Friday, July 16, 2021

Celebrating Mary Magdalene Liturgy, July 17, 2021, MMOJ Inclusive Community, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Peg Bowen ARCWP, Readers: Mary Al Gagnon and Jerry Bires, Music Minister : Linda Lee Miller

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

ID 851- 0809-5506, Passcode 1066

Theme:  Embrace the fathomless mystery of the fullness of your humanity and divinity


PEG:  Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome. We invite you to pray the liturgy and respond where it says “ALL.”  All participants will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. Our readers today are Mary Al Gagnon and Jerry Bires.  Please have bread and wine/juice nearby as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.

BMM: Today we celebrate the feast of Mary Magdalene, first apostle and teacher of the male disciples. According to the Gospel of Mary, Jesus taught that we are not sinful, but rather, we are a holy mix of a self that struggles and triumphs and a soul that is limitless – rooted in infinite love. There is no spiritual authority outside of us that is greater than the presence of God within us.


Women of the Church by Carey Landry, vs. 1-2, recorded for MMOJ Liturgy by Linda Lee Miller

Women of the Church I Verses 1-2:


TERESA:  Like Mary Magdalene, we proclaim the presence of the Spirit within each of us. Like Mary Magdalene, we proclaim Jesus' teaching that our humanity is holy and that our failures are blessed opportunities for spiritual growth.  Like Mary Magdalene, we live the good news of the partnership of women and men as equals in proclaiming the Gospel. 



BMM:  We pause now to reflect on our failures to act as our best selves in our relations with others. We ask all those we have offended for forgiveness. We forgive ourselves. We forgive those who have offended us.  

Pause briefly, then extend arm over your heart.

BMM and ALL:  I love you, I am sorry, I forgive you, I thank you. I love you..


LINDA LEE and ALL:  For the witness of Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles, we say glory! For her vision of the Risen One, we say glory! For new insights into the  fullness of our  humanity and divinity as the Christ Presence in our world, we say glory. For an awareness that no spiritual authority outside us is greater than the voice of God that speaks within our hearts, we say glory. For the gift of love that cherishes human  beings of all races, genders, and ethnic identities as spiritual equals in the Body of Christ, we say glory.  AMEN!


READER:  Jerry Bires

First Reading:   a reflection on Mary Magdalene, Alana Levandoski, composer of "Human One" 

This journey of seeing Easter through Mary Magdalene's eyes has caused a spiritual free fall for me... and now nothing less than tender, merciful, love - held fast to what seems irreconcilable - will do. 

There is now no need to spend my energy focused on the kind of Jesus follower I am not. The cynicism bred from that impasse has been exhausted. 

But if anyone is interested in, or confused about why I "stay"... it is simply this: Because I am in love. 

With the Christ Mystery. 

With the anointing way of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. 

With all people. 

With all traditions, including perhaps especially, indigenous wisdom. 

And with all things. 

Now is the time for holding fast to this kind of love. The kind that sends such a ripple across the universe that it comes back. Because after all, it is anywhere, and everywhere. 

It is deeply radical, but rooted in a sober core, that trusts in the free fall, as though it is a dear friend... The free fall I am talking about is really what the creative process is.  It is surrendering to what abundantly multiplies when we plant ourselves, and die like a seed. 

These are the inspired words of Alana Levandoski and we affrim them by saying: AMEN

RESPONSORIAL PSALM:  Psalm 91- Kathryn Christian

READER:  Mary Al Gagnon

Second Reading:  Mary Magdalene: Adapted from Soul Sisters: Women in Scripture Speak to Women Today, by Edwina Gateley

Ah, Mary of Magdala, they did not tell us your story.  It was lost, buried deep in layers of fear and denial, that such a one as you – female, fiercely loyal friend of Jesus – could walk so closely with (him), never leaving his side even as you stood before the gates of hell.

What dread sickness was it, Mary, that gripped you with all of seven symptoms?  They did not tell us your story …but we know your spirit was battered in a society which had no place for you.

Was your sickness then a soul-sickness, sister? Were the demons that devoured you, offsprings of despair in a patriarchal culture where your voice could never be spoken? Your words never heard?

They did not tell us, Mary. They did not tell us your story.  Could your seven demons be those very ones that reside still in your sisters, two thousand years later, cowering in shadowy apartments, brutalized by domestic violence and believing it deserved? Afraid to speak, to break the chains that bind them? 

Ah, Mary of Magdala, were you also imprisoned by your story never told? Your story of the empty grave was dismissed as rambling – distraught woman-nonsense. How was it with you then, Mary of Magdala? Standing in the place of revelation, singular woman witness of the Resurrection? How was it to be so bereft and then be thrust, still weeping, into the bliss of the Realm of God, to run then, with that vision – that new of life – to those who lived in fear?

Ah, Mary, we your sisters need to hear your running and your story resurrected and dusted from the tomb of scriptural exegesis into the bright sunlight. We need to claim your vision breaking through dead history into our warm lives.

We, women waiting, need to find you, Mary of Magdala.  In the torn threads of our own journeys, we need to weave you, Mary, sister and friend, into our lives that we might stir and rise, fluttering in hope of new beginnings, no matter how long dead we have lain in the ground. Ah, then, Mary, brave woman of Magdala, we too will run from our tombs singing our song of resurrection with you, soul sister, into the bright, bright sun.

These are sacred words of Edwina Gateley, and we affirm them by saying:


CELTIC ALLELUIA - Linda Lee Miller

READER:  Peg Bowen

GOSPEL: A Reading from the Gospel of Mary, the Magdala

4: 1-2  The Blessed One …greeted them all saying, “Peace be with you? Bear my peace within yourselves.

4: 5-11  For the Child of Humanity is within you! Follow it! Those who seek it will find it. Go then and proclaim the good news of the realm. Do not lay down any rules beyond what I determined for you, nor give a law like the lawgiver, lest you be confined by it. When he had said this, he departed. 

5:1-2  But they were pained. They wept greatly, saying, “How shall we go to the nations and proclaim the good news of the Child of Humanity? If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?

5: 4-6  Then Mary stood up. She greeted them all, and said to her brothers and sisters, “Do not weep and be pained, nor doubt, for all his grace will be with you and shelter you.”  When Mary said this, she turned their heart to the Good, and then began to discuss the words of the Savior. 

6:1-2  Peter said to Mary, “Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of the women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember, which you know and we do not, nor have we heard them.”  Mary answered and said, “What is hidden from you I will tell you,” and she began to say to them these words. 

10:1-4  But Andrew responded and said to the brothers and sisters, “Say what you will about what she has said, I do not believe that the Savior said this…”  Peter responded and spoke concerning these same things. “Did he really speak with a woman without our knowing it? Are we to turn around and all listen to her? Did he choose her over us?”

These are the inspired words of the Gospel of Mary and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.

HOMILY STARTER:  Bridget Mary Meehan

At the heart of Mary's Gospel is a passionate enthusiasm for becoming a true human being. This ancient gospel, which states that Jesus teaches us how to embrace the goodness of our humanity, is also reflected in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Thomas. The concept of a corrupt sinful humanity is not prevalent in the early gospels. It developed in later Christianity with theologians such as Augustine and Martin Luther. Scripture scholar Hal Taussig writes, “Indeed, Jesus's words in the Gospel of Mary about the child of true humanity are strikingly similar to his words about the realm of God in Luke: ‘The realm of God does not come in a way that can be grasped,’ nor will people say ‘look here it is! or There it is!’ for the realm of God is among you. (Luke 17: 20-21)”

In the Gospel of Mary, Jesus shared special teachings with Mary which she tries to share with the male disciples. However, Peter and Andrew refused to believe that Jesus could possibly have shared with Mary what he did not share with them because she was a woman.  So too today, the Vatican rejects the call of women to be ordained because they are women.  They hold on to the misogynist teaching that priests must bear a physical resemblance to Jesus. Like Mary Magdalene, we claim our spiritual power, embrace the fullness of our humanity and divinity, and go forth to preach the gospel.  It is time to save Jesus from the institutional church and its toxic teachings!  As we explore the canonical and newly discovered gospels in early Christianity, we discover a fuller understanding of Jesus’ teachings and ministry that feels like we are meeting Jesus for the first time!


We will now prayerfully reflect on “Human One” by Alana Levandoski


What did you hear in our readings today about Mary Magdalene that is relevant today?



We believe in one God, 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 God's Word, bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion, bright star in the firmament of God's prophets, mystics, and saints. 

We believe that we are called to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God's love, a source of God's wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God's peace in the world.

We believe that God's "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.


BMM:  We now remember all those who are rising up to confront systemic and institutional racism, sexism and injustice.   ALL: Your Love calls us to action.

PEG: For all those working for human rights in our world.  ALL: Your Love accompanies us.

BMM: For all those suffering the loss of family members, friends and essential workers due to COVID and violence in the past year.  ALL: Your Love comforts and challenges us.

JOAN Meehan:  We pray for our MMOJ intentions. 

PEG:  For what else should we pray?

PEG:  Holy Mystery we respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers in loving prayer and solidarity. ALL:  AMEN


BMM:  Blessed are You, Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread, to share, the Bread of Life. 

BMM AND ALL:  Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.  

PEG:  Blessed are You, O Loving One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to share, our spiritual drink. 

PEG and ALL:  Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.

BMM:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Christ, whose presence we are as we proclaim the liberating power of your Spirit Sophia, in our humanity and divinity, calling us to build the unity of Love in a more compassionate and just world.    ALL:  AMEN


PEG: Spirit of Love, you reside in the heart of the brokenness around us and in, the struggles of life. Aware of the fathomless mystery of humanity made in the image of God, we sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy -- Linda Lee Miller (adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)

We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x , You are Holy, Holy, Holy, I am Holy, Holy, Holy, We are Holy, Holy, Holy

BMM:  Human One, Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala revealing new depths of your presence. It was you who made our inmost selves, you knit us together in our mother’s womb.  In drawing closer to you, we draw closer to your ways written into our bodies and souls, the sacred texts of your love etched in every moment and encounter of life. 

Please extend Your hands in blessing and say together:

PEG and ALL:   Pour out Your Spirit Sophia anew upon this bread and wine and upon us as we become more deeply the Christ Presence in our world.

BMM and ALL:  On the night before he died, Jesus came to table with his family and the women and men he loved. Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, saying,  “Take, eat, this is my body. Do this in memory of me.”        pause

PEG and ALL:  After supper, Jesus poured a cup of wine and shared it with his friends, saying,  “This is the cup of the covenant of my love. As often as You drink of it, remember me.”

PEG:   Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

PEG and ALL:  Christ has died in all those who have passed away. 

Christ is rising in all who are set free by love.

Christ comes each day in all who work for the world’s healing. 

BMM:  Creator of All, we remember all the companions who have gone before us:  Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, all holy women and men and our dear Sally, who have lived lives of love and service in the midst of suffering and injustice. We pause now to remember our personal communion of saints. 


Lift the bread and wine

PEG and ALL:  For it is through living as Jesus lived, and loving as he loved, that we awaken to our full humanity and holiness empowering us to generously serve the needs of all.


Great Amen,  Sung by Linda Lee Miller

MARY KAY and ALL:  The Prayer of Jesus

Our Mother who art in Heaven. 

Each breath brings us to you.

Your wisdom come, Your will be done,

as we honor your presence within us.

You give us this day all that we need.

Your bounty calls us to give and receive

all that is loving and pleasurable.

You are the courage that moves us

to be true to ourselves

and we act with grace and power.

We relax into your cycles of birth,

growth, death and renewal.

Out of the womb, the darkness, the void,

comes new life.

For you are the Mother of All Things.

Your body is the Sacred Earth and our bodies.

Your love nurtures us and unites us all.

Now and forever more.

     Written by Dale Allen


Blessing Song by Jan Phillips


BMM:  Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread.

BMM and ALL: Holy One, You call us to speak truth to power; we will do so.

Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of healing and justice; we will do so. 

Holy One, You call us to be Your presence in the world; we will do so.

PEG:  This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to Christ’s table.  

PEG and ALL:  We are the Body and Blood of Christ for the world.  

Receive the bread and wine you have consecrated at your table


Courageous Women by Jan Novotka, video by Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP and Juanita Cordero, RCWP 

BMM:  Thanksgivings, Introductions, Announcements


PEG:  We give thanks for the goodness of human existence.  We embrace our humanity – with all its imperfections – as holy ground.  As we go forth, may we be vibrant reflections of the Christ Presence in our world.  ALL:  AMEN 

BMM:  Please extend Your hands as we pray our final blessing:

BMM and ALL:  In the spirit of Mary Magdalene, first apostle, and leader of the disciples,

We bless each other.

We bless all living beings,

We go forth, to live the Gospel of mutual partnership and hospitality. 


Woman Spirit by Karen Drucker


Liturgy written by Bridget Mary Meehan

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"Cry the Beloved Country" by Diann Willman RCWP

(Photo: Matthew Willman)

is the town where Dianne Willman RCWP lives in South Africa.This is her cry of lament.  As the narrator says-this was not caused by the people-rather the "workers, truck drivers parents and families have done nothing wrong whatsoever-rather-the greed of a few over the many"...

Dianne's Cry of Lament

Cry the Beloved Country.

Cry for its people ravished by expedient politicians who plunder.
Cry for failed leadership.
Cry for those who take advantage of a deepening crisis.
Cry for those who open the floodgates of terror unleashed upon those already struggling.
Cry for those who won't get vaccines.
Cry for those who have battled poverty and hunger, and the fine line of what's really right.
Cry for those with empty hands and those well fed.
Cry for parents, children and spouses, wounded and killed, caught in the crossfire of confusion, agendas and the lure of instant cures that hide long term trauma to come.
Cry for ethnic groups now targeted and scapegoated.
Cry for a hard earned democracy and rule of law now needing to claw back from the edges of disillusionment, resentment and tiredness.
Cry for the armed and unarmed, harmed and unharmed.
Cry Beloved Country cry.
Lament this tragedy.
And in the days to come, seek out the embers of love to fan into flame,
Search for the lungs who need the air of your presence,
Find that green shoot of hope that will always pierce through.
For, after an African storm, we come out, we rebuild.
God, bless Africa.

Catholic Church Reform - Hear These Women Priests Roar by Tom Deignan @IrishCentral Jul 16, 2021, A Holy Shakeup, not a Schism- Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP


Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,, Twitter:@womenpriestsnow,email: sofiabmm;

(See my response to article below!)

I believe that on a deep, spiritual, mystical level, women priests are beginning a healing process of centuries-old misogyny in which spiritual power was exclusively invested in men. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Article by Tom Deignan, Irish Central, July 16,2021

"Later this month, Catholics around the world will have an opportunity to reflect on the life and devotion of Mary Magdalene. 

Five years ago, Pope Francis announced that July 22 would be recognized as an official “feast day” to “highlight the relevance of this woman who showed great love for Christ and was much loved by Christ," as Archbishop Arthur Roche put it at the time.

This feast day should have special meaning in the Dublin house where Colm Holmes raised two children with his wife Soline. 

Born in France, Soline “was a 17-year-old studying history and politics at Trinity College in Dublin when she first felt a calling to enter the priesthood,” according to a recent article in The New Yorker magazine.

By the mid-1990s, Soline “began informally celebrating the Eucharist in her home,” and her husband has also since “become deeply involved in the movement for women’s equality in the church.”

That movement is having a real moment right now, just as (coincidentally or not) Pope Francis attempts to get back on his feet after recent surgery.

Even as more Americans walk away from religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular, others -- many of them Irish or Irish American -- are confronting the church and demanding changes so radical even a celebrated reformer like Pope Francis has dismissed them completely.

But that has not stopped the likes of Bridget Mary Meehan. You can read about her in a new book called Womanpriest by Jill Peterfeso.

Meehan, an activist in Kansas City, regularly hosted “home liturgies,” one of which was attended by Dena O’Callaghan, who was inspired to become a “womanpriest.”

Then there’s the American National Catholic Church, what is generally described as an independent religious movement founded a little more than a decade ago.

“The ANCC also embraces numerous innovations the Vatican rejects,” a 2019 New Jersey Monthly magazine article noted. These include “gay, married and female priests,” though one pastor added, “We don’t see ourselves as a new church. We see ourselves as united to the same church that was founded by Christ.”

As you can imagine, the Vatican doesn’t quite agree. 

Then again, if you want to see what some other devout, religious women think of the Vatican, take a look at the new movie Rebel Hearts about a group of trailblazing Los Angeles nuns.

“Will the Roman Catholic Church ever ordain priests who are not men?” Margaret Talbot asks in the recent New Yorker article.

“Plenty of women feel that they have a priestly vocation, and many Catholics support them: according to a survey from the Pew Research Center, roughly six in 10 Catholics in the United States say that the church should allow women to become priests (and priests to marry). The figure is 55 percent for Hispanic Catholics, the church’s fastest-growing demographic. In Brazil, the Latin American country with the largest Catholic population, nearly eight in 10 Catholics surveyed by Pew endorse the idea of women priests.”

Talbot speaks to a number of Irish Americans, including the celebrated novelist Alice McDermott, described as “a lifelong Catholic and an advocate of women’s ordination.”

McDermott, Talbot writes, speaks of “the damage that’s been done by confining an entire group of people to a lower caste,” and also (in Talbot’s words) “believes that the exclusion of women is part of what made the widespread clerical abuse of children possible.”

Similarly, Bridget Mary Meehan once said, "I believe that on a deep, spiritual, mystical level, women priests are beginning a healing process of centuries-old misogyny in which spiritual power was exclusively invested in men." 

All of this talk, Talbot writes, may end up “triggering what the Vatican most dreads: a schism.”

Which is quite possible. It’s also possible such a split is already underway."

(Correction: I live in Sarasota, Florida, not in Kansas.)