Saturday, May 13, 2017

"Woman Spirit Rising" by Marvella McPartland and Lynn Fuqua, Sung by Mindy Lou Simmons at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy for Mother's Day

"Lean in toward the light" by Carrie Newcomer , sung by Mindy Lou Simmons at MMOJ Inclusive Catholic Community, Mother's Day Liturgy with Kathryn Shea ARCWP and Lee Breyer Co-Presiders

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community May 13, 2017 Fifth Sunday of Easter Mother’s Day Eve Presiders: Lee Breyer & Kathryn Shea, ARCWP Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons Cantor: Russ Banner

Kathryn Shea ARCWP and Lee Breyer, Co-Presiders at MMOJ Liturgy

Theme:  The Care of the Divine Mother for the People of God/Creation

Welcome and Gathering Song:  “Lean In Toward The Light” – Carrie Newcomer

Opening Prayer
ALL: Nurturing Mother God, You embrace each person and every living thing with delight. May, we who are stardust, be filled with awe as we experience our mystical oneness, with all creation in the Heart of Love. May we cherish every amazing day, conscious of your presence and abundance all around us. We ask this through Jesus, our brother and the Holy Spirit, our wisdom.
ALL: Amen
Penitential Rite and Community Forgiveness
Pause briefly and reflect on the need to grow more in love with others and with creation
General Absolution by Community:
(All raise hands extended in prayer and recite together.)
God, our Mother and Father of compassion, through his living, dying and rising, Jesus has revealed that nothing can separate us from the infinite love of God. May God give us pardon and peace, and may we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and for our earth in the name of God our creator, and of Jesus our brother, and of the Holy Spirit our wisdom. Amen.

All:  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all God’s people on earth.  Creator God, Divine Mother of the universe, we thank you for the breath of the Spirit sustaining everything that exists, everywhere in the cosmos.  Through the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, you gave us the grace to know that you are always among us – and that we can experience you in our brothers and sisters.  We give you glory and praise through Jesus Christ, our brother, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom.  Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

First reading:  Isaiah 58:7-10.
Psalm 33:  Responsorial:  Our God fills the Earth with love, with love.  Our God fills the Earth with love.  #767
Second reading:   A Reading from Radical Passion; Sacred Love and Wisdom in Action by Andrew Harvey     All: Glory and thanks to our God.
Gospel Acclamation:  Celtic Alleluia
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-16

Shared Homily/Community Reflection

Homily Starter – Lee Breyer
May 13, 2017
A caring mother’s story

In today’s gospel, Jesus told us that we are the salt of the earth.
He also called us a light on a hill … a lamp on a stand.
And he explained how we are to understand these metaphors, namely…
That we are to let our light shine before others so that they may see our good deeds and give praise to our God in heaven.

And like any good mother with her children, our Divine Mother gave us a lesson on how we might do this.  In short, it was “do as I tell you,” an instruction that we’ve probably heard often from our own good and caring mothers.
Our Divine Mother is also a good teacher…she “helps us along” by describing a process to follow to get to having our light shine before others.  She told us (through John):
I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to God but through me.  If you really know me, you would also know God. Trust me…believe that I am in God and God is in me.  And the truth of the matter, the way that this works, is that anyone who has faith in me will do what I do…and even greater things. The God-in-me will lead to my being a shining light…and even more.
To encourage us, the people of God, our Caring Divine Mother gave us an example of this process in the first reading this afternoon, the passage from Isaiah —  believing that God is in us and that we are in God leads to such actions as Isaiah described: “sharing your bread, sheltering the homeless, and not hiding from the needs of our own flesh and blood” and results – as said: “your light shining like the dawn;” and “your light rising for you in the darkness.”  We will never be alone in this, our learning process. Our caring mother won’t let us out of her sight and caring support.
Now, our Divine Mother – teaching us well through the prophets of yesterday and our brothers and sisters of today and tomorrow – watches over us on our journeys and will not let us fail, though we may not be as successful as either God or us would like to be.
Question:  Jesus said we should set as a goal – to be a light to be seen by all so that it can shine before others and that they may see our good acts. What do we ask from our Divine Mother that would help us keep our lights ever shining and our lamps from under bushel baskets?  We know that our Divine Mother is always caring for us and will do so “till the hour of our death” as we pray in the Hail Mary.

Profession of Faith

ALL: We believe in God, the Creator of the Universe, the fountain of life, flowing through every being. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who reflects the face of God and the fullness of humanity. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God in the cosmos, who calls us to love and serve without counting the cost. We believe in our global communion with all in the circle of life. Amen to loving actions on behalf of justice, healing, compassion and equality for all in our world! We believe we are light to the world!

Prayers of the Community

Presider:  We are a people of faith, believing in the power of prayer. We are always mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for all of us.  And so, we bring the needs of people – throughout the world – to our merciful and gracious God.   After each intercession, respond: Divine Mother, may we work for healing for our earth and justice for all.

Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers.  We ask you to strengthen us in our caring for one another and in our works for justice, equality, and peace in a world without violence.  As always, we make this prayer in the names of Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom.  Amen.

Offertory Procession: Song: “Mary, Woman of the Promise” #708 (verses 1,3,5)

Preparation of the Gifts
Presider:  Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, this grain that the earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.
All:  Blessed be God forever.

Presider:  Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, this fruit of the vine that human hands have made. It will become for us our spiritual drink.
All:  Blessed be God forever.

Gathering of the Gifted
Presider:  Jesus, who has sat at our tables, now invites us to be guests at his family table.  Everyone is welcome around our family table.

ALL:  Nurturing God, we are united in this sacrament by our common love of Jesus.  We are in communion with everyone, everywhere, who proclaims your mercy to all those who are marginalized and oppressed.  May we love tenderly, do justice, and walk humbly with you in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.  May we live as prophetic witnesses to the Gospel, supported by the vision of Jesus and the wisdom of the Spirit.  Amen.

Presider:  God dwells in each one of us.            All: Namaste!
Presider:  Let us give thanks to the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.
All:  With hearts full of love, we give God thanks and praise.
Presider:  Holy Spirit, we realize your presence among us as we gather at our family table.
All: Fill us with reverence for you, for one another, and for all your creation.
Presider:  Let us lift up our hearts.
All:  We lift them up to the Holy One, living in us and loving through us.

Eucharistic Prayer
Voice 1:  Ever present and always caring God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.  In you we live and move and have our very being.  Your Spirit dwelling in us gives us the hope of unending peace and joy with you. And so, we sing your praise…

All:  We are holy, holy, holy X3….we are whole

Voice 2:  We thank you for the gift of Jesus in history and the gift of Jesus in faith. On earth, Jesus burned with the vision of his mission and truth. He revealed you to us through his compassionate life well lived. Jesus showed us not only how we should live, but also for what we might die.  Through him, you continue to breathe life into us.

Voice 3:  (Place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right) Compassionate God, let your Holy Spirit rest upon us, your people, converting us from the patterns of the world, until we conform to the shape of him whose food we now share.

All:  O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these gifts that we gathered from the fields and placed on our table — this simple wheat and wine.  May she have them become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our brother.

(With an outstretched arm as we pray the consecration together.  We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died.  He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal.  And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it.  This bread is you; this bread is me.  We are one body, the presence of God in the world.  Do this in memory of me.  [Pause]

In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: 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 4:  In memory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we offer you, God, this life-giving bread and this saving cup.  May all who share this sacred meal be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.  And may that Spirit, that Wisdom, that moved in Jesus move freely in our lives as well.

Voice 5:  God, remember your church throughout the world, help us grow in love, together with Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and all your people everywhere – especially those who live on the margins of church and society. Remember also all those, living and dead, who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts.  We remember especially….(mention names, if you would like to).

All:  Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Creator God, forever and ever.  Amen (sung).

All: Our Father and Mother ……..Amen.

All:  Lord God, we have prayed that your kindom may come among us.  Open our ears to hear it, our hands to serve it, and our hearts to hold it.    Amen.

The Sign of Peace

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

All: … grant us your peace.  O God, following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace throughout the world, to everyone, everywhere, no exceptions. Amen.

Presider: May the peace of God be always with us, as we join hands and sing, “Let There be Peace on Earth”. #532  (Substituting “Creator” for Father and “family” for brothers)

Litany for the Breaking of Bread

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence for peace and justice.   We will live justly.

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

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk humbly with you.

Presider:  This is Jesus, who liberates, heals, and transforms us and our world.  All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.  All:  We are the Body of Christ.

Pre-Communion Prayer

Presider: Lord God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters.

Men:  We cannot eat this bread and forget those who are hungry.  O God, your world is one world and we are stewards of its nourishment for your people.

Women:  We cannot drink this wine and forget those who are thirsty.  O God, the very earth and its people cry out for environmental justice.

All:  We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the destruction of our precious earth.
Communion:  Instrumental

After Communion Reflection Song:  “I Will Carry You” – Kathryn Christian

Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion

Presider:  Eternal God, may this Eucharist in which we always share Christ’s healing love deepen our oneness with you and our unity with one another.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Christ, and the Spirit, the Wisdom.   All:  Amen.

Community Prayers of Gratitude and  Announcements

Closing Community Blessing

Presider:  Divine Mother of Compassion, Jesus showed us how to love one another and heal our hearts.  Through the power of your liberating Spirit at work within us, we will give and receive forgiveness, live joyously, and work for healing, justice and equality for our earth and for all your holy people.   As Jesus gave to us his peace, may we spread his peace to all peoples of the earth, everywhere; no exceptions.  ALL:  Amen

ALL: (with an outstretched arm in blessing)
May the blessing of God go before you.
May Her grace and peace abound.
May Her Spirit live within you.
May Her love wrap you ‘round.
May Her blessing remain with you always.
May you walk on holy ground.

May we continue to be the face of God to each other and may our name be a blessing in our time!  Amen.

Co-Presiders:   As we all go in the peace of Christ, let our service continue in all that we do!
ALL:   Thanks be to God. Let it be so!  Alleluia!

Concluding Hymn: “Woman’s Spirit”-  Karen Drucker

According to Barna Research, 80% of U.S; Catholics Comfortable with Women Priests/Pastors

Women Least Accepted in MinistryThough large numbers of Americans embrace the presence of female leadership at work and in politics, they are least comfortable, comparatively, with women leading the church. But the reality remains: Most are accepting of a female priest or pastor (79%). As is the trend, more women than men are comfortable with a female in the pulpit (84% vs. 75%). Evangelicals by definition (see below) have a more traditional interpretation of the scriptures, particularly concerning female ordination, and so express by far the lowest levels of comfort (39%). Practicing Christians—which represent a much larger segment of the U.S. Christian population than evangelicals—were more affirming with slightly fewer than two-thirds (62%). Surprisingly, Catholics (80%) are slightly more comfortable with a female priest or pastor than Protestants (74%). So while the general population are affirming of female priests and pastors, there are differences in the various factions of the Church.
In Barna’s research for The State of Pastors, we found that the percentage of Protestant senior pastors who are women, though still small (9%), is triple the percentage of 25 years ago. Though generally healthy and satisfied in ministry, these women are more likely to express they were unprepared for the expectations of perfection (18%, compared to 8% of male pastors) or the sense that they must do everything (15%, compared to 5% of male pastors). Most of those women lead mainline congregations rather than the evangelical churches that demonstrate lower levels of comfort with female ministers. Though non-mainline churches welcome women’s gifts in various other church leadership positions, just 44 percent of non-mainline pastors say their denomination, church network or congregation ordains women for senior pastoral leadership, compared to virtually all mainline pastors (99%). Even though they lack representation in the pulpit, very few Millennials feel treated differently or held back at their church because of their gender. Surprisingly, Millennial women are actually equally as likely than men to feel they have been treated differently (12% vs. 14%), or held back (3% vs. 5%).
What the Research Means“With nearly half of the paid workforce now made up of women, it might seem as though the job is done,” says Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group. “But there are still significant growing pains on the journey toward gender parity. For most women, these are less about representation in the workplace and more about expectations and fair treatment. In our research, women point out inequality in promotions and in pay. While the American public may be comfortable with women in senior leadership positions, the facts are that women are still under-represented in executive suites and paid less than men for the same jobs. Additionally, women continue to disproportionately feel the tension of work/family balance.
“Among twentysomething women, we have seen a prioritizing of career over marriage or family,” continues Stone. “While this is a widespread cultural shift, for women some of this desire comes from a knowledge that it’s difficult to do both—to be both mother and manager—and so they want to spend their twenties establishing their careers, hoping this will allow them more flexibility and security when they do decide to become parents.
“This study—and the cultural realities it uncovers—are immanently significant for the church,” insists Stone. “More than half of most congregations are women. They are increasingly part of the workforce; they are rising in the ranks at work and they are finding immense value in their jobs. Yet, they often feel conflicted when it comes to their work and motherhood. How can the church offer vocational discipleship for women (and men) that includes both occupation and parenting? How can the church encourage men to take on more of the household duties and emotional labor associated with family life? What support can the church offer for stressed-out, working moms and dads?
“As evidenced by the research, the issue of women in leadership is a complicated one for many evangelicals,” says Stone. “There is a long history among evangelicals of emphasizing motherhood and family as a woman’s primary calling. While the broader culture, and much of the Christian church, has shifted away from this, evangelicals seem more reluctant to do so. This reluctance is often tied to a scriptural reading that insists men are to occupy primary leadership positions within the family and church and, by extension, society.
“Evangelicals aside, most other practicing Christians would be comfortable with a woman in the pulpit,” Stone continues. “This means many practicing Christians attend churches where they disagree with (or do not understand) the theological stance against women in leadership. This is likely to become more of an issue for churches as women continue to gain equality in other spheres. We have already seen more churches shifting to allow women in senior leadership, and the number of female senior pastors has grown considerably in the last few decades. However, for churches who continue to hold a traditional position on women in leadership, it will become more important for them to articulate their theology for their members. Women and men in their congregations deserve to know what their church believes and why they believe it. Because such a stance will feel increasingly irrelevant and outdated, churches and members need to understand why such a theology still exists.”
Comment on this research and follow our work:
Twitter: @davidkinnaman | @roxyleestone | @barnagroupFacebook: Barna Group
About the ResearchState of PastorsThis study was conducted on behalf of Pepperdine University. A total of 900 Protestant senior pastors were interviewed by telephone and online from April through December 2015. Pastors were recruited from publicly available church listings covering 90 percent of U.S. churches that have a physical address and a listed phone number or email address. Churches selected for inclusion were called up to five times at different times of the day to increase the probability of successful contact. The sample error for this study is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level.
OmniPollInterviews with U.S. adults included 1023 web-based surveys conducted among a representative sample of adults over the age of 18 in each of the 50 United States. The survey was conducted in September of 2016. The sampling error for this study is plus or minus 3 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. Minimal statistical weighting was used to calibrate the sample to known population percentages in relation to demographic variables.
Millennial PollInterviews with U.S. adults included 803 web-based surveys conducted among a representative sample of Millennials in each of the 50 United States. The survey was conducted in February of 2016. The sampling error for this study is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. Minimal statistical weighting was used to calibrate the sample to known population percentages in relation to demographic variables.
Millennials: Born between 1984 and 2002
Gen-Xers: Born between 1965 and 1983
Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964
Elders: Born between 1945 or earlier
Practicing Christian: Those who attend a religious service at least once a month, who say their faith is very important in their lives and self-identify as a Christian.
Evangelicals: meet nine specific theological criteria. They say they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today,” that their faith is very important in their life today; believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior; strongly believe they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; firmly believe that Satan exists; strongly believe that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; strong agree that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; strong assert that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent on church attendance, the denominational affiliation of the church attended or self-identification. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “evangelical.”
About BarnaBarna research is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.

City and Kingdom New York launches with a conversation about Dorothy Day

..."Day’s way of interpreting reality, Ellsberg said, meant “taking the Gospel seriously,” and encountering Christ “in the face of the other, in the face of the poor, in the face of the unwanted, the marginalized.” Sainthood is not about having a superhuman nature; it’s about ordinary people beginning to interpret reality in this new way. "

"...Yet, in the latest edition of Plough Quarterly, you’ll find articles on Catholics like Dorothy Day, Steven McDonald, and Martin Scorsese. The mutual respect seems to have historical roots in Germany, where a Catholic sister community of the Bruderhof called the Catholic Integrated Community flourished under the support of Pope Benedict XVI. But more than that, there seems to be a shared conviction that the themes of Catholic social teaching need to be at the heart of this recovery of Christian community."

Article on Women Deacons in Spanish

"Faces of Faith- Inclusive Catholic Community- Mary Theresa Streck" , Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community, Times Union, NY by Robert Brill

Photo by Skip Dickstein


Background: She is a priest, a founder of the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community in Albany and member of the Association of Roman 

Catholic Women Priests.

She was born in Albany, graduated from Vincentian Institute in 1965 and joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in Latham. She taught elementary school at St Jude's in Wynantskill and St. Augustine in Lansingburgh and art at Catholic Central High School in Troy.

She earned master's degrees in elementary education at Sage College and art education at SUNY New Paltz, and doctorates in education leadership from the Sage Colleges and ministry from Global Ministries University. Her husband, Jay Murnane, died at 59 in 2004. She lives in Menands in the home where she grew up.

When did the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community begin?

Four years ago, I was the first woman to be ordained a priest by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. My ministry with the newly forming inclusive community began when I sent out an email to my friends to come to my home for liturgy. Twenty-five people came, over 40 were there for the second liturgy. We moved from my home to Troy and, on Pentecost 2014, named ourselves the Upper Room.

Why did you choose that name?

We met on the second floor of an old factory in Troy, and we were reminded of Jesus who gathered with his disciples in the Upper Room for the Last Supper. We decided we were a modern-day expression of the Upper Room.

How is the Upper Room different from a Catholic parish?

We are looking at a new model of church that is not hierarchical and truly respects its membership. We are not just adding women priests to a leadership role. I am part of a leadership team of ordained and non-ordained calling forth the gifts of the community. Everyone is invited to contribute to a shared homily and to participate in the eucharistic prayer, which means everyone recites the words of Jesus at the Consecration, not only the priests. Our creed is based on contemporary Catholic theology and reflects Jesus' teaching in the gospel. Our focus is not on dogma but on living the compassion of Jesus in our world. This is a huge paradigm shift that is happening slowly in the Catholic Church.

Why does the Upper Room Community consider itself Roman Catholic?

The church is our heritage. We chose to stay Catholic because we love its mystical, social justice and sacramental tradition. We want to renew the church by reclaiming its early roots. We are creating an open table where all are welcome, especially those on the margins.

When we began meeting, we had all read Matthew Fox's "Original Blessing," which opened the door. Fox was a Dominican priest and one of the visionaries of our time who outlined the difference between atonement theology and a theology of blessing. We realized we're not born in original sin, but original blessing. Roy Bourgeois, who provided a liturgy for our ordination, is prophetic and heroic, though he paid dearly to follow his conscience. 

It cost him his membership as a Maryknoll priest.

What is your relationship with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany?

We have never been confrontational with the Albany diocese. I think Pope Francis is a wonderful pope for our time, providing great leadership in many areas of social justice. He has called for a commission that may recommend opening the door to women deacons. I see women deacons as a possible first step toward women priests and the full equality of women in all areas of ministry in the church.

I hope that a future dialogue will lead to an appreciation of women priests in a renewed priestly ministry in a discipleship of equals.

How is the Upper Room community connected with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests?

Six members of the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community have been ordained by the association. Two members will be ordained at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Albany on July 8. The Roman Catholic Women Priests movement began in 2002 with the ordination of seven women in Germany. It has grown to 250. I participated in the most recent ordination in Asheville, N.C., on April 30.

You've been a nun, a teacher, a community organizer, a wife and widow, and you're a priest.

I knew when in the third grade at St. Pius X in Loudonville that I was going to be a Sister of St. Joseph. When I joined at 17, I was just a kid learning what it meant to be a woman. It was an amazing place to grow up. I learned to be a strong woman because I was with other strong women of faith with a focus on ministry and service. I ended up living on Eighth Street in Troy in an apartment with other nuns, including Mary Jane Smith when she began her ministry with Unity House. She was a powerhouse.

I left the sisters after 18 years and continued my ministry the next day. I didn't leave because I was dissatisfied. I left because I found my soul mate and the love of my life. What followed were the best years of my life. I already had a lot of formal education, but being with children and young adults, that was my real education.

I had been developing programs with an education component for public housing residents at the Taylor Apartments, and I was working with Jay Murnane. Jay was an Albany priest in campus ministry, a chaplain at RPI and Sage College, and a wonderful presence in the diocese, living at the Taylor Apartments and working with his neighbors. We started the Ark after-school art program in 1978 and the Ark Community Charter School in North Troy in 2001 to continue to work with children struggling with issues caused by poverty.

The school closed in 2014. The state judged the level of learning only by standardized tests, and we fell short. But the children were brilliant. We've watched those kids go on and be successful in middle and high school. The first child who came to the Ark in 1978 is now executive director of its after-school program partnering with the Lansingburgh School District.

Will inclusive Catholic communities with women priests be accepted by the pope and church hierarchy?

We can hope. One hundred years from now, we'll say, "Of course, women should be priests." But change will never happen unless you have a Joan of Arc or Rosa Parks. It takes an open mind and communities, like the Upper Room, living the vision of gospel equality now.

The church is going through another Reformation that is shaking up the clerical and hierarchical system. We are evolving as a church and we're a part of the growing pains. It is important that we have creative thinkers who are added to the discussion.

Thirty-three million Catholics have left the church over a variety of issues like the church's teaching on divorce and remarriage, gay, lesbian and transgender relationships.

We're the pioneers of a church where all are welcome to receive sacraments. We're the Rosa Parks of the church. We are leading the church into its future, which is now.

We meet Sundays at 10 a.m. in Albany at the New Covenant Presbyterian Church, 916 Western Ave.

What's next?

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan and I started People's Catholic Seminary for women interested in walking the path to ordination. It provides a seminary experience without walls that presents theology for the 21st century from a progressive perspective to inspire and educate individuals and groups who embrace a vision of church that is inclusive, liberating, empowering and equal.

— Rob Brill

Friday, May 12, 2017

Antiphon for Divine Wisdom by Kathryn Christian

Thoughts on Religious Vocations: An Open Letter to Pope Francis by Michele Somerville, Huffington Post

..." I hold out hope that a shift in the Vatican’s disposition towards married (male) priests might, in time, lead to a more expansive view of ordaining women. I hold out hope that the Divine light of a pure truth might, in time, push through the door the advance of married priests has left a bit ajar.

I understand that increasing the number of married priests will facilitate the assigning priests to regions where Catholics currently lack access to sacraments and the celebration of Mass. That is so very necessary; ironically, in many of those priest-free communities, it is women who are keeping Catholic faith and tradition alive. Are they not fit for ordination?"

Standing on the Shoulders by Earth Mama

"Why I Disobey My Bishop" By Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Patron of Excommunicated and Alienated Catholics

Hildegard of Bingen, Ebingen Abbey

"Why I Disobey My Bishop" by St. Hildegard of Bingen/ Patron Saint of Excommunicated and Alienated Catholics

This fiery little tirade was written by St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) whose monastery wast
placed under interdict by the local bishop! Hildegard challenged the pope, bishops and civil leaders of  her times, unafraid of the consequences. She is the patron of all who speak truth to power including "whistle blowers," Catholics who follow conscience and disobey unjust laws, and the many today who are excommunicated! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

"Flame of Anger"
You ask why I disobey you, my bishop;
I answer in a spirit of prayer,
As I hope you did too in addressing me.
I, the Abbess, disobey, and all my sisters choose to disobey,
Because in such obedience is only darkness.
In our disobedience is light for our spirits,
So has God shown us.
I am not just disobedient,
I am outraged.
A thunderstorm of outrage shakes my soul.
In God’s truth I say to you:
‘You are wrong and we are right.’
We are obeying Christ,
We are following Christ,
We choose not to insult Christ,
As obeying you would force us to do.
Because of what you call our disobedience,
You have forbidden us to sing our psalms.
You have deprived us of the Food of Life.
You have cut off the streams of life, the sacramental graces.
God told me to tell you this also:
Beware of closing the mouths of those who sing God’s praises.
‘Who dares to de-string the harp of heaven?’ God asked me.
‘Only the devil,’ I whispered.
Ask yourself, O bishop, whose side are you on?
Excerpts from Letter to the Bishop written by Hildegarde of Bingen aged 80

The Ten Commandments of Health Care by Tom Dwyer

Tom Dwyer can be contacted at
1. Preserve the coverage gains made by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and further decrease the number of Americans without health insurance.
2. Preserve the funding for Medicaid expansion and expand the program in all states.
3. Ensure that reasonable revenue is in the federal budget to pay for health care for all.
4. Uphold the purpose of Medicaid by refraining from structural changes to how the program is funded. Changing the funding structure to a block grant or per capita cap would impose rigid limits on the amount of federal money available to states for Medicaid, endangering the health and well-being of children, older adults, people with disabilities, and their families.
5. Ensure that insurance premiums and cost sharing are truly affordable to all. Policies to improve affordability must prioritize those with the greatest need, not those with the means to put money in a health savings account or wait for tax deductions.
6.Maintain health services and benefits currently provided by the ACA including access to essential medicines, mental health services, preventive services, pre-natal services, and other key services necessary to maintain health.
7. Maintain guaranteed issue for those with pre-existing conditions. Do not quarantine the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions in unaffordable high risk insurance pools.
8. Prevent insurance companies from discriminating against women, the elderly, and people in poverty.
9. Create effective mechanisms of accountability for insurance companies and not allow them to have annual or lifetime caps on expenditures.
10. Continue to allow children under the age of 26 to be covered by their parents’ insurance.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin Criticizes Judgmental Attitudes That Drive Away People" Future Church News Notes

"The Archbishop of Dublin criticized the judgmental attitudes that have been applied to single mothers and minorities. During his Good Friday Way of the Cross reflection he blamed the scandals within Catholicism as well as "judgmentalism" for causing people to reject their faith. He asked, "How can we be so judgmental and hurtful towards those whom we decide have failed and those who drift outside our self-made ideas of respectability?" He warned that Christianity has been turned into "a faith of prohibitions" and stressed that "sin is not a failure to observe rules and norms but a failure to love."

Bridget Mary's Response: I agree. Sin is a failure to love, and the Catholic hierarchy's list of prohibitions is a failure in love. For starters, the Catholic hierarchy's sin of sexism is a failure of love that have alienated millions of women and girls throughout the world and contributed to global poverty and the abuse of women everywhere. In order to live in love, the hierarchy must change its sexist teachings that prohibit women priests and birth control.  Presently, the door is closed to women in top leadership positions because these positions are linked by Canon Law to Ordination.  Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Roman Catholic Women Priests - Theology of Ordination for 21st Century Is a living Reality

 Women priests are offering the Roman Catholic Church a new moment of partnership, empowerment and spiritual renewal as they serve inclusive communities of equals on the margins and live baptismal equality now. 

Upper Room Inclusive Community, Albany, New York
St.  Bridget's Inclusive Community, Cleveland

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
Anointing of the Sick

St. Paul reminds us that baptism makes us all equal and one in Christ. 

"For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galations 3:27-28 .

Baptism of Enzo at Upper Room Community

Therefore, baptism, not male gender, is the gateway to all the sacraments, including ordination to the priesthood. 

By our baptism, each of us is called to and empowered to reflect the Christ Presence equally in our world. No one is a second class citizen in our church. 

Baptism of Brodhi at MMOJ in Sarasota, Florida

The Vatican's prohibition against women's ordination which states that  a priest must bear a physical resemblance to Jesus in order to represent Christ at the altar is sexist and contradicts our baptismal equality. 

The good news is that both the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement and Pope Francis' study of the restoration of the diaconate for women is a new opportunity to heal sexism and embark on a journey toward baptismal equality and empowerment. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Message from Women's Ordination Conference for Vocations Sunday, Praying for Women to be Included as Equal Partners in Every Realm of Ministry and Leadership

Women's ordination advocates from around the world witnessed yesterday for "Vocations Sunday," praying for women to be included as equal partners in every realm of ministry and leadership. 

From Dublin to Des Moines, St. Peter's Basilica to Westminster Abbey, Rochester to Lisieux, and with prayers from around the world, the call for women's equality in our Church was loud and clear. 

Thank you to all those who organized and took action, and to all those who support our mission every day.

Please check out and "Like" our Facebook page where photos from the witnesses are posted, and continue to follow WOC's actions on social media using #OrdainWomen. 

With gratitude,

Erin Saiz Hanna & Kate McElwee 
Co-Executive Directors

ARCWP Women Priests Visit Ireland Aug. 1- Aug. 31, 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ARCWP Women Priests To Visit Ireland - August 1 - August 31, 2017

Three members of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, Rev. Mary Theresa Streck and Joan Chesterfield will share the prophetic, pioneering work of the International Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests ( They will present the Spirit’s call to work for justice and equality in a renewed model of priestly ministry as a companionship of equals in inclusive communities of faith in the United States.

To schedule a presentation for your community in Ireland during the month of August 2017, please send requests to:
Bridget Mary Meehan
1 703 505-0004


Bridget Mary Meehan
Bridget Mary Bridget Mary Meehan, MA, DMin, ARCWP, is a native of Ireland. She is a Sister for Christian Community and one of the founding members of the People’s Catholic SeminaryShe is a member of the pastoral team at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida. Bridget Mary presides at liturgies, officiates at weddings and offers sacramental ministry.  Her work in communications media include programs about women priests on Google and YouTube. Bridget Mary was ordained a priest in the first USA ordination in Pittsburgh on July 31, 2006 and was ordained a bishop in Santa Barbara, California on April 19, 2009. She is the author of 20 books on prayer and spirituality including Praying with Celtic Holy Women and Living Gospel Equality Now available on amazon and other online retailers. See her blog

Bridget Mary presided at a liturgy in Dublin in 2016 with progressive Catholics there. The Irish media covered her visit. See articles on Bridget Mary’s Blog.

Mary Theresa Streck
Mary Theresa Streck, Ed.D., DMin, is one of the founding members of the People’s Catholic Seminary. She is a member of the pastoral team at the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community in Albany, NY. She presides at liturgies, officiates at weddings and offers sacramental ministry and is a member of the ARCWP Program of Preparation team. She earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership from the Sage Colleges and a Doctorate in Ministry from Global Ministries University. She was ordained a priest on September 15, 2013.

Joan Chesterfield
Support Member
Joan Chesterfield, a support member for ARCWP, and sister of Mary Theresa Streck, will be with us on this trip. She is a member of the Maryknoll Affiliates in Albany, NY.