Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy with Presider Lee Breyer, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons, Cantor: Russ Banner

Lee Breyer presides at Liturgy

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 4, 2017

Theme: “You are the light of the world.” Who?…me???

Welcome and Gathering Hymn: We Gather Here to Celebrate (Mindy Simmons)

Gathering Prayer

Presider: Friends, let us pray as we come together to break bread and share in the banquet of love. And let us do so, as always, in the name of God, our Creator, of Jesus Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier. ALL: Amen.

ALL: And we ask, Loving God that you bless all of us gathered here now, and all those of our community who are not physically with us today.

Presider: We celebrate with joy and we give thanks, O Holy One, for all the blessings that we have received from you. May we open our hearts to everything and everyone with whom we share this universe, with no exceptions. And may we be the light of the world that, through your disciples, you called us to be. ALL: Amen.

Opening Prayer

All: Creator God, as we make our journeys into the heart of compassion, we are grateful for your gifts of strength, guidance, direction and company. Open our minds and hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your inspiration and peace may guide our lives. 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 so widespread in our world. Loving God, may we always remember that we are all created as one body - your body - the Body of Christ. Amen.

Community Forgiveness

(Please raise an arm over the community as a sign of forgiveness)

Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires are unknown and no secrets are 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 toward our brothers and sisters. Forgiving God, teach us the virtues of pardon and peace so that we may - in turn - learn to forgive one another our hurtful actions to those of other beliefs, classes, sexual orientations, races, and nationalities. 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 the name of our God. (3X)

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Isaiah 58: 7-10 ALL: Thanks be to God.

Psalm: 112 Responsorial: We are the light of the world; may our light shine before all,

that they may see the good that we do and give glory to God. #609

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5 ALL: Thanks be to God.

Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

Gospel: Matthew 5: 13-16 ALL: Glory to you, O God.

Shared Homily and Community Reflection

Much of Matthew’s “great sermon” was “organized” or “put together” from an oral traditions (memories) and writings (records known as the “Sayings Gospel Q).  Luke did pretty much the same thing.  However, in Luke, his Jesus speaks the beatitudes and follows it with the teaching on “loving your enemies.”

In Matthew, Jesus follows the beatitudes with a much more personal message directed to the very soul of the disciples. Scholars believe that Matthew’s description of the “great sermon” is an accurate reflection of Jesus’ teaching.

Matthew’s Jesus told his disciples, and through them, tells us why being the “light of the world” is so important.  “Your light – our light - must shine before others so that they may see our good acts, and give praise to God.” Isaiah, in the first reading, gave us the reason and motivation to let our lights shine.

And that is why I worded the theme: “You are the light of the world.” Who?
Yes….you.  Would you like to share a light with us today?

Profession of Faith

ALL: We believe in one God, the Creator, the divine mystery beyond all description and understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that will ever exist.

We believe in Jesus, the Christ, a messenger of God’s Word, a carrier of God’s healing, and the heart of God’s compassion. We believe in the Spirit, the Breath of God, who strengthens us in our call to follow the example of Jesus as an expression of God’s love, a sharer of God’s wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God’s peace in the world.

And we truly believe that God’s kin-dom is surely here and now, spread out everywhere around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to share it with everyone.

Prayers of the Community

Presider: We are a people of faith; we believe in the power of prayer. With loving compassion especially for the sick, needy, marginalized and oppressed, we are mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for everyone, everywhere. And so we lift up the needs of our community at this time. Our response will be: ALL: God of all compassion, love through us.

Presider: That the hungry and homeless receive the bread and the shelter that meets their needs from persons and organizations in our various charities and from caring individuals, social groups and societies, we pray. R.

Presider: That those who lack sufficient and adequate amounts and types of clothing may find what is necessary to meet their situations from caring individuals and organizations, we pray. R.

Presider: That those who find themselves bound by hatred, hostility, and violence will be set free, we pray. R.

Presider: That the sick may be healed, especially (mention names if you wish to), 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 whom or what else do we pray? Mention other intentions followed by R.

Presider: We will hold these, and all the unspoken intentions, in our hearts when we will gather around the “Table of our God’s Gifts.”

Offertory Procession and Preparation of the Gifts

Offertory Song: Room at the Table (Carrie Newcomer)

Presider: Blessed are you, Loving God, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine, the whole of creation, and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal we celebrate our role as your holy people. Help us recognize that in all our thoughts and actions.

ALL: Blessed be God forever.

Presider: God is with us, and loving and healing others through us.

ALL: Namaste

Presider: Lift up your hearts.

ALL: We lift them up in tender love, open to serve our families and yours.

Presider: Let us give thanks to our God.

ALL: It is our joy to give God thanks and praise. (Please remain in your pew for now)

Eucharistic Prayer

Voice: Gracious Wisdom, You embrace us with your overwhelming love despite our brokenness. You invite us to your table to share your food with us. We thank you that in this festive meal, your Spirit continues to pour yourself out among us gathered here as we join with one another in our 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…You are holy…I am holy… we are holy… (Karen Drucker)

Voice: Gracious God, you set your table and invite all of us to a feast of endless delight. Here we celebrate divine love beyond what all that words can express. 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.

“Bread, Blessed and Broken” #329 Verses 1, 2, and 3 only

(After the song, everyone is welcome to join together around the table)

ALL: We thank you for the gift of Jesus in history – and the gift of Jesus in faith. Through him, you breathe life into us. He was moved by his vision of your everlasting presence in everyone he met, wherever he went. He revealed you in everything he did in his life well lived. He showed us, thorough his example, not only how we should live, but also what is worth dying for.

(Please extend an arm as we pray the consecration together.)

Presider: On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. He took bread, said a blessing, broke the bread and shared it with them saying…

ALL: …take this all of you and eat it. The bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. Do this in memory of me.

Presider: In the same way after supper, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying…

ALL: …take this all of you and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. Do this in memory of 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 hungry and homeless. May they be healed and strengthened; may they be gifted with your compassion shown through the caring of their brothers and sisters, and may they be filled with every blessing in your loving presence.

ALL: Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, all praise and glory are yours, Loving God, forever and ever. (Singing, and holding hands) Amen (x times)

The Prayer of Jesus

ALL: Sing: Our Father and Mother …...

The Sign of Peace

Presider: Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you. Look on the faith of those gathered here today and…

ALL: God, grant us your peace beyond what any of our minds can imagine and our words express.

(Please join hands in a circle as we sing “Let There be Peace on Earth” #532)

( …with God as creator, family all are we… … With every breath I take…)

Litany at the Breaking of the Bread

Presider: Loving God….ALL: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of peace. and mercy. So we will live justly.

Presider: Loving God….ALL: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of understanding and compassion, forgiveness and healing everywhere in your name. So we will love tenderly.

Presider: Loving God….ALL: you call us to speak truth to power. So we will walk humbly with you.

Presider: Loving God.…ALL: You call us to show mercy to our brothers and sisters. So we will do that.

ALL: Loving God, You call us to live equality, respecting all your creation. 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. Everyone is created in your image and likeness. May they share in this sacred banquet of love.

ALL: We thank you, God, for creating us as worthy to experience the presence of Jesus in our lives. May we reflect 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 Song: “You Are The Face of God” (Karen Drucker)

Communion Meditation Song: “Christ, Be Our Light” #604 verses 1, 2,3, 4)

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion

Presider: O God of Compassion, Jesus showed us how to love one another and care for one another’s needs. Through the power of your liberating Spirit at work within us, we will learn how to give and receive forgiveness, live joyously and work for the healing of our society and the earth.

ALL: Amen

Community Prayers of Gratitude & Announcements

Concluding Rite

Presider: Our God is with you.

ALL: and also with you.

Closing Community Blessing

(Please extend an arm in mutual blessing)

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


Presider: May we all go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue! Let us be the people that God created us to be. ALL: Thanks be to God.

Concluding Hymn: “The Summons” #384



The Million Woman's March is the Voice of God Advocating Equality in our Times

At a social event in our Park where I live in Florida, an elderly man approached me and inquired why I thought the million Woman March was necessary. My response was that women are making their voices heard on women's equality, family planning and health issues, Although I know there are a number of related issues that are aligned to peace and justice in our country and world, President Trump's  executive orders are a major step backwards for women's rights in our country and world. 
Left to right: Pat MacMillian and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP at Woman's March in Sarasota, Fl.

According to a Washington Post editorial, "Now Trump's executive order takes a giant leap beyond previous GOP incarnations. It is not just family-planning funds that are at risk, but all global health assistance, including funds to combat tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS... Marie Stopes International estimates that the loss of the  U.S.AID-funded services over the next four years will result in 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions- many unsafe- and 21,700 maternal deaths. 

In spite of laws that mandate equal pay for equal work, last year a congressional report summarized a major disparity in wages earned by women. Women workers receive 75 cents for every dollar earned by a man. African-American women earn only 60 cents for every dollar a white man earns, and Latina American women earn even less, 55 cents. A woman with a Bachelor's degree earns $5000 less per year than a man with the same degree. 

In Florida, the Joint economic Committee Democratic Staff of the U.S. Senate in 2016 reported this wage gap continues for women in retirement. The median income for women 65 and older is 44 percent less than a man in same age category.

All of us, women and men need to challenge inequities. The Million Woman March in Washington DC and the millions around the world who marched are making their voices heard that women's rights are human rights and that we will not tolerate injustice and inequality by any institution, government or religion in the 21st century.

The international Roman Catholic Women Priests promotes full equality of women in the church. 

The million Woman's March and all efforts to promote gender justice everywhere is the voice of God advocating equality in our times.

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Friday, February 3, 2017

An Alternative Vision Needed: Accompaniment. Dialogue. Encounter. These will yield the humane answer to the question — who are we? — that so many seek." by Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

"Who are we? What does it mean to be an American? What kind of nation have we become?
These are the questions I posed yesterday in arguing that President Donald Trump's sweeping and draconian executive orders regarding immigration and refugees touched a deep chord of national identity. We have Trump's dark, Manichaean answers to those questions, and we also have different, more inclusive and hopeful answers in the faces of people who spontaneously headed to the airports to welcome foreigners and protest the president's actions.
But a protest does not amount to much unless it becomes a political and moral force. What shape should that opposition take?
Politically, the first line of opposition should be from congressional Republicans who know better, who do not have Steve Bannon whispering into their ear about the salutary effects of populist nativism, and who have made their careers championing values that Trump is throwing out the window.
It has been shocking to see so few Republican leaders raise their voices publicly in opposition: Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham spoke up, as did Congressman Charlie Dent, but where was Speaker of the House Paul Ryan? Where was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? They applauded the president's executive orders. They are now wedded to this president and will sink or swim with him. Given Trump's dismal poll numbers, the smart money says they will sink. Let it be so. Of course, before the election, Trump's poll numbers were lower than Hillary Clinton's, and the smart money said he was going to lose.
CEL-migration-booklet-thumbnail.jpgBegin the Year of Grace with a free booklet of formation and feature articles on migration fromCelebration Publications.
I was heartened by the sight of Democratic lawmakers joining the protests at the airports this past weekend. The denial of asylum to refugees fleeing violence and war, sometimes wars that the U.S. has started or abetted, is an affront to our nation's history and values to be sure. This assault on the dignity of Muslim refugees is appalling.
But I could not help thinking that some of the people who voted for Trump, having voted for President Barack Obama twice, looked at the outrage and posed the same question they did when the Obama administration insisted that transgender bathroom rights was a major civil rights issue of our time, or when Obama lit up the White House in the colors of the rainbow flag when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage: When will you show any passion about our vanishing manufacturing jobs, or our stagnant wages, or our homes in danger of foreclosure?
Inclusive, hopeful and majoritarian
The Democrats desperately need to craft an alternate vision to that being peddled, and implemented as government policy, by Trump, and that vision must not only be inclusive and hopeful, it must be majoritarian. It must be as outraged at the deportation centers holding Mexicans as the denial of entry visas to Muslims, and as concerned about the jobs of rural Americans as about the rights of refugees. Why did it never occur to a Democratic president to publicly shame companies that export jobs?
The Democrats must put forward a vision of good governance, one that does not accrue all decision-making authority in Washington but respects some measure of local diversity, even when the locals decide to act in a way that is contrary to a Democratic interest group.
I have yet to hear a Democratic politician make a major speech that establishes a moral framework for our economic decision-making. Indeed, I have yet to hear a Democratic politician pick up on a foundational moral point made in these pages by Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, namely, that we are told that we live at a time of scarcity when, in fact, we live in the richest country in the history of the world. There are consequences for structuring a political program that assumes scarcity as a given, as Trumka explained, and there is a politics that such ideas evoke. Democrats must confront the politics of scarcity head on. So far, they have not confronted it at all.
The Democrats must also step away from the technocratic paradigm that has influenced their philosophy of government since 1992. In analyzing Bishop Robert McElroy's talk at the Erroneous Autonomy conference, most commentators focused on his indictment of market ideology and an erroneous understanding of nationalism. But if Hillary Clinton had won the election, I suspect the focus would have been on his indictment of the technocratic paradigm. It should be required reading for all Democratic candidates, speechwriters and strategists.
The Democratic opposition must look for specific ways to reach out to rural Americans whom they have neglected, and they must find a better way to deal with interest groups that do not speak to the common good. They must not be afraid to say at a Black Lives Matter event that "all lives matter." (Want to tie a Democratic politician in knots? Ask if unborn black lives matter.) They must continue to defend the rights of minorities, but they must care about everyone too.
They are entitled to maintain their vigorous commitment to abortion rights, but they must stop stigmatizing those of us who do not share that commitment. They need to stop sounding like snobbish academics, talk to people who don't read The New Yorker or watch Rachel Maddow, people with real economic concerns the GOP will not address. They must craft a communitarian vision that stands in sharpest contrast to the vile "winners vs. losers" framing that Trump applies to all he sees.
Teach what the church teaches
How to oppose Trump's policies is a question for the Catholic church as well: We cannot move from a culture war on the right to one on the left. Catholic leaders should speak in terms of inviolable principles, not attack the president personally. When Vice President Joe Biden presided over the same-sex marriage of a longtime staffer, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the time, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., was quick to issue a statement criticizing the action, in part, because Biden is a Catholic. I don't suppose we shall see a similar calling out of Speaker Paul Ryan for supporting these horrendous executive orders. Bishops should not get into the muck of calling out politicians by name: Leave that task to us bloggers.
The bishops must shine a light on the human dimensions of the issues that are at stake. It would have been nice to see a bishop show up at their local airport this past weekend, but it would not be nice to see a bishop sounding less like a pastor and more like a political analyst in their diocesan columns. They should seek to be evenhanded, finding ways to balance the range of moral concerns a Catholic faces in the public arena, being as pro-undocumented as they are pro-life.
Most especially, the bishops should teach what the church teaches. The old joke is that Catholic social doctrine is the "best kept secret" of the Catholic church. It is time for the bishops to take the lead in making that doctrine the stuff of sermons and adult faith formation and Catholic education at all levels, especially our seminaries.
In a statement earlier this month, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Ky., spoke out against a proposed "right-to-work" bill in that state. Stowe, a Conventual Franciscan, was not only right on the issue at hand, but read the first paragraph of his statement, how he introduces the church's social doctrine, its sources in Scripture and tradition, and its ongoing relevance. It is masterfully done.
I have said it before and shall say it again: There is no problem facing America that is not leavened by Catholic social doctrine.
And if the political opposition is smart, which is a big if, they will avail themselves of the moral and intellectual framework Catholic social doctrine provides. The overlap between that doctrine and Trumpism is nonexistent. The language of Catholic social doctrine provides coherence and it appeals to the better angels of our nature. Franklin Delano Roosevelt quoted from Pope Pius XI's magnificent social encyclical Quadragesimo Anno when he ran for president in 1932, and the ideas the pope put forward shaped the thinking and the way of speaking about the New Deal. Today's Democrats could do worse.
Who are we? The answer the opposition formulates must include more than the usual hodgepodge of interest groups, but accompany everyone whom our society leaves on the side of the road. The answer must speak to the better angels of our nature. The answer must move beyond anger and rage as the default responses to political challenges and seek reasoned debate in which other people's differences of opinions do not make us see them as the enemy. The answer must address people's fear and seek to find common ground, to cultivate a culture of encounter, between those who are afraid and those they have been told to fear.
Do you see the themes the Holy Father is articulating here? Accompaniment. Dialogue. Encounter. These will yield the humane answer to the question — who are we? — that so many seek."
[Michael Sean Winters is NCR Washington columnist and a visiting fellow at Catholic University's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies.]

Pope Francis Urges Compassion for Refugees and People on the Margins

“Don’t abandon them,” the pope says in the video, which features men and women comforting a homeless man on the street.
“Pray with me for all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees and marginalized, so they may be welcomed and find comfort in our communities.”

Hundreds Take Stance Against Hate in Albany: Women Priests were there
Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP on left with banner
Women Priests are here at Interfaith Vigil in Albany