Saturday, September 12, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy to celebrate the Season of Creation - Sunday, September 13, 2020 - Presiders: Dennis McDonald, ARCWP and Lindy Sanford-Martinez, ARCWP

The Harmony of Creation

Please join us between 9:30 and 9:55 am via Zoom 

Here is the Zoom link:


Should you not be able to connect via ZOOM, here is the phone-in information (audio only).

Phone Number: (646) 558-8656

Meeting ID: 825 1215 9155

Dennis: Introduction of Theme:

Welcome to all here present.  We gather this day to celebrate Creation, reminding ourselves that we are a part of creation and have been provided the opportunity to care for this planet we call home.  We reflect today on our role as co-creators and care-givers of the Earth, and the call to bring harmony to all that we touch with the love and beauty with which the Holy One graces Her creation.


Let us celebrate with joy the indwelling of our God among us and all of creation.  Welcome, sisters and brothers, to the table where broken word and bread nourish us and feed our spirit. 


Opening Song: For the Beauty of the Earth

Lindy: Opening Prayer:

Creator, Source of all that we are, we gather to honor your Creation as an integrated and holy system of plant, animal and human life placed lovingly side by side with water, air, wind, and earth. We pray for the imagination and resolve to establish a supportive ecology so that all of Creation may not just survive but thrive as a continuing sign of your wondrous love. Amen.



First Reading:

A reading from a speech attributed to Chief Seattle given to President Franklin Pierce.


You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the Earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the Earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth. If we spit upon the ground, we spit upon ourselves.

This we know – the Earth does not belong to us – we belong to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the Earth – befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth. We did not weave the web of life – we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.


Second Reading:

A reading from the works of Joyce Rupp


I had never seen sunflowers. When I went it was too late.  The faded yellow and brown tattered heads drooped on bent stems, reminding me of the curved-over woman in Luke’s Gospel with her head reaching toward her heart.  Something nudged me to get out of the car and look more closely.


Once I walked into the field, disappointment turned to wonder. Because of such abundance, the seeds’ weight forced the stems to bow and bend. My thoughts became absorbed in how much it costs the plants to bring forth this rich harvest. I noticed flocks of goldfinches deliriously feeding on seeds spilling out from sunflowers that were now transformed into nourishment, easily giving of their summered lives to enrich others.


As I walked out of the field, I felt urged to return. Something more waited to be learned from the surrendered sunflowers. Two days later I walked slowly through the field, the heavily hanging heads brushing against my body as if to say, “Listen, we have something more to tell you.” And speak they did, about the energy of release, the ability to freely liberate what had been their glory, how the dying field held not only a harvest of fulfillment but of what it contained, an acceptance of giving away what was really never theirs to keep.


Those heavy, drooping heads replete with ripened seeds spoke to me of personal diminishment, of loss bound to come sooner or later. Not only does this transition happen to individuals. Societies and organizations also experience seasons of bending low. Dying comes before rising. Death arrives before new birth. Few want to accept this reality. But accept it or not, this pattern shapes how growth usually occurs. Unable to hold their heads high any longer, the sunflowers bowed to the way life naturally unfolds, the ageless pattern of life, death, rebirth—sunflowers teaching me anew that I, too, wend my way through this configuration, slowly bending the stem of my life, allowing my head to reach my heart—accepting, releasing, fulfilling.


These are the inspired words of Joyce Rupp...and we confirm them by saying “Amen”.


Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia



A reading from the Gospel named for Matthew, disciple of Jesus. (Mt 6:26-30)


“Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet our God in heaven feeds them. Aren’t you more important than they?  Which of you by worrying can add a moment to your lifespan? And why be anxious about clothing? Learn a lesson from the way the wildflowers grow. They don’t work; they don’t spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in full splendor was arrayed like one of these.

If God can clothe in such splendor the grasses of the field, which bloom today and
are thrown on the fire tomorrow, won’t God do so much more for you—you who have so
little faith?


These are the inspired words from the Gospel named for Matthew, disciple of Jesus, and the community affirms them by saying, Amen.


Shared Homily: Lindy

            Opening our season focused on Creation last week Lynn spoke of creation as Incarnation…It is so important that we do.  We forget that each animal, each plant, tree, rock and soil… even wind, fire and fish, ever star in every galaxy, and every universe are all hiding places for the Spirit and body of God…  We forget that we, too, are a hiding place for that Spirit… the love, mystery and wonder we rarely think about. 

            Our world is filled with chaos right now.  Illness, frustration, poor laws, good laws being ignored, demonstrations, and anger holds our attention.  Waves of fear all this causes tempt us every day.

            Rarely do we think of the wonder around and within us or of the Love that created us hiding within each of us.


The Earth is our Mother.  The soil is rich with the lives and deaths… even the ashes of dead plants and animals …and our kin.  She is richer with our care of her soil, her streams, her trees and her mountains, her beaches and oceans….and the seasons. Our eyes and our hearts show us tiny insects, divergent animals and birds… the sun and the moon, and so many stars… All that beauty turns into wonder when we open ourselves.  Our hearts and souls are filled with awe by the abundance before us.  With joy we begin to understand that we are small, small parts of Creation.  Like ever leaf and little butterfly… like every fish and flower… like every branch and every bird…everything we need is here.  In the cycles of the seasons She will take care of us.

            Our mistakes litter our lives.  They distract us, too, from the wonder of Creation.  We forget that mistakes often become seeds sprinkled into our minds and into our hearts.  If we let them sprout there, fed by the loving Spirit with us, they grow into something new.  As they do we begin to feel new ideas… rays of warmth and healing…the peace and joy we call Spirit.  Fed by them we can heal our little corner of the world bit by bit.


 Oh, the wonder of being part of Creation.



Statement of Faith 

We believe in the Holy One, 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 the Divine Word, 
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion, 
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's 
prophets, mystics, and saints. 
We believe that We are called to follow Jesus 
as a vehicle of divine love, 
a source of wisdom and truth, 
and an instrument of peace in the world. 
We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One, 
the life that is our innermost life, 
the breath moving in our being, 
the depth living in each of us. 
We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now, 
stretched out all around us for those 
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, 
and hands to make it happen. 

Dennis: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.  Please, in silence, offer any intentions you bring to the table….” (pause)


We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.




Lindy: Please join us, with arms raised, in the praying of the Eucharistic Prayer.

All: Great Mystery surrounding us, we lift up our hearts to understand that our spirits are one. You are with us, and we live. Everything lives because of you, and everything is one.


Your wisdom moves among us like the wind, and we are blessed.

So now we enter into the oneness of creation, attune ourselves to join in the harmony, let ourselves embrace that oneness with thankfulness and joy. And so, we join with all of creation and sing in glory for the beauty that encircles us.


Holy, Holy: Here in This Place by Christopher Grundy

All: Creator of the whole universe, we glory in the environment, especially forests, that surround us. May we have the vision and strength to protect all forest ecosystems and the whole of Your creation, which have been corrupted by human exploitation, pollution, and destruction, so that the whole of creation may be renewed and made whole,

We join with the earth and with each other, to bring new life to the land, to restore the waters, to refresh the air.

We join with the earth and with each other to renew the forests, to care for the plants, to protect the creatures.

We join with the earth and with each other to celebrate the seas, to rejoice in the sunlight, to sing the song of the stars.

We join together as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery: for the healing of the earth and the renewal of life.


We join together and call the Spirit upon the gifts of the earth, bread and wine, as we bless them and remember our call to be the Body of Christ in the world.


On the night before he died, he sat at a table with friends and relived with them his work, his teaching and wisdom of the universe. Then he went among them as servant, washing their feet, touching their hearts. 


When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:  

Take and eat, this is my very self.


Pause and consume the bread.


Then he took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying: 

Take and drink. 

Whenever you remember me like this, 

I am among you. 


Pause and drink from the cup.


Mystery of Life present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures, embrace with tenderness all that exists. May the power of divine love pour upon us, that we may protect life and beauty. Help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards divine light and love. We are thankful for the pulse of life that fills us each day. May we be encouraged and strengthened for our struggle for justice, love and peace in the world.

Dennis: Let us pray the prayer of Jesus:


Let us pray as Jesus taught us with an eye toward this Season of Creation:


Generous Creator, the intricate and elegant biodiversity of our world is your hallowed autograph on our lives, on our souls and in our hearts.

We yearn for the wholeness of being in harmony with Your will and with all living things.

Each day we draw on your creative, life-giving energy with gratitude and awe as we find nourishment in, seed and field, river and forest.

May we be stewards and co-creators with you in caring for the gifts of Your Creation. 

We acknowledge our shortcomings, especially our neglect of the environment on this Creation Sunday. We seek to be reconciled with those we have hurt and we resolve to do better. 

With your unfailing wisdom and the wind of Your Spirit, inspire us that we may reach out and love one another and care for the world, our home.

Strengthen us to work for local and global justice so that we may one day reap a harvest of equality and fairness as if they were wildflowers, propagating spontaneously, unerringly and in surprising abundance. Amen.


Communion Meditation Song: Holy Ground


Lindy: Let us raise our hands and pray our closing blessing:


Go out from this place, ready to hear creation’s call.

Go out, ready to answer, “I am here, standing up for you!”

And as you go, know that the love of Divine Mystery surrounds you,

the peace of Christ empowers you,

and the companionship of the Spirit moves within you

and all of creation, now and always. AMEN                                      


Closing Song: Sing Out Earth and Skies – Marty Haugen

Friday, September 11, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for the 24th Week in Extra-Ordinary Time - September 12, 2020

photo by Alice Donovan-Rouse on Unsplash
Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP and Lee Breyer

Readers: Cheryl Brandi and Joan Meehan
Theme: Love, peace and forgiveness in troubled times.

To connect to Zoom, please follow the instructions below:
 You can join the meeting between 3:30-4:00PM 

To connect via the internet 
Dial 1-929-436-2866 
Meeting ID: 862 4086 8327
Password: 1066
You will be able to hear the Liturgy and we will be able to hear you during our shared homily

Remember before the liturgy starts, in preparation for the blessing of the Eucharist, set aside a piece of bread or cracker and a glass of wine.  Be sure to have a copy of the liturgy either in paper form or via the internet ready (see below).

Welcome and Gathering

Presider 1: Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, where everyone is welcome in our Eucharistic celebrations. We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers.  Everyone will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. However, at appropriate times – the shared homily and the prayers of the community -- we invite your respectful and related comments to the community, and then you can unmute yourselves for the time of your message. When you are finished speaking, please mute yourselves again so others have their opportunities.  And also, please have your bread and wine/juice nearby yourselves as we pray our Eucharistic Prayer near the end of the liturgy.

Presider 2:  Let us start today’s service with an opening song:  Be Still 

Gathering Song: Be Still    (Carmel Boyle)

                                            Opening Prayer

All:  Holy One, you have created everything that exists in our ever-expanding universe. You have done so out of the kindness of your very being …your pure love, your unconditional and unending love. At the dawn of creation, our being on the new earth should have led us to our love and peace for one another in your image. But, through time and human behavior, we wandered from our very origins as described in Genesis and shortly were told the story of the cruelty of Cain who killed his brother Abel over a simple gift that Abel gave to you, their creator. That kind of action, that violence and hatred, has taken place so many times throughout the many years since the beginning of creation that it oftentimes is not considered as a very rare and unthinkable behavior.  That, and similar careless and hurtful actions towards our brother and sisters, are far from the type of loving lives that we were called to share with them.

All:  By your creation, we – your people –were called to lives of love and peace…to see goodness and beauty everywhere and to live in harmony with all that you have created. You call us to heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression that exists in our world today.  You call us to warmly welcome everyone with whom we come in contact as your presence among us.  And so, in communion with Jesus, our model and brother, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we will live your love poured out to us each day.  Amen.

Communal Reconciliation, Healing and Transformation

Presider 1:  Compassionate God, we know that to you all hearts are open, no desires are unknown, and no secrets are hidden.  Our desire is to be continually conscious of this in shaping how we live, and to be aware of this in everything that we do with our sisters and brothers, whoever and wherever they may be.

All:  Our loving Creator, we ask you for your grace that we may realize our continual need to grow in a better understanding, sense of compassion and efforts of caring for all our brothers and sisters … and even the very planet you have created for us. We also ask for a greater awareness of your forgiveness of our sometimes love-less and hurtful actions to people of other genders, beliefs, nationalities, races and actions.

May we be more open to the strength of your Divine Presence within each one of us so that we will be lead to extend your merciful and forgiving love that is your gift – through us – to everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions.  Amen.

Presider 2:   And please place a hand over your heart as you say to one another…:

All:   My friends, I love all of you.  I am sorry for whatever hurt my actions may have caused to anyone at any time, and I thank you for your understanding and compassion.

Liturgy of the Word

This first reading of scripture, from the Book of Sirach, is presented to us by Cheryl Brandi. It is a part of a historical collection called “the “Books of Wisdom” and was found among many very old - hard to find - texts. It was estimated to have been written about 3 centuries before Christ.  The current title name “Sirach” may be known as “Ecclesiasticus” to some of our liturgy participants today. Today’s selection of the Book of Sirach is from the end of the 27th chapter and the beginning of the 28th

Passionate rage and anger are hateful things,
            yet some people hug them tight to themselves.
Those people will suffer Our God’s distaste over time,
            for God remembers them and their actions in detail.

Forgive your neighbors’ injustices;
            so then, when you pray, your own faults will be forgiven.
If you refuse to show mercy to your neighbors,
            how can you seek understanding and pardon for your own mistakes?

Remember the commandments, hate not your neighbor.   Also remember the covenant of the Most High who overlooks our faults.

So ends today’s short and meaningful reading from the Old Testament that was written for the people centuries ago.  It has the same message for us so many centuries later. 

To this, we all say: thanks be to God.

Psalm and Responsorial

Today’s psalm is number 103 and is presented to us by Joan Meehan.  To the phrases that we to listen to together, we give our response:   And that is:

Our God is tender and compassionate, slow to anger and is most loving.

Bless Our God, O my soul … bless God’s holy name – and do so with all that is in me!
Bless Our God, O my soul … and remember all God’s kindnesses to me.

Our God is tender and compassionate, slow to anger and is most loving.

In forgiving all our offenses, and in curing all our diseases,
In redeeming our lives from the pit,
You crown us with love and tenderness.

Our God is tender and compassionate, slow to anger and is most loving.

Our God’s indignation does not last forever,
And God’s judgement lasts for a short time only;
Our God never treats us as our guilt and our wrongdoings deserve.

Our God is tender and compassionate, slow to anger and is most loving.

No less than the height of heaven over the earth
Is the greatness of Our God’s love for those who are in the family.
The Most High takes our faults farther away than the east is from the west.

Our God is tender and compassionate, slow to anger and is most loving.

The second reading is presented to us by Cheryl; it is from a letter of Paul to the community in Rome.  This is a selection from chapter 14, verses 7-9.  Paul wrote:

We do not live for ourselves, nor do we die for ourselves.
While we live, we live for Christ Jesus; and when we die, we died for Christ Jesus.
Both in life and in death we belong to Christ.
That is why Christ died….and came to life again.
It was to reign supreme above both the living and the dead.

To this clear and inspired message of Paul, we all say:  Thanks be to God.

And now, in joy, we sing “Alleluia”   (a shortened version, Jan Phillips)

Having sung Alleluia, we continue with the good news that is related to us in Gospel of Matthew. Kathryn will present this short, but easy to understand, story that is  the author’s 8th chapter.

At some point, Peter got up the nerve to ask Jesus: “Master, how many times do I have to forgive a brother or sister - or anyone else - who confronts me?  Do I have to do that as many as seven times?”  And Jesus replied: “Seven!  Hardly!!.  Try seventy times seven!!!!  And Jesus continued his teaching: Peter, my friend, God in heaven will treat you exactly the same way that you forgive your sisters and brothers from your heart.

And this is the good news of Jesus to Peter, his followers at the time, and to us who heard his message so very often.

To this we all say: Thanks be to God.

“Alleluia”      (Jan Phillips,   shortened version)

Homily Starter:  Lee Breyer

Communal Statements of Faith 

Presider 1:   We believe in God, a Divine Mystery that is beyond any of our understanding now and that will be so into eternity.  We believe that God is the Creator of an unfinished world in an ever-evolving cosmos. God is the Holy One who invites us to join with one another in developing a world of true justice, a new world of love and peace on this, our planet Earth.

Presider 2:  We believe in God who calls all the many world’s peoples to harmony and unity so that they, together, will heal the hurts and sufferings that have been caused over time and replace them with meaningful and lasting celebrations of peace, love and enduring partnership.

Presider 1:  We believe in God who has not divided the people of the world into the divided categories of the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the wise and the unwitting, the advantaged and the disadvantaged.  We believe that God created all of us to be brothers and sisters of one another, living in a single Blessed Family.

Presider 2:  We believe in Jesus, the Word of God who became human like us.  He befriended both the well-place persons and those who were poorest -- regardless of their positions in society.  He spoke truth to everyone with whom he came in contact and practiced among them the love, peace and justice that he taught.

All:  And for all this, he was put to death for doing what was his blessed mission on this earth.  Then he was raised to new life, the Christ who would be with - and in - all of God’s creation forever.

Prayers of the Community

Presider 1:  We are a people of faith, believing in the power of prayer.

Presider 2.  We believe that we send blessings to all those who are struggling in their physical and mental health conditions as a result of Coronavirus - and to those suffering with Covid-19.
                             Our response is: We remember them and we pray.

Presider 1:  We pray for those many broken families, torn apart and suffering in their separations, especially those on our national borders.
                           Our response is:  We remember them and we pray.

Presider 2:   And for whom or what else do we pray at this time?
                           Our response to those mentioned is: We remember and we pray.

(Community intentions at this time with the response above)

Unmute your microphone and, speak your concern when there is an opportunity. When you are finished, please re-mute your microphone for others’ offerings.

Presider 1:  We hold these… and all the unspoken intentions… in our hearts.

The Gathering of the Gifted

Presider 1:  Let us all lift up our hearts in our oneness with our Creator.

All:  We lift them up in tender love and openness to serve all God’s people everywhere.

Presider 2:  Let us give thanks for our many blessings and gifts of worthiness to celebrate this gathering today.

Presider 1:  And let us sing of that:  We are holy…You are holy…I am holy (3x)

All:   We Are Holy, Holy, Holy      (MMOJ Shortened version)

Eucharistic Prayer

Please set up your bread and wine for the following blessings

All:  Blessed are you, our God.  Through your goodness, we have this bread and wine to offer to you … as you bless each one of us with your presence.  Whatever the challenges and difficulties are that we may experience, we know that your gifts of peace and love will support us during these trials.  Whatever the errors of judgements that we may make along our ways, we know that your gift of forgiveness is ours “for the asking.” Merciful God, pour out your Spirit on our bread and wine as we once again celebrate the Passover Meal that Jesus shared with his friends on the night before he died… and will does so with us today. And it it was at that supper that Jesus took bread and said a blessing before he shared it with them saying: take this all of you and eat it.  This bread is you; this bread is me.  We are one body, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  This is the new and everlasting covenant.  (Pause briefly)

And then, in the same way, Jesus took the wine, said the same blessing, and then shared it with his friends.  And he said: take this all of you and drink it.  This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me and all that have taught you.  This is also the new and everlasting covenant.

Presider 2:  Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.

Presider 1:  Christ is dying in our times, in all those who are suffering from sickness with Coronavirus and, especially, those who have died with Covid-19.

Presider 2:  Christ is rising in all those peoples who are working for love, peace and forgiveness among those who are struggling with the hateful and separating events of our times.
All:  May God bless and - through the Holy Spirit - strengthen all those who work to be the true Face of Christ in our day.

And to all these blessed prayers, we sing a great AMEN!

The Prayer of Jesus

Presider 1:  Let us say together the prayer that Jesus taught us.

All:   Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven, blessed are your names……..   

Presider 2:  And let us continue to pray together for his gift of peace among us.

All:  Peace is flowing like a river....(short version; “people” instead of “captives”)


Presider 1:  And now in that prayerful spirit, we are blessed to share together the sacred meal of the Eucharist. (please hold up your bread and wine)  
This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing.  Blessed are we who are called to this sacred meal.

(If you are alone, this is for yourself; If accompanied, say this is to one another.
…..with the passing of the bread: “you are the love of God in the world,  and
…..with the passing of the wine: “you are the peace of God in the world.”

Post-communion Meditation

Presider 2:  In our silence, let us listen to - and learn from - the Prayer of St. Francis.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Comments of Introductions and Announcements

Closing Blessing

May God bless us with a restless discomfort…
            about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships….
so that we can seek truth boldly and love deeply within our hearts.

May God bless us with holy anger…
            at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people….
so that we may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all peoples.

May God bless us with the gift of tears …
            to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation or the loss of all that   they cherish….
so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless us with enough foolishness ,,,
            to believe that we can really make a difference in this world….
so that we may be able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Closing Song : You’ll Never Walk Alone     Josh Groban

If you would like to add any intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayer book,
Please send an email to

If you would like to invite another person to attend our liturgy,  please refer them to where the day’s liturgy is found.

Please support our community, send your check to:
              Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
            St. Andrews UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34328

MMOJ Songs for Liturgy - September 12, 2020, 4PM Eastern Time

To connect to Zoom, please follow the instructions below:
 You can join the meeting between 3:30-4:00PM 

To connect via the internet 
Dial 1-929-436-2866 
Meeting ID: 862 4086 8327
Password: 1066
You will be able to hear the Liturgy and we will be able to hear you during our shared homily

Remember before the liturgy starts, in preparation for the blessing of the Eucharist, set aside a piece of bread or cracker and a glass of wine.  Be sure to have a copy of the liturgy either in paper form or via the internet ready (see below).

 Gathering Song: Be Still    (Carmel Boyle)



Holy, Holy, Holy    

Great Amen

Peace is flowing like a river....(short version; “people” instead of “captives”)

Post-communion Meditation

Presider 2:  In our silence, let us listen to - and learn from - the Prayer of St. Francis

Closing Song : You’ll Never Walk Alone     Josh Groban