Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Counting the Miles" by Shawn Cuddy/A Song About Returning to County Laois, Ireland

^This song is about County Laois, Ireland where I was born and lived until I was 8 years old!

Homily Starter for Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community: “Let’s Embrace our Blessedness!” by Jim Marsh, ARCWP and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, 5th Sunday Ordinary Time, Feb. 6, 2016

Does God have a playbook?  What is our image of God, of the “Holy One?”  Is God the “grand puppeteer?” Do we believe the outcome of this game is predestined by God?  Does God take sides? 

Perhaps today, we Christians (we who follow the Way of Jesus) are given some ‘insights for our playbook’ from today’s readings.We hear two familiar stories about being called—the call of Isaiah and the call of fishermen: Simon Peter, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee.  Last week, we heard the story of the call of Jeremiah and what that meant…..  Lee and Kathryn relayed so well that Jeremiah reminds them about who they are, where they came from, and the power that is theirs.

Jesus doesn’t seem to offer them anything, doesn’t explain events to them, isn’t even concerned with their “faith” or what they believed …. He says “Do not be afraid … and they immediately left everything they knew, and followed him.”

As a church, we need not concern ourselves with doctrine and law, but imagine  ourselves to be a living, evolving, changing church.  For the last 35 years, we haven’t been allowed to ask questions … we have been told that all the answers can be found in Canon Law or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And then Jorge Bergoglio (Papa Francesco) comes along …. 
oh, God of surprises!!!!

Pope Francis officially named this year to be the “Year of Mercy.”  He opened this year in a Muslim neighborhood in Africa, not at the Vatican that is thought to be the very center of Catholicism.  He seems to be constantly reminding us to refocus, to change direction, “to put out into the deep” if you will.  

Francis said: “We have to put mercy before judgment, and in every case God’s judgment will always be in the light of [his] mercy.  Let us abandon all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved.  Instead, let us live the joy of encounter with the grace that transforms all.”

Bridget Mary Meehan;

Like Peter in the Gospel today, we are being called to follow Jesus as modern day disciples. Perhaps, the question, we should be asking ourselves is : what “fish” do we need to leave behind in order to follow Jesus in world that is 13.7 billion years old?

During our recent weeks of study and reflection on Elizabeth Johnson’s book, Abounding in  Kindness, we have been sharing our understanding of Jesus mission to bring good news that God is everyone’s God. Jesus came to show us how to live in the abundance of divine love, one with all beings in a dynamic, evolving universe.

We have discussed contemporary scholarship on the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.

In summary, here are a few insights. Jesus heals, liberates and restores to wholeness all those in need, especially the least and the last. He breaks rules and threatens the religious and civil authorities  who put him to death.

As I was preparing this homily I asked myself What is the “fish” inclusive faith communities can let go of that will lead to deeper faith and understanding of the Gospel and our call to live the Christ Presence in our unfolding cosmos today?

After our discussions, I think many of us are ready to let go of  medieval  atonement theology that focuses on Adam and Eve's sin and embrace a theology of  blessedness.

Atonement theology was the brain child of a medieval theologian, St. Anselm. He taught that an angry God demanded the death of a beloved son as repayment for the sin of Adam and Eve.  Adam ate the apple, blamed Eve and Christ came to suffer and die in order to clean the slate of original sin. 

Franciscan priest and spiritual writer, Richard Rohr describes an alternative to Atonement Theology  that came from the Franciscan School of Theology which focused on God's extravagant love and abundance. 

The Franciscan theological position was never condemned and was always held as an alternative by the institutional Catholic Church.  However, most Catholics were not exposed to Franciscan theology, but this worldview fits well today with the spiritual journey of contemporary mystics in an emerging universe.

In his commentary, Rohr explains  that  the Franciscan School of Theology emphasized God as Outpouring Love, and  our call is to live love each day.

In other words, we are created blessed and we are loved from the first moment of our existence as is all of creation.

So too, as we follow Christ in living love, compassion and working for justice in our world we, like Peter, will experience deep awe.  But realistically, there will be challenges and suffering too as I am sure you have experienced.  The cost of discipleship in an antagonistic world can be great. But, we can relax that we are blessed, but not perfect. The Spirit of God is loving, healing and making us whole as a work in progress.

 So the take home message is: God is love and as St. Teresa of Avila in the Interior Castle, said, "we are called not to think much but to love much and so to do whatever awakens you to love." 

When we go inward to the still point of our being, we grow in consciousness that the Christ Mystery at the heart of the cosmos is unfolding in every flower, in every living being and in you and  in me. 

 Like the mother dove sitting on the nest outside my window, each of us is a word of the living God! In our giftedness and brokenness, Divine Mystery is nurturing us.

So let us embrace our blessedness and follow Christ in a great spiritual adventure today! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Homily:"The Least of the Apostles:A Roman Catholic Women Priest Consider God’s Call", 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What is your response to awareness of the presence of the living God? When something happens to make you consider God’s holy presence and what God wants of you, how do you feel and how do you respond? I give some of my own thoughts and responses here along with the perceptive homily of Rev. Beverly Bingle of Toledo, Ohio.  These are for your prayerful consideration:
The Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 138:1-8; I Corinthians 15:1-11 and the Gospel, Luke 5:1-11.
First we see the prophet Isaiah reflecting on a dream he had in which he senses/sees the awesome holiness of God. He responds that he is “doomed”– he does not belong in the presence of the Holy of Holies as he is a “Man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips” and yet he has seen “the King, the Lord of Hosts/ the Ruler, YHWH omnipotent”.
The Psalmist responds with deep heartfelt thanks for God’s kindness and asks that God not forsake “the works of God’s hands”.
Paul describes himself as “the least of the apostles” not fit to be called an apostle because he persecuted the church, and he describes how hard he worked, with God’s grace, to spread the gospel.
And, in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching the great crowds near the shore, sitting in Peter’s boat.  When he is finished he tells Simon (Peter) to go out “into the deep water and lower the nets for a catch”. Simon has already tried that and was putting the boat away for the night when Jesus chose get in it to teach at a little distance from the crowd.  So he said to Jesus (we did that already to no avail, but) “at your command I will lower the nets.”  When the nets were filled beyond belief Peter was in awe and knew that Jesus was no ordinary man or prophet and said, as Isaiah did, “Leave me, for I am a sinner”.
Jesus said to him “Do not be afraid; from now on you will fish among human kind. “ Then Simon and his partners James and John brought their boats ashore and left everything and followed Jesus.
In each of these scriptures the human response to God’s holiness, Presence, and power is first a sense of sinfulness, of not measuring up, of not being fit to be in God’s intimate presence and not worthy of the call to follow. And in each case God continues to call and accept the gift of those that are called.  Then, as in the case of Isaiah, God cleanses/heals Isaiah’s unclean lips and calls him forth. Now Isaiah, cleansed, can accept the call: “Here I am send me”.
I know well these very human and understandable responses. They were, and sometimes are still, my own responses as well.  I still say to God, “what on earth do you want of me with all of my faults? Dear God, you know me so well, how can you send me?” I know my own sinfulness and limitations as the prophets and disciples knew theirs.  I sometimes still say to God, “I am not worthy of the call, and I am not worthy of the priesthood”. Fortunately, as God shows in the call of Peter and Paul and Isaiah, my worthiness is not required. (And, in fact, I am worthy because of Christ, even when I don’t believe it or feel that way!)  God asks only that I do as Peter did, even in moments of disbelief-do what I am asked to do. Then,as I separate myself from what may hold me back including my own sense of unworthiness, I can join the great company of people with many human frailties that God uses to answer the prayers of others, and to serve “the least of these”, God’s people.
Something beautiful happened this week: a woman prayed and prayed and Pastor Judy Beaumont and I and our ministry were used by God to answer her prayer.  Within the last two years, ‘Peg’, a newly widowed older woman, lost her job and had to live with one of her children whose spouse could not tolerate her. Seeing the spouses fight over her was very painful and one day she left and having nowhere else to go lived in the woods. She was actually able to make a go of this hard life for ten months and did not complain. She told those who asked her that she prayed every night that God would protect her and help her to live, and God has done this. She asked God’s blessings on all who were kind to her. She read her Bible but felt her clothes were not good enough to go to a church. Also she was disillusioned with the church, but full of faith in a loving God. Her sweet and upbeat spirit attracted many natural helpers to her who gave her what it took to survive outside until she got her own Social Security check-not an amount that facilitated housing in this pricy area. An influx of rough men, the recent heavy rains and threats of tornados and also a coyote in the woods brought new pressures upon her.  A  cat came to her little tent and soon they were best friends. When the cat took ill she took it to the Vet in the nearby plaza, Dr. Terry Sutton who is also our wonderful Vet. Dr. Sutton treated the cat and with Peg’s permission told us about Peg. Before I even called Peg on the cell phone to set up a meeting Pastor Judy B. recognized her on the plaza from Dr. Terry’s description and engaged her.  I then came the next day and learned her story. Next we filled out an application for Senior Housing with her. But most of all we prayed that we would have an empty room behind the church, then filled with two men and a dog, so that she could live there until her Senior Housing was available. A day later one of the men called and said that he had saved enough to get a studio apartment and had moved out! Now Peg and her kitty had a home! She was ecstatic and was able to gather her belongings in two days and move in-just ahead of unseasonably cold, windy and rainy weather! She has attended a midweek meeting at the church and feels right at home. Her gratitude and joy is infectious and gives us new life. She said that we were her answer to prayer but we feel that she was an answer to our prayers, an affirmation of our call.
How amazing it is to be an answer to prayer when feeling the full weight of our own imperfections. God used us despite our failures and human frailties. How awesome is our loving God!
(Peg and I sit on the plaza and fill out an application for Senior housing. )  
(Below on the right is Peg at church with two of our leaders, Brenda and Gary.)
Peg moving into her new room with great joy. Thanks be to God! 
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Co-Pastor Good Shepherd Ministries of SWFL

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Liturgy for Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Community on 5 Sun. OT, Sat. Feb. 6th, Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Journey into the Heart of Compassion

 Image from Daughters of Carmel, used with permission
Bridget Mary Meehan at ordination in Altamonte, Florida on Jan. 31, 2016

GATHERING SONG:  Room at the Table for Everyone  by Carrie Newcomber

Presider:  Let us begin in the name of our God, a God of Love, Wisdom, and Liberation.
ALL:  Amen


Presider:  God of tender compassion ,You are our peace. ALL:  Now and forever, we will be your peace.

Litany of Peace by Dan Schutte (sung): “Let us be your peace”

Gloria: Glory to God, glory. O praise God, alleluia. 
Glory to God, glory. O praise the name of our God.

Presider:  O Lover of All, in this journey into the heart of compassion, we celebrate your love unfolding in the healing and wholeness of everyone and of every living thing.
You call us to see goodness and beauty everywhere and to live in harmony with creation. You call us to heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression in our world. You call us to warmly welcome everyone who comes through our doors as your presence among us.
                 In communion with Jesus, our brother, and in the power of the Your Spirit, we will live your love poured out each day. ALL: Amen. 

Jim Marsh, Co-Presider

First Reading:Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8
Responsorial Psalm Ubi Caritas is response to Psalm 138
Second Reading: 1 Cor: 15:1-11
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia (eightfold) 
Gospel:  Reader:  A reading from the Gospel according to Luke 5:1-11
 ALL:  Glory to you O God.
Reader:  The good news of Jesus, the Christ!
ALL:  Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!

Link to Shared Homily:

Bridget Mary Meehan and Jim Marsh share homily


Creed : 
We believe in a God of extravagant love who dwells within us, rejoices with us in our blessed selves and who weeps with us in our struggles, losses and sufferings.
We believe that we are one with all creatures great and small in a dynamic, evolving cosmos. 
We believe in Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection, shows us how to live fully and joyfully and to serve others especially the outcaste and heavy burdened.   
We believe in Your Spirit, who works through us for justice and peace and to overcome oppression of all kinds whether based on gender, sexual orientation, race or class.
We believe that we are called to live in mutual respect as disciples and equals in inclusive communities of empowerment.
We believe that we are forgiven, healed and whole in the heart of divine mercy.
We believe that we are united forever with all who have gone before us in the communion of saints.

Presider: With hearts filled with loving compassion, we lift up the needs of our community at this time.
Presider: That those who suffer abuse, may be healed and empowered, we pray.
Response: God of all compassion, love through us.
Presider:  That those bound by hatred, hostility, and violence will be set free, we pray.  R.  
Presider:  That the sick may be healed, especially (mention names), we pray.  R.   
Presider:  That the dead may live forever in God's presence, we pray. R.   (Other Intentions)
Presider: We hold these and all our unspoken intentions in our hearts as we gather around the Banquet Table today.
Left to right; Janet Blakeley, Katy Zatsick, Peg Bowen, Bridget Mary Meehan, Sally Brochu, Jim Marsh

Presider:  Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer.  Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation. 
ALL:  Blessed be God forever.   

Presider:  God is with us, loving and showing mercy through us.
ALL:  Namaste
Presider:  Lift up your hearts.  
ALL:  We lift them up in tender love, open to serve.
Presider:  Let us give thanks to our God.
ALL:  It is our joy to give God thanks and praise.

Voice One:  Holy Wisdom, You embrace us with extravagant affection in our blessedness and brokenness. We thank you that in this festive meal, your Spirit continues to be poured out among the circle of disciples gathered here in our giving and receiving forgiveness and  offering the gift of your shalom/peace. We join with the angels and saints and people of every race, faith and nation to glorify your presence as we sing:

ALL:  Holy, holy, holy. Karen Drucker

Voice Two:  Gracious God, you set the banquet table and invite all to the feast of unending delight. Here we encounter the glory of God in an evolving cosmos. Here divine compassion connects us to the young, the old, the least and the last, to everyone everywhere on our journey into the heart of mercy.

Voice Three; We especially thank you, Nurturing God, for Jesus, Your anointed, who shows us how to love with a peaceful and courageous spirit. In Jesus, you show us how to care for those who face illness, and grief and how to help those who experience rejection and marginalization. 

Voice Four: God of tenderness, Jesus showed us the heart of mercy when he preached good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, healing to the broken. Jesus called women to be apostles and disciples and treated them as equals in his circle of companions.

Voice Five In response to people’s sufferings, Jesus broke rules and violated religious taboos. He shared meals with women, saved a woman from being stoned and said that prostitutes would enter heaven before religious leaders. He healed the sick and comforted the lonely. He challenged the priestly class and political leaders of his time and so they ridiculed, tortured and put him to death. 

Voice Six: In faithful love, You raised the crucified Jesus, radiant and glorious to new life.  Like the holy ones throughout the ages, Moses and Miriam who led their people from oppression to freedom, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection shows us how to live freely and joyously in the midst of injustice, darkness and evil and death.

(Please all extend hands as we recite the Epiclesis and Consecration together)

All: May your Spirit, present in these gifts and in us, fill us with a new outpouring of love that makes us more deeply one Body in the Cosmic Christ living the fullness of your compassion.

Presider:  On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with his friends for a meal. He took bread into his hands, broke it and said

ALL: Take this all of you. This is my body. Do this to remember me.

Presider:  In the same way after supper, Jesus took the cup, raised it with love beyond all telling. Jesus gave thanks and shared the cup with those at table and said:

ALL: Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my life blood, of the new and everlasting covenant. Every time you drink of it, remember me.

Presider:  Now then, in sacred memory, let us proclaim the mystery of our faith:  

ALL:  In every creature that has ever breathed, we see your tenderness; in every living being that has passed on before us, we see your goodness; in everything yet to be, Christ will come again!  In our breaking of the bread of earth, Christ of the Cosmos is being re-membered!

Voice Seven:  Holy One, your transforming energy is always moving within  us and working through us. We give thanks for all holy women and men who have been your face in our lives. They showed us how to forgive self and others, let go of guilt, refrain from judging others and see the good in people who irritate us. Let us pause to remember and name some of these holy women and men aloud or in the silence of our hearts. 

Voice Eight: God, who opens doors and hearts, enlighten our religious ministers and political leaders. May they welcome refugees, transform poverty into plenty, and work for human dignity and justice for all. We pray for our pope and bishops, especially _____ , and all God’s holy people.

Voice Nine:  We remember those who are sick and suffering.  May they be healed and strengthened, and filled with every blessing in your loving presence. We remember Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary Magdala, Peter, Paul, Junia, our patron saints and all the saints and angels who surround us with loving prayer each day. We remember our loved ones and all those who have died into your embrace.

ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all praise and glory are yours, Loving God. Amen.

ALL:  Our Father and Mother . . .

Presider: Holy One, we pray for peace and unity as we join hands in a circle of love and sing one of the following hymns; “Peace is flowing like a River” or “Let there be peace on earth” or Peace before us, Peace behind us, Peace under our feet, Peace within us, let all around us be peace.”

ALL:  Loving God, You call us to live mercy, we will do so.  Loving God, You call us to live justice, we will do so. Loving God, You call us to live equality, we will do so.

Presider:  This is Jesus, who calls us to open doors that are closed and share our bread on the altar of the world. All are invited to eat and drink at this sacred banquet of love. 

ALL:  Jesus we are worthy to receive you and to be your compassion in our world.  We are the Body of Christ. 

Presider:  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!  ALL:  Amen.

Communion:  "Shaina Noll You Can Relax Now" Music Video, by Wendy Van Der Zee

"You can relax now, I am with you.
You are a child of God
and that will never change.
You can relax had a dream
you misunderstood, 
you thought we were separate
but now you hear my voice and You can relax now."

There Is Only Love by Karen Drucker

Reflection: Jim Marsh: Astronaut Ed Mitchell just died ….. he was part of the Apollo 14 mission in 1971 (45 years ago this month) and was the sixth man on the moon.  That experience for him was life-changing.  It was an epiphany that focused his energies on studying consciousness, physics and other mysteries.  In his own words, he had this to say: “What I experienced during that 3 day trip home was nothing short of an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness.  It occurred to me that the molecules of my body and the molecules of the spaceship itself were manufactured long ago in the furnace of one of the ancient stars that burned in the heavens above me.” 

Presider:  O God of Compassion, Jesus showed us how to love one another and heal our hearts.  Through the power of Your liberating Spirit at work within us, we will give and receive forgiveness, live joyously, and work for healing, justice and equality for our earth and for all God’s holy people.   ALL:  Amen

Presider:  Our God is with you.
ALL:  and also with you. 

(Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL:  May the God of Abraham and Sarah,
the Blessed One of Jacob and Rachel,
Sophia, Holy Wisdom,
walk with us and all created life
on our journey into the heart of compassion! Amen.

Presider:   Go in the peace of Christ.  Let the service begin!  ALL:   Thanks be to God.
Recessional: “Room at the Table for Everyone”  by Carrie Newcomber


Bridget Mary Meehan
Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests


Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 5th Sunday in OT by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Last week's passage from Luke's Gospel
saw Jesus rejected by the people of his home town,
with its population of 400,
and heading down to Capernaum,
with its population of 1,500.
Capernaum is about 20 miles away from Nazareth—
an easy day's walk.
In passages read on weekdays,
Luke has Jesus exorcising a demon in the synagogue,
curing Simon's mother-in-law of a fever,
and healing people sick with various diseases.
Then Jesus goes off to a deserted place,
but people follow him
and try to convince him to stay in Capernaum.
Instead he heads off to spread the good news
to the other towns of Judea,
and that's where today's Gospel passage picks up.
Luke says Jesus is standing by Lake Gennesaret,
the freshwater lake
that's called the Sea of Galilee by the other evangelists,
not quite four miles from Capernaum,
a little more than an hour's walk away.
A crowd has gathered by the lake to hear Jesus.
So he hops into Simon's boat and sits down—
the posture of the teacher in the Jewish tradition.
The miraculous catch of fish follows his teaching,
Luke's version of an event
that most scholars think
in some form or another
actually happened.
Mark and Matthew give the bare information
that Jesus told the disciples
they would be catching people instead of fish.
Luke expands the story
into the big catch and the call of the disciples.
John puts the catch after the resurrection, on the beach,
as a story of call to discipleship and sending on mission.
All four of the Gospels give evidence
that Jesus talked about fish a lot,
and he ate a lot of them,
and he passed them out to lots of people.
Many of the towns he walked to—
Capernaum, Bethsaida, Caesarea Philipi, Chorazin,
Scythopolis and Hippos in the Decapolis,
Jericho, Tyre, Sidon—
were on rivers, lakes, or the Mediterranean Sea.
By the time of this event,
Simon Peter would already have experienced Jesus
as an extraordinary person
through his experience of the teaching in the synagogue
and the exorcism
and the healing miracles.
The giant catch of fish puts Peter over the edge—
he leaves everything and follows Jesus.
People would have remembered
Peter talking about that important moment over the years.
People also remembered that Peter was not perfect.
He was an ordinary human being.
He worked hard as a business partner with James and John.
He was not part of the ruling class but one of the ruled
and would have, along with other Galilean Jews of the time,
chafed under Roman oppression.
He was impetuous,
sometimes mistaken,
prone to misunderstanding what Jesus was saying.
But more than anything,
people remembered that Peter's encounter with Jesus
dramatically changed his life.
In that same way,
our life experiences change us.
At some point we are compelled to change,
perhaps to follow the dream, like Isaiah;
or to see more clearly, like Paul;
or to leave a job, like Peter.
We remember a point
when we made an important choice.
And it happens to us
not just once
but over and over.
We are called.
Most of the calls we get are little ones,
choices we make almost automatically,
like smiling at a stranger
or helping a grandchild with homework.
They're like the call Peter got
to let his friend Jesus hop in his boat
and put out a short distance from the shore.
He could have said no
and kept on washing the nets.
And some of the calls are big ones,
like Peter's leaving everything behind and following Jesus.
We might answer a call to learn
that sends us off to college,
or a call to marriage and family,
a call to leave a well-paying job for a more meaningful one,
a call to volunteer for justice and peace.
Sometimes we misunderstand,
stumbling along the way like Peter did,
and take the wrong way for a while.
Then, like Peter, we turn ourselves around.
By the way we live,
by the choices we make in each circumstance,
our actions teach the Way of Jesus.
We are called to be disciples.
We become followers of the Way.
We become fishers of people.

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

Virgen de Guadalupe: New Feminist Portrayals by Jose Duran

"She appeared on a hill on December 9, 1531. She spoke to Juan Diego in his native tongue of Nahuatl; the language of the Aztecas. She asked for a church to be built at that very site in honor of her, the Virgin Mary. Juan Diego took the request to the local priest, but his story was not believed. On December 12, following further instructions from La Virgen, Juan Diego was able to find and pick roses not native to Mexico. He rolled them up in his tilma and returned to the priest. When he unrolled his tilmato present the roses, there on the tilma was the image of La Virgen de Guadalupe; she was as dark as the natives themselves.
Natives across Mexico and throughout the Americas endured the brutal realities of conquest, and experienced the relegation to second class citizens during the colonial period in Mexico. In particular, native women experienced oppression two-fold. This is evident in the fact that native men had privileges and opportunities within the public sphere of society which were denied to women, such as holding particular types of public service positions.
So how is it that millions of natives across the continent converted to Catholicism, the religion used by their oppressors to justify the horrors and atrocities inflicted upon them? The appearance of La Virgen to Juan Diego. She is seen as the blending of the Indigenous and European cultures. A Huffington Post article, Everything You Need to Know About la-virgen-de-guadalupe-tilma-de-juan-diegoLa Virgen de Guadalupe, explains, “Her image has been used throughout Mexican history, not only as a religious icon but also as a sign of patriotism.” Indeed, she has appeared as a symbol even in the most pivotal of moments, such as the fight for Mexican independence and the Mexican Revolution. The authors of the studyThe Evolving Genre of ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’: A Feminist Analysisalso note that she has become “. . .the ideal model for womanhood and motherhood.” 
However, the view of this extraordinarily important female figure within the patriarchal Catholic faith changed and evolved over the centuries, particularly among Chicana female Catholic feminists. La Virgen de Guadalupe has been reclaimed by Chicana Catholic feminists. Much like the Aztecs in 1531, Chicana feminists have their own version of the Virgin Mary. Utilizing the power of art, Chicana and Chicano feminists are portraying La Virgen de Guadalupe in ways in which contemporary women can relate to, thus, creating a personal experience for women within their Catholic faith while challenging the patriarchal traditions within it."
Click on link above to see feminist images and read rest of article!

Understanding" Laudato Si" by Pope Francis , Video Series on YouTube with Fr. Dan P. Horan OFM

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Deborah and Lydia, Pillars of their religious Traditions" by Saras Sasoones, ARCWP Ordains 3 Catholic Women as Priests on Jan. 30th in Florida
"What is it about the word “woman” that makes her any less important than a man? Are genitalia really an important factor to call to attention to when considering whether a person is worthy enough? Last fall I remember coming across an article on the Huffington Post about the Quebec Roman Catholic Archbishop, Paul-Andre Durocher, proposing that women should be appointed as deacons. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a “deaconess” is “a female religious leader in the Christian church; deaconesses have had different roles in different times and places” (Anderson and Young, 207). As deaconesses, women “could perform functions that male deacons currently do: preaching, baptizing, witnessing marriages and performing funerals” (207).
What is interesting to me is that Rome used to have female deacons, deaconesses, however, by the fifth century, the role of deaconesses disappeared in the Western churches (Anderson and Young, 195). The fact that the Archbishop is now fighting to bring the role of women back to the churches is a significant accomplishment for the fight for womanly justice everywhere.
More importantly, however, what this article raises for me is the significant roles that women have played in history and how they have lead the way in religious traditions that are still practiced to this very day, even while those contributions have been covered over. The fact that the Archbishop affirms bringing back women deacons is only right seeing that throughout history women have had leadership positions in religion and have had strong influences on them for the better. One example is Deborah, the first prophetess of the Jewish people.
As the story goes, God gave the Jews to the hands of the King of Canaan as a consequence of idol worship. The Jews were persecuted for twenty years under the King’s general’s rule, Sisera. Of course, the Jews cried out to God and the prophetess Deborah was sent to them. The entire Jewish nation respected Deborah and went to her for advice and help. She was seen as a great and holy prophetess. Deborah sent a man named Barak to fight the battle against the Canaanites. He asked Deborah to accompany him because in order to fight the war he needed both her and God by his side.
Ultimately, the Canaanites were defeated and Sisera needed a place to flee to. He found a tent and sought refuge by a woman named Jael. Jael put the evil general to sleep and killed him in his slumber. Deborah then wrote a song about Jael’s bravery called the “Song of Deborah,” which is written down in the Hebrew Bible next to the significant song of Moses. This story of Deborah shows not only one, but two significant women in the Jewish religion – Deborah and Jael who both brought strength and victory to the Jewish people. Just as Barak found strength only with Deborah, a woman, by his side.
Another example is Lydia, known as the first Christian convert in Europe. Lydia was not Jewish by birth but it is recorded that she was a believer in God. She had settled in the city of Philippi, which was the location of the first labors of Paul, Jesus’ apostle, in Europe. One Sabbath day, it is said that Paul found a group of Jews lingering outside the city, with Lydia among them. He preached to them and they converted to Paul’s ways of Christianity. Being a Christian now, Lydia encouraged the missionaries to use her house as a sanctuary. Soon, her home became a gathering place, a church, for Christians..."
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordains women as priests. three women were ordained on Jan. 30th in Altamonte, Florida.

Bishop Bridget Mary ordains Joan Throm 
                                as a priest
George Meyer, and his Sister pray over Lorraine Sharpe Meyer in Ordination Rite

Newly Ordained Priest Ronnie Dubignon celebrates with her family