Friday, September 25, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Presiders: Dotty Shugrue, ARCWP, and Joan Pesce

Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time


Presider 1:  Good afternoon, we welcome all here today.   We remind ourselves that Jesus accepted every person he met on his journey.  As an inclusive roman catholic community everyone is welcome to full participation in our liturgical celebration always. Each one of us is worthy to share in the sacred bread and wine as we pray before our home altars. It would be great if you could have bread and a glass of wine or juice in front of you so that you can join fully in our prayer. 

Presider 2:  Theme:  Stories can hold numerous hidden messages, profound insight, fiction with deep and relevant meaning.  Stories tell tales of the past, human struggle, difficult lessons learned.  Stories celebrate success, sing of love and have lessons for us to hear.  Stories of pain and suffering being told today call us to action and deep prayer and reflection.  Jesus used his stories/parables for all these reasons, and we are encouraged to break open his stories for their meaning today.. 

Please join us in singing our opening song.

Opening Song:  Believe in Love (Words and Music by David Lohman © 2010)

Refrain:  It’s time to believe out loud – no more staying silent!

It's time to proclaim aloud the faith that we hold dear.

It's time to reach out to the rejected.

It's time to stand up and say, "No more!"

It's time to declare a Word of Welcome,

bring everyone through the opened doors.

It's time to believe out loud,

It's time to be strong and proud,

It's time to believe, believe out loud!

1.       Our God remains unchanging,

yet in so many ways the Holy One's still speaking,

for this we offer praise.

Yet God's all-loving guidance too often goes unheard.

But there is yet more wisdom to break forth from God's Word!  Refrain

2.       If thoughts like love and justice are more than hollow words,

we'll listen for the Spirit and let our hearts be stirred.

We'll learn to think in new ways, the doors we'll open wide.

The table's set and ready, bring everyone inside!  Refrain

3.       The love of God is boundless, we're never turned away.

And out of this abundance, this gift we must repay.

We've got to stand with millions who've heard the Spirit's call,

and shout it from the mountains: “God’s love is meant for ALL!”  Refrain


Presider 1:   Holy One, you are within us, around us and beyond us.  We listen to the stories that Jesus shared with us we search for their meaning in our everyday life and in the life of our country, our world.  As we grow in our spiritual understanding through reflection and prayer, may the inspirations and insights  revealed to us, become actions of service in our community. We pray together in faith and affirm our prayer in saying: 

All:  So Be It


Presider 1:   We desire to transform our lives as we stand before one another in humility and truth acknowledging our shortcomings and promising to be open and responsive to the needs of  all peoples of the earth.

We acknowledge that we have “said one thing and then have done another” and in so doing we have been the cause of disappointment both to ourselves and to others.

We recognize we have closed our eyes and ears to the stories of pain, suffering and even death from systemic racism and from systemic poverty and inequality. 

Together we say…  

ALL:  I am sorry, please forgive me, Thank you, I love you.


Voice 1:    Glory be to the One in whom we live,

and move and have our being, 

And to the many who participate in this ONE life,

And to the Spirit who gathers us

as ONE in Love, 

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever evolving, 

World without end.  Amen

Presider 2:   Today we seek the deeper meaning of the Word.  We observe the actions of Jesus in his ministry.   We listen to the stories/parables that Jesus shares with us.  We commit ourselves to renew our hearts and minds as we embrace our call to join with the Cosmic Christ and commit to live our lives as a people of faith and vision.  Amen


First Reading: Excerpts from “The Gift of Story” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes read by Kathryn Shay

Among my people, questions are often answered with stories.  The first story almost always evokes another, which summons another, until the answer to the question has become several stories long.  A sequence of tales is thought to offer broader and deeper insight than a single story alone. 

For some stories, considerations about the right time, right place, right person, right preparation and right purpose guides when and whether the story should be told or not.  But stories from personal and collective histories, from individual and unique cultures and stories from one’s personal life, anytime may be just the right time to give the gift of story.

Like night dreams, stories often use symbolic language, therefore by passing the ego and persona, and traveling straight to the spirit and soul who listen for the ancient and universal instructions impeded there.  Because of this process, stories can teach, correct errors, lighten the heart and the darkness, provide psychic shelter, assist transformation and heal wounds.

Some say that community is based on blood ties, sometimes dictated by choice, sometimes by necessity.  And while this is quite true, the immeasurably stronger gravitational field that holds a group together are their stories…the common and simple one they share with one another.

There is no right or wrong way to tell a story.  Perhaps you will forget the beginning, or the middle or the end.  But a little piece of sunrise through a small window can lift the heart regardless.  So cajole the old grumpy ones to tell their best memories.  Ask the little ones their happiest moments.  Ask the teenagers the scariest times of their lives.  Give the old ones the floor.  Go all around the circle.  Coax introverts.  Ask each person.  You will see.  Everyone will be warmed, sustained by the circle of stories you create together.

These are the inspired words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes and our community affirms them by saying…

All:  So be it!

Celtic Alleluia:

Gospel:  A reading as told to us by the apostle called Matthew 

(from The Message New Testament by Eugene H. Peterson) Read by Elena Garcia

Jesus returned to the Temple, and while he was teaching the high priests and leaders of the people came up interrupting him and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to teach here?  Jesus responded, “First let me ask you a question. You answer my question and I’ll answer yours.  About the baptism of John—who authorized it: heaven or humans?”  They were on the spot and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ we’re up against it with the people because they all hold John up as a prophet.” They decided to concede that round to Jesus. “We don’t know,” they answered.  Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question. “Tell me what you think of this story. A man had two sons. He went up to the first and said ,“Son, go out for the day and work in the vineyard.”  The son answered, ‘I don’t want to.’ later on he thought better of it and went. “The father gave the same command to the second son. He answered, ‘Sure, glad to.’ But he never went. “Which of the two sons did what the father asked?  ”They said, “The first. Jesus said, “Yes, and I tell you that crooks and whores are going to precede you into God’s kingdom. John came to you showing you the right road. You turned up your noses at him, but the crooks and whores believed him. Even when you saw their changed lives, you didn’t care enough to change and believe him.  This is the inspired words of Matthew and the community affirms by singing:

Homily Starter


How do these readings speak to you today?  What in particular stirred within you?  Feel free to speak any thought concerning any part of this liturgy spoke to you.                                                                                               

Profession of Faith

Voice 2:   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…

So Be it!

Prayers for the needs of our World

General Intentions

Voice 3:    We bring to the table all those women and men who are asking us to vote for them in the coming election.  We pray that each one of them will put aside personal differences and demonstrate their commitment to put first the people of our country.  Especially to support programs for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the children and families.

Voice 4:   We bring to the table those persons in our country, in our world who suffer from decease especially from Covid 19.  We pray they may experience love and support as they heal.

Voice 3:   We bring to the table those we love who need healing from cancer. For they shall be “healed, whole and cancer free.  We pray especially for Dianne, Bridget Mary and Sally as we assure them that we hold them in our hearts with much love.

 Voice 4:   We bring to the table the children, the ones who are still kept in cages by our government.  For the ones who have been taken away from their parents by our government and been given away.

Voice 3:  Holy one, hear us, people of God hear us.  We bring these intentions to this table and we seek the wisdom to know what we can do and commit ourselves to follow through.

And together we say, So Be It!                            


Offertory Song: “At My Table”. JJ Heller

Presider 1:   Place your bread and cup of wine before you on your table as we pray the 

Offertory Prayer: 

In gathering together as Christian community to prepare our table, we recognize Sacred Presence within our midst, within us, within all of creation and together we bless this bread 

Presider 2:    We learn the wisdom to be faithful to our word in keeping promises we make thus living the mandate of the Gospel.  We learn that what Jesus taught by word he lived by example and we desire to do the same.  We express gratitude for another opportunity to gather as community and celebrate these sacred mysteries.  

We celebrate our Oneness.  We tell our stories, we share our very selves in community as in so doing we become communion with one another.  We share our hope for the healing of all nations and our earth.  We believe in our power to be instruments of transformation. 

Presider 1:  We reach out in tenderness and caring, consistently encouraging and constantly instilling Faith in all those we meet.  We especially care for those most in need, who suffer from injustices of magnitude proportion not only in our world but in our country as well. Their journey through life is a daily struggle we can’t imagine.  

The story of the landowner leaves us with the challenge of how willing are we to do what is needed for our sisters and brothers and lend our support.  Our commitment to respond in faith and action will reveal the power and presence of the Cosmic Christ.  May all of humanity gain strength and peace of heart.

Holy, Holy:  Here in This Place by Christopher Grundy

*(The Eucharistic Prayer is adapted from “The Prayer of Thanksgiving”.  It can be found in A New NEW Testament edited by Hal Taussig)

Presider 2:   We give thanks to you.  Every life and heart stretches toward you, O name untroubled, honoring the name of God, praised with the name Creator.  To everyone and everything comes the kindness of the Holy One and love and desire.

And if there is sweet and simple teaching, it gifts us mind, word and knowledge; mind, that we may understand you; word, that we may interpret you; knowledge: that we may know you.  We rejoice and are enlightened by your knowledge; we rejoice that you have taught us about yourself.  We rejoice that in the body you have made us divine through your knowledge.

The thanksgiving of the human who reaches you is this alone; that we know you.  We have known you, O light of mind.  O light of life we have known you.  O womb of all that grows, we have known you.  O womb pregnant with the nature of Creator God, we have known you. O never-ending endurance of the Spirit of Life who gives birth, so we worship your goodness.  One wish we ask:  we wish to be protected in knowledge, One protection we desire; that we do not stumble in this life.  When they said these things in prayer, they welcomed one another, and they went to eat their holy food, which had no blood in it. 

(hold your hands over the bread and the wine):  

Presider 1:  Let us pray together the words we say today in memory of Jesus.  In this sacrament of breaking bread and blessing wine, we pause and call upon Sacred Spirit to bless this bread and wine which is made sacred through our faith.  We celebrate with one another as we remember Jesus walked this same earth we walk today.

During Jesus’s life on this earth he lived and died loving the poor, healing the sick and challenging the injustices within society.   Because of his ministry Jesus was feared by the authority of his day.

On the evening of the Jewish Seder Jesus gathered with his close friends for a meal.  He reminded them of what He had taught them. He washed their feet as an act of love.

Jesus returned to his place at the table and took the bread provided for their meal, He lifted the bread, and spoke words of blessing, He broke the bread saying these words:

        “Take and eat, this is my very Self.  Do this in memory of Me.”

Jesus then lifted the cup filled with wine. He spoke the blessing and said:

       “Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life given for you and for    everyone.  Whenever you do these things, remember Me.”


Song of reflection:  Our Communion Meditation is Shelter Me by Rev. Michael Joncas

Presider 2:   In every circumstance, in every situation, in every event, we share, 

Christ lives

In our sharing of this bread made sacred by our hands and this wine lifted up and given to one another,

Christ is with us still.

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.  

Voice 5:   With grateful hearts we receive the gifts of this Table. May the Spirit who is one with us, fill us with vision as we.  Let us continue to be storytellers and share our faith and life experiences with one another.

In the spirit of this celebration, we rejoice in the Oneness we share.  We bring to mind all who feel separated from this Table of Abundance.

Awaken in us, Holy One, a passion for equality and a generosity of spirit, that all may be accepted and welcomed in an inclusive community of faith.

Presider 1:  For it is through learning to live as Jesus lived, and why he lived, and for whom he lived, that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to be one with you, Life-giving Sacred Spirit, at this time and all time and in all ways. 

Voice 6:  Let us pray in the way that Jesus taught his disciples:

O Holy One, you are within, around, and among us.  We celebrate your many names.  Your wisdom come, your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us.  Each day you give us all that we need.  You remind us of our limits, and we let go.  You support us in our power, and we act with courage. For you are the dwelling place within us, the empowerment around us ,and the celebration among us, now and forever.(adapted, Miriam Therese Winter, MMS) 

 Amen.  Linda Miller

Let us now share a sign of peace to one another as we listen to a song of peace.

We invite you to share gifts received and concerns you hold in your heart.  (unmute to share)

                               Announcements made by community members.

Voice 7:   The time has now come for us to leave this sacred place.  As we do so, may we embrace the challenges of our lives and of our world.

Go with Hope ready to write and share stories

Go in peace, believing that the divisions and brokenness of our world will be healed by our hands.

Remember, though none of us will live forever, our stories can.  As long as one remains who can tell the story, it will live.  And by the recounting of our tale, the greater force of love, mercy, generosity and strength are continuously called into being in our world.

In closing our time together let us bless one another in song:

Closing Song:  Irish Blessing

MMOJ Songs for Liturgy -Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Twenty Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Opening Song:  Believe in Love (Words and Music by David Lohman © 2010) 

Refrain:  It’s time to believe out loud – no more staying silent!

It's time to proclaim aloud the faith that we hold dear.

It's time to reach out to the rejected.

It's time to stand up and say, "No more!"

It's time to declare a Word of Welcome,

bring everyone through the opened doors.

It's time to believe out loud,

It's time to be strong and proud,

It's time to believe, believe out loud!

1.       Our God remains unchanging,

yet in so many ways the Holy One's still speaking,

for this we offer praise.

Yet God's all-loving guidance too often goes unheard.

But there is yet more wisdom to break forth from God's Word!  Refrain

2.       If thoughts like love and justice are more than hollow words,

we'll listen for the Spirit and let our hearts be stirred.

We'll learn to think in new ways, the doors we'll open wide.

The table's set and ready, bring everyone inside!  Refrain

3.       The love of God is boundless, we're never turned away.

And out of this abundance, this gift we must repay.

We've got to stand with millions who've heard the Spirit's call,

and shout it from the mountains: “God’s love is meant for 

Celtic Alleluia:

Offertory Song: “At My Table”. JJ Heller

Holy, Holy:  Here in This Place by Christopher Grundy

Communion Meditation is Shelter Me by Rev. Michael Joncas 

 Amen.  Linda Miller

Let us now share a sign of peace to one another as we listen to a song of peace.

Closing Song:  Irish Blessing

Celebration of Gratitude for Rev. Dr. Michele Birch-Conery on Sept 24, 2020

In commemoration of her five-year anniversary as a bishop with the

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Michele Birch-Conery, we your beloved Heart of Compassion International
Faith Community share now the commitments that we have witnessed you fulfill
as a bishop with the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

W1: Michele you have willingly discharged to the end of your life the office
the apostles entrusted to you.

W2: Michele you have been faithful and constant in proclaiming the Gospel of

W3:  Michele you have maintained our Roman Catholic faith tradition as
handed down by the apostles and as professed by the Church, everywhere and
at all times.

W4: Michele you have built up the Church as the body of Christ and remained
united to it within the order of bishops under the leadership of the
successor of the Apostle Peter.

W5: Michele you have been faithful in prophetic obedience to the Holy
Spirit, guiding us towards greater justice and truth.

W6: Michele you have sustained the People of God in solidarity with the
priests and deacons who share our ministry.

W7: Michele you have shown kindness and compassion to the poor and to
strangers and to all who are in need.

W8: Michele you have upheld a model of Church grounded in Jesus' vision of
an open table.

W9: Michele you have prayed for the People of God without ceasing, and have
carried out the duties of one who has the fullness of the priesthood so as
to afford no grounds for reproach.

W10: And you've done all of this with love and capaciousness, prayer and
respect as a scholar, mystic, justice-worker and beloved companion on the journey.

W11: We your ever-with-you Heart of Compassion International Faith Community
commission you to continue the good works already begun as priest and bishop
with our Roman Catholic Womenpriest movement within the Cloud of Witnesses
and in the Communion of Saints. We will pray to you and trust you intercede
for us.

All: Thank you and Amen

Thursday, September 24, 2020

With a Grateful Heart to All of You Who Prayed and Supported Me on My Journey to Clinical Remission - Bridget Mary

With Mary Theresa Streck who did many things to prepare for surgery and chemo including organizing Anointing of the Sick Communal Services on Zoom. 

With Peg Bowen who organized my entire kitchen and was present during my first chemo cooking, shopping and preparing me with the things that needed to get done including drinking  64 ounce glasses of liquids just like my oncologist recommended. 

Sunflowers and gifts from this lovely circle of support!
What a happy way to celebrate the last day of chemo!


With Kathryn Shea who makes the best chicken salad in the world! After every chemo session she provided a meals -on- wheels personal delivery service with a smile and often a bag full of surprise gifts!

Mary Theresa Streck (right  and 
Joan Chesterfield(left) drove me back and forth to Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa for surgical visits and did many things to prepare me including organizing Anointing of the Sick Communal Services on Zoom. 

With Joan Pesce and Dotty Shugrue who shared  fun loving  Sundays with me that included wonderful home-cooked meals

Pearl, my dear neighbor, checked on me everyday, did all my grocery shopping and errands. Wit her husband Paul, they drove me back and forth for many of my treatments. So grateful for their many kindnesses to me!

Yesterday was my last chemo.  As I walked out of the room, I rang the bell 3 times. The other patients being infused clapped and cheered.πŸ‘

Kathryn Shea brought over dinner and a few wonderful surprises from this dear circle of friends. Peg Bowen”s beautiful sun flowers  have fully opened .Like them I am beaming todayπŸ˜ƒ It felt like Christmas on my last day of chemo!

My heart ❤️ is full of gratitude to my family, friends, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Upper Room Catholic Community , and all who are in my life and who have prayed that I ‘d be healed, whole and cancer free. My oncologist, Dr. Chu , said today that my blood cancer cell  count is now in normal range and I am in clinical remission. He will check blood and do  CT scan regularly going forward.

I have a new appreciation of my mortality and how precious life, love and my passionate ministry as a woman priest and advocate for the full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church is! I love working on the Spirit’s “Holy shakeup “moving through  ARCWP and RCWP to empower renewed, communities of faith that include all.  Thanks so much for all your support and solidarity!
It is time to dance and celebrate πŸ˜€

Bridget Mary Meehan

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests NBC Story about Rita Lucey's Ordination as Woman Priest, ARCWP, A Breakthrough Movement Within Roman Catholic Church Offers Hope for Equality Now


Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests- Rita Lucey, front row with deacon stole, on my right,  Bridget Mary in red vestments) was ordained a priest in Orlando

"An 80-year-old Florida woman defied the Catholic Church by declaring herself a Catholic priest on Saturday, joining with a breakaway group of about 200 Catholic women worldwide who have ceremonially ordained themselves priests despite the Church's traditional ban and threat of excommunication, NBC News reported. In a ceremony that draws on the Catholic rite, Rita Lucey prostrated herself in the aisle of a (borrowed Protestant) church, and afterward gave out Communion. "It's the Rosa Parks movement of the Catholic Church," said Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. "The Vatican cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it."

My Response: Rita Lucey ARCWP sent this news story to me of coverage of her priestly ordination. What a blessed memory to celebrate! The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is not a breakaway but a breakthrough movement that is leading the Roman Catholic Church into a new era of inclusivity, justice and equality by ordaining women in apostolic succession for public ministry to communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments, not only those who keep all the man-made rules of the institutional Church .Join the Holy Shakeup now. Visit our website, Bridget Mary Meehan,

Tony Flannery Censured by Vatican for Stance on Women Priests, German Bishops Now Advocate Dialogue on Women's Ordination

Tony Flannery

 My Response: This is another example of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's refusal to treat priests like Tony Flannery with respect and enter into dialogue. There was no dialogue.

Some of the German bishops have called for dialogue on women's ordination. The CDF has not demanded a loyalty oath from them.

There is a double standard obviously and another example of failure to engage in real dialogue over women priests.  

Roman Catholic Women Priests are the elephant in the church's living room. We continue to grow and advance the cause of justice and equality in a more inclusive community of faith rooted in Jesus's vision of Gospel equality. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,,

Tony Flannery:The Statement from the Head of the CDF, and my response to it.

This response from Cardinal Ladaria came as a result of a question asked by NCR reporter, Joshua McElwee at a press briefing this morning in the Vatican:

“If we have some advice to give to Fr. Flannery, we will give it to Fr. Flannery. I believe that out of respect for everyone [involved] and in particular for him, it is better to give this advice in private rather than in public.

“We have done everything possible to dialogue with Fr. Flannery. It has not always been easy. We have done everything possible. On some points, we have had to take some measures, which were never a judgment on the person, because this is left only to Our Lord, but [a judgment] on his teachings or his behavior.

“We have tried always to maintain our respect towards Fr. Flannery, but the duty that we have, according to the arrangement of the church, is to protect the faith and therefore to indicate some things that do not conform with this faith.

“This is a responsibility that is very unpleasant for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Very unpleasant. But it is our responsibility and it would be a lacking on our part if we did not exercise this responsibility, if we pushed it to the side and did not say something when some times, sadly, you have to.”

I wish to respond to a number of points in this statement from Cardinal Ladaria.

He says that imposing penalties on me was “very unpleasant”, and that dealing with me has not always been easy. ‘Unpleasant’ would be a mild word to describe the upheaval their action caused in my life, and certainly my dealings with the CDF have been anything but easy. I don’t feel sorry for the ‘unpleasantness’ he has had to endure.

“We have done everything possible to dialogue with Fr. Flannery”.  How could he possibly say that? The CDF, under him or his two predecessors, never communicated directly with me. How do you dialogue with someone when you won’t speak to them?  Cardinal Ladaria is a religious, a Jesuit, and presumably fairly contemporaneous with myself. So, like me, he lived through the renewal of religious life after the Second Vatican Council. One of the big features of that renewal was a new understanding of the role of authority. The autocratic exercise of authority prevalent in previous times was replaced by an authority based on respect for the individual and their opinions, and the making of decisions based on discussion and dialogue. Or, if you are a Jesuit, you would say ‘discernment’.

The CDF only communicated with the Superior General of the Redemptorists. If any dialogue took place at that level, I am totally unaware of it. All I ever got were demands for statements and signatures, and lists of punishments meted out to me. In fact the very first I knew of the whole process was, in 2012, when I was presented with two documents, outlining my ‘heretical’ writings, and the sentence being imposed. And the Cardinal says they have done everything to dialogue with me.

He also says they have always tried to maintain ‘respect’ for me. The essential basis for respect would be to recognize me as a person in my own right and to talk to me. How do you show respect for someone that you don’t even bother to meet, which you are turning their life upside down?

The Cardinal says they have to protect the faith by indicating things that do not conform to it. I wait to see what action he will take against Cardinal Hollerich of Luxembourg, or a number of German bishops who have spoken about their openness to the ordination of women, and on issues around homosexual teaching. Will we see one Jesuit, Cardinal Ladaria, censoring another Jesuit, Cardinal Hollerich? I don’t think so.