Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Liturgy with Co-Presiders Kathryn Shea ARCWP, Lee Breyer, Music Minister: Linda Lee Miska

Kathryn Shea ARCWP, Lee Breyer, Co-Presiders

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Interesting, Inviting, Involving, Inspiring

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

January 28, 2017

Presiders: Lee Breyer and Kathryn Shea, ARCWP

Music Minister: Linda Lee Miska

Cantor: Russ Banner

Theme: Consider your calling

Greeting and Gathering Hymn: We Are Called # 628

(all verses, using “God” for “ Lord”)

Gathering Prayer

Presider: Let us pray as we come together to break bread and share in the banquet of love in the name of God, our Creator, of Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier. ALL: Amen.

Presider: We celebrate with joy and we give thanks, O Holy One, for all that you bring to us. We are grateful for the strength you give us to fight injustice and for the hope that one day all peoples of the Earth will live fully rejoicing in the kin-dom of God. All: Amen.

Opening Prayer

All: 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. Amen.

Penitential Rite

Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets hidden. We thank you for sending your Spirit to us so that we may live more fully according to your will for us and we are thankful that you have called us to be your chosen people.

All: Help us to hear Wisdom’s messages, to faithfully understand them, and to respond to them with compassionate actions with our brothers and sisters. Loving God, teach us the virtues of pardon and peace so that we may – in turn- learn to forgive our failures to care for one another and for our planet Earth. We ask this of you in the names of Jesus, our brother and of the Holy Spirit, our healer and comforter. Amen.


All: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all God’s people on earth.

(Sung): Glory to God, glory, O praise God, Alleluia. Glory to God, glory. O praise the name of our God. 3X

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13 All: Thanks be to God.

Psalm: 89 Responsorial: Forever I will sing the goodness of our God. (#790)

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 All: Thanks be to God.

Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12 All: Glory to you, O God.

Homily Starter-4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

January 28, 2017

Kathryn Shea, ARCWP

A Letter from Your Calling

By Tara Sophia Mohr

“Every calling is great when greatly pursued.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

It’s me. The one who keeps talking to you about that thing. That project. That possibility.

I know you think you couldn’t be the one for the job, but honestly, if you weren’t the one for the job, I wouldn’t have come to you with it.

I wouldn’t have come knocking at the door of your mind. I wouldn’t have come into your dreams, into your imagination, into your heart.

I wouldn’t have made it so compelling to think about me.

I wouldn’t have planted in you the frustration with what is.

I wouldn’t have planted in you the vision of what could be.

You say you want more meaning, more adventure, and to have a greater impact.

I’m offering you all of that, but you keep telling me I’m silly, unrealistic, too big, when here I am, ready to give you the greatest adventure of your life.

I don’t take it personally, but I do weep about it.

I weep for the joy you are missing out on. I weep because you aren’t getting to witness your immense strength and brilliance. I weep for what the world is missing out on too.

When I took this job, they told me much of it would be waiting. Waiting on you.

I want to make sure you know, I’m here, close as breath, waiting. I’m waiting for you to say yes.

We can do this. Together, we can do this thing.

It’s true, part of my job is creating challenges and dark moments along the way—but only enough of them to teach you the most beautiful lessons you’ll ever learn.

I need you. Your hands. Your heart. Your mind. Your circumstances. Your strengths. Your weaknesses. Your wounds. Your wit. Your tale.

I need you, just as you are.

Say yes?


Your Calling

So, I had the most amazing experience of my lifetime last Saturday at the Woman’s March on Washington. Standing there among the thousands of pick hats; talking, laughing, sharing stories with children, their parents and grandparents, the elderly, men, women, people of every race, sexual orientation, I truly felt like I was standing in the center of the kin-dom of God. And I thought, this is exactly what life on Earth should be. Every day. Not just one day during a march. As I stood there for hours soaking in the immense joy and peace of the moment, I thought how do I take this back with me? Am I doing all I can do? What more can I do? What more should I do? And then I heard a response. I heard, “you are standing right where you belong. This is your calling.” I actually felt stunned because the message was so clear. I had no idea then that one of the Readings this week was about considering our calling. But, I have a feeling our Creator did.

I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to attend the march. I feel very blessed to have received the message and I am staying grounded in my calling. And, I have carried the peace and joy with me all week, even though this week has brought much crazyness.

So, how do today’s Readings speak to you? Do you feel like you know your calling? How can we stay grounded in our calling in these turbulent and frightening times?

Shared Homily

Profession of Faith

All: We believe in one God, a divine mystery beyond all definition and rational understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of God’s Word, bringer of God’s healing, heart of God’s compassion, bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe in the Spirit that strengthens our call to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God’s love, a source of God’s wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God’s peace in the world.

And we believe that God’s kin-dom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to make it happen.

Prayers of the Community

Presider: With hearts filled with loving compassion and mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for everyone, everywhere, we lift up the needs of our community at this time.

Presider: That those who suffer abuse, that they may be healed and empowered, we pray.

All: 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 those who have gone ahead of us may dwell forever in our heavenly home, we pray. R.

Presider: And for what else do we pray at this time? Other Intentions followed by R.

Presider: We hold these and all the unspoken intentions in our hearts when we gather around the Banquet Table.

Offertory Procession and Preparation of the Gifts

Offertory Song: Here I Am, Lord #377 (all verses, using “God” for “Lord”)

Presider: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine, the whole of 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 healing 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. (join around the banquet table)

Eucharistic Prayer

Voice: Gracious 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 sharing the gift of your shalom, our peace. We join with the angels and saints and people of every race, faith and nation in an unending hymn of praise as we sing:

ALL: We are holy, holy, holy. (Karen Drucker)

Voice: Gracious God, you set the banquet table and invite all to the feast of unending delight. Here we celebrate divine love beyond what all that words can describe in our evolving cosmos. Here your divine compassion connects us to the young and the old, the least and the last, to everyone everywhere on our journey into the heart of mercy.

Voice: We especially thank you, Nurturing God, for Jesus, your anointed one, who showed 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 stand up to injustice to protect those who are vulnerable.

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

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

(Please extend arms as we pray the consecration together)

All: May your Spirit, present in these humble gifts, 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, broke it and said:

ALL: Take this all of you. This is my body. Every time you eat it, remember me.

Presider: In the same way after supper, Jesus took the cup, and raising it with love beyond all telling, he 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, the making of a new and everlasting covenant. Every time you drink of it, remember me.

Presider: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.

All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ lives in us and through us in the world today.

Voice: We ask you to bless those who are sick and suffering, those who have no place to turn, especially those who are homeless. May they be healed and strengthened, may they be gifted with your compassion shown through their brothers and sisters, and may they be filled with every blessing in your loving presence.

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

The Prayer of Jesus

ALL: Sing: Our Father and Mother ……

The Sign of Peace

Presider: God, grant us peace and unity beyond what any words can express. Let us join hands in a circle of love as we sing “Let there be peace on earth.”

Litany at the Breaking of the Bread

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: We thank you, God, for creating us as worthy to receive the experience of your son Jesus in our lives so that we can 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 Music: Instrumental

Communion Meditation Song: Beauty of the Dancer – Sara Thomsen

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion

Presider: May wonder and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion fully fill our beings, that you may heal the numbness that continues because of our society’s injustices. May you know that you are loved and may we continue to be the face of God to one another.

ALL: Amen

Community Prayers of Gratitude


Concluding Rite

Presider: Our God is with you.

ALL: and also with you.

Closing Community Blessing

(Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)

ALL: May our gracious God, bless us all gathered here, in the name of God our Creator, in the name of Jesus our Liberator, in the name of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier as we care and minister in love to one another and to all those we meet on our journey. Be with us as we continue on our path and follow in the footsteps of Jesus — for we are the face of God to the world. Amen.


Presiders: May we all go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue!

ALL: Thanks be to God.

Concluding Hymn: We Are Marching In the Light of God

We are marching in the light of God, we are marching in the light of God.

We are marching in the light of God, we are marching in the light of God.

We are marching, we are marching, we are marching in the light of God.

We are praying in the light of God, etc.

We are singing in the light of God, etc.

We are dancing in the light of God, etc.

MMOJ Annual Meeting: Sally Brochu reviews budget for 2017

"Fr Tony Flannery vows to keep fighting for church reform", Irish Times

Banned priest: ‘It’s all falling apart so fast; it’s collapsing rapidly. Some say it’s too late’

Fr Tony Flannery who celebrated Mass for his 70th birthday at the east Galway Killimordaly Community Centre in breach of a 2012 ban by the Vatican on his public ministry: “I feel free of the institution.” Photograph: Alan Betson
Fr Tony Flannery who celebrated Mass for his 70th birthday at the east Galway Killimordaly Community Centre in breach of a 2012 ban by the Vatican on his public ministry: “I feel free of the institution.” Photograph: Alan Betson
Comedian Groucho Marx said he would never join a club that accepted him as a member. Fr Tony Flannery goes one better. He now has no desire to rejoin a club to which he once belonged.
He would be “very reluctant to go back” unless there are both changes to Vatican investigations procedures of cases such as his and the Catholic Church radically alters its attitude to women. Neither seems likely in his lifetime.
And any possibility of Rome lifting strictures it imposed on the Redemptorist priest five years ago receded last Sunday when he celebrated Mass at the east Galway Killimordaly Community Centre. This was in breach of a 2012 ban by the Vatican on his public ministry.
The Mass was “a once off” to mark his 70th birthday this month and 40 years as a priest. Attended by over 800 people, mostly neighbours and friends, it came “close to being the loveliest day of my life”, he said.
Killimordaly is home territory. “I grew up in this community, and in the house where I am now living.” The rural area in Galway is “traditional in many ways” but the people “showed clearly to me how much has changed in our church. Diktats from the Vatican do not carry much weight any more.”

‘A quite deep disillusionment’

His Groucho Marx moment evolved. Over the five years he came to view things “from the outside” with “a quite deep disillusionment”. His faith remains intact but is now separated from the institutional church. Both used be inextricably linked in his mind. Now, “I feel free of the institution.” Yet he believes “some form of institution is necessary for the survival of the message”.
He has no doubt his role as a founder member of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) six years ago was “absolutely a factor” in what happened to him. The ACP began as it continues, forthright and outspoken in its criticisms of church authorities .

In 2011 Fr Flannery wrote an article criticising a dysfunctional priesthood following publication of the Cloyne Report into how the church handled allegations of abuse. He questioned whether such priesthood was envisaged by Jesus, if he envisaged priesthood at all.
It was brought to the attention of the Vatican. A self-appointed cadre of the Irish thought-police took it upon themselves, during the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict, to keep Rome abreast of those they saw as “priests behaving badly”.
As is the wont of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Fr Flannery was charged, tried, and sentenced in his absence without being allowed a defence, or knowledge of his accusers
No longer a member of the ACP leadership team, there can be little doubt however that what he and they see as a denial of responsibility by the bishops in his case, and those of others, added to an already jaundiced view of church leadership.

Stinging criticism

This is illustrated acutely in the ACP’s stinging criticism of the bishops following their ad limina visit to Pope Francis last week. They accused the bishops of being dishonest in their report on the state of the Irish church to Pope Francis.
Fr Flannery goes further. He has “no doubt” the bishops misled Pope Francis and were “utterly irresponsible” in doing so. They also refused to discuss Bishop Leo O’Reilly’s request for a commission on ordination of married men and women deacons, which was “appalling and depressing”, he said.
“How can they possibly not recognise what is going on around them?It’s all falling apart so fast; it’s collapsing rapidly. Some say it’s too late, that it’s gone too far. Two generations are gone, the younger and the middle-aged are totally alienated.”
He believes the Redemptorist community at Esker in Galway, where he was based for most of his life, “will be gone in five to 10 years. It’s a bleak picture.”
It is “incomprehensible” to him that the bishops would not sit down with the ACP and discuss how this might be addressed.
Above all, what the Irish church needs is “a charismatic leader who would mobilise the laity”, as the future demands “massive lay involvement”. What it does not need is papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Browne, he said. “He is the single most destructive factor in the Irish church, particularly his policy in appointing bishops.”
When news of Fr Flannery’s Mass broke it soon became a local event. Some said it was the greatest thing to happen in Killimordaly since the hurlers won the county final in 1986.
For Fr Flannery it was a coming home. It reminded him of lines by TS Eliot: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
What years are left in him will be devoted to church reform . And he will do so in the company of “a load of new friends with new perspectives”.

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Living in the Promised Land" by Willie Nelson, "Room for Everyone"

Grass-roots leaders to gather in California at invitation of Vatican by Dennis Sadowski

Grass-roots leaders to gather in California at invitation of Vatican

"Pat Campbell-Williams, co-founder of MOSES, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, in Detroit, right, tells a person she met October 19 at the city's Rosa Parks Transit Center about early voting for the 2016 election. She will be one of 600 people from grass-roots organizations planning to attend the U.S. regional World Meeting of Popular Movements Feb. 16-19 in Modesto, Calif. (Credit: CNS photo/courtesy Jacob Bolton, MOSES.)
Pope Francis changed her outlook.

Campbell-Williams, 60, co-founder of MOSES - Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, rooted in the city’s churches - had the chance to hear the pope in November at the Vatican when he addressed the most recent gathering of the World Meeting of Popular Movements.

Pope Francis applauded the work of several hundred people from more than 60 countries working in grass-roots organizations of the poor, the underemployed, indigenous communities and farmworkers. His words energized the longtime activist.

“It’s what I’ve been working for in all of my life, grass-roots organizing,” Campbell-Williams told Catholic News Service, “and to have the pope to be in the forefront of what we’re doing is just amazing. We’ve got a man of God that’s pushing things. The fact that he’s doing this got me excited.”

Campbell-Williams will be one of 600 people - whom the pope calls protagonists, meaning people facing everyday struggles - from throughout the United States attending a regional World Meeting of Popular Movements February 16-19 in Modesto, California.

The meeting is co-sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. bishops’ domestic anti-poverty program; and PICO National Network, which engages in religious congregation-based community organizing.

The U.S. meeting is being planned at the request of Pope Francis. Cardinal Peter Turkson, dicastery prefect, will attend the meeting and address the delegates.

More than 20 U.S. bishops also are expected to attend and participate in plenary and small-group sessions over the four days, said Ralph McCloud, CCHD executive director.

Campbell-Williams said hearing from people of different faith traditions from around the world in November was inspiring and expects the same in California.

“I learned that we all are going through basically the same things around the world,” Campbell-Williams said. “We didn’t understand that until we told our stories and came together in solidarity to talk about it. That was amazing to just hear everybody tell their story in their language. It connected all of us to the same stories. We’re all basically dealing with the same issues.”

Dominican Sister Cheryl Liske, executive director of Gamaliel of Michigan, one of the organizations that will be represented at the meeting, said it is folks like Campbell-Williams whom the pope has in mind when he calls the church to move beyond charitable acts to accompany people on society’s margins.

“Church people in general, we get charity. We don’t get the Gospel message about justice. Our bishops, like the rest of us, are in that same mix. The important thing is that the bishops in Modesto, California, interact with the folks. They (grass-roots people) get the Gospel message right there on the ground, that this is about the widow and the orphan and the alien among us,” Cheryl said.

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, is hosting the four-day gathering at Modesto’s Central Catholic High School. Co-hosts are California Bishops Jaime Soto of Sacramento and Armando X. Ochoa of Fresno.

Modesto, located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, was chosen because of the economic and social challenges facing the region’s diverse population, meeting organizers said.

Blaire told CNS he wanted to learn from community representatives so the diocese could work more closely with similar local organizations.

“When you haven’t worked with community organizers, you have to do a little rethinking. A lot of people said movements in the church are supposed to be spiritual movements. I said to them, ‘There are many spiritual movements, like the folks living the real experience.’ We have to hear them and listen to them and accompany them,” the bishop said.

“I think it will be very important as the church that we listen because if we want to evangelize and bring the Gospel into the community, we have to hear what the community is saying,” he added. “We have to hear from the people themselves who are suffering. We can’t sit in our positions and think we can analyze all the poverty and suffering out there.”

Belinda Snead of Lexington, Kentucky, also is to be one of the grass-roots people attending the meeting. A leader in Building a United Interfaith Lexington Through Direct-Action, or BUILD, Snead told CNS there is no better way to learn about organizing successes and failures than by discussing her experiences with others.

“We all come from different parts of the country so everybody has a different dynamic that prevents them from getting something accomplished, from moving forward,” Snead said. “My goal is to go out and learn from others how they develop strategies on combating injustices.”

That’s exactly why the Vatican wants a U.S. meeting, McCloud said.

“First and foremost (the meeting) is to acknowledge the economic inequality that exists among the haves and have-nots” while examining the reasons people struggle because of unequal access to work, land and housing, he explained.

“(The meeting) acknowledges all of these things exist and to help bring people together who have been working on these, to understand there’s a connection between all of them and look at ways they might be able to work together,” McCloud told CNS.

Immigration and racism also are to be among topics explored, organizers said."

Bridget Mary's Response: Accompanying people 

on the margins in their journey to justice is the heart

 of living the Gospel of Jesus today. 

Pope Francis is inspiring a new generation of social justice 

activists and organizers.

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

Pope Francis has called for a World Meeting of Popular Movements February 16-19 in Modesto, California. More than 600 people -- whom the pope calls protagonists, meaning people facing everyday struggles -- from throughout the United States will be attending to discuss poverty, racism, housing and immigration.

Holy Angels Video: "You are held by Holy Angels, Holy Angels all around you" by Sara Thomsen

Angel of God,
My guardian dear,
to whom God's love
commits me here,
ever this day,
you are at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.

Angels of God,
Our guardians dear,
to whom God's love
commits us here,
ever this day,
you are at our side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.

"Rochester Woman to be Ordained a Priest": Rev. Myra Brown" by Kaci Jones, NBC

"Reverend Myra Brown of Spirtus Christi Church in Rochester will be ordained as a priest on Saturday at 10 a.m. Spiritus Christi is an independent Catholic Church and not recognized by the Vatican. Right now, women in the Roman Catholic Church cannot be priests. She is the third African American woman ordained in the U.S.

“I'm black, I'm a woman and I'm Catholic, they don't do that in the Roman Catholic Tradition,” Rev. Brown said.

That tradition didn’t stop her from following her calling...

“I think today we live in a society that is very patriarchal and very masculine, it’s all run by men,” Rev. Brown said. “I think what has happened has robbed women of their voice, their leadership and really their place in the church as well as society and it's really important for us to fix that.”
She has spent 25 years in the Rochester community working for equality.
“I would be called in the ministry to clean up the messes of humanity, the messes of sexism, the messes of racism, the messes of homophobia, and to really be all in, in terms of eradicating those levels of oppression in this society,” Rev. Brown said.
She hopes her story inspires other to follow their calling despite limits that may exist.
Reverend Myra Brown will be ordained by Bishop Christine Lumetzberger of Austria on Saturday at the Spiritus Christi Church at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Human Rights Group Denounces Trump Administration’s Draft Executive Order on Detention as Catastrophic Return to the Crimes of the Bush Era

Bridget Mary's Response: Jesus taught us to live the golden rule. Love and compassion and justice will lead our world to peace, not torture! Jesus would weep!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Witness Against Torture Calls for the Rejection of Executive Order Measures

Warns of Broad Dangers of Trump Agenda

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — The draft of an Executive Order on US detention and interrogations threatens a nightmarish return to the illegal, immoral, and un-American torture policies of the Bush administration.  Its proposed measures — from the re-establishment of CIA “black sites,” to the review of interrogation practices as detailed in Army Field Manuel, to the denial of International Committee of the Red Cross access to US detention centers — point to one thing: the resumption of the cruel, inhuman, degrading, and torturous abuse of Muslims.  

The draft’s proposal to halt all transfers from Guantánamo and bring new captives to the prison is also outrageous.  Guantánamo has never been, as the draft claims, a “critical tool” in the fight against global threats.  It has been a place of rampant torture; a detention center for hundreds of innocent men making up the prison’s great majority; a cause of radicalization worldwide; and a stain on America’s reputation. 

The executive order is based in two fictions: that US torture “worked” in securing critical intelligence, and that nearly one-third of men released from Guantánamo then engaged in anti-American violence.  The US Senate Torture Report refutes the claim of torture’s efficacy.  The figure on post-release violence is grossly inflated and obscures that only a tiny fraction of the men released under President Obama are even suspected of engaging in anti-US hostilities.

 “Torture has weakened American security and brought misery to its Muslim victims and their families,” says Jerica Arents, a Witness Against Torture organizer from Chicago. “It is frightening that we are even discussing its return.”  “Tough talk on Guantánamo,” says Maha Hilal, the Executive Director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, “only reinforces Islamophobic fears that threaten the civil and human rights of Muslims, at home and abroad.  The demonization of Muslims must end.”

“That the Trump administration would consider the executive order,” says history professor and Witness Against Torture member Jeremy Varon, “speaks to our worst fears: that Trump is an authoritarian strongman willing to use lies and criminal violence in service of a dangerous, nationalist agenda.  History warns us where that leads.”

Witness Against Torture calls on sane voices in the military, the intelligence community, Congress, and the Trump administration, as well as the American people, to flatly reject the proposed torture measures, no matter if the White House officially endorses them.  The group also cautions that it is not enough to resist only Trump’s most disturbing ideas, and thereby normalize and legitimate other terrible measures.

“From the proposed partial Muslim ban, to the removal of environmental regulations, to his infamous ‘wall’, Trump is on a path of enormous damage,” says Matt Daloisio, a lawyer with Witness Against Torture. “We can’t lose our way in the confusing smog of threats, hyperbole, lies, half-truths, tweets, and half-baked or deadly serious policies.  We have to stand up to the danger of Trump’s stated intentions and the reality of what Trump is already doing.”

Press Release - January 26, 2017
Press Contacts: Jeremy Varon, 979-3119

U.S. Bishops Decry Trump's Orders to Construct Wall on Border

(Vatican Radio) The United States Conference of Catholic 
Bishops has released a statement decrying President Trump’s 
orders to construct a wall at the US/Mexico border 
and to increase immigrant detention and deportation. 
Actions, the statement says, that put immigrants’ 
lives needlessly in harm’s way, tear families apart 
and spark fear in communities. 

Bridget Mary's Response:  Why don't we reform our immigration policies so we reflect our nation's values as a safe home for immigrants? We can do this in a way that keeps us safe and 
welcomes refugees. This is at the heart of who we are as a 
nation of immigrants. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

First they came for the 
socialists, and I did not speak out
because I was not a socialist

Then they came for thee
trade unionists,
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left
to speak for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller (c.1946)

LEADING: Newsletter about Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Editor: Mary Bergan Blanchard ARCWP

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 4th Sunday in OT, January 29th, by Beverly Bingle RCWP

These days I can’t seem to read the scriptures
without hearing the Word of God
speaking directly to what’s going on
in our country and our world,
and I find myself looking for some much-needed comfort there.
Take that first reading,
where Zephaniah writes about God’s concern for the anawim,
the “poor.”
The part we heard skips from the 3rd verse of chapter 2
to the 12th verse of chapter 3.
More than a chapter is left out,
a long and vivid description
of what happens to people who oppress the poor.
The verses we do hear today
tell about the goodness of the survivors
and the peace that will come to them.
We are reminded
that God is in charge.
It gives us hope,
lifts us up in the face of today’s news.
But how long before this peace comes?
How much more do we have to endure?
Then we listen to Psalm 146,
with its message of hope and assurance of promise.
God will give us justice, food, and freedom.
God will protect the vulnerable.
And then there’s the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount,
pieces of which will be our gospel reading
for five more Sundays after today.
The sermon begins today with the Beatitudes.
Scholars say that three of these beatitudes
were almost certainly formulated by Jesus—
the ones addressed to the poor, the hungry, and the mourners.
They also say that the original meaning of the beatitudes
is closer to the way Luke phrased them,
referring to the distress people suffered
from social and economic conditions in the first century.
The beatitudes speak to us
of the serious problems in today’s topsy-turvy world.
Blessed are the poor, they say.
But where is this blessing?
Earlier this month Oxfam issued its annual report on poverty,
pointing to eight men whose wealth
is equal to the total wealth of 3.6 billion people—
the poorest half of the earth’s population.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said:
“It is obscene for so much wealth
to be held in the hands of so few
when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day.
Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty;
it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy.”
The Oxfam report details how big business and the super-rich
are fueling the inequality crisis
by dodging taxes,
driving down wages,
and using their power to influence politics.
The Beatitudes go on: Blessed are the hungry.
How can that be?
The United Nations estimates
that about 795 million of the 7.3 billion people in the world—
that’s 1 in 9—
suffer from chronic undernourishment.
About 21,000 people die every day
of hunger or hunger-related causes.
That’s one person every four seconds, most often children.
In the 20 minutes since Mass started this afternoon,
300 people have starved to death.
And hunger is not just a problem in other countries.
Here in America, 49 million people
struggle to put food on the table
because of poverty.
How will they be satisfied?
Blessed are they who mourn.
That’s all of us who care.
We mourn for ourselves and our neighbors,
for the oppressed and vulnerable among us.
We mourn for our planet
and for the species that are becoming extinct.
We mourn for our children and grandchildren
who will suffer from the impact of climate change.
We mourn over the denial of truth from our government leaders.
We mourn over the loss of regulations and programs
that have sought to protect the most vulnerable among us.
With all that, the gospel tells us that we will be comforted.
Who’s going to lift all these people out of poverty?
Who’s going to feed them?
Who’s going to comfort them?
When’s it going to happen?
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians gives us the answer.
It’s in his advice on how to end
the falsehood and greed and injustice in our world.
We hear that God calls us to stand up for justice,
and that our efforts, however small they are,
will bring shame
to those who follow the ways of the world
and worship its power.
So, yes, there is comfort in the face of all of this.
People caught in hopeless situations
manage to hold on in spite of it all.
The world has seen devastation and disaster before.
The specter of nuclear catastrophe and planetary destruction
makes the stakes higher,
but the reign of God is at hand.
We will prevail because, as Paul says,
we will do no wrong
and speak no lies.
We will go forward doing what we are called to do—
speaking truth and doing justice.
It’s not easy these days, given the times we’re in,
but God is with us on the way.

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