Monday, December 30, 2019

A bishop open to women priests, appoints woman pastor in Germany

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for Sunday, December 29, 2019 - Presiders: Debra Trees, ARCWP, and Julie Corron, ARCWP

Debra Trees, ARCWP and Julie Corron, ARCWP, led the Upper Room Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Family. Julie's homily reflection is printed below the readings.

Opening Song; Song of God Among Us
Sung by St. Petronille Contemporary Choir

Lest the word be far from us. 
God prepared for coming.
One who longed to share our fate. 
 Made with us a dwelling.
In the midst of you is one you do not know.

Who is everywhere at hand. 
 Who is wholly human.
One who goes unrecognized. 
 Silent never spoken.
In the midst of you is one you do not know.

God from God and Light from Light.
Hope of Earth's sad crying.
Face to face with humankind, 
Speaks of love and dying.
Then let patience be our guide. 
Walk in ways of justice.
Show each other at all time, 
Every kind of goodness.
In the midst of you is one you do not know.

Now be carefree full of joy. 
God alone who calls us,
Touches All who live on Earth. 
 Makes a home among us.
First Reading 2COL 3:12-21

Because you are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, with kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another—
forgive in the same way God has forgiven you.
Above all else, put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect.
Let Christ’s peace reign in your hearts since,
as members of one body, you have been called to that peace.

Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness.
Let the Word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you.
Instruct and admonish one another wisely.
Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and songs of the Spirit.
And whatever you do, whether in speech or in action,
do it in the name of the Jesus our Savior,
giving thanks to God through Christ.

These are the inspired words from the works attributed to Paul, the Apostle, and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN.

AlleluiaCOL 3:15A, 16A
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Gospel MT 2:13-15, 19-23

After the astrologers had left,
the angel of God suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph with the command,
"Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt.
Stay there until I tell you otherwise. Herod is searching for the child to destroy him."
Joseph got up, awakened Jesus and Mary, and they left that night for Egypt.
They stayed there until the death of Herod,
to fulfill what God had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I have called my Own.”

After Herod’s death, the angel of God appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt with the command,
"Get up, take the child and his mother, and set out for the land of Israel.
Those who had designs on the life of the child are dead."
Joseph got up, awakened Jesus and Mary, and they returned to the land of Israel.
Joseph heard, however, that Archelaus had succeeded Herod as ruler over Judea,
and Joseph was afraid to go back there.
Instead, because of a warning received by Joseph in a dream,
the family went to the region of Galilee.
There they settled in a town called Nazareth.
In this way, what was said through the prophets
was fulfilled: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

These are the inspired words from Matthew, and the community affirms them by saying, Amen.

Julie's homily starter:

Once upon a time there was a monastery that had fallen on hard times. Its many buildings had been filled with young monks, but it was now nearly deserted. People no longer came to be nourished by the prayers and presence of the monks. Only a handful of old, old monks shuffled through the cloisters and praised God with heavy hearts.

Nearby, on the edge of the monastery woods, an old rabbi built a little hut and came occasionally to walk in the woods. One day, his heart heavy with the burden of the monastery and the failing of the faith, the abbot decided to visit the rabbi.

As he approached the hut, the rabbi greeted the abbot warmly. Across their differences, there were similarities. Both knew God; both knew the difficulties of keeping alive the faith in their communities.

The rabbi’s words were cryptic, 'The Messiah is among you' and an instruction, 'you must only repeat this once. After that no one must ever say it aloud again.'

Finally, the abbot and the rabbi exchanged an embrace and the abbot returned to the monastery, pondering the words of the rabbi, 'The Messiah is among you.' Whatever could the rabbi mean? Could Christ be cantankerous Brother William? Could Christ be mean and spiteful Brother Stephen? Who could Christ be?

The next morning, the abbot called the few monks together and shared the teaching from the rabbi. 'You can never repeat this,' he said. 'The rabbi who walks in the woods says, "The Messiah is amongst us."'

The monks were startled by this revelation. 'What could it mean?' each asked himself. 'Is dirty and sloppy Brother John the Messiah?' 'Is moody Father Matthew or crotchety Brother Thomas the Messiah?' They were deeply puzzled by the rabbi's teaching. But according to the instruction, no one ever mentioned it again.

Time passed. The monks began to treat one another with special reverence and respect. There was a gentle, wholehearted, human, yet divine, quality about them that was hard to describe but easy to see. They lived with one another as men who had found something special. They prayed and read Scripture as men who were always looking for something. The occasional visitors found themselves deeply moved by the life of these monks. Before long, people were coming from far and wide to be nourished by the prayer life of the monks and young men began asking to become part of the now thriving community.

When I first heard this story, I knew in my bones that it was what we are all called to do. I also knew it would not be easy. Whether it’s our not so holy families or refugees fleeing persecution, think how different our interactions with each other would be if each of us believed that, in the words of our opening song, God lived among us. What if we clothed ourselves with heartfelt compassion, kindness, and patience as suggested in the first reading? And not just with the easy people, the ones who look and think like us, but with the challenging people too? Love, respect, and tender care—for God among us, for each other, and for ourselves.

We will pass the microphone around now so that you can briefly share your reflections on these readings. What did you hear? What will you do? What will it cost you?

Saturday, December 28, 2019

"Ordain a Lady" , WOC Video, Enjoy!

Media Release: Bishop Threatens to Refer Ordained Roman Catholic Woman Priest , Dr. Shanon Sterringer ARCWP, to Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

In center, Dr. Shanon Sterringer ARCWP , Ordination on Aug. 3, 2019,
Right, Bishop Mary Collingwood ARCWP, Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP, Program Coordinator, and Bishop Christine Mayr- Lumetzberger RCWP, Austria

DECEMBER 28, 2019

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, media, 859-684-4247

CONTACT: Rev. Dr. Shanon Sterringer, 

Women priests are not enemies of the Church: We are its leaders as we are opening a way for equality and justice for women in the church through our ordinations and lived experiences as priests. The patriarchy, however, continues to persecute us because of their male bias.

Rev. Dr. Shanon Sterringer was ordained a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Linz, Austria on August 3, 2019.  Her ordination was valid but against Canon Law. The bishop of Cleveland, Ohio, Nelson Jesus Perez, issued a letter of condemnation of her. Here is the latest excerpt from the link above:

Rev. Dr. Shanon Sterringer December 20, 2019
Fairport Harbor, Ohio 44077
Dear Bishop Perez,
I received your letter dated 17 December 2019 (feast of the deaconess Olympias) apprising me of the accusations you have leveled against me regarding several canonical violations in relation to my ordination. I responded to a previous letter you sent to St. Anthony of Padua parish on 22 July 2019 (feast of the apostle Mary Magdalene), and put forth several concerns/questions at that time, none of which you have responded to in this letter or otherwise. It is disheartening that it requires a canonical penalty for you to reach out.  Please find my response to your letter below.   

Bishop Perez:
Dear Dr. Sterringer, 
As Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, I have the most serious obligation to “defend the unity of the universal Church” and am therefore “bound to foster the discipline which is common to the whole Church, and so press for the observance of all ecclesiastical laws (canon 392, §1 CIC)...

…I ask that you please respond to this letter by 3 January 2020. If there is no response from you by that time, I will communicate to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith your refusal to reconcile and ask the Congregation for direction regarding the proper course of action to follow.

Dr. Sterringer's Response: 
In 2018, when I put in writing to the Lay Ecclesial Ministry Office, the Seminary, and the Secretariat for Parish Life and Development my intention to seek ordination, I acknowledged at that time that I understood the consequences of removing myself from the Diocese. I sent you a note dated 23 July 2019 reporting that I had been ordained and that I understood I was no longer affiliated with the Diocese and was no longer under your hierarchal jurisdiction. 
I do not understand how it is appropriate for you to expect me to answer for something that no longer applies to me? If I were still working at the parish this would make sense, but I have been gone from it since 28 September 2018 and have intentionally avoided being on parish or diocesan property so as to not confuse people. I am in a very different place on my faith journey than I once was. While there may have been an opportunity previously to engage in a conversation of reconciliation, the opportunity no longer exists. Too much has unfolded in the past fifteen months that is irreversible. Given the fact that I have already lost my position in the parish, lost my salary and health benefits, lost many long-time connections and relationships, have huge student loans to repay that were incurred by my theological studies, and have been informed I was excommunicated latae sententiae, what other “course of action” are you threatening me with at this point in time? (See Dr. Sterringer's complete response on link below)

Friday, December 27, 2019

Cardinal Sodano’s role in Vatican Sexual Abuse Coverup
My Response: Jason Berry ‘s outstanding article reveals the truth about a culture of clerical coverup that goes all the way to the top in the Roman Catholic Church. Every Catholic should read this and understand the pervasive culture of corruption embedded in the top down hierarchical governance of the Curia. It is time for genuine reform and this must include placing decision making  power in the hands of women and men who are called and gifted to serve the people of God according to the values of Jesus in the Gospels. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, https://

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Highlights from Christmas Eve Community Liturgy at the Hildegard Haus, Presider, Dr. Shanon Sterringer ARCWP

"If Women Wrote the Christmas Story- Three Wise Females and a Not So Silent Night", Sydney Morning Herald
Illustration: Andrew Dyson

"What would the Christmas story be like if only women had ever told it? Surely it wouldn’t be quite the silent night we sing of. Birth is noisy, babies are noisy, although moments of exhausted sleep do occur. Would we know if Mary had labour pains, if she screamed and cried, dug her fingernails into Joseph’s arm? Would we know how long the labour went on for, when her waters broke and what Jesus weighed – approximately – at birth?"

The Courage to Love and Serve- The Life Story of Rev. Judith Ann Beaumont by Dr. Judith A. B. Lee, Reviewed by Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan

The Courage to Love and Serve is a new book about a courageous  woman , Judy Beaumont RCWP,  who was the hands and feet of Christ to people in need on the margins in Southwest Florida. This is a story about a life of compassion  and selfless service to the homeless, social justice activism and courage -about a woman embracing a call to ministry as a  priest in the Roman Catholic Church.

This book written by Dr. Judy Lee RCWP , also a woman priest, was published by Outskirts Press and is available on Amazon.

I ordained Judy Beaumont a priest on January 21, 2012.  It was a great joy to  see both these women priests in action as co-pastors at Good Shepherd  Inclusive Catholic Community. Their ministry changed lives and helped people to heal from the effects of addictions, poverty and abuse. Together they reflected the presence of Christ in the  Ft. Myers area in visible concrete ways that included helping over 100 people move from homelessness to having a home. These women priests fostered deep bonds of faith and caring in their beloved community. You will be uplifted by this inspiring book of love and activism. I am proud to call them companions on the journey.
Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Christmas Liturgy, Presiders Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Jack Duffy, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons, 13th Anniversary of MMOJ 2006-2019

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Jack Duffy presiders at Christmas Liturgy on 13th Year Anniversary of the Foundation of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida

Mindy Lou Simmons Music Minister 

Theme: Let everyday be Christmas!

Presider 1: GREETING and WELCOME!

Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community where everyone is welcome to share in our celebration of the Eucharist.  We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers.  We also welcome your respectful comments when the entire community is invited to share the homily. Everyone is invited to gather around the Table to pray the Eucharistic Prayer and for Communion.  We warmly welcome our newcomers to the liturgy and will invite you to introduce yourselves, if you wish, at the announcement time that follows the Communion.

Opening Song: "O Come All Ye Faithful" #79, vs. 1-2

Opening Prayer
Presider  2: Nurturing Love of the Ages, you became human in Jesus and showed us how to live life fully. We know what it means to laugh and cry, to walk and talk, to love and be loved. We rejoice that your mothering presence is always with us. May we, like Mary, give birth to God within us, in everything we say and do so that every day will be Christmas. ALL: Amen.

Community Reconciliation: 
Presider 1: Let us pause now to place our imperfections, failures and holy messes in the arms of Divine Love and ask one another for the gift of forgiveness. 
All: Please forgive me, I forgive you, I love you. Thank you. 

ALL: Glory to God, glory, o praise God, alleluia, Glory to God, glory, o praise the name of our God (sung 3 times)


First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-6
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of deep shadows
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.

For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
They name him Wonder-Counselor, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast and forever peaceful.

Psalm Response: adapted from Psalm 96 (Music and Words by Kathy Sherman)
Sung Response:
May the Christ Light Shine in You!
May the Christ Light shine in Me.
And together we will shine
With God’s love to the world.

Your light enlivens the world, O Holy One
There is none to compare with you!
All of Creation is clothed with your majesty .
Mirroring your love throughout the cosmos.
Rejoice in the Radiant One, O people of the light.
Sung Response: May the Christ Light Shine in You!(Repeat whole verse)

Second Reading: The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr

Christ is the light that allows people to see things in their fullness. The precise and intended effect of such a light is to see Christ everywhere else. In fact, that is my only definition of a true Christian. A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else. That is a definition that will never fail you, always demand more of you, and give you no reasons to fight, exclude, or reject anyone. Isn’t that ironic? The point of the Christian life is not to distinguish oneself from the ungodly, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else.
These are the inspired words of Richard Rohr. We affirm them by saying:
All Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation ALLELUIA! (sung)

Gospel: A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this event which God has made known to us.”  They went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger; once they saw, they reported what had been told them concerning this child. All who heard of it we astonished at the report given them by the shepherds.
Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
A reading adapted from the Gospel according to John
In the beginning was the Christ,
Who was with God,
And is the Holy One.
All things came to be through The Christ,
and what came to be was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
These are the inspired words of the Gospel writers Luke and John. We affirm them by saying: All; Thanks be to God.
Homily Starter: Jack Duffy, one of original founders of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Christmas 2006-2019
Dialogue HOMILY: Community shares

Profession of Faith: ALL: We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices. 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 all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously. Amen.

Prayer of the Community

Presider 1: For a deeper realization of the Christ Presence in everyone, we pray.

Response: Nurturing Love, you embrace us

Presider 2 : That we may experience the birthing of the Spirit anew in our world today, we pray. R.

Presider1: That those who suffer from poverty and abuse may experience the liberating strength of the Holy One in our outreach, we pray. R.

Presider 2: That the sick and suffering may experience the healing love of God, in our compassionate service, we pray. R.

Presider 1: That those who have died may rest in God's eternal embrace, we pray. R.
(Other Intentions)

Offertory Song: What Child is This Mindy Lou Simmons


Presider1: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.

Presider 2: Join us around the table.

Presider 1: God dwells among us. ALL: And in all people everywhere.

Presider 2: Lift up your hearts. ALL: We lift them in the joy of Christ embracing all.
Presider 1: Affirm the power of love within you and within all.  All: Alleluia


Voice: Mothering Presence, you brought forth all creation from your Life-Giving Womb. O Love of the Ages, we leap for joy in your presence everywhere.

Voice: Holy One of ancient Israel, you revealed yourself in Mary's womb, in a shining star, in humble shepherds, in a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. You dwell in the depths of our hearts and continue to reveal yourself here and now in our everyday moments of laughter and tears, hopes and dreams.

Voice: We invite you this day to deepen our awareness of our great oneness in God as we gather around the table of abundant love. With grateful hearts, we proclaim your praise:

ALL: Holy, Holy, Holy, Creator of heaven and earth. All beings are pregnant with your glory. Namaste, alleluia, Namaste. Blessed are you who dwell in all creation. Namaste, alleluia, Namaste

Voice: Praise to you, all-giving Love, born of Mary. We rejoice in the dawning of the sacred promise of God's Anointed, fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ and in us each day.

Voice: We celebrate the Christ Presence born anew each day in us, illuminating the whole universe. Now, we share the bread of life and lift the cup of blessing at this festive meal as we pray:

Invocation of the Holy Spirit
(raise hands toward bread and wine for Invocation of the Holy Spirit)

All: Come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine.

All::  On the night before he died, while at supper with his friends, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat. Do this in memory of me.”


: In the same way, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said the blessing, gave the cup to his friends and said, “Take this all of you and drink. Do this in memory of me.” 

Second Invocation of the Holy Spirit: (Place hands on each other's shoulder)

All: God of all people, today we celebrate your birth as the son of a poor woman, born among animals and proclaimed by angels. We see your tender presence shining forth as pure love in the eyes of the elderly, in the service of care-givers and in the depths of our own hearts.

Presider 2: Let us proclaim the sacred presence of our nurturing God:

ALL: Jesus, by your life, death and rising, you have shown us the fullness of our humanity and divinity, as the Beloved of God.

Voice: We remember the prophet and saints who have gone before us:, Mary, Mother of Jesus, Joseph, and all our beloved friends… (pause now and name our saints.)
(Community names mentors whom they want to remember, living and dead.)

Voice: Creator of All,  we open our hearts to the music of life and the joy of giving as we serve our sisters and brothers in need and pledge ourselves to live in harmony with all creatures on the earth.

ALL: Through Christ, in Christ, with Christ, all praise and glory resounds through the universe as the Holy Spirit dances with all. Amen. (Sung)


ALL: Our Father and Mother ...

Presider 1: Let us share deep peace and justice with everyone in the circle of life as we sing “Peace is flowing like a River”, (love, joy, alleluia).


ALL: Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power. We will do so.
Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will do so.
Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world. We will do so.

Presider 2: This is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, loving us forever. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. ALL: We are the hands and feet of Christ in our world.

Presider1: Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ! ALL: Amen.

COMMUNION- Meditation: Let every day be a Christmas by Mindy Lou Simmons

Community Sing "Silent Night"  with traditional and new words

1. Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright

'Round yon virgin mother and child.

Holy Infant so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

2. Silent Night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight

Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing alleluia

Christ, our brother is born, Christ, our brother is born.

3. Silent night, holy night! When will peace conquer might?

Pray that justice will set victims free,

Those who are shackled to bleak poverty.

Christ be born in each heart, Christ be born in each heart.

Verse 1& 2: Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848 Verse 3: Rae E. Whitney


Presider2: Creator of new beginnings, we awaken to your love born anew in our lives each day. May your tender presence continue to open our hearts to the daily miracles of life that surround us each day, through Emmanuel, God-with-us.

ALL: Amen.


Presider1: The Holy One is within you.

ALL: and within all.


(everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)

ALL: May we sing and dance for joy as we celebrate every day as Christmas !


Presider2: Let us birth Christ anew in our world today. Go in the peace of Christ. 
ALL: Thanks be to God.

CONCLUDING HYMN: Joy to World ( see new words!)

Sound forth the news that Wisdom comes
to bring new life to birth.
Arise with hope, Her labor join,
and peace shall fill the earth,
and peace shall fill the earth,
and peace, and peace shall fill the earth.

No more let fear and custom hide
the path of Wisdom fair.
She leads the way to life and joy,
with gifts for all to share,
with gifts for all to share,
with gifts, with gifts for all to share.

Joyful are we who heed the call
of Wisdom in our souls.
With Her we break oppression’s wall,
so love may freely flow,
so love may freely flow,
so love, so love may freely flow.

Crown Wisdom Queen of heaven and earth;
Her reign will set us free.
Fling wide the gates that all may come
join hands and dance with glee,
join hands and dance with glee,
join hands, join hands and dance with glee.

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians
“Sound Forth the News That Wisdom Comes” calls us to co-create with Wisdom a world of justice, peace, equality, love, freedom, and joy. This Christmas carol comes with the hope that Wisdom will guide us to change our violent culture and to co-create with Her a peaceful world. Let us join together in our churches, communities, and home in 
caroling for change."

Liturgy by Bridget Mary Meehan