On the Home Page -- August, 2017 I

* Transfiguration of Jesus is a source of hope and encouragement for us who are striving to reshape the world around us with the faith that we have found

* Comments to the editor

* Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God -- Jimmy Carter article still circulating on the Internet six year later

* Mary Magdalene: The Single Best Argument For Women Priests

* First Chinese Woman Ordained a Roman Catholic Priest returns to Taiwan and China

* Due to the Catholic priest shortage, women stand at the altar in Portuguese churches

* New way to donate to RCWP Canada -- via PayPal

* 195 Reasons why women should be ordained

* Continuing Features

* Francis, the comic strip

*Top and bottom of the page menu

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First Chinese Woman Ordained a Roman Catholic Priest returns to Taiwan and China

Judy Lee, RCWP | August 2, 2017

On Saturday July 29th 2017 at 2PM Gertrude Y. Chen from Taiwan, and presently mainland China, was ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood in Catonsville, Maryland.

The Ordination was held with the congregation of the Living Waters Inclusive Catholic Community at the St. John’s UCC Church on Rolling Road in Catonsville. Rev. Andrea Johnson, Bishop of the Eastern Region of Roman Catholic Women Priests, the RCWP Region that accepts international candidates under the direction of Rev. Caryl Johnson, was the presiding Bishop.

Many priests of the region and guests attended this spirit filled sacrament of Holy Orders.

Rev. Gertrude Chen has studied theology and pastoral ministry and has served the Catholic community in Taiwan for many years as a religious Sister. Rev.Chen described the experience as a fabulous gift of the Holy Spirit filled with love and unity. She has gone home to Taiwan before returning to mainland China to continue her studies in Chinese Medicine and developing her ministry there.

We are so happy to welcome Rev. Gertrude Y. Chen as Priest and as our Sister who opens the door in Taiwan and China to women called to serve God in the Roman Catholic church as priests. Blessings and congratulations Rev. Gertrude Y. Chen, a woman of deep faith and courage who is well prepared for the priesthood by study and experience! May our loving God who chose you for priestly service continue to guide your every step.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP serves Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Florida

Due to the Catholic priest shortage, women stand at the altar in Portuguese churches

Agence France Presse | April 11, 2017

In some villages of southwest Portugal, the Catholic priest shortage had led several women, simple believers, to celebrate the Sunday encounter themselves to facilitate the religious life of these communities that are aging but open to change.

In the tiny church of Carrapatelo, a village of fifty houses set on a hill that looks out over the vineyards of the Reguengos de Monsaraz region, Claudia Rocha (photo), dressed in black with sneakers, addresses a dozen faithful, mostly older women.

While her leather jacket and smartphone are waiting for her in the first pew, the 31-year-old woman easily handles this "Sunday assembly in the absence of a priest."

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Continuing Features:

With appologies to Martin Luther

Click here for book-length pdf copy

       Series on Critical Thinking

Statement of RCWP Canada National Leadership Circle to Pope Francis' "Never, never . . . In that direction" assertion

Sara Butler, MSBT / Robert J. Egan, SJ Debate on the Ordination of Women

Women Priests -- Answering the Call


See preface from the book by Catherine Cavanagh -- click here

Editor's note:  The author has given permission to download for free the complete 48 page booklet and read on your computer or e-reader

Click here for pdf format of Women Priests -- Following the Call

My Journey From Silence to Solidarity

This book available for free as a pdf file downloaded here.


On May 12, 2016 Pope Francis  announced that he will create a commission to study the possibility of restoring the tradition of ordaining women deacons in the Catholic Church.

Follow this special section to stay up to date and get insights and commentary on developments from many news sources.

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Transfiguration of Jesus is a source of hope and encouragement for us who are striving to reshape the world around us with the faith that we have found

Linda Spear | Homily for Transfiguration Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Anglican and Catholic Churches, wishing to celebrate this momentous event is a more exuberant manner than was permitted during Lent, have a solemnity on August 6. Today’s readings are taken from the Anglican lectionary.

1st Reading: Ex. 34:29-35

Coming in contact with the Holy can have remarkable effects on us humans. Moses went up Mount Sinai again after the people had sinned by building a golden calf. He went up to beg forgiveness for the people and to receive again the Law, for in his anger he had smashed the stone tablets. Yahweh, God, received him and even agreed to let him experience his glory, but in a safe way, for no one can see God and live. God placed Moses in a cleft in the rock so that he would be shielded from the full impact of his glory as he passed by. Moses saw only the back of God, but that was enough, and more than enough. He stayed on the mountain for forty days and forty nights, fasting and foreshadowing Jesus’ time in the desert. When he returned, carrying the tablets of the renewed covenant, his face was shining, so much so that the Israelites could not bear to look on this reflected glory of God. From this time on, Moses had to wear a veil when he went among the people, removing it only when he went to speak to God.
Interestingly, Moses was not aware of his appearance. Others had to tell him that he was shiny. Sometimes it is thus with us. We are not aware of the good effect we have on others simply by our presence, by letting the real presence of God shine through. In the words of the hymn, “Will You Come and Follow Me”, “Will you love the you you hide if I but call your name?” We pray in each Eucharist that we and our offerings be transformed evermore into the likeness of Christ but we are not aware of the changes God is bringing about in us. We are to put on the likeness of Christ in our thoughts, words and deeds. Just as people who live together for a long time, especially couples, begin to take on the traits of each other, so, the more we expose ourselves to God’s transforming presence, the more that presence will shine through.

Very often in art, saints are depicted with haloes. It is thought that, especially in the early Church, people were able to see their auras, a magnetic field that we all have. Even today there are some people with the gift of seeing others’ auras. (As an aside, in early Christian art, particularly in some mosaics, some figures wear square haloes. This indicates that the person was still alive when the portrait was done.) Others may not tell us, but some will be drawn to us simply because we are what we are, sinners and saints at the same time.

Psalm 99

Our psalm takes up again the theme of God’s holiness. This is the last of the enthronement psalms that celebrates God’s dwelling among his people. The Most Holy has deigned to come and dwell with humans. Despite the infidelities and stubbornness of his people, God remains ever faithful to his promises. The great intercessors of the past are summoned to memory: Moses, Aaron and Samuel, priests and prophets. Just as God has heard the prayer of the people in the past, so he hears it now and will continue to hear it and act in the future. This is a God who is near to us humans. Deuteronomy asks: “And indeed, what great nation has its gods as near as Yahweh our God is to us whenever we call to him?” (Dt. 4:7). We can make the same claim. God is nearer to ourselves than we are. God knows us better than we know ourselves. We are called to a deeper and deeper awareness of his presence in us and around us, behind us, beside us, above us and below us, as we pray in the Breastplate of St. Patrick.

2nd Reading: 2 Peter 1:13-21

Our second reading, attributed to Peter, recalls Peter’s presence at the Transfiguration. God the Father’s approbation: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1:17) are repeated from the synoptic Gospels’ account of Jesus’ Baptism and Transfiguration (Mt. 17:5; Mk 9:2-8 ;) and our Gospel, Luke 9:28-36. This appearance of Jesus in glory was a foretaste of his resurrection, ascension and return in glory. The author of this letter was trying to explain the seeming delay in the Parousia, Jesus’ return in glory, and the coming of divine justice. It is an exercise in theodicy, the attempt to reconcile a good God with the presence of evil in the world. The English poet Milton wrote his great Christian epic poems Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, to “justify the ways of God to men.” Paradise Lost, Bk. I, l. 25) The existence of evil remains a problem today, and is often given as a reason for a person’s not believing in God. This problem is outside the scope of our reflection today, but let us remember that God can bring good out of any evil, as we have seen in the crucifixion followed by the resurrection.

Gospel: Luke 9: 28-36

The Transfiguration takes place in the shadow of Jesus’ approaching passion and death. Jesus sets his face to go up to Jerusalem but, in order to strengthen Peter, James and John, he reveals his true self to them. This is a theophany, a manifestation of God. The Father has already used almost the same words at Jesus’ Baptism: “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.” (Mk. 1:11) In Matthew’s account of the Baptism, the Father says, “This is my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on him.” (Mt. 3:17)
Thus we have a double affirmation of Jesus’ divine sonship and his authority to teach. These affirmations strengthen the faith of the hearers but they must have encouraged Jesus as well, especially on his way to his passion and death. In Matthew he is presented as a second Moses and a greater than Moses. And just as Moses led the people to the Promised Land, so Jesus will lead all his people to the promised land of eternal life.

Both Moses and Jesus shine from their encounter with the divine. In Jesus’ case, his true nature is revealed. But rather than remain in his glorified state, Jesus comes back to earth and in his usual gentle fashion, tells the disciples not to be afraid. (Mt. 17:5) Even the voluble Peter, always putting his foot in it, offering to raise three tents for Moses, Elijah and Jesus, kept silent after this life-altering experience.

As we look ahead to Christ’s passion, we see that not even this revelation was enough to keep James and Peter faithful to Jesus. Peter denied his Lord three times and James ran away with the rest. Only John remained at the foot of the Cross. But, like Yahweh with the ancient Israelites, Jesus forgave them all and even gave Peter three chances to repair his three denials.

What is the lesson of the Transfiguration for us today?  Jesus’ revelation of himself gives us another reason to believe in his divinity. It is a source of hope and encouragement for us who are striving to reshape the world around us with the faith that we have found. In a world that is indifferent or hostile to his message, it gives us the courage to witness to the life of God in us. In our Baptism we have been called God’s beloved sons and daughters in whom he is well pleased. We are sent out into the world to carry his love and compassion to all. Jesus has told us: “Fear not.” Always his message to us is “Stand up. Don’t be afraid. Have courage”

Linda Spear is an RCWP Canada priest, serving at Sutton, QC.

    Comments to the Editor

Some say that we need to get rid of the ordained priesthood and have deacons run our parishes. I disagree. I believe in the sacraments. I do believe that ordination and Holy Orders are real but being abused in our church. 

We teach that because Christ blew on the apostles and disciples he ordained them. Women were present in that room too because they were among the disciples. Praying over and laying hands on people before they begin mission was done by the apostles to likely countless people, male and female, since the apostles praised even women who led churches in their homes.

I believe when God calls someone to lead a flock, and if that person receives proper training and shows forth a genuine love for God and the people, that God has gifted that person for that task much like a doctor is gifted to heal. Bishops praying over them for their mission in life and consecrating them before the people is good and a real spiritual event.

Our problem is we have turned ordination into a segregation weapon against women. The permanent diaconate should end – it’s unnecessary, and can become a real impediment for lay people who desire more active roles, especially in liturgy.  I truly believe it is wise to end any ministry which stifles parishes rather than builds them up. 

Nora Bolcon, Pawtucket, RI

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God -- Jimmy Carter article still circulating on the Internet six year later

Jimmy Carter | July 19, 2017

Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

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Mary Magdalene: The Single Best Argument For Women Priests

Kerry Walters, Professor Emeritus, Gettysburg College | July 23, 2017

On 22 July each year, the Christian community venerates a saint who is the single best argument for why women should be priests: Mary of Magdala, more commonly called Mary Magdalene and traditionally known as the “Apostle to the Apostles.”

Given what we know about her, it’s a scandal that some Christian communities—most notably the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention—still consider women unworthy of ordination.

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Fr. Kerry Walters’ video essays may be found on his YouTube channel, Holy Spirit Moments.

Installation as Pastor

Installation of Pastor Roberta Fuller will be celebrated at St. Mary Magdalene, The First Apostle, Catholic Faith Community, 1066 Dunbarton Road, Pickering, ON, at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, September 16, 2017.  Bishop Marie Bouclin will preside. All are welcome!  

Contact: therealrobertaf@gmail.com

Francis, the comic strip                                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive
by Pat Marrin | August 15, 2017
National Catholic Reporter

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