Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pope lifts ban on 'left-wing' bishop/Oscar Romero, Patron Saint of the Poor and Oppressed


Pope Francis lifts the ban on the beatification of murdered Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, imposed over his suspected Marxist views.

Read more:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-28845998
Bridget Mary's Response:
It will be a great day for the church when they canonize Oscar Romero,  who stood with the poor and oppressed of El Salvador. He was murdered as he celebrated Mass. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why Catholics Attend Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida


Dr. Michael Rigdon, Dr. Imogene Rigdon, Janet Blakeley, and Sally Brochu

"A Person of Prayer" from Joan Chittister, from Essential Writings


..."When, in prayer, we come to discover God’s universal love we suddenly realize 
that God does not take sides, that we have no priority on God alone. 
We finally understand that the God we seek is the God of the world and so, to seek that
 God, we must develop hearts as big as the world ourselves..

To develop a cosmic heart is a moment of profound transformation.
 We can never be the same again. 
We are beyond the boundaries we have created to separate the human race
 into my race and theirs...."
–from Joan Chittister: Essential Writings, selected by Mary Lou Kownacki
 and Mary Hembrow Snyder 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates 45th Anniversary of Married Priest Couple Carol Ann and Lee Breyer

On Aug. 16, 2014,  Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrated the 45th Wedding Anniversary of Married Priest Couple Carol Ann and Lee Breyer. They presided at a beautiful liturgy in honor of the feast of the Assumption of Mary, Mother of Jesus. After the liturgy we celebrated with a barbecue meal at St. Andrew UCC Hall. See Anniversary blessing below photos.
Lee and Carol Ann Breyer, a married priest couple preside at liturgy





Kevin and Judy Connelly, who also celebrated their wedding anniversary in Aug. brought up gifts









Gifting and gracious God,

Today, we give you thanks for many blessings ……..

We give you thanks for life,
for our parents who brought us into this world and taught us about life and love,
and for companions on life’s journey.

We give you thanks for creation,
Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Fire and Sister Water,
indeed for the beauty of our surroundings here in the Sunshine state.

Our hearts are filled with great happiness on this, the forty-fifth wedding anniversary of  Lee and Carol Ann Breyer.

And so we pray:

May your love continue to be like the earth –
rich, natural, deeply rooted, strong as hurricane force winds,
yet as soft as beach sand when patience and forgiveness are necessary.

May your love continue to be like fire –
passionate, intense, energetic,
a flame that never dies, but is as radiant as the morning sun and as warm as an embrace at evening sunset.

May your love continue to be like water –
moving, changing, never still, never stagnant,
as vast as the oceans and the Gulf of Mexico and as fresh as a springtime rain.

May your love continue to be like the air –
the sharing of dreams, thoughts, emotions …..
refreshing and carefree, as found in a gentle breeze or the breath of a kiss.

Indeed, may your marriage continue to blend these four elements to create the perfect balance physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  May you hug each other often, laugh a lot, and enjoy each other more with each passing day.

+ May the Holy One bless and keep you

+ May you continue to have the strength of family and community to support you

+ May our Gifting God give you continued graces to respect each other’s likes and
   dislikes, opinions and beliefs, hopes and dreams

+ May your faith in each other continue to grow stronger and your love for each
   other eternal

+ May God grant you continued health, happiness, peace and joy in
   abundance during these “twilight” years

+ May your days be good and long upon the earth,
   and when life is done and the sun is setting,
   may you be found then as now,
   still hand in hand, and thanking God for each other!

+ May the Eternal One who blessed our ancestors in faith,
   Abraham and Sarah,
   Ruth and Noami,
   David and Jonathan,
   Miriam and Joseph (the parents of Jesus)
   Bless you on your forty-fifth anniversary and all couples this day.

Blessed be God ……………. the Creator of all.

May it be so, this day, ever and forever.  AMEN!
(Blessing written  by Jim Marsh)


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Should the Vatican Apologize to Elizabeth Johnson and Reinstate Female Priests?

http://questionsfromaewe.blogspot.com/
..."If women ontologically differ from men, then trying to force male voices and thoughts upon women commits one of these pesky “sins against nature” that the hierarchy abhors.  If women do not differ ontologically from men, then excluding women from the priesthood is unfounded.  Either women are different and hierarchical leaders owe Elizabeth Johnson not only an apology, they owe her their deep appreciation for letting these differences shine forth via her language of women…or women are not different and hierarchical leaders owe a deep apology and expression of gratitude as well as need to reinstate all the excommunicated female priests because they simply denuded a myth about men’s and women’s ontological differences.  There is a third scenario where the hierarchy both reinstates female priests and apologizes to Elizabeth Johnson which should occur if men’s and women’s difference serve to complement rather than impede clerical ministry. But right now, the hierarchy’s stance seems to just further undermine its credibility."

"Jesuit Fr. William Brennan, Penalized for Liturgy with Woman Priest, Dies"/National Catholic Reporter

http://ncronline.org/news/people/jesuit-fr-william-brennan-penalized-liturgy-woman-priest-dies
 |  

Friday, August 15, 2014

"However Long the Night" by Sister Nancy Schreck OSF/Recommended for Prayerful Reflection

https://lcwr.org/sites/default/files/calendar/attachments/however_long_the_night_-_nancy_schreck_osf_final.pdf
Bridget Mary's Response:
A deeply spiritual reflection on where religious life is today  "in the middle", struggling through a dark night of the soul! Sister Nancy provides nurturing food for thought not only for religious orders but for individuals and groups who struggle to live the Gospel during times of stress, loss, change and misunderstanding.  Right now the Leadership Conference of Women Religious faces a take-over of their organization by the Vatican. In this address, Sister Nancy invites us to go deeper to encounter the blessed embrace of Divine Love that meets us in darkness, and leads us toward the dawn.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mystical Ireland Trip

https://www.tripit.com/p/16F857F1A2D6187467C94411DE5AF93B

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 20OT, Aug. 17, 2014 by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Jesus was born into a Jewish culture
that despised the Canaanites and denigrated their beliefs.
At the beginning of today’s Gospel story,
he treats the Canaanite woman with disrespect,
calling her a dog.
A recent parallel for us would be rock star Ted Nugent’s
calling President Obama a “mongrel.”
A few scripture commentators go to great lengths
to try to gloss over this incident with the Canaanite woman,
saying that Jesus was not really being rude
by using a racist slur
but was somehow setting up a lesson for his disciples,
and that the unnamed woman was in on the act.
I don’t see anything in the Gospel to argue for that interpretation.
On the contrary, I see confirmation of our traditional understanding
that Jesus was fully human.
Just like us in all things.
Like us, he had to learn.
So this Gospel tells a story
of how Jesus gained a wider understanding
of faith and of tolerance
through conversation with the woman.
____________________________________
Because of his encounter with the Canaanite woman,
and because of her faith,
Jesus changes.
To Matthew’s community,
this story is a lesson that Jesus’ mission
goes beyond the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”
to encompass the outsiders in their culture.
______________________________________
The lesson is the same for us.
Who are the outsiders now?
• The pastor of a Church in Tampa
canceled Julion Evan’s funeral service
when he found out Julion was gay
and had married another man.
• Residents of Murietta, California, screamed in vicious protest and
refused asylum
to Central American children fleeing from oppression.
• Extremist militants in Iran filmed their atrocities
as they beheaded babies and raped women
because their victims were Yazidi,
a Kurdish-based ethnic minority
and a religious group the extremists call "devil worshippers."
• At Claver House Monday one of the guests
loudly accused another guest of being greedy,
pointing to the amount of food he put on his tray,
calling him names, belittling him mercilessly.
• Hundreds of West Toledoans
have been putting their houses on the market
and heading for the suburbs
because a black family bought a home nearby.
• School will be back in session next week,
where scores of children will be bullied
because they’re different—
what they wear, where they’re from,
what they look like, how they talk.
_________________________________________
How do we treat the people in our lives who are different from us?
Today’s scriptures give us some pointers.
In Romans, Paul lifts up the “outsiders”—
those Gentiles who embrace the Way of Jesus.
Isaiah makes it clear that God embraces foreigners
because they meet the real requirement of love of God,
unlike the proud and haughty among the natives
who are more enamored of title and position and wealth
than they are of God.
______________________
At the same time that examples
of exclusion and persecution surround us,
so do the examples of inclusion and acceptance.
• A woman who wants to do something to combat racism
decides to invite a mixed group of women
to get to know each other at a supper at her home.
• A high school student, one of the “in” crowd,
notices a new student in class
and asks him to sit at his table for lunch.
• A factory supervisor hires a Hispanic
to work inside the factory instead of in the fields.
• A teen bakes a cake for the family
to welcome their new neighbor into the neighborhood.
• I notice that I lose patience with people when I’m tired,
so I try to get enough sleep.
_________________________________________
None of us is perfect.
Folks today see a conflict between the idea of a perfect Jesus
and the faith statement that he is fully human and fully divine.
Perfection doesn’t fit with their experience of humanity.
Perfection isn’t required for their own participation in Divinity.
What is required for both divinity and humanity
is the conscious, continuous effort to love God and neighbor.
That effort requires reflection.
It requires openness to change.
______________________________________
So we are in the same position today as Jesus was.
We may not notice right away
the clamor of people calling for our attention,
but once we do notice them,
we need to listen.
We may not respond right away with grace and love,
but we need to keep our ears open anyway.
We may not have the energy or the resources,
but we need to do what we can.
We may not respond perfectly,
but we can learn.
Like Jesus.

--
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
419-727-1774

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Catholics To Celebrate Married Priest Couple's 45th Wedding Anniversary on Sat. Aug. 16th/Couple Will Preside

Ministry Leadership in the Community of Jesus Christ- Call to Ordination Comes from Community

Ministry: Leadership in the Community of Jesus Christ

 Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P Professor of Theology, University of Nijmegen


In the early Church
one could be ordained
a priest or deacon
in an absolute manner
only if a local Community
supported him/her.

If local support
was withdrawn
their appointment
was null and void.

Only someone called by a particular Community
to be Pastor/Leader
authentically received Ordination.

Ordination
was an appointment
as a Minister
to a Community
which called a fellow-Christian
and indicated him/her
as its Leader.

Hands laid on one
without being asked
by a particular Community
were null and void.

The source
of Power for Ordination
came from the Community,
not some external force.
(Courtesy of John Chuchman)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Kathryn Shea:" Preschool suspensions can lead to lifetime of failure"/Article in Sarasota Herald Tribune

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140811/COLUMNIST/308119998/2080/OPINION?template=printpicart

By KATHRYN SHEA, Guest Columnist
Published: Monday, August 11, 2014 at 1:00 a.m.

"A recent CNN report highlighted new data showing that thousands of three- and four-year-olds, including a disproportionate number of boys and black children, are being suspended or expelled from U.S. preschools at a disturbing rate.
More than 8,000 public preschoolers were suspended at least once, and some multiple times, during the 2011-12 school year, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. During that year, black students represented 18 percent of preschool enrollment and 48 percent of students suspended more than once. Boys represented 54 percent of the preschool population and 82 percent of preschool children suspended multiple times.
A child's early education, which includes preschool and elementary school, sets the foundation for future success. And for at-risk children with histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, this foundation reduces their likelihood of dropping out of school, having children as teenagers, or becoming entangled in the criminal justice system. Sadly, the CRDC data further support a rising trend in our nation to discipline young, bright children with a "zero tolerance" policy that is setting them up for failure...."
Bridget Mary's Response:
In this brilliant opinion article, Kathryn Shea has issued a clarion call  to help children who are at risk of failure because of poverty or abuse. All God's children are beloved and should be treated as such by all of us. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

Ministry: Leadership in the Community of Jesus Christ by Edward Schillebeeckx OP/ Early Church, No link between Ministry and Presiding at Eucharist



Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P Professor of Theology, University of Nijmegen

In the New Testament,
Ministry
did not develop
from and around
Eucharist or Liturgy,
but from the building up of
Community
through Preaching.

Ministers
were Pioneers,
those who inspired the Community
and served as models
for the whole Community.

For the New Testament
there was no special treatment
as to who should preside
at the Eucharist;
Nothing was so specified.

Even Paul
did not call Eucharist
an apostolic Tradition.

Eucharist was Jesus’ parting gift
to the whole Community.

Nowhere in the new Testament
was an explicit connection made
between Ministry of the Church
and presiding at Eucharist.

There are no biblical grounds anywhere
for a sacral and mystical foundation
to the ministry in the Eucharist.




Early Eucharist
was structured so that
anyone who is competent
to lead the Community
in one way or another
was presider at the Eucharist
without any special separate authorization.

And In House (Home) Churches
very often
the Host/Hostess
would preside at Liturgy/Eucharist
even though
Not a Community Leader.

Liturgy/Eucharist
simply were not a part of
Church Ministry

in the New Testament.

(Special thanks to John Chuchman for posting this scholarship)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Return Violence with Love" by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Return-violence-with-love-5677545.php?

"...We're a country that has been committed to war. It's going on in the Middle East right now. And where do their weapons come from? Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, all the countries in the Middle East that are so engaged in violence now — their weapons have all come from us because we make weapon production our No. 1 industry...
We seem committed to the idea that violence will bring peace, and Jesus is saying, "No, it won't. It never will; it never has." The only way we're going to transform our world is through the love that Jesus shows us: that you return love for violence, love for hate. That's how we can transform our world.
Jesus promises us that our world can be transformed into the reign of God where everyone will have a full human life, where there will be peace, joy, fullness of life. If we listen, try to change our ways of thinking, and then change our ways of action in our individual lives, in our neighborhoods, in our cities, our world, then the reign of God can break forth. And the peace of God will fill our hearts, fill our minds, our whole being, and gradually transform our world into the reign of God."
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is a founding member of Pax Christi USA. This column was excerpted from his homily at St. Philomena Catholic Church in Detroit. He will lead a retreat 

Letter of Support for LCWR by Thomas J. Orzechowski

Dear Women of God,
Know that you are not alone…ever.  Your voice while causing trouble and pain for you has made a difference in the church for many of your lay co-workers.  I know I am one of them.  Over forty years in church ministry.  Sometimes you as a group were the only ones who were giving voice on an organized, effective high profile professional level, too much of what I had come to know and value because of my own education (Jesuit graduate schooling in religious education and biblical studies).  Over the years I have often said to those I was privileged to work with that the human body has orifices that can be prostituted just as much as the ones we normally think of.  After that point was made I wanted them to know that I had often prostituted myself.  Sometimes over even small things.  Why?  Because I did not open my mouth and say what I ought to have said.   Many times I was silent and did not cry out or even utter a public word when the situation called for more than that.  To me, that is and was as much a prostituting of myself as any other act of prostitution.  For a few pieces of silver I remained mute.  Thank you for often being braver than I.  I do not want you to think that I did not at times speak out.  But whenever I did there was a price to pay and it was paid.  But we owe you a great debt for your bravery and your modeling for us what “faithfulness” is.    Faithfulness … a loyalty and dedication even when one is afraid, even when one pays a price and one suffers because of it.  Thank you for maintaining “apostolic succession” so effectively in your individual and corporate presence in and to the church.

Thomas J. Orzechowski
(I received a copy of this letter on the day it was mailed to LCWR. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP)  www.arcwp.org

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Remembers Peace-Makers who Gave Lives/Liturgy Led by Maureen McGill, ARCWP and Janet Blakeley

On Aug.9, 2014, Maureen McGill and Janet Blakeley led a liturgy of remembrance of people who had given their lives for peace in the 20th and 21st century.
Roman Catholic Woman Priest Maureen McGill ARCWP wearing stole and Janet Blakeley in blue lead liturgy.
Mindy Lou Simmons, music ministry, sings "where have all the flowers gone"


 We also remembered all those who died in World War1, World War11, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf Wars, 9-11, Gaza, Israel,  and the current wars in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.

We lit candles to remember


First Candle:Titus Brandsma, A Dutch Carmelite priest and Deitrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, both of whom opposed the Nazi regime and tyranny.
Second Candle: Franz Jagerstatter, who refused to serve in Hitler's army and was behaded as an enemy of the state.

Third Candle: Edith Stein, scholar, teacher, convert from Judaism to Catholicism who entered Carmelite Order. She was known for her kindness to children in Auschwitz prison camp. She died in the gas chamber in 1941 in solidarity with the millions of her people who were killed in camps during Hitler's reign of terror. 

Fourth Candle: Maximillian Kolbe, a Franciscan priest and martyr who took the place of another man who was to be put to death. When the man cried out that he would never see his wife and children again, Fr. Kolbe stepped forth. 
Fifth Candle: Millions of people who were killed in all the wars and violent conflicts in the 20th and 21st century. 
Janet Blakeley preached homily
Maureen McGill, ARCWP and Janet Blakeley Co-Presided at Liturgy of Remembrance

Our MMOJ  community meets on Sat. at 4 PM for an inclusive Catholic Mass at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Florida.
www.marymotherofjesus.org


Homily: "Be Not Afraid" 19 Sunday Ordinary Time – August 10, 2014 – by Rev. Richard S. Vosko

https://richardsvosko.wordpress.com/

..."Our church over the centuries has maintained a steady and usually reliable course. Today by many accounts, however, it is a ship in troubled waters. We have not reached calm seas on many issues: married clergy, women deacons and priests, shared authority at top levels of decision making, trusting the consciences of it members and incompetence in leadership roles.
Above all, how does our church prepare for the stormy weather in the forecast? How do we reach disenfranchised Millennial and Pluralist generations? How do we plan for a greater shortage of priests? How do we break the chains that continue to moor our church in safe harbors, a church often afraid to jump into the waters much less sail the high seas.
The first reading implies that God is not found in these storms. Instead they are indications of how God works in our lives. God is found in the aftermath of the storms — whatever it is that frightened us to death. The revelation of God in our lives is ever evolving. Our collective awareness of new epiphanies sustains us and gives us courage. There is no one way to understand how God works. We do believe God continues to speak to us. Psalm 85 that we sang this morning challenges us to be still enough to hear the soft, comforting words of God. [Pause]
Maybe for this week you and I can take time to notice what is stirring in our lives that requires acting beyond our fears. Maybe there is something that is challenging us to take a bold step forward in the face of those fears. Just maybe this is the time to let go of whatever it is that holds us back so that we can chart a course forward trusting that the God of all creation will guide us safely home."

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community , 19th OT A, Aug. 10, 2014 by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

God had sent Elijah as prophet to Israel.
But Elijah runs away in fear and despair,
hiding in the desert,
not standing before the people as God’s prophet,
praying to die.
So God feeds Elijah and tells him to go to the mountaintop
and stand there in front of God.
Elijah goes to the side of the mountain… and hides in a cave.
That’s where we find him in today’s first reading.
Elijah is neither in the place God tells him to be,
nor does he take the stance of prophet God tells him to take.
But God stays with Elijah, speaking to him
not in the wind, or the earthquake,
or the fire, but in “a gentle voice.”
Scholars say that the Hebrew text defies translation,
so Elijah’s experience has also been described as
“a sound of sheer silence;” “a faint murmuring sound;”
“a still small silence;” and “a tiny whispering sound.”
____________________________________
So God asks gently in that immense quiet:
What are you doing here, Elijah?
Why are you here instead of where I sent you?
And then God sends Elijah once again
to fulfill the duties of prophet.
Elijah takes courage
because he knows he is not alone;
God is with him;
all will be well.
______________________________________
Today’s Gospel brings us a parallel lesson.
It’s the story of the storm on the lake.
Jesus, after the feeding of the five thousand,
has gone off alone to pray.
Very often in scripture we see this pattern,
with Jesus going off to pray by himself in nature.
Just like us, Jesus needs both kinds of prayer—
the communal prayer with the people,
and the periods of silent personal prayer in contact with nature.
___________________________________
And the disciples in the boat, like Elijah in the desert,
found themselves in danger,
afraid first of the storm
and then of the ghostly appearance of Jesus so near the boat.
The incident ends with Jesus’ comforting words:
Don’t be afraid; I’m here with you.
Their circumstances did not change, nor did those of Elijah.
The disciples were still at sea during a storm,
and Elijah was still being threatened by Jezebel.
But both the prophet and the disciples were able to go on
because the divine presence
gave them the courage to do so.
___________________________________
We’ve all been there.
The storms of life hit us hard—
the death of a loved one, loss of a job,
diagnosis of serious health problems.
When we focus on the storm, we panic.
When we center ourselves in prayer,
we find strength to get through it,
even to reach out to calm the fears of the others
in the boat with us.
____________________________________
What are we doing here?
There’s a storm on our lake, too.
Last week it was toxic algae bloom.
People gathered and prayed.
They helped one another.
We got through it.
Every day we hear more warnings
that last week’s water crisis will happen again.
Climate change threatens not only the water we drink
But also the food we eat,
the air we breathe.
Scientists tell us that the storms are going to get worse
unless we do something now.
_____________________________________
I was both pleased and dismayed
when I heard the media calling us
to recycle all those water bottles last Tuesday.
I was pleased to think that people
would not be adding them to landfills
or throwing them in the streets or in the water.
But I was dismayed that they were not filling them with tap water
and keeping them handy for the next crisis.
It’s a simple thing,
and it’s not so costly
that it couldn’t be done by almost everyone.
My stash of emergency water fits easily in my basement.
When there’s no crisis, I rotate the bottles
by using one or two to water my indoor plants
or fill my steam iron, then refill them from the tap.
I don’t have to stand in line for water,
or travel long distances,
or pay price-gougers.
I have enough to share with my neighbors.
The only folks who couldn’t do the same are the homeless,
who have no place to keep it,
and people who are so poor
that they can’t afford running water.
There are other things we can do—
stop over-fertilizing our lawns,
organize our errands to use less gas,
turn off lights and appliances when we aren’t using them.
___________________________________
We can pay attention to the tiny whispers
that are telling us to look for waste and extravagance
in our lifestyles
and do what we can to make sure that everyone has enough
before we use more than our fair share.
___________________________________
Our psalm today sings out:
Blessed be God who is over all!
And it is God’s presence, God’s spirit,
that fills us with the courage to take action.
_______________________________________
Though we may stumble and falter along the way,
we will all get through, listening to that sound in the silence,
the still small voice that whispers,
Do not be afraid. I am with you.

--
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
419-727-1774

Homily: "Faith in the Wind" for 8/10/2014 by Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP


http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/faith-in-the-wind-rev-judys-homily-for-sunday-8814-ot-19/


Faith in the Wind: Rev Judy’s Homily for Sunday 8/10/14 OT 19

People are saying that the weather has gone crazy. With our poor stewardship of the earth global warming and pollution seem to be taking a heavy toll. There are tornados where they never were. Huge hailstones in summer, and hurricanes have not touched Florida in years. Yet we can all remember Andrew and Wilma and Charley, with winds raging, trees falling on everything, roofs blown off and power gone. Wind is a powerful thing. That is probably why it is a symbol for God’s presence in the Scriptures, And, when there are strong winds in our lives we desperately need the presence of God.
In the reading from Kings (19:9-13) we see the prophet Elijah fleeing from the city where his life is threatened to the mountains and a cave. Elijah is afraid and running for his life (9:3). He has done all that God asked –he was God’s messenger, and with the usual response, the messenger was to be killed. Elijah says to God, “I have been zealous for you …. but they have broken your covenant, they have killed your prophets and now they are trying to kill me too” (19:10). The job of God’s prophet is so often a thankless and dangerous one. Only rarely does the city repent and the people turn their lives around although it happens. But not for Elijah. I wonder if he isn’t beyond frustration to being consumed by anger at the way things are turning out? But, God does not abandon Elijah despite his fear, frustration and anger. God stays in constant communication with Elijah and promises him Presence. So Elijah again does what God asks and steps out on the mountain. There “a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart”. And poor Elijah grabbed the nearest rock and held on, but God was not in this shattering wind. Then there was an earthquake and a fire. Fire is another symbol for God’s presence, but God was in neither of these. And after Elijah risked all of this he must have been about to give up and crawl to the back of the cave and die as he wanted to do before this when he reached the desert and sat under a tree and prayed to die. “I have had enough” he said to God (19:4)”take my life…” Well, God provided for him and urged him on in his journey until now he stood, clinging to the mountain as the wind and fire raged on. Did you ever feel like Elijah -did you ever feel you had enough. You tried to do right but nothing worked and you simply had enough-and then the storms kept raging. I have felt that way. And ultimately I had to stand before God and wait for God’s presence and word right there in the midst of the great raging winds of my life. And, finally, finally, the gentle voice of God came and calmed the storm, and also gave direction that worked so Elijah could indeed fulfill his mission. One of the things that worked for Elijah was doing as God asked in choosing Elisha as a prophet for Elisha also loved him and stuck by him no matter what: “I will not leave you” Elisha said as Elijah and he walked toward Elijah’s final moments on earth (2 Kings 2:2,6). Not only did God remain present to Elijah but God gave him a friend and one who would carry on after him. What a beautiful gift God gave Elijah as the winds abated. Oh, if we could have the faith of Elijah who did God’s work no matter what.
In the Epistle to the Romans we hear Paul’s anguish and grief for those of his own Hebrew people who could not accept the Good News of Christ. Paul was so distraught that he said “Indeed, I would cut myself off from Christ it that would save my sisters and brothers, my kinfolk…” (Rom. 9:1-5). Paul would give up his all for his people, for God’s own people, even as Elijah did. And the winds would rage. Paul was very much aware of his own clay feet, but his love for his people was constant. With their rejection the great raging winds of sadness almost consumed him. And yet, like Elijah, Paul lived by faith and hope that in God’s loving kindness all of Israel would be saved (Rom. 11:26) and loving as Christ loved would save the day for all (Rom 12 and 13). Both Elijah and Paul faced deepest despair and found God’s presence there.
In our ministry we have been working with a woman who lost everything. Job, home, physical and mental health and worries for her children and her own life. And yet as we shared reflections in our Tuesday worship service she shared: “I can tell you for sure that when things were so bad and I hit the bottom, it fell through and I went lower still-but I found the most wonderful thing. God was there and God provided for people to come and lift me up and the people are right here” she said looking around the room. “All of my needs are met and I don’t have a penny. I will get a home this week and this is my greatest joy. God is there when you fall lower than you ever thought you could fall. God is there”. And after the silence, everyone clapped.
That too is the meaning in the Gospel (Matthew 14:22-33). Jesus has recently heard of the horrific death of his cousin and prophet, John the Baptist. He had tried to get away by himself to grieve and pray but was met by the huge group on the mountain side. He healed, he preached, he taught, he fed. He must have been exhausted. He sent the disciples away in the boat and he finally had some time to himself. I think every parent, teacher, social worker, counselor, preacher, pastor and parish priest knows how he felt. In the middle of the night he woke up and saw the boat full of disciples tossed about in the waves by the fierce wind (14:24). So Jesus got up and walked across the water toward them. We are to see his God-ness in this for he walked on the water-but we can see it even more because he couldn’t even get a full night’s sleep without responding to the needs of his people. Full of grief, sadness and exhaustion he got up to help them. But here they were in a heavy storm at night and they saw him coming toward them and were “terrified” (v. 26). “Take courage, It is I, don’t be afraid” he said. In the terrible storms of our lives we can hear these words and know God is with us. Indeed we do take courage and we are no longer afraid. We may even try, like Peter, to walk on water. Doing something new and unheard of is walking on water. Being a woman Roman Catholic priest is walking on water. But one has to keep one’s eyes on Christ or we flounder and sink. Still, and this is the miracle, still, Christ is there with us catching us before we go under. God is there in the raging storm at sea. Jesus got in the boat and the wind died down. Let us know deeply that although the storms of life may rage, if we listen, we can hear Jesus saying “Courage, I am here, don’t be afraid”. And the winds die down. AMEN!
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Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, Roman Catholic Woman Priest
Pastor of The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Church, Fort Myers, FLorida

Interview with Fr. Roy Bourgeois by Nancy Fornasiero in the Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/nancy-fornasiero/women-priests-roy-bourgeois_b_5658339.html
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP, in Rome  for Conclave that  elected Pope Francis

"Why shouldn't women be called to the Catholic priesthood?"
This is the question that Roy Bourgeois has been asking out loud since the RCWP ordination of his friend Janice Sevre-Duszynska, six years ago on August 8, 2008. It's the question that landed him in a boat-load of hot water with the Vatican ..
RCWP stands for Roman Catholic Women Priests: a grassroots global movement that includes about 200 women priests, bishops and deacons. The Vatican says their ordinations aren't valid and they have no authority to lead; Canon Law 1024 clearly states that only baptized males can be priests.
It's been almost two years since Bourgeois' defrocking by Pope Benedict -- he likens this period of rejection and grieving to the aftermath of a difficult divorce. Like others who suffer because of a broken relationship, he's gradually healing from his painful experience.
From left to right  Erin Hanna, Women Ordination Conference, Donna Rougeux, ARCWP,
Ree Hudson, RCWP, Roy Bourgeois, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP

In June 2014 a new RCWP parish sprang up in Toronto -- one of nine across Canada. This development, combined with the anniversary of the event that caused Bourgeois' life to spin out of control, make it an appropriate time to see how he's doing and hear his thoughts about the growing RCWP movement.
A: This injustice toward women and God had become so clear to me and I used to go to my friends and say, "I think we have a problem." They'd say, "Roy, it's not about equality, it's about roles. We're not prejudiced, we just have different roles." And I would say, "Are you sure it's not about power? Or sexism?" This all reminded me of my growing up in the South during segregation when we would claim that it wasn't racism at work, but of course it was. But back to my fellow priests...the core of the problem of them not supporting me is that they don't want to lose their power, privileges, and good standing. Simple as that. Fear.
Q: This week marks the anniversary of the ordination of your friend Janice. Tell us about it.
A: That event was a big breakthrough. I didn't just attend, I gave the homily. Five women priests were ordained. I knew there would be consequences. We gave thanks to God for calling Janice and to Janice for accepting her call, especially at a time when so many of our churches were closing because of a lack of vocations. I really remember the joy there. It was so joyful.
Q: What do you make of the new RCWP community in Toronto?
A: The church hierarchy is not going to give up its power, so change has to come from the bottom up, in part from courageous women like these RCWPs in Toronto. It will come from people in the pews who support the ordination of women. This movement cannot be stopped. There were many who tried to stop the suffragette movement, including leaders in the Catholic Church. But they couldn't. Same thing goes for the civil rights movement. These movements were of God. They were rooted in justice, love, and equality...."
Thanks Nancy for an excellent article about our movement. Bridget Mary Meehan, www.arcwp.org