Saturday, June 1, 2019

MMOJ Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, Ascension. June 1, 2019, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Dotty Shugrue ARCWP, Music Minister Linda Lee Miller

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP holding plate and Dotty Shugrue ARCWP holding cup at Mary Mother of Jesus Ascension Liturgy

Theme: The Spirit fills us with power to be God’s witnesses to all.

Welcome and Greeting

Presider: Welcome to Mary, Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome to share Eucharist at the Banquet Table.   We use inclusive language in our Scripture readings and prayers.   We invite respectful sharing at the homily that is related to our readings. We welcome all of you to share your intentions at the Prayers of the Faithful. In the Eucharistic Prayer we invite anyone to ‘voice’ one of the prayers if you are comfortable doing so and all pray the words of Consecration.   We welcome all newcomers and we are so pleased that you joined us today. All are invited to join us for supper after the liturgy.

Presider: In our Ascension liturgy we celebrate Spirit Presence clothing us with power to guide us so that we will be empowered to courageously witness the Gospel as we serve one another in mutual care as the face of God in our world.

Gathering Song: The Spirit is a’moving #447 (all verses)

Penitential Rite:
Presider: Let us pause now to offer forgiveness and pray for healing of all that blocks from opening ourselves relying on the power of God working within us, moving through us and loving others.
(Sing) Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on us, melt us, mold us, fill us, use us. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us. ( sing 3 times)

Sing Gloria: Glory to God, glory, o praise God alleluia, glory to God, glory, O praise and alleluia. (3 times)

Opening prayer
All: We rejoice because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit of God dwelling within us. On this feast of Ascension, we celebrate your promise that we will be wrapped in a mantle of boundless love to serve our sisters and brothers each day in our world. Alleluia.

First Reading:  Acts 1:1-11

Mary Al Gagnon

Responsorial: Psalm 104
Response: Veni-Sancte Spiritus

Bless the Radiant One, O my soul
O Heart of my Heart, you are so great!
You are clothed with justice and mercy
Arrayed in light as your fine attire
Response: Veni Sancte Spiritus

O you who know all hearts,
How manifold are your works
In wisdom you have created them all,
The earth is filled with your creatures.
Response: Veni Sancte Spiritus

The glory of the Radiant One endures forever,
for the works of love are sure.
You are ever present to us,
Even as the earth trembles,
Even as the mountains spew forth
Ashes and smoke.
Response: Veni Sancte Spiritus

May our meditation reflect Your glory.
For we rejoice and are glad in you.
Praise the Creator of the Universe!
Bless the Heart of our hearts.
As we light the flame of love everywhere we go.
Amen, Alleluia (Adapted from Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill)

Response: Veni Sancte Spiritus

Ana Davis

Second Reading:  Abiding Word,  Barbara Reid
In her book, Wouldnt Take Nothing for My Journey Now,  poet Laureate Maya Angelous tells of her memory of her grandmother who raised her in the little town of Stamps. Arkansas. She describes her as a “a tall cinnamon-colored woman with a deep soft voice,” whose difficult life caused her to rely utterly on the power of  God. Angelou envisioned Mamma “ standing thousands of feet up in the air on nothing visible,” the she would draw herself up to her full six feet, clasp her hands behind her back, look up into a distant sky ad declare, “ I will step out on the word of God.” Maya continues, “She would look up as if she could will herself into the heavens and tell her family in particular and the world in general, “I will step out on the word of God.’”  "Immediately,” Angela recalls, “I could see her flung into space, moons at her feet and stars at her head, comets swirling around her. Naturally, it wasn’t difficult for me to have faith. I grew up knowing that the word of God has power. (pp. 73-74)

In her commentary on today’s readings, Barbara Reid, biblical scholar writes. "we have similar images of Jesus “taken up” into the sky, having spent an earthly lifetime stepping out on the word of God. The disciples want to know if now the time that he is going to restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6) . they have hopes and expectations for the future fixed in past experiences of God’s saving hand in their history. Jesus does not directly answer their question, but point them to the power of the Holy Spirit, with which they will be clothed. This power will guide them so that they will be able to step out on the word that has been entrusted to them, courageously witnessing to the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. As Jesus himself learned in his earthly sojourn, the what and the when of the mission cannot fully be known, but only the Who that wraps them in the mantle of divine love.
What Jesus instructs the disciples to proclaim is that God holds out to all people the priceless raiment f divine forgiveness and asks in return only that they let themselves be clothed with power from on high to turn away from anything that stands between them and the divine clothier. Disciples are not to stand looking  up into the sky; gazing after the One who has now been taken up. Their work is to teach others that same trust in the power of the word to uphold them and clothe them with power. Although Luke depicts the ascension as a separate event that occurs forty days after the resurrection, in the first centuries the church did not treat it either in its writings or in its liturgies as a separate happening from the resurrection. Rather, the passion, death, resurrection, ascension, glorification, and giving of the Spirit as are all various  facets of one moment. Luke, in fact, as we see in today's readings, tells the story of the ascension twice : once at the end of the gospel, as occurring on the day of resurrection, and again at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, as happening forty days later. It is one grand act of God, one word on which we step out, one power that clothes us, until the day we too taken into the divine realm forever " 
( Barbara Reid, Abiding Word, p. 45)

Alleluia (eightfold)

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP
Gospel: Luke 24:46-53

Homily Starter: Dotty Shugrue ARCWP

Dotty Shugrue ARCWP
The Feast of the Ascension 2019

One theme of the Liturgy today is our call to “Step Out on the Word of God”.  The two scripture readings bring together the final experience of the apostles of their time with the Risen Christ…what they were seeing and believing as told to us in this story format.  

Similarly, Maya, a 21st century poet/prophet, reflects on her experience growing up with her grandmother.  Maya develops a vision of her faith through the words her grandmother often said”  “I will step out on the word of God.”  These words gave power to the force of both their faiths.

These simple words imply a space of “not knowing” and that is where faith resides.  Maya grew up in at environment of strong women and deep faith.  The two scripture readings give us a message of the force of the power of the Spirit the apostles will receive.  It is what will empower them to “step out on the the Word of God….”  “You will receive power and become my witnesses” in the Acts and “remain in the city until you are clothed with the power from on high” in the Gospel.

So the question not so hidden in our Liturgical readings today Is “How do we step out on the Word of God and claim the power that transforms both us and our world.?

Shared Homily: How do you experience the divine power that clothes you in divine love to witness the Gospel?

Statement of Faith 
All: We believe in one God, a divine mystery beyond all definition and rational understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist. 
We believe in Jesus, messenger of God’s Word, bringer of God’s healing, heart of God’s compassion, bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints. 
We believe that we are called to follow the Holy Spirit who comes with Her call to Holiness, our source of God’s wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God’s peace in the world. 
We believe that God’s kindom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and willing minds and hands to make the kindom present in our time and place. May we become joyful saints in our times. Amen

Prayers of the Community:
Presider : On this feast we celebrate the power of God to uphold us in our call to spread the good news of divine love healing and transforming us and our world.
Our Response is Holy Spirit, you clothe us with power to live the Gospel.
Presider : For what else should we pray? (Community prayers) 
Presider : Healing God, you faithfully accompany us as we reach out in love to those who need prayer, those we say aloud and those we hold in our hearts.  As always, we make our prayer in the names of Jesus the Christ, and Spirit Sophia, our Wisdom.  Amen.

 Offertory Song: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kindom  #408

Liturgy of the Eucharist
Offertory: Presentation of the bread and wine 
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, these prayers of the heart, and our own lives to offer.  Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers.
All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider : All are welcome to join us around the table.

Presider : My sisters and brothers, these gifts give glory to the Holy One. All: Sophia Holy Spirit we remember your coming to us at baptism and confirmation and remember your presence enfolding us with spiritual power. May we all become one in love as we celebrate this holy meal.  We do this in memory of our brother, Jesus. Amen.

Voice 1: O Divine Flame of Love, your glowing embers dance in our hearts. Your passionate presence kindles our souls. You purify us with the searing truth that ignites our spirits. As the glowing embers of a fire penetrate the cold around us, so your tenderness sets our hearts aglow. We celebrate your nearness this day as we remember your Pentecost miracles. 

Voice 2: The wind of your life has blown across our world in the gentle breezes and thunder storms of your vision in your prophets and visionaries among us. We praise and exalt you forever with grateful hearts as we sing: 

Holy, Holy, Holy – Karen Drucker

We are Holy, Holy, Holy, we are whole; You are Holy, Holy, Holy, you are whole. I am Holy, Holy, Holy, I am whole.  We are Holy, Holy, Holy, we are whole.

Eucharistic Prayer:
Voice 3: Passionate God, you kindle your fire of enthusiasm for our mission within us. You speak to us with assurance and excitement and reveal to us the infinite, boundless, depths of your love for us.

Voice 4: You awaken us to your promises to be always present in our lives, no matter what the obstacles or setbacks we experience. Your Spirit fills us with such a hunger and thirst for holiness that our words and actions encourage others to become living signs of your love working for justice. You give us eyes to see human needs, hearts to care for our sisters and brothers and hands and feet to lighten others burdens.  In this way we walk our unique path to holiness and wholeness. 

 Invocation of the Holy Spirit (extend you hand in blessing)
All: You bless us O Holy One and you enliven all that exists. You transform these gifts of bread and wine, and our lives, by boundless grace that nourish and sustains us on our journey of our mission to be the face of God in our world.

Presider : On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions. He reminded them of what he taught them and bent down and washed their feet. Jesus returned to his place at the table, lifted the Passover bread and spoke the blessing, and then broke the break with these words,

 All: Take and eat, this is my very self. 

Presider: Jesus then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine with these words: 

All: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life for you and for everyone. Whenever you do this, you remember me. 

Presider: Let us proclaim the mystery of wonder in our midst: 

All: Jesus who walks with us on the path of holiness, you are the spark of love in whom we believe; the Wisdom of Sophia in whom we trust; and the desire for justice that consumes us. 

Voice 5: As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember our political and religious leaders, especially Pope Francis, and our Bishop Bridget Mary. We remember the communion of saints who have gone before us and all who have inspired and loved us. 
(pause to mention names).  

Voice 6: May our hearts be joyful as we dream new dreams and see new visions on our path to holiness. May we recognize Christ present in every person we encounter. May we, like Jesus, become Spirit Fire, as we fan the flames of love in our families, communities, country and all over the world.  

(Co-Presiders hold up bread and wine.)
All: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we find our mission, that we awaken to your Spirit within moving us to glorify you through lives of holiness. Today at this time and in this place and always.  Amen

Communion Rite:
Prayer of Jesus
Presider : Let us join hands and pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us. “Our Father and Mother…” 

Sign of Peace  
Presider : Let us hold hands and sing “Peace is flowing like a river…, Joy is flowing…Alleluia. 

Prayer for the Breaking of the Bread 
Presider : Please join in praying the prayer for the breaking of the bread: 

All: Loving God, You call us to be the face of God in our world.
We will do so.    
Loving God, you call us to use our gifts to build inclusive communities.
We will do so.
 Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power.
We will do so.
 (Co-Presiders hold up bread and wine)

Presider : Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. We are a spark of the Divine and God’s love fills our hearts. 
All: We are the Body and Blood of Christ for the world. 

Communion Hymn/Meditation: Spirit Come, #453
Prayer After Communion: Spontaneous Thanksgiving
Introductions and Announcements

Final Blessing (all extend their hands in blessing)
May Spirit Energy ignite us to be a flame of love in our world.
May Spirit Love reconcile and heal all divisions.
May Spirit Peace enliven us in prophetic obedience.
Together, we are one in Christ, loving and serving God’s holy people.
Amen Alleluia.

Recessional: We are marching/loving/dancing in the Light of God 

Liturgy adapted from Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP and Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP

Mary Sue Barnett ARCWP: Report on Roy Bourgeois Presentation, Screening for Pink Smoke Over the Vatican at the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary and Photos of Demonstration for Women's Ordination outside Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville, Kentucky

On May 14 a screening for Pink Smoke Over the Vatican was held at the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary. Roy Bourgeois spoke candidly of the misogyny of the hierarchy, their addiction to power,  and how they bully women. He calls for more awareness and for active resistance against the woman-hating. 
I spoke about the women priest movement as feminist, democratic, and celebratory of the sacramentality of women’s lives. I explained that women priests do not see themselves as ontologically different or better and that our Eucharistic theology emphasizes the power of the Holy One ( the Spirit, Divine Feminine) in the communal experience of the presence of Christ. Lastly, I explained that our liturgical garb symbolizes profound renewal of the church, not imitation of the male domination. Our liturgical garb also symbolizes our many compassionate ministries on the margins with neglected, stigmatized people. 

On May 25, Bob Eiden demonstrated with friend Clifton outside the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville before the ordination of three men to the priesthood. Bob commented that most of the negative reactions to their demonstration came from women. Sadly, this happens very often as Catholic women interiorize the misogyny, devaluing their own sacral worthiness and that of other women. 

Roy Bourgeois

Roy Bourgeois and Mary Sue Barnett ARCWP

Roy, Mary Sue, Bob