Saturday, July 29, 2017

Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP Calls For Reconciliation, Non-Violence, and Justice in Colombia

Alert of July 27, 2017
The Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy (REDLAD) denounces the systematic assassinations of leaders and leaders who have been registering since last year in Colombia. Likewise, it condemns and expresses its deep rejection of the threats that members of the National Victims' Bureau belonging to Social Organizations and of the Corporación Viva la Ciudadanía de Colombia, as well as several leaders and social leaders of the Colombian regions, have received from the Last June because of its defense of the peace process and the demand for the construction of a Social and Democratic State of Law.

On July 13, the Colombian Ombudsman's Office informed the country that according to its investigations there are 52 leaders murdered in 2017, and if the 2016 cases are added, as the UN has denounced, the figure reaches almost 180. Especially in Areas where the FARC previously operated and which are also part of territories of different indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant communities, some of which today are under constant threat from other groups outside the law that have occupied the places of power of the FARC. Demobilized guerrilla.

On the other hand, "on 22 June 2017, through an e-mail, the National Bureau of Victims belonging to Social Organizations, several of its leading organizations and leaders and the Corporación Viva la Ciudadanía, we received a threat from the Group called the Capital Block of the Black Eagles, as it has been several times in the past; And on Sunday, July 23, some of us received text messages on cell phones with accurate personal references that endanger our integrity and that of our families, "said the statement issued by Corporación Viva la Ciudadanía on July 26 .

In connection with the above, the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation has authorized a tool (see here) that allows establishing the number of selective violence cases that have been presented in the different territories of Colombia, from the year 2013 to date.
REDLAD, as a platform for civil society organizations, activists, social and political leaders, academics and journalists in the region who defend democratic principles and human rights of all people, calls for alertness and urgency and therefore :

We demand that the Government of Colombia take all necessary measures to protect the integrity and life of the people who have been the object of threats, which the Corporación Viva la Ciudadanía and other social organizations have denounced.
We request the competent authorities of Colombia to undertake the pertinent investigations to find those responsible for these threats and the murders, and to bring them to justice.

We urge international organizations and the Inter-American Human Rights System to pay special attention to this serious humanitarian situation.

We demand the Government of Colombia and other competent authorities to protect and respect the territories of indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and other rural communities that are being affected by this situation, in coordination with their traditional authorities and organizations.

We invite civil society organizations, activists and political and social leaders of the continent to stand in solidarity with the people and organizations threatened.
It is the duty of everyone to protect the integrity of these people and to defend the peace process in Colombia that has saved thousands of lives.

Fr. Jerry Zawada, Franciscan Priest, Prophet and Advocate of Women Priests Dies

Franciscan Priest Fr. Jerry Zawada co-presides at liturgy with

Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP at SOA Vigil, Nov. 2011. He co-presided with Janice at 2010 SOA liturgy but did not go public until 2011

Fr. Jerry Zawada, Franciscan priest demonstrated for women priests 

Bridget Mary's Response: I give thanks for the prophetic witness of Franciscan priest 

Fr. Jerry Zawada who courageously co-presided with Janice Sevre Duszynska at a Eucharistic Liturgy at SOA Vigil in 2011. His witness for justice and equality will be 
forever remembered. Although harshly punished by the hierarchy, Fr. Jerry 
persisted in his witness for women priests. (see photo of Fr. Jerry in a wheel chair, 
holding a sign calling for women priests. 
 May Fr. Jerry's witness for women's ordination encourage priests 
around the globe to walk in his footsteps and and support women priests. 
St. Jerry Zawada, may you inspire courageous action for peace and justice.  
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

..."it was an SOA Watch liturgy in November 2011 that would lead to Zawada's formal 

removal from priestly ministry. That year, he joined woman priest 
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, who was ordained in 2008 through the 
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, in a liturgical service 
for more than 300 people. 
He later told NCR that he also concelebrated with Sevre-Duszynska, 
a close friend and fellow activist, in 2010.

Following the 2011 liturgy, Zawada said that the service presented him 

the opportunity to "support the movement" for women's ordination, an issue 
he said he has given consideration to for "quite a long time," 
adding that the structure of the church "needs reshaping."

"Whatever consequences come for me, I'm willing to accept," he said of possible 

punishment for his participation.

Recent years

In March 2014, he received a letter from the Vatican's Congregation for the 

Doctrine of the Faith that removed him from ministry and directed him 
to "a life of prayer and penance." As part of his removal, he was 
restricted from presenting himself in public as a priest or 
celebrating the sacraments publicly, 
something his provincial at the time Franciscan 
Fr. John Puodziunas said he hadn't done in recent years.

The letter didn't deter Zawada's support of women priests, or married priests, 

and he took comfort in supposed remarks from Pope Francis 
to a group of Latin American nuns and priests 
that should they find themselves under doctrinal scrutiny, 
"do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward."

Even as age weakened his body, his spirit to continue his vocation remained strong.

"Every single one of my dreams at night are dreams about living and sharing life 

with the poor, with people who are destitute, and I sense I have a strong 
calling for that," he told NCR in March 2014.

Zawada demonstrated in 2013 against construction of a nuclear weapons facility 

near Kansas City, Missouri. In the span of five days in March 2015,
 he was among those arrested at protests against nuclear weapons and 
drones in California and Nevada. In recent years, he desired to return t
the border to assist immigrants.

"He was a Franciscan and follower of St. Francis to the end," his longtime friend 

Franciscan Fr. Louie Vitale told NCR, the two frequent companions during 
protests against nuclear weapons, drones and wars and conflicts.

"He greatly loved Jesus and the chance to follow a nonviolent Jesus and 

exemplify Franciscan values of living simply and sharing resources," said Kathy Kelly, a Chicago peace activist and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Zawada's belief in nonviolence led him across the globe: Guatemala, Iraq, the 

West Bank, the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and Texas, and 
numerous military bases and facilities across the country.

His friends and fellow activists remember Zawada as a humble servant of humanity 

with a droll sense of humor, a gentle man with a heart large enough for all and
 incapable of offense, a priest who most identified with the down and dejected. 
Whether Central American refugees at the U.S. border, those caught amid 
war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the poor and gang members of Chicago, 
the imprisoned and others decades-deep in the peace movement, 
Zawada was a friend to all.

Franciscan Fr. James Gannon, provincial minister of the Franciscan Friars of the 

Assumption BVM Province, in Franklin, Wisconsin, called his fellow friar 
"a prophet for peace and justice."

"He always would say he believed what he did was God's will. 

And that was his faith, that he was following God's will," Gannon said.

[Brian Roewe is an NCR staff writer. His email address is 

Follow him on Twitter: @BrianRoewe.]

"Wherever you go" Song of Ruth, We Are One in Prayerful Solidarity for Women Priests in Ireland

As we prepare for our journey to Ireland on Monday, we are blessed by loving relationships, and by the prayerful solidarity of our supporters. As we reflect on the tender relationship between Ruth and Naomi, we  pray for deep healing of the wounds of sexism and subordination of women in our church.  We rejoice that there are women priests in grassroots communities in the  Catholic Church in the United States, Canada, South America and Europe.  We hope that women priests will be a reality in Ireland in the coming years.  We are leading, not leaving our church to a new day of renewal and blessing!
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Friday, July 28, 2017

People's Catholic Seminary Offers New Course on Baptism and Confirmation


Welcome to PCS 601. The purpose of this course is to reflect on Baptism and Confirmation as sacraments of welcome to the Christian community and commitment to Gospel living. This course integrates theological reflection, spirituality and ministerial experience. Our two main 
resources are from Ilia Delio and Greg Boyle. Ilia Delio, in a YouTube lecture, presents her reflection on what it means to live the Gospel in an age that is global, plural and scientific. Greg Boyle presents what his baptismal call and confirmation commitment look like in his work with gang members from LA.

The course is divided into 6 sessions over 12 weeks. Each session is two weeks in length. During the first week, listen to or read the resources. In the second week write a reflection based on the questions in each assignment. We encourage you to read and respond to each other's inspired words. 

Please begin each reflection with Session number: Your name.

If you have any questions, please send them to Mary Theresa at

Many blessings as you begin this journey together.
Bridget Mary and Mary Theresa

Thursday, July 27, 2017

YOU TUBE MOVIE: Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests- Celebration

ARCWP: Retreat in Cleveland - July 15, 2017 

MOVIE: ARCWP Diaconate Ordination of Blanca Azucena ARCWP

"For the Year of the Laity" by Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: Catholic, Feminist, and Ordaining Women to Promote Justice and Promote Inclusivity

ARCWP Retreat in Cleveland in July, 17, 2017

"Why I'm So Political" by Rev. Mark Sandlin

..."In reading the Gospels, it doesn’t take long to start realizing that Jesus was no friend of the religiously and politically powerful. As a matter of fact, in one of the most surprising stories about Jesus (and I would argue the story that most influenced his being given a death sentence), he strikes at one of the most essential tools of the powerful – money.
When Jesus starts flipping the moneychanger’s tables in the Temple courtyard, he is striking at a very important source of power for the Sadducees and Pharisees. Not only does he strike at one of their sources of power, Jesus goes a step further and denounces the religious elite for turning God’s temple into a “den of thieves” (Mark 11:17) – because that’s what it had become. Those who were already wealthy were taking advantage of those who had little – some would even be considered “the least of these.” (That may sound oddly familiar to those who follow U.S. politics).
In the courtyard, moneychangers exchanged Roman money for Jewish currency. Folks needed to do this because Jewish currency was the only currency accepted in the Temple and on the Temple grounds. They needed the Jewish currency to buy animals which had been approved for sacrifice. It probably won’t surprise you to find out that the Sadducees and Pharisees profited outrageously in exchanging Roman money for Jewish currency. It probably also won’t surprise you to learn that the religious leaders also made quite a profit on the sale of the approved animals.
Now, the story gets even more politically interesting when you consider the Temple’s architecture. The temple courtyard was surrounded by a tall wall. During Passover, which was the time of Jesus’ table flipping, those walls would be lined with Roman guards, who were insuring nothing got out of hand during a festival that celebrated the Jewish people escaping an ancient oppressive ruler: the Egyptian Pharaoh.
The thought process probably went a little like this: If you are the occupying Roman government, the last thing you want is the story of the Jewish nation escaping an oppressive ruler to give the commoners any ideas. So, you make your military presence felt.
So, in this story, we have Jesus walking into the watchful eye of the Roman guards, into the seat and source of power for the local ruling Sadducees and Pharisees, and then he loses it. He confronts the corrupt system that misuses its power and oppresses those in need. He literally and figuratively begins flipping tables on the powerful. He makes a political statement calling them a “den of thieves.” And he does it all under the watchful eye of armed militants.
It is laughable to say that Jesus wasn’t political.
Jesus confronted the very political structures and people who were twisting and using religion to step on those thought of as “the least of these.” He confronted the politically powerful Sadducees and Pharisees at every turn, calling out their hypocrisy and distorted use of the Hebraic Law.
And, he then taught what the Law was really meant for: the expressing of Heaven on earth; a place where grace, love and justice were practiced.
So yes, I’m political. I’m not a Republican or a Democrat. I’m an independent. And, in general, I don’t support particular politicians. I’m more about supporting laws and government programs that help those most in need and about resisting laws and government programs that hurt people.
Theologically, I simply can’t see how to follow the teachings of Jesus without being political, being willing to stick out your own neck, and being willing to challenging the hypocritical power structures and leaders on behalf of the oppressed.
So, for theological reasons, I’m political."
~ Rev. Mark Sandlin

Read online here
About the Author

Association Roman Catholic Women Priests: On the Inside Edge - the Heart of Catholicism, Leading the Church Toward Equality and Inclusivity Now

ARCWP Retreat in Cleveland 2017

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests  (ARCWP) is on the inside of the edge of Catholicism which is the liberating heart of the Christ Presence working for justice and equality for all.  We ordain women in a renewed priestly ministry,  a circle of companions and equals in the community of the baptized - living inclusivity- leading the church forward in the 21st century. Bridget Mary Meehan,

"It is ironic that you must go to the edge to find the center. But that is what the prophets, hermits, and mystics invariably know. Only there were they able to live at the edges of their own lives too, not grasping at the superficial or protecting the surfaces of things, but falling into the core and center of their own souls and their own experiences." Richard Rohr, Eager to Love, p. 11. 

"Most of organized religion, without meaning to, has actually discouraged us from taking the mystical path by telling us almost exclusively to trust outer authority, Scripture, tradition, or various kinds of experts (what I call the “containers”)—instead of telling us the value and importance of inner experience itself (which is the “content”)."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Ritual of Reconciliation and Peace by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP Heart of Compassion International Faith Community, Windsor, ON, Canada (26 July 17)

Our ritual began with a reading from the Gospel of Luke (12:49-53) and was followed by each person tying a knot in a scarf as they named a person with whom they felt separated due to a conflict. We ended by praying a Prayer of Reconciliation and Peace that was written by Michele Birch-Conery, Bishop, ARCWP. We laid the scarf on the table of worship during the Eucharistic Prayers.
A reading from the Gospel of Luke
All: Glory to You, our Holy One
“I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already ablaze! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what pressure I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, on the contrary: conflict! From now on five in any given house there will be conflict, three against two and two against three; they will be divided:
father against son
and son against father
and mother against daughter
and daughter against mother
and mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law  against mother-in-law.”
After Reading: The Inspired Word of Jesus Christ! And we say ...
All: Amen!
Celebrant 1: Creator God, Holy Mother Wisdom, in the life of Your Cosmos You determined that light should rise from darkness, and the stars and the sun came to be.
Celebrant 2: We live in night and we live in day. As in the outer world, so it is in our inner selves.
Co-Celebrant 1: We are awake and we sleep in the rhythms of the hours, and we know joys and sorrows.
Co-Celebrant 2: There is never one without the other in the span of a lifetime because of the ultimate freedom You have given for all persons and all creation.
Co-Celebrant 3: In everyone, in everything, the dark and the light flourish.
Co-Celebrant 4: We ask You that we not perish in the darkness of too much dark or in the light of too much light, but that all be held in balance for the good of all.
Co-Celebrant 5: We take a few moments of silence to reflect upon when we have chosen Your way of balance and when we have not.
Co-Celebrant 6: Pour forth Your Spirit upon us that we may always witness You in light and in dark.
Co-Celebrant 7: Let light always overcome the blinding dark of violence and war.
Celebrant 1: Let us rise again with You in the peace of your merciful and compassionate heart.
Celebrant 2: This we ask in Jesus' name. All: Amen


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Catholic Worker Community Calls For Changes Including Ordination of Women Priests

"The Catholic Worker community has four houses in Des Moines that focus on a nonviolent lifestyle while serving the poor. Some members of the community have been critical of the Des Moines Roman Catholic Diocese and have called for changes that include ordination of women as Catholic priests and stances against corporate agriculture and the military-industrial complete"

"Pastoral Work and Theology Cannot be Separated" by Cecilia González-Andrieu 

"...We often hear it said of Pope Francis: “He’s not a great theologian, but he is a great pastor,” as if this assertion made any sense. As a theologian who shares Pope Francis’s heritage of Latin American Catholicism, I strongly disagree. Pope Francis is a terrific theologian, whose theology is coherent and cogent because it arises precisely out of his walking with the community. And he is a great pastor because his pastoral practice and teaching are informed by a careful and thoughtful theology that reaches back into our tradition and grounds itself in the Gospel.

We can also see this interplay beautifully exemplified in the Jesuit university professors who worked in multiple fields of inquiry in El Salvador, all of their intellectual power carefully targeted at ending the bloodshed and suffering of their people. They lived their faith as theologians speaking of a loving and liberating God, until their martyred end.
To change the world, to build the kingdom of God, we first have to grab hold of the tools that will make it possible for us to see what is wrong, to understand what goes against and defaces the Gospel’s announcement of a God of boundless love who desires us to enact such boundless love for all. It is then that the formation of our communities in faith can take on new life amid the urgent realities that threaten their very existence.
Without the tools of serious inquiry, of analyzing structures, of recovering millennial wisdom and of searching jointly for solutions, our pastoral practices become escapes into an “other-worldly” Christianity, which goes very much against Jesus’ own practices and those of the early church. Likewise, if we have all the intellectual tools in the world but we lack the most basic love of neighbor and concern for God’s creation, those tools are worthless."

Getting Ready for Ireland: Why Women Priests in Ireland Now?

This is a busy week as we start final preparations for our journey to Ireland on July 31st.

Our upcoming schedule in Ireland.

Arrival: August 1st

August 2-4th, Kilkee, County Clare

August 5th-7th, Dublin Liturgy on August 6th at St. Andrew Community Center, Rialto, 10:00 AM

August 7th--Drogheda..... An Crois, Carmel Boyle

Contact us, text us at 703-505-004

Mary Theresa Streck , Joan Chesterfield and I are looking forward to traveling around the Emerald Isle sharing the good news about  the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP). We look forward to many cups of tea and lively conversations along the way with women called to ordination and their supporters.

You might wonder,why bother to promote a  movement that is rejected by the Vatican? Why not be ordained in a more welcoming church?
It is my church. It does not belong to the hierarchy or to the Vatican. Vatican 11 defined the church as the people of God. It belongs to all of us. Each of us is a beloved image of God, blessed and loved infinitely. We are spiritual equals, the face of God, in our world, called to share our gifts in service to our communities. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) ordains women priests in a non-clerical  model of priestly ministry that is inclusive and egalitarian. Our approach affirms ordinary people called to live extraordinary lives of loving service.!We provide a wholistic preparation program that begins by honoring the wisdom and experience of women as significant theology and designs individualized and interactive transformative learning experiences that integrates contemporary theology and spirituality,

Bridget Mary Meehan: My Story
I was born in Ireland and Catholicism is in my DNA. Our family came from Rathdowney , County Laois. My mother, Bridie raised us in a home in which the Sacred Heart, the Blessed Mother , the angels and saints felt like extended family members! Not only did we have holy pictures on the walls, the holy, heavenly ones were called upon on a daily basis. Every night we prayed the family rosary around the hearth. My mother blessed us and sprinkled holy water on us everyday in our coming and going. My Dad Jack, was a gifted musician, who played trumpet, sax and trombone in our home and in a band that travelled around the midlands. His family came from Ballyroan and there were known as the musical Meehans! His father, John, and brothers Jimmy, Paddy and Dad were all  proud members of the Ballyroan Brass Band. I still remember the first song that I heard Dad play on trumpet in our cottage : "O My Papa.

Why women priests now?
Our movement is a justice movement to bring equality to our church now. We are living our call to  heal sexism and renew the church in the mystical, prophetic and sacramental tradition in inclusive communities where all are welcome.
There are over 250 in our worldwide women priests movement.

Why Ireland?
I believe that there are women in Ireland who are called to ordination, and to lead the church in the direction of partnership, equality and inclusiveness. We are here to share our stories as companions on the journey and reformers in our church. We are not leaving the church but leading it on the path to deep renewal. We are available to meet with individuals and groups to talk about our mission and vision  and pathway to ordination. We provide our own seminary experience in contemporary theology. Check out

Who are we?
We are ordinary women living extraordinary lives!

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP, Joan Chesterfield, ARCWP

Here are some photos from our recent Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Retreat in Cleveland in July 2017

ARCWP Retreat in Cleveland in July 2017

Kathie Ryan leads a session on Centering Prayer at ARCWP Retreat in July in Cleveland

Jim Marsh ARCWP and Janet Blakeley ARCWP

Olga Lucia Benjumea Alvarez ARCWP and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP