Saturday, March 16, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, St. Patrick's Breastplate Prayer, Set Dancing, Spiritual Songs by Carmel Boyle and Noirin Ni Riain

May your hearts be filled with deep peace and joy as you celebrate the goodness of life and the joy of love. 

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the God of creation.

This prayer is known widely as “Morning Prayer,” “StPatrick's Breastplate,” or “The Lorica.” It's not known whether StPatrick is actually the author or whether someone else wrote it years later and it was attributed to StPatrick. But it is widely associated with him and his ministry.

Irish Set Dancing

Homily for the Second Sunday of Lent – March 16, 2019 Sally Brochu, ARCWP

Sally Brochu ARCWP shares Homily Starter

Mary Montavon presents a stole she made to Sally Brochu ARCWP

Mary Montavaon presents a stole she made to Janet Blakeley ARCWP

Our Gospel today is our stepping off point for today’s homily starter. The very endearing image of Jesus saying “How often have I desired to gather your children as a hen gathers her brood under her wings”. You may have noticed the photo on the liturgy as well as the stole on the altar showing this image. It is a beautiful image of Jesus trying to protect the people he loved and had the deepest desire to empower them and draw them out of the dominating injustices that affected their lives.  As I see it, Jesus knows fully well that he is danger of being killed and that it was imminent. He was warned even by some Pharisees. I’m sure he was reflecting on his life at this point, on what he so passionately tried to teach, and how he lived what he taught. As we hear in the first reading, Elijah healed a widow’s child. Jesus did that too and healed many others. He lifted them up and empowered them in so many ways. We can do the same!

We learned so clearly last weekend when we had the opportunity and gift  of hearing John Dominic Crossan speak about who this Jesus was. I, for one, was introduced to a very different Jesus about whom I was taught. Oh, I caught glimpses of this Jesus over the years, but not to the extent that I heard from not only from Crossan in his lectures but from our Book Discussion Group on Crossan’s Book “The Last Week”. This is a Jesus who was a real activist; a man with a very specific agenda; who spoke truth to power; who tried to change what he saw as unjust; who stepped outside  of the imposed rules; who loved unconditionally. He made people, especially people in authority very uncomfortable because the people were listening carefully – carefully enough that the authorities felt their power threatened. Theirs was a Kingdom of Domination where any threat to their authority needed to be crushed to maintain order and to remain in power - unchallenged.
Our second reading from Crossan’s book “Who Killed Jesus?” speaks so clearly of this Jesus who challenged, who loved, who dared stand up to authority. Crossan called Jesus life and teachings The Kingdom Movement, clearly the opposite of Caesar’s Kingdom of Domination. Crossan says that Jesus presence was so empowering that the Easter faith that is at the core of our beliefs didn’t start on Easter Sunday, but to quote Crossan “started among his first followers in Lower Galilee long before his death, and precisely because it was a faith of empowerment rather than a faith of domination, it would survive and, in fact, negate the execution of Jesus himself…It was the continued presence of absolutely the same Jesus in an absolutely different mode of existence”. Powerful words to think about.

Knowing this Jesus, should change our lives; should compel us to speak up against injustices; should prompt us to love all of our neighbors as ourselves; should set aside our ego and arrogance and allow the immeasurable love of God to touch our lives and give us strength. We can grow into being fully human just as Jesus did. To do this we have to embrace love and justice together. We also know there will be consequences.

This is Lent and we have the opportunity to reflect how we want to live our lives moving forward. Lent isn’t just about giving something up. It can be a time of transformation if we allow it – to see things in a new way.

So, then the question, how do we put this into action and follow Jesus – this Jesus who has a strong sense of justice and who is fearlessly motivated to seek change and seek justice by fully loving each of us?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Celtic Pilgrimage- Pray and Play in Mystical Ireland with Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Mary Theresa Streck- There Are Spaces Available, Reserve Now!

Dear Friends,
Come join us for our exciting pilgrimage, “Pray and Play in Mystical Ireland.”  We are incorporating prayers, music and reflections from the Celtic tradition each day to celebrate Celtic spirituality. 
Details are below. A group of us will leave from Newark, NJ. You can save money on the airfare by using frequent flyer miles.  Schedule your flight on September 15 from a nearby airport and meet us on the morning of September 16 in Dublin Airport. If you need help scheduling a flight, please contact Jeanne Orenstein from Celtic Tours at or PH: (518) 862-0042 or 800-833-4373 Ext. 310. 
We are happy to answer any questions about the tour.
With love and blessings,
Bridget Mary and Mary Theresa

Celtic Pilgrimage - September 16-25, 2019 - Pray and Play in Mystical Ireland with Tour Hosts: Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Theresa Streck

Celtic Tours Presents: Pray and Play in Mystical Ireland

Click Here for Flyer:,%202019.pdf

Eight Nights in Mystical Ireland with tour hosts Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP

September 16 - 25, 2019

Estimated cost for land only: $2393

Single Room Supplement:  $659 

Estimated cost for air from Newark: TBA
Land cost is separate from air for those who wish to use frequent flyer miles!

  • Accommodations for EIGHT NIGHTS (8) nights at the following hotels:
       DUBLIN:              Fitzpatrick’s Castle       3 Night(s)   
       KILLARNEY:        Scott’s Hotel                  2 Night(s)         
       GALWAY:             Imperial Hotel               2 Night(s)         
       DUBLIN:              Maldron Airport Hotel   1 Night(s)         
  • Full Breakfast daily, except day of arrival.
  • Seven (7) Hotel dinners and One (1) Dinner and Celtic music and dance show in Dublin
  • Visits/Admissions: Panoramic city tour of Dublin, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College-Book of Kells, Hill of Tara, Monasterboice, Newgrange/Knowth, St. Bridget’s Shrine in Faughart, St. Bridget’s Cathedral and Well and Solas Bhride Center in Kildare, Rock of Cashel, Cobh Heritage Centre, Blarney Castle, Gobnait’s Well, Gallarus Oratory, Blasket Tourist Centre, St. Mary’s Cathedral in Killarney, Bunratty Folk Park and Castle, St. Bridget’s Well in Liscannor, Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, Clonmacnoise and Malahide Castle.
  • All transportation and sightseeing via deluxe touring motor coach with the services of a professional driver/guide throughout
  • Tips and taxes on items included.  NOTE: Tip to driver / guide is not included - plan on $5 per day.

  • Porterage of one suitcase per person

Day 1: Monday, Sept 16, 2019
Depart on your overnight flight from Newark, NJ to Dublin Ireland. Dinner served shortly after take-off.

Day 2: Tuesday, Sept 17, 2019 Dublin

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland
You will meet your Irish Driver/Guide in the arrival’s hall of the Dublin airport and he will escort you to the waiting motor coach for your tour. Depart the airport and travel into the capital city for a panoramic city tour. You will then visit St. Patrick’s Cathedralbefore moving on to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. Then some free time in Dublin to take in one of the museums or wander the streets. You will meet back up with your driver and he will take you into the Dublin suburbs to Fitzpatrick’s Castle Hotel for the first of a 3-night stay. Dinner at your hotel this evening.

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
Day 3: Wednesday, Sept 18, 2019 North of Dublin

After a full Irish breakfast, you will depart for the Hill of Tara. Then on toMonasterboice for some photos. And continuing on to 
Newgrange/Knowth to view the passage tombs. Afterwards, you will travel north to Dundalk to visit St. Bridget’s Shrine. Then enjoy some local touring in counties Louth and Meath before returning to the castle for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Thursday, Sept 19, 2019 Wicklow County

Today after breakfast, you will depart for some local touring of the Wicklow county area. Stopping at Glendalough and then on to St. Brigid Cathedraland Well in Kildare and Solas Bhríde Centre and Hermitages.   Return to your hotel this afternoon for a little free time. Tonight, you will have time to wander the town of Dalkey and enjoy dinner at the hotel.

St. Brigid's Well, Kildare

Day 5: Friday, Sept 20, 2019 Killarney

Rock of Cashel
This morning after your final castle breakfast, we will be heading to Killarney. Stopping on the way at the infamousRock of Cashel to see the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. Then on to Cobh to visit the Heritage Centre. This museum has wonderful artifacts from many lost ships that sailed from this port before their final demise. 

Blarney Castle
Continuing on to Blarney where you will visit the BlarneyCastle and have the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone. On the way to Killarney, you will have the opportunity to stop in Ballyvourney to visit Gobnait’s Well before heading into Killarney for the night. Dinner and overnight in Killarney at Scott’s Hotel.

Day 6: Saturday, Sept 21, 2019 Dingle

Dingle Coastline
After a buffet breakfast, a delightful day takes us along the Kerry coast to the Dingle Peninsula, which offers magnificent coastal scenery. Beyond Slea Head, we see the Blasket Islands, the last outpost of Europe and you will visit the Blasket Visitor's Center, and alsoGallarus Oratory to see some BeeHive Huts. A full day tour returning to Killarney, where we enjoy dinner at our hotel this evening. Dinner and overnight in Killarney.
Gallarus Oratory - Beehive Hut
Day 7: Sunday, Sept 22, 2019 Killarney – Burren – Galway

This morning, eat an early breakfast than walk over to St. Mary’s Cathedral for an 8am Mass before departing forAdare. Take some time to stop here and take some photos of some thatched roof cottages before moving on to Bunratty. Here you will stop to visit theBunratty FolkPark and Castleto see how life was in medieval times. Then onto Liscannor tovisit St. Bridget’s well before stopping for a visit at the incredible Cliffs of Moher. Continue onto Galway for dinner and overnight at the Imperial Hotel in Galway.
Cliffs of Moher 
Day 8: Monday, Sept 23, 2019 Connemara Touring

After breakfast, enjoy a tour of the Connemara region. Including a stop atKylemore Abbey and the Celtic Crystal Factory and Connemara Marble Factory. Then into Galway for a panoramic city tour and some free time. Back to Galway Hotel for your dinner and overnight.
Kylemore Abbey
Day 9: Tuesday, Sept 24, 2019 Galway to Dublin

Clonmacnoise Ancient Monastic Site
Enjoy a leisurely morning with breakfast. Then a later start to Dublin. Stopping along the way in Athlone to visitClonmacnoise. Then on into Howth to visit Malahide Castle and Gardens. Check into Maldron Airport Hotel and then onto a dinner and show for your final night.

Malahide Castle
Day 10: Wednesday, Sept 25, 2019 Dublin to US
If flight time allows, enjoy breakfast at the hotel tonight before heading to the airport. Return to the US same day.

As UN Considers Status of Women, It’s Time for the Vatican to Take Its Rightful Place

"It's hard to name a state or religious group that's done more than the Holy See to thwart the spirit and the letter of CSW which affirms that the fundamental freedoms of all women and girls is essential for the achievement of gender equality."

The Holy See’s unwelcome participation in discussions as a Non-Member State Permanent Observer at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations takes place at a critical moment in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Much has changed since 1964, when the Holy See invited itself to be a Permanent Observer. It’s time for the Holy See to make a graceful exit and focus on its own financial, criminal, and ministerial problems.* Simply put, they call it the United Nations for a reason. 
This week, as the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) convenes, is the time to finally have the governing arm of a religious group take its leave, so the CSW and other parts of the UN can work unimpeded.
Why does the UN privilege the Catholic hierarchy? We don’t know the answer to that, but what we do know is that it’s time for the church to stop exploiting that privilege at the expense of women, children and LGBTQI people around the world.
The Roman Catholic Church is a bit of an “accidental tourist” at the UN. Vatican City, the geographic place where the Holy See resides, was part of early international postal, radio, and telegraph agreements. A century ago, the decision to grant quasi-state status to a golf course-size parcel of land with more chairs than permanent residents happened without much thought to the precedent and consequences. Today, the institutional church is essentially a global, male-run, top-down corporation whose product is religion. Corporations are not states even if some, like the Roman Catholic Church, have bigger budgets and more employees than some nations.


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The Holy See operates with the Pope as CEO, not a president or a prime minister. The cardinals act as a board of directors that elects the next CEO and advises the pope on policy, personnel, and business. Bishops, whose responsibilities approximate those of executive vice presidents, are in charge of various localities and functions. Priests have jurisdiction in their parishes.
At the bottom, are lay people who contribute time and money. They should be like stockholdersor better, members of a coopexcept they’re not. They’re more like increasingly disgruntled customers who cannot vote on virtually anything that a pastor cannot veto. The people in pews are speaking outand increasingly leaving the church because they are fed up with the system though most retain a deep commitment to the Gospel. According to a Gallup poll released today more Catholics than ever are considering leaving the Church. 
Maybe Apple should successfully petition for Permanent Observer status using the Holy See as its role model?
Of course, the Holy See could decide that it wants to become a state, leaving the matters of the religion for lay Catholics to handle. I think we all know the chances of that happening. While many of us would welcome the opportunity to have voice and vote in a democratic ekklesia, as feminist theologian Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza has long advocated, it’s as likely as many of the other reforms lay Catholics have advocated over the decades, from the ordination of women to ending clergy sexual abuse and its coverups.  
The Holy See must choose between its secular status and its religious status.    
The February 2019 Summit in Rome on the “Protection of Minors in the Church” resulted in no policy changes, an outrage to many Catholics who were at a tipping point as patterns of abuse, lack of transparency, criminal collusion, and guilty verdicts against clerics proliferate. A new chapter in Catholic church history is unfolding with lay leadership and an end of clerical hegemony. What do these changes mean for the Holy See at the United Nations, particularly at the CSW?
Voluntary withdrawal from discussions at meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women is a good place to start. It is hard to name a state or a religious group that has done more than the Holy See to thwart the spirit and the letter of CSW which affirms that the “full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women and girls is essential for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”
Most Catholics worldwide don’t know about the Holy See’s presence at the UN, much less its dubious claim to be a nation, or its pressure on member states to block consensus on important matters of health and well-being, especially for women and children. They will be unhappy when they find out. “Catholic” is not a nationality, and the hierarchy does not speak for the exponentially larger and growing base of lay Catholics who reject its authority and many of its policies.
As lay Catholics claim increased voice and vote, the church coffers reflect people voting with their wallets. Parish closings are common. The hierarchy will either agree to shared leadership or risk total financial collapse. Changes in the institutional church’s structure are in fact the fruit of new expressions of shared and differentiated authority. There are simpy too many ways to be “Catholic” in an age of instant communication for any one body to realistically claim exclusive use of the term. Moreover, the needs of the world’s poor and of Earth itself cry out for multiple forms of Catholic attention.
Non-Catholics need not fear charges of anti-Catholic bigotry if they critique the Holy See when it acts with impunity against the well-being of many of this world’s most vulnerable people. Instead, religious groups can help Catholics by supporting and promoting the role of the Roman Catholic Church as one more NGO alongside their own faith communities, and as one more NGO among other Catholic NGOs.
The end of the Holy See’s presence atthe Commission on the Status of Women would be a good first step toward the Roman Catholic Church’s change from a Permanent Observer at the UN to grateful acceptance of NGO status. I hope the institutional Roman Catholic Church will be wise enough to take this graceful way out before stronger measures are implemented.
*The author is a featured speaker at an event calling for the Holy See to be removed from participation in the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. — ed

Dissident  Catholics Assail Vatican Role at UN
By The Associated Press
March 14, 2019
NEW YORK — A group of activist Roman Catholics asked the United Nations Thursday to revoke the Vatican's observer status for failing to protect the rights of women, children and the LGBTQ community.

The group, calling itself Catholics for Human Rights, said in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the Vatican must be stripped of its status in part because of the "magnitude of rape, sexual violence and torture perpetrated by clergy."

The activists, including lawyers and theologians, also said the Holy See excludes women from positions of authority and opposes contraception, same-sex marriage and abortion.

In Rome, the Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.N. chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it had no immediate reaction. Any change in the Vatican's status would have to be decided by U.N. member states.