In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers.
~Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
From National Catholic Reporter - The United States is having an identity crisis by Joan Chittister encourages us to live up to our “American” values and open our country and hearts to immigrants fleeing chaos in the Middle East.
Iglesia Descalza provides us with a recap of Women's Ordinations - August-December 2015 with both pictures and bios of the newly ordained women. Included in the article is information about the Ordination of Carol Giannini in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Cleveland’s own ARCWP Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood presiding.
Several members have asked: "Why the name change?" since my episcopal ordination. So, here's my story:
My parents named me "Mary Eileen" when I was born. My mother wanted me to be called by that name-- both names together: Mary Eileen. When I started Catholic grade school, there were many little girls named "Mary" with all of them having a second name added to the first, e.g., Mary Ann, Mary Lou, Mary Kay, Mary Ellen, Mary Fran, Mary Bridget, etc. But of course, I didn't want to "belong" to that group! I wanted to be known, not as part of a group of girls named Mary- so-and-so, but on my own terms. Thus, l refused to sign or print my full name on any of my papers. When my mother was told about this, she simply replied that I should be allowed to determine how I wanted to be known.
Fast forward many years later, my mother died of Alzheimer's disease in January of 2012. There were many years that my family watched her slowly slip away from us. But there were also some "break through" moments that occurred. One such time, I walked into her room and there was a program on television that was reporting on the scandals within the RCC. She was sitting in her chair with tears streaming down her face, looked up at me and asked, "What is happening to my Church?" I knelt down beside her, looked into her eyes and said, "Don't worry about it Mom, I'm working on it." She took my hand and replied, "I knew I could count on you!" I consider this experience her way of affirming my journey with the ARCWP.
Time moves forward and I am elected bishop. In preparation for this, I was told to bring a ring to the ordination rite because it was part of the ceremony that I would take a ring as a sign of my role as bishop. I didn't like this part of the deal at all! I never liked all the demonstrations of special privilege or special accessorizing, etc. At one point in my deliberations on what I was going to do about this, I remembered my father giving me my mother's rings to hold for him till he decided what he would do with them. So I found the rings and dumped them on the kitchen table to look at. Out bounced the ring that we bought for my mother-- a ten jeweled ring that contained all her children's birth stones. I looked at it and understood why my father didn't know what to do with that one-- who would actually wear this now?
As I pondered this, the Spirit moved within me, and I asked my father if he would give me permission to use my mother's "mother's ring" as my bishop ring for the ordination. His eyes lit up and he immediately replied that he thought it was a wonderful idea, and that my mother would be so proud if I wore the ring.
Further reflection led me to find a way to honor my mother after all these years. "It was in the name" is all I could think about. Then I realized that to honor her life, I would sign my name as she wished, "Mary Eileen."
And so my friends, I will answer to most anything right now-- "Mary", "Mary C.", "Collingwood" or whatever; but I will always sign my name "Mary Eileen."
Wishing you all the joy and peace of this holy season,
Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.
From The New Yorker December 21, 2015 - The Siege of Miami: As temperatures climb, so, too, will sea levels BY ELIZABETH KOLBERT discusses the effect Global Warming, and the resulting rise in sea levels, will have on millions of people currently living in South Florida.
Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami is correct when he says:
There’s no keeping the water out.So ultimately this area has to depopulate. What I want to work toward is a slow and graceful depopulation, rather than a sudden and catastrophic one.
No one, let’s repeat that for emphasis NO ONE has any clue how to keep South Florida from being irreversibly flooded with Ocean Water rendering the entire region permanently unsuitable as a place for millions of people to live. Systems that work elsewhere (think Netherlands) will not work in South Florida.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott both deny the fact that human caused global warming even exists! They are each profoundly ignorant. They represent a clear and present danger to the public they are elected to serve.
Read the full New Yorker essay. Also, visit Florida soon if you wish to see it. I you are wise, don’t buy property there.
NO OTHER ISSUE IS MORE IMPORTANT. Every politician running for office next November must spell out their plans to mitigate the damage from human caused global warming. Any politician who denies the existence - or "doubts" the existence - of human caused global warming is either too ignorant or too corrupt to be entrusted with public office.
Dear Community of St. Bridget members and friends,
We are so grateful for your support of women priests all year long, whether you come to celebrate mass with us on Saturdays at 5, invite us to preside at your weddings or funerals, ask us to celebrate the sacrament of the sick with you, or simply include us in your prayers for a renewed ministry in a renewed Catholic church. We are grateful for you and we hope we have a place in your hearts as you have in ours.
If you are at a loss for gifts this Christmas, perhaps you would consider making a donation to the Community of St. Bridget in honor of the people you love. Your gift is tax deductible. (We are a 501(c)(3) under IRS regulations.) Your gift will go directly to the support of the woman priest movement thus making it possible for women priests to attend retreats and for the educational formation of prospective priests.
If you do choose to make such a gift, please send your check to:
The Community of St. Bridget
Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ's birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present. ~Edward Hays, A Pilgrims Almanac: Reflections for Each Day of the Year
Much of what passes for Christianity in America has become corrupted into a barely recognizable caricature of what it should be. Please read - Are We Finally Witnessing The Death Of Christianity In America? by Zack Hunt
The future of Christianity in this country isn't threatened by shifting demographics.
Of course, our own wonderful Catholic Women Priests (RCWP/ARCWP) are leading a small but growing movement to restore the gospel values of inclusiveness, collaboration, humility, simplicity, love and charity, to our faith.
The re-birth of Christianity may grow from our rejection of the failed and corrupted remnants of previous religious institutions. See the fascinating essay by John Pavlovitz for a vision of what the future of Christianity might look like - My Emancipation From American Christianity
If religion it is to be worth holding on to, it should be the place were the marginalized feel the most visible, where the hurting receive the most tender care, where the outsiders find the safest refuge.
From the NYT - What You Can Do About Climate Change
By JOSH KATZ and JENNIFER DANIEL DEC. 2, 2015
Seven Simple Guidelines for Thinking About Carbon Emissions
Global climate: it’s complicated. Any long-term solution will require profound changes in how we generate energy. At the same time, there are everyday things that you can do to reduce your personal contribution to a warming planet. Here are seven simple guidelines on how your choices today affect the climate tomorrow. continue reading
One of the essential paradoxes of Advent:
that while we wait for God,
we are with God all along,
that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming,
we are already at home.
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Our sister community in Toledo, Ohio is Holy Spirit Catholic Community.