A Catholic Renewal

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"Se, jag gör allting nytt..." (Upp 21:5)

tisdag, september 25, 2007
Att tjäna de minsta och vara Kyrka tillsammans
Jag utlovade igår en lite annorlunda skildring av en gudstjänst, den kommer nedan (det är inte en mässa - utan en ekumenisk gudstjänst).

Men först en kort presentation av gudstjänsten och gästskribenten, som kanske kan bidra till att ge en mer nyanserad bild än den som vanligen brukar lyftas fram av sensationslystna nyhetsartiklar och fördomsfulla kvinnoprästmotståndare.

Detta är ett exempel på en ovanlig gudstjänst ledd av en vanlig katolsk kvinna i Florida som känner en kallelse att tjäna - särskilt de allra mest utsatta. Hon kommer att bli diakon- och sedan prästvigd nästa år, för att fullt ut kunna bistå dem som Jesus kallar: "dessa mina minsta" - sådana som jag har sett bli handgripligen utkastade ur våra "fina" församlingar...


The ministry is called Good Shepherd ministries and it has been active here since 2003. It partners with other people of faith, specifically here with Lamb of God Lutheran Episcopal church, and CTA of SWFL, a progressive Catholic group. Other friends also minsiter with us, Muslims among them.

I am a candidate for rcwp ordination. I have a doctorate in social work and a doctorate in ministry but I am simply sharing the faith I experienced as a child growing up poor at the knees of a of devout Christian Grandmother. I have been called since my youth and have responded initially through my vocation as a social worker and a Professor of Social Work for 27 years. Now I use that training in my ministry with the poor as I always have, but I am explicit about why I am there, to minister as Jesus did and share the abundant love of God for all people- to specifically share the Good News for the poor- God is on the side of the Poor. Here there are other Christians, usually of Protestant denominations who minister in the park. There is no clergy presence or particular Catholic presence. I seek to be that presence.


The Florida monsoon hit our Park Feeding and worship tonight before we could even serve the food. Almost all of the people and several of the helpers including me were immediately soaked to our skins. The people huddled together under the small pavilion, the line spilling out into the down pour, and the warm and nourishing food was unveiled and ready to serve by CTA members and 2-3 of our Protestant faithful. Here were all these gorgeous older people away from golf and their dry homes just pitching in! Wow!

Then a fight broke out. I got in between and handled it. The group helped me. I walked Angelo away and left him with a woman who held him back. I wiped food off of Stephen who had a plate dumped on him as Angel struck at Ron drawing blood. (Ron's wife and her out of control mouth was at fault.) I wiped blood off of Ron's face, miraculously calmed them down and gave them extra food and walked them to the bathroom for shelter. I prayed and calmed the group down.

The serving went on and as people ate and I went to each one hugging and greeting, peace returned. Shoes and work boots and dry shirts and pants were handed out. Three mothers with children were present and three couples as well as the men. One woman had no shoes on and her clothing was drenched and minimal. I took her aside and found some shoes and clothes for her. She was so thankful. Some older unemployed and not drinking construction workers were there.

One needed work boots and by God's grace the extra pair were his size! His name was Francis and he is Catholic. He was in shock and asked who I was and why everyone is calling me pastor. I told him. He questioned how a woman could be a pastor? I told him briefly and suggested he stay for worship. After hearing the concerns of many and getting more drenched. I raised my arms started the worship service. You could have heard a pin drop and the heavy falling of the rain.

I welcomed them to worship and asked that God would rain down the Holy Spirit upon us. I introduced the elders present and named 2 more, an older white man and an older black man. They were so pleased and the church clapped for them. They sang with joy and a fervency rarely seen inside a church building. They read with expression and deep conviction.

Grady is a mentally ill black man who frequently circles the group and raves. He has just come close to the group and is fitting himself in with my help. He stood to the side in the rain and started to rave. Some of the men told him to calm down. I put up my arms in the sign of prayer and smiled at him, nodding welcome, I said it was ok and we should just go on. They forgot he was ranting. Soon he stopped ranting and drew closer.

I used last Sunday's readings. We talked about the lost sheep and the Prodigal son together. Nathanael actually wove in the Exodus reading. Little Kevin had been a farmer and told us about sheep. We talked about hanging around with swine, and drinking as "dissipation". But mainly we talked about God's deep love and joy in welcoming them back. Edward talked about going home to NC and how happy he was to be going home. We all clapped. I prayed for him. I welcomed them all home to the Father and Mother's welcoming arms. I did preach for several minutes with lots of Amens, and at the end Francis blessing himself with the sign of the Cross.

When we had our Come by Here prayer I prayed this time for those who raised their hands and asked all to bless them. I blessed the three children and their mothers. One woman had gotten a job and was there in her uniform. I asked all to pray for her after they clapped. I prayed for work for the other woman, and for all of them. I prayed for all our helpers and the group stood spontaneously and extended hands toward them. I prayed for a shelter to house them on a night of torrential rain like this. All joined me in this.

Grady raised his hand for prayer. I went to the outside of the circle and put my arms around him and prayed as the group sang and extended hands. Grady sang along. Everyone was amazed-he suddenly seemed calm and perfectly normal.

We concluded holding hands for the Lord's Prayer and the Final blessing. It was so amazing and beautiful. A newer CTA member, a woman, was crying. The others were beaming. We didn't need words. We knew Jesus was there with us and that the Holy Spirit had blessed us this night.

Francis came to me and said."I never saw a woman do this before. This is very good!" I hugged him and welcomed him to return. One of the mothers invited another mother who was sleeping in her car to stay with her!!! In turn, that woman who had the job would help the other get a similar job. A man had gotten a great job and needed a bike to get there. Another man sold him his new bike at a great price.

Despite the awful rain, the Spirit fell fresh on us! Amen, Amen!

I am still amazed! And happy-full of joy!

Peace be with you,


postat av Charlotte Therese Björnström @ 14:30  
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    "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (okänd källa)

    "Where there is no love, put love and gather love."  Johannes av Korset

    "The soul of one who loves God, always swims in joy, always keeps holiday, and is always in the mood for singing." Johannes av Korset

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    "In vino veritas!" (Det kan tolkas bokstavligen så - på ett djupt sätt - i eukaristin.)

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Copyright: Charlotte Thérèse, 2007

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