Saturday, March 28, 2015

Palm Sunday at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida with Presiders Katy Zatsick ARCWP, and her Sister Connie

Katy Zatsick ARCWP , presider with Sister, Connie as co-presider at Palm Sunday Liturgy

Katy Zatsick, ARCWP Presider of Palm Sunday MMOJ Liturgy in Sarasota, Fl. on March 28, 2015

500th Anniversary of Birth of St. Teresa of Avila -Enjoy Choir Singing "Nada Te Turbe" Let Nothing Disturb You

  1. Nada Te Turbe - A Virtual Choir of Carmelites - YouTube
    Aug 22, 2014 - Uploaded by Virtual Musicians Group
    An official VMG virtual choir, "Nada Te Turbe" is one of twovirtual choirs produced for the celebration of St ...

"The Women Remain Faithful:Roman Catholic Women Priests Reflect on Palm Sunday"

“Embracing Mortality” John 12:20-33 March 22, 2015 Annie Watson, ARCWP Deacon/ Homily for Bloomington Inclusive Catholic Community

I would like to see Jesus, too. How about you? Like the Greeks who approached Philip at the Jewish festival of Passover, we all want to see Jesus. So, who do we talk with about that? The Greeks decided to speak with Philip first. I wonder why. Was he more approachable? Did he look like a nice guy? Or was he just more available? How did they know he could help them get an audience with Jesus?
Have you ever been to an event that features a famous person? You see that person across the room and think, “Man, I sure would like to meet her?” But as you make your way toward her you start to think that maybe it’s not appropriate to just walk up and introduce yourself. Besides, she is surrounded by so many people there is no way you could even get near her. It would be rude to just barge in.
Then you spot someone with an official nametag. You ask him if you can possibly get a moment with the celebrity. He thinks about it for a moment and says, “Hold on a minute. Let me go ask someone else.” You stand there nervously, feeling exposed. You see the official walk over to another official who then walks up to the celebrity, waits a moment for the conversation to stall, and then grabs the celebrity’s attention.
They exchange a few words. The official points at you. The celebrity looks at you with furrowed brow. Your face feels flushed. You don’t know whether to smile or nod or just act very nonchalant. You don’t want to seem overanxious, do you?
We read this story and expect Jesus any moment to walk over to the Greeks and say something like, “Welcome to the festival! Are you having a good time? Are you a worshiper of the Jewish God, Yahweh, or are you just here for the food and entertainment?
Instead, the story line takes a bizarre turn. Jesus seems to ignore the Greeks and says something very unpredictable. He seems to be embracing his mortality: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Then he talks obscurely about dying wheat grain that bears fruit, loving our lives by losing it, and a not-so-veiled reference to his death by crucifixion.  Why does John, the Gospel writer, feel the need to let us know that Jesus has embraced his impending mortality?
Maybe this story is for all of us, because all of us are fragile human beings “walking on the egg shells of time,” as one writer put it. Even at a festival such as Passover, a celebration of life, our mortality hangs over us like an unflappable canopy. Death is always loitering around, ready to walk up to us, unannounced, to interrupt our festivities.
There is a lot of wisdom out there about mortality, about death and dying, and there’s no way I can communicate all of that in one brief homily. And yet it is interesting to think about how Jesus may have embraced his impending mortality and how we should as well.
In all likelihood, Jesus saw it coming. Much like Martin Luther King, Jr. and other great leaders who embrace life so much and in such a threatening way to others that it is like they have offered an open invitation to death. The great ones always die too soon: Socrates, Jesus, Lincoln, Gandhi, the Kennedy’s, Dr. King.
Jesus also knew that through his death he would be “glorified.” This might sound somewhat narcissistic, and yet isn’t it true that most of us receive more glory in death than we do in life. In my husband’s recent book, he writes, “The one thing almost all of my funerals have had in common is that the dearly departed is remembered more fondly in death than they were experienced in life.”
Too bad we don’t get to attend our own funerals. It would be nice to be “glorified,” wouldn’t it? Maybe we should all do what Robert Duvall’s character did in the movie, Get Low: throw a funeral party for ourselves before we die! We might feel the love, and yet the truth is, there will be more love—more glory—at the real funeral.
I have often heard that an artist’s works become more valuable after they die. Why is that? Is it because we realize that this artist will never paint another canvass? Maybe we are uncomfortable giving people too many accolades while they are still with us, for fear of them getting too sure of themselves, and so we instinctively wait until after they are gone to heap praises on them.
Whatever it is, we won’t receive glory in death to any degree at all unless we have somehow sought glory in life. Jesus’ revolution of religious and social reform would not have ignited after his death if he had not pursued it before his death.
The key, then, to preparing ourselves for death, the key to embracing mortality, is to embrace life. To use a bowling analogy, we should live life as if all ten pens are up and our goal is to knock them all down. Don’t start with two bowling pens, or even six. Start with ten.
Recently my husband and I visited a casino where my brother-in-law works in Oklahoma. I played slot machines for the first time in my life and I learned that you can’t win much if you don’t bet much. This applies to my point about embracing life: At the poker table of life, don’t play penny ante poker. Be “all in.” The more you “bet,” the greater potential winnings you will have.
Let me be more personal for a moment. I have really struggled with whether or not I want to be “all in” when it comes to the Women Priest movement. My struggle has nothing to do with whether or not I believe in the movement, because I do. My struggle has to do with time constraints.
I have a special needs daughter who requires 24/7 attention. I’ve very involved in my husband’s life and activities, and together we have six grown children and five grandchildren, all of whom give new meaning to the word “drama.”

On top of that, I would love to be producing art because I am a painter, but I can’t quite find enough hours in the day to paint. Truthfully, I would love to make as much art as I can so that after I’m gone people will find my work more valuable!
Eventually, soon I hope, I will find the time, because I know that the way to embrace my limited time on this earth, the way to embrace my mortality, is to embrace life. Yes, Jesus did this, which is why we still remember him and even glorify him.
And so did the Greeks. Here were people who came to a festival that wasn’t even part of their culture. They were obviously open to life and to life’s many and varied experiences. And when they realized that Jesus was there, they weren’t satisfied to just go home and tell their children they were there when Jesus was there. They wanted to see Jesus.
I understand that. On top of everything else, I want to see Jesus. That’s how I want to embrace my life and my future mortality, by getting in as many “Jesus sightings” as I possibly can. And where do I see Jesus?
When I see love. When I see every drop of love squeezed out of someone’s life. When I see fragile human beings walking on the eggshells of time . . . and yet not walking as if they are walking on eggshells. That’s when I see Jesus.

As the great theologian, Howard Thurman, said, “Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Amen.

Member of Vatican sex-abuse panel calls for removal of Bishop Finn/Tweet Pope Francis

Jeff Weis
Kansas City, MO
Mar 27, 2015 — One of the most important things Pope Francis has done to protect children in the church was to establish the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, a review panel to address the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. And just a few days ago, a member of that commission publicly called for Bishop Robert Finn to step down. 

Now is the time for us to send a strong message to Pope Francis that he should call for Bishop Finn's resignation. Can you take just a few seconds to send a message to him on twitter? All you have to do is click: 

If you're a Catholic, click here to send a tweet to Pope Francis:

If you're not Catholic, use this link to send a tweet to Pope Francis:

One of the commission's members, Peter Saunders, was abused by Jesuit priests in London and later founded the National Association for People Abused in Childhood. Saunders was interviewed about a situation in Chile similar to that of Bishop Finn's where a bishop is alleged to have helped cover up sexual abuse committed by his mentor, also a priest. Saunders said: 

“If we don’t see real change, if we don’t see the likes of Bishop Finn removed immediately and this case in Chile being resolved, then the committee will be a pointless exercise,” Saunders told The Guardian. 

Read more here:

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Palm Sunday, March 29, by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Homily after the Blessing of Palms
Zechariah had prophesied:
Look, your king comes to you,
triumphant and victorious,
humble, and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the foal of an ass.
Who does this Galilean peasant this he is,
daring to enact Zechariah’s prophecy!
Who is this Jesus from Nazareth,
making himself out to be king!
Mark creates this dramatic scene to do two important things.
First, it confers on Jesus the divine authority
that comes from fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy,
an important qualification for the Jews who follow Jesus
after the resurrection.
Second, it shows the treasonous nature—
as seen by the Roman occupiers—
of the actions that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.
The passage also highlights the power of the nobodies:
a Galilean peasant and a mob of poor people;
not on a horse, like the rich and powerful,
but on a borrowed donkey;
not a royal carpet laid out for him
but tree branches and tattered coats.
Our tradition tells us that Christ is in everybody,
that God’s Divine Presence is in everybody,
but it’s not always easy to act like we believe it.
God’s Presence abides
in those nobodies on the road to Jerusalem.
Humbly, with the very shirts off their backs,
they rejoice at Jesus’ call
to live the way of dignity and freedom.
They see Jesus for the liberator that he is.
They recognize God’s abiding Presence in him
because he treats them with love
and calls them to do the same to one another.
He really is their king.
Let’s continue on our way,
humbly, opening our eyes wide
to notice God’s Divine Presence in everyone we meet.


Homily after the Passion

Power and authority are not necessarily bad.
Many of you heard Rick Gaillardetz’s lecture last week at CCUP
in which he made some very meaningful observations
on the nature of power and authority.
He defined power as “the capacity for effective action.”
He further distinguished authentic church power
as “the capacity for effective action
in service of Christian discipleship.”
Throughout history our Church has sometimes failed
to use power authentically.
Hindsight is 20/20.
Looking back, we can see the seriously distorted use
of our Church’s power
in the Crusades, the Inquisition,
and the practice of excommunication.
Dr. Gaillardetz went on to define authority
as legitimate and trustworthy power within relationships.
He observed that authentic authority
requires good will to all, competency, and accountability.
So authentic authority would not constrain
but would empower people and enable their freedom;
authentic authority would will the common good—
good for each individual
and good for all people.
Why was Jesus executed?
It’s important to remember that it was not because of “the Jews”
but because of the corrupt use of power
both in the Roman Empire
and among some of the leaders of his religion.
Unfortunately, our institutional Church
has spent long periods of time—indeed, centuries—
exercising that same kind of corrupt power
and calling it “God’s will.”
The first Christians were pacifists,
following the non-violent way of Jesus
and the sixth commandment: You shall not kill.
Roman soldiers who wanted to be baptized had to resign.
After Constantine, in 312, began to conquer "in Christ's name,"
Christianity became entangled with the state,
and warfare and violence
were increasingly justified by influential Christians.
Eventually the misuse of power led to the Crusades,
where, for nearly 500 years,
our “holy” armies ruthlessly slaughtered civilians
who followed other faiths.
Then came the Inquisition,
where our “holy” leaders imprisoned, tortured, and killed
Catholics who followed Christ
in ways different from what the leaders considered correct.
That travesty continued worldwide until the early 19th century,
when the Roman Catholic Church
lost the political power to jail and torture and execute,
but the Holy Office of the Inquisition survives
as part of the Curia, under a different name.
Since 1965 it’s been called
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
That’s the agency by which our “holy” Roman Catholic Church
continues to exclude faithful members
who follow their conscience in opposition to church rules,
the agency that is still investigating our U.S. sisters
for tending the poor instead of preaching dogmas.
By the time Mark writes the passion story that we read today,
the followers of Jesus had been routed from Jerusalem
along with the other Jews,
and the myth of blame that eventually led to the Holocaust
had already taken root.
Our so-called Christian world today has not embraced pacifism,
nor have we learned the lessons
from the Crusades or the Inquisition.
That’s why it’s urgent that we, as followers of Jesus,
remember why Jesus suffered and died.
He spoke the truth to corrupt powers;
He ministered among, and to, the poor and downtrodden.
He offended those few Jewish leaders
who cooperated with their foreign oppressors.
He called ordinary people to take part in the kin-dom of God.
He empowered common people
to step into their own dignity
and honor the dignity of others.
That angered and frightened the Roman occupiers.
Jesus’ beliefs and actions as a faithful Jew
brought him to the cross.
So will our beliefs and actions as faithful Christians
bring us to the cross.
This Holy Week gives us time to reflect on our cross,
on how we might follow more closely the example of Jesus.
It gives us time to step back and look at power and authority,
at the corrupt kind and the authentic kind,
and to re-dedicate ourselves
to walk the Way that Jesus showed us.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-200

Solidarity with Our Sisters and Brothers- A Powerful Meditation for Holy Week: Sr. Joyce Rupp, author of Dear Heart, Come Home, National Catholic Reporter

To my brothers and sisters in developing countries:
While I was deciding which oat bran cereal to eat this morning, you were searching the ground for leftover grains from the passing wheat truck
While I was jogging at the health center, you were working in the wealthy landowner's fields under a scorching sun.
While I was choosing between diet and regular soda, your parched lips were yearning for the touch of water.
While I complained about the poor service in the gourmet restaurant, you were gratefully beceiving a bowl of rice.
While I poured my "fresh and better" detergent in the washing machine,  you stood in the river with your bundle of clothes.
While I watched the evening news on my wide screen TV set, you were being terrorized and taunted by a dictatorship government.
While I read the newspaper and drank my cup of steaming coffee, you walked the dusty, hot miles to the tiny crowed schoolroom to try to learn how to read
While I scanned the ads for a bargain on an extra piece of clothing, you woke up and put on the same shirt and pants that you have worn for many months.
While I built a 14 room house for the three of us,  your family of 10 found shelter in a one-room hut.
While I went to church last Sunday and felt more than slightly bored, you looked out upon the earth and those around you and felt gratitude to God for being alive for one more day.
My brothers and sisters, forgive me for my arrogance and my indifference.  Forgive me for my greed of always wanting newer, bigger and better things.  Forgive me for not doing my part to change the unjust systems that keep you suffering and impoverished.
I offer you my promise to become more aware of your situation and to change my lifestyle as I work for transformation of our world..

Published in National Catholic Reporter, November 15, 1996
written by Sr. Joyce Rupp, author of Dear Heart, Come Home

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Bombay Archdiocese to Implement Gender Policy" Leading the Roman Catholic Church on Preventing Sexual Harassment

"The Archdiocese of Bombay is set to become the first in the country to adopt a clear policy on preventing and redressing sexual harassment of women in the Church.
The gender policy of the Catholic Church in India, will also include activities to ensure gender equality in health, education and social development sectors and to increase the role of women. This is a first-of-its-kind policy in the universal Catholic Church.
“We are fine-tuning the policy for the Archdiocese and will soon implement it. Meanwhile, cases of individual misdemeanour or misconduct by priests or nuns are looked into by the Women’s Commission and those found guilty are already being punished under Canonical Law,” said Fr Nigel Barrett, spokesperson for the Bombay Archdiocese..."

Bridget Mary's Response:
This should be the policy of the universal Church. Now this is a place where Pope Francis can take immediate action for justice for women! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Mary as One with Us"- Spiritual Encounters with Mary and Elizabeth

Women Priests Preside at Liturgy in Colombia/AFP Press Taped for Easter Program

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Colombia:
Martha Soto and Olga Lucia Alvarez holding child
The  community of Chapinero, in the final part of the interview with AFP.
They say that the program will be for Easter. 

National Catholic Reporter Article on Video of Jesuit Fr. Bill Brennan Calling for Women's Ordination Before He Died/ He Had Co-Presided at Liturgy with Janice Sevre Duszynska, ARCWP

"When Brennan participated in 2012 in a liturgy with Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ordained through the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, the Milwaukee archdiocese and his Jesuit superiors sanctioned him. They forbade Brennan to practice his priestly faculties, attend public worship, speak to the media, leave Milwaukee without permission from superiors, and present himself as a Jesuit priest. Until the release of this video, Brennan had fulfilled those wishes.
"He was always exceedingly cautious in how he expressed himself," Iaquinta, who recorded his message, told NCR. "He always made sure to honor the obedience vow that he made and prefaced everything he said with an acknowledgement that he had made a vow of obedience to the Jesuits, and that he wasn't being disobedient, but he was also being obedient to his conscience."
In the video, Brennan credited his mother for his sympathy toward women's rights. He said that when his Jesuit brothers disputed women's ordination, he realized he "did not share their hostility," recalling his "childhood awareness" of his mother once being unable to vote. ..."
Bridget Mary's Response: Thank you, Fr. Bill, Alice and Janice for your witness for the full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church including priesthood!
Fr, Bill, we are counting on your heavenly support now!
 Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Two Inspiring Homilies for Palm Sunday by Pastor Dawn

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Bright Morning Stars"- Beautiful Native American Adaptation of Song

Exultet/ Easter Proclamation Adapted by Deacon Jim Marsh ARCWP

Rejoice, heavenly powers!

Sing, choirs of angels!

Exult, all creation in God’s presence!

Jesus, the Anointed One, is risen!

Sound the trumpet of life renewed!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,

radiant in the brightness of our God!

Christ has risen!

Glory fills you!

Darkness vanishes forever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church !

Exult in glory!

The Risen One shines upon you!

Let this place resound with joy,

echoing the song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,

standing with me in this holy light,

Join me in praising God,

as we sing this Easter song.

Our God is with you.

R. And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

R. We lift them up to God.

Let us give thanks to our gifting God.

R. It is right to give God thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices,

we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful creator,

and the beloved one, Jesus the Cosmic Christ.

On this night, we remember our ancestors

who escaped their slavery through the waters of the Red Sea .

Abba God, how wonderful your care for us!

How boundless your infinite love!

To gift us with Jesus, your beloved,

born of Miriam and Joseph.

Jesus went to his death remembering the words of Micah:

Live justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God.

Yet, this is our Passover feast,

for Jesus, the Christ, broke the chains of death

and rose triumphant from the grave.

This is the night when Christians everywhere

bathed in grace freely given,

promise to reject all that is evil and grow together in holiness.

Therefore, O Holy One,

in the joy of this night,

hear our evening song of prayer and praise.

Accept this Easter candle,

may it dispel all darkness and evil,

and renew our confidence and bring us joy.

May Christ, the morning Star,

who sheds peaceful light on all creation,

find this hope burning brightly in our lives,

today and evermore.


84-year-old activist nun imprisoned in Brooklyn jail hellhole for breaking into nuclear facility, exposing security flaws, . Now, Sister Megan lives in horrifying conditions in a single room with 111 other women in the Metropolitan Detention Center.

"Beige is the new black for imprisoned Sister Megan Rice, an 84-year old Catholic nun and anti-nuclear activist. The nun, who spent 40 years teaching in the poorest parts of Africa and returned to the U.S. due to malaria, is now living in deplorable prison conditions, wearing a beige uniform and stuffed in with 111 other women into a single room at a federal prison right here in New York City..."

"Life From Death and A Troubled Soul" Rev. Judy Lee’s Homily for Lent 5- 3/22/2015
The Gospel today, John 12: 20-33 is a powerful message on life and death. Yet, it is not easy for us to break the taboos and talk about dying and death even in the context of the risen Christ, since we know the end of the story. Facing death and suffering is never easy and no matter how strong our belief in Christ and resurrection, there is such pain in the loss of loved ones, and in suffering of any sort. The disciples did not want to hear Jesus predicting his own death and on some levels it made little sense to them. Yet he needed to share it and its meanings.

In my Grandmother’s day death was an accepted fact of life and reverence, utmost caring and peace were accorded to the dying. My Grandmother, Ella, a woman of great faith and charisma, was both a mid-wife and the one called upon when people were dying in our community. Long before the Hospice movement, she cared for the dying and taught me the concept of “tending” death and the dying with love, reverence, and care. Yet, she was not allowed to die such a death when diagnosed with terminal metastatic cancer in 1963. She suffered much and was hooked up to every invasive means possible to sustain a life that was full of pain despite morphine. And yet, miraculously, her faith prevailed. In this post- modern era when science and technology can keep us alive even if for all intents we are already dead, it is still not easy to talk about death and dying. The better aspects of Hospice care today can eliminate some of the torturous methods of sustaining life and denying death and can often allow death with comfort and dignity. Yet, the reverence for and holiness surrounding death may still be overlooked.

There is a trend in Christian theology today that explicitly avoids discussion of the cross and its centrality in traditional Christian beliefs. (Here I do not mean to endorse atonement theology although I have no problem accepting that there is sin and what horror it does in the world, for God does not want burnt offerings and living sacrifice but hearts that love God and love and serve one another in justice (Hosea 6:6). But it is undisputable that Jesus did suffer and die.) It is as if by using pretty words about stardust and the cosmos, for example, and not focusing on suffering and dying we can avoid both. We cannot. And, this is not what Jesus did. He faced it all head on and gave us the wisdom and courage to do the same. In today’s Gospel we see Jesus, the Christ, facing his own dying and teaching us about suffering and dying and ultimately about life and living. I am so thankful for this.

The context for today’s Gospel in John 12 is that six days before the Passover, after Jesus was ministered to by his friends in Bethany, Martha and Mary and their brother Lazarus who Jesus had raised from the dead, Jesus spoke comfortably about his own death saying that Mary had anointed him with the perfume (probably the very expensive myrrh that was used for embalming) that was to be saved for his burial. He then proceeds to Jerusalem and the crowd welcomes him with cheers of “Hosanna!” (Save Us!) . They too know about his raising of Lazarus. (The raising of Lazarus is also a message about his own death and resurrection-death is not final, God will raise him and ultimately us up from the grave. And now while we live we are also raised from the million ways we can choose death over life). With the crowd’s acclaim of Jesus on what we now call Palm Sunday the religious leaders are getting more and more nervous-“See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him” (John 12:19). Jesus is not long for this world and he knows it. Then, in today’s Gospel, the Gentiles seek Jesus out and this is another unforgiveable affront to the religious leadership who believed that God’s promises/ covenant was only for them. So Jesus again predicts his death (John 12: 23-24,25b, 27-28, 32).

“Unless a grain of wheat falls onto the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain. But if it dies, it yields a rich harvest….Anyone who wants to work for me must follow in my footsteps…Now my soul is troubled. What will I say: ’Abba, save me from this hour’. But it was for this very reason I have come to this hour. Abba. Glorify your name!….And when I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself”.

Life comes after death and life comes out of death even as the most beautiful flower and the most delicious fruit comes from the seed buried deep in the soil. The world-wide church blossomed and grew from the death and resurrection of Jesus and later those who followed him to their own deaths. Following Jesus is life for us now and forever, beyond death, but like Jesus each one of us can say “My soul is troubled” in the face of suffering and death. Hebrews 5:7-9 notes that Jesus offered prayer with loud cries and tears. Jesus suffered emotional and spiritual pain as well as physical pain as he faced the ending of his mission and ministry. And yet somehow we think we may be immune to suffering. We are not asked to be Pollyanna and make believe there is no suffering in the world, or ahead for us and those we love and serve. We are asked to accept what may come in our lives, particularly as we follow Jesus in living a prophetic life of love, inclusion and justice. The more we act prophetically the more the chance of running into trouble from the powers that be. Witness the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many faith filled believers whose deaths fueled the success of the Civil Rights Movement. But even in ordinary life there is plenty of trouble. We can’t pray it away nor should we if we emulate Jesus. But it is how we deal with our troubles that shows what we are made of and who we are.

In the last two weeks we responded pastorally to the needs of two homeless women, one who we have known over seven years and the other new to the area, and a homeless family of seven. It is not only material needs for housing and the basics for establishing a home that such persons need, they need a welcome to community and a loving presence as they reestablish their lives. We were so pleased as the family and our old friend connected and reconnected to our church community and our people reached out with resources and services for them. The father in this large family thanked us for the food, clothing and beds, but he said that most of all he thanked us for inviting the children to the Sunday school. They love it and can’t wait to come back and the parents are coming with them. And our old friend, simply cried and said “My new start and new apartment is a miracle but mostly I’m so happy that I am home again.” Our community is providing her Security and Utilities deposits and all of her furniture and household goods and also cleaning up her new apartment so she can move in quickly. She loves meeting all of the people as they bring their gifts to her. One family even cared for her little dog while she was in a Motel that did not take dogs. The troubles that these families endured brought them to the lowest points in their lives. But at the bottom they found the love of a Christ following community and could rest at home in that love.

We have been supporting one of our formerly homeless mentally ill men as he faces both physical illness and a flare up of mental illness that threatens his life and well-being and his housing. We stand with his family and friends in not knowing how to help him turn this around, but we try. We also received two calls this week to attend to beloved elders who had very recently entered hospice care. One is one of our Roman Catholic Women Priests and the other woman is a member of our Good Shepherd Community. Both are in their late eighties and have sustained falls and much physical suffering. Each one is unique and faith filled and thinking about the world without her in it is very difficult for us. Each is planning her funeral and thinking about her family and friends, and about her own dying. It is an honor to be asked to “tend” these deaths as best we can and with God’s grace accompany them home and provide comfort for the families. And even as we do this we await news of tests regarding our own health and pray for the strength to carry out this ministry.

With Jesus I can say “my soul is troubled”. And with Jesus I turn to our loving MotherFather God to be there with us as we try to be there for our brothers and sisters. It troubles our souls to face the issues of poverty and mental and physical health issues that end in sickness and homelessness and sometimes death. It troubles us that there are still millions of homeless in the United States and so many more world-wide. We are troubled at the decision of the State Legislature in affluent Florida to turn down 3 Billion dollars of Federal aid to help the lowest income poor. We cry out in the wilderness that this is sin and people we serve are without any medical help because of it. Yes, this injustice troubles us. And it is a different kind of soul trouble to face dying and death with our beloved older sisters. It draws us into holy and sacred space with them and with our loving God.

Jesus, help us to find life in death and to serve your people facing troubles that are so great. Your death brings forth the new life of the kin-dom in each of us. It gives birth to and joins us with the beloved community. We pray that we will have your courage to risk everything including death to bring life to the world. Amen.


Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

Rev. Judith Beaumont, RCWP

Co-Pastors Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Fort Myers, Florida