Saturday, March 25, 2017

St. Catherine of Siena: Video " It is silence that kills the world", M. Catherine Hilkert, O.P. professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, speaks on Catherine of Siena as part of the sixth season of the Saturdays with the Saints lecture series.

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordination of Elena Garcia ARCWP as a Deacon and Baptism of her Grandson Brohdi Lucas at Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community in St. Andrew UCC, Sarasota, Florida on March 25, 2017

ARCWP Ordination of Elena and Baptism of Brohdi

MC: I invite Carolyn, Drew and Brohdi to stand with Brohdi’s Godparents, Barbara and Christopher.

Bishop: Today as we celebrate two sacraments: holy orders and baptism, we affirm our call to live the fullness of love in loving service to our sisters and brothers. From the first moment of our existence and all through our lives each of us is the beloved of God called to reflect the divine presence in our world. 

 In Baptism we celebrate our sacred initiation into a community of faith that supports us on our spiritual journey In Holy Orders we celebrate an individual’s call to serve a community of faith in sacramental ministry. Today, at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community we have ordained our sister, Elena, as a deacon. Now Deacon Grandmother Elena will baptize her precious grandson Brohdi Lucas in her first act of diaconal service as all of us warmly welcome him as a new member of the Christian community.

Bishop: (to the parents) Carolyn and Drew, what do you ask of this Christian Community?

Carolyn and Drew: We ask that our son Brohdi be welcomed into the Christian community through the sacrament of Baptism.

Elena: By asking for Baptism within the Christian community, you are promising to teach Brohdi to live justly, to love tenderly and to walk with integrity for all to see and celebrate. You are promising to teach him about his brother, Jesus and his message of love. Do you promise to do this to the best of your ability?

Carolyn and Drew: We do.

Bishop: (to the godparents) Barbara and Christopher, do you promise to help Carolyn and Drew as they teach Brohdi about the Source of All Life and about Jesus, our brother?

Godparents: We do.

Bishop: In the name of Jesus, we choose you, Brohdi, for baptism.

All: Thanks be to God. Applause.


MC: We are now going to baptize Brohdi Lucas. We invite Brohdi, parents and godparents to come forward to the baptismal font.

Elena: In our sacramental rituals we use many symbols and signs. We now begin the baptismal ritual with a blessing of the water and the oil.

Carolyn: O Holy One, Source of all that is, we experience your grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of your unseen presence.

Drew: At the dawn of creation, Your Spirit breathed on the waters making them the wellspring of all holiness.

Christopher: The water of the Red Sea, through which our ancestors traveled, is a symbol of our liberation from all that holds us captive. In the waters of the Jordan River, our brother Jesus was baptized by his cousin, John, and anointed with your Spirit.

Barbara: After the resurrection, the disciples of Jesus celebrated baptism in water and the Spirit with those who answered Your call to holiness.

Carolyn: From age to age, oil has been used to anoint the priests, prophets, leaders and visionaries.

Bishop: (to all present - Please extend your hands in blessing the water and oil.) O Holy One, you call us to be co-creators of a world filled with blessing and abundance. As co-creators with you, we bless this water and oil as a symbol of your grace filled presence in our community. (pause)

Baptismal Promises

MC: Parents and godparents you are invited to light the Pascal candle.

Bishop: In this part of the baptismal ritual, Carolyn and Drew make baptismal promises for Brohdi. I invite everyone to renew their baptismal promises and respond “I do” to each of the following questions:

Do you promise to see what is good for your sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequity, living with the freedom and responsibility of children of God? All: I do.

Elena: Do you promise to work for the realization of God’s vision of harmony and right relations among all peoples, rejecting the idols of money, property, color, sex and position? All: I do.
Bishop: Do you promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice and half-heartedness in every form, and all barriers to unity? All: I do.

Elena: Do you promise to cherish the universe, and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, water and fire? All: I do.

Bishop: Do you believe in God, the Source of all life, in Jesus, our brother who loved and lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness; in the breath of God’s center, the Spirit who continues the work of forgiveness and reconciliation, birthing and blessing, challenge and hope, so that together we can continue the work of creation? All: I do.

Pouring of Water (as Godparents hold Brohdi over the baptismal font and as Drew pours water over Brohdi’s head)

Elena: We baptize you, Brohdi
- in the name of our God who is Father and Mother, the source of all life
- in the name of our God revealed in Jesus, the Christ and in our humanity,
- in the name of our God whose Spirit dwells everywhere and inspires us as co-creators. Amen.

Anointing with Oil (as Carolyn anoints Brohdi’s forehead)

Bishop: Brohdi, you were conceived in love and welcomed to life with love. We anoint you with this oil in recognition that human love is sacred, that you are sacred.

Presentation of Stole (as Christopher places stole on Brohdi)

Elena: Brohdi, we present you with this stole. May it remind you that you carry in the depths of your being the Spirit of Life and Love itself.

Lighting Candle (as Barbara lights Brohdi’s candle from the community’s Easter candle)

Bishop: Brohdi, may this candle remind you of Jesus, who opened peoples’ minds and hearts to see the “light” of God’s presence within them.

Presentation of Child to Community
(as Carolyn and Drew lift Brohdi and present him to the community)

Elena: It is with great joy that we welcome Brohdi Lucas Courtney to the Christian Community!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Women's Priestly Function in the Life and Ministry of Jesus by Abigail Eltzroth ARCWP

Holy Women at Christ's Tomb by Annibale Carracci 

Today, in the 21st century, we need teach our girls and boys that both men and women played important roles in the ministry of Jesus.  All of Jesus’ followers model for everyone what it is like to be a disciple of Jesus.

Many of Jesus’ women followers preformed what we today designate as “priestly functions.”  Here are some of their unique contributions:

First to confect the Eucharist:  Mary, through her nine-month pregnancy, was the first to confect the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ.  Her consent, “let it be so,” was the first time the Holy Spirit was invoked to consecrate the host.  Later, the baby Jesus was placed in a feeding trough, symbolizing that he was to be the mystical nourishment for all creation.  

First to preside at a wedding:  Mary, Jesus’ mother, was the overseer of a wedding in Cana.  She kept track of the festive wine and directed Jesus to replenish it when it ran low. 

Engaged Jesus in the longest theological discourse:  Jesus held his longest theological conversation with the woman at the well.  They discussed, among other things, the nature of “spiritual thirst” and the coming Messiah. 

First to engage in missionary work:  After Jesus and the Samaritan woman had their theological discussion, she raced off the evangelize her townspeople.  This was the first time a follower of Jesus preached the good news.

Chastised Jesus, forcing him to reverse course:  When a foreign woman requested Jesus  heal her daughter, Jesus refused, calling her a “dog.”  This is tantamount to calling her a “bitch.”  Nonetheless, she persisted, and Jesus reversed course—the only time Jesus changed his theology when challenged.

First to anoint:  Mary of Bethany was the first to preform an anointing, pouring expensive oil on Jesus, thereby, giving him spiritual fortitude to prepare for his arrest and execution.  

Stuck with Jesus to the bitter end:  Only women disciples followed Jesus to the crucifixion, accompanied his body to the tomb, and returned to preform burial rituals. 

First to witness the resurrection:  Women were the first to witness the resurrection of Jesus.  Christians regard the resurrection as the fundamental doctrine of the faith. 

First to be commissioned to preach the good news:  The gospels recount that Jesus (or heavenly agents) commissioned Mary Magdalene (and sometimes another woman also named Mary) to go and preach the news of the resurrection.  Women, the first to preach the good news to the Twelve, have been called the “apostles to the apostles.”

Teresa the Rebel, Interview with Sister Teresa Forcades

Is Male and Female Mutuality Biblical? A Denver Seminary Panel Discussion

Equal in being, equal in function= egalitarian view
unequal in being, unequal in function= patriarchal view

A Prayer for Women in 2017

Thirst for the Holy by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest, ARCWP Heart of Compassion International Faith Community Windsor, Ontario, Canada Mar 23, 2017

Woman at the Well

In the wilderness
waters break in
streams carve the desert.
When rains come
mother eagle cries her message
as she soars to her destiny.
For each of us
a time is given between
then and what could be
when love begs to enter
the crevices of long-held restraint.
To drink from the cup You offer;
I've heard the invitation a thousand ways.
I take this blessing cup
wellspring of "living waters".
Barbara Billey (Mar 2017)
In John's Gospel (Jn 4:1-28), we witness Jesus' encounter with a Samaritan woman at a well in Sychar, a town in Samaria. She's someone considered by Jews as other. In his hospitality for difference, Jesus opens the way for her to choose "living waters". In accepting his invitation, she, too, sees beyond difference and discovers Jesus as the Messiah. Her old identity falls away and she emerges closer to the Divine, in Jesus and in herself. This woman becomes a prophet who shares her enthusiasm for Jesus with others, with persons thirsting for the same Divine energy.
While in prayer lately, I've been imagining sitting with Jesus at the well. At this time in my life that is pulsating with grief and loss, I feel a sense of mystery moving in His presence. He holds me in the fertile space between a familiar way of knowing myself, and surrendering into a new way that is beckoning. Jesus' silent embrace provides solid ground and deep rest to sustain me in the brutal beauty of my mother's cancer journey and for other necessary changes.
 Each of us has a well, a place to be with Jesus, where we are seen and see. We come with our jars and our agendas, and can set them aside to be immersed in Holy Presence. When we accept Jesus' invitation, love and compassion radiate through us and draw others to the wellspring of new life. For what do you thirst?

Water of Life by David Haas

The Praxis of Blessed Óscar Romero: Speaking the Truth and Defending the Oppressed by Christine E. McCarthy

..."Jon Sobrino's Archbishop Romero: Memories and Reflections. In Chapter 7, Sobrino reflects on Romero's praxis by holding in tension two descriptions of Romero's public life. The first is from a peasant who said:
"Monseñor Romero spoke the truth. He stood for us, the poor. That is why they killed him."
The second description comes from a man who would not before long become his brother in martyrdom, Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., who said:
"God came through El Salvador in Monseñor Romero."
Then, at the time of his martyrdom 37 years ago today, Romero spoke out against his own government and foreign powers who actively sought or colluded in the repression of the poor of El Salvador. For that praxis of prophetic witness, Romero was assassinated by a paramilitary snipe trained at the United States Army's School of the Americas (SOA), now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). At present, in the United States, we face different but not fully dissimilar circumstances as we the people, especially the most vulnerable, find ourselves victimized at the hands of our own strong government headed by a weak leader aided by a weak foreign power led by a much stronger head.

How can we Americans today share in the prophetic praxis of Romero? How can we make our collective life one by which God comes through the United States? I have some thoughts in answer to those questions which are porbably best saved for another post, but for right now, I think it the best starting point is in understanding the ways in which Romero spoke the truth in defense of the poor. Sobrino demystifies what it means when we say "Romero spoke the truth." The entire chapter, and the whole book, are worth reading; here I highlight only a few points, letting Sobrino's words speak for themselves.
"Monseñor spoke the truth, he was possessed by it, and he spoke it with pathos. When the true reality was good news for the poor, Monseñor was an enthusiastic evangelizer. When the true reality was falsehood and lies, he was an eloquent accuser. When the true reality was cruelty and death, especially for the poor, he was an unrelenting, horror-stricken prophet.

To think of Monseñor as a speaker of truth may seem too abstract, but it is important to remember in order to understand both the man and the terrible state into which the truth had fallen, in our country, and in the wider world. In the communications media, there are silences, cover-ups, distortions, trivializations, and lies. The political and economic discourse is full of falsehoods and self-serving ideologies. In the religious and ecclesaistical discourse as well--although Pope Francis is working to overcome it--we are surrounded by the falsehood of antimodernism (integrismo), silence, and sugary, infantilizing devotionalism. We might say that our freedom of expression has increased, but our will to truth has not.

As a speaker of truth, Monseñor Romero pronounce human and Christian judgment on reality, on all reality. He let reality speak for itself (Karl Rahner); he treated reality with honor.
Monseñor Romero spoke the truth publicly, vigorously, at length, tirelessly, repeatedly, and responsibly."

Beyond this, Sobrino notes that "Romero spoke the people's truth, very precisely" lifting up the reality of the "suffering, hope-fiilled 'people'" above all others. He "respected and valued the people's intelligence," not only talking with the people but noting that "he argued with them; he was convinced that the people we call 'simple people' were intelligent human beings.... He did not want the church, through its religious discourse and spiritualistic fantasies, to be an instrument of infantilization." Romero "spoke the truth about the victims, scrupulously, accurately, and passionately," cultivating a historical memory that remembers good people and things, the martyrs for justice, the hope and trust in God he encountered in his fellow citizens throughout the country. He remembered the perpetrators of violence, "in order to call them to conversion. Once the truth is established, we must offer them forgiveness, practicing justice and resisting impunity. We must remember Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, seeking reconciliation as a pearl of great price, never shrinking from its embrace." Most importantly, Romero spoke with authority--not an authority rooted in his birthplace, formal education or rank--derived from his authenticity and conviction, "from his honesty toward reality; and from the coherence between his words and actions..."

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ordination of Elena Garcia ARCWP as a deacon, and Baptism of her grandson, Brohdi Lucas at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Today as we celebrate two sacraments: holy orders and baptism, we affirm our call to live the fullness of love in loving service to our sisters and brothers. From the first moment of our existence and all through our lives each of us is the beloved of God called to reflect the divine presence in our world.  In Baptism we celebrate our sacred initiation into a community of faith that supports us on our spiritual journey   In Holy Orders we celebrate an individual’s call to serve a community of faith in sacramental ministry. Today, at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community we have ordained our sister, Elena, as a deacon. Now Deacon Grandmother Elena will baptize her precious grandson Brohdi Lucas in her first act of diaconal service as all of us warmly welcome him as a new member of the Christian community.