Friday, November 4, 2016

With Progressive Catholic Coalition, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Witness for Justice at the US/Mexico Border

Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP and Kay Akers ARCWP, Silvia Brandon- Perez  ARCWP not in photo

The SOA Watch Convergence at the Border—also the 27th Annual SOAW Gathering—in Nogales, AZ/Sonora October 7 to 10, was a great success in showing solidarity with those at the border and drawing attention to the militarization there that has such a devastating effect resulting from the economic and political policies being implemented at the border.  

Sophie Vodvarka of Call to Action has created videos covering highlights of the two days and : 
Part 1 - Introduction, Background (not referenced out of self-promotion) and Rally at the Eloy Detention Center
Our inside look at the SOA Watch’s first ever Convergence on the Border, October 7-10, 2016. Hundreds of activists gathered at the US/Mexico border to bring attention to the dire situation of immigration in the country, including the use of privately run detention centers (like Eloy Detention Center, shown in the film) and the inhumane treatment of migrants. This weekend was special for Call To Action as we joined Progressive Catholic Coalition once again, witnessing the re-birth of a movement which began 25 years ago by our friend Roy Bourgeois. “We don’t cross the border, the border crosses us!”

Part 2 - Crossing the Border with Background on Why "SOAW to the Border" by Janice Sevre-Duszynka and interviews with Roy Bourgeois and Jeannette Mulherin
The second part of our inside look at the SOA Watch’s first ever Convergence on the Border, October 7-10, 2016. Hundreds of activists gathered at the US/Mexico border to bring attention to the dire situation of immigration in our country and to witness with love and solidarity.

On Saturday evening, October 8th an Interfaith Service composed by a working group that included three PCC representatives was held at the Border. Included in the service were Indigenous rites and participation of speakers from Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions, with the PCC representing Catholic input. 

See them at

Pictures of the Interfaith Service planned with input by PCC-member representatives Jack Wentland, Janice Sevre-Duszynska and Silvia Brandon-Perez are at

The message presented by PCC as the Catholic voice is at

Thanks to our PCC Sponsoring organizations and their representatives Kay, Sophie, Janice, Silvia, Rosa (and Mary and Nick DelRio of CORPUS) for their participation in making the PCC's valuable message for justice!

Please feel free to use any of the information and links above for sharing the event with others. I hope you will share this information with members of your organization sponsoring PCC! Thanks.       ~  jack

John P. Wentland
"The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote.
America's never been about what can be done for us. It's about what
can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but
necessary work of self-government." Pres. Barack H. Obama - 11/6/12

Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Why Has the Pope Said No to Women Priests" CNN, What's up with Commission to Study Women Deacons?

Delia Gallagher:
"One, he subscribes to the Catholic Church's long tradition of male priesthood because Jesus chose men as his apostles and because of their theological understanding that a priest, "acts in the person of Christ," so must be male. This is what Francis was reaffirming by quoting St. John Paul II."
Bridget Mary's Response:
1.The Risen Christ chose Mary of Magdala to be the apostle to the apostles. Christianity is based on a belief in the resurrection of Christ According to all four Gospels, Mary of Magdala was the first to encounter the Risen Christ who called her to go and tell the good news -the job description of an apostle. Thus, there were more than 12 apostles. In addition, St. Paul refers to Junia, a woman, in Romans 16:7 as an outstanding apostle and mentor.
2. Galatians 3:28 reminds us that baptism makes us equal images of Christ. There is "neither male or female in Christ"
3. As members of the Body of Christ, we are called and empowered to   act in the person of Christ. 
4. To argue that a priest must be male to act in the person of Christ is sexist  and justifies discrimination against women in the church and society. It violates women's soul integrity as  images of God.
5. Pope Francis's statement puzzles me because he has commissioned a Commission to study women deacons. According to scholars there were thousands of women deacons in the early centuries of Christianity. If he opens door to women deacons, women priests are logically the next step. So my question is what's up, Pope Francis?

Pope Francis Statement on Women Priests Proves that Church Still Needs A Reformation

..."So, I want to ask Francis: Don't you get it? That Reformation you celebrated is known for being open to change over time, over centuries — and that includes an openness to women pastors, priests, ministers, bishops and even archbishops.
Pope Francis attends an ecumenical prayer service at the Lutheran cathedral in Lund, Sweden, Oct. 31. At far right is Archbishop Antje Jackelen, primate of the Lutheran church in Sweden. (CNS/Paul Haring)
So, it may be time for a feminist "95 Theses." It would be easy for someone to write up 95-plus reasons why it's discriminatory and downright silly and embarrassing to deny women an equal place in the church today. And such a document could easily explain why the church is much poorer because women are not equal. It could be nailed to the doors of the Vatican. In short, all Francis' statement did was prove that the church still needs a Reformation!"Article by Maureen Fiedler
Response by Bridget Mary: 
I like the idea of a feminist 95 Thesis! If we hurry, we can put them on the Door of Mercy in this Holy Year. it is the hierarchy who needs to repent of centuries of sexism for their failures to treat women as equals. They need to reform the clerical model of all-male priesthood that is out of touch with Catholics today.
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,,

Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP Colombia: Article in Spanish on Women Priests' Work with Campesinos

Celebrating The Fall Triduum, All Hallows’ Tide A Mini-Contemplative Retreat by Karen Kerrigan and Co-Facilitated by: Michele Birch-Conery

Credits to:  Author, Episcopal Priest and a current leader of The Centering Prayer Community; Dr. Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault (see google “Fall Triduum” and book "Wisdom Jesus.").  Author and Dr. Elizabeth Johnson from the book, “Abounding in Kindness” (see chapters on The Communion of Saints and Communio Sanctorum.)

For three years, I have dreamed of creating a retreat to celebrate; The Fall Triduum.  I discovered the idea from a blog entry by Contemplative Teacher, Cynthia Bourgeault.  I have wanted to share this ever since.  I brought the idea to my Heart of Compassion Pastoral Team and they graciously helped me to make it happen.  The following is the bounty of our collective genius!  Please enjoy and have a Blessed Feast of All Hallows’!  Thank you especially to: Michele Birch-Conery ARCWP, Sydney Condray ARCWP and Marianne Bernard from Michigan Call to Action. 
Our Beloved God blessed our mini-retreat with a beautiful afternoon for October 29th in Michigan!  The Mini-retreat went from 1:00 to 4:30 in the afternoon.  Everyone was asked to bring; a potluck dish that a loved-one, now passed, loved to eat and a depiction of a favorite saint as well as a picture of a loved-one that they would like to remember.
There were six parts to the retreat: The Gathering at The Sacred Fire, Celebrating The Eve of All Hallows, Celebrating the Eve of All Saints, Celebrating All Souls’ Day, With Thanksgiving Celebrating Eucharist and finally sharing potluck supper. 
The First part of the retreat began outdoors with a prayer service around a bon-fire.
Welcome to Our Celebration of The Fall Triduum. This is a special and sacred time, celebrated by my many cultures.  We are halfway between the Fall Equinox and The Winter Solstice.  In the Christian Liturgical tradition, this time is remembered as the three-day festival of All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.  Especially, in Celtic and Mexican Christian Cultures, these days are a liminal and threshold time where the veil between ourselves and those who have gone before us is very thin.  So, I invite you, into this mysterious time. 

Insert Fire Blessing Photo

Sacred Fire Blessing
1. Our Abba- Mother, Hallowed be your name. We know you are with us, This Hallows’ Tide and always.   
2. We are asking for the Presence of our holy companions, as we walk together on our spiritual journeys.
3. We cannot go forward without your Grace.  You know our need before we see it. 
4. Help us to surrender what we carry within us that is no longer useful.
5.  Go forward with us as we embrace a realization event. Let us find anew the empowerment of our true self.
6. Commission us to act for the good of ourselves and others.
Pour out your blessings as we welcome the mystery of this sacred time.

Sitting around the fire we sang:
“Sacred Fire”
Jan Novotka

After 5 minutes of silence to savor the fire, I invited everyone to gather at the door to our gracious hostess’ house.  Before entering the house, I asked people to pause to let go of the cares for the day that they brought with them and to experience crossing the threshold to this “thin-space” and “luminal-time” of The Fall Triduum.

“At the intersection of the timeless and time we come to: “All Hallows’ Tide”

We gathered in the living room for the rest of the service:

To Transition into our All-Hallows’ Tide Celebration we sang:
Standing on the Shoulders
Earth Mama

The Second Part was, to honor The Eve of All Hallows’, we were invited to do; “profound inner work: to face our shadows and deep fears.”  I created a centerpiece of Halloween Masks and each person was given a private journal to do this inner work.


After singing our song, I used the following as our first reading: 
Leader 1: The three readings for today’s liturgy, represent each day of the Fall Triduum.  The first reading recognizes the Eve of all Hallows.  During this time we will look for the false, small or illusory self, who lives, in each of us. This false self is the one who hides behind the mask. There are some masks that we are ready to discard.  Others, need to be kept.  I invite you to use this exercise for the masks you feel ready to discard.
I invite you to wear your mask as we read this reading.
Reader 2: A Reading from Thomas Merton's description of his conversion at fourth and Walnut. 
"At the center of our being is the point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion. This is a point of pure truth. It is a point or spark which belongs entirely to God. It is never at our disposal. From this point God disposes of our lives. A Divine Act which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.   It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody. And if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life banish completely. I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere. "

Each person was given their own journal (see picture below.)
Journaling with the reading for The Eve of All Hallows.
Now that we have read, Thomas Merton’s story it’s time for reflection.  What is your story?  Imagine that you and the Divine are looking upon some aspects of your small self or false self.
What do you and Our Beloved God see as you look upon these masks?  Do you notice any places where you wish to let go of smaller and false parts of yourself? (pause)
I invite you to find a comfortable place, by yourself and spend the next 15 minutes journaling on these questions
Journal Questions:

What are the small self, false self ( ___________: Your way of naming this) parts of me that I am ready to let go of?

After 13 minutes of private journaling work.  I asked people to return to our living-room gathering place.  I let them know 2 minutes before I wanted them to gather. While our retreatants were journaling for All Hallows’ Tide, I changed our centerpiece to display, All Saints’ Day.  The display included the statues and other depictions that people had brought.

This was our; All Saints’ Table.

The Third Part was to honor, The Feast of All Saints. When they returned from journaling, I gave people time to share what they had brought.  I also had a mirror, I invited them to take a moment to gaze upon themselves the way that God sees them. 
I used the meditations on The Beatitudes from The Gospel Matthew as paraphrased by; Cynthia Bourgeault.  I added the idea of calling ourselves; “Saint” and including the Saint that we were using before each person read one of The Beatitudes entries for example:
Leader: Before you take your turn to read your beatitude, think of a saint or someone deserving to be a saint, that you would like to have companion with you on your Journey.  Let us pause to think of your saint.  (Pause)… When you read your beatitude say your name with the word, "Saint" before it.  Then say "and" the name of the Saint who is your companion.  Please remove your mask before you read your beatitude.  I will go first for example.
Karen is Reader 3:  Saint Karen & Saint Brigid of Kildare are Receptive and open. 
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "An inner attitude of receptivity and openness.” Thomas Merton once wrote, "at the center point of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and illusion, a point of pure truth, a point of spark which belongs entirely to God."
Reader 4: Saint (your name) and Saint ( ) are Vulnerable and flowing.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. "Vulnerability and flow. Mourning  is a deep form of emptiness. If we can stay open, We discover that a mysterious "something" does indeed reach back to comfort us.

Once again, we were invited to journal on these ideas for 15 minutes.
Journal Questions:
Take some time with these Beatitudes the way they are written.  Welcome the “Saint” you chose as your companion.  Which of the 8 Beatitudes, engages your imagination and heart at this time?  Invite your “Saint” to tell you how she/he experienced the challenge of moving beyond limiting belief systems? And how they have acquired clarity?  Ask your Saint to companion you in re-membering yourself to how God sees you as a Beloved Saint.
While my retreatants were journaling, I changed the centerpiece to convey; All Souls’ Day.
When they returned to the living room we transitioned into celebrating, “All Souls” by singing:

When the Saints Go Marching In, Instrumental Holiday Music, Patriotic Songs of America 2012

The All Souls’ Day Table Centerpiece: 

The Fourth Part was to honor, The Feast of All Souls!  I invited everyone to share the picture or object they brought to remember their loved one.
For our reflection on The Feast of All Souls, this is what we read:
The Feast of All Souls, The Day of the Dead.
Leader 1: We are reading the Gospel of the Transfiguration for this day. As we remembered all Saints Day, we had a peak experience of; realizing ourselves as, already One in The Communion of Saints. But, now we are coming down the mountain. We will find the mask of our false selves again. We will find the mask of the false self on one another again. But this time it is different because we take our memory of ourselves, where we saw ourselves as God sees us with us.  We are not alone, because we are deliberately bringing our Saint and this loved one we remember with us. Think of this as you hear the reading.
For one last time, I invited my guests of journal on All Souls’ Day…
Journal Questions:
Take a moment to do some prayerful imagining with The Transfiguration Gospel.  Place yourself in the position of Peter.  Tell, The Transfigured Jesus how wonderful it is to be here with ________________(your loved one’s name), Moses and Elijah.  Allow yourself to imagine this scene for a moment.
(pause about 2 minutes). 
 Let yourself hear, “the voice from out of the cloud: "this is my beloved, my own; listen to this one."   Write about this idea.
While my retreatants were journaling I changed the centerpiece for Eucharist.  We used a modified version of our regular worship aide.  We closed our Eucharist with the following prayer.  After, we enjoyed a delicious potluck supper with great conversation. 
Closing Prayer and Grace for the Potluck Supper.
Our Abba- Mother, Hallowed be your name. We know you are with us, This Hallows’ Tide and always.   As we move forward from our Fall Triduum celebration, we take a moment to be grateful.  We bring forward our special realization events with ourselves and our dear companions.  They are with us now as we face the shortest days of the year.  The leaves have fallen and the earth draws once again into itself.  But before we greet the weeks before advent begins, we ask that we may linger a while with our dear companions.  Bless us O Beloved Abba-Mother and these thy gifts which we are about to receive.  For we are with this Great Cloud of Witnesses who accompany us into The Future. Amen
Closing Song:  O Sacred Fire

Have a Blessed All Hallows’ Tide & Thank you!

Sacrament of the Sick for JoAnn Wells by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Heart of Compassion International Faith Community, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (Oct 31, 2016).

Barbara Billey on right, mother JoAnne holding chalice, seated:Kathy Worotny of our HOC International Faith Community.

It’s the day before Halloween. A paramedic is wheeling a man to his bed in the emergency room of our local hospital. The man is wearing orange prison garb, and his legs are bound together by handcuffs. What I see is no aberration, no trick or treat. Neither is the reality that my 80-year old Mom, JoAnn Wells is here, too, having suffered a heart attack a few hours earlier.

In April of this year, Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that has spread to her lungs. For months, Mom has tapered her usual 3-mile a day walks down to a few minutes, with a stop to catch her breath. She, however, has been unrelenting in sustaining an active social life, her love for people large. Even while Mom’s physical health has been declining, her spirit remains vibrant and her faith in God unwavering.

Now it’s Halloween. My Dad, Bob Wells and I stand at Mom’s bedside, where she gladly receives from us the Sacrament of the Sick. She looks remarkably well for having little sleep in the noisy, blinking emergency room, her rosy cheeks and sparkling blue eyes defying her condition, but that’s Mom – indefatigable even after a heart attack. I read prayers that I created this morning and Dad anoints her. We hold hands while praying the Jesus Prayer and Dad doesn’t let go.

God of love,
ever caring,
ever near,
protect and give strength to Your beloved daughter, JoAnn.
During this time of trial and suffering,
fortify her with steadfast faith in You and in Your son, Jesus.

Psalm 61 by Nan Merrill (Psalms for Praying)

Hear my cry, O Merciful One,
listen to my prayer;
from the depths of my being
I call to You,
for my heart is faint.

Lead me to the Rock that is
my strength,
for You alone are my refuge,
your steadfast Love conquers
my fears.

Let me dwell in your Heart forever!
O, to be safe under the shelter
of your wings!
For with tender Love, You have
heard my prayers,
You have shown me the heritage
of those who know your Love and Friendship.

Committed to my birthright, I will
serve You in this world and
in the Unseen Realm of Love.
As I walk on your path forever,
You fill me with abiding love,
gentle joy, deep peace,
and wisdom.

I shall sing praises and blessings
to your Name, as
I abandon myself into your Heart
moment by moment.
For You are the Love and Mind
of all creation!


Through this holy anointing (anoint forehead), may God of infinite love and mercy hold you in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

(Anoint left hand) May our God of forgiveness, free you from any harm that you may have done; save you and raise you up.

(Anoint right hand) May the peace of God, bring wisdom to believe that you have been and will continue to be a compassionate companion of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Jesus Prayer: Our Father/Mother who is in heaven …

Holy One, You gave Your son, Jesus the gift of the Holy Spirit,
which strengthened Him for his journey of justice and peace.
You were close to Him always, especially near his time
of suffering and death.
We believe with our whole heart that you are with us now.

Creator God, Spirit Holy and Jesus, healer and friend with us,
through this holy anointing, give JoAnn comfort in her suffering.
When she is afraid, pour forth Your courage and peace of mind.
When hope feels lost, return her to hope in Your present and eternal embrace.  
And when feeling alone, assure her of the support of family, friends and her faith communities.

We ask this through the Risen Christ whose Spirit lives in and with us.
May the blessing of our God be with you, JoAnn, now and always. Amen.

On the cusp of All Saints’ Day, the experience of anointing Mom leaves us with a peace that passes understanding. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is anointed with fragrant, expensive oil by a woman who is deemed by many as a sinner. Jesus forgives her, says she is “A woman who showed great love” and is “The woman of great faith” (Luke 7:47-50).  This woman is my Mom. She is all of us.

Roy Bourgeois Responds to Pope Francis on Women Priests, Time for Pope Francis to have a conversation with Women Priests, by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Roy Bourgeois with Roman Catholic Women Priests
left to right: Ree Hudson RCWP, Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP
and Donna Rougeux ARCWP
in Rome Photo with appreciation from National Catholic Reporter

"Pope Francis, God created women and men of equal worth and dignity. How can men say that their call to be priests is authentic, but God's call to women is not?
Let's face it, Pope Francis the problem is not with God, but with an all male clerical culture that views women as lesser than men. Sexism, like racism and homophobia is a sin."
(Roy Bourgeois, is a former Maryknoll priest who was dismissed from his religious order because of his support of women priests.)

Bridget Mary's Response: Time for a Conversation with Pope Francis
Popes have been wrong  before and teachings have changed throughout history-- slavery is just one example.
St. John Paul 11's ban on ordination ignores
-Jesus' example of treating women and men as equals
-early church history when women ministered as deacons, priests and bishops and 
-endorses sexism and a all male clerical culture.  
The majority of Catholic theologians do not support the ban on women priests, neither do a growing number of Catholics in Europe, Canada, the United States and South America. Likewise, the world's bishops are not in agreement with this definitive teaching. 
In fact, The Vatican' s own scholars, the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded in 1976 that there is no valid evidence in scripture to exclude women priests. 

 So, Pope Francis could chart a new path to equality and justice  for women including priestly ordination. It is time for a conversation about women priests with women priests. We are happy to share our experiences of serving God's people.

We are blessed by the courageous witness of Roy Bourgeois and many supporters who have been punished for their solidarity with our movement for justice and equality for women in the Catholic Church.
Roman Catholic Women Priests are a prophetic movement changing the church one ordained woman at a time and one inclusive community and ministry at a time. 

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,,

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 32 Sunday of OT, Nov. 6th, Beverly Bingle RCWP

Today's reading from the book of Maccabees
details a horrific incident of religious intolerance:
the arrest, torture, and murder of seven children
as their mother was forced to look on
before she too was murdered.
Their crime: they were Jews.
Their religion forbade eating pork,
and they refused to go against the teaching of their religion.
Our U.S. Bishops have written extensively
in defense of religious liberty for all.
Four years ago they issued a document titled
Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.
It asserted that:
“If religious liberty is not respected, all people suffer.”
And Dignitatis Humanae,
the Vatican II document on religious liberty,
is absolutely clear:
we have a right to religious freedom,
to be immune from coercion,
never to be forced to act in a manner contrary to our beliefs.
And we are obliged to defend the right to religious liberty
not only for ourselves but also for others.
We know that we have not always done that.
The U.S. Bishops admit that
“our history has shadows in terms of religious liberty,
when we did not extend to others
the proper respect for this first freedom.”
Religious freedom does not mean
that people of other faiths have to follow our rules.
That's totalitarianism.
That's terrorism.
We have a lot of work to do.
Religious persecution—
the systematic mistreatment
of an individual or group of individuals
as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations
or persecution because they have no religious belief—
is rampant in countries all over our planet.
It's easy to point to places like North Korea, China,
Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh.
But it's here, too.
In some cases it's a combination
of racial or ethnic intolerance
with religious intolerance.
Again and again we hear the TV reports
of bombing incidents in Black churches in the south.
Islamophobia is more widespread than the common cold,
even here in holy Toledo.
Three years ago the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo was torched.
The arsonist said he wanted to “get some payback” for 9/11.
The 9/11 terrorists, like the Maccabees,
were willing to die for what they believed.
But terrorists,
like people who bomb churches and set fire to mosques—
and unlike the Maccabees—
do not respect the religious freedom of others.
The Maccabees did not launch terrorist attacks
on those they saw as perverse and wicked.
They used peaceful means of persuasion,
resisting with the words of truth
and the endurance of their hearts.
They were ready to die
rather than go against their religious beliefs.
With so many shouts of vengeance in our world today,
we need to reflect on the message here.
Luke's gospel shows us the way of Jesus:
he engages in dialogue.
He resists with words of truth.
Today's passage is part of a series of attempts
by the local religious leadership
to force Jesus to take sides on the political issues of his time.
The Sadducees—who, unlike the Pharisees,
do not believe in resurrection—
ask Jesus that loaded question
about the status of levirate marriage in the afterlife.
Jesus takes the side of the Pharisees but avoids the trap.
Just before that question, they had asked him
whether it's lawful to pay taxes to Caesar,
and Jesus avoided that trap with that well-known line,
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.
When the questions end,
Jesus tells his disciples to be wary of leaders
who parade around for attention
but ignore the plight of widows and orphans.
So these scriptures remind us once again that,
because we are followers of the Way of Jesus,
we include in our preparation for voting
the questions
of whether or not the candidates
respect the religious freedom of all peoples
and whether the issues tend to the needs of the poor.
We're back to that basic rule of our faith,
the one that guides everything we do,
the one that identifies us as Christians:
love one another!

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
(Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006