This Sunday we will welcome newly ordained Rev Patti La Rosa, who will preach and preside at the 11 am Mass. Hooray! The world gained four great new priests on June 4, when she, Caryl Johnson, Ann Penick and Marellen Mayers were ordained in Baltimore. More and more women are answering God's call. It was great to be with so many of them, including Ann and Marellen, in Chicago earlier this month.
Seems to me that with all these new priests around – over a hundred of us women priests world-wide in the past ten years or so – seems to me we need to be thinking hard about the role of a priest. The question I carried with me all through Divinity School was, “what is the role of a priest in a community of equals?” I believe this so strongly – that the church must be a place where we recognize the worth and dignity of each person, not only with our words, but with our structures. The church must be a place where each person can begin to see the possibilities in themselves and to recognize them in others, as well.
When I first encountered the Roman Catholic Womenpriests in 2007, I was overjoyed to discover an entire movement of women asking the same question! One of the ways we have wrestled with that question is in determining the role of our bishops. We decided that bishops have a liturgical role (in ordinations, particularly) and are “pastors to the pastors” - but they do not have a decision-making role. There's no council of bishops making decisions for everyone else.
One of the measures of any organization is if it lives up to its own standards, if it “walks the walk, not just talks the talk.” Something I have noticed, at the retreat this month and at other retreats, is that although the women present are priests, deacons, bishops and women discerning their call, if you were to sit in a circle with us I don't think you would know who was who. Everybody's voice counts. Everyone is valued. We are clearly not a movement about personalities.
There's a lot more to say on all this, probably a book or so's worth of things to say. But for now I just wanted to share that with you – how happy I am with this group of women who really are walking their talk.
Come worship with us on Sunday, if you will – and pray for Patti, that her priesthood may be a blessing to many.
What a wonderful age we are living in.
Blessings and love to all,
All summer long, there is a car wash in the St Joe's parking lot on Saturdays and Sundays from 9-5 as part of the St Joe's Employment Training Program. Come get your car washed! Recommended donations are $5-10 for outside cleanings, $20 for inside and out. Give your car some TLC, and help our guys earn some cash and learn some job skills!
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 14620