Married priests Began Community as Outreach to Divorced and Remarried Catholics, Now Inviting Women Priests to Minister in Titusville, Florida
Fr. Pat Mahon said that he along with two other married priests provide Eucharist for St Christopher’s Faith Community which Fr. Mike Gallagher started about 20 years ago, especially for devoiced and remarried Catholic’s and others who were alienated from the Church. Over the years St. Christopher’s has attracted Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists and others on the journey of faith. Off season participants number about 50 and during the season about 150 participants. They are in need of an additional priest to help with Liturgy because Mike Gallagher is 83 and is dealing with some health issues.
Wanda (Russell ARCWP) and I went down the following weekend, experienced their faith community at worship and then shared a wonderful dinner. We brought some literature for them including Pink Smoke Over The Vatican. Pat said he would prepare the people to receive Women Priests. The following weekend he gave a wonderful homily on their need for an additional priest and women’s call to priesthood. See beautiful homily below.
Miriam Picconi ARCWP Co-Presides at Liturgy on Nov 16th with Fr. Mike
|Miriam Picconi ARCWP and Father Mike Gallagher Co-Preside at Liturgy at|
St. Christopher's Catholic Community, Titusville, FL.
On Saturday, November 16th I concelebrated Eucharist with Fr. Mike. He started the liturgy and gave most of the homily and then invited me to share with the congregation. We celebrated together at the altar and the people joined in the Eucharistic prayer. It was truly an awesome experience. For this time Wanda was a greeter and passed out flyers on our ministry and the flyer on ARCWP.
Before and after the Liturgy people were most gracious in welcoming us. The warmth and acceptance was almost overwhelming. We felt right at home. We are now committed to the third Saturday of every month. Wanda and I will concelebrate in December.
--> We feel really blessed to share in this community of faith.
|St. Christtopher's Catholic Community|
Homily to Community on Previous Sunday by Fr. Pat Mahon:
Apollo XIII radioed Houston Control, “Houston, we have a problem.”
St Christophers, we have a problem. Like the virgins in the Gospel we have to prepare for a future event which will affect our entire church community. We have a shortage, not of oil, but of priests. As you know Fr. Mike founded this community over 20 years ago to provide a service to all the people in TGO. He was especially interested in providing church and Eucharist for divorced Catholic who had remarried and would not be welcome at the communion table in traditional RC churches. Fr. Mike is trying to recover his strength and does not feel hem can stand for an entire Eucharist. I will be going to the mountains of Georgia for the holidays our children but we be here most of the winter. Fr. Jim also has plans and will not be here sometimes.
The situation-can we provide Eucharist every Sat during the season? Do you want Eucharist every Sat?
Knowing of no other men who were available to assist us, I contacted Bishop Brigid Mary Meehan in Sarasota and she helped us find women priests who are willing to serve us. BTW, I have concelebrated with Brigid Mary in her faith community in Sarasota. She is wonderful Irish spirit-filled lady. After Brigid Mary put me in. contact with two priests, I would see people from St. Christopher and I would ask them how they felt about women priests. Some of those I asked went on to ask others among you. Some of you were hesitant. Others said, “Why not?”
A bit about the history of the RC women priest movement. In a male dominated, patriarchal church, we often forget the women disciples were the last witnesses to the crucifixion-the men had fled in terror. John Mark was so scared that he left his tunic behind and fled naked into the night.
Mary Magdalen was the first witness to the resurrection and came to be known as the “apostle to the apostles.” Unfortunately, a male dominated church began the process of painting her as a prostitute.
I cannot go into all the evidence here; however, Fr. Mike has a video, Pink Smoke over the Vatican, which you can borrow. Paul refers to Phoebe, a deaconess at Crenchae. There is written and archaeological evidence that women in the early church were in leadership roles. Archaeological evidence shows women in clerical garb on mosaics in the catacombs. Further evidence is that councils began to condemn women in ministry as the church after Constantine hijacked the church into a male-dominated empire.
Canon Law says that only men can be ordained. Arguments about ordinations revolve around apostolic succession. This means that bishops ordain bishops who ordain priests and that the chain goes all the way back to the apostles-or so they say.
The church argues that only men can be ordained because Jesus was a man. The priestly character does not depend on male characteristics.
The church also argues that only men can be ordained because there were only men at the Last Supper. Really? I do think that Jesus’ mother Marry and the female disciples would have been present.
In the modern era, we do know that a bishop in Czechoslovakia during the days of Communism ordained Ludmilla Javarová so she could minister to the many women in the communist prisons. Eventually a group of seven women were ordained on the Danube River in 2002 and a worldwide movement was underway.
The entire women priest movement is a matter of justice. It is a matter of justice and the church should be about justice for all. Unfortunately, the male-dominated patriarchal church has always treated women as second-class citizens. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas considered women to be incomplete men; therefore, women were inferior. The discrimination against women in Saudi Arabia today highlights the way women were treated in Jesus’ time. Women still are treated like this in the middle east. The ruler in Saudi Arabia has imprisoned key leaders he considers to be corrupt in the Ritz Carlton--throw me into Ritz Carlton briar patch. He does plan to let women drive cars.
The hierarchy from the pope down persists in denying justice to women in the church. Even discussing the ordination of women is verboten. Several years ago, I was scheduled to give a retreat on social justice to a parish in the Venice Diocese ion the west coast of Florida. A few days before the retreat, my deacon friend Max called and told me I was forbidden to talk in his diocese. Why? The week before I had attended the Call to Action Conference in Milwaukee and gave a talk on Thomas Merton and Nonviolence. When I asked for a reason, I got one. You attended a conference of a group that advocates the ordination of women and that is against church doctrine. Eventually, I left the RC Church and joined the nearby Episcopal Church where I was already involved in their healing ministry. I realized that I would be long gone before the RC Church would act justly toward women and the LBGTQ community.
We often get the notion that the church never changes.
In fact, the church is evolving just like every other organization on earth. How many of you remember the Baltimore Catechism? Easy questions with easy pat answers. When Sister Mary Holy Water called on you to answer a question you were supposed to have memorized, your whole life passed before your eyes. Looming in the background was the in famous three-cornered ruler and your knuckles
There are many examples of changes in the church. At one point the church condoned slavery. Today the church condemns slavery. The church condoned imperialism that conquered other people and their land and resources. Today, Pope Francis is condemning nuclear weapons.
In our time, we are seeing a change. Pope Francis, in his paper, The Joy of Love, outlines a process which paves the path for divorced and remarried Catholics to return to communion. Fr. Mike was way ahead of his time!
Paul in Galatians 3:28 makes it very clear that making decisions based on gender are not appropriate in Christian communities. He says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Eventually, the church will come to its senses. The first step may be ordaining women to serve as deacons. The patriarchal approach will slowly crumble and the riches women in ministry can bring as priests will be unleashed.
In a recent post, Franciscan Richard Rohr gets it right. Men and women both have gifts which can bring us closer to God:
Masculine and feminine journeys may use different symbols, stories, images, rituals, and metaphors that get us to enter the temple. We must honor the need for action, movement, building, repairing, rescuing, and heroic hardship that men often enjoy. We must honor the community, relationships, empathy, intimacy, healing, and caring that many women usually value. In the end, however, the object and goal of all spirituality is finally the same for all genders: union, divine love, inner aliveness, soul abundance, and generous service to the neighbor and the world.
Next Saturday, the Reverend Miriam Picconi will celebrate the Eucharist with you. Please welcome her warmly as she is willing to drive here from Palm Coast to serve you.