Saturday, November 5, 2022

Pope Francis ‘Message-- from the heart

 It may be that he can no longer stand on his feet and suffering has shaped his character, but this speech by Pope Francis a few days ago is simply AMAZING!

"You can have flaws, be anxious and even be angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from failing. You are appreciated, admired and loved by so many. Remember that being happy is not having a sky without storm, a road without accidents, a job without effort, a relationship without disappointments.

“To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become the author of your own fate.” It's walking through deserts, but being able to find an oasis deep in the soul. Is thanking God every morning for the miracle of life. It’s kissing your children, cuddling your parents, having poetic moments with your friends, even when they hurt us.

“Being happy is letting the creature that lives in each of us live, free, joyful and simple. You have the maturity to be able to say: "I've made mistakes". It's having the courage to say I'm sorry. It's having the sense to say "I need you". Is having the ability to say "I love you". May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness... that in spring he may be a lover of joy and in winter a lover of wisdom.

"And when you make a mistake, start over. Because only then will you be in love with life. You'll discover that being happy isn't having a perfect life. But use tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your defeats to train your patience.

"Use your mistakes with the serenity of the sculptor. Use pain to tune into pleasure. Use obstacles to open the windows of intelligence. Never give up ... Above all never give up on the people that love you. Never give up on being happy, because life is an incredible spectacle. ".

Pope Francis

Friday, November 4, 2022

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy- Life After Life -Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan and Peg Bowen Nov. 5, 2022

 Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy

November 5, 2022

THEME: Dying into the Great Mystery of Love Beyond Imagining

Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan and Peg Bowen

Readers:  Jim Brandi and Ann Cooke

Prayer Leaders: Joan P. and Reader 1

Music: Linda Lee Miller;   IT:  Rick Miller and Cheryl Brandi

Zoom link:


Meeting ID: 815 3407 5389

Passcode: 803326


Peg: Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida.

Whoever you are, 

Wherever you are, 

Just as you are, 

You are welcome at this table. 

(Integral Christianity by Paul Smith)

Opening Song: 

God is holding Me Now by Michael Hatfield with Karen Drucker

Communal Reconciliation Rite

Bridget Mary:  We pause now to remember an occasion when our fears overcame us. 

(Pause briefly. Then, open your hands and let go)

Bridget Mary and All: I let go of my anxieties and trust that no matter what happens in living or dying, God is holding me now.

GLORIA: Linda Lee Miller

Opening Prayer 

Peg: We give thanks that, like angels, we are the beloved of God, called to be messengers of hope. We let go and let God love us, heal us, empower us and transform us in every tough situation we face. We trust in the unfathomable mystery of divine love surrounding us in every moment of life.

Ann C:  First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-18

Meanwhile, we’ve got our hands full continually thanking God for you, our good friends, so loved by God.  So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work and enliven your speech. 

These are the inspired words of Eugene H. Peterson in the Message and we affirm them by saying: 

ALL:  May it be so.

Responsorial Psalm: 139 with Kathryn Christian

Jim B:  Second Reading is from Abiding Word

In the Gospel today, some Sadducees pose to Jesus what looks like a preposterous question. They try to show that Jesus’ belief is at odds with the law of Moses. They cite the levirate law (Deut 25:5-6), whose intent was to insure that a man’s name not be blotted out of Israel. Instead, the Sadducees frame the question in terms of the men’s possession of the woman in the afterlife. 

Jesus’ response undoes their misperceptions by affirming that there will be no patriarchal marital arrangements in the afterlife. There will be no need to ensure one’s legacy through the children one leaves behind. Rather, one continues to live as God’s child, no longer haunted by the shadow of death. Jesus shows the Sadducees that Moses himself can be read as affirming that life continues beyond the grave. We can hear as well in Jesus’ response, God’s desire for an end to any abuse of women. As beloved daughters of God, they are no longer passed on from man to man.

Feeding our curiosity about what resurrected life will be like, Jesus drops one small hint: “they are like angels,” or heavenly messengers… 

Angelic life, as Luke portrays it, consists of being a messenger of hope in the most awful circumstances. It is the refusal already in this life to allow evil to triumph, it is not simply delayed reward in the beyond. It is, as Maya Angelou wrote of the “dreams and hopes of the slave” in her poem “Still I Rise”: You may shoot me with your words / You may cut me with your eyes / You may kill me with your hatefulness / But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

These are the inspired words of Barbara Reid, scripture scholar, and we affirm them by saying: 

ALL:  May it be so. 

Alleluia: Jan Phillips

Peg:  A reading from the Gospel of Luke 20: 27-38

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take this wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first one married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally, the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.  Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry, but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.  They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are children of God because they are ones who will rise.”

These are the inspired words of the author of Luke and we respond to them by saying: 

ALL:  May it be so. 

Homily Starter: Bridget Mary

Homily: “Life After Life”

 Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Nov. 5, 2022

Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eber Alexander, a highly trained neurosurgeon, was one of those scientists who believed that NDE’s are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

Then, his own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander awoke and regained consciousness

While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world to a place of angels, lost relatives, beautiful music, butterflies, and eternal happiness. He met an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. 

I read this book in the Fall of 2012 when my Dad was dying. Some of you will remember this sad time because you were part of our MMOJ community at that time. Peg and Bob, her dear husband were present during Jack’s transition. 

 I was comforted by your prayers and by Dr. Alexander’s vision of heavenly light and music that he described as beyond anything you can see or hear. 

In my prayer imagination each day, I would envision Dad -full of joy- in such a glorious place! This helped me to let Dad go!

Dr. Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research, explains that they have witnessed other near-death patients describe similar stories: “People describe a sensation of a bright, warm, welcoming light that draws people towards it.” She adds that this experience allows them to contact dead relatives and that in some cases they describe not wanting to come back because they feel so comfortable

Jewish and Christian religions grew out of a patriarchal world where men dominated in all areas of life. In today’s Gospel, we meet some Sadducees, members of a group, who did not believe in life after death.  They twist the meaning of a levirate law in Deuteronomy to challenge Jesus’ teaching about the resurrection. 

In his response, Jesus challenges their assumption that women were possessions of men who could be passed on in the afterlife.  Rather he says that in the afterlife, we will be “like angels”. 

In many bible stories, angels appear as heavenly messengers of hope who speak words of assurance- like Gabriel- spoke to Mary: “Don’t be afraid.”

Like angels, we are called to be messengers of hope in a world of turmoil and upheaval. Even when we feel afraid, we know that no matter the outcome, God is with us and we will get through it somehow.  In our struggles to live as followers of Jesus today, we need each other’s support to survive and even thrive!

 In the Great Mystery of life, that is always beyond the beyond and beyond that too, we don’t have any easy answers and may not even grasp the real questions. 

 But we can trust that the Creator who uttered the first word at the beginning of time will have the last word at the end of our lives and that word will be Love!

Additional Resources: 

Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eber Alexander was initially published October 23, 2012,. It sold over two million copies, has been translated into dozens of languages, and was on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year.

For more information on a Gender Transformation Tool for Women and Men in Churches:


Community Shared Reflections

Joan P and All:  Statement of Faith 

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.

Prayers for the Community

Reader 1: As we prepare for this sacred meal, we bring to this table our prayers and concerns for the community.  Please feel free to voice your intentions beginning with the words, “I bring to the table….”

Prayers for the community are offered.

Reader 1:   We pray for these and all unspoken intentions. 

ALL:  Amen

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Preparation Of the Gifts

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

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. 

All:  Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.

Peg:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Christ, whose presence calms our deepest fears and emboldens us to trust God in all the challenges we face and in the turmoil in our world.  

ALL:   Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer

Bridget Mary:  The glory of God is within you.

All:  And everywhere in the cosmos

Peg: Lift up your hearts.

All: We lift them up to the Creator of Life.

Bridget Mary: Let us give thanks to the Holy One

All: It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Peg: Holy One, with the angels, saints and all the messengers of hope, who have gone before us, we lift up our hearts and sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy: We are holy, adapted from Karen Drucker

Jim B & All:   Like the angel Gabriel who assured Zechariah and Mary of the Holy One’s Presence in a time of crisis, Jesus calls us not to be afraid when our lives are turned upside down. We trust that the God of the living who embraced Jesus in the darkness of suffering and death, will have the last word in our lives. 

Ann C. & All:  On the night before he died, Jesus showed us how to love tenderly when he washed the feet of his friends.

Community lifts the bread

Bridget Mary and All:  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.

Community lifts the cup

Peg and All:  Then he took the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:  Take and drink.  Whenever you remember me like this,  I am among you.

Joan P:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.

ALL:  Nurtured by your Word, nourished by your food, called anew to be your people, we share your blessings.

Reader 1:  Like the early followers of Jesus who formed new chosen families in diverse communities, may we create new chosen families where all are invited to come together in a discipleship and ministry of equals. 

With Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and our beloved saints, who sowed the seeds of new, unimagined life in the vivifying Spirit of Love, may we be the face of God in our world working for the well-being of all people in a more caring and just world. 

All lift cup and plate

Bridget Mary & ALL: Through the Spirit, the Risen Christ is present in every moment of life, loving and transforming us,  in and through our sufferings, losses, and death. 

The Great Amen: Linda Lee Miller

Prayer of Jesus

Joan P.:  Let us pray the Prayer of Jesus: 

ALL:  O Birther! Father - Mother of the Cosmos

Focus your light within us - make it useful.

Create your reign of unity now -

through our fiery hearts and willing hands

Help us love beyond our ideals

and sprout acts of compassion for all creatures.

Animate the earth within us: we then

feel the Wisdom underneath supporting all.

Untangle the knots within

so that we can mend our hearts' simple ties to each other.

Don't let surface things delude us,

But free us from what holds us back from our true purpose.

Out of you, the astonishing fire,

Returning light and sound to the cosmos. 

May it be so.

Translation by Neil Douglas-Klotz  

Sign of Peace

Bridget Mary:  Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.”  

As we share our joy, let us share God’s abundant peace.  Let us now extend a sign of peace to one another by saying, 

ALL:  Namaste, Namaste, Namaste


Bridget Mary: Please join in praying the prayer for the breaking of the bread:

ALL:   Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.   

Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will love tenderly.

Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with integrity. 

All lift bread

Peg:  This is the Bread of Life and Cup of Blessing. How blessed are we who are called to this Table.

ALL:  Jesus, you affirm our worthiness and by your word, we will heal the world. 

Receive the Bread and the Wine and pray the words:  The Spirit in me sees the Spirit in you

Communion Song: Be Not Afraid by Bob Dufford, sung by John Michael Talbot

Prayer after communion


Bridget Mary:  Holy One, in whom all are alive, we believe that the resurrected Christ accompanies us in our work for liberation and empowerment in a world where all living beings can flourish. May we go forth as messengers of hope to build a more just world and to create a transformed community of life on earth.  

Bridget Mary:  Introductions/Thanksgivings/Announcements

Community Blessing

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

ALL: May we live a liberated life, free of useless worries in the company of all the holy women and men who have gone before us. 

Bridget Mary & ALL:  May we challenge patriarchal structures that deny the full equality of women.  May we proclaim the liberating news in the New Testament that women are equally filled with the gifts of the Spirit and functioned as apostles, disciples, preachers, prophets, leaders of house churches and workers for the gospel

Peg and All: May we draw on the passion and strength of the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us to accompany us on our journey to become compassionate expresses of divine goodness.

Bridget Mary:   Our closing song is: "I Hope" 

sung by Meah Pace with The Resistance Revival Chorus – Lyrics added


This Liturgy was written by Bridget Mary Meehan.

If you would like to add your intentions to our MMOJ Community Prayers book,

Please send an email to

If you would like to invite another person to attend our liturgy please refer them to where the day’s liturgy is found. Zoom instructions are also included there.

Please support our community, send your check to:

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

% St Andrews UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34328

Is the Vatican Synod Opening the Door to Roman Catholic Women Priests? Are Our Voices Being Heard ? by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

It is good news that the newly released Vatican document on October 27, 2022 for the next phase of Pope Francis' ongoing consultation process for the world's Catholics includes a formerly taboo topic, women priests. 

This document raises the question of the role of women in the church's governance structures, the possibility of women preaching, the female diaconate and women's ordination to the priesthood. 

On the question of ordination, the text states: "Much greater diversity of opinion was expressed on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports call for, while others consider a closed issue."

So where do we go from here now? 

Pope Francis has opened the door to a worldwide dialogue that includes for the first time hearing our voices. He said that it was time to “look others in the eye and listen to what they have to say, to build rapport, to be sensitive to the questions of our sisters and brothers, to let ourselves be enriched by the variety of charisms, vocations and ministries.”

This Synodal invitation has provided an opportunity to share our blessings and challenges of serving the people of God especially those who are excluded from receiving sacraments in the institutional Church. 

During the past year many of our members have been involved in these Synodal conversations. They have been sharing the stories  of women-priests led inclusive communities and ministries with Catholics around the world engaged in the Synodal Process. 

They have been sharing experiences of building a “big tent Church” that welcomes everyone to celebrate sacraments and works for the full equality of women in every ministry in the institutional Church. 

Pope Francis has opened a new door that we are walking through in open and respectful dialogue.

 Women priests are here and now serving God’s people in communities and ministries where all are loved, all are equal and all are welcome.

We are leading, not leaving the Church, and that is making a difference in the Synodal Dialogue !