Friday, May 16, 2014

The way

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
May 18, 2014

John 14: 1-12

At the end of the Last Supper, the disciples begin to sense that Jesus won't be with them much longer. Judas' hasty exit, the announcement that Peter would soon deny him, Jesus' words, speaking of his impending departure, have left everyone baffled and dejected. What will become of them?

Jesus gets their sadness and confusion. His heart is touched. Forgetting himself and what awaits him, Jesus tries to cheer them up. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me." Later in the course of conversation, Jesus makes this profession to them: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." They must never forget it.

"I am the way." The problem of quite a few people is not that they're lost or misguided. Simply, they have no path, lost in a kind of labyrinth -- walking and retracing the thousands of paths that slogans and fads from outside are showing them.

And what can men or women do when they don't have a path? Who can they turn to? Where can they go? If they approach Jesus, what they'll find is not a religion but a way. Sometimes they'll advance with faith; other times, they'll find difficulties. They might even regress, but this is the correct path that leads to the Father. That is Jesus' promise.

"I am the truth." These words contain an invitation that's shocking to modern ears. Everything isn't reduced to reason. Scientific theory doesn't contain the whole truth. The ultimate mystery of reality doesn't let itself be caught by the most sophisticated analyses. Humans have to live with the ultimate mystery of reality.

Jesus is presented as the way that leads to and approaches that ultimate Mystery. God doesn't impose. He doesn't force anyone with proof or evidence. The ultimate Mystery is silence and respectful attraction. Jesus is the way that can open us to His Goodness.

"I am the life." Jesus can change our lives. Not like the distant teacher who has left an admirable legacy of wisdom to humankind, but like someone alive who, from the very depths of our being, injects a seed of new life into us.

Jesus' action in us almost always happens discretely and quietly. The believer himself only senses an imperceptible presence. Sometimes, however, we are pervaded by certainty, uncontainable joy, and complete confidence. God exists, He loves us, everything is possible, even eternal life. We will never understand the Christian faith if we don't accept Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

14 new Roman Catholic women priests and deacons to be added during the month of the 20th anniversary of "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis"

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will be marking the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (5/22/1994) which reserved the sacrament of Holy Orders for men only, by ordaining four women priests and two women deacons at the Brecksville United Church of Christ in Brecksville, Ohio on May 24th. The ordination ceremony will be celebrated by Bishop Bridget Marie Meehan. Scheduled to be ordained are:


  • Mary Bergan Blanchard of Albuquerque, NM, who has worked as a teacher and mental health counselor, has an M. Ed. in counseling and psychology from Boston University. She spent 37 years of her life as a teacher, particularly in a lower income community in inner city Boston, and then served as a counselor in the Risen Savior Catholic Community in Albuquerque for 20 years. A former member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, Blanchard is also the author of Eulogy and Ed's Place: A Memoir.

  • Mary Collingwood of Boston Heights, Ohio, who has an M.A. in Theology from St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Wickliffe, Ohio. Collingwood has taught theology both at the high school level at Our Lady of the Elms High School in Akron and at the college level as an adjunct professor at Notre Dame College in South Euclid. Collingwood has also worked as Assistant Director of St. Barnabas Villa, an assisted living facility. For four years, she was Pro Life Director for Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Cleveland, and at the parish level she has been a Director of Religious Education and Marriage Preparation Coordinator.

  • Irene C. Scaramazza of Columbus, Ohio, who was a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, PA for 21 years. Scaramazza has a Master of Divinity degree from Weston School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Boston University. She also holds certification in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Kantor Family Institute. She is currently working as a hospice chaplain having completed her Provisional Board Chaplaincy Certification.
  • Marianne T. Smyth, who is from Silver Spring, MD and has been affiliated with the Living Water Inclusive Catholic Community in that area, has a Masters Degree in Counseling and four certificates from Global Ministries University in Theology and Scripture. A secular Carmelite for seven years, she was a caretaker for her elderly mother and has worked with students with learning disabilities and those who were drug and/or alcohol dependent, particularly through the Montgomery County Public School system. She now ministers to those facing sickness, dying and death.


  • Barbara Billey of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, who is a counselor and art therapist. She is engaged in theological study and has a particular interest in women’s spirituality and a passion for integrating sacred arts in liturgy. An activist in the women's ordination movement, Billey has been involved in the Catholic Network for Women's Equality, hosting Pink Smoke screening parties in her area.
  • Susan Marie Guzik of Eastlake, Ohio, who has been a volunteer pastoral minister in the Diocese of Cleveland and has been an active pastoral leader in her parish. For the past 15 years, Guzik has been part of the leadership team in the Stephen Ministry program at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Willowick, OH and for the past seven years served as their Director/Advisor.

More May 2014 Ordinations

Roman Catholic Womenpriests is also celebrating six ordinations this month.

On the first weekend of May, Mary Keldermans of Springfield, Illinois, was ordained a priest and Josephine Petermeier was ordained a deacon at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Church in Springfield in a ceremony presided by RCWP Bishop Joan Clark Houk. In an article in The State Journal-Register prior to her ordination, Keldermans, who has worked for several Springfield parishes and received an award from the Springfield diocese for her service to the church, said her ordination is a calling from God, a view not shared by Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki who threatened that Keldermans and Houk would incur automatic excommunication and added that "the attempted ordination of a female is invalid." Keldermans said that she doesn't accept this excommunication and pointed out that in Springfield, women are already running Catholic parishes as parish life coordinators. "What sense does it make that you trust them to run the parish, but you bring in men for the Mass and sacraments?," Keldermans asked, and concluded, "Women priests are going to be the norm in 50 years. Why not now?".

On May 10th, D. Alexandra Dyer and Maryrose Petrizzo were ordained to the priesthood at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. A native New Yorker, M. Alexandra Dyer has a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Barnard College and an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary. She also has an MBA with specialization in not-for-profit management from Columbia. She is currently seeking certification in Spiritual Direction from General Theological Seminary. She is Executive Director of the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center and ministers at the Saint Praxedis Catholic Community with RCWP Gabriella Velardi Ward.

Maryrose Petrizzo has been a RCWP deacon at the Saint Mary Magdalene Community which meets in various locations in the Philadelphia area. She is already an ordained interfaith minister with a Master's degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Neumann College. She also officiates at same-sex civil union ceremonies in her home state of Delaware.

Additional upcoming ordinations this month include:

May 16, 2014: Ordination to the Priesthood of Paula Hoeffer and Ordination to the Diaconate of Kathy Bean in Cincinnati, Ohio.

May 31, 2014: Ordination to the Priesthood of Lillian Lewis in Three Oaks, Michigan, and Kathleen Bellefeuille-Rice in Olympia, Washington.

A new film: "God's Daughters"

And speaking of Kathleen Bellefeuille-Rice, she is one of two women in the RCWP movement featured in a new film about Roman Catholic Womenpriests, God's Daughters, by film maker Luc Novovitch. The film is premiering next month in Olympia, Washington, where its two main protagonists live. The film covers the struggle for women's ordination and in particular, features RCWP Diane Smith-Whalen who was ordained a priest in 2010, as well as Bellefeuille-Rice, a long-time Catholic Worker who is now a Roman Catholic woman deacon. Bellefeuille-Rice is scheduled to be ordained a priest at the end of this month in Olympia. Both women will be present at the film's premiere.

RCWP Bishop Patricia Fresen on the Women's Ordination Movement

RCWP Bishop Patricia Fresen gave a lecture sponsored by the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes in Santa Barbara, California, on May 12, 2014. Fresen spoke about "Missing: women in priestly service in the Catholic Church. Will the next ten years bring about change?". The address covers the history of women's ordination on an international level, as well as Fresen's views of the future. She says she believes that in the next decade we will see -- in order -- communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, married priests, and, finally, women priests.

  •  Listen to Bishop Fresen being introduced by Rev. Suzanne Dunn and Bishop Olivia Doko – an MP3 file (8 min).

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  •  Click below to listen to Bishop Fresen's lecture and questions – an MP3 file (1 hr 17 min).

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