Saturday, June 30, 2018

I Heard An Owl - Sung by Mindy Lou Simmons

I heard an Owl
By Carrie Newcomer

I heard an owl call last night
Homeless and confused
I stood naked and bewildered
By the evil people do

Up upon a hill there is a terrible sign
That tells the story of what darkness waits
When we leave the light behind.

Don't tell me hate is ever right or God's will
Those are the wheels we put in motion ourselves
The whole world weeps and is weeping still
Though shaken I still believe
The best of what we all can be
The only peace this world will know
Can only come from love.

I am a voice calling out
Across the great divide
I am only one person
That feels they have to try
The questions fall like trees or dust
Rise like prayers above
But the only word is "Courage"
And the only answer "Love"

Light every candle that you can
For we need some light to see
In the face of deepest loss,
Treat each other tenderly
The arms of God will gather in
Every sparrow that falls
And makes no separation
Just fiercely loves us a

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community-Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community 
Interesting, Inviting, Involving, Inspiring
Thirteenth Week in Extra-Ordinary Time
June 30, 2018

Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP and Lee Breyer

Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons

Theme: Bring the little children unto me

Welcome and Centering Prayer

Presider: We have all been created by the same Great Mystery; we have all been shown by the example of the same Jesus of Nazareth how to live; we are all supported and strengthened by the same Spirit on our journeys. In many important ways, we are all one. And at this time, we come together to share stories of Jesus, break bread, and share in a banquet of love.

Gathering Hymn: Common Ground – Mindy Simmons

Opening Prayer

All: O Lover of all, in our journeys into the heart of compassion…and that is you -- we celebrate the love that you continually unfold for us by your being in us -- in each one of us. Help us to recognize and honor the “you” that is in the “me” of everyone.You call us to see goodness and beauty everywhere and to live in harmony with all of creation. You call us to heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression in our world. You call us to warmly welcome everyone with whom we come in contact as your presence among us. In communion with Jesus, our brother, and with the power of the Spirit, we will live your love poured out each day. Amen.

Community Reconciliation

Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets hidden. Our desire is to be continually conscious of this in our own lives and recognize this in all we do with others.

All (with an outstretched arm): May we reach deep within ourselves to hear Wisdom’s many messages, to faithfully understand them, and to respond to them with compassionate actions to our brothers and sisters. May we emulate the virtues of pardon and peace that Jesus taught us so that we may- in turn - be more forgiving in our care for ourselves, for one another and for our planet Earth.
May we gather strength through the Divine Presence within us, to extend your merciful and forgiving presence that is your gift – through us – to everyone, everywhere - with whom you share your unending love. We ask this in the name of all that is Holy. Amen.


Presider: Let us give glory to our loving Holy One.

All (Sung): Glory to God, glory, O praise God, Alleluia. Glory to God, glory. O praise the name of our God. (3X)

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24 All: Thanks be to God.

Psalm 92 Responsorial: Forever I will sing the goodness of our God.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:7,9,13-15 All: Thanks be to God.

Acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

Gospel: Mark 5:21-43 
All: Glory to you, O God. 

Shared Homily and Community Reflections

Kathryn Shea's Homily Reflection 
Theme: “Bring the little children unto me”

I had an amazing opportunity several weeks ago to attend a retreat sponsored by the Upper Room, our ARCWP sister community in Albany, NY. The retreat was led by Michael Morwood. I had read his book, Children Praying a New Story, and marveled at the way he described the changes that must take place in us and our world to have the kindom of God become a reality on Earth. And I thought, “this will never happen in my lifetime. But if I can begin to plant the seeds in my grandchildren and the children I come into contact with, then maybe it will become a reality in their lifetime.”

So, I just have to say, reading Michael’s words in his book, and hearing him speak his wisdom and his truth are about as different as night and day. He and his wife are truly remarkable people. There were many things that impressed me about him, but perhaps his lack of fear, his conviction about his belief, and his gentleness struck me the most. His teachings are revolutionary, so much so that he resigned from priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in 1998 after his book Tomorrow’s Catholic: Understanding God and Jesus in a New Millennium was banned by the then Arch-bishop of Melbourne, Australia, George Pell. He went on and worked with progressive Christians in the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and England and has written ten books on progressive theology.

Michael proposes the major question facing Jesus the Jew is always, how do we create a society on Earth that reflects God’s presence? It’s not about how do we get people to heaven. And how does Jesus do this? He goes to the crowds. In today’s Gospel, Jesus went to the crowds. He is called Teacher, and teachers the crowds how to create the society, this kindom on Earth, because the crowd is going to be the ones to do this. He shows us how by his example of acting justly, loving tenderly, and walking humbly with our God. He shows compassion, as he did to the woman who touched his hem because she believed in his power to heal. He sought her out and called her “daughter,” the only time in all the scriptures he ever referred to anyone as “daughter”. And then, he again touched a child and raised her from the dead, because he knew he could. He removed the grief that her parents and family were experiencing and gave her life and her family joy and hope.

And we, my companions on this journey, we are now the crowd charged with this responsibility. We are the ones that must “touch” those; physically, emotionally, and spiritually, whose hearts are broken and who live in fear and without hope. These are the children and the families at the border. They are our homeless and marginalized. They are the ones in prison and the ones who have no one who love them. We are called to bear witness to the healing touch of Jesus and believe we have the same power through compassion to bring light to others. And those who witness for peace and justice and the atrocities occurring at the border of separating children from their parents, they are the crowd and Jesus is with them and with us all.

In Children Praying a New Story, Michael says our primary task is to expand children’s imagination about God beyond a Powerful Person in the sky and to establish in young minds that God is everywhere, mysterious reality, close to us, providing us with unconditional love always, no matter what, and ever life-giving. Michael encourages us to have time to “imagine God with Jesus, imagine a conversation with Jesus.” What would it be like?

So, we’re going to take a few moments and close our eyes and imagine walking down a country road and you see Jesus sitting on a rock. You approach him and sit down beside him. You engage with him and converse with him. And then he hugs you and you, him. Let us now imagine this time with Jesus and then share your experience if you like.

Let this conversation and Jesus’ loving embrace be with you throughout the week, as we, God’s people, go about imagining and creating a new world for our children. Profession of Faith

Statement of Faith

All: We believe in the Divine Mystery, beyond all definition and understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist in the expanding universe.

We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, the human Jesus, an enlightened soul who carried the message of God’s Word, who brought the ability to show us how to heal ourselves and others, and the heart of God’s compassion. He is the bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints. And it is through him that we become a new people with a different story of salvation. We are here to share his stories of the new message, that we are all holy, we were born holy, and we shall be holy forevermore.

We believe in the Spirit, the one that inspires our innermost life. She keeps the Anointed One present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives.

She strengthens our call to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God’s love. She is the one who helps us reach within ourselves so that she can heal and energize us when our spirits may grow weary in our lives.

And we believe that God’s kin-dom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to take it to share with those around us.

Prayers of the Community

Presider: With heads and hearts mindful of God’s unconditional love embedded in each one of us, let us bring our needs and those of our community forward. After each intercession, we respond: Holy One, we offer these prayers. (Intentions are mentioned here.)

Presider: That those who suffer abuse, may be healed and empowered, we pray.

All: Holy One, we offer these prayers.

Presider: That those bound by hatred, hostility, and violence will be set free, we pray. R.

Presider: That the sick may be healed, especially (mention names), we pray. R.

Presider: That those who have gone ahead of us -- especially, Joe and Jodie Adler – will

dwell forever in their heavenly home, we pray. R.

Presider: And for whom else do we pray at this time? Other Intentions followed by R.

Presider: We hold these and all our unspoken intentions in our hearts and take them with us when we will gather around the Banquet Table.

Offertory Song: Child of the Poor

Presider: Blessed are you, Jesus of Nazareth, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we remember how to live the new story.

All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider: Divine Presence, we believe that you are always with us, loving in each of us and healing others through us.

All: Namaste (with a nod…3x)

Presider: Lift up your hearts.

All: We lift them up in tender love, open to serve.

Presider: Let us give thanks for all that we have.

All: It is our joy to be grateful for our many blessings as we gather at our family table.

(so… let us all “gather at our family table”…)

Eucharistic Prayer

Voice 1: Gracious Wisdom, you embrace us with your extravagant affection in both our blessedness and times of weakness. You are always with us and live in us, and we in you. In this festive meal, your Spirit is poured out to each of us gathered in this circle of your disciples to share your gift of shalom, our peace. And we break out in joy as we sing our “family camp song.”

All: We are holy, holy, holy (3x), we are whole. You are…I am… We are (Karen Drucker)

Voice 2: Gracious God, you have set the banquet table and have invited all of us to the feast of unending delight. Here we celebrate your divine love beyond what words can describe. Your divine compassion connects us to the young and the old, the least and the last, to everyone, everywhere, on our journey into the heart of your mercy.

Voice 3: We thank you, Holy Mystery, for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history –and the gift of Jesus in faith. You brought him from among your people to baptize us in your Spirit. His life was moved by his vision of your presence in himself and in his mission, and he recognized you in everyone he met. He showed us, through his example, not only how we should live, but also for what was worth dying.

Voice 4: And when his time on earth had come, to a close, 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, in providing an example of this wisdom for all people in the ages to come, he opened wide his arms…and died. And the Spirit that lived in Jesus is resurrected in all of us who decide to live the new story. Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.

All: 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. When you do this, remember me, and all I have taught you. (pause a moment, then continue….)

All: 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. When you do this, remember me, and all I have taught you.

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 our faith.

All: The Anointed One lives in us and through us in the world today.

Voice 5: God, we know that you bless your church throughout the world. We, your people, desire to grow in our love and caring for Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and with everyone we come in contact, especially those who live on the margins of church and society. They are all our brothers and sisters and are reflections of your presence within all your people. We remember also 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: We believe that the Spirit of God is at work in and among us and will do more than we can ever ask or imagine. Amen. (sung, x times)

The Prayer of Jesus

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

The Sign of Peace

Presider: God, we know that you give us peace and unity beyond what any words can express. You are here with us as we join hands in a circle of love and sing our prayer: “Let there be peace on earth.” (#532)

Litany at the Breaking of the 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 calls us to open doors that are closed and share our bread and wine on the altar of the world. All are invited to eat and drink at this sacred banquet of love.

All: When we share in this meal, we who have always been worthy, commit to live your teachings, dear Jesus, and to tell your stories that allow Spirit to rise up within us and empowers us to bring the kin-dom of God to this world. This is the good news of salvation.

Presider: Let us share and spread this good news! ALL: Amen. (As we share this sacred meal, we say to one another with the passing of the bread, You are the love of God in the world.” When we share the wine we say, “You are the peace of God in the world.”)

Communion Music: Instrumental

Post Communion Meditation Hymn: I Heard an Owl by Carrie Newcomer

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion

Presider: Holy One, may this Eucharist in which we share Jesus’s healing love, deepen our oneness with you and with one another. May we reflect like Mary, your mothering love for all your people everywhere. And may wonder and thanksgiving fill us with knowledge and understanding as we experience the infusion of your love and compassion in us, your sacred people. We join in unity in this prayer with Mary, and her son, Jesus.

All: Amen

Closing Prayer

All: May we give and receive abundant love.
May our belief in love enrich and sustain us.
May we find wonder and miracle in the ordinariness of life.
May we experience joy in the Light burning within us.
May we know true peace in our minds and in our hearts. 
 (Michael Morwood; Prayers for Progressive Christians)

Closing Community Blessing

All (extend an arm in mutual blessing): We come together at this special time, moved by a light within us and within all people. We believe that this light, this love within is the light of the Great Mystery. It is the light we name God, Love, Creator, Infinite Spirit, Breath of God. We, as a sacred community, bless one another, and all of our sisters and brothers, who are called to this Light. May our Loving God be with us as we continue on our paths and follow in the footsteps of Jesus -for we are the face of God to the world. Amen.

Closing Song: Lean In Toward the Light – Carrie Newcomer


Presiders: May we go forth and spread the message of the love and compassion to the world. May we be the light in the world for others, especially the children and the marginalized. Let this be our mission…and let our service continue!

All: Thanks be to God; let it be so.

There is a candlelight “Families Belong Together Vigil and Witness” at Five Points following liturgy from 8:00-9:30 pm. Please attend

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priest Ordain Four Women - June 30, 2018

Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood, ARCWP, ordained four women in Brecksville, Ohio.  Susan Gusik, was ordained a priest and Toni-Kay Attanasio, Geraldine Lococo and Kathleen O’Connor Sauline were ordained deacons.

 Mary Eileen delivered the following homily:

We gather today to celebrate with great joy the ordination of Susan Marie Guzik as priest, and Toni-Kay Attanasio, Geraldine Lococo, and Kathleen O’Connell Sauline as deacons with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

As most of us know so well, very joyful and grace-filled experiences often happen at the same time others are found suffering in the worst way.

This very day protesters are gathering across our nation demonstrating against a zero-tolerance policy on immigration.  The many people struggling to come into this country have been victims within their nation of origin, and find after coming here, their struggle continues with the past and present policies we have here, in this nation, on immigration.

The separated families’ situation goes on indefinitely. Many parents are already deported and their children remain in limbo in migrant detention facilities.  Family shelters for those families who can now remain together are quickly running out of room.  

This is not a public relations problem.  This is a human moral tragedy.  The sorrowful images that are flashed across our television screens portray an inhumanity that is spreading like wild fire across our nation.  This crisis of immense proportion is far from over. 

To be clear, this is a moral opportunity.  This is the moment in time to which we have been called to be here for our vulnerable children and brothers and sisters in peril.  There is great urgency swelling up in the hearts of those who care to re-unite children with their families.  And the question of the day is: When will it happen?

Matthew’s Gospel comes to the rescue today, on this very day of joyful celebration and righteous protest.

The setting of Jesus’ teaching is so serene—a mountain set apart, a teacher directing his message to his closest disciples, simple statements coupled with glorious rewards.  What some have come to know as Christian law, the Beatitudes actually originated in the ancient Jewish Wisdom teachings. The reading draws a connection between a particular manner of behavior and the consequences that flow from such behavior.

It is important to note that the behavior or values Jesus advocates is frequently the opposite of those espoused by society at large.  And indeed, these teachings offer us an opportunity to seek the wisdom that we so desperately need in our times.  To be certain, each and every one of them invite us to turn our standards and our way of life upside down and inside out.  In this way, we come to understand the challenges set before us.  We need to change the narrative.  These beatitudes, these blessings, call for profound inner transformation.

The disciples of Jesus are not merely his followers; they also continue the work he began.  Work to secure justice for the oppressed, giving food to the hungry, giving sight to the blind, protecting strangers, sustaining the fatherless and the widowed.  Our ordinands today, as disciples of Jesus, are committed to work to sustain the good that is in the world and to transform whatever needs transformation.

My friends, these women of faith are living examples of the Beatitudes in our time.

Susan Guzik, our octogenarian, who, contrary to what some may believe, is not being rewarded with a life time achievement award today, but rather with the recognition and confirmation that her entire life has been grounded in the vastness of her priestly life and witness among us. She remains an avid reader with a desire to learn and to serve.  Sue is always seeking right relations with God, self, others, and all creation. She seeks it actively, hungering and thirsting for justice.  Through her many active years in Stephen Ministry responding to the needs of people, she has nurtured right relationships in her family, her parish and surrounding communities for many decades.

Toni-Kay Attanasio, our California school psychologist, is a mighty force for the good.  She has taken on the toughest kids in the toughest area of the city.  Many have come to know that those efforts, grounded in her contemplative nature, reflect a deep commitment to individuals with special needs and their families.  She is a beacon in the dark, a guiding post for those who need direction, a fierce advocate for those in need.  And along with all of that-- and perhaps more importantly-- she is a spiritual seeker, believer, and prophet for our time.  Toni-Kay has traveled the rough roads of persecution and accepts it as part and parcel to following Jesus’ life and ministry of equality and justice.

Gerry Lococo, a leader of prayer and spiritual force for the Sunday’s Bread Community in Pittsburgh, is a calming presence and listening spirit among us.

When you spend any time with Gerry at all, you know you have encountered God face to face.  Contrary to Jewish thought that believed human beings could not see God and still live, anyone who is in Gerry’s presence walks away knowing that they are not only alive, but spiritually energized!  She stands in a holy place and receives many blessings.  In turn, so goes those who meet, pray and live with Gerry.  Be it in a show of solidarity in ecumenical gatherings, or a clear voice for justice, Gerry shines her light for all to see and witness.

Kathleen Sauline can walk into a room and immediately gauge the level of joy or discord present.  She has been blessed with an inner sense of knowing where she needs to be in service to others.  Kathleen has a clear vision of the necessary components that build authentic relationships.  She has worked with teachers, guiding them through restorative practices that build right relationships with their students.  The faith community that nurtured her through the years of raising her family has encouraged her and has fostered within her an enlightened sense of church.  Kathleen offers others mercy and forgiveness in generous portions.  She has learned the meaning of mercy as a foundational component of Christian ministry.    

Blessed are we who gather here today to witness the ordination of these formidable women of faith.  Our church will be blessed beyond our imaginations by their lifegiving prophetic witness.

We celebrate this sacrament of Holy Orders this afternoon knowing that the blessings of the Holy One are upon us, for we have been anointed and share in Jesus’s life and ministry as priest, prophet and royal witness to truth, equality and justice in our church and our world.

Our prayer is that our institutional church will soon awaken to realize these pearls of great worth are ordained women who are keeping the vision of justice and equality in an inclusive church alive and well.  Yet the same question comes to the surface once again: When will it happen?

The narrative does change, my friends, when we encounter individuals who have a vision and follow Our Creator’s Living Spirit among us. We come together today with full understanding of the challenges we face as a nation and as a church.  We believe that transformation is possible on any level of society, if we see with eyes of faith and work with hearts that move mountains.  We celebrate that very faith in these women’s hearts today.  May it always be so!