Saturday, December 26, 2015

"Woman Spirit Rising for Justice" Bridget Mary Meehan To Speak at Unitarian Church in Sarasota, Fl.

This Sunday, December 27

Woman Spirit Rising for Justice
Sermon by Bridget Mary Meehan

She ordains female and married Catholic priests in open defiance of church heirarchy and church law. She leads a weekly Catholic inclusive mass.

“In response to the Spirit’s call in our time for a more just church and world we are following our consciences and ordaining women in prophetic obedience to the Spirit who created women and men as spiritual equals. Galations 3:28 In Christ there is neither male nor female, all are one."

“Therefore, in our movement we disobey an unjust law, canon 1024, that prohibits women’s ordination.  In order to change an unjust law, we must break the law."


Homily for Christmas / Holy Family 2015 by Sally Brochu, ARCWP at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Homily for Christmas / Holy Family 2015
Sally Brochu, ARCWP

We didn’t have liturgy here in this space yesterday so we decided to take “Christmas on the Road” and visit one of our very dear members, Eileen, in a Rehab Center where she is currently receiving care. It was a warm and memorable experience for us and we hope for her.
So today, I would like to look at two things: Christmas and the Feast of the Holy Family through which God in the person of Jesus entered our humanity and whose life was one of love, teaching, challenging, healing - all within the context of, becoming a fully human person within a family. That is what each of us is called to do – to become fully human. That is so pleasing to God. It is our life’s work as a human being. And it begins with our unique creation by God – with the help of our parents. God saw us as good, not this little child born with original sin, but as a child who is loved and cherished and good.

This was clarified by Franciscan Duns Scotus who was a theologian and who lived about 1300 AD. He taught that we are born without sin, just like Jesus, just like Mary! He celebrated the Theology of Original Blessing that God created us good, or as Genesis says, “very good”, with that spark of the divine that connects us to God and each other. Sadly, our society is so full of the contrasting theology of Benedictine theologian Anselm, who lived around 1200 AD who, trying to understand why evil came into the world, developed the Theology of Atonement. Because of this, it is sometimes hard for us to see ourselves as good, as God sees us. We were taught that we needed to be baptized to be forgiven of this original sin. Jesus’s death then was his taking on our sins and saving us. Now, think for a moment – when you look into the eyes of a newborn - what do you see? Sin? I don’t think so. We see beauty and wonder and goodness. If we look close enough, we can see God.

So let’s look at this child Jesus. Like us, he was born to a young woman, Mary, whom according to archeologist and scripture scholar, Dorothy Irvin, whose research shows that Mary was well educated. Her father, Joachim taught in the temple and Anna, her mother, also spent much time in the temple praying, listening to scripture being read and taught, and probably teaching it to the women. Like most mothers, Anna taught her daughter. Anna’s wisdom was handed on to Mary, and Mary’s wisdom was handed on to Jesus! I think too we discount Joseph and the impact he had on Jesus as he grew up. Yet as all of us know who have raised children, it wasn’t easy all the time. In today’s scripture, we realize that Jesus was an extra-ordinary, yet ordinary, kid. He drove his parents nuts at times, even disappearing from the caravan, and taking off for the temple! Yet, bottom line, Mary and Joseph must have been loving and caring parents because scripture also says that Jesus grew in wisdom, the wisdom and goodness that his parents, and his grandparents, taught him and modeled for him. These were his Jewish roots, his values, his knowing that he was loved, that he took with him into adulthood and his earthly ministry.

Now we know that many of us don’t come from families as loving as Jesus’ family. Our parents may not have been good parents. Sadly, they were products of their broken upbringing. Yet still, we can look to Jesus, Mary & Joseph and see within that family unit what was good. It may not have been perfect either, but we can adopt their example for our own lives. We can choose to break the dysfunctional cycle of our family units and make changes in our lives so that love is at the heart and center of our relationships. We also know that there are many kinds of family units, not just the nuclear family with mother, father, child or children. We have single moms’ families, same sex families, grandmothers raising grand-children families, adopted families, foster care families, extended families. What is at the heart of these struggling and healthy families is love and the genuine caring for each other. Jesus said, where 2 or more are gathered, there I am. So Jesus is with us. He is with us in our families. We are now called to be Jesus in the world today. So let us continue to grow in wisdom and love of Jesus for one another.

I wish each of you, my extended family of Mary Mother of Jesus Community, a very Blessed Christmas and may you experience God’s goodness that each of us carries inside us, and may that love be brought forth into our world that so desperately needs to experience love.
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Question: What Christmas message do you carry in your heart?

Since 1965 to 2014, Nuns Drop 70%, U.S Priests Drop 35%, Women Priests Grow from 7 in 2002, to over 200 in 2015
CINCINNATI — Sixty years ago, seeing a nun dressed in a habit teaching a classroom of children was the norm in Catholic grade schools and high schools in Cincinnati and across the country. Today, most Catholic schools are staffed primarily by laypeople.
This change has happened gradually as a smaller number of men and women choose to become priests, nuns and brothers compared to a generation ago. In 1965, there were about 180,000 religious sisters in the United States. In 2014, that number had fallen by more than 70 percent to approximately 50,000.  The total number of U.S. priests had fallen by 35 percent to 38,000 in 2014 from 59,000 in 1965, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

"Should we be Encouraged or Discouraged by the Synod?" by Pat Perriello , National Catholic Reporter, My View: Internal forum, Primacy of Conscience Is Open to Catholics On Every Issue
Bridget Mary's Response:I think the most important accomplishment of the Synod is the affirmation of  internal forum and primacy of conscience.Internal Forum is not a new church teaching, but an affirmation of current church teaching.. This teaching applies not only to the divorced and remarried, but to gay marriage, and women priests.
For the past forty years, .millions of Catholics have already applied this teaching in their practice of artificial birth control. Right now, in this Holy Year of Mercy,  Pope Francis could create a more inclusive church by affirming primacy of conscience on all issues. He could  lift all punishments such as excommunications against Catholics who follow their consciences on hot button issues such as gay marriage and women priests, thereby, making the church a welcoming spiritual home for all Catholics. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Two recent articles in the National Catholic Reporter reflect dramatically different answers to this question. In the first article cited, Douglas Kmiec says that nothing has changed. He says that the Synod answered Francis’ question, “Who am I to judge”, by saying that the bishops will be the ones to judge. Francis got nothing that he was asking for.
A priest, James Ewens, says in the second article that by bringing forth the well established concept of the internal forum, the Synod has found a way to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion. I want to explore Ewens article first.
Ewens notes the use of the idea of epikaia to highlight the primacy of individual conscience. It is interesting to me that Ewens was ordained in 1970. My ordination class would have been 1969. Epikaia was also considered a significant topic in my Moral Theology class. Even the example of being at a traffic light at 2 a.m. was mentioned. Maybe we will see more of those concepts which received extensive attention during the Vatican II era returning to a place of greater prominence.
There are many good things that can be said about the internal forum. It addresses the primacy of conscience and lets Catholics know their individual conscience guided by the church ought to determine their appropriate choices. It provides an avenue for properly circumventing outdated and unreasonable church teachings. It has worked well, especially in the venue of birth control which almost all Catholics have concluded is something they will decide upon for themselves.
There are also, however, some problems with the internal forum approach. First of all, it represents merely an acknowledgement of a reality that has always been part of church teaching. It might also result in a tendency to search for a priest who agrees with your point of view. Additionally, there may well be mean spirited Catholics who will spread stories about certain divorced Catholics who are suddenly going to communion. Unlike birth control, where no one can say for certain whether someone is actually practicing birth control, members of the parish will know who is divorced and remarried. It would be clear if someone started receiving communion after years of not participating.
 The pre-Vatican II church of the 1950’s one of the worst things you could do was judge someone on the basis of their receiving or not receiving the Eucharist. That was seen as no one’s business. In the post-Vatican II church, however, some elements in the church hierarchy have at times encouraged telling on individuals, clergy, and bishops, if they were not toeing the line. Maybe one good thing that could happen now is to return to leaving such issues to God, the priest, and the individual involved. There is no way the internal forum could work otherwise.
Douglas Kmiec’s article offers a discouraging assessment of the work of the Synod. I had felt earlier that if Pope Francis didn’t at least get communion for divorced and remarried Catholics the Synod could not be considered a success. According to Kmiec’s assessment it would have to be considered a failure.
There is truth to this assessment. The conservatives did in fact hold sway. The bishops did reaffirm church teaching on traditional marriage and on same-sex marriage. It is difficult to see what can be said positively.
The German bishops moved the discussion to the internal forum as a way of salvaging the Synod. The fact that conservative Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, agreed, suggests this movement did not represent significant change. It is, however, at least an acknowledgement of the internal forum, and recognition that church teachings may not always be applicable to every individual case.
Of course the next step will be determined by what Pope Francis does with this report from the Synod fathers. The most he can do is make clear that primacy of conscience and the internal forum is open to all Catholics. He can encourage Catholics who have concerns to seek out a priest who can help them with their doubts and difficulties. He can try to create a church that is more comfortable recognizing the difficult problems many of the faithful face through no fault of their own, and demonstrate a willingness to do something to make things better for them. Francis can bring the idea of the internal forum out from behind some seminary Moral Theology class taught by a liberal professor and into the light of day for ordinary Catholics.
We know that the church changes, and also that it changes ever so slowly. Is this a beginning? Are we headed inexorably toward a more welcoming church? The next few years will help answer that question, and we can only hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will begin to change hearts and move church leaders in a more positive direction.
In the meantime we are faced with a sad reality. The failure to see measurable progress hurts the most faithful of Catholics. Most progressives will continue making choices for themselves that they deem appropriate in their own circumstances. The faithful in the pews who were waiting for the church to acknowledge their pain, the almost impossible circumstances they find themselves in, and the need for relief, will find little comfort from the smug and complacent conservative members of the hierarchy.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Holy Family, Dec. 27, 2015, Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Today's story of Jesus in the Temple
uses a literary device common to Greek hero biographies.
It presents a story from the hero's youth
to show what the hero will achieve as an adult.
Fr. Raymond Brown cites just a few of the parallel legends
that show a clear pattern of boyhood stories
of famous figures at about age 12:
the Buddha in India, Osiris in Egypt,
Cyrus the Great in Persia, Alexander the Great in Greece,
Augustus in Rome, and in Israel, Josephus,
Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, Moses, and Samuel.
Fr. Brown says that the underlying principle
is that the child must already have been
what the man would become known to be,
that is, a child of God speaking and acting with divine power.
The episode is, scholars tell us,
without foundation in historical memory.
As Marcus Borg would put it,
it's one of those stories that is true
but never actually happened.
Still, it sets forth a series of insights about God and humanity
as understood by the post-resurrection Christian community.
The message for us today lies in those insights,
and it boils down to the truth
that we are all children of God.
When we understand and act on that insight,
we grow, like Jesus, in wisdom and age and grace.
People see it in us
because they see how we love one another.
The first letter of John, written around the same time
as these infancy narratives were added to Luke's gospel,
says it clearly: we are all God’s own children!
We will grow to be like God,
and remain in God, and God in us,
because we follow God's law:
that we love one another.
I don't live in a nuclear family—
my parents have passed,
my brothers married and moved out of state.
As a result, people worry about me around the holidays.
Do I have somewhere to go, they ask.
And I do.
I have wonderful cousins here in Toledo
who surround me with the love of their family circle.
And even more, I am surrounded
by countless brothers and sisters
who reveal Christ to me.
On Christmas Eve morning
I breakfasted with many of them at Claver House,
a roomful of people who accept me as I am
and whose friendship I cherish.
After breakfast one of them invited me to his home,
where I met his son
and enjoyed the beautiful decorations
that he and his wife had put up
for their 61st Christmas together.
And I was sent home with a bottle of his favorite 40-proof eggnog.
Then there was the Vigil Mass with you, more children of God,
celebrating the birthday of our brother Jesus
in communion with one another.
And a supper gathering with family in town for the holidays.
On Christmas Day I breakfasted at Claver again,
then the morning Mass with you,
and visits between NBA games in the afternoon,
topping it off with supper with friends and neighbors.
It never has to be lonely being single!
I'm surrounded with a huge family
who I call friends and neighbors and cousins,
librarians and grocers,
seed-swappers and chicken-keepers,
tree-planters and teachers…
brothers and sisters in every nook and cranny of my life!
Each of them—each of you—is a gift from God,
all of us part of one family.
And what a holy family we are!
I thank God for you!

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 43608-2006

Christmas at Good Shepherd with Pastors Judy Lee RCWP and Judy Beaumont RCWP

Christmas Joy at Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

As Christmas draws near we at Good Shepherd worship with great joy . DSCF1227
And we rehearse our songs and our parts in the Pageant. Our children learn about Christmas best by playing out the story. DSCF1245
Mary is Elizabeth Hasan, 13 and Joseph is Keion Lewis also 13. Arnya and Arliyah Jackson and Kiya Battles are shepherds and Niya Battles and Gina Landini are angels. Jon’Est Smith,Jirliyah Jones and RiyaBattles are the Wise Persons. Their teacher Pearl Cudjoe and Cyrillia Rismay are teaching them the song “Oh what a pretty little baby, and Jesus is his name. ”
Keion and Elisabeth, Mary and Joseph with Riya Battles one of the Wise Persons.
This year The Orioles Lodge with Judy Lalande, her husband Hank and the owner Ernie helped us with presents for the children, while Gini Beecroft and her friends at the Breckinridge Community helped with gifts for the teens and families.
The Orioles have generously gifted our little children for several years and we are very grateful to them. This year they donated four bikes as well. Gini Beecroft, left below, also mobilizes her Breckinridge Community each year to assist us with gifts and Lisa Munklewitz, right below, and her husband Walter cooked an amazing Christmas dinner for us.  IMG_0066
Pastor Judy Lee says “All are welcome”!
Pastor Judy Beaumont reads the Gospel .
We worship and we share the Christmas story and the homily .  The paintings above Hank Tessandori’s head were  painted by him and presented to the church last Christmas.  This Christmas he gave paintings to several of our people as very special gifts. ( Keion was delighted with his painting of LeBrun James!). Our theme today was God’s amazing love, and as one man said, God’s patience with us as we become brighter lights for the world with Jesus. 

Before our Pageant begins we recognize our church and ministry leadership. Here we bless Mr. Harry Gary our worship leader who also has a birthday.  DSCF1377
We thank Lili Randazzo for keeping the church clean and beautiful,and Robert Swanson for caretaking.DSCF1381
We also thank Pearl Cudjoe and Brenda Cummings, our Sunday School teachers and Pat Byrne our Minister to the sick. Pearl also visits the sick.  And we thank Judy Alves for mentoring and Rogers Richardson and Linda Maybin for their transportation ministry.
Then Jakein Maybin, 13 plays the trombone as everyone sings Christmas carols.
The Pageant Begins:
The angel speaks to Mary: Do not be afraid….

The angel speaks to Joseph too, and he takes Mary for his wife. They make a big trip to Bethlehem and have to sleep in a stable where Mary gives birth to the baby Jesus. Several in the audience also had animal parts.
DSCF1421DSCF1347DSCF1427DSCF1415The Shepherds see a great light and visit and later on the wise persons also see a star and come to see the baby King Jesus.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DSCF1428
Our Junior and and Lambs class with the help of Keeondra Terrell of our Senior Class did a wonderful job and had a lot of fun re-creating the Christmas story. After arousing applause the scene faded out to the tune of the First Noel sung by the congregation.
Photos are by Natasha Terrell, Lili Randazzo and Pat Byrne.
The final event was Santa who gave gifts to everyone present. (Santa was excellently enacted by Hank Tessandori).
DSCF1492DSCF1469DSCF1475DSCF1478DSCF1484DSCF1490 DSCF1499Even the Pastors got a present from Santa!
And the whole church gathered for a Christmas picture.
We wish all of you a blessed Christmas and a Happy and Healthy and God-filled New Year!
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Rev. Judy Beaumont, RCWP
Co-Pastors  Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
and Good Shepherd Ministries of SWFl,Inc.
Fort Myers, Florida