Many thanks to Deacon Patti LaRosa, who filled in for me last week when I was in El Salvador. I hear she led a lovely service. Isn't it great to know that there is no shortage of gifted people, ready and able to serve the church? Patti will be ordained a priest on June 4 in Baltimore, along with Caryl Johnson, Ann Penick and Marellen Mayers, with Roman Catholic Women Priests. There is a great and growing pool of independently ordained people to nurture the growth of the people of God and help to build the world God dreams of, and to support each other in ministry, as with Patti serving here this weekend. Besides RCWP, there is also the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (formerly the Old Catholic Church) that ordained Denise Donato and Mary Ramerman. (Both organizations ordain men, too!) Typically, these newly ordained people go on to form new worship communities, and now there are small communities in Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, Boston, Cape Cod, New Jersey, Manchester NH... and Rochester! I love that we have such a wealth of independent Catholic churches here in Rochester, with Spiritus Christi downtown, Mary Magdalene (led by Rev. Denise Donato) in East Rochester, and St Romero's right here at St Joe's on South Ave. What a great sign of growth and health in our young movement.
Please always remember, as we ordain more and more women and men, that all of us are called to serve, and in lots of different ways, both in and out of our churches. We all have gifts the church needs. Some of us have musical talents, or gifts for organization, or a welcoming heart. Here at St. Romero's, Linda Condon has been cooking breakfast for us after Mass, giving us a chance to sit and talk with each other over eggs and toast. Eli Woodbeck took the initiative to create a poster for us (it's attached if you'd like to see it) and Caryl Marchand of Mary Magdalene Church is going to laminate some posters for us so we can hang them up around St Joe's and have them last a while. Already, we are so blessed.
Observing and encouraging each other's gifts is part of the work of the church. It's the work of pastoral leaders, but it's also something for every one of us to do. Building each other up, noticing each other's contributions and strengths, calling forth each other's gifts, we nurture not only each person, but the church as a whole – and I mean not just the individual churches like St Romero's, but all the God-lovers, all the people who are the church in its different manifestations. And we need to bring our whole selves, not just our strengths. Our strengths are like so many bricks with which we build the church, but our weaknesses are the mortar that binds those bricks together. As we share our worries and fears and pains, and encourage each other; as we stretch to forgive each other, to embrace each other just as we are, each of us gets larger inside and has more to give. What a gift we are to each other!!!
This Sunday at 11 am we will gather for Mass, and as always, all are welcome to the table of the Lord!
Love to all
“A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench” (Isaiah 42:3)
Keep that little light burning, and watch God do wonderful things!
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Church in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14603