Homily – 6th Sunday of Easter

Friends, it would seem that in the reading today from Acts; we have one of the first tests of “law over love,” and actually, quite a narrow view of what Jesus had in mind for his fledgling community of followers.  A close read of the Scriptures will show us that our brother, Jesus, always checked his responses against what was the most loving thing to do and ignored any law that was absent of love.  No wonder he got into trouble!

Proceeding to the second reading from Revelation, we see a vision of a new heaven and a new earth that speaks distinctly to this broader “law”—love first!  I had to marvel on the imagery of “wall” and “temple,” “sun” and “moon” and the expansiveness of these images—walls with doors, 12 of them and names on the doors!—a true sense of welcome!

Compare that to the wall that the U.S. president wants to construct—an edifice to keep people out.  Perhaps if there was more of the “light of the Spirit,” which truly is the life of all of us in God’s creation, this proposed “wall” could become a “door” of welcome.

This past couple of weeks; there has been much written on the question of opening the diaconate to women within our official Catholic church.  First there was Pope Francis’ conclusion, after listening to his commission looking at the issue for the past three years, that it can’t be done because the research is “indefinite,” when in all truth, there is more than ample proof that women served in this role, the same as men did, in the earlier days of the Church.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans mentions “Deacon Phoebe” as well as catacomb images of women serving as “table ministers.” In St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, a lineup of women ministers is depicted, some with the title of “presbytera,” meaning “priest,” and another with the title of “Episcopa,” meaning, “bishop.”

In a recent response to Francis’ conclusion that women cannot serve as deacons now, Jaimie Mason, National Catholic Reporter (NCR) columnist penned an article entitled, “Why Does Francis’ Passion for Justice and Unity Stop Short of Women?” I would like to share several of her key ideas here as I think she has said well the truth of our institutional church at present.

As she points out, this latest episode is yet another example of the Catholic church’s perpetuating and justifying notions of gender inequality that are the root of women’s suffering globally.”  Wow, that is quite a mouthful!

Let’s be clear on what she is saying here.  Because the Church hierarchy is treating women as non-equals to themselves and all other men, not worthy or acceptable for table or any other sort of priestly ministry; they do, in effect give the rest of the world (globally) permission, whether in Church of State, to do the same!

In reality, this looks like, no real positions of power or influence to change policy, no real consideration of their true needs, and we see that played out in all the current discussion around abortion, unequal pay for equal work and we could go on.

Jaimie Mason continues, “It is incomprehensible that Pope Francis and the hierarchy continue to blame God for [their] long history of sinful misogyny into the 21st Century. Francis’ boundless energy and dedication to peace and justice stands in stark contrast to the dithering way he is handling the question of women deacons in his own Church,” she says.

“His passionate cause for unity among churches and with people of other faiths, it seems, stops short of the women of his own church who are asking simply for more inclusive ways to serve.

Another writer for the NCR, Joshua McElwee, recently said, “Sadly, patriarchs still seem to dominate Francis’ religious imagination—it is interesting to note that in the same news conference on women deacons, the pope also reflected on the richness of his meeting with the Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarch.”

Francis seems in every other instance where “women” are not the issue, to be open-minded.  In a response to people who don’t agree with his stance on women deacons, Mason has given us his response, “If you don’t like it, you are welcome to leave the Church!”   Think of this, reflecting on our brother Jesus, responding to the fact that all, (women, the poor, the sick) weren’t welcome at the temple. Jesus took the meal and the worship to the hillsides where everyone was welcome!

This apparently close-minded view of Francis, Mason says, comes from a papacy “not known” for “splitting theological hairs” except where women are concerned.  In 2013, she continues, he acknowledged that many people see the Church as a “relic of the past” and a “prisoner of its own rigid formulas.” Additionally, in 2015 the pope told the bishops at the Synod on the Family, “the Church should not be a stuffy “museum of memories; but have the courage to change if that was what God wants.”  Indeed Francis!

And last year, the final document of the Synod on Youth called the inclusion of women in the Church’s decision-making structures a “duty of justice” that requires a “courageous cultural conversion.”

Instead, Francis has communicated like so many popes before him that women’s legacy of leadership requires further questioning and their participation in ministry alongside men could be a dangerous step and therefore must be indefinitely stalled.  Jaimie Mason says, [it is] “becoming clearer and clearer that the pope is afraid of women in his church having even the modicum of sacramental participation that the diaconate would give them.”

She concludes, “in his six years of papacy Francis has been celebrated for his constant calls for courage, encounter, dialogue and risk-taking.  How long, Mason asks before he offers the same regarding women?”

I began this homily speaking about love versus law—this is a notion that we must all keep in mind when grappling with these tough issues—is love being served and if not, our action is not of God.  Jesus in John’s gospel selection for today lets us know how we can be sure that we are making the best choice—we should have and know “peace” in our hearts.  Granted, this will not be an easy peace, but beneath the possible ridicule that doing the loving thing might bring, peace will be there—that sense that we have done the right thing.  Amen? Amen!

 

Bulletin – 6th Sunday of Easter

Dear Friends,

Mass on Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 10 A.M. 


Remember our weekly collection of non-perishable food for Winona Volunteer Services


SAVE THE DATE: June 9, 2019, Sunday Mass at 10 A.M. will be First Communion Sunday for Liam Darst–come; be with us and welcome Liam “to the table” in this special way. 


SAVE THE DATE: July 7, 2019, Sunday–Mass on the Farm celebrating Mary of Magdala and all women–pot luck lunch to follow the 10 A.M. Mass. 


As the Easter Season continues, we continue as well to be challenged about doing the right (loving) thing.  Our gift Jesus says will be peace, not an easy peace perhaps, but peace, all the same.

Come; pray with us this week!

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

  • Acts 15: 1-2, 22-29
  • Revelation 21: 10-14, 22-23
  • John 14: 23-29

 

All Are One Roman Catholic Church Safety Policy

 Every effort will be made to ensure the safety of all attendees at All Are One services and social activities.  Any violation of this policy will be reported immediately to local law enforcement.

(This statement was updated and reviewed with the Board of All Are One Roman Catholic church at the July 2, 2018 board meeting and was reviewed with the parish).

All Are One Roman Catholic church Statement as a Sanctuary Support Community

“We affirm that as a congregation of people of faith, we are taking seriously the call to provide sanctuary support in the Winona Sanctuary Network. We recognize that our immigrant neighbors are a vital part of our community and local economy and that due to a broken immigration system they have not all been allowed the legal protections that they deserve. To this end we will use our privilege and our resources to stand with our community members that are in fear of deportation. As a sanctuary support community we are able to do this by providing; prayers, security, time, money, advocacy, relationship, and fellowship to the degree that is within our power.”

 

Homily – 5th Weekend of Easter

A day or two ago when I was lamenting to my sister-in-law, Jane, that I hadn’t yet written my homily and that time was short due to Mass being on Saturday this week; she said, “Make it short!” So Jane, this one’s for you!  The truth is; I always begin thinking about what I might write early in the week, but for one reason or another, this week, it just didn’t get done until yesterday!

As I suggested in the bulletin this week; hope might be a virtue for each of us to hold onto during the Easter Season and especially during the times that we currently find ourselves. We look to Church and State for leadership and find little in either place to be hopeful about.  That having been said; we do need to applaud the Minnesota bishops for their March 25, 2019 statement in support of “Driver’s Licenses for All,” already passed in our State House and slated to be taken up by our State Congress soon.

As you know, this would give the undocumented already living and working in our state more safety in driving as they would need to pass the same exam as we all do, which makes driving safer for all of us, plus it would allow them to get insurance, which again, protects us all.  In addition, it is the neighborly thing, and dare I say, Christian thing to do for those who harvest our crops and care for our animals that supply our state with dairy products and other produce—jobs that we basically don’t want to do.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the joint letter from the Minnesota bishops; I have put it on our website and our Face Book page—please take the time to read it!  Now if these same bishops could be in touch with each of their parishes, calling attention to their joint stand and encouraging dialog with their people through real, individual leadership; this would be great!

After you read their letter, you might take the next step and email our senator, Jeremy Miller, asking him to get on board with this most needed measure and support the bill coming before him very soon.  At present, this is clearly a political issue for him and we need to raise the bar so that he can make this a human, perhaps even, a spiritual issue.

With regard to all that is happening in Washington, or lack, thereof, our best action might be to pray along with those early Gentile followers of Jesus brought into the fold by Paul and Barnabas, spoken of in the first reading from Acts today.  And the prayer I am talking about is that of a committed, consistent person, every day, in every way.  I have realized, with some of the wisdom of the years, that I cannot make anyone change except for myself, but I can ask the Spirit of Jesus who we are told is continually, “renewing the face of the earth” to open the minds and hearts, ears and souls of those in public and church service to re-commit themselves to that noble goal that got them involved in the first place for the good of themselves and for all of us!

Luke, in the reading from Acts today also challenges us to “right living,” “persevering in our faith,” no matter, “the trials that we must undergo,” ever believing that we can, and do make a difference.  None of us can do it all, but each of us can do our part, no matter how small that might be.  The virtue of hope helps us to do this!  We should pray for an increase of faith and hope every day.

Each of the Scripture readings for this Easter weekend has a nugget to hold onto—to hope and believe in.  Revelation tells us that our God will always be with us,  that we will live to see an end to death, mourning, crying and tears, because Jesus has, “made all things new!”

My friends, I have to hope and believe that these Scriptures are true or I couldn’t do what I do pastoring this parish, in the face of no visible support from my brother priests. My prayer and wish for each of you is that you would continue to believe and never lose hope that good always triumphs.  I am grateful to each of you for all the generosity that I see in you, week after week, year after year.  We all here are an experiment attempting to show what an inclusive, Vatican II church can look like, a church in the memory of Jesus of Nazareth.  Have we succeeded?  I don’t know, but probably the true measure of our success or not will lie in Jesus’ words to us in today’s gospel from John—“all will know that you are my disciples,” [if they see you truly loving one another].

So friends, if we can own up to any action in our lives and truly say, “I did it out of love for God and my sisters and brothers on the journey,” then, we have been a success. If all we can say is, “I followed the law,” that really doesn’t make the grade! Following Jesus is really about opening our minds, hearts and souls to the face of God, all around us, in every creature, in all of creation—that is what Easter and the Incarnation are really all about and if there is a reward at the end of all that, well, good, but not a reason to do it in the first place!  Amen? Amen!

News Item

Hello Friends, 

Below find a letter from the Minnesota Bishops in support of Driver’s Licenses for All–a good letter! –Pastor Kathy


MN Bishops Urge House Support of Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

March 25, 2019

Dear Members:

Peace be with you. We, the bishops of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, write in support of H.F. 1500, which will provide a pathway for our undocumented brothers and sisters to obtain driver’s licenses. Enacting this legislative proposal is long overdue; there is urgency to act.

Re-opening our license system will allow Minnesota to address one component of our broken immigration system. Our immigrant brothers and sisters need reforms to ensure that they are not confined to the shadows and margins of our society. Apart from federal comprehensive immigration reform, offering driver’s licenses is one small measure the State of Minnesota can employ to make our roads safer and our communities more welcoming to the immigrants who already make important contributions to our economic, cultural, and social life.

Access to driver’s licenses will help many immigrants meet their daily obligations. In many parts of Minnesota, there is no public transportation, and undocumented persons have no ability to get to work, church, health services, or school, other than by driving illegally. Every day, they live in fear that getting stopped could mean permanent separation from their children, spouse, or parents.

In our parishes that serve many undocumented persons and their families, the inability to drive, or doing so without a license, is a major source of stress. Undocumented immigrants who have been able to obtain a license are now not able to do so because of new rules at the DMV requiring social security numbers.

Most of us cannot begin to imagine what loss of movement, or the fear of being deported and separated from our families while doing so, would mean in our lives. It is a terrible fear to impose on people and families in our community. And we must do something about it for our brothers and sisters.

Providing driver’s licenses to immigrants also serves the common good—it is surely in the best interests of our state to have people who are living among us and driving on our roads be able to do so safely and legally. In a number of states where similar “noncompliant” licenses have been created, such as Utah and New Mexico, the rates of uninsured motorists declined.

This legislation does not “reward” those who have broken the law. Providing driver’s licenses is a concrete measure of solidarity that takes into account the complexity of the immigration issue. It seeks to protect the well-being of undocumented persons considering the reality of their situation and actual prospects for immigration reform and enforcement. There is little likelihood that most of Minnesota’s 90,000 immigrants will be deported—immigrants who pay taxes and serve in their churches and communities. Therefore, how can we both respond to their needs and promote the common good?

We hope today that we as Minnesotans follow the most common biblical moral exhortation—to welcome the stranger—and remember that our families, too, were once strangers in this land who arrived with the same hopes that our undocumented community has today. Though Congress has failed, we hope we can do something meaningful and important for thousands of immigrants in our midst.
Thank you for your consideration and for your service to the people of Minnesota.

Respectfully yours,

The Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis
The Most Rev. Michael J. Hoeppner, Bishop of Crookston
The Most Rev. John LeVoir, Bishop of New Ulm
The Most Rev. John M. Quinn, Bishop of Winona-Rochester
The Most Rev. Paul D. Sirba, Bishop of Duluth
The Most Rev. Donald J. Kettler, Bishop of St. Cloud
The Most Rev. Andrew H. Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul & Minneapolis

Bulletin – 5th Weekend of Easter

Dear Friends,

Mass on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 4:30 P.M. 


Remember food collection for the Winona Volunteer Services food shelf.


SAVE THE DATE:  Sunday, July 7, 2019, 10 A.M.– Mary of Magdala–Mass on the Farm and Potluck!  


 We continue in the Easter Season and it seems that “hope” should be the virtue that we all hold onto–hope in ourselves and hope in each other to truly live as Easter people.  Think what our world would be like if we Christians all truly lived as Jesus taught us!

Come; join us as we pray, celebrate and ponder his messages this Saturday at 4:30 P.M.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

  • Acts 14: 21-27
  • Revelation 21: 1-5
  • John 13: 31-33, 34-35

All Are One Roman Catholic Church Safety Policy

 Every effort will be made to ensure the safety of all attendees at All Are One services and social activities.  Any violation of this policy will be reported immediately to local law enforcement.  (This statement was updated and reviewed with the Board of All Are One Roman Catholic church at the July 2, 2018 board meeting and was reviewed with the parish).

All Are One Roman Catholic church Statement as a Sanctuary Support Community

“We affirm that as a congregation of people of faith, we are taking seriously the call to provide sanctuary support in the Winona Sanctuary Network. We recognize that our immigrant neighbors are a vital part of our community and local economy and that due to a broken immigration system they have not all been allowed the legal protections that they deserve. To this end we will use our privilege and our resources to stand with our community members that are in fear of deportation. As a sanctuary support community we are able to do this by providing; prayers, security, time, money, advocacy, relationship, and fellowship to the degree that is within our power.”