Thursday, July 9, 2015

Windsor’s 1st Roman Catholic Woman Priest to be Ordained as Canada’s 1st Woman Priest Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Release date: July 9, 2015
From: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (See:
Contact:  Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (media)
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, (703) 505-0004,
On Saturday, July 25, 2015, at 2 p.m., the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain Barbara Billey a priest, (519)735-3943. The ordaining bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan.  The ceremony will be held in the Chapel of Cardinal Smart Retirement Living, 3140 Peter St., Windsor, ON (519-254-1112). Parking at St. Michael’s School.  A dinner will follow at 6:30 pm, 140 Bridge Ave., Penthouse (Buzz #6). Street parking only. All are welcome.
Barbara is a registered psychotherapist and art therapist who has a private practice working with children, youth and adults.  She enjoys using the creative arts as part of her healing ministry in order to facilitate encounters with the Sacred. Barbara holds graduate degrees in education and counseling/art therapy as well as a Doctor of Ministry. “We, God’s beloveds, the sacraments, and the Church cannot be truly whole without women at all levels of ministry, including priesthood.  While I’ve had many challenges in this sacred calling, deep within is a steadfastness that sustains my going forward. I’m gripped by this grace.”
July 25th is also the 10th anniversary of Canada’s first woman priest, Michele Birch-Conery, (519) 962-7016 who was ordained on the St. Lawrence River in 2005.  A retired professor of English Literature and Women's Studies with a focus on Women and Religion, she lived and ministered on Vancouver Island, British Colombia with outreach to the GLBTQ Dignity Vancouver community. In 2013, she moved to Windsor where she collaborates with Barbara and their Heart of Compassion Faith Communities in Ontario and Michigan.
As urban priests and compassion activists, Michele and Barbara presented the Charter for Compassion for adoption by the City of Windsor and are currently supporting the empowerment of young women of various faith traditions through their Wisdom Women Circles of Compassion initiative. In Detroit, Michigan and area, they also partner with Deacon Jeni Marcus in activism with GLBTQ communities and an ecumenical Call to Action community.
Pope Francis in his Encyclical on Mother Earth, Laudato Si, writes, “God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things (77).  No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to [God’s] grace at work deep in our hearts.”
Women priests are responding to the Spirit’s call to serve in a renewed priesthood within a circle of equals. In our prophetic movement of justice-making, spiritually transforming and righting relationships, we are mystically healing the Earth, the circle of life, and the wounds of sexism. As images of the Divine in partnership with all of creation, our lives call out for the full equality of women.
We ask Francis to make the connection between the disempowerment and domination of women in church and society and the abuse of women and creation.  In response to the growing interest of women to be ordained, ARCWP will ordain three bishops in Philadelphia, USA on September 24th, including one from South America.

Vocations! Shortage of male celibates, but not of women priests! Wake up Vatican and ordain the Ladies!
Celebration of Ordination of priests Sally Brochu and Kathryn Shea, Deacons Lorraine Sharpe and Ronnie Dubignon in May 2015 in Sarasota Florida, Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, (over 210 in international movement of Roman Catholic Women Priests)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Somethings Missing from Pope Francis' Vision of Equality- Women"
Bridget Mary's Response:   Until Pope Francis makes the connection between gender equality, poverty, and violence in the world and sexism in the church, women will remain second class citizens and poverty, abuse and violence will continue to rise. The good news is that women priests are making a difference by living Gospel equality now. I hope that Pope Francis will come and see for himself. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

 (In Latin America
)"...But the feminization of poverty (an increase in the levels of poverty among women or female-headed households relative to the levels of men or male-headed households) increased from 109 percent in 1994 to almost 117 percent in 2013,according to the United Nations.
Women’s labor participation in the region remains more than a quarter less than that of men, at 52.9 percent, compared with 79.6 percent, as recorded in 2010 statistics. And while the wage gap has shrunk, women still earn a staggering 68 percent less than their male colleagues. South American women are also twice as likely as men to be unpaid workers...

Of the little research that exists, the statistics on violence against women in Latin America are gruesome. A recent U.N. report published in the Economist found that a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. It states that in Colombia, “attacks in which acid is thrown at women’s faces, disfiguring them, nearly quadrupled between 2011 and 2012.” Moreover, of the 25 countries in the world that are high or very high in the U.N.’s ranking for femicides (killings of women that seem to be related to their sex), more than half are in the region.
Research shows that when women have access to contraception and are educated to make responsible choices, their income, employment and education levels rise, as do their children’s. As women’s choices expand, they have fewer unassisted labors and backstreet abortions, meaning maternal mortality is reduced, and, depending on the type of contraception used, life-limiting sexually transmitted diseases are contained.
But because the Vatican considers women second-class citizens, it goes without saying that the pope will not mention abortion or contraception during his South American tour.
Figures show that of the 4.4 million abortions performed in Latin America in 2008, 95 percent were unsafe, and about 1 million women are hospitalized annually for treatment of complications from such procedures. In this context, it should be noted that the pope has described the abortion-rights movement as a “culture of death” and has opposed Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s efforts to distribute free contraceptives.
..." as Jemima Thackray writes in The Telegraph, “the Catholic Church’s growth is coming from non-European countries where the so-called ‘liberal’ issues of sexual equality are considered less important.”As much as he has advocated “rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world,” Francis has repeatedly embraced the traditional Catholic view that a woman’s role is in the home. Extolling the role of women specifically as mothers by declaring “the presence of women in a domestic setting” as crucial to “the very transmission of the faith,” Francis has said, “I think, for example, of the special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood.” Although women may have lives outside the home, Francis has urged us not to “forget the irreplaceable role of the woman in a family.”
Given the pope’s outspoken views, we’ve been hoping he’d get around to addressing gender inequality eventually. But lest we forget, the Vatican is—and always will be—a patriarchal institution based on sexual hierarchy. Asked on two occasions about the possibility of admitting women to the ranks of the clergy, Francis has given a firm no. “That door,” he said in 2013, “is closed.” As Thackray explains, “this is not about having a Western liberal agenda for equality for its own sake, but about acknowledging that in allowing women into positions of influence in the church, this would raise their general status, reducing their vulnerability and poverty. Perhaps,” she continues, “it would also help shake up some of the closed male-dominated systems which have caused some of the other worst abuses by the Catholic Church.”
It would be no violation of doctrine to recognize women as equally and intrinsically valuable, regardless of their familial role or fertility. Until the pope’s vision of equality includes this, it’s incomplete."

Link to article on Women Priests in Compassion Community

Who You Are Makes a Difference Homily, July 5, 2015 Rev Patricia A. Zorn, ARCWP Priest

The story “Who You are Makes a Difference” by Helice Bridges, comes from the 1st book in the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series.
When I attended my first seminary, one of our fellow classmates gave each of us a bookmark that said, “Who You are Makes a Difference, Thanks for Making a Difference in My Life.” I was touched by this act of kindness.
I had a copy of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book at home and went back to re-visit the story:
A teacher in a NY school wanted to tell the students in her class how they the difference they made in her life and in the lives of each other. She called each student to the front of the class and presented each one with a ribbon that said, “Who You Are Makes a Difference.”
The teacher gave her students a challenge and extra ribbons. She encouraged them to go out into the community and pass on a ribbon; thanking each person for making a difference in her/his life. The teacher wanted feedback on how lives were impacted by this “pay it forward” method.
The students passed out the ribbons and a miracle happened.
A junior executive passed on one of the ribbons to his boss explaining the school project and how much he appreciated him. The boss was a grouch.
The executive told his boss he was a creative genius and then gave his boss an extra ribbon; asking him to pass it on.
When the boss got home that night, he sat his 14 year old son down and said, “The most amazing thing happened to me today” and he began to relay the story. He told his son, “As I was driving home, I was thinking about whom I wanted to give this ribbon to and I want to honor you.” The man went on to explain, “My days are hectic and when I come home I don’t pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you to get your homework done. You’re a great kid and I love you.”
The son cried and replied, “I was planning on committing suicide tomorrow, Dad, because I didn’t think you loved me. Now I don’t need to.” What a great story and its true!
Back in 2005, I handed out cards to all the members of our community that said, “Who You Are Makes a Difference, Thanks for Making a Difference in My Life.” I wanted to thank our church members for making difference and here’s why:
Our church was invited to participate in a local fundraising project for the holiday.
We set up a booth as vendors, selling various food items to raise money for our outreach ministry of “Helping One Family at a Time.” Individuals from the community were very generous.
God carefully choreographed the entire disbursement plan.
A few weeks after our venture, a woman I knew lost her husband in a tragic accident. There was no life insurance and she had no money. As a couple, they lived below the poverty line with no resources for funeral costs.
I immediately asked for assistance from our community on her behalf and the response was, “Yes, do it.” I was so proud to be part of this fine group and to be their pastor.
Ten years later, these fine people are still transforming lives.
Remember, “Who You are Makes a Difference and Thank you, for Making a Difference in My Life.” Amen!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Your Donations Will Help Our Women Priests Movement ARCWP Grow

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Inc.                         
3041 Stuart Drive ~ Macon, GA  31204

July 7, 2015

SUBJ:   Urgent and Immediate need

Dear Friends of ARCWP:

Thank you for standing beside us as you support our ministries through sharing in our Eucharistic communities, your enthusiasm, prayers and donations during this past fruitful year.  Together, we have been called to serve and work for justice and equality in our communities and in the world. The Spirit has been calling us at an increased rate and we are answering the call for women’s involvement in our church at all levels.

Yearly, we come to you, dear friends, family, communities, and supporters to ask for your financial help.  However, we have an urgent and immediate need.  In September we will be ordaining three new ARCWP Bishops – two additional Bishops in North America and one Bishop in South America.  The ordination will be held in Philadelphia the week that Pope Francis will be there. 

We are requesting your support for the following immediate needs:
·         Travel expenses to include airfare, food and lodging in Philadelphia
·         Media/advertising/brochures
·         Website maintenance and update

For example:
·         Your donation of $1,000.00 will pay for an airline ticket from Columbia, South America, to Philadelphia. 
·         Your donation of $500.00 will provide for lodging expenses.
·         Your donation of $500.00 will assist with advertising expenses.
·         Your donation of $250.00 will assist with printing expenses.
·         Your donation of $100.00 or $50.00 will help defray additional ordination expenses. 

Any gift, no matter the amount, is timely and makes you part of our movement for justice and equality in our Church.  Please give, as you are able. 

Your donation can be sent via credit card on our website at:  and scroll down to the “donate” tab, or your check can be mailed to:  ARCWP, 3041 Stuart Drive, Macon, GA 31204. 
Thank you and we are asking God’s blessing for you and your loved ones.

Bridget Mary Meehan, Bishop
On Behalf of The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Inc. is a 501©(3) tax exempt organization.
No goods or services were provided by ARCWP in exchange for this contribution.

Your donation is tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

"A Rebuttal to the Roman Catholic Hierarchy’s Position on Same Sex Marriage" Jennifer Marie Marcus, Esq., Deacon, ARCWP, July 2015

It was no surprise that Cardinal O’Malley of Boston and Archbishop Joseph E. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, President of the National Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops, roundly criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v Hodges. That case held that legal prohibitions against same sex marriage were unconstitutional as violations of Fundamental Liberties under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.
Quoting Archbishop Kurtz from the NCCB Press release:
“The nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.
The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.”
Cardinal O’Malley opined:
“The institution of marriage understood in its human, moral and legal dimensions is a fundamental building block of any society,” “The protection of marriage and families is a shared responsibility for all of us.”
As the above statements reflect the Roman Catholic Church, as well as other faith systems still act, operate, think and function as if they remain in the Dark Ages They erroneously maintain that they are speaking for a static God based on ancient pre-scientific stories and texts they view and believe as “God Speak” We all know that God does not write, speak or use human language and most certainly did not write our sacred texts giving rise to the teachings of our faith systems. For if God did, we would not be having these queries, discussions and disputes. The texts would be indelibly fixed and clad in gold! These collective works of pre-scientific wisdom and so called truths are human inventions, albeit divinely inspired .They were written down by human imperfect agencies subject to a limited knowledge of the cosmos, and affected by their own biases, prejudices and cultural realities which at the time were fundamentally misogynistic and patriarchal. Just as God is not static, nor is human evolution and humanity’s accretion of scientific knowledge and understanding of the universe In that light, we all know that the so called “ancient truths” espoused and promulgated by the Church like the earth being flat or the center of the universe ,slavery  as an accepted  practice,  or the Aristotelian concept that women are under developed and unevolved half men, and are therefore ,subservient to men are examples of unenlightened pre-scientific thinking. More germane to the subject of marriage, it too, has evolved over millennia from the ancient biblical accepted cultural practice of polygamy to its present general understanding and form, as was discussed at the beginning of the majority opinion in Obergefell..
The Roman Catholic Church Hierarchy’s reliance on biblical texts establishing “the truth “of God’s will that marriage is solely between a man and a woman with the primary aim of human reproduction is further weakened by their version of truth being viewed and interpreted with a lens by a select cadre of old celibate men” who received their filtered canon from the misogynistic, patriarchal “Church Fathers” in 325 Nicea. (Side Bar: The Jesus Seminar that studied the scriptural texts and attempted to filter out the actual sayings, teachings and miracles of the historical Jesus could not attribute the aforementioned teaching to the historical Jesus .It, therefore is a product of the early Church.)  To make matters worse the hierarchy’s vision is clouded by their understanding   of “Natural Law” handed down from such Dark Ages and medieval misogynistic, patriarchal “Church Fathers” like, Augustine and Aquinas.” who were obviously clueless as to current scientific concepts and thinking in such disciplines as archeology, paleontology, genetics, anatomy, physiology psychiatry, endocrinology, embryology, sexual orientation and gender identity .Those sciences now view that being Homosexual. Transgender, Bisexual, Intersex and Gender Queer are immutable characteristics that a person is born with and a not a matter of an intrinsically evil choice brought on by mental illness. What is equally troublesome many of these same Church leaders are in no position to judge and pontificate from a moral high ground given their actual involvement as perpetrators, or in the cover up of clerical and religious pedophiles.
There is also the theological problem that if you limit the interpretation of God’s will to a select group of men in the Vatican you are also suppressing the Holy Spirit who speaks and works through All of God’s holy people i.e.  Sensus Fidei or Fidelium   Incorporating that concept in conjunction with   current scientific thinking and opinion polls on issues involving human reproduction, artificial contraception, human sexuality and gender identity, I submit that the Church would be taking a more favorable pastoral and dogmatic position on same sex marriage. At this point, the church hierarchy will argue “Relativism” but from what perspective? The tribal necessity of ancient Israel to promulgate the species for its survival certainly, not a concern today in light of global overpopulation. Nor is the medieval thought of “natural law” in light of current scientific advancements and thinking on the causes of homosexuality, gender dysphoria, intersexuality or other impairments to human sexual development .In essence this is not “relativism” but a product of a humanity’s accretion of knowledge and its evolution.
Some troublesome and illogical contradictions exists when the Church posits view that a marriage is solely between a man and woman with its primary purpose of bringing children into the world. That position is mitigated and falls short when it knowingly blesses and sanctions marriages between infertile couples because of the age or physical impairments of the couples involved. The church’s bases its acceptance of such unions on a pastoral biblical Genesis rational: “it is not good that man should be alone!”  …”Well, the same argument holds true for people of the same sex who are in love and wish to be together for a lifetime. Love is love and does not discriminate by sex or gender because it is the essence of God and God does not discriminate!
Associated with  the Church’s position on marriage focusing on  procreation and the fostering, nurturing and protection of children it contradicts itself by willingly ignoring  loving same sex couples who would love to have children of their own or gladly adopt if given the opportunity Yet, despite there being many orphaned , abandoned and homeless children in the world needing loving parents to love ,support and provide them with a home many of the Church sponsored adoption agencies refuse to place them with same sex couples.
Finally, despite their arguments and protestations to the contrary, the Roman Catholic Church and other backward faith systems continue to adopt, maintain, teach and practice their pre-scientific negative biblical and medieval views on women and homosexuals. Those backward twisted preachings and teachings gives license too many ignorant people of faith to perform acts of physical and emotional violence against members of LGBTIQ community and  women. What is most painful and disgraceful is when parents of LGBTIQ children “kick them out” of their homes and put them in the street , or drive them to suicide because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The parents   perceive their child as being evil or sinful because that is what they were taught to believe by some half- witted priest or minister pontificating from some pulpit or ambo spewing half-truths or lies based on their view of scripture.. That was the case in the recent suicide death of Lelah Alcorn of Ohio in December 2014.becuase her faith based transphobic parents couldn’t deal with the reality that their child was transgender and in their mind’s destined to hell.!.
I maintain that the fate of women and people in the LGBTIQ  community are linked by the culture, society and its institutions including the Roman Catholic Church., because they view gays as  having feminine affectations. Consequently, LGBTIQ people are treated like women and considered lesser than men .i.e. second class citizens and in the case of Transgender people, third class citizens. .Hypothetically speaking, I suspect when the Church begins to treat women on an equal footing with men by elevating them .in leadership roles  or in recognizing their Divine call to Holy Orders  and the Episcopate the intertwined status of women and homosexuals would be elevated not only in the Church but the culture and society at large., I posit that it would be a  sign to the rest of the world that women and LGBTI people are scripturally equal to men in source divinity which would be consistent with the Vatican II Documents. Because we are all equal children in the eyes of our Creator, women and LGBTI people can no longer be morally, culturally, and legally be viewed as subservient to men, nor are they  property ,or lesser human beings.. In essence, women and LGBTIQ people are to be  treated with dignity and respect ,have equal employment rights, and be free of practices and laws that are  misogynistic ,patriarchal, homophobic, transphobic, bigoted , discriminatory  oppressive. and  result in all forms of emotional and physical violence. Behavior, actions or laws falling short of those prohibitions would be viewed as crimes against humanity .It is my belief that if the Roman Catholic Church took a progressive evolutionary position within its own faith system it would be a positive prophetic sign to the rest of the world .It would then challenge backward cultures, secular and religious institutions and governments to improve the lives of women and members of the LGBTIQ  community. I maintain that it would reduce the number of poverty stricken .and homeless the world. ,as well as decrease the physical and emotional violence to women ,children and LGBTIQ  people, At the minimum it would invite serious global discourse of the scourge of gender and LGBTIQ  inequality and their  connection to poverty, misogyny, patriarchal oppression, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination and violence, and overtime be a  segue for positive social change and justice.
In conclusion, in light of current evolutionary Spirit driven Theology, Morality and Scientific thinking the Church has no rational basis to object to same sex marriages and adoption. because the primary Source of those marriages is Love and that is the essence of God.

“Refusing to Hear” Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6:1-13 July 5, 2015 Annie Watson, ARCWP

Mary Weber ARCWP and Annie Watson, ARCWP
Mary Weber and Annie Watson after celebrating mass at St. Mary of Magdala inclusive community in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday, July 5.
Annie Watson, ARCWP
An elderly man thinking his wife was losing her hearing went about 20’ behind her and asked “Can you hear me sweetheart?” No reply. Moved to 10’ and inquired again. No reply. 5’ and not a word. A few inches behind her ear, he asked “Can you hear me now honey?” His wife said, “For the fourth time, yes!”
This little joke makes me wonder, “Who is it that’s not listening?” Most people tend to think that they themselves are the ones who are listening. Most of us see ourselves as attentive, ears to the ground, attuned people. It’s all those other people out there who aren’t listening to us! If they would only listen they would see things our way and everything would be great!
I’m talking about evangelism. “Evangelism” is an interesting word. It contains the word “angel,” a word that means “messenger.” So to practice evangelism is to be a messenger of good news. We have some good news to share, do we not? All we need are people who will hear what we have to say.
This is what is happening in Mark 6. Jesus had some good news to share with his hometown people, and then he sends his disciples out, two by two, to share (and practice) some good news. That’s great! If we have something worth sharing with others, we should.
My only criticism of this is the assumption that all the sharing should come from one direction. The people should listen to Jesus and his disciples. Nothing is mentioned about Jesus and his disciples hearing what the people have to say.
The story is familiar: Jesus goes to his hometown of Nazareth, he gives a good sermon, the people are “astounded,” but then they begin to question how someone they have known their whole lives, who comes from a family they have known forever, could actually have something meaningful to say to them. It all seems so condescending. After they think about it for a moment, the crowd begins to “take offense” at him.
At this point Jesus utters one of his most famous quotes, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house (where they were also refusing to hear him).” This is a universal truth. I am under no illusion that if I went back to Danville, Kentucky and started sharing homilies things would go well for me.
I would not be honored as a prophet in my hometown. They would treat me like a bad cold. They know me too well, or at least they think they do, and so there is no way their pride would allow me—of all people—to share the good news with them, not without close scrutiny and criticism.
After things didn’t work out so well in his hometown, Jesus decides to send out his followers, two by two, on an evangelistic mission, sharing the good news of the kin-dom of God, delivering people from “unclean spirits” and healing the sick. Again, the assumption is that the people should listen to his disciples, and not the other way around.
Jesus says, “If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” I get that. After all, Jesus was sending his disciples out to the surrounding villages with a clear cut message. If and when we have something to share that we sincerely believe everyone should hear, we become rather enthusiastic about it.
These days the easiest way to get one’s message out there is through social media. It has become a forum for people who feel like they have something important to say. It probably makes us feel more important than we really are. If more than a dozen or so people hit “like” on something we write we fool ourselves into thinking that we have really contributed something awesome to the world.
In some ways, the readings this week feed into our haughty attitudes, our feelings of superiority, and our false assumptions that people should just listen to us (and not the other way around). The story in Mark’s gospel feeds into our narcissistic belief that people should stop everything they are doing and hear what we have to say.
If they don’t we should just shake the dust off our feet (although I have to admit, it is unlikely that I would go share the good news of Jesus Christ with someone who lives on a dirt road. That’s just asking for trouble!).
Few of us consider ourselves prophets, but the reading from the book of Ezekiel also feeds into our sense of self-importance. According to Ezekiel, God spoke to him and sent him to the people of Israel, “to a nation of rebels” (which does not mean they were Confederate flag-waving Southerners, by the way, but they were rebellious). God tells Ezekiel these rebellious Israelites were “impudent and stubborn.” Because of that, they are unlikely to accept what Ezekiel has to say to them.
God says to Ezekiel, “Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.” God then tells Ezekiel not to be afraid of them no matter what they say or how menacing they look.
So here’s our problem, and here’s how I think these stories need to be heard in a different light, or at least with a caveat in mind: What if we are the ones who are refusing to listen? What if we are the ones with the menacing look?
Maybe today is as good a time as any to consider that we need to put our ears to the ground and that listening to other voices wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Like no other time in history there are plenty of opportunities to hear what others have to say.
We are bombarded with new information and messages every day. Some of it is actually good news, if not prophetic. We often hear very prophetic stuff outside the church. Yesterday, on Independence Day, we were reminded of “liberty and justice for all,” and hopefully we heard those words with fresh ears in the aftermath of what happened in South Carolina, and in light of the Supreme Court’s decision about marriage equality.
So yes, the church is potentially a wonderful herald of good news, and yet our voice isn’t the only voice out there. Even as we feel we are not being heard, we need to remember that there are many people today in many parts of the world who feel they are never heard: the voices of historically marginalized people, the voices of children, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, etc.
Evangelism should not just be a one-way street; it should be a two-way street. Before we stop to shake the dust off of our feet because someone refuses to hear what we have to say, let’s try hearing what they have to say first. 

An Interesting Reference to a Group of Women Priests and Worship of Mary in Early Christianity, Catholics View of Mary: Jewish Mother, Sister, and Goddess

According to Epiphanius of Salamis ( d. 403), who condemned them, the Kollyridians were a group of women priests "who worshipped the Virgin Mary and allowed women to serve as priests."

 Sounds like a rather interesting group of women priests who really irritated the hierarchy sort of like some of us today!

I can just hear some prelate muttering under his breath, "holy Mary Mother of God, give me patience! What will they come up with next?"

I see Mary, Mother of Jesus, as my Sister,  a prophetic companion on our journey to the full equality of women in the church! 

Many priests in the institutional church affirm Mary as priest, because she is the first who could say "this is my body, this is my blood." 

In my books on feminine images of God, I reflect on Mary as a visible symbol of a powerful image of the Feminine Presence of God in our midst. (Delighting in the Feminine Divine and Heart Talks with Mother God.)

For millions of Catholics throughout the ages, Mary has filled the need for the nurturing experience of a mothering God. Throughout medieval times God appeared as harsh judge, Mary as compassionate mother.  So , Catholics sought refuges for the absence of a maternal God in the arms of Mother Mary. 

Now, in our times, we are reclaiming her as our sister and friend, walking with us, guiding us on the journey to living and loving in the heart of our God. 

Catholics have once again claimed Mary as Jewish mother who is truly our sister. Read Elizabeth Johnson's book, Always Our Sister.)

How about you? How do you see Mary, and does she have a role in your life?

 Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

(In Quest of the Jewish Mary by Mary Christine Athans BVM, 2013, New York, Orbis, p. 24.) Irish Redemptorist  Fr Tony Flannery said on his website: “We are told that Jesus had four brothers, and an indefinite number of sisters. This does not fit with the church’s need to present Jesus as the Son of God, conceived in a way that is different from other humans, and Mary as the perpetual virgin. So the scholars turned the brothers and sisters into cousins!”

Monday, July 6, 2015

"Lex credendi, lex vivendi: A response to Laudato Si’" by Ilia Delio,... Church Must Live Message of Interrelatedness and Inclusivity

"The Power of One" From the Radical Christian Life by Sister Joan Chittister OSB

The Power of One

In the sixth century, Benedict of Nursia was an aspiring young student at the center of the empire with all the glitz and glamour, all the fading glory and dimming power that implied.

Rome had overspent, overreached, and overlooked the immigrants on the border who were waiting—just waiting—to pour through the system like a sieve.

Rome—ROME!—the invincible, had been sacked. As in the book of Daniel, the writing was on the wall, but few, if anyone, read it.

In our own world, the headlines are in our paper, too, and few, if any, are reading them.

St. Benedict
Feast Day July 11
But in the sixth century, one person, this young man, resolved to change the system not by confronting it, not by competing with it to be bigger, better, or more successful but by eroding its incredible credibility.

This one single person in the sixth century—without the money, the technology, the kind of systemic support our age considers so essential to success and therefore uses to explain its failure to make a difference—simply refused to become what such a system modeled and came to have a major influence in our own time.

This one person simply decided to change people’s opinions about what life had to be by himself living otherwise, by refusing to accept the moral standards around him, by forming other people into organized communities to do the same: to outlaw slavery where they were; to devote themselves to the sharing of goods; to commit themselves to care for the earth; to teach and model a new perspective on our place in the universe.

And on his account—though numbers, history attests, were never his criteria for success—thousands more did the same age after age after age.

Through it all, for over 1500 years, Benedictine communities—small, local, and autonomous—worked in creative ways to meet the needs of the areas in which they grew, struggling always to shape and balance a deep and communal spiritual life with the great social needs around them.

If the twenty-first century needs anything at all, it may well be a return to the life-giving, radical vision of Benedict. Perhaps we need a new reverence for bold Benedictine wisdom if civilization is to be saved again—and this time the very planet preserved.

—from The Radical Christian Life by Joan Chittister (Liturgical Press)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pope Francis Encyclical: "Laudato Si", Response by Jeni Marie Marcus, Esq. and Deacon ARCWP: Encyclical Needed on Women as Spiritual Equals

14. "I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”. [22] All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents."

23. The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes.
24. Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.'

"A Follow Up Game Changing Encyclical" by Jennifer Marie Marcus, Esq., Deacon, ARCWP

 Undoubtedly, Francis's encyclical " Laudato Si [Praised Be]: On the Care of Our Common Home" is historic and will have an impact on the global community and its economy. The encyclical's emphasis on how climate change has a direct negative  impact on the global poor is laudatory and apparent.

 Since the global poor are  comprised of primarily  women and children ,if Francis is really serious about making significant inroads into  eradicating poverty it would behoove him to issue  a follow up historic encyclical  elevating the status and role of women commencing with taking action  in his own Church. He could start by placing women in leadership roles and recognizing their Divine call to Holy Orders and the Episcopate. This would be sign to the rest of the world that women are, according to scripture, equal to men in source divinity and it would be consistent with the Vatican II Documents. 

The encyclical should state  in clear unequivocal terms that because women are equal children in the eyes of our Creator they can no longer be  morally ,culturally, and legally viewed as subservient to men ,nor are they property ,or second class citizens.. Women are to be  treated with dignity and respect ,have wage parity with men for the same work they perform and are to be  free of practices and laws that are misogynistic, patriarchal, bigoted , discriminatory  oppressive and  result in all forms of emotional and physical violence. Behavior, actions or laws falling short of those prohibitions would be viewed as grave sins .

It is my belief that such an encyclical would challenge backward cultures, secular and religious institutions and governments to improve the lives of women and reduce the number of poverty stricken peoplein the world. At the minimum it would invite serious global discourse of the scourge of gender inequality and its connection to poverty, misogyny, patriarchal oppression, discrimination and violence, and overtime be a  segue for positive social change and justice.

Vigil Outside Detention Center in Richmond County, California, July 4, 2015, Silvia Brandon-Perez ARCWP

Vigil against the detention of migrant
July 4, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
West Detention Centre County
5555 Giant Highway, Richmond, CA

We dedicate esta vigil Jim Forsyth, WHO passed from this life on July 4, 2013, and our vigils and meetings Attended STI since inception. Brother Jim Forsyth, present!
Most of us know the story of a child born in a poor family in a village forgotten in occupied land. A family forced to flee persecution to seek asylum in a neighboring country like many others of "illegal aliens" called; a family living the life of the poor, the anawim. The boy Become a man, speaking on Behalf of the poor and against the excesses of the empire, tortured and murdered as a political criminal. Today we are experiencing the excesses of the empire Perhaps as never before, torturing and killing With new technology, but always with the approval of the state, Which justifies our actions With the seal of the "law." It is time to turn the tables and rid our world of the merchants of greed and death for our witness not constant violent.

Psalm 121
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills
                              Where Does My Help Come From?
My help cometh from the Lord,
Which made ​​heaven and earth

I invite everyone to briefly introduce Themselves.

Exodus 2
A man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman Became pregnant and had a are. She saw how beautiful it was and hid him for three months. When She Could not hide it any longer, she Took a basket made ​​of papyrus plants and covered with tar and pitch. She put the baby in it and it Placed Among the papyrus plants near the river Nile. Pharaoh's daughter opened the basket, looked at the baby and saw he was a child. She was crying, and she felt sorry for him. She said: "This is one of the Hebrew children . "

Today, women and men of other banks are sending children away to save Their Their Lives. They come to Us with security and food cravings and love of foreigners.

 1 Kings 8: 41-43
As for the foreigner Who is not of your people Israel, come from a distant land Because of your name  (for They Shall hear of your great name and your strong hand and your outstretched arm), and come and pray Toward this house,  you You hear in heaven, in your dwelling place, and do all for Which ACCORDING to the foreigner calls to you,
. If a stranger sojourn with you in your land, do not oppress him  as one born Among You That You Shall the stranger dwelleth with you, and You Shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God . Leviticus 19: 33-34
Anthem: Here I am, Lord

Now let's hear Carolyn Scarr recite His beautiful poem about the immigration interview, more than 2000 years ago That poor family. The text of the poem is on our songs.

Young Iris speaks for July 4:
Thank you all for coming to the eve of the July 4 - the day of the independence of esta nation. The USA. is proud of freedom, liberty and justice for all, but today, we wonder - justice for Whom? Listening to These testimonies, we will Consider Often These narratives have, but are not really Often Heard. I ask That we be Able to hear With our ears, minds and hearts to see the ways in These unjust immigration laws Which Have Affected the people of our community, Because When a body part hurts, we all hurt.

The poem The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus inscribed permanently into the basis of the Statue of Liberty, we remember on This July 4th:

Not like the mythical Greek giant bronze,
With conquering astride from land to land members;
. Here in our sunset gates it was drenched yerguerá
A mighty woman with a torch, Whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name.
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The twin cities frame the air-bridged harbor
"Beware, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" gritfa her.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send These, the homeless, tempest-tost to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door! "

Jake shares with us about the movement of pride ("Pride") and LGBTQ people and the detention of migrants, WHO suffer double humiliation for Their positions.

Responsorial reading based on the declaration of the rights of migrants from Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas
L: We are a nation of immigrants. We Gathered from the four corners of the earth.
A: We come from Mexico and the Philippines, from Central America, Ireland, Ethiopia and Iraq. We come to escape poverty and violence, fear, war, discrimination, political repression and economic hardship .
L: We leave to parents and children, and the heavens of Our Countries. We bring with us languages, pictures, phone numbers, backpacks, stories and hopes.
A: We walked day and night across the desert to cross the border. We Waited on the other side for the papers to cross. We jumped on trains, seen comrades fall, We have put our trust in coyotes and we Have Been abandoned by smugglers of Human Beings. Have we are what we eat .
L: We Have Been called illegal, wet, foreigners and terrorists. They surround us at work, leaving our homeless children. We are imprisoned and Deported from the cities in Which We have lived for decades.
A: We are math teachers and dishwashers, carpenters, translators, portrait artists and houses. We pick apples in Yakima, Washington. We wash dishes in restaurants in Minnesota. We rebuild homes in Louisiana to Hurricane Katrina. Taxes paid our salaries .
L: We send our children to school, wanting to learn and succeed and be safe. Nor do we forget the family members That Remain in Our Countries of birth: work hard to keep them as well. In some places, we are invisible. But look for us, Because we are here. We are some twelve million.
R : We bring our work, our children, the rich textures of our cultures, and an opportunity for each of us, That is us and you, learn compassion and wisdom through met the stranger. We Should no longer be strangers .
All are your grandparents and your sons and daughters, Their past and Their future. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we affirm our humanity, dignity and courage. As children of one God, as heirs of the same land, we affirm our rights.

We are a diverse group of people of many faiths, colors, creeds, lands. All sacred books constrain us to welcome the stranger among us.

"[Lord,] When we see you a stranger and Took thee in?" The King will reply, 'I tell you, whatever you did for one of the Least of These my brethren, you did it to me. "
Matthew 25: 38, 40

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for by so doing some Have unwittingly entertained angels."
Hebrews 13: 2

" You, my brothers, Were called to freedom; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.    For all the law in one word is brilliant: You Shall love your neighbor as yourself
Galatians 5: 13-14
"... You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow Citizens With the saints and members of God's family."

Ephesians 2: 11-21
"And Those Who Have dignity and comfort Among You not swear not to give to relatives and the needy and Refugees in the cause of God. That forgive and show indulgence . "

The Surat an-Nur Noble Quran 24:22
"And do good to your parents and close relatives, and the orphans and the needy, and the neighbor from Among your own people, and the neighbor Who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the wayfarer, and Those Who legitimately POSSESS. Verily, Allah does not like any of Those Who, full of vanity, acts in a boastful way ... "

Quran An-Nisa 4:36
"Those Who Believed, and ADOPTED exile, and Fought for the Faith, With Their property and Their persons, in the cause of Allah and Those Who gave them asylum and help are all friends and protectors, one of another."
Al Anfal Koran 8:72

Prayers from abroad to abroad abroad (the Tikkun Community)
Oh God, remind us That we are part of a whole or part of the land of our ancestors and your future, Have We both borders or we do not,  we are  national and transnational, injured and uninjured. Let us be Citizens of a world Where love and respect are just borders. Amen.

Please the Spirit and the forces That created the world. No matter if our tradition Began With The God of Abraham, Isaac and Sarah, or of Ishmael and Hagar, or immigrants to the manger or manifestation as deep as the longing of the heart to Understand, still, hear our prayer for the displaced and out of place. We are Both hosts and guests, strangers and friends, in a shrinking world That Has Its source in you. Unite us in the arts of hospitality and mutual understanding. Amen.

Continue walking through the kindness of strangers, and help us make sure we know Who is whos abroad. Teach us to think globally from the safety of our own backyard - so we can learn to be truly safe. Amen

Prayer for our immigrant brothers and sisters, of Pax Christi

Blessed are You, Lord Jesus Christ.
Crossed all borders
Between divinity and humanity
to make your home with us.
Help us in welcoming newcomers,
Migrants and Refugees.

Blessed are You, God of all nations.
Bless our rich land
With the goods of creation
And Those made in your image.
Help us to be good stewards and builders of peace,
live as your children.

Blessed are You, Holy Spirit.
Work in the hearts of all
to Achieve harmony and goodwill.
Strengthen us to welcome them to the
other lands, cultures, religions,
so we can live in human solidarity
and hope.

God of all men, grant us the vision
to see your presence among us,
Especially in our migrant brothers and sisters.
Give us courage to open the door to our neighbors
and grace to build a society of justice.

Song: Peace and freedom

• Testimony of anyone Who wants to share experiences of immigration detention

• The prayers of the people to be answered by: Lord, hear our prayer

• Noise

Closing Hymn: Amazing Grace

This vigil was presented by the Ecumenical Institute for Peace and the South Hayward Parish, with the help of our musicians, Patti Connors, Joseph Daniel Pinell, Zwiekel Daniel ben Avram and I, and the collaboration of interns EBASE / FAME, David Iris and Jake . Thanks to All Who Attended!