Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, Celebrating The Easter Women on our Journey to a more Inclusive, Just and Equal Church, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan, Music Minister Mindy Lou Simmons

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Kevin Connelly Co-Presiders

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Liturgy, Recites Eucharistic Prayer around table- CoPresiders Bridget Mary and Kevin Connelly


Woman’s Spirit
words and music: Marvella McPartland & Lynn Fugua
sung by: Karen Drucker

Woman’s Spirit is beauty
Woman’s Spirit runs deep
Woman loves with compassion
Our perfection is complete…

Woman’s Spirit is graceful
Woman’s Spirit is wise
Woman’s Spirit is moving
Bringing love into our lives...

Woman’s Spirit is passion
Woman’s Spirit is birth
Woman’s power unfolding
To honor life on earth.

Presider 1: We gather joyfully and begin in the name of the Infinite Love that is the Source of all Being, Eternal Word and Holy Spirit, Amen.

Opening Prayer

Presider 2:  Holy One, You comforted Jesus hanging on a cross- when the men had fled in fear- through the ministry of women :Mary of Magdala, Mary, mother of Jesus, Salome, Mary of Clopas and Mary, Mother of James

ALL: May we reach out with the gift of support and encouragement to those who suffer rejection, abuse and violence. May we work for sytemic justice for all who are treated as second class citizens.

Presider 1: Holy One, You spoke through Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles, who encountered the fullness of divine life after death in the presence of Jesus on Easter.  
ALL:  May the Spirit of extravagant giving at work, within people of good will everywhere, foster abundant life and joy for all.

Presider 2: Holy One, the Easter Women were the last at the cross and the first ones to encounter the Risen Christ.
ALL:  May we, like the Easter women, be the bearers of the good news that the Spirit that dwells within us is faithful and empowers us to be the face of God in our world.

Presider 1:  Holy One, may we rejoice with Mary of Magdala and the Easter Women on our path to celebrate our oneness with everyone and with everything in creation.
ALL:  Alleluia

Gloria Sung: All: Glory to God, glory, O praise God alleluia, glory to God, glory, o praise the name of our God.


Mary of Magdala instructing male apostles

First Reading: The Gospel of Mary
  "Go then, preach the good news about the Realm. Do not lay down any rule beyond what I determined for you, nor promulgate law like the lawgiver, or else you might be dominated by it."
After the Risen One had said these things, he departed from them.
     But they were distressed and wept greatly. "How are we going to go out to the rest of the world to announce the good news about the Realm of the child of true humanity?" they said. "If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?"
     Then Mary stood up. She greeted them all, addressing her brothers and sisters, "Do not weep and be distressed nor let your hearts be irresolute. For his grace will be with you all and will shelter you. Rather we should praise his greatness, for he has prepared us and made us true human beings."
      When Mary had said these things, she turned their heart toward the Good, and they began to debate about the words of the Teacher
     Peter said to Mary, "Sister, we know that Jesus loved you more than all other women. Tell us the words of the Teacher that you remember, the things which you know that we don't because we haven't heard them." 
     Mary responded, "I will teach you about what is hidden from you." And she began to speak these words to them.
     She said, "I saw the Teacher in a vision and I said to him, ' Jesus, I saw you today in a vision.'
He answered me, 'How wonderful you are for not wavering at seeing me! For where the mind is, there is the treasure.'
     These are the inspired words of Mary of Magdala

All: Thanks be to God

Mindy Lou Simmons, Music Minister

Responsorial Psalm: Hallelujah(chorus only)

Psalm 4:
Holy One, your face shines in us
You answer me when I call, O Beloved of my heart.
You envelope me in love when I am in dire distress.
You are gracious to me, You hear my prayer.

Chorus: Hallelujah

You dwell with all who are filled with love.
and cry out within us
You move through us when we feel anger and do not give into fear.
You love in us, Heart of our hearts
As we rest in silence and in all of our encounters
Chorus: Hallelujah

Your love fill us with joy.
In peace we will spend our days and sleep at night.
For you teach us the way of wisdom
And the path to justice.
Chorus: Hallelujah
(Adapted from Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill, pp. 4-5

Anna Davis proclaims second reading

Second Reading: “How Easter Became a #MeToo Movement" by John Blake, CNN

Some of the same behavior that led to the #MeToo movement also shaped the Easter story, some scholars say.

For billions of Christians around the world, Easter Sunday is a celebration of a risen savior. Yet what happened to Mary Magdalene shows that Easter can also be seen as something else -- a #MeToo moment, some pastors and biblical scholars say.

They say Easter is also a story about how charismatic female leaders such as Mary Magdalene -- and even Jesus himself -- were victimized by some of the same behavior that sparked the #MeToo movement: the sexually predatory behavior of men, the intimidation of women and an orchestrated attempt to silence women who drew too much attention when they spoke up.

If Easter were an action movie, the men would have the juiciest parts. There's the crafty villain Judas, who betrayed Jesus for a payday; the blustering Peter, whose bravado quickly melted when Jesus got arrested; and "Doubting Thomas," who spoke for so many when he said he needed proof before he believed.

But a closer look shows that women are the real action "heroes," some pastors and scholars say.
They were the ones who stood by a tormented Jesus hanging on a cross when the men had long fled in fear. And they were the ones Jesus first appeared to, not the men, all four Gospel accounts say. A woman, Mary of Magdala, not a man, was the first person to preach an Easter sermon, according to the Bible.

These are the inspired words of contemporary pastors and scholars All: Thanks be to God.

Kevin Connelly proclaimed the Gospel 

Gospel Acclamation: (sung) Hallelujah

Reader:  A reading from  the  Gospel John 20;13-18
“Meanwhile, Mary stood weeping beside the tomb. Even as she wept, she stooped to peer inside, and there she saw two angels in dazzling robes. One was seated at the head and the other at the foot of the place where Jesus’ body had lain.
“They asked her, ‘Why are you weeping?’

“She answered them, ‘Because they have taken away my Rabbi, and I don’t know where they have put him.’
“No sooner had she said this, than she turned around and caught sight of Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus. He asked her ‘why are you weeping! For whom are you looking?’
“She supposed it was the gardener, so she said, ‘Please, if you’re the one who carried him away, tell me where you’ve laid him and I will take him away.’
“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’
“She turned to him and said, ‘Rabboni!’—which means ‘Teacher.’
“Jesus then said, ‘Don’t hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to Abba God. Rather, go to the sisters and brothers and tell them ‘I’m ascending to my Abba and to your Abba, my God and your God!’

“Then Mary went to the disciples. ‘I have seen the Teacher!’ she announced. Then she reported what he had said to her” (Jn 20:13–18)

In the Gospel of Luke:
“The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way (to Emmaus) and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of the bread. “
 At the conclusion of the story of doubting Thomas, the Risen Christ tells the disciples. “You are witnesses of these things.”
These are the inspired words of Luke 24:35, 48

HOMILY Starter: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Today we celebrate Mary of Magdala and the Easter women as role models of courage who accompany us on our journey to a more inclusive, just and equal church. 

These faithful women were the last at the cross and the first to proclaim the good news. John’s Gospel describes a scene of tender embrace between Mary of Magdala and the Risen Christ which ends with her apostolic mandate to preach the first Easter sermon. The disciples of Emmaus, one of whom, may have been a woman, encounter Christ in the breaking of the bread.

 Our first reading from the Gospel of Mary recounts the leadership role of Mary and the challenges she faced as she ministered to Jesus’ male disciples after the Resurrection.

Our second reading makes the connection between the failed attempt of the male apostles to silence the Easter women and the # Me Too movement.

It wasn’t easy then and it sure isn’t easy now as the Vatican hierarchy finds ways to block out women’s voices—as if that is effective in our social media facebook and twitter world

In March the former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese had to speak outside the walls of the Vatican because Cardinal Kevin Farrell banned her from speaking at a conference to be held within the Vatican on International Women’s Day.

McAleese reproved the Vatican as it prepares for an upcoming papal visit to Ireland on August 25-26th for its century-old misogyny:
"I believe that women should be ordained,” she told reporters in recent weeks. I believe the theology on which (the ban on women’s ordination) is based is pure codology. I’m not even going to be bothered arguing it. Sooner or later, it’ll fall apart, fall asunder under its own dead weight.”

Continuing the firestorm, Dr Sharon Tighe-Mooney, author of What About Me? Women and the Catholic Church, wrote in the Irish Times: “The Catholic experience continues to be male-centred, male focused and disseminated from the male perspective. However, she is hopeful because women are rising up and speaking out.  She concludes: “Women who see clearly the reality of how they are judged by the church are no longer willing to remain silent. In December 2017, three Catholic organisations, FutureChurch, Women’s Ordination Conference, and Call To Action, launched a new initiative, #CatholicToo. It joins with movements such as #MeToo, #EverydaySexism and #TimesUp, in the international initiatives by women to announce that being silenced and being subject to unfair and often abusive treatment because of their gender is no longer tolerable in any setting." 

(Women no longer content to be silent on lack of church role,”Sharon Tighe-Mooney Tue, Apr 3, 2018, Irish Times)

 In conclusion, in a commentary on Pope Francis' recent encyclical:"Should women rejoice over 'Gaudete et Exsultate'?"
 "Francis' prescribed path to holiness for women will remain narrow as long as he celebrates the patriarchal idea that God created men to be leaders and action-takers and women to be nurturers and servants. The path will remain truncated as long as he continues to exalt ideas that justify the rule of men over women.Can women really achieve wholeness is an institutional church that does not see them as equal? Can women grow into holiness under a pope who insists that they are incapable of administering sacred rites? Can women reach the fullness of life to which God calls them in a church that rejects their gifts and bars them from ministering to the body of Christ? As long as these limits remain on a woman's ability to be fully alive in her church, there will be serious limits on the extent to which she can truly rejoice and be glad."

As we celebrate the role of Mary of Magdala and the Easter women in our MMOJ inclusive Catholic Community, we know that Christ is rising today in  the new movements for gun control, for justice for young immigrants in DACHA, and in many other ways. Through each of us and all of us together, Christ is loving, healing, empowering and transforming us and making our church more equal, more inclusive and more just. We are the change we have been waiting for. Hallelujah!

I conclude with an inspirational song sung by Mindy Lou Simmons.

 As Mary of Magdala experienced deep trust in the Risen Christ holding her and calling her to be an apostle, so we do too.

Song: “God is holding me” Karen Drucker and Michael Hatfield

“God is holding Me Now”
Michael Hatfield and Karen Drucker ( Sung by Mindy Lou Simmons)

What’s my hurry in this fury?
God is holding me now.
Untie the knot in,
What I am caught in.
God is holding me now.
Relax my hand and rest my eyes.
I’ll take a deep breath. Realize
I can do this
I’ll get through this
God is holding me now
In this moment, I’ll step aside
I will let go and let God provide.
I will find my center, let love enter
God is holding me now.

Shared HOMILY with Community

Profession of Faith   

ALL:  We believe in the Holy One who loves passionately, embraces all and forgives everything.
We believe in Jesus who accompanies us on our journey and shows the way to the fullness of life.
We believe in the  Divine Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes us as co-creators  of caring communities that challenge oppression, exploitation and injustice.
We believe that we are radiant images of God called to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously.  
We believe in the communion of saints, our heavenly friends, who support us on life’s journey.  
We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world.  
We believe that we are one in the Heart of God.

Presider 1:  Aware that the Holy One is present in all who encounter oppression, abuse and pursue justice, we now bring the women and men in our lives, in our church and world, before You.

Response: Holy One, You hear our prayer.

Presider 2:  For those who have been abused, we pray for liberation and empowerment.  R.   
Presider 1:  For those who have confronted their abusers, we pray for courage.  R.
Presider 2:  For those who have been sexually exploited, we pray for healing.  R.  
Presider 1:  For the men and women who accompany the abused and abusers on the path to hope and healing, we pray for strength.  R. 
Presider 2:  For all those who need our prayers. Please share your intentions now.

Presider 1: We can do all things in the power of Your Spirit working through us.
ALL: Amen


Presider 2:  Blessed are You, O Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of Life. 
ALL: Blessed are You forever.   

Presider 1:  Blessed are You, O Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink. 
ALL: Blessed are You  forever.

Presider 2:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Jesus in communion with all who proclaim the liberating power of  your Spirit, rising in our midst.
ALL:  Amen.

Presider 1:  O Heart of Love, You dwell in us,
ALL: And we dwell in You.

Presider 2:  O Pursuer of Justice, You speak truth through us.
ALL: In service to our sisters and brothers.

Presider 1:, O Source of All Life, in you we live and move and have our being,
All: All the days of our lives.


Voice 1: O Holy One, You love through us as we reach out to our sisters and brothers who are abused and exploited. Your Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is rising up in all who work for justice. With thankful hearts, in the company of Mary of Magdala and the Easter women, in the company of the angels and saints, your liberating Spirit rises up within us and works through us.

ALL:  We are holy, holy holy, You are holy, holy, holy, I am holy, holy, holy. (Karen Drucker)

Voice 2: O Liberating One. You are the Heart of Love. Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala and the Easter women as they stood by the broken body of Jesus and encountered the Risen One.  Your Spirit moves through us as we serve the broken body of Christ rising up for justice and equality today.

Presider 2:  Please extend Your hands in blessing.

ALL:  You pour out Your spirit anew upon this bread and wine and upon us as we become more deeply the Christ Presence in our world

On the night before he died, Jesus came to table with the women and men he loved.  Jesus took bread blessed and broke it, saying, “Take, eat, this is my body. Do this in memory of me.”


After supper, Jesus poured a cup of wine and shared it with his friends, saying, “This is the cup of the covenant of my love. As often as You drink of it, remember me.”

Presider 1:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

ALL: Christ has died in all those abused and exploited.
Christ is rising in all those working for transformation, justice and equality.
Christ comes each day in our work for a renewed humanity in our evolving cosmos.

Voice 3: O Empowering One, we give thanks that Mary of Magdala and the Easter Women accompany all who rise up for non-violence, justice and equality in our world today. We give thanks for Your Enfolding Presence empowering survivors of abuse and harassment on their journey to healing and wholeness.  As we welcome everyone to this sacred banquet of love, we are filled with courage to speak truth to power to break the bonds of violence and oppression.

Voice 4: Source of All Life, we remember all people throughout the world, as we grow in love, together with Francis our pope and our community leaders.  We remember our brothers and sisters who have suffered abuse, bullying, and violence. We hold them in our hearts and will work with others for just policies and laws to protect them.

Voice 5:  Embracing Presence, we remember all the companions who have gone before us:  Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, Junia and Andronicus, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Bishop Oscar Romero, Ita Ford, and all holy women and men who have witnessed for justice throughout the ages. Like Jesus, their courage inspires us to confront all forms of intimidation, discrimination and work for equality. For it is…

ALL: through living as Jesus lived,
and loving as he loved,
that we awaken to Your Spirit
empowering us to work for justice.  AMEN


The Prayer of Jesus

Presider 2:  Let us pray as Jesus taught us.

Sign of Peace

Presider 1:  Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.” 
The peace of the Holy One is also with You.  
Let us hold hands in a group hug as we sing Peace is flowing like a River.

Litany for the Breaking of the Bread

ALL:  Holy One, You call us to speak truth to power; we will do so.

Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of  healing and justice; we will do so.

Holy One, You call us to be Your presence in the world; we will do so.

Presider 2:  This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to the table.
ALL:  We are the Body of Christ.


Communion Meditation Song: Mindy Lou Simmons


Presider 1:   The Holy One is with You. 
ALL:  and also with You.


Presider 2: Please extend You hands as we pray our final blessing:
ALL: The encompassing of the Holy One is on us,
The encompassing of the Divine Presence,
The encompassing of the Christ of love,
The encompassing of the Spirit of Grace,
let us go forth from this Banquet, aware always that each of us is the face of God, called to live love , compassion and justice  in our world
  (Adapted from Alexander Carmichael’s Carmina Gadelica)


Presider 1:   We go forth with the energy of Spirit Presence within us to heal and transform our church and world.  Let the service for non-violence,  justice and equality continue! 
ALL:   We give grateful thanks and may we be a blessing in our time.

CONCLUDING HYMN: We Are Marching in the Light of God, (Singing, Dancing) South African Spiritual

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Kevin Connelly -Co-Presiders

Liturgy by Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP


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