Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Enduring Traditions of St. Brigid's Day Susan Byron , My favorite story- St. Brigid, Bishop- An Irish Woman Leads and Ministers in Double Monastery of Women and Men in Kildare

@IrishCentral Jan 31, 2020
St. Brigid's feast day on February 1 is also known as Imbolc, a celebration for the ancient Celtic goddess Brigid.

Spring in Ireland traditionally starts on St Brigid's Day, February 1. However, this may not be entirely historically accurate as it is a celebration with roots a long way back in pre-Christian times, some 6,000 years ago, when no written tradition existed.
Read More:  The enduring traditions of St. Brigid's Day
It is said that the Irish never let the truth get in the way of a good story. And so the story goes, that when St. Brigid was trying to wrestle enough land from the high king of Leinster to build her monastery in Kildare, he said that she could have as much land as her cloak would cover. Whereupon Brigid laid down her cloak and it magically spread out to cover several hundred acres.
Beannachtaí na feile Bride - "greetings of the feast day of Brigid on you." In other words, "Happy St. Brigid's Day!"
My favorite story of St. Brigid is her ordination as a bishop!
(Praying with Celtic Holy Women by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver)
Brigit’s previous authority as a high priestess may explain why Saint Mel, bishop of Ardagh, is said to have ordained her a bishop. The Irish Life of Brigit describes it this way: “When the hour of consecration had arrived, the veil was raised by angels from the hand of Mac Caille, the minister, and was placed on Saint Brigit’s head. As she bent down during the prayers she held the ash beam which supported the altar, which was later changed into acacia, which is neither consumed by fire nor grows old during the passing of the centuries.” Bishop Mel, Saint Patrick’s nephew, who presided at the ceremony said: “Come, O holy Brigit, that a veil may be placed on your head before the other virgins.”

Then, being filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Bishop Mel read the form of ordaining a bishop over Brigit. While she was being consecrated, a brilliant fiery flame ascended from her head. Mac Caille, Bishop Mel’s assistant, complained that a bishop’s rank was bestowed on a woman. Bishop Mel argued: “But I do not have any power in this matter. That dignity has been given by God to Brigit beyond every other woman. Only this virgin in the whole of Ireland will hold the episcopal ordination.” Bishop Mel seems to say that only the abbesses of Kildare could be ordained bishop. Brigit’s successors would continue to have high-level authority in the Irish Church. Indeed, other Irish bishops customarily sat at the feet of Brigid’s successors until the Synod of Kells ended this custom in 1152. This monastic bishop was peculiar to Irish law, and indicated the powerful positions in the Irish Church of abbots and abbesses of the great monasteries. (This quote is from Oliver Davies (ed), Celtic Spirituality, New York: Paulist Press, 1999.)

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Presentation of Jesus in the Temple - February 1, 2020 Presiders: Janet Blakeley, ARCWP and Sally Brochu, ARCWP and Community: Music Minister: Linda Lee Miller Lectors: Mary Al Gagnon and Katy Zatsick, ARCWP

Presider:  Welcome to Mary, Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome to share Eucharist at our 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 at a local restaurant after the liturgy.
Gathering Song: “I Love You, God” X3
I love you, God, and I lift my voice, to worship you, O my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, my God, in what you hear: may it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.

Sign of Peace: Presider: Before we begin our liturgy, please turn to one another and extend a sign of peace.
                           “Prayer for Peace” by David Haas - Instrumental

Opening Prayer:
(Pause briefly and reflect on the need to grow more in love with others and with creation.)
Presider:  God of all Goodness, we come to you today in prayer and thanksgiving, aware of your remarkable and unconditional love for us. Grant us the desire and wisdom to live each day in reaching out to all whom we meet, with compassion, love and acceptance. AMEN.
Gloria: Glory to God, Glory, O Praise God Alleluia. Glory to God, Glory, O praise the name of our God.
                                                             LITURGY OF THE WORD

First Reading: Book of Genesis – The first account of Creation – Ch 1: 26 – 31
This first reading of the first account of creation is taken from Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, verses 26 – 31. God created all the beauty of the universe: light, water, all vegetation, night and day, all living creatures and saw that God’s beautiful creation was “good”. Then God created humankind.

Then God said “Let us make humankind in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be stewards of all the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.
God created humankind in their image, in the image of God they created them - male and female, God created them.
God blessed them, saying to them “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth. Be stewards of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth. God said, “See, we give you all the seed-bearing plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; and this shall be your food. And so it was. God saw all they created, and indeed it was very good. Evening came and morning followed: the sixth day. Thus, the heavens and earth were completed with all their array.
These are the inspired word from the Book of Genesis, and we affirm them by saying “AMEN”.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm #24 – (As adapted by Nan Merrill)

Refrain: The earth is yours, O Giver of Life, in all its fulness and glory.
Who shall ascend your hill, O Gracious One?                                                                                                                 And who shall stand in your holy place?                                                                                                                                   All these will be blessed by the Heart of Love, and renewed through forgiveness.

Refrain: The earth is yours, O Giver of Life, in all its fulness and glory.
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors!                                                                                 that the Compassionate One may come in.

Who is the Compassionate One? The Beloved, Heart of your heart, Life of your life, this is the Compassionate One!

Refrain: The earth is yours, O Giver of Life, in all its fulness and glory.

Second Reading:  Book of Malachi 3: 1-4
The Book of Malachi was written in the 5th century BC. Malachi is not the personal name of the writer, but a name that means “my messenger”.  This book is short and is the last of the Book of Prophets, Malachi being seen as a Minor Prophet.
Behold, I am sending my messenger
            to prepare the way before me;
            and the Sovereign One you are seeking
            will suddenly enter the Temple –
            the messenger of God’s promises whom you long for
            is surely coming, says Our God of Hosts.
Who will be able to resist the day of your coming?
            Who will remain standing when you appear?
For you are like the refiner’s fire,
            like the fuller’s lye.
You will sit like a refiner and purifier of silver,
            and you will purify the children of Levi,
            refining them like gold or silver
            to enable them to make offerings to God in righteousness.
The offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing offerings
            as in the days of old, as in years gone by.
These are the inspired words from the Book of the Prophet Malachi and we affirm them by saying “Amen”

Gospel Acclamation: “Alleluia, Word of God” by Bernadette Farrell
 Gospel: A Reading from the Gospel attributed to Luke 2: 22-40  
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
When the day came for them to be purified, as laid down by the Law of Moses, the couple took Jesus up to Jerusalem and presented him to God.   For it is written in the Law of Our God, “every firstborn heir is to offer in sacrifice a pair of turtledoves to be consecrated to God.”  They must also offer in sacrifice two young pigeons, in accord with the dictate of the law of Our God.
Now there lived in Jerusalem a man named Simeon.   He was devout and just, anticipating the consolation of Israel, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit who had revealed to Simeon that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah of God.   Thus, Simeon came to the temple; and when the parents brought in the child to perform the customary rituals of the Law, he took the child in his arms and praised God, saying: 
“Now, O God, you can dismiss your servant in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation that you have prepared for all the people to see – a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.”
As the child’s mother and father stood there marveling at the things that were being said, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, the mother, “This child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that is rejected so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.   And a sword will pierce your heart as well.”
A woman named Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, was a prophet.   She had lived a long life, seven years with her husband, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four.   She never left the Temple, worshiping day and night, fasting and praying.   Coming up at the moment, she gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all who anticipated the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When the couple had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the Law of God, they returned to Galilee and their own town of Nazareth.   The child grew in size and strength.   He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was with him.  
These are the inspired words of the Gospel writer, Luke, and we affirm them by saying “Amen”
Gospel Acclamation:
Homily and Community Sharing

Statement of Faith:
ALL: We believe in our Creator who nurtures the earth, who resides in our expanding universe, who is one with us in all things.
We believe in Jesus, the Word Incarnate, who journeyed on the earth, blessing the sick, making whole the broken, healing many, instilling faith in his followers so that they may continue the work he began.
We believe in the Spirit of Life, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who fills us with the breath of Life, who supports us and gives us strength to reach out to one another and build communities who search for truth on their journey.
We believe in the communion of saints, our heavenly friends and loved ones who walk with us in love as we continue our life journey.
We believe in the partnership and equality of woman and men in our church and our world. Amen.

Prayers of the Community
 Presider: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.   All please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”
 Our response is “Holy One, bless all for which we pray”.
Presider: For what shall we pray?
Presider: We pray for these and all unspoken concerns that we hold in our hearts.   Amen.
Offertory Song: # 603 – “I Have Loved You” by Michael Joncas
Preparation of Gifts (presiders lift up bread and wine and book of intentions)
Presider: Blessed are you, O Holy One, and blessed are we as we gather around this table.   We bring this bread, this wine and our lives to share at this banquet of love. 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 are You forever.
Presider: All are welcome to join us around the table.
                        LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Presider:  God is with us, blessing the world through you.
All: And with all of creation.
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up in the Holy One.
Presider: O Holy One, we lift up our hearts to You, You who gently invite us to enter into a deeper relationship with you, a relationship that will affect how we live our lives and decisions we make.  This transformation frequently comes through difficulties and pain, yet you are there with us through all our days. Come Holy Spirit, be with us and with all who have gone before us, as we lift up our hearts in praise and song:
All: We are holy, holy, holy (you, I, we) by Karen Drucker
All: We trust you to continue to share with us your own Spirit, the Spirit that filled Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, his loving and healing, that all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever.
All sing: Amen!

Voice: Holy One, You transform these gifts of bread, wine, and our lives, with boundless grace that nourishes and sustains us on our journey.
Voice: On the night 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 bread with these words:
ALL: Take and eat, this is my very self.
Voice: 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 died, Christ rose, Christ comes again and again and again.
Voice: Jesus who walks with us on the path to 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: As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember all who have inspired and loved us and all who have gone before us. ( Names………)
(Presiders hold up bread and wine.)
ALL: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirit loving through us to promote justice and equality in our service to our sisters and brothers.
Presider: Let us sing the Prayer, as Jesus taught us:
Prayer of Jesus: “Our Father and Mother…”
Prayer for the Breaking of the Bread
Presider: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread. (Presiders break the bread.)
All: O God of Courage, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly. 
 O God of Compassion, You call us to be your presence in the world.   We will love tenderly.
  O God of Truth, You call us to speak truth to power.   We will walk with integrity in your presence.
(Presiders hold up the bread and wine.)
Presider: This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing.   Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.  
ALL: What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion. We are both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge. Amen.
Presider: Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ. All are welcome at this table.
Communion song: #325 – In the Breaking of the Bread – Bob Hurd – all verses
Prayer after Communion:
Presider: We rejoice in your amazing love, O Holy One! We rejoice in the life-changing opportunities You open to us. Out of that joy and goodness, we offer our thanks and praise as we leave this place. May we be challenged, encouraged and empowered so that we may continue to live as joyous partners in creating a world filled with love and ruled by justice. Bless our families everywhere.
Prayers of Gratitude and Announcements
Presider: Let us raise our hands and bless each other.
All: May you be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.  
May you seek truth boldly and love deeply within your heart.
May you continue to be the face of the Holy One to all you meet.
May your name be a blessing in our time.
Presider: Go into this week, held together by the love of God, clothed with the nature of Jesus our Companion, and reinforced by the strength of the Holy Spirit.
ALL:  Amen.
Closing Song: #646 – “You Have Called Us” – by Bernadette Farrell – verses 1,2,3

6 Reasons to Ordain Women- Women’s Ordination Conference

Monday, January 27, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Third Sunday Ordinary Time - Presiders: Donna Panaro, ARCWP, Kim Panaro, ARCWP and Diane Geary

Donna Panaro, ARCWP and Diane Geary led the Upper Room Liturgy with the theme: Recognizing the Light 

Opening Song: We Are Called

First Reading:
Letter from Hildegard of Bingen to Heinrich, Bishop of Liege
The Living Light says: the Scriptures are a path which leads to the lofty mountains where flowers and precious herbs grow, a fragrant breeze blowing over them, bringing forth their sweet aroma, and where roses and lilies show their bright faces.
Yet because of the shadows of dark living air, that mountain was not visible until the Son of the Most High had illuminated the world. For the Sun itself came from the dawn to illumine this mountain, and all the people saw its herbs. The day was very beautiful, and good news came into the world. But O Shepherds, now is the time for wailing and mourning, because in our day that mountain has been overshadowed by such dark clouds that its sweet fragrance no longer is wafted down to us.

Gospel Reading
Matthew 4:12-20

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he went back to Galilee. He left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town near the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophet of Isaiah was fulfilled:
“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, the way to the sea on the far side of the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: the people who lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
From that time on, Jesus began proclaiming the message, “Change your hearts and minds, for the kindom of heaven is at hand.
As Jesus was walking along the see of Galilee, he watched two brothers-Simon, who was called Peter and Andrew_ casting a net into the sea. They fished by trade. Jesus said to them, Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of humankind.” They immediately abandoned their nets and began to follow Jesus.

Recognizing the Light Homily by Donna Panaro

“The people who lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Clearly light is a critical component in the spiritual life.
Our theme today is recognizing the light. The first reading taken from a letter authored by Hidegard of Bingen, reflects on her experience with The Living Light, which is her name for God.. She embodied this light throughout her life.This was the source of her creativity and teaching. Hidegard talks about a lofty mountain where flowers and precious herbs grow. She is concerned when darkness overshadows the mountain and keeps the mountain hidden or out of reach. She is concerned that the scent of the flowers and the precious herbs will be forgotten or destroyed if darkness overshadows the mountain. The scent of the flowers and the precious herbs symbolize life giving traits and attributes of people who are enlightened .These people call us to the Living Light and inspire us to become our best selves. Hildegard uses the word greening or veriditas to describe how God brings life to our soul.

The writer known as Matthew pictures Jesus leaving Nazareth after John is arrested possibly to avoid the darkness surrounding that event. Jesus begins his ministry in Capernaum by calling Peter and Andrew to join him in his mission. It is hard to understand why Peter and John would leave their jobs and families to go with Jesus. What did Jesus see in these fishermen and what did the fishermen see in Jesus to make this abrupt change? They saw something in each other that inspired them to enter into a relationship that would change the world.

I think we all have the ability to recognize the living light. We are called to inspire  others and be inspired by others. We need light to dispel the darkness within ourselves. Just as Hildegard was concerned that the fragrance of the flowers would be hidden and the precious herbs would be unseen and forgotten we continue to this day to seek inspirational truth that will nurture the greening of our lives so that our inherent beauty will not be overshadowed by darkness..

Think about a person who inspired you. What did you see in them to make you want to be like them?Attributes that inspire us include courage, authenticity, kindness, respect, fairness, creativity, wisdom, compassion and unconditional love. When people exhibit these life giving qualities we experience the great light in them.  When people rise above suffering and violence we are inspired. We are all called to rise above the challenges and circumstances of our lives. To recognize the light, follow it and be transformed by it is how we awaken and reach our full potential. People followed Gahndi, Martin Luther King and Harriet Tubman to manifest the kindom on earth.

If we choose life then we must embrace the great light so that we are truthful, loving and just to ourselves and others. This is what it means to live as people who have seen a great light. We are people who are called to allow the dark places inside ourselves to be seen and changed. In doing this we approach the darkness of the world with authentic and loving hearts. Today’s readings invite us to recognize the living light in ourselves and others so that we are changed and the world is changed. What did you hear in the readings?

Communion Song

Presider 2: Closing Blessing;

Let us go out to continue this journey of Light. Like Jesus, may we see the potential in those we encounter, even when darkness is masking their gifts. May we be faithful to this path so that when others encounter us, they will recognize a way of life that heals and grows the kindom. As we seek inspiration, let us be inspiration.  Namaste, blessed be. Amen.

Closing Song: Go Light Your World