Monday, November 3, 2014

Fourth Colombian Roman Catholic Woman Priest Ordained

Colombia's fourth Roman Catholic woman priest, Rev. Judith Bautista Fajardo, ARCWP, was ordained on Saturday by ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Mehan. Rev. Fajardo now joins Colombia's three other women priests -- Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez, Rev. Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia, and Rev. Martha Aida Soto Bernal.

The 47 year-old native of Bogota says that her call to the priesthood was always present. Despite that, she spent her earlier religious life as a nun, a vocation she nurtured for nine years, ministering to women and youth. For the last 27 years, Rev. Fajardo has been working in spiritual direction and pastoral care. Trained in philosophy, theology and psychotherapy, Fajardo has been working as a facilitator with Effeta Escuela Taller del Alma ("Effeta Soul Workshop School) in coordination with Kairos Educativo (KairEd), which describes itself as "an organization that promotes training, research, publication and coordination of church and social movements, based on liberating and contextualized pedagogy and theology..." Fajardo simply says, "I work to support leaders who accompany communities hit by poverty and violence, some of them are defenders of human rights, but others are leaders who accompany resistance in building solidarity amid the difficult living conditions of the people."

The new priest is also an accomplished poet and singer/songwriter. You can find samples of her poetry in many places on the web such as Poesia Virtual (we have shared one with an English translation below) and there is also an e-book of her poems, Cómo espada de dos filos: Poesía Mística ("Like a Two-edged Sword: Mystical Poetry"). That book won the 21st Fernando Rielo world prize for mystical poetry in 2001, a contest sponsored by the Embassy of Spain to the Holy See. You can listen to Rev. Fajardo's songs, compiled in an album titled "Desacostumbrame" on MySpace.


Por Judith Bautista Fajardo

Mirad que como el barro en las manos del alfarero,
así sois vosotros en mi mano
Jeremías 18, 6b

El Dios en quien yo creo
es quien me da motivos para dar cada paso.
El Dios que me susurra, que aún no he terminado
que me falta un poema, una canción acaso,
que me falta quizás una sonrisa firme,
una mano dispuesta y una palabra amable.

Que me falta aún perdonar una ofensa
recorrer otra milla y compartir mi manta.
Que aún me falta crear, inventar otros mundos,
mas sencillos talvez, más nobles y sinceros.

El Dios en quien yo creo me crea y nos recrea
y también nos inventa de nuevo cada día
y siente y se estremece con el dolor del pueblo
y canta y gime y grita en mil voces hermanas,
acaso desterradas al borde del camino.

Hoy también surgen gritos de angustia y de reclamo
y el viento de la tarde me trae sus gemidos
y de nuevo mi Dios, acongojado,
ha encendido en mil pechos una brasa que arde.

El Dios en quien yo creo, cual paciente alfarero,
de la aurora a la tarde se entrega a su criatura,
y celebra sus fiestas y llora sus dolores
con el corazón puesto en la obra de sus manos.

El Dios en quien yo creo, es fuego que reclama,
espada que penetra más profunda y punzante,
que aunque dulce en los labios, amarga las entrañas
invitando a entregarse a tiempo y a destiempo.

El Dios en quien yo creo, como madre amorosa,
acuna a sus pequeños con dolores de parto.
Y con ellos se pone cada día en camino,
tras la vida abundante que proclama su Reino.


By Judith Bautista Fajardo (English translation by Rebel Girl)

"Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in my hand." (Jeremiah 18:6)

The God in whom I believe
is the one who gives me a reason to take each step.
The God who whispers that I'm not yet done,
that I lack a poem, a song perhaps,
that maybe I need a firm smile,
a willing hand and a friendly word.

That I still need to forgive an offense,
travel another mile, and share my coat.
That I yet need to create, to invent other worlds,
simpler ones perhaps, nobler and more sincere.

The God in whom I believe creates me and re-creates us
and also invents us anew each day
and feels and shudders with the people's pain
and sings and moans and cries in a thousand sister voices,
banished perhaps on the side of the road.

Today too, demanding cries of anguish rise
and the afternoon wind brings me their wailing
and again my God, heartbroken,
has lit a burning ember in a thousand breasts.

The God in whom I believe, like a patient potter,
from dawn to dusk gives Himself to His creatures
and celebrates their feasts and weeps for their sorrows,
His heart set on the work of His hands.

The God in whom I believe is a demanding flame,
a penetrating sword, deeper and more poignant,
that, though sweet on the lips, turns the belly bitter,
inviting to surrender in season and out.

The God in whom I believe, like a loving mother,
cradles her little ones with the pangs of birth.
And sets forth with them each day
behind the abundant life that proclaims Her Kingdom.

Photos: 1. Bishop Bridget Mary Mehan celebrates the Eucharist with Rev. Judith Bautista Fajardo and newly ordained ARCWP deacons Sally Brochu and Janet Blakeley. 2. Rev. Judith Bautista Fajardo, prior to ordination, with Bishop Bridget Mary Mehan and Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez.

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