Saturday, February 5, 2022

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy in honor of Feast Day of St. Brigid of Kildare, Feb. 5, 2022, Presiders Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Mary Kay Staudohar, Readers: Jack McKillip and Mary Montavon, Prayer Leaders: Jerry and Suzanne Bires, Music Ministry: Linda Lee Miller, IT Peg Bowen

Left; St. Brigit of Kildare is depicted standing next to apostles on a ancient stone altar at Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland

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Mary Kay

We warmly welcome you to the inclusive Catholic Community of Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida. We invite you to pray the liturgy where it says, “All.” Everyone will be muted during the service. During the shared homily and prayers of the community, we invite you to unmute yourself to contribute, then mute yourself again. Please have bread and wine or juice with you as we pray the Eucharistic Prayer. 

Gathering Song: Hymn to St. Brigid by Darren Breton


Bridget Mary: 

Like Brigid of Kildare and the early followers of Jesus, Peter and Mary Magdalene, we are seized by the power of divine grace to live our call as disciples of Jesus today. In this liturgy we celebrate St. Brigit of Kildare, bishop and abbess, as a model of partnership in ministry, gracious hospitality and courageous advocacy for justice for all especially those on the margins.


Mary Kay:

We begin our celebration in the name of God our creator, and of Jesus our brother, and of the Holy Spirit our wisdom. Loving shelter, your presence is within and all around us.

     ALL:  Amen.

Community Reconciliation and Transformation Rite:

Bridget Mary:

Holy One, aware of the wounds in our lives and our shortcomings and failures to be the Christ Presence in our world. We remember the power of love within us to give and receive forgiveness, and to extend compassion, and understanding to all our brothers and sisters regardless of beliefs, nationalities, races and actions, as we pray:

(Allow a few minutes to become centered. Breathe in deeply the tenderness of God for all the hurts you feel...who embraces us and forgives us everything always. Breathe out compassion and healing energy to self and others...)

Bridget Mary and All: (with an outstretched arm):  

God, Father and Mother of Compassion, through his life, Jesus revealed that nothing can separate us from your unconditional love. Through the power of your Spirit moving in our hearts we receive the grace of healing and peace, and we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and for our earth in the name of Jesus, our brother and of Holy Spirit- Wisdom Sophia- our healer and comforter.  Amen.



Opening Prayer:

Mary Kay: 

O God of compassion and healing. You gave holy Brigit to us as a sign of your love. You caress us with the warmth of the sun.  You encircle us in love’s embrace. You are behind us and before us. You are above us and beneath us. We consecrate all that we are to you in loving service of our sisters and brothers near and far. ALL:  Amen

Liturgy of the Word:

First Reading: Jack McKillip:

A Reading from the prophet Isaiah (4:18-19, 6: -8):

The Spirit of God is upon me: because the Most High has anointed me to bring good news to those who are poor. God has sent me to proclaim liberty to those held captive, recovery of sight to those who are blind; and release to those in prison- to proclaim the year of our God’s favor. Then I heard the voice of our God saying, “Whom will I send? Who will go for us?Here I am, I said, “Send me!” 

These are the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah and we respond: 

All:Thanks be to God. 


You have Anointed me -video by MT Streck

Second Reading: Mary Montavon

 A Reading from Praying with Celtic Holy Women

Brigit of Kildare was born around 450 a.d. at the time of transition from pagan to Christian Ireland. Legends say that Brigit was baptized and named by angels and that she was midwife to the Virgin Mary and godmother of Jesus. (Anachronisms did not disturb the Celtic mind!)

In her early years, she is likely to have worked on a farm, milked cows, and churned butter. Statues often depict Brigit with a cow at her feet. She was seen as the protector of farm animals and guardian of the harvest. When she reached the age of marriage, she rejected the suitors her father had chosen for her, dedicated her life to Christ, and became an abbess.

The story goes that during one Easter season Brigit noted that there was not enough ale for seventeen of her churches. She changed water into beer to make sure that her churches were well supplied for the season.

 One time, Brigit even gave the elaborate, feast-day robes of Bishop Conleth to the poor. When the bishop needed his vestments for an upcoming feast day, Saint Brigit gave him another set of vestments similar in both weave and color to those she had given away. Miraculously, Brigit had received replacements from Christ just when they were needed.

Another story told of Brigit involves a basket of apples which were given to her but which she promptly gave to some poor beggars. When her benefactor complained, Brigit replied, “What is mine is theirs.” Even in her early life, Brigit managed to give away valuable items belonging to her chieftain father. Brigit’s strong sense of justice was evident throughout her life.

Generous hospitality, a traditional characteristic of Celtic people, was a hallmark of St. Brigit’s life. Brigit was a woman of abundance. All were welcome at her table of plenty. She saw to it that there was more than enough food, drink, and love to nourish all who came to her hearth and home. 

It is this value system that empowers our compassionate outreach in today’s ministry of peace and justice. It enlivens this century’s awareness of humanity as a global village for whose welfare each one of us is accountable.

These are the inspired words of Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver in Praying with Celtic Holy Women, and we respond 

All: Thanks be to God.

Gospel acclamation: Celtic Alleluia

Gospel: Mary Kay

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke (5:1-11, 8:1-3e) 

As Jesus stood by Lake Gennesaret, and the crowd pressed in on him to hear the word of God, he got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a short distance from the shore, then remaining seated he continued to teach the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, “pull out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch. Simon answered, “Rabbi, we have been hard at it all night long and have caught nothing, but if you say so, I will lower the nets. Upon doing this. They caught such a great number of fish that their nets were at the breaking point. They signaled to their mates in the other boat to come and help them. They came, and together they filled the boats until they nearly sank.  But, when Simon saw what happened, he was filled with awe, saying “leave me, I beg you, for I am a sinner. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid, from now on, you will be catching people.” And when they brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus. 

Jesus journeyed through the towns and villages proclaiming the good news of God’s reign. With Jesus went the Twelve and some women he had healed of evil spirits and sicknesses; Mary of Magdala, from whom he cast out seven demons, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward, Chuaza; Suzanna; and many others, who were contributing to the support of Jesus and the Twelve with their own funds. 

These are the inspired words of the evangelist, Luke and we respond: 

All: Thanks be to God. 

Homily Starter: Bridget Mary

   St. Brigit of Kildare continues to inspire contemporary disciples of Jesus to be reflections of divine compassion, generous hospitality, mutual partnership and love for creation.  

 She lived the spirit of Jesus who called women to be disciples, and who embraced outcasts, challenged authorities of synagogue and Temple, and dined with the lowly. Brigit’s inclusivity reminds us that we all belong at the Banquet Table of Love.- no matter who you are or where you come from. Here we are loved totally, tenderly, and passionately in the heart of God. 

   We have come full circle in our contemporary inclusive communities to live Jesus’ call to discipleship today. Like Jesus, Peter, Mary Magdalene  Brigid and all who followed Jesus through the ages, we are all called and blessed with a rich diversity of gifts to live Gospel hospitality, compassion and generosity as disciples of Jesus  today.

Question for sharing:

What did you hear in our readings or prayers about our call to live as disciples of Jesus today?


  Profession of Faith: Jerry 

  ALL: We believe in God, the Fountain of Life, flowing through every being. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who reflects the face of God and the fullness of humanity. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God in the cosmos, who calls us to love and serve. We believe in our global oneness with all in the circle of life. 

Prayer of Community: Suzanne

God of Abundance, we share these prayers as a community united in compassion.

Our response to each prayer is Yes, may it be so!

That we may give as gift, the gifts we have received.

Response: Yes, may it be so!

That we, like St. Brigit, be reflections of gracious hospitality, generosity and love.

Response: Yes, may it be so!

That we may care for earth’s creatures.

Response: Yes, may it be so!

That we may, like St. Brigit, serve those in need. 

Response: Yes, may it be so!

And for what else shall we pray for? (community prayers…)

Presider: God of healing, may be reflections of your liberating, healing compassionate love as we live our lives in love with you and with others. United in the power of your Spirit, we pray. Amen.

Preparation of the Gifts:

Presiders (raise bread and wine): 


Bridget Mary:

 Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness, each one of us has bread and the fruit of the vine to offer at this sacred meal which the earth has given and human hands have made. They will become for us our Bread of Life and Spiritual Drink.  

                                   Eucharistic Prayer:

Jerry: Holy One, You dwell in us.

Suzanne and all:: And in every living being.

Jerry: Lift up your hearts.

 Suzanne and all:  We lift them up to the Creator in whom all are one.

Jerry: Let us give thanks for the gift of life.

Suzanne and all: Amen, Alleluia

Suzanne: With the angels and saints we give thanks and praise.

for our oneness with all living beings in the family of God as we sing: 

 All: Holy, Holy, Holy by  Karen Drucker piano and video by Linda Lee and Rick Miller

Invocation of the Holy Spirit

(raise hands toward bread and wine for Invocation of the Holy Spirit)

Bridget Mary and ALL:  Now, as we share the bread of life and lift the cup of blessing at this festive meal as we pray come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine.

On the night before he died, while at supper with his friends, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them saying, “Take this, all of you, and eat. Do this in memory of me.” 

Pause for silent reflection

Mary Kay and ALL: In the same way, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said the blessing, gave the cup to his friends and said, “Take this all of you and drink. Do this in memory of me.”  

Pause for silent reflection

Mary Kay and ALL:  Let us proclaim the sacred presence of our nurturing God:
Jesus, you come again and again in us and through us each day.

Jerry:  We remember the saints in every age, who lived their call to discipleship: Mary, Mother of Jesus, Peter, Andrew, Mary Magdalene, Susanna, Joanna, Brigid of Kildare and all our beloved family and friends. We recall the spiritual legacy of generous giving and gracious hospitality they have passed down to us through the ages.  We join in the cosmic dance in communion with all that is, all that was, and all that will be. Through Christ, in Christ, with Christ, all creation leaps for joy! 

The Great Amen with Linda Lee Miller


Suzanne:Let us pray as Jesus taught us. 

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 we need.  You remind us of our limits, and we let go.  You support us in your 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. Adapted, Miriam Therese Winter, MMS

Sign of Peace: THE SIGN OF PEACE

Bridget Mary:  Jesus, you said:  Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. May we be the peace we wish to see in the world.  Let us share a gesture of deep peace and justice with everyone in the circle of life as we bow toward you with hands folded, saying together: 

ALL:   The peace of Christ be with you.  Namaste,  Namaste,  Namaste.

Litany for the Breaking of the Bread:

Mary Kay and All:  

God of love in you, with you and through you, we will love. 

God of service, in you, with you, and through you, we will serve. 

God of justice, in you, with you and through you, we will do justice.


Mary Kay and ALL: We are the Body of Christ. All are welcome at this feast.

Communion Song:  An Irish Heart by Tim Janis

Post Communion Prayer: Mary Kay:

May St. Brigit bless the house wherein you dwell. Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof. Bless ever hand that toils to bring it joy. Bless every foot that walks its portals through. May St. Brigit bless the house that shelters you.

(Adapted from St. Brigit’s Table Blessing) 

Community Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions and Announcements

                Concluding Rite:


Bridget Mary: Please extend your arms in blessing as we pray an Ancient St. Brigit Blessing 

Bridget Mary and All: 

We welcome the poor to the feast, for they are God’s children.

We welcome the sick to the feast for they are God’s joy. 

Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place and the sick dance with the angels.


Closing Hymn: Light the Fire by Liam Lawton

There travels forth from the passages of history

A woman’s voice that is heard across the plains,

That calls once more, for a people of new vision

To heal our wounds and green our Earth again,

To heal our wounds and green our Earth again.

She spreads her cloak ‘cross the land and far beyond it,

A shadow cast on a people void of hope.

She speaks of peace and the chains that weigh upon it

And there her light shall glimmer from the oak

And all that binds the people shall be broke.

So light the Fire of God’s desire

Within all hearts, let sorrows end.

So light the Fire of God’s desire

God’s chosen one, Your peace upon us send.

And we today need a prophet of new vision,

To lift the low – the forgotten child to heed,

To be the voice of the wounded and the weary,

To plant anew a fresh and peaceful seed

To dance the dance of God’s own Blessed Bríd.

So light the Fire of God’s desire

Within all hearts, let sorrows end.

So light the Fire of God’s desire

God’s chosen one, Your peace upon us send.

St. Brigit's Cloak

To support our community and its activities, this liturgy being an example, please send donation funds to:

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

St. Andrew UCC,    6908 Beneva Road    Sarasota, FL.    34238

Thank you very much

Liturgy by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests


Irish Redemptorists ask Vatican to reinstate priest barred from ministry over women's ordination

My Response: The Dublin Redemptorists ' advocacy for Tony Flannery's reinstatement in the Jesuits is a positive sign. Pope Francis has begun a Synod process to hear the voices of the people including advocates of women's ordination. I personally hope that  Francis writes a personal letter of apology for the Vatican's condemnation of Fr. Tony and his unfair treatment by the CDF. And that this courageous prophet of inclusivity and equality is reinstated for public ministry. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP


The Irish branch of the global Redemptorist religious order has called on the Vatican to reinstate a priest who was suspended from public ministry in 2012 primarily over his support for women's ordination.

Tony Flannery.jpg
Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery (Provided photo)

In a statement to NCR, the head of the Dublin province of the Redemptorists said he and his provincial council would like to see Fr. Tony Flannery — a member of the order who has been unable to minister as a priest for nearly 10 years — reinstated.

"It seems particularly disproportionate that sanctions imposed, as in the case of Fr. Flannery, for expressing theological and pastoral commentary in writing, are without time-limits," said Fr. Dan Baragry, the provincial. "This disproportionality is multiplied by reason of a present-day Church context, under the leadership of Pope Francis, which encourages theological reflection and debate."

Flannery is a popular Irish writer, retreat giver and, formerly, pastor. He was removed from public ministry in February 2012 after the Vatican's powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expressed concern over several columns he had written for Reality, a Redemptorist-run magazine in Ireland.

Writing in his blog recently, Flannery said the issues he had written about in relation to priesthood, women and ministry and Catholic sexual teaching, which the congregation objected to, "are now being discussed widely and freely right around the Church, with no fear of sanctions."

Baragry echoed that view, saying: "It is striking that at all levels of the Church, Church leaders and theologians are freely expressing perspectives similar to those articulated by Fr. Flannery, for which he has apparently received a life-long penalty."

Flannery turns 75 this year, the 10th anniversary of his sanction and barring from public ministry by the joint action of the Vatican congregation and the Redemptorist headquarters in Rome.

In his blog, Flannery noted that the three main prelates at the Vatican congregation who dealt with his case are no longer involved with the office. Cardinal William Levada, the office's prefect 2005-12, died in 2019; Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the subsequent prefect, was replaced in 2017; and Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, the office's former second in command, was recently appointed as bishop of Italy's Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla.

Morandi had taken center stage in Flannery's case in 2020, informing Redemptorist leadership in Rome that the priest should not return to ministry without first signing four strict oaths of fidelity to Catholic teachings.

The document was sent to the Redemptorist superior general, Fr. Michael Brehl, a Canadian who has headed the global order since 2009.

In the correspondence to Brehl, Morandi wrote: "… the Congregation has decided that Fr. Flannery should not return to public ministry prior to submitting a signed statement regarding his positions on homosexuality, civil unions between persons of the same sex, and the admission of women to the priesthood." A fourth area related to gender theory.

'Church leaders and theologians are freely expressing perspectives similar to those articulated by Fr. Flannery, for which he has apparently received a life-long penalty.'

—Fr. Dan Baragry

In his recent blog post, Flannery said he would like an outside review of the process by which the Vatican congregation dealt with his case.

"I continue to carry a grievance that I wasn't even given the most basic of human rights in my dealing with that body," said Flannery. "That grievance was compounded by the present head of the CDF, [Cardinal] Luis Ladaria, when he claimed in reply to a question by Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter, that they had tried to dialogue with me. They never did, never made any direct contact with me at all."

Baragry said he and his provincial leadership team in Ireland support Flannery's call for an outside review "and we would expect and hope that such a review would lead to his reappointment to ministry."

Baragry said the Redemptorists in Ireland have taken several initiatives in pursuit of this objective, all of which have faced various obstacles and barriers.

Asked by NCR if he supported Flannery's call for a review, Brehl responded: "It is very regrettable that this situation has continued for so long a period. At this time, I am unable to comment further."

A noted Irish civil lawyer, Robert Dore, said the Vatican was "guilty of robbing Fr. Flannery of his lawful entitlement to fair procedures in the context of Irish civil law."

Dore, who successfully pursued a high-profile defamation case against Irish national broadcaster RTÉ for its treatment of a different Catholic priest, said Flannery had been "denied his constitutionally enshrined rights."

In an email to NCR, Flannery said he thought Brehl could choose to unilaterally lift his suspension.

"Due to the fact that the Vatican is a very different place to what it was ten years ago, and allowing that it was the Redemptorist Superior General, Fr Brehl, who suspended me from ministry, albeit under orders from the CDF, I believe that Fr. Brehl could now unilaterally lift that suspension and, in that way, right the wrong of ten years ago," said Flannery.

In his blog, Flannery argued that his request for an independent review is not too much to ask from an institution that proclaims that it stands for truth, justice and love.

"If that review took place and was done openly, then I would happily sit down with any Church authority and discuss my views and opinions," said the priest. "Let them then pass judgment on me as they see fit, and as long as I was fairly heard and respected, I hope I could accept the verdict."

Sarah Mac Donald

Sarah Mac Donald is a freelance journalist based in Dublin.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

An Inspirational Mid-Winter Prayer/Music Video

 Julian of Norwich, Ann Mayo Muir and Gordon Bok

"Can We Be "Friends with God?" by Richard Rohr

Image Credit: Barbara Holmes, Untitled 17 & 20 (detail), 2021, photograph, United States, used with permission. Warren K. Leffler, Civil rights march on Washington, D.C., 1963 (detail), Photograph, public domain. Jenna Keiper and Leslye Colvin, 2021, triptych art, United States.

"Author and scholar Diana Butler Bass describes friendship with Jesus as something that—contrary to some popular opinion—is the mark of a mature faith. Friendship with God is at the heart of the biblical story:

The Bible tells a different story about friendship with God, especially in the Hebrew scriptures. Friendship is anything but immaturity; it is a gift of wisdom: “In every generation [wisdom] passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets” (Wisdom of Solomon 7:27). Two of Israel’s greatest heroes, Abraham, the father of faith, and Moses, the liberating prophet, are specifically called friends of God. In Isaiah 41:8, God refers to Abraham as “my friend,” a tradition that carries into the New Testament (James 2:23). Of Moses, Exodus says: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (33:11), a very rare intimacy, for such close proximity to the divine usually meant death (33:20). . . .

The point is that friendship with God establishes the covenant—and that Israel is freed from bondage into a new family forged by friendship through the law given by Moses. Friendship with God is not a biblical side story; rather, it is central to the promises and faithfulness of being a called people, in which all are friends, companions, intimates, siblings, and beloved.

Early Christians, most of whom were Jews, knew all of this and extended the idea of divine friendship to Jesus. The New Testament vividly recounts the closeness of Jesus’s circle of friends, women and men transformed through their relationship with him. . . .

Butler Bass understands the “Our Father” prayer of Jesus to be ultimately about our mutual friendship with God:

Indeed, Jesus instructed his friends to pray to “Abba” (as we can assume he himself prayed), a term most often rendered as “Father” in English, but one that contains shades of meaning denoting intimacy and familiarity, including that of fraternal relations like “brother” or “companion,” and is related to the Hebrew word for “friend” (ahab), used to describe Abraham.

Thus, Jesus introduces his friends (the disciples) to his other friend (God) in the daily prayer known as the “Our Father,” perhaps the spirit of which is better captured by “Our Father-Friend” or just “Our Friend.” This idea of “Our Friend in heaven” was a revolutionary one, as Jesus, acting as a mediator of divine companionship, collapsed the sacred distance between God and us. . . .

Friendship is contingent on love—real love: compassion, empathy, reaching out, going beyond what we imagine is possible. That is the command: love. And if we reach out in love, friendship is the result, even friendship with God. Friendship is mutual, a hand extended and another reaching back. . . . Friendship is an eternal circle, the ceaseless reaching toward one another that strengthens us and gives us joy.

Diana Butler Bass, Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence (New York: HarperOne, 2021), 3–4, 14.

The creative team at CAC sent a single-use camera to core teacher Dr. Barbara Holmes as part of an exploration into contemplative photography. Her photos are featured here together with historical images in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.

Image Inspiration: The Bible reveals the ongoing work of liberation by God and God’s people. It is a bridge to our understanding of God moving through the ordinariness of time and space. Just like this river: symbolizing the continuing story of the struggle for justice as it flows around and through this freedom fighter of the 1960s."