Shanon Marie Sterringer was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement on Saturday, August 3, 2019, in Linz, Austria. The ordaining bishops were Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Mary Eileen Collingwood. Her diaconate ordination took place in Boston Hts., Ohio on July 10, 2019. She is the Founder and Director of the Hildegard Haus (formerly the Hildegarden) and the developing Community of St. Hildegard in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, and a member of the presiding team at the Community of St. Bridget in Brecksville, Ohio.
Shanon earned a Ph.D. (2016) in Ethical and Creative Leadership (focused on the leadership example of St. Hildegard of Bingen) from Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, Ohio; Doctor of Ministry degree (2012), Master of Divinity equivalent (2010), and MA in Theology (2007) from St. Mary's Roman Catholic Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Wickliffe, Ohio; MA in Ministry (2011) from Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio; and a BA in Religious Studies (2003) from Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. Prior to following her call to ordination, Shanon served as a certified lay ecclesial minister and master catechist in the Diocese of Cleveland. In the parish she worked in the area of catechetics, liturgical and pastoral ministry, parish administration, theology, and leadership training. She has travelled to Bingen, Germany several times over the last few years to walk in the footsteps of Hildegard of Bingen for research and personal/professional development. She has also traveled to the Holy Land and India where she offered seminars on women and ecclesial leadership. She is currently interested in studying non-profit administration and leadership. Shanon is a well-seasoned retreat director and has offered numerous retreats for women and men on various topics, most notably topics relating to St. Hildegard of Bingen. She has recently published a book through Fortress-Augsburg Press, “30 Day Journey with St. Hildegard of Bingen” and is currently writing a new book on her call to ordained ministry. She is an adjunct faculty member of Global Ministries University and the People’s Catholic Seminary, and is a commissioned member of the Federation of Christian Ministries.
Shanon married Richard Sterringer in 1990, while still a senior in high-school. They have three beautiful daughters. The Sterringer family resides in Fairport Harbor, Ohio where they have been active in the community for almost three decades. Shanon was named the Fairport Harbor Citizen of the Year in 2019 for her long-time dedication to her local community.
Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger’s homily:
I chose the image "universe" or "cosmic egg" for today's ordination service.
Shanon, Hildegard is your life motto and role model for your pastoral work as a deacon and priest - you have chosen this life form that you can not and do not want to take off. Deacon, because this ordination obliges you to have the welfare of the "poor" in many forms in mind. It also means providing food for people.
Priesthood also means to lift the necessities of life out of daily use and place them in the light of God.
"Give them food" has many meanings.
I have read all sorts of explanations and interpretations of the picture - mainly of men. Now I put everything aside and offer you some meditative thoughts:
Hildegard is a woman, a wise woman. She knows the universe from her observations, from her studies, from her experiences. She senses that the universe outside is also present in her: the fire of the sun, the darkness, water and earth, heaven and hell, diversity and desert, a breeze and deadly storm, the cycle of the moon and the planets, the heat of the day and the cold of the night.
Hildegard draws her experiences, paints them with love of detail in wonderful colors. Hildegard paints her life into this picture herself. With this she gives inexpressible information. All life comes from the woman. The divine is in her. In her writings she systematically rationalizes what is expected of her. Hildegard is smart. She can not be convicted by the men.
But I see the smiling Hildegard when she tells in mystery/brain teaser what only women can read. She replaces the real information with pictograms.
The cosmos is in our view the space of infinity. Our work as a priest may be just a pictogram in time and space and size, a very small symbol of something great. In the great things of the world and the church, we are perhaps only small dots, stars, a flower, a delicate breeze, sometimes perhaps the glow of a sun or the moon. Sometimes we are bread for people or water, or wine, when we try to give them food for the soul.
Being a priest means, in the sense of Hildegard, knowing the ways - being a scout for the people - to seek and find ways to lead people to God, to heal ourselves and for those entrusted to us for the church and the world.
In the church, however, the divine visions remain - to follow the spirit of God and, in the spirit of Ignatius, to consider the distinction of the spirits. In the rule of St. Benedict – this is the order of Hildegard - this is called the Discretio.
An important point in Hildegard's teaching is food. We are called to gather people together, to remember the good news of Jesus, and to give them the food of bread and wine.
Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood’s homily:
Wisdom has been given to me… and she who makes others friends of God and prophets will find a home in Wisdom.
Rays of sun shine upon you and you will flourish, and you will be gathered into God’s bosom.
You have been pruned and will live on in me; my joy will be yours and your joy will be complete; I have made known to you everything I have learned from Abba God. I choose you to go forth and bear fruit that will endure. Whatever you ask will be given to you.
The scripture passage that summarizes all our readings today is from Luke 12: 48: “From those who have been given much, much will be required; from those who have been entrusted much, much more will be asked.”
As many of us present here today know, this journey is not for the faint of heart. We have been called and entrusted to bear witness to what is true and just--what needs to be proclaimed for future generations. Yes, we have been given much, and, therefore, much more will be asked.
This journey that you are entrusted with today, Shanon, is a courageous one that will need strength and vision as you go forth. But you need not carry this responsibility alone. In fact, if you try to go it alone, you will fail. Jesus formed a community of disciples and sent them out two by two. It is within community—the Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement-- that you now find yourself and will be here with you and for you. While you have been given much personally and communally through your past academic, ministerial and spiritual experiences, you will now find yourself needing the support and strength of this new community of prophets.
The Spirit of God has plainly shown us what is required for our journey in the passage from Micah (6:8): “simply do justice, love kindness, and walk with integrity in God’s presence.”
From these inspired words of scripture, we launch our mission. Now is the time to fully grasp that this mission of ours is a communal mission. Only by understanding this will your strength and grace of character remain strong and vibrant.
Yet, communication is part of the life force that drives us, shapes us, brings us to fullness of life. And the way we communicate will determine the quality of our own lives as well as the lives of those we touch.
Great women and men are all around us. Great people will share their vision and ministries, great people will tell you their secrets. Look for them, call them on the phone or buy their books. Go where they are, get around them, talk to them. They will give you all they have. For being “great” is exactly what you are called to be and called to do. Shanon, you have been entrusted with much, and therefore, more will be asked of you.
These are exciting times for prophets in our church—and we are very fortunate and blessed to have you among us! This is a holy mission. Your presence increases our holiness!
And so you are sent forth in the words many an Irish lass would say:
They rose in dark and evil days
To right their native land;
They kindled here a living blaze
That nothing shall withstand.
RE: 6/18/19 Commentary: “How much corruption can we tolerate in the church before we leave?” by Donald Cozzens
This question can be countered with a more positive one: How much prophetic energy can be imagined by the People of God in order to reform the Church?
Prophets of old were called out from their very ordinary lives to proclaim by their words and actions the fundamental change of heart that must occur in order to realize our Creator’s vision that all may be one. And that prophetic calling set them apart from the current structures of their times.
The Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement has envisioned such a kinship. We love the church and are energized to witness to the prophetic changes that are needed to reform the church. This is a proactive approach, one rooted in a distinct calling requiring courageous action, clear vision, and holy contemplation.
We embrace circular leadership where no one has power over another. All decide on issues and policies that affect the membership. Bishops are elected to perform a function, not to establish lordship. Member-led inclusive faith communities are formed where the ordained serve the People of God. All are welcome to the Eucharistic Table, extending the practice from the Early Church to the present day.
Our calling is to live what we profess and envision—to live what the Spirit has empowered us to become. It is prophetic. As of old, future generations will reap the rewards.
Mary Eileen Collingwood, ARCWP
From: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Catholic Women Priests Offer Hope During the Sexual Abuse Crisis
February 6, 2019
As Pope Francis engages this February 21-24, 2019 in dealing with the sexual abuse crisis in the Church, we women priests continue to offer a renewed priestly ministry within a new structure of inclusive communities and a new way of being Church.
All are welcome to attend our worshiping communities and to receive Communion. Our new model of ministry can serve as a solution in dealing with the prevention of future sexual abuses. Women priests offer Roman Catholic worshiping communities that are led by the People of God.
We have over 15 years of experience offering a new kind of priesthood that is Roman Catholic, egalitarian, inclusive, evolving, and social justice driven. Our women-priest experiences offer meaningful inclusive liturgies (Masses) in small grassroots communities.
In addition, we preside at baptisms, weddings, and funeral ceremonies. We are engaged in raising social consciousness. We work with all those disenfranchised from the Roman Catholic Church, offering them faith communities, advocacy and spiritual direction.
To put it very simply, the sexual abuses that have taken place in the Roman Catholic Church and are still taking place would never have occurred to the degree they have if women had been involved in priestly ministry and equal leadership in the Church. It is long overdue that the male leadership of the Church acknowledge our wisdom as women priests who are already serving the People of God, and ask for our help to solve the mess into which they have gotten themselves.
Mary Eileen has provided the following response regarding the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s recent guideline on women seeking hysterectomies:
Once again, we confront the arrogance and self-righteousness of the patriarchal church’s position in this purported “ethical guideline” on boundary settings for hysterectomies!
It is entirely unbelievable to the feminine half of the human species that such a guideline could possibly be written without their consultation or consent. Yet sadly, this continues to be the modus operandi within the Roman Catholic hierarchical mindset.
Until churchmen experience an epiphany that opens their minds and hearts to inclusive and egalitarian regard for women, seeking their voice and experience of their feminine nature, being, and wisdom, I see nothing but a dead end on this worn out path these men continue to travel.
Mary Eileen Collingwood
Bishop, serving the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
While attending the Parliament for the World's Religions held in Toronto last month, I was fortunate to have Fred Stella, host of the radio program "Common Threads", approach me for an interview.
Common Threads is a co-production of WGVU Radio and The Interfaith Dialogue Association. Common Threads airs Sundays at 7:00am and 6:30pm on WGVU 88.5 Grand Rapids, 95.3 Muskegon.
You can listen to the full interview as broadcast at these links: Part 1, Part 2
Women priests in Brecksville offer alternative to traditional Roman Catholic Church
by Jacqueline Mitchell - published September 21, 2018
Located in a single room inside the Brecksville United Church of Christ, a group of women is challenging the way the Roman Catholic Church looks at priesthood.
“We’re more like prophetic witnesses in this time,” said the Rev. Mary Eileen Collingwood. “Even if the Vatican does not recognize us, we know that we’re preparing the way forward to open up an avenue for future generations. This is the alternative people have been waiting for.” continue reading
August 22, 2018
Press Release: Response to the Recent Reports of Clergy Child Sex Abuse and Cover up in the RCC:
From: Mary Eileen Collingwood, ARCWP Bishop serving the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Women priests are needed as part of a systemic change in the Roman Catholic Church—building a structure that supports justice and equality.
Our voices need to be heard. We work within a model of circular governance as ordained members within our movement and within the liturgical communities we serve.
Catholics have deserved so much more for a long, long time! Following the prophetic witness of women priests, the church needs to form inclusive faith communities that thrive as all members are honored equally, treat others with compassion, and seek Gospel justice for all.
This crisis that has taken over the world stage is a clarion call for all Catholics to raise their hearts and voices in demanding new structures that place women and men in decision-making roles in our church. Those clerics that are responsible for covering up the sexual abuses of our children by the clergy, and those that engage in corroborative criminal behavior, must be removed now.
It is time for serious reform of these church structures that have protected bishops and the Vatican from accountability.
Accepting women priests and married men will counter the corrupt clerical model that has produced the present ecclesial environment which continues to tolerate cover-ups and pay-offs as the standard fare of conduct.
Pope Francis can name the cause of sexual abuse of children as coming from the evils of clericalism, but he falls short in dismantling that structure through a new model of priestly ministry that includes women.
A structure that includes women and men standing and working together as equals, seeking justice for all in a renewed model of priestly ministry will ultimately be the Church’s salvation.
On Wednesday evening, September 12, the Community of St. Bridget and the Brecksville United Church of Christ will host Teatime for Peace, co-sponsored by a group of south suburban houses of worship. Teatime for Peace is an opportunity for interfaith dialogue, especially with our Muslim neighbors. Mark your calendar now and begin inviting your friends and neighbors.
In a well-timed effort to prepare for Teatime for Peace, Brecksville United Church of Christ has invited the Community of St. Bridget to join them for some TED talks:
August 13 – Verna Myers – How to Overcome our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them!
August 20 – Karen Armstrong – My Wish: The Charter for Compassion
These events will begin at 7:00 PM at BUCC, 23 Public Square, Brecksville, 44141. In addition to viewing the approximately 20 minute-long video, we will also share some light refreshments and some lively conversations. Each evening and topic can stand alone – so feel free to attend any or all of them.
Please invite a friend to join you! All are welcome!
Two years ago, before the Republican National Convention began in Cleveland, people were concerned. Tempers were running hot and many were worried about Cleveland and the nation. The possibility of violence seemed likely. So a group of people decided not to sit on the sidelines wringing their hands. They chose to stand up and claim love--the most powerful energy there is--and wrap it around the city. By holding hands and keeping silent for 30 minutes, peace came to Cleveland. For those of us who were there, it was a holy experience. We stood in solidarity--not for this or that party or issue or anything. We stood for love.
You have a chance to be part of this holy mission. Join members of your community and stand together in the spirit of love to counteract this time of unrest, turmoil, and uncertainty around the citiy and around the globe.
This is a non-violent, peaceful gathering. It is not a protest. Set aside your signs, your politics, and your disagreements this day and use the power of LOVE to bring healing, peace, and unity to our cities, our country, and our world.
Sunday, July 29, 2–4 PM
Voinovich Park - East 9th Street Pier Cleveland
(north of Rock Hall)
Learn more: Circle the Cities with Love
JUNE 30, 2018 Cleveland Plain Dealer
Eastlake woman, 82, to be ordained as priest Saturday sees role as example for other women
By Brian Albrecht
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Four years ago, when Susan Guzik was ordained a deacon by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), she was automatically excommunicated by the church.
Got an official letter from the bishop of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese and everything.
It didn't bother her then. And it won't bother her Saturday when she is ordained as a priest and three women as deacons by the ARCWP in ceremonies at 1 p.m. at the Community of St. Bridget in the Brecksville United Church of Christ. continue reading
Malachi House is a home that cares for terminally ill people with few or no resources. It is our primary outreach. If you'd like to contribute items that will be useful to the residents and staff, look on their wish list. HUGE NEED right now: liquid laundry detergent and printer paper. Bring them to church and we will deliver them.
Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church is hosting two screenings of the award-winning documentary, “Disturbing the Peace”. Both screenings will be followed with Q & A with the film’s producers. The film is about people born into conflict, sworn to be enemies, who challenged their fate.
Monday, April 23rd at 7pm and Tuesday, April 24th at 1:30pm
Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church is at 9201 Brecksville Road in Brecksville
No reservations are necessary and there is no admission charge.
Holy Thursday 6:30 (soup supper) 7:00 Holy Thursday liturgy (shared service with Brecksville UCC)
Good Friday 7 pm
Easter Vigil 8 pm Saturday Evening
PUT THIS ON YOUR CALENDAR!
Saturday, March 10 is
at the Community of St. Bridget
Over the past three years, over 100 of you have worshipped with us. We hope that you and your guests will join us for this celebration!
4:30 pm. Meet and Greet
5:00 pm. Liturgy of the Eucharist, Sanctuary
6:00 pm. Potluck Feast, Pilgrim Hall
~ Main entree and beverages provided
~ Side dishes and desserts welcome!
6:30 pm. Group conversation about the Community, services and outreach
Address & Map
Everyone knows the Mother who whines, "You never call, you never write." This is us inviting you to catch up. Some of you are regular, some are semi-regular, and some are rare (yet still appreciated!) members of the community. No matter if you came last week or you came once three years ago, we'd love to see you and catch up. Main dish and beverages are on us. If you'd like to bring a side or dessert to share, that would be lovely, but not required. We just would like to have you over!
This Saturday, February 10, the Community of St. Bridget will celebrate liturgy in memory of Fr. Mark DiNardo, the late pastor of St. Patrick Church on Bridge Ave. Father supported church reform. He was a friend and supporter of women priests. He said that women priests were "on the right side of history." We thank Fr. Mark for his support and will celebrate his life and legacy.
The Community of St. Bridget has supported a community meal at a Lakewood church for several years.That program has been closed. How can we call ourselves Christians if we're not helping other people? We looked and listened and our board has chosen a new outreach.
We will be working with Malachi House to support them in their ministry of caring for dying people with no resources. We will be telling you more about this important contribution soon!
Thank you for contributing your ideas to this important decision.
Community of St. Bridget Holiday Mass Schedule
Saturday, Dec. 23 at 5 pm (4th Sunday in Advent)
Monday, Dec. 25 at 10 am (Christmas Day)
[You are also welcome at the Brecksville UCC Christmas service on December 24 at 10 pm.]
Address & Map
Australia Votes for Gay Marriage, Clearing Path to Legalization
By ADAM BAIDAWI and DAMIEN CAVE
MELBOURNE, Australia — A solid majority of Australians voted in favor of same-sex marriage in a historic survey that, while not binding, paves the way for Parliament to legally recognize the unions of gay and lesbian couples.
Of 12.7 million Australians who took part in the government survey, 61.6 percent voted yes and 38.4 percent voted no, officials announced on Wednesday morning. Participation was high, with 79.5 percent of voting-age Australians sending back their postal ballots. continue reading
In times of crisis, it can be difficult to know how best to help or where to give. It’s often the organizations and people embedded in the community that know where relief is needed most, and how best to deliver it. That’s why the Cleveland Foundation is launching an online giving platform – www.clevelandfoundation.org/puertorico – that will help Greater Clevelanders give to the Puerto Rico Community Foundation (Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico), an organization founded in 1985 to support the well-being of residents on the island.
Our community has strong ties to Puerto Rico. Of the Hispanic population in the Cleveland Metropolitan area, which the U.S. Census estimates at nearly 107,000, more than half trace their roots to Puerto Rico. In solidarity with our local Hispanic community, we encourage Greater Clevelanders to show their support for Puerto Rico by giving in this time of great need.
Between now and Nov. 30, Greater Clevelanders can visit www.clevelandfoundation.org/puertorico to give online. All donations will be transferred directly to the Puerto Rico Community Foundation and specifically designated for use on the ground for hurricane relief efforts in the hardest hit areas throughout Puerto Rico.
If you prefer to send a check by mail, mark on the memo line “Puerto Rico Relief” and mail to Cleveland Foundation, 1422 Euclid Avenue, Suite 1300, Cleveland, OH 44115.