Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Colombian Roman Catholic Women Priests and Supporters Meet

This is a slightly edited version of the account that appears in English by Rev. Judy Lee on her blog and in Spanish on the Evangelizadoras de los ApĆ³stoles blog. Photos from the gathering are taken from those posted by Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez on that blog and some additional ones can be found here. Photo at right is of Rev. Judy Lee and Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez at a women's ordination ceremony in the United States earlier this year.

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) group in Colombia consists of two ordained priests, three candidates, and several applicants and supporters. On September 14 and 15, 2013 the group met in Envigado, Antioqua, under the guidance of Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea who was ordained a priest in December 2010 in Sarasota, Florida. Rev. Aida Soto Bernal, the other priest ordained in Colombia in March of 2011, was not able to attend this meeting.

The group will meet on a regular basis to reflect on their service to the people of God and their growth and commitments as women priests, aspirants and supporters. Rev. Dr. Judy Lee of Ft. Myers, Florida, who is a co-guide of the candidates with Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea, was able to greet the group on Saturday night via Skype. She also sent responses to questions and comments sent by those assembled. Rev. Judith Beaumont greeted them as well. An RCWP candidate in Spain also communicated with the group.

Candidate Marina Teresa Sanchez from Cali was the scribe for the event, keeping good records of what was said and planned. A leader in her faith community in Cali shared the mission of the community of faith and how happy they were to support Marina Teresa. Candidate Judith Bautista Fajardo from Bogota began the meeting with liturgical dance from the Native American (Navajo) culture. She also shared a poem titled "Confession" about finding her calling. A religious sister and missionary who was a supporter was present and shared her ministry and prayed with the group. Each one present reflected on her own journey of love and service.

Those assembled discussed issues such as responsibilities of women priests, apostolic succession, and "evangelical succession" from Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles. They considered the roles of priest as spiritual leader and guide along with all of the priesthood of the baptized. The role of priest as co-liberator with Christ was highlighted, especially for women and all those who are poor and living at the margins.

The time together ended with a beautiful and simple Eucharistic liturgy led by Rev. Olga Lucia and celebrated communally by all present.

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