Saturday, January 30, 2021

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for January 31, 2021 - Presiders: Bridget Ball Shaw and Denise Hackert-Stoner, ARCWP

Denise:  Welcome and theme  

Welcome to the Sabbath gathering of the Upper Room Community on the birthday of the Trappist monk who became surprisingly vocal in both his spiritual writings and social activism, Thomas Merton.  Today’s readings direct our attention to command and authority; our own command over our own actions, and our responsibility to speak with authority in the face of evil and wrongdoing in our society.  These are challenging readings.  They demand our courage.  They demand our clear-sightedness.  They demand our integrity.  Let us listen and respond. 

Bridget:  Opening Prayer:  Dear Holy One, we come to you with courage and fear, determination and reluctance.  We strive to fight the monster without becoming the monster.  We place ourselves in your hands and in the hands of this gathering as we struggle to find the balance.  We thank you for your wisdom and the wisdom you send to each of us through your people.

Opening song:  Where Did Jesus Go

Dave:  First Reading, from the Gospel of Mark 1:21-28 (The New New Testament)

They walked into Capernaum. On the next Sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught them like one who had authority, and not like the scholars. Now there was in their synagogue at the time a man under the power of an unclean spirit, who called out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the holy one of God!” But Jesus rebuked the spirit, “Be quiet! Come out from him.” The unclean spirit threw the man into a fit and with a loud cry came out from him. They were all so amazed that they kept asking, “What is this new teaching? He gives his commands with authority even to the unclean spirits, and they obey him!”  And the fame of Jesus spread at once in all directions, through the whole of Galilee.  

These are holy words from the Gospel writer we call Mark.  Let us affirm them by saying AMEN.

Mary Theresa:  Second Reading, from Disputed Questions, by Thomas Merton

There are crimes which no one would commit as an individual which they willingly and bravely commit when acting in the name of  society, because they have been too easily convinced that evil is entirely different when it is done 'for the common good.' might point to the way in which racial hatreds and even persecution are admitted by people who consider themselves, kind, tolerant, civilized and even humane. 

These are holy words from Thomas Merton, Monk, Mystic, and Activist.  Let us affirm them by saying AMEN.  

Alleluia (Dennis)

Third Reading:  John Lewis: Stand Up, Speak Up, Speak Out!

Denise:  Homily Starter 

“Be quiet.  Come out from him.”  With these few simple words, spoken in the shadow of the synagogue where he had just taught, Jesus performs his first act of public ministry.  The exorcism described in this gospel reading is one of at least seven recorded in the New Testament.  The writer of Mark’s gospel seems especially drawn to these events.  As Marcus Borg points out in his book “Days of Awe and Wonder,” the placement of this exorcism immediately after Jesus returns from his desert experience and just as he is beginning to gather followers, highlights how central it is to his ministry at its very outset: he is a charismatic healer and mystic, a man who can command unclean spirits, and they obey him, exiting their victim to allow truth, light, and love back in.  

Regardless of what we today may think about the existence of unclean spirits or their role in our world, or the ability of anyone to expel them, it’s important to remember that these ideas were fully accepted and taken as fact by everyone in first century Palestine, including Jesus, his followers, and his foes.  Unclean spirits were seen as a very unpleasant fact of life, separate from what was recognized as ordinary illness.  A person with the gift of releasing a victim from the throes of possession would be revered by many, feared by some, and often drew big crowds. Anyone who drew large groups of people together would have been viewed by the Roman occupiers as a potential threat to the status quo, and they were known to have executed other Jewish miracle workers during the time of Jesus. The threat of Roman retaliation led many of the people themselves to turn against these healers.  So, by teaching with authority, and by calling out evil and literally commanding it to leave, Jesus is placing himself and his ministry in the Roman crosshairs right at its outset.  He is also risking the fear and ire of his own people.  

How little things have really changed!  It may be that most of us no longer accept demonic possession as the root of evil in our society.  But there can be no argument that evil does exist.  We only have to look at modern human history, and some very recent history, to see it in action.  Often, as Thomas Merton points out in the second reading, evil is well-disguised and quite accepted by many once it becomes a societal norm.  But what of the people who stand up to evil today?  What becomes of them?  The second half of the twentieth century saw the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop Oscar Romero, Sister Maura Clarke, Sister Ita Ford, Sister Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan, to name some familiar to us.  There are un-named hundreds who have given their lives in the cause of justice, and thousands more who daily put livelihoods, friendships, security, and reputations on the line as they recognize evil and call it out.  These are modern-day exorcists, and we have seen them at work in our families, in our communities, in our courts, in the halls of Congress, and in the case of John Lewis, facing down the status quo on bridges.  They are the face of Christ acting in the world today, casting out evil so that love, mercy and justice can flow back in.  What are your thoughts about today’s readings?  Your insights are sacred, and we hope you will share them.

Shared Homily 


Statement of Faith: 

Bridget:  All: 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.


Bridget: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we remember that just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. And we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.  (Dennis reads petitions)

We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

adapted from Diarmuid O’Murchu

Denise:  With open hands let us pray our Eucharistic Prayer together:

Gracious God, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit, who enlivens and inebriates all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and all we pray for today.

Down through the ages, you rescue us from darkness.
you light up our ways with wise and holy people. You restore our spirits and you revive our dwindling hope.

May the Spirit of life and wholeness transform us that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love, and healing to those whose lives we touch.

For all you bring to our lives, and for all we seek amid
pain and suffering, we acclaim your love and greatness,
and we join with all creation to sing our hymn of praise: 

Holy, Holy, Holy

(Words and music by Karen Drucker)

Bridget: Please extend your hands in blessing.

Source of our health and wholeness, healer of body, mind, and spirit, we bring before you the darkness of our world, and the pain and suffering of your people.
We seek to be healed and made whole; we seek to be reconciled and united; we seek peace in our hearts and in our world.

We ask you to awaken anew in our hearts the empowering grace of your abundant Spirit, who infuses these gifts of bread and wine with the transforming energy of life, to nourish and sustain us in our time of need.

On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet. Once again he showed us how to love one another.

All lift bread 

Back at the table, he took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying, Take and eat, this is my very self.

All lift cup

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

Take and drink of the covenant

Made new again through my life in you.

Whenever you remember me like this,

I am among you.

As we share this holy food let us remember that we are called to be the justice of Christ.

Communion Song:  I Think It’s Going to Rain Today: 

Denise:  In faith and hope we are sustained,
In grace our dignity reclaimed,
In praise we thank our God.

Grant that we may strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live in health and wholeness, united in acclaiming the God of life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, until the Kin-dom
arrives in the fullness of time.

Denise: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

All: O Holy One, who is 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 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.  Amen  (Miriam Therese Winter) 


Bridget: Let us raise our hands and bless each other.

Dearest Holy One, you have spoken to us through ancient scripture, through the holy meditation of Thomas Merton and through the inspiring words of Freedom Fighter John Lewis.  And, yes, Holy One, you have spoken to us through the wise words we have shared this day with each other.  Let us take the love and wisdom you have blessed us with as we enter into our daily work and play this week.  AMEN

 Closing Song:  Speechless:

Friday, January 29, 2021

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, Presiders:Mary Kay Staudohar & Michael Rigdon Readers: Russ Banner, Elena Garcia, Kathryn Shea

Zoom link for video- 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

ID 851- 0809-5506

Password 1066

MMOJ Community 

Welcome (Mary Kay) Welcome to our liturgical gathering on this Saturday afternoon. We rejoice that we can celebrate liturgy together during these difficult times. We extend to one another words of welcome, peace, and thanksgiving assuring one another that all are welcome to this holy place. 

We invite you to pray the liturgy with us. You will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders. When speaking a part please unmute and remute yourself. During the shared homily we ask you to unmute yourself to contribute your thoughts and when you are finished, remember to remute yourself. Have bread and wine/juice in front of you for communion.

Theme (Michael) Our theme today will be “our commitment to nonviolence.”

We took the vow of nonviolence on January 2nd.

We celebrated the life and teachings of Martin Luther King two weeks later on January 16. 

It seems appropriate after the violent riot at the US Capitol on January 6th to make January our month of nonviolence and to recommit ourselves to being a church of peace. 

Gathering 🎶  Make me a channel of your peace (prayer of St Francis)

Make me a channel of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.

Where there is injury your pardon, God,

And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace. 

Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope.

Where there is darkness only light, 

And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Oh God, grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled, as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved, as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace. 

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 

In giving of ourselves that we receive, 

And in dying that were born to eternal life. ...

Make me a channel of your peace.

Sign of Peace (Michael) Let us offer each other a sign of peace.

All: (Namaste pose or other greeting toward camera) Namaste. The peace of Christ be with you!

Transformation Prayer (Elena) The suffering being experienced by the people of the world is greater than ever before in our lifetimes. We commit ourselves to do whatever we can, in any way we can, to alleviate the spread of covid, to comfort the sick and their families, and to grieve with the many who have lost loved ones and friends. All: Transform us, Oh Holy One!

It is difficult today to keep our focus on the Divine Presence within in us and within everyone around us. A seditious mob attacked the halls of Congress this month. Racism and white supremacy infiltrate all our structures. We commit ourselves to speak truth to power. All: Transform us, Oh Holy One!

Partisan divisions among our government leaders work against the needs of our people. We commit ourselves to respond to the needs of others in whatever ways we can and to share our faith that goodness will prevail. 

All: Transform us, Oh Holy One!

Gloria (Mary Kay) Glory to the Spirit of Life, to the Holy One who surrounds us, who lives within us, whose Sacred Word is shared by us. 

Glory to the Spirit of Life, who offers us peace—peace in our hearts, peace in our thoughts, peace with one another. 

Glory to the Spirit of Life, who cares for the health workers, postal workers, store clerks, garbage collectors and all those who serve our special needs in numerous ways.

Glory to the Spirit of Life, who sent Jesus, who taught us how to live the Gospels, who brings hope and healing to all those in need. 

O Holy One, you are one with us.  We are strong in our faith and will live life in hope and faithfulness to you, to be Church, committed to the message of the Gospel.

We depend upon the ever-present Spirit, Wisdom Sophia, to walk with us as we journey in the present and rejoice in the life before us.  

All: Glory to the Spirit of Life!

Liturgy of the Word 

(Russ) Let us take a few moments of silence.... The first reading is from The Nonviolent Life by John Dear.

How can we become people of nonviolence and 

help the world become more nonviolent? 

What does it mean to be a people of active nonviolence? 

How can we help build a global grassroots movement of nonviolence 

to disarm the world, 

relieve unjust human suffering, 

make a more just society and 

protect creation and all creatures? 

What is a nonviolent life?”

[In my book], I propose a simple vision of nonviolence that 

every one of us can aspire to. 

I commend three dimensions of nonviolence: 

practicing nonviolence toward ourselves,

practicing nonviolence toward all others, all creatures and creation, 

and practicing active nonviolence 

by joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence—

and suggest that to be a person of nonviolence, 

we each need to practice each dimension simultaneously 

if we are to become authentic practitioners of nonviolence.

Many of us do practice one, or maybe two, of these dimensions. 

We might be nonviolent toward ourselves and most others, 

but we are not part of the global movement of nonviolence. 

Or we might be committed activists involved in 

the movements for justice and peace, 

but filled with self hatred 

or mean toward those around us.

The nonviolent life in all its fullness demands 

that we practice all three dimensions at the same time! 

It is life straddling a tightrope, or juggling three bowling pins, 

or for that matter, walking on water. 

We are called to a new kind of centered mindfulness 

where we practice nonviolence in our private lives 

as well as work publicly and actively in the movements 

for disarmament, justice and peace through creative nonviolence. 

It means becoming in our own ordinariness 

new Gandhis, Kings and Dorothy Days.    These are the inspired words of John Dear, and the community affirms our assent by saying, All: So be it!

Acclamation 🎶 Alle, Alle, Alleluia.

(Kathryn) The second reading is from the conclusion of The Nonviolent Life by John Dear. 

The historic student-led demonstrations in France in 1968 rung with a chant

that is as apt today as it was then:

“Be reasonable. Demand the impossible.”

Like those French protesters, practitioners of nonviolence are

reasonable people who demand the impossible.

With our spirituality of nonviolence and peace we 

trust in the God of peace, 

open our hearts in universal love, 

maintain a conscious mindfulness, see with a long haul vision, 

and willingly risk the cross and resurrection 

as the way to nonviolent social change. 

We root our life journey of nonviolence in the God of peace, 

the nonviolent Jesus, 

and the Holy Spirit of peace and love 

so that we become one with the universe, with heaven and earth, 

and all the saints and martyrs and peacemakers 

who have gone before us on the path of peace.

This spiritual framework, context and practice gives each one of us 

the strength to live a nonviolent life.

We have enough strength to step out into the world as 

people of peace, love and nonviolence, 

rooted and grounded in a whole new spirituality,

fashioned on Jesus himself.

These are the inspired words of John Dear, and the community affirms our assent by saying, All: So be it!

Shared Homily (Michael & Community) Let us begin with minute or so of silence.... I highlighted John Dear’s reflection on three dimensions of nonviolence. Joining together in a vow of nonviolence as we did on January 2nd and as we will do after the homily in place of our profession of faith—This takes us into the third dimension, past nonviolence toward self, and nonviolence toward others and creation. We publicly join together with the grassroots movement of nonviolence.  I think Dear believes this dimension is so critical because we start to receive support in our commitment to peace and provide that support and education to others. 

Vow of Nonviolence (All recite together)

(Russ) Recognizing the violence in my own heart,

yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, 

I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus 

who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount: 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, 

for they shall be called the daughters and sons of God...

You have learned how it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ but I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven.”

(Elena) Before God the Creator and the Sanctifying Spirit, 

I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus, 

by striving for peace within myself 

and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life; 

by accepting suffering rather than inflicting it; 

by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence; 

by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart; 

by living conscientiously and simply 

so that I do not deprive others of the means to live; 

by actively resisting evil 

and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war 

from my own heart and from the face of the earth.

(Kathryn) God, I trust in Your sustaining love 

and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, 

so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.

Prayers of the Community

(Mary Kay) As we prepare for this sacred meal, we are aware that the needs of our country and our world are many. As both a community and individuals we do our part to be the healing power of Christ for the world as we bring our prayers to the Eucharistic Table.

We bring to the table our newly elected leaders, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who are charged to address the many crises our country faces.  


We bring to the table those who exercise leadership roles in all faith traditions.

We bring to the table those who are distributing and injecting the vaccines to protect everyone from covid and its new strains.

We bring to the table all those who are unemployed and underemployed, all migrants and refugees.

We bring to the table all those who work to promote justice by eradicating sexism, racism, and discrimination of every kind.

We bring to the table our desire to bring an end to the arms race and peaceful ways to resolve conflicts among nations. And we bring to the table the presidents of the US and Russia who agreed in their first conversation this week to extend a nuclear disarmament agreement that was due to expire next week.

We bring to the table our desire to be faithful to our pledge of nonviolence in every aspect of our lives.

We bring to the table our community members and friends who have current health concerns, especially Sally & Janet, Mary Kay (

And for what else shall we pray? (Unmute to be heard, then mute again)

O Holy One, you know our needs even before we speak. Yet we must speak, if only to remind ourselves of our responsibility to care for the least among us. With your grace may we act justly and love tenderly in addressing the needs of our world. And may we walk humbly on the earth all the days of our lives. 

All:  Hear the voices of your people, Spirit of Compassion, that our faith and commitment to action will steer us forward to live that for which we pray.

Our Offering 🥖🍷 🎶 Seed Scattered & Sown

Eucharistic Prayer  🎶 We Are Holy

(Kathryn & All) We committed again today to be a community of nonviolence and peace! To support us, we count on each other and on the Spirit of Christ present among us, especially as we gather now for Eucharist. 

We commit ourselves to live the ministry of the Gospel as we speak clearly with respect and love, as we challenge the contradictions within our society, especially during these times of division and fear. We remind ourselves daily to remain faithful in our words and actions to our commitment to nonviolence. We

are called to the inner life, our spiritual life, to be open to the new beginnings in our lives. We walk with Jesus seeking wisdom and peace.

(Hold your hand over bread and wine) 

(Russ & All) Jesus, we celebrate the last meal you had with your followers. We call upon Sacred Spirit, ever and always with us, to bring blessing on this bread and wine as they are made sacred through our faith in the presence of Christ with us. 

During Jesus’s life on 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 authorities of his day, and they sought out ways to bring him to his death.

(Mary Kay & All) On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends. He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet. 

 All lift 🥖 and pray the following:

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.


All pause, then lift the 🍷 and pray the following:

(Elena & All) He took the cup, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:

Take and drink. This is the new covenant.

Whenever you remember me like this,

I am among you.

(We pause for a moment of silence)

What we have heard with our ears, 

we will live with our lives.  

As we share communion, 

we will become communion 

both love's nourishment and love's challenge.

(Michael & All) Let us share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice, nonviolence and peace, remembering that we are bearers of light and hope. We are the Christ alive today.

Everyone consumes the bread and wine at this time

🎶 Irish Blessing ☘️, Bill Leslie.

(Kathryn) Sacred Spirit, we rejoice that the Universal Christ remains always and ever present within and around us. We remember all those who have transitioned from life on earth to complete union with your Sacred Presence— Mary of Nazareth and all great saints, prophets and martyrs. We also remember family members and friends. We remember all those whose lives have been lost to covid, to war, to racism and other forms of exclusion and violence that exist in our world. And we remember those you wish to be remembered (we pause to remember our loved ones) All are beloved souls who have blessed our lives and who continue to inspire us. And we respond together: (All) So be it!

(Russ & All) Let us pray together as Jesus taught us:

O Holy One, who is 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 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.  Amen  

(Miriam Therese Winter) 

(Michael) Let us share any gratitudes we hold in our hearts.


Final Blessing 

🎶 (Michael) Rejoice and be glad. Blessed are you. Holy are you.

Rejoice and be glad. Yours is the kindom of God (x2)

Final 🎶 Christ be our light


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