Sunday, November 1, 2020

Mass of Resurrection for Michele Birch Conery ARCWP on Nov. 1, 2020

 Mass of Resurrection

Sunday, Nov 1, 2020 - 2 pm EST (Zoom)

In honor of 

Michele Birch-Conery, Bishop ARCWP

Aug 3, 1939 - Oct 11, 2020

Video of Liturgy:

Michele Birch-Conery

Bishop, Sept 24, 2015, Pendle Hill, Pennsylvania

Priest, July 25, 2005, Gananoque, Ontario

Deacon, June 26, 2004, Passau, Germany

Mass of Resurrection

Introductory Rites

Welcoming Remarks:  Bridget Mary Meehan (Bishop, ARCWP)

Michele Birch-Conery: Celebration of Life (video created by Mary Theresa Streck, Priest, ARCWP)

Gathering Song:  The Deer’s Cry – (The Breastplate of St. Patrick) by Angelina; sung by Joanna Novosedlik, accompanied by Michael Oddy

I arise today, through the strength of heaven,
Light of sun, radiance of moon, splendor of fire
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind, depth of the sea, stability of earth,
firmness of rock, 
I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me.
God's eye look before me, 
God's wisdom to guide me,
God’s way to lie before me, 
God's shield to protect me.
From all who shall wish me ill, 
afar and a-near,
Alone and in a multitude.
Against every cruel merciless power,
That may oppose my body and soul.

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 when I rise, Christ to shield me. 
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me.
I arise today.

Barbara:  In Your Name, Our Creator, Source of All Being, of Jesus, who lights our way, of Wisdom Holy Spirit who stirs our hearts: grace, love and peace are with us.

ALL:  We give thanks and praise.

Rhea:  Cosmic Christ, Your Light Presence infuses the Universe.  Receive us in the openness of Your compassionate heart as we gather in this community of friendship to praise you, and to celebrate the life and resurrection of our beloved sister and Bishop, Michele Birch-Conery.

Sharon:  In her baptism, Michele was given a share in the death and resurrection of Christ.  As we gather today to celebrate the mystery of our faith, we receive the cremated remains of our sister, and we pray that she will feast forever at the eternal banquet table of Eucharistic Love.

Barbara: (sprinkling of urn with holy water) In baptism, Michele shared in the death and resurrection of Your Wisdom Jesus, Sophia Christ.  May she now be welcomed into the glory of Your Eternal life.

Prayer of Healing and Reconciliation

Jen H:  Creator God, Holy Mother Wisdom, in the life of Your cosmos, You determined that light should rise from darkness, and the stars and the sun came to be. 

Suzanne M:  We live in night and we live in day.  As in the outer world, so it is in our inner selves.

Teresa:  We are awake and we sleep in the rhythms of the hours, and we know joy and sorrows.

Kathy:  There is never one without the other in the span of a lifetime, because of the ultimate freedom You have given for all persons and all creation.  

Sharon:  In everyone, in everything, the dark and the light flourish.

Marg:  We ask You that we not perish in the darkness of too much dark, or in the lightness of too much light, but that all be held in balance for the good of all.

Sydney:  We take a few moments of silence to reflect upon our times of light and dark, how we have experienced Your presence therein.  (a few moments of silence)

Jeni:  Pour forth Your Spirit upon us that we may always witness You in light and in dark.

Karen:  Merciful Jesus, we know you accept us even when our choices have not been in harmony with Your Way.  

Barbara:  We trust Your healing and reconciliation within and with others, as promised and given to us by Your Son, Jesus.

ALL:  Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading:  Isaiah 9:2-4, 6,7

Sydney Condray (Priest, ARCWP)

Responsorial:  Psalm 

Silvia Brandon-Perez (Priest, ARCWP)

Second Reading: Romans 8:35, 37-39

Marie Bouclin (Bishop retired, RCWP Canada) 

ALL:  Celtic Alleluia

Gospel:  John 21: 1-13

Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger (Bishop, RCWP)

Homily:  Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Karen Kerrigan ARCWP and Diane Dougherty

              Priests, ARCWP (followed by a period of silence)


by Michele Birch-Conery


I hear you everywhere, diva

of the long note held

into improvisation. Virtuoso

of contained response,

self-possession, of the lyric

of wise action, your recitative

moves me deeper than memory.

In my silence, thin as the cuticle 

of the waxing moon, Firebird, 

you raise me, again and again, from the ashes 

my spent lives. Your patience 

is beyond reach, Pheonix, 

heart of my being. 


You are Hawk, Eagle, Raven. 

Where spruce thins to tundra 

you are Arctic Tern. 

Cormorant, Shearwater, Great 

Blue, your shadow seeks 

my shadow, your spirit 

mine. Feather 

on the breath of God 

you are Hildegard, 

Mechtilde, Catherine. 

Brigit of the sacred waters, 

Triple Goddess, I come


from your well restored.

Profession of Faith

Jen H:  We believe, God, that You are Divine Mystery present in all creation, in each moment, and in every breath.

Suzanne M:  We believe Jesus, that You are God’s Word made flesh, healer and prophet, for a new way of compassion, justice and service to all.

Teresa:  We believe, Risen Christ, in Your in-dwelling Holy Spirit that lived in Your companions and lives in us.

Kathy:  We believe, God, that Your Kin-dom is here and now, and that we are called to see it, receive it, and to serve You as prophets and mystics.

Prayer of the Faithful -composed by Karen Kerrigan (Priest, ARCWP)

Cantor: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Sharon: God of life, we ask for your healing power and unwavering help for those who are enduring chronic illness.  In addition, we pray for those with hearing and vision loss, as well as their companions and caretakers. We especially hold out to you the vulnerable people as the coronavirus continues. Let us sing:

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Marg: We likewise, hold with love the grief of people who are close to Michele and others who have recently lost loved ones.  We embrace the joy of their resurrection and the memories of their lives well-lived. May we know one another’s companionship and God’s Love in the moments of great sadness and loneliness ahead. Let us sing:

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Sydney: God of compassion and grace, we share with you our love and concern for the Heart of Compassion and all of our communities, nations, and our world. We remember Michele had dual Canadian and American citizenship as we pray for The People of The United States and The World in the event of the US Presidential Election on Tuesday and its aftermath.  Let us sing:

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Jeni: For we hold in our hearts all the people including our friends and loved ones who are victims of violence, unemployment, poverty, inequality, marginalization and hatred.  We especially pray for Michele’s sister Bishop Olga. We pray that they will find Your strength in the compassion and love of the people and nations of good-will around them. We pray for more than just tolerance with deep compassion in our society. Let us sing: 

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Karen: In loving memory of Michele, we pray for growth, peace and unity in our diversity with The World-Wide Women Priest Movement as well as the entire Church.  We especially pray for those in preparation, and those not on the path to ordination.  May future generations be inspired, encouraged, empowered, and know we are Christians by our practices of love and equality with each other and beyond. Let us sing:

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Jen H: In a special way we pray for the people, land and waters of Vancouver Island and all of British Columbia, The Pacific Ocean, Windsor, the Provinces of Alberta and Ontario, The Great Lakes Region, The States of Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Washington, and Iowa and the indigenous peoples from all the places that Michele called home. Let us sing:

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Suzanne M: Similarly, we pray for the people and places that Michele’s Bishop ministry has touched, including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, Ohio, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, and Illinois. Furthermore, we pray for the nations and corporations of North America that they will act justly for the sake of the people, land, water, air and climate with the 7th generation in the future in mind. We pray for all of Mother Earth.  Let us sing:

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Teresa: Finally, God of love and hope, we pray for those in most need of healing, protection and strength right now.  Similarly, we pray for those who have felt disappointment and unfinished conversations that they may know peace and contentment. We pray especially for those feeling the deep loss of Michele, our dear companion, sister and friend. Let us sing:

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Kathy: Renew in us a deeper sense of who we are, for it is in you that all things hold together. Help us as we move forward from this moment to be aware of your presence each and every day. Make us instruments of love, justice and peace for all.  May our words, actions and lives be living examples of your forgiving, healing, life-giving love.  Let us sing:

All: Wisdom Sophia fall afresh, and reveal yourself to us.

Litany of Saints (contemporary version to Becker melody, recreated by Bishop Michele Birch-Conery and Barbara Billey, Priest - ARCWP)

Cantors:  Dennis McDonald (Priest, ARCWP)

               Mary Eileen Collingwood (Bishop, ARCWP) 

In the Fire of Creation: Wisdom empower us.

In the vision of Your rising: Christ transform us.

In the light of Your knowing: Holy Spirit lead us.

Abraham and Sarah: Pray for us.

Moses, Aaron and Miriam: Pray for us.

Ruth and Naomi: Pray for us.

Deborah, Esther and Judith: Pray for us.

Mary and Joseph: Pray for us.

Anna and Elizabeth: Pray for us.

Zachariah and John the Baptist: Pray for us.

Stephen and Ignatius: Pray for us.

ALL:  All you holy men and women pray for us!

Mary Magdalene: Pray for us.

Joanna and Susanna: Pray for us.

Mark, Luke and Matthew: Pray for us.

Mary and Martha: Pray for us.

Peter and Paul: Pray for us.

James, John and Andrew: Pray for us.

Lydia and Felicity: Pray for us.

Priscilla and Aquila: Pray for us.

ALL:  All you holy men and women pray for us!

Deacon Phoebe and Junia: Pray for us.

Sophie and Eugenia: Pray for us.

Paula and Basillissa: Pray for us.

Appolonia and Anastashia: Pray for us.

Priests Flavia and Leta: Pray for us.

Kale and Vitalia: Pray for us.

Epikto and Artimadora: Pray for us.

Guilia Runa: Pray for us.

ALL:  All you holy men and women pray for us!

Bishop Theodora: Pray for us.

Alexsandra and Veneranda: Pray for us.

Maria Venerabilis: Pray for us.

Brigid of Kildare: Pray for us. 

Michele Birch-Conery: Pray for us.

Julian of Norwich: Pray for us.

Hildegard of Bingen: Pray for us.

Catherine of Siena: Pray for us.

ALL:  All you holy men and women pray for us!

Saint Therese of Lisieux: Pray for us.

Maximilian Kolbe: Pray for us.

Teresa of Avila: Pray for us.

Blessed Marie Rose: Pray for us.

Kateri Tekakwitha: Pray for us.

Elizabeth Ann Seton: Pray for us.

John XXIII: Pray for us.

Oscar Romero: Pray for us.

ALL:  All you holy men and women pray for us!

James and John: Pray for us.

Rose, Leo and Eddy: Pray for us.

Berte and James: Pray for us.

Ruby, Tish and Joan: Pray for us.

JoAnn and Leona: Pray for us.

Madeleine and Tine: Pray for us.

Mary and David: Pray for us.

All Writers and Poets: Pray for us.

ALL:  All you holy men and women pray for us!

Mary and Janine: Pray for us.

Mary Ann: Pray for us.

Adele and Alta: Pray for us.

Maureen and Judy: Pray for us.

Ruth and Claire: Pray for us.

Regina and Iris: Pray for us.

Catherine: Pray for us.

Adelinde: Pray for us.

Intensify Your Spirit: Hear our prayer.

Inspire us onward: Hear our prayer.

By the graces of Baptism: Hear our prayer.

Of Ordination and Eucharist: Hear our prayer.

Send us Your Spirit: Hear our prayer.

In all fullness: Hear our prayer.

Pour forth Your Love: Hear our prayer.

We are Your people: Hear our prayer.

ALL:  Wisdom Jesus, Christ Sophia, hear our prayer. (x2)

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Veni Sancte Spiritus – sung by Joanna Novosedlik, accompanied by Michael Oddy                                  

Preparation of the Gifts

Barbara:  Blessed are You, Beloved Creator, through the generosity of Your self-giving we have this bread to offer, gift of the earth and created by our hands. This food, nourishing our body and spirit, unites You intimately within and among us.

ALL: Blessed are You, blessed are we, blessed are all. 

Rhea: Blessed are you, Beloved Creator, through Your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and created by our hands. This spiritual drink renews us in the promises of Your covenant of love with us.

ALL:  Blessed are You, blessed are we, blessed are all. 

Barbara: Indwelling Spirit, we are united in this sacred meal by the love of Jesus Christ, in communion with Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala and all the Saints. We go forward with them in Your unceasing love for us.

ALL: We offer these gifts for our good and the good of all Your people.

Rhea: Indwelling Spirit, You reveal Yourself through Jesus Christ who shows us how to live steadily in faith and courage that we may offer hope to all. Receive us and these gifts as we remember who we are in You. 

ALL: Amen. 

Prayers of the Eucharist

Sharon:  Risen Christ, light with us.

ALL: Radiant Presence with us.

Marg: With gratitude, we lift up our hearts as we come to the table of Love.

ALL: We thank and praise You.

Sydney: Thank You for Jesus who courageously lived Your vision, who set us free to be one with You.  

Jeni: In the Spirit of the Risen Christ, we know our loving actions become a share in Your life.  

Karen: We join with the Saints of all times as they and we sing forever to your glory 

ALL Sing: We are Holy, Holy, Holy (repeat 3 times) ... We are one.

Invocation of the Holy Spirit

Barbara: Jesus, before Your death You gathered Your friends to share bread and wine. We, too, come as Your friends to receive You and to be Your presence. Send forth Your Spirit upon us.  

ALL: Loving Creator, intensify the presence of Your Spirit upon these our gifts, as they, and we, become one with You in Jesus, our Risen Christ.

In Your Presence

Barbara and ALL: 

Jesus, on the night before You died, while at supper with Your friends. You took the bread and spoke the blessing. You broke the bread and offered it to them.  You said:

 Take and eat; this is my Presence with You.

 (All bow and pause)

Rhea and ALL: 

When supper was ended, You took the cup of wine.

You spoke the blessing and offered the cup to them.  You said:

    Take and drink of the covenant made new again through 

 you. Do this in memory of me.   (All bow and pause)

Eucharistic Acclamation

Jen H: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

All:  In every creature that has ever breathed, Christ has lived; in every living being that has passed on before us, Christ has died; in everything yet to be, Christ will come again.  

Suzanne M: Beloved One, as we celebrate Your life, death and resurrection, we offer You the bread of life and the cup of hope, for the life of all creation.

Teresa: We know that in receiving You we are gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.

Kathy:  One with all creation, we remember those who have died and are now with us in the Communion of Saints, and with our beloved Michele.  (A moment of silence)

ALL: Through Christ, with Christ and in Christ, now and forever. 

ALL Sing: Great Amen

Prayer Given to Us by Jesus: (Translated from Aramaic by Neil Douglas Klotz with adaptations by Barb Billey and Michele Birch-Conery)

Barbara:  O Birther!  Father-Mother of the Cosmos,

All:    Create your reign of unity now through our fiery hearts

         and willing hands.

  Help us love beyond our ideals,

 and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.

  Animate the earth within us so we then feel

 the Wisdom underneath supporting all.

  Untangle the knots within so that we can mind our hearts’

                simple ties to each other.

  Don’t let surface things delude us.

  Free us from what holds us from our true purpose.

  From You all comes and returns:

  Astonishing fire, returning light and sound of the cosmos. 


The Sign of Peace

Barbara:  As we share this virtual space among us, we celebrate our Creator’s fruitful love. I invite us to offer a gesture of blessing to one another with joy.  May the peace that our brother, Jesus, offers, be always with us!


Barbara: Let us break our bread and pray:

ALL:  Loving Creator, we will live justly.

         Loving Creator, we will love tenderly.

         Loving Creator, we will walk with integrity.

Barbara:  Jesus Christ, You dwell in us.  You liberate, heal and transform us and all of creation.                                                                                                                       

Rhea: Blessed are You who provides food and drink for the journey.


ALL: We are one Body of Christ, worthy to receive You and ready to be healed by You. We desire to become what we eat.

Celebrants: The Gifts of God for the People of God.  You are now invited to eat and drink from your plates and cups in union with one another, as we listen to our Communion Meditation.

Communion Song: Pie Jesu – sung by Joanna Novosedlik, accompanied by Michael Oddy (A few moments of silence)

Prayer after Communion

Barbara:  Creator God of our heritage, Creative Energy of eternal presence, You light the universe with Your gracious love. 

Sharon: Radiant Compassion alive in the heart of Jesus, we thank You for the depth of Your transforming love. 

Marg: You live in every moment of our dying and of our rising. You live in the rising of our Michele. You live in this and all communities of persons.

Sydney: Indwelling Spirit, in union with all Your people, we offer our hearts and spirits in being Your way of justice and peace. 

ALL: We are Your Way, Your Truth and Your Life.

Final Commendation

Jeni:  Jesus Christ Sophia, we go in Your infinite light and love. Let us take leave of our sister, Michele. May our farewell from this life express our affection for her; may it ease our sadness and strengthen our hope. 

Karen: One day we will joyfully meet her again when Your love, Christ, which conquers all darkness, destroys even death itself. Let us console one another in faith and hope in our beloved Heart of Compassion International community, and in our international movement of women priests. Let us continue as Michele has taught us to be companions of compassion and midwives of hospitality in difference.

Barbara: (We raise our candles


Our beloved sister, Michele, we believe that you are with us in Eternal Presence and in the Communion of Saints. We surround your cremated remains with the light of our candles and with the light of our hearts. While we profoundly miss you, we walk in your pioneer spirit to continue, as you have faithfully begun, the prophetic work of justice for equality and inclusivity in our Roman Catholic Church. This we entrust to You, Beloved Mystery, Risen Christ and Sophia Spirit.

Final Blessing  

Bridget Mary Meehan:  Jesus Christ Sophia, we leave this celebration of the life and resurrection of Michele in Your infinite light and love. With one hand over our hearts and the other extended toward one another, we pray:

ALL:  In gratitude we came embraced by boundless love.

     In gratitude we celebrated Michele’s life and legacy.

  In gratitude we are one in You, with Michele and with all 

         the Saints in the great Cloud of Witnesses, forever and 

         ever.  Amen

Closing Song: For Everyone Born, a Place at the Table – written by Rev. Shirley Erena Murray; sung by Joanna Novosedlik; accompanied by Michael Oddy

For everyone born, a place at the table,

for everyone born, clean water and bread,

a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing,

for everyone born, a star overhead,

                and God will delight when we are creators

                of justice and joy, compassion and peace:

                yes, God will delight when we are creators

                of justice, justice and joy!


For woman and man, a place at the table,

revising the roles, deciding the share,

with wisdom and grace, dividing the power,

for woman and man, a system that's fair,

                and God will delight when we are creators

                of justice and joy, compassion and peace:

                yes, God will delight when we are creators

                of justice, justice and joy!

For young and for old, a place at the table,

a voice to be heard, a part in the song,

the hands of a child in hands that are wrinkled,

for young and for old, the right to belong,

                and God will delight when we are creators

                of justice and joy, compassion and peace:

                yes, God will delight when we are creators

                of justice, justice and joy!


For just and unjust, a place at the table,

abuser, abused, with need to forgive,

in anger, in hurt, a mindset of mercy,

for just and unjust, a new way to live,

                and God will delight when we are creators

                of justice and joy, compassion and peace:

                yes, God will delight when we are creators

                of justice, justice and joy!

For gay and for straight, a place at the table,

a covenant shared, a welcoming space,

a rainbow of race and gender and colour,

for gay and for straight, the chalice of grace,

               and God will delight when we are creators

               of justice and joy, compassion and peace:

               yes, God will delight when we are creators

               of justice, justice and joy!


For everyone born, a place at the table,

to live without fear, and simply to be,

to work, to speak out, to witness and worship,

for everyone born, the right to be free,

                and God will delight when we are creators

                of justice and joy, compassion and peace:

                yes, God will delight when we are creators

                of justice, justice and joy!


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