Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, June 11, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Pat MacMillan, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons

+ Liturgy +
At the Table of Embracing Love, we encounter extravagant love forgiveness and healing.

Presider:  In the name of God, our Creator and of Jesus our brother and of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom.  ALL:  Amen.
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP (left) and Pat MacMillan (right) Co-Presiders, Mindy Lou Simmons at piano, Photos by Alicia Bartol-Thomas

PresiderWe gather at the table of embracing love with hearts open to forgiveness, healing in the liberating presence of the Spirit among us.
ALL:  The love of God is in our hearts and forgives completely.

Presider:  O God, may we see your face in sex workers and all who are abused and exploited.  ALL:  May we open our hearts, like Mary, to God’s mothering love.   Presider:  Jesus the Christ, may we see the divine reality in victims especially in women who have been abused and exploited.  ALL:  May we like Mary, champion the oppressed and stand with our sisters who are abused and exploited.   Presider:  O Wisdom Sophia, may we work in solidarity for a liberating empowerment and justice for sexual workers.  ALL:  May we, like Mary, live a connectedness and friendship with others.  Presider:  May the God of love, forgive us our lack of trust in your Spirit Sophia moving with us, in us, and through us, leading us to guidance, courage, healing and empowerment.   
ALL: Amen.

ALL:  Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God, 3x (sung)

Presider:  Loving God, We give thanks for your infinite love and tender forgiveness always working in our world.  We cry out today for justice for all who are victimized by sexual violence and exploitation.  May we work for their liberation and do all we can to advance their well-being ALL: Amen. 

First Reading:  2 Samuel 12:7-10,13
Responsorial Psalm: Ubi Caritas (sung)
Second Reading:  Galatians 2:16:19-21
Gospel Acclamation:  ALLELUIA!    (sung)
Reader:  A reading from the Gospel according to Luke 7:36-8:3    ALL:  Glory to you O God.

Reader:  The good news of Jesus, the Christ!
ALL:  Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!
Meditation: Bridget Mary "Simon, can you see?" by Diarmuid O'Murchu,  Inclusivity,pp. 150-151.
Simon, Can You See?
By Diarmuid O’Murchu

Can you see this person standing here, a woman of full truth
With the elegance of womanhood, richly feminine imbued?
With the beauty of her passion, erotic to the core
And the birthing-power within her inviting to explore!
Simon, can you see? Can you see? Can you see?

Can you see the tears of centuries of patriarchal woe
And the courage it must take her for integrity of soul?
Can you see the waves of flowing hair with which she wiped my feet
And the kisses of her intimacy, making healing so replete?
Simon, can you see?…

Can you see her hospitality, her warmth, her embrace;
Her ability for birthing as a mother to each race?
A living icon of the ages, the Goddess we long have known,
Maligned and desecrated by the dogmas YOU have sown!
Simon, can you see?…

Can you see her jar of ointment, anointing to empower
Those excluded by oppression, overwhelmed and weighed down?
Can you see her gracious pouring out, abundant as of yore
While you stand there in judgment, a pontificating bore!
Simon, can you see?…

Her eyes though filled with weeping tears are contemplating clear.
She can see right through the lot of us, our judgments and our fear. Remember Holy Wisdom—she embodies it anew
And she radiates sheer goodness for creation to imbue!

She has known the ups and downs of life, the sinful and the free.
And forgiven much, she's loving much—for empowering liberty.
The system can't contain her and the freedom she proclaims,
She's a living revelation where love and justice reigns.
Simon, can you see?…

Long after we have run our course and echoes fade in time
Her name will be invoked afresh in Scripture and in rhyme.
And the alabaster jar she holds will replenish many souls,
And where the Gospel is proclaimed, her fame will be disclosed.
And, then, Simon, you might see; I hope you will see!
From Inclusivity by Diarmuid O’Murchu, p. 150

In today’s gospel, we read of a woman who was deeply ashamed of the life she was leading.  We feel her pain and her shame as we read how she washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair then kisses them over and over again.  In the middle of a dinner party, she is publicly humbling herself.  She appears to be a broken woman.  Surely, she is heartbroken over the life she is living. But perhaps her public display is saying something more.  Perhaps she is purposely showing the people at this party the indignities of her life and saying, “Look, look what you have done to me?”
 In her time, not unlike today in many countries around the world, women are  considered made to serve men.  When those men die, divorce or sell them, these women and children are left destitute.  There are no social programs to help them.  To add more pain to their plight the societies they live in turn against them.
Religions founded by male prophets (that’s pretty much every religion in the world) has put women in this submissive place in almost every society in the world.   
The gospels have become word and the word has been carved into every institution in our country – families, schools, businesses, military, politics, the executive, legislative and judicial branch.  Many families still want their sons to be educated over their daughters.  Many countries around the world don’t educate girls or stop educating them after elementary school.  Women are not allowed to work or own property.   Daughters are being sold into slavery.  Florida is 3rd in the nation for human trafficking. In Saudi Arabi, Afghanistan and other middle eastern and Asian countries fathers still sell their daughters into marriages with older men or into slavery.  But we have laws to protect our daughters -  but do they? Just this week, our judicial system failed a young rape victim. Because the judge was concerned more for the rapist than the women who was raped.  Only 1/3 of rapes are reported in this country and 97% of rapist receive no punishment.
To this day, we still hear women being criticized for working and not staying home with their families.  Even though, as Elizabeth Warren tells us, that’s not a choice anymore, both parents working is a necessity.  Strong, independent, professional women are not held in high esteem – they scare people. Look at Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable rating – she is not nurturing, friendly enough!  Although people who know her say very different things, it’s what the system is saying that gets heard.
As Americans we consider ourselves quite progressive, yet we’ve never elected a female president. Let’s see what the rest of the world has done! (Read names) Do we have a systemic problem?  It’s interesting to note, that even our highly educated first ladies aren’t allowed to hold professional careers while their husbands serve.  They are expected to take care of their families and do charity work.  I wonder what Bill is going to do?
Yes, religions have put us here but we, we the people are the church.  How will we raise women up, free them to be whatever they chose to be, allow them to be independent and ensure they are treated fairly within all our systems?

Profession of Faith:   ALL:  We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge exploitation and injustices.  We believe that God loves us passionately and forgives us everything.  We believe that we are radiant images of God who calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously.  We believe in the communion of saints our heavenly friends, who support us on life’s journey.  We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world.  We believe that all are one in the Heart of God.  We believe that women’s liberation is human liberation.  Here we dwell in loving relationships. Here we live our prophetic call of Gospel equality.

Presider:  Aware that God, like a fierce mother bear, who protects her young, is a defender of the oppressed and pursuer of justice, we now bring the women and men in our lives, in our church and world, before you. Response:  Loving God, hear our prayer.
Presider:  For those who have been abused, we pray for empowerment.  R.   Presider:  For those who have confronted their abusers, we pray for courage.  R. Presider:  For those who have been sexually exploited, we pray for healing.  R.   Presider:  For the men and women who are working in the sex industry, we pray for their well being.  R.   Presider:  In your name we pray that we can do all things by the power of your Spirit working in us.   ALL: Amen

Bob and Pat Ferkenhoff and Mary Al Gagnon brought up the gifts

Presider:  Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all.  Through your divine providence we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of Life.   ALL:  Blessed be God forever.   
Presider:  Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all.  Through your divine providence we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink. 
ALL:  Blessed be God forever.
Presider:   Nurturing God, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Jesus Christ in communion with all who work for liberating empowerment of the exploited and abused in our world..  Like the unnamed woman in the Gospel, may we celebrate the passionate love of a God who forgives completely.  We ask this through Wisdom Sophia, Jesus, our brother, and the Holy Spirit.  ALL:  Amen.

Presider:  God dwells in you.  ALL:  And also works through you.  Presider:  Lift up your hearts and love deeply    ALL:  We lift them up to God.   Presider: Let us give thanks to the Creator of all.   ALL: It is our joy to give God thanks and praise.

Presider:  Holy One, it is right that we give you thanks and praise at this table of embracing love. Your empowering presence is revealed in the friendship meals where Jesus dined with tax collectors, lepers, sinners, and women.  Here no distinctions are made between the sinner and the righteous. All are accepted, loved and forgiven.

Love of the Ages, Jesus treated women and men as beloved and equal disciples.  As we gather around this table, we once again recall Jesus’ encounter with the woman of questionable character whose passionate love reflected a God who forgives everything.

In joyful thanksgiving for your extravagant affection to all of us, we join with the angels and saints in an unending hymn of praise:
ALL: (sing)  We are holy, holy, holy   (Music by Karen Drucker)

Presider:  Through sacred meals, Jesus taught his disciples how to love and forgive, heal and empower. Jesus was deeply moved by the ministry of a broken woman in Luke’s Gospel who washed his feet with her tears and anointed them with oil.  He praised her great love and said that those who love much are forgiven much.  At this friendship meal, Healing Spirit, we come as we are with our failures, trusting that your love flows through us as we give and receive forgiveness.

ALL:  As we come together in memory, Jesus we pray that Your Spirit will come upon these gifts of bread and wine and upon us, that we may become the body and blood of Christ blessed, broken and shared.  (pause as bread is lifted)
ALL:  We remember how, on the night before he died, Jesus was at table with those he loved.  He took bread and blessed you, God of all creation.  He broke the bread shared it with his friends and said, “Take this, all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given for you.”   (pause as wine is lifted)
Presider:  Then Jesus took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine: 
ALL:  “Take and drink the covenant renewed in my blood, for you and for everyone.  When you do this, you remember me.”

ALL:  The Body of Christ is blessed, broken and shared every time we forgive.
The Body of Christ is blessed, broken and shared every time we ask for forgiveness. 
The Body of Christ is blessed, broken and shared every time we serve others.

Presider:  Heart of Love, we celebrate this feast in memory of Jesus, our brother. We cherish the memory of the loving woman who ministered to Jesus.  She reminds us that we too are the face of God, through whom the Spirit speaks to end abuse and exploitation of victims in the sex industry.

Creator of the Universe, your love flows through all beings to heal our earth.  As we ask forgiveness of the Earth for environmental destruction, your sacred energy transforms the cosmic Body of Christ.   (Pause now to pray for forgiveness aloud or in the silence of your heart)

Presider:  Energizing Spirit, one with the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, we labor for justice and equality. As your hands and feet serving a suffering and violent world, we are instruments of your peace and empowerment.

ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ and in Christ,  All glory and honor is yours, loving God forever and ever.

Great Amen.

We pray with Jesus:   Our Father and Mother….

Sign of Peace
Let us offer one another a sign of peace
Presider:  Loving God, we will give and receive forgiveness,     ALL:  Namaste
Loving God, we will be instruments of healing,
ALL:  Namaste
Loving God, we will be the face of God’s compassion,    ALL:  Namaste

There is room at the table for everyone.  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ.

Communion Song
Blessing Song
ALL:   May the blessing of peace be upon you.
May peace be all you know.
May the blessing of peace be upon you.
May it follow wherever you go.

Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem May peace prevail on earth  2x
(continue with joy, love, light) © Jan Phillips 2012
Presider:  Nourished at this open table where all are welcome, may we share abundant love and forgiveness with everyone.  Go, now and live the Gospel of Jesus!!

We love, forgive and bless one another in the name of God, our Creator, Jesus our brother, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom.


Bridget Mary Meehan,

After liturgy some members of MMOJ shared a meal together.

A Homily on Luke 7:36 by Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP, Colombia, South America

from left to right: Martha Soto and Olga Lucia holding child in Colombia

"Elizabeth Johnson honored by women theologians" , NCR by Heidi Schlumpf | Jun. 10, 2016

Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, theologian
Feminist theologian St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson challenged fellow theologians “to do something,” echoing the words of the namesake of the award she received June 9 for her ministry on behalf of women. The award was presented at the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Johnson told the story of how in 1995 theologian Ann O’Hara Graff urged Johnson, then-president of CTSA, to respond to the Vatican’s assertion that the prohibition against women’s ordination was infallible. The CTSA eventually approved a statement challenging that assertion. Johnson called O’Hara Graff’s persistence her “last gift to the church and to women.”
O’Hara Graff died in 1996. Johnson, professor of theology at Fordham University and the author of “She Who Is” and other influential books, is the 20th recipient of the memorial award named for O’Hara Graff. 
In presenting the award, speakers noted that honoring Johnson was "long overdue." Johnson was the sixth woman to receive the organization’s John Courtney Murray Award, and the fifth woman to serve as CTSA president.*

Johnson was recognized for “her clear and courageous voice,” according to the award’s citation. 
She was called “an exemplary woman of faith and woman religious for our time” by Christine Firer Hinze, who works with Johnson at Fordham. “As an authoritative professor, she has the courage to profess,” said Hinze, director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies.
Friend and fellow theologian Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, of the University of Note Dame, noted that even as a student Johnson was a pioneer. In addition, Johnson helped created the CTSA’s Women’s Consultation seminar at which the award is given. Yet, Johnson’s “work has not always been celebrated,” Hilkert said, referring to the U.S. bishops’ public rebuke of her book, “Quest for the Living God” in 2011.
“Is it possible for us to overestimate her grace in the of the face of the ecclesial violence that was thrown her way?” asked Natalie Imperatori-Lee of Manhattan College, a former student of Johnson’s.
Another former student, Julia Brumbaugh, now of Regis University in Denver, recalled Johnson’s insistence to “keep doing theology,” especially when the stakes are high. Johnson believes “the work matters because God matters,” Brumbaugh said. “Thank you for your fierce and holy faith in the Living God.”
*This story has been updated to clarify a sentence and add information.
Editor's note: Heidi Schlumpf has written a book about Johnson titled Elizabeth Johnson: Questing for God.
[Heidi Schlumpf teaches communications at Aurora University, outside Chicago.]

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bridget Mary's Response: The bottom line is some of our church's teachings such as the ban on ordination of women and the excommunication of Roman Catholic Women Priests must change in order to reflect the empowering justice and liberating witness of Jesus in the Gospels. The Loretto Sisters are living the social justice agenda of Jesus and are prophets. They should be commended, not investigated. When will the Vatican learn?
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Ryan Hoffmann
Campaign created by
Ryan Hoffmann
of 2,000 signatures


Sign this petition and let's - together - say no more investigations into U.S. Women Religious!

Why is this important?

Beginning in 2008, U.S. women religious in the U.S. came under heavy scrutiny by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF).
In the spring of 2012, the CDF issued a statement accusing U.S. women religious of supporting "radical feminist themes" and "corporate dissent."
Now, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life have summoned the Sisters of Loretto, a major order of U.S. Catholic Sisters, to Rome to account for "areas of concern" and accusing them of not doing enough to follow Church teachings.
The investigations must stop!
Catholics deeply value the prophetic witness of women religious and appreciate their commitment to social justice. We stand with the Loretto Sisters and all women religious who are serving our Church and world!
Category: Women & Girls

Loretto Sisters Summoned to Rome

Homily by Rev.Annie Watson at St. Stanislaus, St. Louis, Missourit, youtubemovie

"Church is in cardiac arrest,  decline, only 24% of Catholics go to church.
Needs new life, energy and spirit!... "

Kathy Redig: Winona Catholic clergy, laity are all victims of a broken system

"Ever since the latest revelation of wrongdoing concerning Winona Catholic clergy this past week, I have struggled with how to best respond. I have prayed for all those involved, especially the victims, but it seems more is needed. My feeling and that of others within the Catholic community is that it is time that the hierarchy of the Catholic church finally become truly honest with the People of God in this diocese and in all the dioceses around the world. It is time!
At the outset, let me be clear; this letter is not so much about blaming individuals as it is about criticizing the system of clericalism that has allowed so much pain and suffering to continue for so long. Clericalism says that the clergy are better than the people they purport to serve. It gives them power over and above what the laity experience in our Church and in society. The most recent example is a case in point. The offending priest, through church lawyers initially avoided public shame, possible jail time, loss of a job and received advancement in the Church. This is clericalism. The common person would not have been treated in like fashion.
And what of the victims? First, the abused received hush money, no acknowledgement that a crime had been committed, and no possibility to adequately recover, because the Church’s reputation was esteemed above that of the young woman, barely an adult, in a vulnerable state, coming to the priest for counsel. You will notice that I said “victims.” The priest is a victim too, of a system that serves no one well. Jesus called those who would be His followers to be servants, not to consider themselves above those who they serve.
The defense given over time by Church hierarchy for the cover-up of this crime and the more heinous crimes against children was that they were trying to protect the Church. So in other words, priests and their “good” names are more important than children and others that they serve. To me and many others who I have spoken with, the clerical system and those who regulate it have done more to discredit the Church so many of us love than any revelations of misconduct could ever do!
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It is in this light that I beg the hierarchy of the Catholic church in the diocese of Winona — priests and bishop to tell the truth, once and for all — to give us all the names, don’t wait for perpetrators to be discovered, but take responsibility for yourselves. It is time for the priests of this diocese to find their voices, to be true men, true servant-priests and followers of our brother Jesus; ask and even demand your superiors to change for the good of our Church, but for the good of yourselves as well.
In the much acclaimed film “Spotlight,” the story of the sexual abuse of children by priests in Boston that came to light in 2002, we are left with a quote: “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” In Boston, as in Winona, as in any city in this country, or around the world, priests, even “the good ones,” knew that children were being abused and few said or did anything to protect them. It is time for something new. And part of the something new needs to be a heartfelt apology from each one who knew and allowed the abuse to continue, and a promise that never again will power and control stand in the way of caring for those who you are privileged to serve.
In fairness to the men, women are just as susceptible to clericalism. In the organization that I am part of, Roman Catholic Women Priests, I can see the danger of clericalism too. We all, women and men, priests and laity must root out this tendency whenever we see it. It is time — let us all begin."

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP: Books on

  • Women Find A Way: The Movement and Stories of Roman Catholic Womenpriests

    Jul 10, 2008
    by Elsie Hainz McGrath and Bridget Mary Meehan
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  • The Healing Power of Prayer

    Jun 1, 2007
    by Bridget Mary Meehan
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