Saturday, April 20, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community April 20, 2019 Solemn Easter Vigil And Celebration of Life of Helen Marie Duffy Presiders: Kathryn Shea and Presider Team Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons

Left to right: Elena Garcia ARCWP, Sally Brochu ARCWP, Michael Rigdon, Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Kathryn Shea ARCWP, Seth Theo, Janet Blakeley ARCWP, Lee Breyer
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP (homilist)

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Sarasota, Florida

Bridget Duffy with friends

Jack Duffy embraces Russ Banner

Part 1: Service of Light

Blessing of the Fire and Paschal Candle

We will gather around the place of the new fire- in the courtyard outside the main doors of the sanctuary.  Presiders will invite each person to mention the names of those who have gone before and who have ignited faith and love and wisdom in her/his life.  After each set of names, presented by any individual, the community will respond: They walk with us!

Lee: On this most sacred night, in which Jesus Christ passed over from this earth to a new life, the People of God everywhere come together to watch and pray.  If we listen to the word of God and live it, and if we honor the memory of his death and resurrection, we will have the sure hope of sharing his victory over death and living a resurrected life with our Creator.
Lee sets the fire.  When lit, the fire is blessed.

Lee: Let us pray.  O God who, through Jesus, blessed upon us the fire of your glory, sanctify  this new fire -- and grant that, by these paschal celebrations, we may be inflamed with new hope.  Purify our minds by this Easter celebration and bring us one day to the feast of eternal light.
Preparation of the Paschal Candle
Lee:  Christ, yesterday and today (pause) The Beginning and the End 

While saying:                 The Alpha and Omega                              (put in the first pin) - Kathryn
While saying:     All time belongs to God                                         (put in the second pin) - Sally
While saying:     And all the ages                                         (put in the third pin) - Russ
While saying:                 To Jesus, be glory and power                   (put in the fourth pin) - Lee
While saying:     Through all time and all places, Amen       (put in the fifth pin) - Bridget Mary

ALL: May the light of Christ - rising in glory - dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

(Alternate sides – left and right – for each sentence)

ALL: We Rejoice. We Remember.
The Christ - a spark that lit the cosmos at the beginning of time.
We Rejoice. We Remember.
The Christ - a spark that is expanding across time.
We Rejoice. We Remember.
The Christ - a spark that was borne, sheltered and passed to us by our ancestors.
We Rejoice. We Remember.
The Christ - a spark that was fanned into flame by those who ignited our lives in love and wisdom and joy.
We Rejoice. We Remember.
The Christ - a spark that is a sacred trust held by us to pass on to generations yet to come.

ALL:  We rejoice. We remember. We celebrate.                                              Alexander J. Shaia

Cantor:  Lumen Christi, light of Christ. (3 Xs)

All: Deo gratis.   Thanks be to God!  

Michael Rigdon & Cheri McDonough:  Exultet

Part II: Liturgy of the Word
The first Reading is the Story of Salvation History – (adapted from the books of the Hebrew Scriptures adapted by Jay Murnane). – (Proclaimed by Bridget  and Jack Duffy)   

In the beginning, there was only chaos and a void. God breathed life into it and said, "Let there be light." And there was light: sun and moon and stars in the heavens. There emerged vast bodies of water filled with live creatures. Then, birds flying across the breadth of the skies, and on the earth, reptiles and animals of every kind, color and shape. And all had a purpose. God saw what had come to be, and God found it very good.

God then said: "Let us make human beings in the divine image; women and men together to take care of all of this, and one another! When this was done, God viewed the whole of creation, and loved it, for it was very, very good.

: But human beings did not take care of creation and each other. Human beings corrupted the good-ness of what God had made. Rain fell, a torrential, purifying rain, covering the earth and washing away all the corruption to which people had given birth. Only Noah, his family, and living creatures from every species on earth floated above the flood in an ark made of wood.

After forty days, the rain subsided, so that the water was no longer a flood, and the ark came to rest on high, dry ground. The people and the animals looked up into the sky and saw something beautiful. God said: "That is my rainbow, the sign of my presence with you and my love for you. It will forever be the sign of my relationship with you, and your responsibility to take care of creation, and each other."

: From these survivors of the flood, creation was begun all over again. Many, many years went by and there were many gatherings of people all over the face of the earth. One of these was the people, Israel, and among all of God's precious people, the Jews were very precious. During a time of famine, the Jews were invited by the Egyptians, their neighbors, to share their land and their food. But some centuries after this hospitality, a cruel leader in Egypt forgot the old relationship and made the Jews into slaves.
They lived this way for a long time, until Moses came among them and risked his safety and security to convince the Jews that God loved them and wanted them to be free. So, they left Egypt, filled with the Spirit of God, led by Moses and Miriam through the desert in search of a new home where they could be free again.

During this difficult journey, they were often disillusioned and resentful, and they complained bitterly. Moses asked God for help, and God offered the ten commandments, so that the people might know the simplest possible way to love God and their fellow human beings. And from these survivors of oppression, Israel began all over again.

 But the people forgot the simple way of God and were not always faithful, and at times they were as oppressive to each other and to strangers as the Egyptians had been to them. They paid lip service to God, but their hearts were very far from God, and therefore, from justice and compassion. People of wisdom came from among them to remind them of the rainbow of their journey to freedom, and of their promise to God about caring for creation and each other. These were the prophets, and like Moses, they risked everything to convince the people to come home to freedom and responsibility, compassion and justice, faithfulness and integrity.

The prophet Isaiah said: "God is displeased with your prayers and your liturgies because the hands you lift in prayer are covered with blood. God wants prayer from the heart.    God wants justice for the oppressed. God wants food for the hungry. God wants true peace!"

 The prophet Amos said: "Some of you have grabbed power and made your own people no better than slaves. You have stripped people of their dignity as God's children, buying and selling them as if they were groceries or sandals. Greed is your god and selfishness, your liturgy!"

The prophet Micah said: "My people, you struggle blindly to know what God wants, and you act as if you remember nothing from your history, as if you know nothing. From the beginning of time, there has been one message from God. What God wants is this, ONLY this: That we live justly, that we love tenderly, that we walk with integrity in God's presence!. 

These are the inspired words of our prophets. 
ALL: Thanks be to God.

Responsorial: Sung ‘Alleluia’ – Cheri McDonough 

The Gospel according to John (20:1 – 18) – (Proclaimed by Jack Duffy)
Response; Glory and praise to you, Jesus, the Christ.

Responsorial: Sung ‘Alleluia’ – Cheri McDonough

Chant: “Come Be Beside Us” – Jan Philips

Come be beside us, come be around us,
Come be within us, Come be among us. X5

Homily Starter - Bridget Mary

Today we gather in community to speak words of gratitude for Helen Duffy who has now joined with all those who have gone before us in the Communion of Saints.

 Richard Rohr explains that this notion means that we are all in this together "the dead are at one with the living, they're our direct ancestors, the saints in glory. All suffering is our suffering and Gods suffering. We are all caught up in the cosmic sweep of divine grace." (The Universal Christ, p. 163-164)

In other words, in this holy mystery, we call resurrection, we are one. Today, Easter, we celebrate that the same power that raised Jesus is at work transforming us and the entire universe. Christ rises every day in the love that we share that goes beyond death and connects us to one another forever.  

Like Mary of Magdala, the first disciple to encounter the Risen Christ and to tell others the good news, Helen Duffy lived the compassion of Jesus everywhere she went. 

Helen lived the message of Jesus because she had room in her heart for everyone beginning with her 7 children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren, relatives, neighbors and friends. The long lines of people who came to her visitation in Madison, Wisconsin and the stories shared after her Memorial Liturgy gave testimony to her hospitality, joy and concern for others’ well-being.

Today, I want to celebrate Helen as disciple of Jesus, woman of faith and one of the pioneer founders of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community.

I will never forget my first meeting with Helen and Jack in a local restaurant, not far, from here. Jack had read a letter I wrote to the Sarasota Herald Tribune about women’s equality as an important issue in the Catholic Church. Jack and Helen got in touch and invited Dad and me to join them for lunch. We had a very animated conversation as you can imagine.  As I shared my story of call to priestly ministry, I recall Jack’s enthusiasm and Helens wonderful smile and supportive words.

Although Jack and Helen could not attend our historic ordination in Pittsburgh on July 31 2006, we agreed to meet again when Dad and I returned to Florida.

In early January 2007 Dick and Pat Fisher, Jack and Helen, Dad and I gathered in my home in Oakwood Manor for a liturgy. Soon after that we were joined by Imogene and Michael Rigdon, and then by Carol Ann and Lee Breyer. Our fledging founding group decided to meet on Saturday evenings. We named our group Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community because we were meeting in the home that I had dedicated to Mary in 2004. Our motto was and is “all are welcome!”

Someone had the brilliant idea to put a small announcement in the Sarasota Herald Tribune newspaper which attracted a few more brave souls. Helen and Imogene welcomed everyone who walked through my door, my Dad, Jack, our music minister, played the hymns on the sax and Jack Duffy took on the car parking ministry after my neighbors complained that there were too many cars on my street in Oakwood Manor. At that time, we might have had a dozen people.

 On one occasion, Helen and Imogene decided to turn one of my empty wicker baskets into a collection plate insisting that there were some Catholic traditions that our small community would keep! After all they insisted you have to pay for the lights and air conditioning! Both Imogene and Helen were women of action.

 As our community evolved, we made decisions by a very informal process of discussion and voting. One example, I asked the group if they wanted me to wear vestments or not. They all said yes! So I wore vestments during our early years.

  Bishop Frank Dewane apparently took umbrage with our notice in the paper, posting his Court of Arms with the announcement that our Masses were not valid and Catholics should not come. That sparked the interest of journalist Tom Lyons who then write an article about our little holy shakeup. Next our local ABC affiliate filmed clips of a Mass, and interviewed Jack and me. Helen stood beside Jack, smiling and nodding her head, agreeing with everything Jack and I said. I will never forget her laughter!
(ABC news did a story on Mary, Mother of Jesus, House Church and interviewed Jack Duffy, a Venice Diocese official and Bridget Mary Meehan
The written text of our ABCnews story of Mary, Mother of Jesus, House Church is up on this site. You can also click for video:

The result of the media coverage and the dustup with the bishop was that more people showed up and we were crowded like sardines in a jar in my small house.   One of our members invited us to their home. We moved to the larger home which was located across Fruitville Rd from Bishop Franks residence,  but, after about a month we outgrew this space as well. So, we went Church shopping and had one positive response. Michael Rigdon and I were invited to meet with Pastor Phil Garrison at St. Andrew UCC.  After consulting his board, Phil welcomed us to our new home in March 2008.

Helen and my Dad, Jack, were great buddies. When Dad was hospitalized on numerous occasions, Helen and Jack came to visit. When she walked into the room, Helen was like a ray of sunshine that lifted Dads spirits.  Like Jack, Helen had great faith in the healing power of prayer, and, at the end of our visit, we would join hands and hearts to pray with Dad for strength and healing.

 I believed then and I believe now that the Risen Christ continues to speak to us through our own and others thoughts and words, especially when that voice within us, or within others moves us to greater compassion, kindness, justice and peace. All our spiritual gifts are given to build up the community of faith. I know that God touched my heart and blessed our MMOJ Community through Helen Duffy and continues to speak to us through our dear Jack.

I could go on and on with stories about Helen, who, like Mary of Magdala, was a joyful witness to the Risen Christ in our midst, but I want to leave time for your sharing which will continue at the reception in the hall.

I will conclude with this prayer of blessing.

Helen, may you sing and dance with the angels and enjoy the company of your dear family and our MMOJ friends in the Communion of Saints especially Jack, Carol Ann, Imogene , Ford, Joe, Jodie, and Ron. Amen

Chant: “Come Be Beside Us” X5

Part III:  Liturgy of Baptismal Water
Blessing of the Water
Kathryn & Seth: May God renew us and keep us faithful to the Spirit we have all received.
ALL (with arms extended):
God, our Father and Mother, we know you are with us as we recall the wonders of creation.  Bless this water that you have made a servant of your loving kindness to us.  Your Spirit, “in the beginning of the universe, hovered over the surface of the waters” so that its very substance would take on the power to sanctify.   Through water, you set your people free from bondage and quenched their thirst in the desert.  With water, your prophets announced a new covenant that you would make with humanity. By water, you made us holy by Jesus in the Jordan.  Let this water remind us of our baptism and of our covenant with all of creation.  Amen
Kathryn:  Holy people of God, through the Pascal Mystery we have been buried with Christ in Baptism and we now walk with our God in newness of life.  And so let us renew the promises that brought us to this point in our lives and will support us until we walk with our God in the next.
Hymn: “Come to the Water” #609 (during the water sharing rite)
Renewal of Baptismal Promises  (adapted from Jay Murnane)
Janet:  Let us renew the promises we made in baptism and try to fulfill in the years since.
ALL:   I promise to see what is good for my sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequality, and living with the freedom and responsibility of the family of God.

I promise to work for the realization of God’s vision of harmony and right relations among people, rejecting the idols of money, property, race, gender, and position.

I promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice in every form, and all barriers to unity.

I promise to cherish the universe and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, and water.

I believe in God, the Creator, in Jesus, the teacher of justice and love, who lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness;

I believe in the Spirit, the breath of God, who continues the work of birthing and blessing, of forgiveness and reconciliation, of challenge and hope, so that together we all can continue the work of creation.

Janet:  God has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit. May God keep us faithful to Jesus the Christ forever and ever.  Amen.
Profession of Faith

Janet: Now that we have renewed our promises originally made years ago, let us now express the beliefs that give us strength and courage today.

ALL:  We believe in God, the fountain of life, flowing through every being.   We believe in Jesus, the Risen Christ, who reflects the face of God and the fullness of humanity.  We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God in the cosmos, who calls us to love and serve without counting the cost.   We believe in our global communion with all in the circle of life.  Amen to loving actions on behalf of justice, healing, compassion and equality for all in the cycle of life.  In all of this, we surely do believe.

Part IV:  The Prayer of the Faithful
Sally:  Always mindful of God’s love and care for all creation, we bring the needs of the  people to our loving God.  Response: Loving God, hear our prayer.
Sally: For what shall we pray?
Sally: Healing God, we know that you hear our prayers.  May we celebrate our planetary oneness in our works for justice, equality, and peace.  We ask this through the risen Jesus, our brother, and the Spirit, our sanctifier.  Amen.

Part V:  Liturgy of the Eucharist
Preparation of the Gifts

Kathryn &; BMM: (raise the bread and the wine):  Ever gentle God, as co-creators of our planet, we offer you these gifts of bread, wine and our lives.  May we celebrate our oneness with all creatures, large and small, in your earthly family.  We ask this of you through Jesus, our brother, and Sophia, our wisdom.  ALL: Amen
Sally: Pray that we become more aware of our oneness in the Cosmic Christ through the grace of the Risen Jesus.
(Please join us around the altar)
ALL:  We are gathered as a community to celebrate the gift of life pulsating in the glories of Nature everywhere.

Eucharistic Prayer
Elena:  Holy One, You stirred the waters of creation, and you dwell in us.
ALL:  And in every living being.

Elena:  Lift up your hearts.
ALL:  We lift them up to our Creator in whom all are one.

Lee:  Let us give thanks for the Breath of life in all forms throughout the Universe.
ALL:  It is right to give glory to God, present everywhere and in everything, with thanks and praise.

ALL (sing):  We are holy (3x); You are holy (3x); I am holy (3x); We are holy (3x).  (Karen Drucker.)

ALL:  Holy One, we bring you these gifts that they may become the Christ Presence.  Fill us with reverence for all creatures, great and small.

ALL: (extend arms):  On the night before Jesus died, while at supper with his friends, he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them saying:  Take this all of you, and eat.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  (Pause)

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

Lee:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.

ALL:  This bread is you; this bread is me.  We are one body in communion with all creation.

Voice 1:  Christ of the Cosmos, we thank you that our bodies are made of stardust and that every place we turn, you are present, loving us.  You invite us to join the dance of creation in a mystical celebration of our oneness with all living things in your divine love.

Voice 2:  Risen Christ, we remember that it was you who said:  “Anything I have done in the name of the Creator, you can do too…and even more.”  So we remember all those in our world who are working for environmental healing, human rights and justice for all.

Voice 3:  Christ of the Cosmos, we remember Mary, mother of Jesus, faithful disciple,  and we remember St. Francis who sang canticles to brother sun and sister moon.  May we praise you in union with them and live your compassion now.

All Presiders:  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in  unity with the Holy Spirit, all glory, honor and praise to you, loving God, forever and ever.  ALL: (sung): Amen (5x)

ALL (sung): Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven….

Sign of Peace
Lee:  Risen Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you, my peace I give you.”  Look on the faith of all those gathered here.
ALL: Grant us your peace.  Help us to spread your peace throughout the world, always and everywhere, no exceptions.  Amen
Elena: May the peace of God be always with us, and we will start by offering a sign of that peace among ourselves.  Let us experience that in a group hug.
Peace hymn: “Peace is Flowing Like a River” - #535
Litany for the Breaking of the Bread

ALL: Christ of the Cosmos, may we live our oneness with you and all creation…may we work for the healing of the earth…may we celebrate justice rising up in a global communion everywhere.  Amen.


Sally:  This is the Cosmic Christ in whom all creation lives and moves and has its being.  All are invited to share in this banquet of love and celebrate our oneness with all living beings on the planet.
ALL:  We are the Body of Christ.

ALL (sing):  You are the face of God; I hold you in my heart.  You are my family; you are the face of God.  (Chant by Karen Drucker)

Communion: Instrumental-
Communion Hymn: “I am sending you light” – Mindy Lou
"I am sending you light to heal you to hold you in love."
Prayer after Communion

BMM:  Lover of the Universe, fill us with awe at your extravagant love flowing through us.  May we immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature speaking to us each day.  We ask this through our brother Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit.  ALL:  Amen.

Concluding Rite

Kathryn & Seth:  The Risen Christ is with us.  ALL: and loves through us.

ALL: Christ has come back as spring comes back out of the ground, renewing the earth with life, to be a continual renewing of life in our hearts, that we may continually renew one another’s life in his love, that we may be his Resurrection in the world.  We are the resurrection, always on going, always giving back Christ’s life to the world.
Caryll Houselander, The Risen Christ.
Closing Community Blessing

All (with arms extended):  The blessing of God is upon us as we go in the peace of the Cosmic Christ to live justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with Jesus, our Brother.    Thanks be to God.

Kathryn & Seth:  Let us go forth in peace and share the good news: The Risen Jesus is with us today and for all time.
ALL: Thanks be to God.  Let it be so!

Closing hymn: “We are Marching”
We are marching in the light of God, we are marching in the light of God.
We are marching in the light of God, we are marching in the light of God.
We are marching, we are marching, we are marching in the light of God.

We are singing in the light of God, etc.
We are dancing in the light of God, etc
We are rising in the light of God, etc.

Proceed to the Fellowship Hall immediately following liturgy for dinner,
compliments of the Duffy family. 

Jack Duffy and Bridget Mary Meehan