Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Blessed are the Gifts" by Mindy Lou Simmons at MMOJ Liturgy

Saints Marching In at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Book Club Discussion: "Can We Save the Catholic Church?" by Hans Kung with Janet Blakeley ARCWP

Janet Blakeley ARCWP at end of table near window leads a lively book club discussion.
Next Session: Nov. 11th , 2:00 PM, St Andrew UCC, Conference Room, Sarasota, Fl.
For more information, email Janet: 

Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Solemnity of All Saints, Co-Presiders: Kathryn Shea ARCWP and Lee Breyer, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons

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

Kathryn Shea Homily (see below)

                                    Theme: The BE-attitudes, Revisited

Welcome and Opening Expression
Presider:  Welcome everyone.  Today, we come before God as promising Saints; all of us, equally.  We are all companions on the journey together.  None of us are any more endowed with the Spirit than any other.  We all participate in our liturgy as celebrant, sharing in our homily, our prayers, our blessings, and the sacred meal.  Let us place ourselves fully in this holy time…now…in St. Andrew’s Church…at a MMOJ liturgy. (pause)  And as we gather ourselves together in mind and spirit, and call in the saints to be with us in this holy place, let us remember we are truly a holy and worthy people. So, let us sing, Karen Drucker’s “We are holy.”

Opening Hymn “Gather Us In” #302   vs. 1,3,4

Gathering/Opening Prayer  
All: God of life, wholeness and holiness, you who direct all creation to its complete fulfillment in Jesus, the Christ - open our hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice guide our lives.  Loving God, bless all of us gathered here and all those of our community who are not with us today.  We ask this of you, our brother Jesus, and our Wisdom Sophia.  Amen.
Presider:  This is the day that our gracious God has made…
All:   Let us rejoice and be glad in it! 

Penitential Expression and Community Forgiveness
Presider:  Creator God, to you all hearts are open, no desires are unknown, and no secrets are hidden.  We ask you to send your Spirit to us so that we may live more fully according to your will.  Through your grace, all peoples, wherever they may be on this earth, are one family …and you have made them worthy to be called your blessed people.  

Christ Jesus, we ask for the grace to realize our continual need to grow in understanding, compassion and caring for ourselves, for others, and for our planet Earth.  We ask for your forgiveness for our hurtful actions to people of other beliefs and interests, nationalities and races. With your direction and support, may we all be the persons you created us to be. 
All:  Help us to extend your merciful and forgiving presence that is your gift -  through us -  to all those with whom we share this earth, with no exceptions.
Presider:  We join with you, Jesus the Christ, in believing that the insight, direction, and strength of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper commitments to peace, justice, equality and nonviolence.  Together, as the family of God - and sisters and brothers of one another – we pray….

All (with an outstretched arm): God, the Father and Mother of compassion, through Jesus’ life, he revealed that nothing can separate us from your unconditional love.  He sent the Holy Spirit to give us the understanding, willingness and courage to love one another.  We ask you to grant us the grace of pardon and peace so that we may – in turn -  forgive each other our failures to care for one another and for our Earth.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our healer and comforter.  Amen.

Glory to God
(Sung)  Glory to God, Glory, O praise and alleluia.  Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God.  (3x)

Liturgy of the Word
First Reading: Words from William Paul Young
All: Thanks be to God
Responsorial: O God, these are the people who long to see your face; God these are the people who long to see your face.  #754
Psalm: A Psalm to the Holy One based on the inspired words of William Paul Young, by Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP *reprinted below
Responsorial: Repeat Responsorial 
Second Reading:  1 John 3:1-3   All: Thanks be to God
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia  (Celtic version)
Gospel:  Matthew 5:1-12
Homily Starter: Kathryn Shea ARCWP

Homeless Man embracing his dog, Grace

We used these Readings last year for this same liturgy.  They were good then and they’re good now.  I don’t think we can ever reflect on the Beatitudes too much, as they  truly are the core of who God intends us to be.   We are called to be Jesus in this world and carry on all that he taught us and respond like he would in our daily lives. 
Our first Reading gives us the power to do this hard work.  We’ve been invited to a great party and a divine dance with a whisper in our ears that we were always made for this.  We were made for this.
And in the second Reading chosen by Elena at her Ordination last week, we heard these words from Clarissa Pinkola Estes:  “Especially do not lose hope; most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times.  Yes.  For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.”
So, what is it we are supposed to do?  And how do we do it?  Well, I think we are supposed to change the world and bring the kindom of God on Earth for everyone, everywhere, no exceptions.  Okay.  I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a really big charge, especially since our world is getting further away from God than it maybe has ever been.  We have a lot of work to do.  Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and even greater ones.” 
The Beatitudes spell out how we do this. They give us a map.  We must BE the Beatitudes in all that we do and all that we are.  In Mathew 25 Jesus tells a story set in the apocalyptic imagery of his day.  This is a story of how we treat one another.  He says the way we treat one another is the way we treat him.  “Just as you do to the least of mine, that you do unto me.”
I had an opportunity last week in Seattle to step out of my comfort zone, a sort of “Jesus” moment.  There are many homeless people on the streets of Seattle.  Some are truly mentally ill, screaming at demons only they can see or hear.  Others just look lonely, sad, hungry, and desperate for love and attention. They all caught my eye, every one.  But just as quickly, I would look away and keep walking.  In one instance though, I just could not take my eyes off of a man, huddled with his head down, cuddling his dog all wrapped up in a blanket snuggled up close to him.  This is his picture on the front of the liturgy and on our table.  I sat down on the sidewalk in front of him and asked if I could pet his dog.  He looked up and nodded yes with empty eyes.  I asked how old his dog was and he said she was thirteen and he has had her since the day she was born.  He named her Grace.  I told him he was a great “doggy daddy”, and he smiled.  He spontaneously offered, “I am not a bum.  I work but can’t make it on just that money.  I don’t do drugs or alcohol.  I am probably depressed and anxious.”  I just listened and continued to pet Grace.  The social worker in me wanted to rescue, save him.  And I respected that this was not what he wanted.  I asked if I could pray with him and he nodded yes.  As Seth and I prayed, tears fell from his eyes and he then said “thank you”, and put his head back down.  I knew our conversation was over, but his eyes looked a little brighter.  I haven’t been able to get him and Grace out of my mind.  I know he did more for my soul that day than I did for his.  I ask us to keep him and Grace in our prayers.     
I think this is all we really have to do to live the Beatitudes.  Be open to opportunities to share God’s love.  Reach out of our comfort zone.  Ignore our fears and hesitations, and just be present in the pain of others. If there is nothing we can say or do, then just listen and offer prayers. 
As Paul Smith writes in his book Integral Christianity: The Spirits Call to Evolve, “God has given us all the time we need to get to awareness and manifestation of the essence of who and what we really are.  If we don’t get it done in this lifetime, and most of us won’t, then we have the next.  But the end is assured.  We shall be like Jesus.  Exactly like Jesus.” And like all the saints that have gone before us.

Shared Homily/Community Reflection and Response

Profession of Faith
All:  We believe in God, the Creator of the Universe, whose divinity infuses all that exists, making everything in it sacred.  We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who leads us to the fullness of humanity.  Through his incarnation, we have become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness.  We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God who keeps the Christ-vision present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives.  She is the Sustainer who heals and energizes us when our strengths grow weary in our journeys.  We believe that God’s kindom is here with us now and will be always for those with eyes to recognize it, hearts to receive it, and hands to make it known to everyone.

We say amen to faith, hope, and love.  We say amen to the partnership and equality of all people, regardless of gender, race, and beliefs.  We say amen to a world of peace and justice for everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions.  In all of this, we surely believe.

Prayers of the Community
Presider:  We are a people of faith; we believe in the power of prayer. We are mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for each of us.  And so, we bring the needs of the people to our merciful and gracious God.  After each intercession, please respond: Compassionate God, we ask you to bless our petitions.
Presider:  Healing God, we ask you to strengthen us in our concerns for one another, here and throughout the world. We ask you to bless our efforts for justice and equality so that, with our sisters and brothers, we may promote cultures of peace and nonviolence in our world.  As we always do, we make these prayers to you, O God, in the names of Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom.  Amen.

Offertory Procession and Song: “You Are Mine”  #462 vs. 1,3,4           
Presider: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer…this grain of the earth that human hands have prepared for our use.  It will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this wine to offer…this fruit of the vine that human hands have prepared for our use.  It will become for us our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God forever.

Gathering of the Gifted
Presider (the invitation is to all):  Jesus, who has often sat at our tables, now invites all of us to join him at his.  Everyone is welcome to share in this meal.

All:  Our Beloved, we – your people – are united in this sacrament by our common love of Jesus.  We are in communion with everyone, everywhere, who shares your gift of compassion especially all those who are marginalized and oppressed.  May we love tenderly, do justice, and walk humbly with you in solidarity with our sisters and brothers.  May we live always as prophetic witnesses to the gospel of Jesus.  Amen.
Presider:  Let us give thanks to the Creator of all that exists.
All: With hearts full of love, we give God thanks and praise.
Presider:  Let us show our gratitude to Jesus who has shared with us his life-vision.
All: Open our hearts to your message through your words and actions while on this earth.
Presider:  Let us recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit among us gathered at the family table.
All: Fill us with reverence for you, for one another, and for all creation.
Presider:  Let us lift up our hearts.
All: We lift them up to the One who lives in us and loves others through us.
Presider: God dwells in each one of us.
All: Namaste!

Eucharistic Prayer
Voice 1:  Ever living and ever loving God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.  In you we live and move and have our being.  That Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is the foretaste and promise of the paschal feast of heaven. Her dwelling in us gives us the hope of unending peace and joy with you.  And so, we sing with thankful praise….

All:  Holy, Holy, Holy God, God of power, God of light.  Heaven and earth are full of your glory.  Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed are all who come in the name of our God.  Hosanna in the highest.

Voice 2:  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 constant presence in everyone he met, everywhere he went. He revealed you in everything he did in his life well lived.  And he showed us, through his example, not only how we should live, but for what is worth dying. 

Voice 3:  And when his time on earth had come, Jesus – aware of and accepting his destiny – gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death.  And then, providing an example of this insight for the understanding of ages to come, he opened wide his arms and died. Then the Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, showed us that life is eternal and that love is immortal.  Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.

All:  O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these gifts that we brought from your fields and placed on our table – this simple wheat and wine.  May She make them holy so that they will become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our brother.

All (With an outstretched arm, 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, broke the bread and gave it to 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 the cup of wine.  He 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, whom the prophets spoke of 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 in the world today.
Voice 4:  In memory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we offer you, God, this life-giving bread, 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 as freely in our lives as She did in that of Jesus.
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. We remember, as well, the entire communion of saints, both those living and dead, who touched our lives and left your footprint on our hearts. We remember especially …(pause as names are mentioned).
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...(and everyone sings)…Amen.  (3x)

All (holding hands):  Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven, blessed is your name…..

Presider:  God, we have just prayed that your kindom may come among us.  Grant that we may open our hearts to make it real and our hands to serve one another.

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

Presider:   May the peace of God be always with us, and let us extend that peace to one another.  (Mindy sings “Peace Like a River”).

Litany for the Breaking of the Bread
Presider:  Loving God…. All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of 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 understanding and compassion, forgiveness and healing 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: Gracious God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters, our families and neighbors.
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 all your people.
Women:  We cannot drink this wine and forget those who are thirsty.  O God, this very earth and its people cry out for environmental justice.
All:  We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the world at war’s doors.
Communion Hymn: Instrumental

After Communion Song/Reflection:  “Blessed Are the Gifts” - Mindy Simmons
Blessed are these gifts that we've received.
As we give so love returns in kind.
So let us breathe love and live peace
and do the best we can
to give ourselves in service to our God Divine!  (sing twice)

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion
Presider:  Loving God, may this Eucharist in which we share Christ’s healing love deepen our
oneness with you and with one another.  May we reflect, like Mary, your liberating, mothering
love for all.  We are grateful for all of the saints who gave much of themselves to live the beatitudes and serve as examples of God’s love and compassion in our world.  May we emulate them in all that we do.  We ask this in the name of Jesus the Christ.   All:  Amen.

Introductions, Gratitudes, Announcements

Closing Community Blessing
All:     May our hearts be glad on our journey as we dream new dreams, see new
           visions, and create a new heaven and earth.
May we live and work for compassion and peace, justice and non-violence in our hearts and in those of everyone we meet.
May we learn to bless and honor and hold in reverence all creation, the earth, and one another.
May we BE the attitudes that bring change to our world and creates the kindom of God on Earth.  

Closing Community Commissioning  
Presiders: As we leave here in the peace of Christ, let us be the people that God created us to be.  Let our service continue.
All:  Thanks be to God.  Let it be so!

Closing Community Hymn:  “When the Saints Go Marching In”

  O when the saints go marching in
When the saints go marching in
   How I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

        And when the sun refuse (begins) to shine
                    And when the sun refuse (begins) to shine
                     How I want to be in that number
                     When the saints go marching in

When the air is pure and clean
When the air is pure and clean
     How I want to be in that number
 When the saints go marching in

When we all have food to eat
When we all have food to eat
        How I want to be in that number
    When the saints go marching in

1 Corinthians 13 : "No Limit to Love's Power to Endure" Music Video by John Michael Talbot

by John Michael Talbot​

Love is patient, Love is kind
Love is humble, does not put on airs
Love is never rude
Not prone to anger, does not seek itself

Love is patient, Love is kind
It does not brood over injuries
Does not rejoice in what is wrong
Love rejoices always with the truth

Love never fails
There is no limit to Love
To its power to prevail
To its trust, to its hope
Its power to endure


There are in the end three things that last
There is faith, there is hope and charity
And the greatest of these is Love
So after Love seek eagerly 

We are one in a circle of giving and receiving

"I love the idea of a circle- we are all one- we give and what we give and how we give circles back to nourish us." Anne Patterson,  artist, her newest installation, "Circle of Thirds," was unveiled on Oct. 26th at the Community Foundation of Sarasota)

Photo from Ann Harrington ARCWP, Retreat  of Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community in North Carolina

Catholic Church Reform Intl: Calling on all who support Pope Francis:A Pope for the People needs a People for the Pope."

"Alone, the Pope cannot change the world. A Pope for the People needs a People for the Pope." Gaston Roberge, S.J., India

Pope Francis is under attack by the right-winged conservative minority within our Church. Admittedly some of us are not happy with the speed of reform nor has our Holy Father adequately addressed the issues of clerical sexual abuse or the role of women. Nevertheless, he doesn't deserve to be accused of heresy. In Germany, several bishops, theologians, philosophers, spiritual leaders, and academicians have penned a letter to Pope Francis. If you wish to join in expressing to him "our gratitude for your courageous and theologically sound papal leadership," we invite you  to go now to and at the top left click Pro Pope Francis link to add your signature to the German letter. While there, we also invite you to join a movement begun in Spain to "support the Pope and his reforms in search of a more evangelical Church" by clicking the Pro Pope Francis banner on the top right link to add your signature "to support him and follow him through the ecclesiastical 'updating' path."
All are invited to create an account on to share your comments on the website. We welcome your views, favorite quotes, and articles that particularly speak to you. Please share other sites which discuss Pope Francis's teaching in a constructive way.  Positive criticism is also welcomed. 
You are invited to join the Facebook group and follow these postings on Twitter. Go to and click on the icons in the top righthand corner to be taken to the pages. 

I am a big fan of Pope Francis who is living the Gospel of love and compassion by his example as he stands on the margins with the poor, refugees, minorities and many more. I pray that he may continue on a path to support the full equality of women in the church as deacons, priests and bishops and in all decision -making roles. Roman Catholic Women Priests accompany him on the journey to live the Gospel of love in our world today as we serve inclusive faith communities of equals in a non-clerical, renewed priestly ministry. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,