Saturday, June 7, 2014

"God also calls women to the Catholic Church" by Rev. Dr, Judith Lee and Rev, Judith Beaumont/News Press

Re: “God speaks, but few answer,” May 25. 
"Who can limit the call of God? God calls whomever God calls. The problem is that the church takes on the role of limiting God’s ability to call any but celibate men.
It may be true, at least in the Diocese of Venice of Florida, that few men are answering God’s call, but this is not true for the women who are responding to God’s call to priesthood.
There are nearly 200 women priests worldwide with the majority in the United States. We have not left the church, although we have “technically” been excommunicated.
We have answered God’s call to lead the church to a new model where all are welcome — no one is excluded from the sacraments.
Why not wait for the Vatican to accept women as priests? How can we wait when God has called? Jesus did not ordain anyone. He called men and women to follow him — and they did. They were married and unmarried and we do not know their sexual orientation.
We have prepared — studied theology and been pastoral ministers in many settings: parishes, diocesan offices, hospitals, homeless shelters, schools and everywhere God asks us to be. Our ordinations, although breaking Canon 1024, that limits priesthood to males, are valid.
Our ordaining bishops were ordained by women bishops who were ordained by a male bishop still in good standing with the Vatican whose name will be released upon his death. He said that he did this not for the women who are called but for the life of the church.
We all answered the call to serve. We listened when God spoke no matter what it cost us.
It is also a matter of justice for women in the church. Just think of what it would mean for women worldwide if the largest Christian denomination would accept women as fully equal to men in ordination. No longer would the Catholic Church be silent in its failure to recognize women as equal.
President Jimmy Carter has made this point eloquently in his book when he said, “Religions that relegate women to second place have to bear responsibility for the pervasive violence against women.” He has been in communication with Pope Francis on this matter and we pray that the wisdom he brings will bear fruit.
Our branch of the movement, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, has already ordained six priests this year. Locally, there are two women priests serving in Fort Myers, five located within the Diocese of Venice, with a total of nine priests and a deacon in Florida.
In Fort Myers, we celebrate Mass every Sunday at 2 p.m. in a church located in a house dedicated to that purpose and to help homeless individuals make a transition to permanent housing: Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, 2621 Central Ave. A hot meal follows and faith formation for children and youth.
On April 26, after much preparation, sixteen young people and adults were confirmed by ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan in Sarasota.
All are welcome to join with us in worship on Sundays. On the first Tuesday, we also serve persons experiencing homelessness, who gather at the church to pray, share a meal, and seek resources and counseling. Many days are spent following up with those who have shared their needs. We have a score of faithful volunteers who help us serve the homeless and low income of our community.
The mission of Good Shepherd Ministries is to follow the mandate of Jesus in Matthew 25 by feeding, clothing and sheltering, ending homelessness one person at a time. To this end, we have collaborated with other agencies and have helped over 90 persons attain and maintain housing.
God speaks, God calls, and we are answering with women everywhere. Who are any of us to limit the voice of God?"
The Rev. Judith Lee, ARCWP and The Rev. Judith Beaumont, ARCWP are co-pastors, The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers.

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Pentecost in Sarasota, Florida on June 7, 2014

MMOJ Community celebrates Pentecost 
Over 30 members of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida gathered for a joyous celebration of Pentecost. One of the earliest metaphors for the Holy Spirit is a nesting, mother bird hovering over the waters of creation. Genesis 1:2,  Feathers were placed  on the altar to symbolize this ancient feminine image of God . Sacred Chrism is on the altar. (used by community for anointing to remind us that we are the face of God in church and world.)

Theme:  Our Hearts Are On Fire:  We Are the Face of God
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Rev. Don Thompson, an ordained Methodist minister  co-preside 

Opening Hymn:  I'll Fly Away All Sing;  
I'll fly away, 
O glory, I'll fly away in the morning;
  When I die, hallelujah, bye and bye.
     I'll fly away.
Welcome and Gathering Prayer

Presider:  At Pentecost, we celebrate the outpouring of the Spirit on the disciples and the outpouring of the Spirit on us.  

ALL: We pray for a deeper awareness of the Spirit’s presence and gifts within us and around us and open ourselves to the power of love leading and guiding us to live as the face of God in our world.

First Reading: Acts 2:1-11 ( Read by Nancy Fusillo, ARCWP Candidate)
Maureen McGill ARCWP 

Responsorial Psalm:  Veni. Sancte Spiritus  (Taize) 
Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13) (Read by Maureen McGill, ARCWP)
Rev. Don Thompson proclaims Gospel

Alleluia (Charismatic)

Gospel:  John 20:19-23 ( Read by Rev. Don Thompson)

Meditation: Bridget Mary Meehan
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP shares meditation

Presider:  In her new book, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, Sister Ilia Delio, a Senior Fellow  in Science and Religion at Woodstock College writes:
“We need to discover the  inner desert of the heart, that still point of love within us that empowers us to do new things. This center of love is God the inner power who seeks to evolve to become more conscious and unified. Our challenge today is to trust the power of love at the heart of life, to let ourselves be seized by love, to create and invent ways for love to evolve into a global wholeness of unity, compassion, justice and peacemaking. “
Become aware of your breath… breathing in and out…
The Spirit of God breathing within you… Take a few moments to journey to your still point.
Become aware that Divine Love, at the heart of the universe,  is forever birthing cosmic life… Become conscious that God’s  love is forever new …
Each day is Pentecost. Each day God is pouring out the Spirit anew…

Become deeply aware of God’s Spirit- loving you, healing you- empowering you and transforming you…

Become deeply aware of God’s Spirit loving through you, healing through you, empowering through you… You are the face of God in our church and world…

Give thanks for the gifts of the Holy Spirit helping you  to join with others to create a new earth where forgiveness, compassion, justice and peace-making are a reality…

Be open to any new gift(s) of Spirit wisdom, hope or healing- that you need to be the face of God in the world…
As a sign of opening yourself to the Spirit, open your hands and let your heart be on fire in love and thanksgiving…
Small Group Sharing
Community Sharing

Anointing/Commissioning with sacred chrism (community anoints one another)
Presider:  O Holy One, Your love is passionately creating and recreating  us and all beings each day.. May we experience your love pulsating through us and through all of life in  the cosmic dance of creation . May we serve others as the compassionate face of God each day as we work for peace, justice and equality in our world .  We ask this through Christ Sophia, the Wisdom of God and through  the Holy Spirit of creativity, healing and empowerment.  Amen.

Anointing Ritual: As you anoint one another with sacred chrism, say “My sister/brother, you are face of God in our world.”
Community anoints one another with sacred chrism

All: (sing)- “You are the face of God, I hold you in my heart…”

Offertory  (Instrumental)
Acclamation:  You are holy… (Karen Drucker)
Sign of  Peace:  Peace is Flowing Like A River
Communion: “We let the love of God wash over us” (Solo)

Blessing of ARCWP Candidates/Applicants:
MMOJ Community blessed Kathryn, Shea Nancy Fusillo, and Nancy Fusillo
Katy Zatsick leads blessing of ARCWP candidates by MMOJ Community
left to right:  Katy Zatsick, Bridget Mary Meehan, Don Thompson
Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness,
 for their delight is in the
Spirit of our Loving God. 
In God’s heart you dwell by night and by day.  
Like trees planted by streams of water,
 that yield fruit in due season, 
and their leaves flourish in all that they do, 
they give life, you shall give us all spiritual gifts.

From right to left: Sally Brochu, Maureen Shea, Nancy Fusillo
O Loving God, giver  of all gifts, 
we thank you for your gift of these women, 
Sally, Nancy, and Kathryn, 
for the building of your kin-dom on earth.  
May they always have the courage
 to follow, promote, and encourage us
 to seek justice for all your people.  
May those touched by their lives be transformed 
and shown your love for justice and peace forever.  
We ask all this through Jesus Sophia 
who taught us how to love.  
So be it!

Recessional:  “We are marching / singing/ dancing in the light of God”
Special thanks to Nancy Fusillo and to Mary Al Gagnon for photos.

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Pentecost, June 8, 2014 by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Jesus had walked among them.
He had called them to follow his Way.
He had taught them to recognize God's presence in each other.
To forgive.
To live in courage.
To love one another.
Then he was killed, and they lost it all.
They hid themselves away.
They huddled in fear.
They tried to pray, remembering him.
And then it happened.
They felt his Spirit return.
Joy filled them.
They walked out in confidence and told the story.
We've been in that upper room,
down and out, unsure of ourselves,
unable to see the road ahead.
And then the spirit revives us, and we know what to do.
The road becomes clear.
We know how to go on, which way to head.
Once again life makes sense to us.
Those disciples had some ideas about, and images of, God;
some we still hold,
and some we no longer believe.
That's okay.
As much science as we know now,
we know that we don't have the whole story, either.
The important thing is that,
as these Pentecost readings tell us,
the Spirit is with us.
In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians,
we hear that the Spirit is in everyone,
and we are all one.
One body.
One Spirit.
It's an inclusive, egalitarian message
that resonates as timeless truth for us.
We are each uniquely gifted with the Spirit
for the common good.
It's not just for us as individuals.
As Pope Francis wrote in Evangelii Gaudium,
the common good ranks higher
than the comfort of people who hold on to privilege.
He calls for raising prophetic voices
whenever and wherever the common good is threatened.
These days we're witnessing serious threats to the common good.
The very life and dignity of our planet and all it contains
is seriously threatened by the lifestyles of the privileged.
Fossil fuels, fracking, GMOs, deforestation, climate change...
the list gets longer every day.
And, just as with those first disciples,
the Spirit is moving our community
to raise a prophetic voice
on behalf of the earth and its inhabitants.
Today's Gospel tells how the disciples,
in prayer,
come to embrace again
Jesus' message of peace and forgiveness,
how they remember his mission
of carrying that peace and forgiveness to the world.
They go out from where they are,
and the word, because it speaks truth,
is heard and spread.
We may be moving into a new understanding
of God and the universe,
but the ancient call to peace and forgiveness remains.
And the compelling responsibility
to use our gifts for the common good
spurs us on.

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

Prayer to the Holy Spirit by Diarmuid O'Murchu

 Come Holy Spirit, breathe down upon our troubled world.
Shake the tired foundations of our crumbling institutions.
Break the rules that keep you out of all our sacred spaces,
and from the dust and rubble, gather up the seedlings of a new creation.

 Come Holy Spirit, enflame once more the dying embers of our weariness.
Shake us out of our complacency. Whisper our names once more,
and scatter your gifts of grace with wild abandon.
Break open the prisons of our inner being,
and let your raging justice be our sign of liberty.

 Come Holy Spirit and lead us to places we would rather not go.
Expand the horizons of our limited imaginations.
Awaken in our souls dangerous dreams for new tomorrow,
and rekindle in our hearts the fire of prophetic enthusiasm.

 Come Holy Spirit, whose justice outwits international conspiracy,
whose light outshines religious bigotry,
whose peace can halt our patriarchal hunger for dominance and control,
whose promise invigorates our every effort:
to create a new heaven and a new earth, now and forever.  Amen.

Friday, June 6, 2014

ARCWP Response to Frequently Asked Questions

The Roman Catholic Women Priests  Movement is a renewal, justice movement within the Catholic Church.
We are serving inclusive Catholic communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments.
We are a non-clerical movement that offers the church an egalitarian, partnership with the community of the baptized.
Our mission is to serve especially those whom the Vatican marginalizes. (33 million Catholics have left the church that is quite a "target group" that has been abandoned by institution. )
We reject excommunication. No punishment can separate us from Christ or cancel our baptism. No church authority can separate us from God.
This is our church and we are not leaving it. (no matter what the Vatican says or does.)
(The Vatican's official line is that our excommunicate is the automatic type, by your choice, you have excommunicated yourself)
The Church that treat women as second-class citizens violate God's will.
 Genesis 1:27: God created humanity in God's image, in the divine image, God created them, male and female God created them.  Galations 3:27 St. Paul reminds us that by our baptism there is neither male nor female, all are one in Christ.
Roman Catholic Women Priests have valid orders. Our first bishops were ordained by a male bishop in apostolic succession.
Pope Benedict canonized two excommunicated two nuns (Theodore Guerin and Mary McKillop) Therefore, one could argue he made excommunication the new fast track to sainthood!
We hope that Pope Francis will chart a new path toward human equality in our church by opening all ministries to women. If women were priests, we would see an end to the church's policy on contraception.  Primacy of conscience is an important church teaching that all must follow in moral decisions.
The hierarchy must make the connection between discrimination against women in the church and violence , abuse and inequality toward  women in the world.
Like these courageous women we are faithful Catholics leading the church to become more just and live Jesus example of Gospel equality.
Jesus called women and men to be disciples. (Luke 8:1-3) Jesus did not ordain anyone.
The Risen Christ called Mary Magdala to be the apostle to the apostles. She was the first to proclaim the central message of Christianity, the Resurrection.
Vatican/ (hierarchy) should follow Jesus’ example of Gospel equality and the early church’s tradition of women in liturgical leadership as deacons, priests and bishops.
Background For 1200 years women were ordained. (Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination, Dorothy Irvin’s archaeological evidence etc.) “In the early centuries of Christianity, ordination was the process and the ceremony by which one moved to any new ministry (ordo) in the community. By this definition, women were in fact ordained into several ministries. A radical change in the definition of ordination during the eleventh and twelfth centuries not only removed women from the ordained ministry, but also attempted to eradicate any memory of women's ordination in the past. …However, the triumph of a new definition of ordination as the bestowal of power, particularly the power to confect the Eucharist, so thoroughly dominated western thought and practice by the thirteenth century that the earlier concept of ordination was almost completely erased.. References to the ordination of women exist in papal, episcopal and theological documents of the time, and the rites for these ordinations have survived.” Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination)
The Vatican and Google have created a virtual tour of catacombs including two frescoes in St. Priscilla’s catacomb that provide evidence of ancient women deacons and priests in first centuries of church’s history.  (One fresco depicts a woman deacon in the center vested in a dalmatic, her arms raised in the orans position for public worship.  In the same scene there is a bishop being ordained a  priest by a bishop seated I a chair. She is vested in an alb, chasuble, and amice, and holding a gospel scroll.  The third woman in the painting is wearing the same robe as the bishop on the left and is sitting in the same type of chair. ) In another fresco in the Catacombs of Priscilla, women are conducting a Eucharistic banquet. This evidence portrays women in liturgical roles and vestments.
The real issue is that Roman Catholic Women Priests are visible reminders that women are equal images of God. We are healing centuries of misogyny.
The Vatican (hierarchy) cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it.
Roman Catholic Women Priests are a “holy shakeup” which millions of Catholics support.
Roman Catholic Women Priests lead inclusive, enthusiastic, egalitarian communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments.

Why do Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordain in Apostolic Succession?

Women priests sometimes get asked why we bother with apostolic succession?
Here is my response:
We care about apostolic succession because in this time of paradigm shift in the Roman Catholic Church, the Women Priests Movement is a bridge- joining hands with the institutional church in order to transition from a hierarchical model to a more community centered ecclesial model of a discipleship of equals. In order to accomplish this change we must connect with the institution where it is and they value apostolic succession as a tradition. We are aware that Peter was probably never in Rome and that this apostolic succession comes from the 15th century and has a number of broken links such as 3 popes at one time etc. However, in order to be taken seriously by the institutional church, and to serve all of its people, we needed to find a bishop with apostolic succession who ordained our first women bishops. That we did and that is part of the reason we are such a threat to the institutional church!
We have valid orders!
We use them to renew the structures from within and share our orders with the priesthood of all the people. If you don't have it, you can't share it!  We use equal rites to achieve equal rights in our church.  The Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a justice movement for women in the church, leading the church into its future now- a more open, just, inclusive, egalitarian community, rooted in Jesus' example and early Christianity's house church tradition.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,
Our website is

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Recommended Reading; "The Unbearable Wholeness of Being" by Ilia Delio OSF

"God's Love is divine, dynamic energy, always seeking more relationship, more unity and more being in love. Since love is the core energy of evolution, and God is love, God is the core of evolution, the unstoppable urge of cosmic reality for more life...God is divine love spilling over the limits of being that seeks to become more being in love...As the love center  Omega, God is in evolution because God because love seeks more unity and being in love. " pp.71-72

This book is rooted in Pierre Teihard de Chardin's vision of love as the animating force in
 the cosmos.

"So today the challenge is to become a mystic and discover the still point of "love within us that empowers us to do new things...Our challenge is to trust the power of love at the heart of life, to let ourselves be sized by love, to create and invent ways for love to evolve into a global wholeness of unity, compassion, justice and peacemaking." xxv (The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, by Sister Ilia Delio, OSF)

Video Clip Highlights from ARCWP Ordination of Six Women in Cleveland, May 24, 2014

Veni Sancte Spiritus

embed code:

Introducing new priests

embed code:

Anointing priests

Embed code:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Teachers Leave Archdiocese Of Cincinnati Over Controversial 'Morality Clause' In New Contract
"A revised teachers' contract in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has forced some teachers to leave their positions even after years of service.
First-grade teacher Molly Shumate and high school English teacher Robert Hague are among the veteran teachers choosing to leave the diocese over a 'morality clause'included in the new contracts. The clause reportedly prohibits teachers, whether Catholic or not, from having sex or living with a partner outside of marriage, using in-vitro fertilization, leading a gay “lifestyle,” or publicly supporting any of the above.
For teachers like Shumate, whose son is gay, the clause threatens to pit teachers against friends and family in order to keep their jobs.
“For me to sign this (contract)," Shumate told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I feel like I would be telling my son I’ve changed my mind, that I don’t support him as I did. And I won’t do that."
Even as a lifelong Catholic and a teacher of 14 years in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Shumate says the morality clause is where she draws a line.
"In my heart, I know I need to go," Shumate told CNN. "I need to find another avenue because I am going to support my son. If in five or 10 years he finds a partner and he wants to be with that person, I'm going to be in the front row with the biggest bouquet."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Portugal: Catholic priests quitting church 'to marry'/BBC/Married Priests May Be Coming Soon!
"More than 400 men have recently left the priesthood to get married or simply to live as ordinary citizens, one former priest tells Portuguese TVI 24. Of particular concern is the rise in the number of priests who ignore the complex legal process of leaving the church and simply walk off the job, says Fernando Felix Pereira. He heads Fraternitas, a group advocating for the Church to let priests marry.
"Young priests - and some not so young, too - are just leaving, and refusing to go through the procedure of applying for a dispensation," Pereira says, recalling that the process took him 18 months in 2000. Though he was unable to give exact figures, Pereira says six priests recently abandoned their vocation in one day in the diocese of Santarem.
At present, the Catholic Church insists all priests should be unmarried men. But Pereira tells Publico newspaper a recent remark from Pope Francis that priestly celibacy is not an 'article of faith' has raised hopes among those who see no contradiction between their vocation and married life, and that much depends on the Family Synod that the Pope has called for October. "Each local church should find its own way," he says. "Each diocese should decide whether there can be married priests alongside the celibate. This is a sort of progressive process that will help people grow accustomed to the idea."

"I will follow him" Fabulous rendition with Andre Rieu/Enjoy!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Inclusive Catholic Ministries/Palm Coast, Florida/ June and July Schedule

Call Miriam Picconi 386-569-7311 if you have questions.
What is "Inclusive Catholic Ministries?"
We want to maintain the best of our Roman Catholic heritage and traditions.  We want to invite EVERYONE to participate in God's love and our ministries and we use inclusive language.   We want to offer what you the people of God want and need. We are starting with several ministry outreaches.  Come and see if this is the faith community you are seeking.

PENTECOST MASS IN PALM COAST Sunday, June 8, 11:00 AM  Going out to eat lunch afterwards  Place:  2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast
MONTHLY MASS in PALM COAST Saturday, June 14, 4:00 P.M.  (USUALLY 2nd Sat. each month)   Hospitality follows.  Place:  2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast, Fl 32164
INTERFAITH THEOLOGY CLUB Wednesdays, June 11 & 18 from 3:30 to 5:00 P.M.    (USUALLY Meets 2nd & 3rd Wednesdays)   Place:  2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast
MONTHLY PRAYER TIME AND COMMUNION Thursday, June 26 from 7:00 to 8:15 PM at 2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast
CASTLE OTTTIS – INTERFAITH WORSHIP AND COMMUNION SERVICE Sunday, June 29, 10:00 AM at 103 3rd Street  St. Augustine See
MONTHLY MASS in PALM COAST Saturday, July 12, 4:00 P.M.  (USUALLY 2nd Sat.each month)   Hospitality follows.  Place:  2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast, Fl 32164
INTERFAITH THEOLOGY CLUB Wednesday, July 9 from 3:30 to 5:00 P.M.  Will NOT meet July 16  (USUALLY Meets 2nd & 3rd Wednesdays)   Place:  2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast 
CASTLE OTTTIS – INTERFAITH WORSHIP AND COMMUNION SERVICE Sunday, July 27, 10:00 AM at 103 3rd Street  St. Augustine See
MONTHLY PRAYER TIME AND COMMUNION Thursday, July 31 from 7:00 to 8:15 PM at 2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast
ARCWP ORDINATIONS Sunday, July 13, 3:00 PM in Indianapolis, IN
Dear Faith Family,
PENTECOST IS COMING!  The feast of Pentecost is one of our favorites and we plan to celebrate with an additional Mass on Sunday, June 8.  Pentecost is considered the Birthday of the Church.  The Holy Spirit was given to ALL who were in the Upper Room.  Men AND women received the gift and power of the Holy Spirit.  This wonderful gift is available to all of us today but something happened over the centuries and too many of us seem to be afraid that if we say, “Yes,” the Spirit will somehow make us do things we are afraid of because we do not understand them.  See page 3 for more information about the Holy Spirit and the gifts she has for each of us.
June is full of wonderful feasts; Trinity Sunday, Feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ), and the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  What blessings we share with one another as we celebrate our Triune God on Trinity Sunday.  Father/Mother (creator), Son/Jesus (redeemer) and Holy Spirit/Sophia/wisdom (sanctifier/helper/advocate) are some of the wonderful titles and gifts we share in common with all God’s children.  I pray we all invite this special God to be active in our lives so we experience God to the fullest and so that we can minister God’s forgiveness, love, compassion and unity to all those whom God brings into our lives.
Love and peace,


"Three Oaks Woman Ordained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests" Fox 28 TV
"Lillian Lewis of Three Oaks, Michigan was ordained on Saturday afternoon by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Lewis was told by Kalamazoo Bishop Paul Bradley she would face excommunication from the Catholic Church if she was ordained. Bishop Joan Houk of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests led the ordination which was held as scheduled. "I'm feeling wonderful. I'm so happy," Lewis said. “I feel so affirmed."Lewis was ordained at 75. She says becoming ordained has been on her bucket list and she was determined to make it happen. "It's a good example for those people who want to fold up and make their life smaller and smaller as they get older but I think you can make it bigger and bigger," Lewis said...."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Ascension, June 1, 2014 by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Maya Angelou has ascended into heaven.
What that "ascension" means for us in the 21st century
has to be expressed in terms
of our understanding of God and creation and ourselves,
and for me that means
that she remains alive in our memories
and will always be part of us.
She once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Those of us who admired her life and poetry
remember how she made us feel,
and that means that we are going through an experience
that helps us understand today's Gospel.
This past Friday morning
I had my morning coffee with a small group of good friends
(after having had earlier morning coffee at Claver House
with another group of good friends),
and one of them described it this way.
He said that, when a person dies, and for a short time after,
we are in a holy place, a sacred space.
We go about thinking of the person often, missing them,
grieving their passing and our loss.
We are often startled to think we see them alive--
a glance at someone wearing a shirt the same color he wore,
or leaning over to smell a lilac like she loved to do,
or hearing a car come in the drive
and thinking they've come home from a meeting
before we remember that they won't be coming home again.
At the same time, we flash back to things they did and said,
thinking a lot about them, replaying memories of them
in our mind, and with our family and friends.
Through it all, and forevermore,
the person stays inside us
and is always part of us.
Fr. Richard Rohr talked about the "sacred space"
that comes after important events
as a kind of communal consciousness--
a suspension of ordinary consciousness,
a heightened awareness,
a deepened compassion,
a renewed conviction.
It happened to us in this country
when President Kennedy was assassinated.
It happened following the 9/11 attacks.
It happens when we fall in love, or get ordained.
And it happens when someone we love dies.
The apostles, in today's reading, are up on the mountain--
that holy place where God met with Moses,
where Jesus taught them.
They experience Jesus again,
remember what he said, feel his presence.
They understand Jesus in a way
that had not been possible before he died.
He is bigger than life, beyond life.
His teachings settle more deeply into them,
and they are compelled to share them.
They repeat his words and teachings
and contemplate their meanings
and continue to shape their decisions and their lives
in keeping with his wisdom.
Our tradition includes an understanding
that we call "the Communion of Saints"--
the belief that our ancestors and our contemporaries
are alive to us here and now.
It's a mystical statement of Divine Presence,
uniquely within each of us,
as being connected with all being, all matter, all energy--
with God and each other.
When I was growing up in the '50s,
this dogma was represented in religious art
as a group of white-robed, haloed saints
hovering in awe above and around the priest
as he lifted the consecrated bread at Mass.
That image doesn't work for me anymore,
mainly because--thank God!--science has led us all
to a much grander and more powerful vision
of God and the universe and all that is in it.
It's communion with the grandeur of all of creation.
So today we celebrate the ascension--the growth--
of Jesus of Nazareth
from that holy Galilean preacher
into the friend who remains with us always,
in everlasting communion.
We remember what he stood for, and how he lived,
and the way he taught us to follow his example.
Like those first disciples,
we are compelled to build on the foundation he gave us--
to celebrate our communion
with him and each other and all the world,
as he showed at the Last Supper;
and to wash each other's feet,
as he did at the Last Supper,
by dedicating everything we have and are
to serving the least among us.

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