Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Woman Risks Excommunication to be Ordained" LOU MUMFORD South Bend Tribune

..."The Catholic Church hierarchy strongly opposes Lewis’ ordination, as it has that of the other roughly 150 women priests ordained by RCWP over the last 12 years. In a two-page letter dispersed at Catholic Masses last weekend, Bishop Paul J. Bradley of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo made reference to the ordination and warned Catholics not to attend.
In a statement to The Tribune, the bishop threatened to issue declarations of excommunication against Catholics who show up.
“Any Catholic attending or participating in this, or any invalid and illicit attempt at the sacrament of ordination, places themselves outside of full communion with the Catholic Church,” Bradley said. Should Lewis proceed with her ordination, she, too, by her actions will be declared excommunicated, he said.
But in an interview this week, Lewis left no doubt as to her commitment. A Chicago native educated in Catholic schools who worked as a “street minister” before assisting and training priests in Chicago’s inner-city churches, the married mother of four said it was only a few years ago that she entertained thoughts of becoming a priest.
“I had no ambitions to be a priest. I think what put me over the top was all these scandals in the last 10 years,” she said of accusations of child sexual abuse leveled against Catholic priests.
“It just festered long enough that I thought I was going to look into this (RCWP),” Lewis said.
Pointing out that other denominations have allowed women priests, Lewis said she has refused pursuit of different faiths because those aren’t her tradition. Also, she said she never had any interest in becoming a nun because they have no authority.
As for the looming declaration of excommunication, she said she’s not bothered by it.
“This is going to cost me but the Lord is telling me what to do,” she said.
Kathleen Sprows Cummings, an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame and the director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, said Lewis’ ordination and that of other women who have become priests through RCWP represents “an extreme view.”
“But, on the other hand, it indicates a larger sense of frustration about women who have gifts and feel they have something to offer the Church,” she said."

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Ordained female priest says Mass at St. Francis House" Columbia, Missouri

Columbia Missourian

"Female Catholic priest celebrates Mass at St. Francis CW House" by
Alex Bond, the Columbia Missourian May 29, 2014

Female Catholic priest celebrates Mass at St. Francis House

Thursday, May 29, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:58 a.m. CDT, Thursday, May 29, 2014
COLUMBIA — In the middle of a living room, a table is set like an altar, with wine and bread prepared for Holy Communion. At the head is a priest dressed in a black shirt, jeans and sandals, hair tied behind the head revealing a gold earring hanging from each ear. She has a deep purple stole around her neck, which rests on her lap as she sits.
Ordained female priest says Mass at St. Francis House
Female Roman Catholic priest Janice Sevre-Duszynska displays a sign she used in protest of the exclusion of women from the priesthood. Flag as irrelevant t
In 1998, Janice Sevre-Duszynska stood up in the middle of an ordination service and shocked her entire congregation when she demanded the Bishop to ordain her into priesthood.
Sevre-Duszynska said the Bishop sounded like Darth Vader at the time, commanding her to go back to her seat and stop disrupting the service. However Sevre-Duszynska said she did not view her actions as disruptive. Rather, she said she was acting as the voice for all women.
While Sevre-Duszynska did not fulfill her dream of entering the priesthood at that service, she became an ordained priest on August 9, 2008 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Sevre-Duszynska visited Columbia on Wednesday to say mass at St. Francis House and screen the documentary “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican,” which focuses on the controversial movement of women seeking priesthood within the Catholic Church.
Before the mass, Sevre-Duszynska spoke of her journey into priesthood and the exclusion of women in the Catholic Church.
A former journalist and teacher, Sevre-Duszynska said she fulfilled her lifelong dream when she became a priest in 2008. As a child she helped clean the church and would pretend she was the one giving mass.
“Sometimes when the church was empty, I would make believe that I was a priest at the altar. I would raise up the bread and wine during the consecration of the Eucharist… I would bless the people of God,” Sevre-Duszynska said.
Sevre-Duszynska finally fulfilled her childhood dream in 2008 when Bishop Dana Reynolds ordained her into priesthood. On that day Sevre-Duszynska officially joined the Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
The Roman Catholic Womenpriests originated in Germany in 2002 with the ordination of seven women. Since then, over 145 women have entered the priesthood worldwide.
The Catholic Church refuses to recognize these women priests. In Pope John Paul II’s 1994 Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, he gave the final word on female priests in the Catholic Church by saying, “We declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.”
For female priests, breaking through the 'stained-glass ceiling' means excommunication from the Catholic Church. For Sevre-Duszynska, this exclusion of women illustrates an injustice in the church.
“Pedophile priests; they’ve had a little slap on the hand by the Vatican, but they’ve not been excommunicated. But we women have been excommunicated, an excommunication we do not accept,” Sevre-Duszynska said.
Sevre-Duszynska explains the validity of her ordination is rooted in the following of the apostolic succession of the Roman Catholic Church.
Local Catholic Kate Edwards doesn’t see the problem with female priests in the Catholic Church.
“I think women absolutely should be allowed to be priests because it doesn’t really make sense for a denomination that preaches equality for women and everything else to kind of have that ‘but wait, you’re not allowed to be priests.’ So it doesn’t really make sense to me,” Edwards said.
The RCWP aren’t exclusive in their preaching. They want to spread the word of God to all people of the world.
“Everyone is welcome to our Eucharist, even if you’re not Catholic…everyone is welcome at our table,” Sevre-Duszynska said.

"Why I Disobey My Bishop" by St. Hildegard of Bingen/ Patron Saint of Excommunicated and Alienated Catholics

This fiery little tirade was written by St. Hildergarde of Bingen (1098 - 1179) whose monastery was placed under interdict by the local bishop! Hildegard challenged the pope, bishops and civil leaders of her times, unafraid of the consequences. She is the patron of all  who speak truth to power including "whistle blowers," Catholics who follow conscience and disobey unjust laws, and the many today who are excommunicated! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

"Flame of Anger"

You ask why I disobey you, my bishop;

I answer in a spirit of prayer,

As I hope you did too in addressing me.

I, the Abbess, disobey, and all my sisters choose to disobey,

Because in such obedience is only darkness.

In our disobedience is light for our spirits,

So has God shown us.

I am not just disobedient,

I am outraged.

A thunderstorm of outrage shakes my soul.

In God’s truth I say to you:

‘You are wrong and we are right.’

We are obeying Christ,

We are following Christ,

We choose not to insult Christ,

As obeying you would force us to do.

Because of what you call our disobedience,

You have forbidden us to sing our psalms.

You have deprived us of the Food of Life.

You have cut off the streams of life, the sacramental graces.


God told me to tell you this also:

Beware of closing the mouths of those who sing God’s praises.

‘Who dares to de-string the harp of heaven?’ God asked me.

‘Only the devil,’ I whispered.

Ask yourself, O bishop, whose side are you on?

Excerpts from Letter to the Bishop written by Hildegarde of Bingen aged 80

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On the Lighter Side- Why Men Cannot be Priests!

"Priests in high demand as Catholic population rises" /A Priest Shortage Leading to a Renewed Church in which Women Priests Serve in a Community of Equals
Dave Breitenstein,

"Nationally, one in five Catholic parishes does not have a resident priest.
America's Catholic population is rising by 1 percent annually, but seminary enrollment is flat. An inadequate supply of priests already has forced hundreds of parishes to close or consolidate.
Priests aren't getting any younger, either. Their average age is 63.
Something's got to give..."
Bridget Mary's Response:
Bishop Frank Dewane does not need to worry about a future shortage of priests in Florida. Women priests are here! And we are growing. Last weekend, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests ordained six women in Cleveland. A drop in the bucket, you say? Do you believe that faith moves mountains? I do.
We know that women who make up at least half of church membership, are ready, willing and open to serve the church. Women already do at least 80 percent of the work in parish ministry.  If church law did not discriminate against women, I believe that there would be a large number of priests to serve Catholics. The problem  is the man-made, sinful, sexist law that prohibits women's ordination.  
Even though, Jesus chose both male and female disciples and women served as deacons, priests and bishops during the first twelve hundred years of the church's history, Pope John Paul 11  issued an official letter in 1994 banning women's ordination, entitled "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis." It said that since women did not bear a physical resemblance to Jesus, they could not serve as priests.  Huh!? Contemporary theologians like John Shea call the church's explanation of why women cannot be priests "heretical".  Obviously, this teaching contradicts the bible and the example of Jesus.  Women and men are created in God's image according to Genesis.  Galations 3:28 reminds us there is neither Jew, nor Greek... male or female, all are one in Christ.  Baptism makes us spiritual equals in Christ.  
 The good news is that there are Roman Catholic Women Priests now serving inclusive Catholic communities in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and Latin America. Locally, Judy Lee and Judy Beaumont are Roman Catholic Women Priests who preside at a weekly liturgy at Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community. They serve people who are homeless and struggling to make a living in the Ft. Myers area. 
Perhaps, the shortage of priests is a wake up call that the Spirit is moving in grassroots, inclusive, empowered communities where the community of the baptized celebrates Eucharist as the Body of Christ around the table, on the table, and present everywhere in the cosmos. God is calling men and women to shape a renewed priestly ministry, one with all in the Banquet of love.   Women are saying, "yes,  here we are, we are ready to serve  as priests."Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Video Clips of Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordination of Six Women in Cleveland

Veni Sanctus Spiritus

Community Blessing:

Anointing of priests:

Introducing new priests:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"For Women Priests, a Moment of Justice and Excommunication" Al

The number of Catholic female ordinations grows despite Vatican protests

National Catholic Reporter Editorial: Disconnect between preaching, practice on LCWR is painful

..."We ask ourselves: What is the cause of this severe disconnection? The answer, we come to conclude, is fear. Fear of allowing women to sit at the table. Fear, perhaps, of what an inclusive church might look like. Does this stem from a fear of change? Is this fear generated by not spending time in collaboration with women? Our experience tells us that listening to their ideas, their perspectives, their insights would result in building a stronger, healthier church. Keeping them out diminishes us all. Francis, nothing you have shown us since the first day of your pontificate indicates you are a fear-driven bishop. On the contrary, you appear whole and at peace with yourself. Your humble confidence says you trust in the Spirit. These are all healthy signs the Spirit is alive within you. Trust that Spirit. That trust will serve you well. It will lead you to open the doors of which you speak -- to all the faithful, including, no, starting with the LCWR leadership..."
Bridget Mary's Response: It is encouraging that Pope Francis said "Who are we to close doors?" It is my hope that Francis opens the door to Gospel equality and partnership including decision-making and liturgical leadership.  The challenge for Francis and the bishops is to let go of their fear of women and to embrace the spiritual transformation that occurs as women take their rightful place as spiritual equals in the community of the baptized.  The LCWR and the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement are playing a leadership role in living justice and equality in  grassroots communities and ministries that are renewing the church from within.  Yes,  Pope Francis, open the doors to all, indeed, who are the hierarchy to close doors that the Spirit has opened, is opening and will open? Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Six Roman Catholic Women Ordained in Cleveland on May 24, 2014

The Laying on of Hands on Marianne Therese Smyth  by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan
Pastor Judy Beaumont and I were happy to attend this wonderful ordination of four women priests and two women deacons in Cleveland on Saturday 5/24/14. The church was packed and joy,happiness and expectation filled the air.
This was an especially happy occasion for me as my cousin Marianne Therese Smyth was one of the newly ordained priests. It was my joy to present her to the Bishop and the community along with our cousin, Jackie Weinmann Marion who also participated in the Procession and the ceremony, helping to vest Marianne and presenting her with a chalice and paten from the family.
Marianne and Judy Lee

Jackie Weinmann Marion bringing up the Chalice and Paten
Marianne,a mother of two and a grandmother of four, is theologically and experientially prepared for the priesthood. She was a third order Carmelite for five years, undertook much advanced study and spent her professional life teaching and counseling special education students and later was devoted to the care of her elderly and much beloved mother, Betty whose spirit was very much with us.  She is presently preparing herself for ministry with the dying and their families by taking an eleventh month course and practicum called “Companioning the Dying”. She feels blessed by this ministry  especially when called in to accompany someone at the eleventh hour. Marianne has conveyed that she is trying to live her life as a “conscious sacrament” and that she feels called to celebrate sacred connectedness and God’s boundless love for everyone. She will also be celebrating with the Living Waters Inclusive Catholic Community with RCWP Bishop Andrea Johnson and Priest Gloria Carpeneto and others in Catonsville, Maryland.
Left to right: Marianne T. Smyth, Irene C. Scaramazza and Mary Collingwood, Three Newly Ordained Priests
Each one of the women ordained is a special and courageous woman. We are truly blessed to have them with us in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Below Front: Mary Bergan Blanchard, Irene Scaramazza, Priests, Susan Guzik and Barbara Billey, Deacons,  Bishop Bridget Mary,and Mary Collingwood and Marianne Therese Smyth, Priests. Rear: Other ARCWP Priests Attending

Catholic Leaders (Priests) Complain About Diocese of Venice Bishop Frank Dewane

"Ten priests and pastors go on the record calling the Diocese of Venice Bishop a bully who relies on intimidation and fear.
That's just beginning of a list of complaints now on the way to Washington, D.C.
A group of priests wrote a letter to the Pope's liaison with major concerns over Bishop Frank Dewane.
We obtained a copy of that letter.
In it, the group says the Venice Diocese under Bishop Frank Dewane’s leadership has become quote “intolerable.”
The letter was sent to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano in January and centers around three complaints; financial transparency, violation of canon church law and intimidation and bullying tactics.
The letter cites examples of excessive, unmonitored spending of diocesan funds by Bishop Dewane.
The letter goes on to say the bishop got rid of several groups required to assign priests and deacons -- saying instead, Bishop Dewane makes those decisions on his own..."

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 6 Easter A, May 25, 2014, by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

When we hear today's passage from the Acts of the Apostles,
we have trouble relating to its miracles,
its unclean spirits shrieking out,
the requirement for apostles to perform a charismatic ritual
in order to bring the Holy Spirit to people.
It made sense
in the worldview of Middle Eastern people two millennia ago,
but it doesn't seem to resonate
with the way we experience the world today.
On the other hand, I am reminded
of an incident down at Claver House a while back.
Pamela came in that day shouting some obscenities
and pacing agitatedly around the room,
threatening the other guests.
Paul, a frequent guest, walked quietly over to her,
called her by name, and said simply, "Be quiet,"
and Pamela stopped shouting and flailing about,
looked him straight in the eye, turned around and left.
Good teachers and good parents do that same kind of thing
with the youngsters in their charge.
Sometimes it works, and those of us who have seen it happen
pass the story along.
That kind of control takes a person
who is centered, gentle, attentive, caring,
a person who knows the Holy Spirit dwells in everyone,
who is ready to speak with the Spirit inside one's self
and listen to the Spirit in the other--
in short, a loving person, the way we know Jesus was,
the way we, as Christians, are called to be.
Then, when we hear today's passage from the first letter of Peter,
we have trouble relating to the idea that God wills us to suffer,
that Jesus died for our sins,
that he was put to death to lead us to God.
While those ideas made some kind of sense
in the Greco-Roman culture of the scripture writers,
they don't fit with today's understanding
of how the world operates, and of how God operates.
We no longer see God as requiring death as a sacrifice;
we see life--indeed all the universe--
as an expression of a greater God
than we can possibly imagine.
We understand humankind as evolving over billions of years
and continuing to evolve,
God-created and never to be destroyed but to be transformed.
We see suffering in general
as part of the cycle of our life as conscious beings.
We look to Jesus' suffering and death as part of being human,
just like us.
We know that Jesus was murdered
because he was a man of integrity,
a prophet, who spoke the truth
and suffered the consequences in that culture,
the same way that whistleblowers suffer in the U.S. culture,
the same way Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Fr. John Dear,
and other male Catholic clergy are suffering
for speaking truth about women's ordination,
the same way theologian Elizabeth Johnson is suffering
for her excellent scholarship,
the same way the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
is suffering for continuing to focus on works of social justice
in spite of the Vatican's inquisition.
And when we hear that Gospel passage,
we have even more trouble today.
John's high Christology doesn't fit our understanding.
We don't see God's love as conditional,
so we question the statement John puts in Jesus' mouth,
that IF you love me and obey,
then I will ask God to send the Paraclete.
And we don't see God's love as exclusive:
that ONLY those who obey are the ones who love Jesus,
and God will love ONLY those people.
We believe that God is with everyone,
without condition, without limit.
In line with Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin--
another of those theologians once silenced by the Vatican--
we believe that each of us and all of us are growing--
evolving--into God.
Our world view has shifted in the last 2000 years.
Our knowledge has increased, and our consciousness has grown.
The framing and phrasing of spiritual experiences in this way
no longer rings true for us.
We truly believe that God is everywhere, in everyone.
There's a unity about God that we're discerning now,
and it's different from that former world view.
We truly believe that God includes everybody,
not just those who are Christians or Catholics
or who think of God in a certain way.
We truly believe in a universal communion
of all people and all animals and all matter,
a unity beyond our imagining.
So we try to look at these scripture passages
through the lens of today's world,
looking for what was in the heart of the first-century believers
and trying to find the parallels in our world today.
Do we find anything for us?
Can we read any of it in light of the signs of our time?
When John has Jesus say,
"I am in God and you are in me and I am in you,"
we hear it with a cosmic sensitivity.
It's not that this idea was not present before,
but we now know about the Big Bang (the Cosmic Hatch)
and the expanding universe
and the existence of other universes.
We know that God is bigger than we had ever thought before,
and we struggle with for ways to imagine that,
search for metaphors to describe that.
We also know that our human greed and selfishness
threatens to change our planet so much
that our grandchildren will die from the effects
if we do not change our habits.
We can also find a meaningful message for us
when we turn to today's psalm, #66, .
Its message resonates for us:
Let all the earth cry out in joy to our God.
Now that spring has finally sprung,
it's easier for us to pray that
than it was four months ago
when we were tromping through three feet of snow.
We can almost hear the sprouts and blossoms crying out in joy.
Tiny fruits are forming on the cherries and apples and pears
where the blossoms have already faded.
Even the radishes have sprouted.
And the dandelions.
We can see the perennial re-birth of the planet,
even as we know
our consumerist habits are threatening its life,
and our lives along with it.
We are learning more and more about how these life forms
that feed us and clean our air and water
developed over time into what we see today.
With every new piece of knowledge that dawns upon us,
we are ever more ready to sing out,
"Let everything that lives and breathes give praise to God!" And
we're ever more ready to do our part
to be all that God made us to be!

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

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

"Women Become Ordained Priests" by JoAnne Viviano, Columbus Dispatch

(Rev. Irene Scaramazza was ordained in Cleveland on May 25th by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. )

..."For the Gahanna woman who spent more than two decades as a Roman Catholic nun, the road to the altar has been littered with fear, doubt, self-loathing and countless hours of prayer.
On Saturday, all that was behind her as she was ordained alongside three other women priests and two women deacons by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The group’s clergy proudly claim their Catholicism despite being excommunicated by the Vatican by virtue of their ordinations.
The ceremony at Brecksville United Church of Christ in Cuyahoga County followed many of the traditions of the Catholic Mass, with a few twists. Women read the Gospel and delivered the homily; and the congregation — Catholic and non-Catholic — was invited to help consecrate the Eucharist and welcomed to receive it.
“For over 42 years, I have been told over and over and over again that I’m not good enough, that I can’t because I’m a woman, and all the rhymes and reasons, but it’s just not right,” Scaramazza, 63, said in Columbus on Wednesday. “From where I stand, the time has come for me to speak my truth.”
Scaramazza’s calling began when she was a child, but she was afraid to go against church teachings. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, Pa., but the call never stopped.
“Many a night I would call out to God, ‘What do you want with me? Would you please let this go?’  ” she said.
Then, little by little, prayer by prayer, she came closer to answering the call, eventually borrowing words attributed to Jesus telling God: “Not my will but yours be done.”
...A survey conducted in February by the Pew Research Center showed that 68 percent of Catholics polled believe the church should allow women to be priests.
The Roman Catholic women-priests movement traces its roots to the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002; the following year, a Roman Catholic bishop who remains anonymous ordained the movement’s first bishops.
There are now nearly 200 women priests in 10 countries.
...She holds advanced degrees in theology, pastoral counseling and family therapy and is certified to work as a medical chaplain.
She had worked as a chaplain in a Catholic hospital but lost her job, she said, because she was ordained. She now works for Acclaim Hospice and Palliative Care, traveling throughout central Ohio to serve people near the end of life.
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, who presided over the ordinations on Saturday, said women served as leaders during the first 1,200 years of the church, that Jesus had many apostles who were women, and that it was a woman — Mary Magdalene — to whom he first appeared upon his Resurrection, instructing her to spread the good news.
Meehan told those gathered that “justice is rising up in the church” and that the women-priests movement ministers to people who do not have a spiritual home, including the divorced and remarried, gay people and women excluded from leadership roles.
“Jesus’ trademark is inclusiveness. There are no outsiders. All that is required is that we worship in spirit and in truth,” Meehan said.

Kalamazoo Bishop Warns Catholics Not to Participate in Womenpriest Ordination Ceremony/ Bishop Should Not Attempt to Intimidate Catholics

"The letter does not name Lewis, but says she and direct participants in the ordination will be excommunicated, and those who "give witness and encouragement to this fundamental break with the unity of the people of God place themselves outside of the full community with the Church." That means, the letter said, they may not receive the sacraments of the Church until they go to confession."
Bridget Mary's Response: Women Priests are living prophetic obedience by following God's call to serve the people of God. Bishop Bradley should respect the primacy of conscience of others. Vatican 11 affirmed the importance of  primacy of conscience as a major Catholic teaching!

"The letter says the Catholic Church teaches that all people have "equal dignity," but because Jesus Christ was a man, the "imagery which God has given can only be respected with and lived with an ordained priesthood reserved to men." 
Bridget Mary's Response: As theologian John Shea stated in a letter to the U.S. bishops, this theological explanation is heretical, and I would add embarrassing! Women and men are spiritual equals, created in the image of God. 

Pope Francis Opens Door to Married Priests, Will Women Priests Be Far Behind?
 In 1976, the  Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded that there is nothing in the Bible to prohibit women priests. (This comes from Vatican's own scholars)
Historians affirm that women were ordained deacons, priests and bishops during the first 1200 years of church tradition. (See Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination)
Church councils tried to stop the practice. Check out Pope Gelasius' papal bull in fifth century!
We have close to 200 women priests in the international Roman Catholic Women Priests  movement now in 10 countries serving inclusive Catholic communities.  
The Risen Christ chose a woman, Mary of Magdala, to be the apostle to the apostles, to proclaim the Good News of Easter! 
The Vatican should follow Christ's example and the early church's tradition and affirm the full equality of women as spiritual equals in our church. Today more and more women are being called by God to serve as priests in inclusive, egalitarian communities of equals. Bridget Mary Meehan,

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photos of ARCWP Cleveland Ordination by John Kuntz, Article by Tom Feran of The Plain Dealer

Catholic Women Priests ordain six in emotional ceremony despite church's stance (slideshow)

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio -- A message of inclusiveness as well as faith was delivered on Saturday when six women were ordained as priests or deacons in a ceremony sponsored by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Presiding Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, of Sarasota, Florida, said the ceremony was held at the Brecksville United Church of Christ because of the lack of institutional inclusiveness in the Catholic church, which says the ordination has no validity and incurred automatic excommunication.
Meehan pointedly cited in her homily the story from the Gospel of John of the woman at the well. In it, Jesus crosses several social boundaries to ask for water from a Samaritan woman. The exchange becomes the longest individual conversation in scripture, and the first time Jesus reveals himself openly as the messiah.
The church was filled for the emotional ceremony, nearly two hours long, which included ordinations of two Northeast Ohio women: Mary Collingwood, of Boston Heights, as a priest, and Susan Guzik, of Eastlake, as a deacon.
Collingwood and Ann Klonowski, who was ordained last September, will say Mass weekly at 5 p.m. Saturdays starting June 7 at Brecksville United Church of Christ.

TV Coverage:

ARCWP Ordination:Homily by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, May 24, 2014, Cleveland “Women Priests Sharing the Living Water of God’s Love of All”

Today we rejoice that the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain 6 women:
Deacon Barbara Billey who lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, has been married for 32 years. She is currently a counselor and art therapist. Barbara, a Doctor of Ministry candidate, has a particular interest in women's spirituality and a passion for integrating sacred arts in liturgy. 
Deacon Susan Marie Guzik from Eastlake, a suburb of Cleveland, is a widow, mother, grandmother. She received certification as a Lay Ecclesial Minister in the Diocese of Cleveland. Susan has volunteered in the Diocese as a pastoral minister and for the past seven years served as the Director/Advisor of the Stephen Ministry Program at St. Mary Magdalene Parish.
The following women will be ordained PRIESTS:

Mary Bergan Blanchard from Albuquerque, NM, is a former Sister of Mercy, a widow, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer and licensed counselor. After retiring in New Mexico, she served as a Mental Health Counselor in a Roman Catholic Church for twenty years. 
Mary Eileen Collingwood, from the Cleveland area, is a wife, mother and grandmother who, with her advanced degree in theology, has served for 40 years in church ministry and taught theology on the high school and college levels.  In the parish she was Director of Religious Education, Coordinator for Marriage Preparation and Pastoral Minister. 
Irene Scaramazza, from Columbus, Ohio has  advanced degrees in theology, pastoral counseling, and family therapy.  She is currently working as a hospice chaplain having completed her Provisional Board Chaplaincy Certification.
Marianne Therese Smyth, from Silver Spring, MD; is a mother of two sons. She is a hospice volunteer with Montgomery Hospice and has worked for 25 years as a para-educator with special needs
students. She has a Masters of Education in counseling, a certificate in theological studies and serves the Living Water Inclusive Community in Catonsville, Maryland.
 These women, like the Samaritan woman have left their water jars behind. They come today to share the living water of their lives with God’s people.

The story of the Samaritan woman at the well records the longest conversation between Jesus and anyone in the gospels. This sacred text reveals that Christ is the “wellspring of love” that will fill us forever. Eve­ryone is invited to drink the “living water” and belong to the community of faith. Jesus’ trademark is inclusiveness.  There are no outsiders. All that is required is that we worship in spirit and truth.
In the encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus goes beyond the social and religious taboos of his times.  It is astonishing for us and shocking even for the apostles that Jesus confided his identity as Messiah to a woman who does not belong to the religious establishment and who is a foreigner and divorced.

According to biblical experts, the woman understood Jesus’ mention that she had no “husband” not as a call to true repentance, but as a call to true worship. Other commentators believe that Jesus’ referral to the woman’s “husbands” pointed to the Samaritan practice of intermarriage outside the tribe, a custom that caused tension with the Jews because it destroyed Jewish ancestral lines. No matter what interpretation we accept, the Samaritan woman continues to live in couples today who reflect the face of God as they live as spiritual equals in committed, covenantal relationships.

So too, today, Roman Catholic Women Priests are listening and responding to God's Living Water flowing through us as we evangelize our church with the good news that all are invited to live Gospel equality now in inclusive communities where everyone is welcome.
Like the Samaritan woman, we too are daring and bold women, who are leaving our water jars behind, because we are being and encountering the Living Water of God’s love every day on the margins of our church.  Beyond our comfort zone and off the power grid we minister to the family of God who do not have a spiritual home - divorced and remarried Catholics, gays, lesbians, transgender, women who are excluded from liturgical leadership, youth and many others who are seeking a contemporary model of Church that is aligned with Gospel values.

In his recent book, A Call to ActionWomen, Religion, Violence and Power, President Jimmy Carter, who supports women’s ordination and women’s equality in all religions, finds it “ironic” that women are welcomed into many professions “but are deprived of the right to serve Jesus Christ in positions of leadership” as they did in the early Christian churches. The former president said that the violence and abuse of women in society is directly connected to the spiritual inequality of women in religious practice. He said that he would become a Catholic when he is invited to do so by a female priest!  I assure you that we have issued an invitation!
World-renown Spanish human rights activist, Sister Teresa Forcades, affirms the vision of Vatican 11 and suggests that Pope Francis might be an agent for change. In an article entitled: "Activist Nun -Change Comes from the Bottom" written by Janice Sevre-Duszynska and published by the National Catholic Reporter:
 “Sister Teresa said that it must be the people in the church who will promote the acceptance of contraception and an end to the church's homophobia and who become voices in the struggle for justice for women.” ‘We now have women priests with the people from the bottom up,’ Forcades said with a smile. ‘The people are ready.’ ”

Twenty years ago, on May 22, 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” (“Priestly Ordination”) which reserved priesthood in the Catholic Church to men only."This teaching that 'women are not fully in the likeness of Jesus' -- qualifying, as it does, as a theological explanation -- is utterly and demonstrably heretical,” said Augustinian theologian John Shea in  his 2nd letter to U.S. bishops.
Despite two decades of blatant discrimination of women and  denial of women’s basic human rights as spiritual equals before God, justice is rising up for women in the church in grassroots, inclusive, Catholic communities. With almost 200 Roman Catholic Women Priests in the international movement, a renewed priestly ministry is flowering in 10 countries. Catholics worldwide are embracing a new model of church led by women and men.
In imagining a dialogue with our beloved Pope Francis, I would invite him to consider faithful dissent in our church as healthy. I would ardently appeal for the end of discrimination, spiritual violence and bullying toward any member of the Body of Christ, including the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and for the cancellation of ecclesiastical punishments, including excommunication against women priests and our supporters. Let us pray that the Spirit will move our Pope to affirm all of us as beloved sisters and brothers in the family of God. 

I believe that on a deep, mystical level women priests are beginning a healing process of centuries-old deep misogyny in which spiritual power was invested exclusively in men. With your prayers and commitment, we are recovering the dropped thread of our sister women in the early Church who embraced with dignity their full right to preach, to proclaim and to lead worship.
Now we ordain you, our beloved Sisters, Mary, Marianne, Mary, Irene, Barbara and Susan.   In solidarity with Jesus and the Samaritan woman may you be God's living waters bringing refreshment to the arid structures of our Church and beyond. May you help to liberate God's people from oppression by  acts of justice, compassion and love.  May you  foster spiritual renewal in inclusive faith communities of equals.  
Today, all of us rejoice that Christ Sophia, Wellspring of Wisdom, is in our midst!

Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., a Sister for Christian Community, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2006. She was ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009.  Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 20 books, including   Living Gospel Equality Now: Loving in the Heart of God, The Healing Power of Prayer and Praying with Women of the Bible . She presides at liturgies in Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Meehan can be reached at and