we won the
Ohio lottery jackpot. Pay the bills, help the kids, give to the
church. Then George, the octogenarian, the Korean Navy Veteran, said
he'd first of all give to the people we were eating with--the street
people, the people living on the margins--and I saw the truth of Dr.
Ruby Payne's observation that the poor have different values from the
middle class and the rich.

For the poor, it's all about the people in their lives. They don't
have things, but they have people. The poor live day-to-day in a
hand-to-mouth world that requires them to maintain relationships, even
relationships that do them harm, in order to survive.

When the lottery question comes up among middle class folks, the
answers are different: pay off the mortgage, quit the job, send the
kids to college, travel. It's about jobs and education as the way to
achieve, to get "stuff"--and more money puts more "stuff" within their

When the lottery question comes up among the wealthy, their answers
point to doing more so as to be seen as people with status and
connections--dining in the right restaurants, living in the right
neighborhood, having the right people at parties, serving on the right
boards, marrying the kids into the right families. All three--the poor
and the wealthy and those in between--can be blind to the fact that
right relationship is what really matters.

Our first reading shows us that the appearance--what we can see
physically--may or may not be a true reflection of a person. Where we
see the appearance, God sees the heart. It's obvious from many of the
Hebrew Scriptures that anointing does not guarantee worthy leadership.
The anointed can fail to grasp the grace of the anointing. We can be
blind to unjust social structures, as Samuel was when he saw Jesse's
oldest son, Eliab, and the six other older brothers; contrary to
tradition, the youngest of the eight is chosen. Saul does not live up
to his promise. David compromises Bathsheba and has her husband Uriah

And there are contemporary examples as well. Ordination to the
priesthood has not prevented sex abuse, and consecration as a bishop
has not brought transparency and an end to cover-ups.
A new Pontifical commission appointed by Pope Francis this week will
"look into church law to see what has worked, then make
recommendations;" it will "advise the church on the best policies."
Fr. Thomas Doyle, in National Catholic Reporter, notes that a "massive
amount of research has been done into every aspect of clergy sex
abuse," so he does not expect anything new from this commission. Fr.
Doyle concludes, however, that the church is responding effectively to
this debacle, but it's not the institutional church, nor is it the
clergy. It is the People of God, the victims, their families, their
supporters, and a very few clerics and religious who have risen to the
occasion. The hope for the future rests with them.

That's us--the hope for the future. Today's second reading reminds us
that our baptism -our anointing--requires three things of us as
"children of light:" we commit ourselves first to associate with
goodness; then to avoid darkness as well as expose it; and finally to
use our light to show others the way.

In today's Gospel, the man born blind is physically cured, and the
result is that his relationships change dramatically. Everybody was
comfortable with him as a blind beggar. His parents grow afraid--they
fear that they will be barred from the synagogue because of his cure.
The synagogue officials can't accept the cure--it doesn't come from
them, so they try to discredit it. The man is left with Jesus, and he
is spiritually cured as well.

Like that man born blind, we find that the way we see ourselves and
our world can change. We see differently with age and maturity.
Suffering, trauma, or loss can shift our world. Our spiritual sight 

sharpens. We begin to see more clearly the Way that Jesus offers. 
And we notice that some of our religious leaders don't "see." 
They remain blind to the truth. They act on false premises, 
thinking they can do no wrong.

Seeing ourselves in right relationship with the Di
vine Presence
changes our life. We work to put things in right order--the
definition of justice. We work to make and keep our relationships
balanced and true. We weigh options, and find that man-made rules 
arealways second to God's rules, to the commandment to love.

We are the ones called now: called to risk misunderstanding,
accusations, and exclusion because we see. Lots of ways to answer the
call! Many of you will be going to Dr. Ruby Payne's presentation on
poverty next Thursday evening at Central Catholic, taking another step
towards seeing more clearly--taking off the blinders to--the problem of
racism in our community. As a church Community we have resolved to
look closely at the environment and speak out against the systems that
undermine care for God's creation.

We see. And because we see, we must take action. It's a moral
imperative for us.

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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

President Carter sends a message to world religious leaders: Stop using religion to justify violence against women. by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite /Carter will become Catholic when a woman priest invites him!
 An article about Jimmy Carter's new book authored by Susan Thistlethwaite about Carter's new book  - in which he says he will become a Catholic when a woman priest invites him to join her church.

"An extraordinary thing about President Carter, and I speak from personal experience, is that he actually listens to women. When President Carter appeared on The Colbert Report recently, Colbert remarked to the president, “You’re not a Catholic yet.” Carter admitted as much, though allowed he was “thinking about it.” He said he could become a Catholic “[w]hen a female Catholic priest invites me to join her church.”
Note that while President Carter seems to think a lot of Pope Francis, he didn’t say he’d join the Catholic Church if the Pope asked him. No, he said he’s asking the Pope to ordain women, and then when the Catholic Church ordains women to be priests, he’d listen to a woman priest if she asked him to become a Catholic.
That’s pretty much how President Carter understands that last word in the title of his new book: power. There has to be a power shift in the relationship of men to women and a shift in how religion is deployed. Today, the president contends, religion is deployed to justify, even promote, violence against women.  That has to be reversed. Religion must be deployed to promote equal human rights and dignity for women."
Bridget Mary's Response:
President Carter, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, invite you to attend our liturgies when you are in our areas. Diane Dougherty, a Roman Catholic Woman Priests lives in and ministers in Atlanta. I am sure  Diane will send you an invitation to local celebrations in your area.  The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests appreciate your prophetic stance on behalf of justice and equality for women in the Catholic Church and in religion and society. Your book  makes the important connection between discrimination against women in religion and abuse and violence toward women in society.  Thank you. Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Interview with Jimmy Carter: "stop using Scripture to trample women's rights"

Former President Jimmy Carter is issuing a call to action for religions to stop using scripture to trample on women's rights.
He spoke about his new book out today, "A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power," with HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski and responded to her question about what religion has to do with women's rights.
President Carter stressed that there is no room in Jesus' message for sexism:
"There's no evidence at all that Jesus Christ did anything except to exalt women. Never has a single word or action been alleged to him that would deprive women from their equal or superior rights."
Carter explained that he left the Southern Baptist Church when they voted that women must be subservient to their husbands in 2012, a ruling that went against his commitment to gender equality. He maintains a strong Baptist faith and attends a Baptist church where a woman served as pastor and his wife is a deacon.
"Everybody is equal in the eyes of God," he said.
Watch the whole segment here.

"Our Lenten Journey" by Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP
Today we offer some special moments in the Lenten Journey of Pastors Judy Lee and Judy Beaumont, Roman Catholic women priests   and co-Pastors of The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community. Many steps and much prayer make up our journeys of reflection, deepening commitment and renewal as we walk toward Easter with Jesus.
A journey of this Lenten season has been accompanying Gaspare who is 26 in his decision to have a life giving serious surgery. After much prayer and counseling he finally agreed to the operation. Bravely and in faith he was operated on the morning of March 25th,2014. We brought him to surgery at 5:30 AM and anointed him before his surgery at 7:30. He placed his trust in our loving God and entered surgery with confidence. The surgery was a success and laproscopic means were possible enhancing recovery time. By this evening he was resting nicely and in excellent early recovery. We prayed with him and his mother, Lili, sister Marcella and Charlotte Williams a dear family friend. The miracle was not only his acceptance of the surgery and its success, but his turn of heart to buy into life. We thank God for this young man and ask continued prayers for his recovery.
 This is Gaspare in his hospital room in recovery with Pastor Judy Lee
Another of our Lenten Journeys is to continue serving a hot lunch to the hungry and to assist people in gaining access to affordable housing. Below are three women who volunteer with our ministry. Gini Beecroft, on the right, and her husband Paul supported our ministry over five years ago. When he went home to God almost three years ago Gini continued her generous giving of self to the Ministry serving and preparing food with members of her Breckinridge Community. She also had donations for Paul’s Memorial given , in part, to our ministry. Here Gini and her friend are resting with Kathy Roddy (middle) after serving our people a hot lunch. Kathy herself became homeless after a series of unfortunate life events out of her control and now with great gratitude and joy awaits her own affordable townhouse through Goodwill Industries Housing for the physically disabled.
 Here is Kathy with Kris and Stacie who are also going to move into Goodwill Housing. We have just accompanied them to their housing interview and all were delighted to learn of their acceptance and seeing their new homes.  We are praying for a move-in date before Easter, but two are going into new housing and it may take a bit longer.

 We have also been accompanying some of our Tuesday church members to apply for social security benefits. Tom is also celebrating his 62nd Birthday with us.      Robert and Eddie have Birthdays as well.


We also spent some quality time re-uniting with family and friends,
 getting back to nature
 and renewing our souls!
 And yet, the journey continues and we are so thankful!

Blessings as we serve one another, refresh and renew,
Pastor JudyIMG_0131

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Roman Catholic Woman Priest Suzanne Thiel Greets Cardinal Oscar Rodriquez Maradiaga at Los Angeles Religious Education Conference

(March 13-16 at Anahiem Convention Center) 

Roman Catholic Woman Priest Suzanne Thiel greets Cardinal  Oscar Rodriguez Maradiago, head  of Pope Francis' kitchen cabinet of influential advisors. Suzanne gave Cardinal Rodriquez Maradiaga a copy of "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican", a documentary film with Spanish subtitles about the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement, a slideshow of Roman Catholic Women Priests,  links to television coverage of Olga Lucia on Colombian Television and other materials about our women priest movement. 

Suzanne Thiel Reports:

"I was able to give Cardinal Maradiaga (with women priests, Juanita Cordero 
and Jen O'Malley)the gift of Pink Smoke with Spanish subtitles, our DVD of Walk Humbly with God and several bookmarks featuring womens ministries and a prayer card for priest vocations.  I asked him to please review these materials and give them to Pope Francis. 
I also indicated that we would like to carry on this dialogue and asked how we could meet with him to continue our discussion regarding the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement to tell our stories of the women's ministries and their worshiping communities that already exist around the world.  The cardinal seemed quite friendly towards us and even gave us a blessing. Could This Be The Beginning of a Continued Dialogue?  A Break-Through?"

Let us pray that a new day of dialogue will begin and that the Vatican will reverse its punishments , including excommunication, against Roman Catholic Women Priests and our supporters.  Bridget Mary Meehan

Who is Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiago:

PARIS (Reuters) - "An influential aide to Pope Francis criticized the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog on Monday and urged the conservative prelate to be more flexible about reforms being discussed in the Roman Catholic Church.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the head of a "kitchen cabinet" the pope created to draw up reform proposals, said that Archbishop Gerhard Mueller - who has opposed any loosening of Church rules on divorce - was a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms.
"The world isn't like that, my brother," Rodriguez said in a German newspaper interview, rhetorically addressing Mueller in a rare public criticism among senior Church figures.
"You should be a bit flexible when you hear other voices, so you don't just listen and say, 'here is the wall'," Rodriguez said in an interview with the daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger."

Women Priest Led Good Shepherd Church Prepares for Confirmation

On Sunday March 23rd, 2014 eight young people (ages 12-18) and three adults stood up individually, said their names clearly and responded to the Question: “What do you seek from the Church?” with the resounding answer “Confirmation!”They were met with a round of loud applause and affirmation. As some were not present this question will be asked again next Sunday and we expect several more responses. How exciting this is as the people prepare for Confirmation which will be on April 26th at 4PM in our Bishop’s home church in Sarasota Florida. In a very real way the whole church is involved in the process of mentoring and preparation.

In a class afterward when youth and adults were joined for a period of time Linda Maybin, mother of five of the young people said” I just decided that I had to lead the way and take my faith the next step. I look forward to the Holy Spirit filling me with new gifts so I can serve God’s people”. In the Junior and Senior classes the youth focused on reconciliation and ”bringing clean hearts” to God and naming for themselves what things they were truly sorry for. They shared these things with me as priest and with one another by writing and drawing themselves into a poster about the Seven Sacraments. They also thought about ways they may offer their gifts to the community.  As our community is focused on helping the homeless and hungry they could find ways to fit themselves into our service. They also began work in little Confirmation Journals where answers are not right or wrong and their thoughts and efforts mattered.

The Junior Class Works on Their Posters With Their Teacher, Mrs. Pearl Cudjoe.
Joelle who is seven(top left) says “I want to follow Jesus and I love God”.
What more is there to ask?

A Special Birthday Blessing for Adult Confirmand Mr. Robert Swanson
Mrs. Cyrillia Rismay teaches “Oh How I Love Jesus” to our “Little Lambs Class” The Triplets will be baptized on Easter.
Tom is coming to the table where Lisa Munklewitz and Pearl Cudjoe are serving the Sunday meal.

Linda and Natasha,Jolinda, Keeondra, Jakein and Jakeriya talk about what Confirmation means to them.

They talk about becoming more mature Christians. They talk about  how the oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit “sealing the deal”. IMG_0129
They talk about becoming full members of the Church.

Pastor Judy Beaumont shares a Confirmation Poster with our Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan who sends messages of affirmation to our young people.
Thanks be to God for the enthusiasm of our people as they dedicate themselves to a life of love and service to one another. This is the prayer the congregation prayed for them. It is from the Rite of the Church.
“Come,Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful,
and kindle in us the fire of Your Love.
Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created,
and You shall renew the face of the earth! “
Pastor Judy Lee
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community