|Newly Ordained Priest: Mercedes Segura Rodriguez ARCWP in red stole, and Bishop Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP with sacred chrism anointing her hands.|
Buenaventura, December 12/2021
On this very special occasion, the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of Latin America, it is an honor for me to preside over the ordination to the ministry of presbyterate of our colleague Mercedes Segura Rodriguez, as well as for the ARCWP Movement (Roman Catholic Presbyteresses).
We are facing difficult situations both locally, nationally and internationally, and we are witnessing major crises, devastating either by the pandemic, either by armed conflict and violence, either by the economic situation, either by the violation of human rights that plagues the people, wherever we are.
In the midst of all these problems, we see with great hope, more and more as women, we organize ourselves in different groups, making marches, convening conferences, denouncing, raising our prophetic voices claiming for the care of life, of the common home, justice and peace.
We women priests have not become priests to echo the patriarchal system. In the face of what we are living, we rise up as did the prophetess Deborah who exclaimed:
"The villages were forsaken in Israel, they had decayed, until I Deborah arose, I arose as the mother of Israel" Judges 5:7.
Our fields are desolate, the rivers polluted, commerce threatened by vandalism on the roads, children no longer play in the streets, neighbors no longer see each other talking in their backyards, social relations are broken by jealousy of authority, power and distrust. Families are confined to their homes for fear of violence.
We have all been invited to seek a solution to the subhuman situation we live in. The solution is yours and mine.
By our Baptism, women and men are called as daughters and sons of the Divinity, to become part of its history, and not to make our own history. The Divinity is not calling extraordinary beings, but ordinary beings like those of us present here.
Responding to the call that the Divinity makes is not an easy task, there will always be obstacles, which we must learn to overcome, since we cannot announce the Good News if we remain only attentive to who is with us or who is against us. We ask ourselves, do we intend to leave our mark, or leave the mark of the Divine, in the proclamation of the Good News through us in our ministry?
Being anointed, remembering our Baptism, invests us with authority and power for the proclamation of the Gospel, filling our hearts with righteous indignation to wield the sword of the spirit in holy rebellion and prayer that urges us to fight against a patriarchal clerical society that marginalizes and oppresses us as women.
To prophesy is not to foretell the future, to prophesy is to denounce situations of injustice. Let us not forget that because of our Baptism we are prophets.
In present times like the ones we are living, courage and bravery are needed. It is the testimony and the image of many women who from memorable times have preceded us with their example and fortitude, who stimulate us and challenge us to change for a more just and humane society.
The figure of Mary, her attitude visiting her cousin Elizabeth and the proclamation of the Magnificat on that occasion, are gestures worthy of observation, analysis and reflection.
Without consulting, without asking for permission, pregnant, she went alone, through difficult and difficult paths to share the news of her pregnancy with her elderly cousin in the same situation. Mary is a bold and courageous woman, determined to change a system of oppression by bringing the Good News. It is the announcement of the Good News that dignifies the human being. Precisely because she brings a clear announcement, the message is given half-heartedly, it is deceived, distorted, sowing doubt, fear and mistrust. It is trapped in norms and structures.
Mary receives the message of the Good News, she does not decorate it with lights, quotes or colors. Full of dignity, she stands up proudly and without fear, she shares it with her cousin and gives it to humanity.
The Magnificat is her manifesto of political character, deep cry of her entrails, she thanks the Divinity that sublimates and elevates her: "He has done great things in me". She feels that the Divinity has brought her out of nothingness. She knows his power and his glory and exclaims:
"He doeth exploits with his arm: he scattereth the proud in heart, he bringeth down the mighty from their thrones, and exalteth the lowly, he filleth the hungry with good things, and the rich he sendeth away empty."
Neither Mercedes, nor any of the presbyteresses become presbyteresses to acquire another certificate or diploma, nor to show off or boast.
To be presbyteresses is to serve, to be among the people with the people, being presbyteresses does not make us different from being people. Our ministry is commitment, in an attitude of committed loyalty, making the Good News known.