Extensive scholarly survey regarding Eucharist on Zoom
Teresa Elder Hanlon, Special to The Review | April 15, 2021
Vincent Hanlon photo
How does the use of Zoom change the
concept of real presence, both the presence of community members to
each other and the presence of the risen Christ? (RCWP Canada
Training Unit 5 Question)
There are several take-aways from this
qualitative research focused on RCWP Canada communities. The
literature on pandemic worship experiences and the results of this
survey attest to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the gatherings of
people on Zoom and in their home watching either online or televised
Eucharist. Godde is with her people. Participants noticed the
presence of the Spirit/God/Christ in worship, whether in their inner
emotional or physical reactions (for example, tears) or in their
feelings of belonging to the Christian community gathered or both.
Breakout room experiences, especially faith-sharing, formed
relationships and shaped the community in Christ. While participants
miss very much the spontaneity of chatting and physical gestures of
hugging, shaking hands and eating together that gatherings in person
facilitate, many comments spoke to the healthy dynamic of the
presence of the risen Christ during breakout room interactions, in
the proclamation of (contemporary) readings during the Eucharist, in
the servant leadership of the priest and evoked by the liturgical
For fewer of the Catholics gathered at
RCWP Canada Eucharist on Zoom, whose connection with the divine is
significantly tactile, the church building is an essential aspect of
sensing the presence of Godde. Despite the frequent suggestions for
parishioners to have plants, water, candles, bells and bread and wine
present for rituals at home, Eucharist on Zoom left them wanting. The
surroundings, live music, movement in processions, prayer spoken
aloud together, and receiving Holy Communion consecrated in the
church space are necessary for their sensing Godde’s presence body
For the majority of the sixty-two
respondents to the survey, the experience of consecration on Zoom and
reception of Holy Communion at home (that is, raising the cup and the
host at a Eucharist on Zoom and reciting the words of consecration
with the priest) not only confirmed their priestly vocation received
at baptism, but participants spoke of improved insights into and
renewed devotion to the Eucharist and what it means to gather as
RCWP Canada communities took on a
national and international presence, and the visual aspect of seeing
people face-to-face, near-by, exchanging stories—also heightened
congregations’ awareness of (and acquaintance with) who gathers at
a Mass. For some people Eucharist on Zoom brought about a fresh
perspective and appreciation for the experience of community in a
church gathering. People looked forward to seeing others at the
Eucharist on Zoom. In addition, the convenience of not travelling, of
avoiding bad weather, and of not having to go out at night to
services or studies were unexpected benefits of Mass on Zoom and
other gatherings that facilitated parishioners’ attendance.
The research also provoked in me the
question: What does the return of Catholics and others to their
Christian faith in RCWP Canada Eucharist on Zoom during the pandemic
mean? There were several instances of “waking up” to a lapsed
faith. What is the significance,mentioned above, of the renewed
enthusiasm for the Eucharist through RCWP Canada celebrations? Are
these signs prophetic, testifying to the real presence of Christ and
indicative of an evolution in Christian worship that took off because
of a Spirit-inspired institution of Eucharist on Zoom? Many people
felt energized through their Eucharist attendance, as well as in
their increased devotion to private prayer, and having more time for
family, Bible reading and faith studies. Despite the physical
distance and operating from home, the Holy Spirit does thrive through
the Zoom connection and Eucharistic consecration in the lives of many
Eucharist on Zoom attendees.
Together, all the RCWP communities are
a movement of renewal in the Catholic Church (albeit not recognized
by the canonical church) which has benefited those attending the RCWP
Canada Eucharist on Zoom during the pandemic. This movement is
stimulated by 1) the valid (but not licit) ordination of Roman
Catholic women and their ignition, especially at Eucharist on Zoom,
of a priestly vocation inherent in the baptism of the faithful, 2)
the women priests living out and communicating values of equality,
justice, accountability, collegiality, and prophetic obedience and 3)
the social justice ministry of women priests guided by numerous
principles of servant leadership in the Spirit of Christ Sophia. This
worship development, through on-line means, may very well prove to be
a seedling of hope planted by Christ for the proclamation of
authentic gospel truth. The ever-growing evidence of women’s
leadership in the Early Christian Church (Torjesen, 1993; Kateusz,
2019, two of many attestations) affirms the priestly role of Catholic
women today. The results of this research testify to the power of
resurrection (love) alive in RCWP Canada communities. The
communities’ voices in this survey reveal an experience of
ameliorated prayer, Eucharistic practice, and a continued mandate for
loving, just action, in Christ, for the common good.
Complete 42-page survey report
Photo by the author
Canada Bishop's Message
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
message of Easter is that the promise of our loving God to accompany
humanity through Exodus and Exile, through hardships and trials,
throughout history and our own journey of transformation, is so strong
that not even death can break it.
Sacred Liturgies of Holy Week have been the doorway for re-entry
to immerse ourselves in the mysteries of our faith, to remember our
ancient stories and be inspired as we write new ones for our
times. We face many challenges today as society and in our
personal lives. The coronavirus in particular is reshaping the
way we do so many things and the ways we relate to one another.
If we are looking for a warm, fuzzy, feeling to nuzzle into this
Easter, we may be disappointed.
So what hope or consolation is there? Have we learned anything this week?
ends his gospel with an unsettling account of the Resurrection.
There are no angels or transfigured appearance of Jesus we are
accustomed to see in visual portrayals of the Resurrection. We
have a huge stone; a mystery person saying Jesus has been raised and
telling the women who come to the grave that Galilee is where they will
see him; and, the reaction of the women – fright, flight and silence.
What might this mean for us?
1) Mark reminds us of the truly awesome power of God: We cannot shape the power of God as we please, or tame the Holy Spirit.
overcomes challenges. The stone, the women are worried about is rolled
away. The tomb of death is transformed to a womb of new life. The
messenger, a young person, speaks of new vision, new possibilities that
are amazing: Jesus raised and going ahead of you to Galilee.
Galilee is “home” for the disciples. It’s where Mark begins his
gospel and where he ends it. He is saying that the experience of the
Paschal Mystery has to change us in our ordinary lives. We can’t
go back to the way things were. But it is in the familiar places,
and with the people we know, where the awesome news of transformed life
must go. We need to see the Risen Jesus among the familiar and bring
his love and compassion there.
Will we accept the challenge or will we be like the women, saying,
“Yeah, this is great stuff,” but be too frightened to say or do
anything about it? Some of the most ancient authorities end
Mark’s gospel as we read tonight. Reading a little further, we have
later attempts to show that the women did share the news of their
experience at the grave. The question for us is whether we will cling
to our doubts and fear and remain silent or will we be brave and GO
tell others of our experiences of the risen Christ so that the Gospel
will be preached throughout the whole world?
stories shared throughout the week remind us that wherever we are on
our life journey, we are not alone. God is with each of us and we are
bound to one another with the love of Christ. There is joy yet to be
experienced and shared in this world.
What good news are you sharing? What is bringing you joy? Where is your hope?
the Paschal Vigil we come to the water of life and recommit ourselves
to our belief in a God of impossible possibilities, in the Cosmic
Christ who transcends the ages and unites us in unfailing and undying
love, and in the abiding Spirit that guides us where we need to go.
Kryzanowski, Regina, SK
is bishop for RCWP Canada]
if ever will people who call themselves Christian begin to follow the
teachings of Jesus, the Christ? Where in the teaching of Christ
do the “bishops” and “faithful members” of the catholic church, find
the rule that sinners may not approach Him in the Eucharist,
or any other way? If Jesus was to show up in a catholic church
today, it is likely that some bishops would refuse Him communion
because He refuses to condemn certain “sinners.”
Heaven must weep over “disciples” who refuse to hear the Good
News. But even their sins are forgiven if only they will open
their eyes and ears, and ask!
[Gene Swain, Calgary, AB]
How could we here in the US put pressure on the Catholic Church to
investigate the Native children’s abuse at boarding schools as Canada
is doing? Thanks for the article, and the newsletter
[Ana Hallman, Oceanside, CA]
Ordination of women? - finally!! what took them so long? (haha)
What's this? An April Fools joke?
The Vatican announces it is a "favorable time to open priestly
ordination to women". I think we need to hear this from the Pope mouth.
It may be too good to be true.
[Carol Côté, Ottawa, ON]
I am happy on seeing that this is happening. I am a person who is
63 years old. I was brought up as a "QUESTIONING" R.C., but I did have
an uncle who was Bishop Leonard J. Wall - who was a Good and a Fine man
with whom I would have many a discussion of women who would become
priests. He was "of the times" - he had many an argument against women,
but at my first wedding, I did say some things (I do SPEAK OUT at a
Mass) - that he could not respond to.
I had a brain haemorrhage, (1974 - just 17.5 years old, on a Gr. 13
Retreat with Fr. Terry Gallagher, but at the time, I was an honours
student in school, an Ontario Scholar with a future of "greatness"
ahead of myself - I was then the first V.P. of the O.C.S.F.). Life is
still good for myself. I was born with this feeling that "life is worth
it", even though I was unconscious for 8 weeks time, in hospital for 7
months, and in intensive care for 6 weeks. I was very fortunate to have
a job at the Ministry of Labour for 29.3 years time, doing up
photocopying, faxing, distributing of material, binders and supplies.
LIFE is usually good. I am a good-looking lady, and have had two
marriages, both to people who were of the academic background. My first
husband died in 1991, working on his PhD in English Literature, (with
Multiple Sclerosis) and my second one has his PhD in History. He has
dyslexia and Asperger's Disease. I love them both.
I just feel so happy on seeing that this is being written. I do not
have the necessary "background" to write about it, BUT I DO FEEL SO
GOOD on seeing it done. We will have a woman as a priest, in my life
time - I would like to be around in 2171. I do run up the CN Tower each
year for the past 27 years. I have raised over $164,500 doing that -
doing it two stairs at a time!! LIFE is usually good, for me.
[Anonymous, Toronto, ON]
likes a contest -- Introducing Typo
The editor, Special to The Review | April 15,
In the interest of The Review becoming as perfect as
possible, technically that is, we are introducing Typo Tracker,
counting on the eagle eyes out there to identify typos, spelling
errors, grammatical errors, broken links, inconsistent formatting, or
any other technical glitches that shouldn't be there.
Disagreement with the content won't count for this contest.
Prizes, as yet
undetermined, will be awarded to the first person who identifies each
If this online
magazine becomes too proficient at avoiding typos, we may have to plant
Berkleycenter, berkleycenter.georgetown.edu | March 31, 2021
video of a webinar features ecclesiologists from Roman Catholic,
Pentecostal, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian traditions who reflect
upon practicing the Eucharist and worship in the context of the
pandemic. First, theological considerations were framed around the
essential question: what constitutes a Eucharistic assembly?
Participants then addressed practical considerations, including
grassroots and liturgical initiatives.
The first three speakers, were theologians: Peter C. Phan, Georgetown
University; Emilio Alvarez, Asbury Theological Seminary; and Elizabeth
Anderson, College of Saint Scholastica. All three agreed that the
Eucharist celebrated on-line is valid. The third speaker although
agreeing to the celebration being valid, ask the question, "But should
Beyond Stereotypes: Women as Full Participants as Leaders in Faith Communities
Baptist World Alliance Women, bwawd.org | April 15, 2021
have faced many obstacles to recognized and certified leadership roles
in faith communities. A panel of distinguished multi-faith female
leaders discussed their ascendance to their positions, their struggles,
their victories and the theological constructs for their leadership at
the recent NGO/UN Commission on the Status of Women Conference. This
was followed by opportunity for discussion and questions and answers.
session was facilitated by Lauran Bethell of American Baptist Churches,
USA and Moreen Sharp, Interim Executive Director, Baptist World
Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, First Baptist Church, Washington D.C.
Biship Jane Kryzonowski. Roman Catholic Women Priests, Canada
Rev. Dr. TaNikka Sheppard, The Fountain Church, Florida
Tasnia Ahamed, DV Program Director, New York
synodality rebalance the charismatic celebrities? The pope is
setting up countermeasures against the dangers of charismatic leadership
Massimo Faggioli, ncronline | March 23, 2021
Francis' push for synodality inside the Church coincides
chronologically with the rise of populist leaders and the crisis of
democracy on the outside.
therefore, has an ad extra dimension. It is an ecclesial response to
populist leaders who "hijack" religion by sowing division and
exploiting the anger of those who feel excluded, as Vatican Cardinal
Luis Antonio Tagle noted recently.
Of course, synodality has specific ad intra dimensions, too.
Hans Küng, celebrated and controversial Swiss theologian, has died
Patricia Lefevere, ncronline.org | April 6, 2021
men throughout Christendom have had as much to say or had their work
seen by as many Christians — and others — as Hans Küng, the celebrated
and controversial Swiss theologian and Catholic priest.
Feminist Faith Leadership in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Mary E. Hunt, berkleycenter.georgetown.edu | March 30, 2021
COVID-19 is demanding change of everyone. A local congregational
minister observed recently that when she participates in rallies in
favor of immigrants’ rights, she notices that she and her ordained
women colleagues are the majority of religious leaders present.
When Catholic nuns die in their motherhouses, it is common now to see
their elected leadership and other women ministers leading the wake,
funeral, and burial services formerly handled by male clergy.
In countless homes across the country, women are doing the lion’s share
of supervision of children’s at-home learning, as well as their own
These dynamics reflect a history of inequality and a future of equity.
Downloadable books and
collection links to free downloadable books and book-length articles is
frequently being added to. Subjects include theology,
spirituality, feminism, Indigenous/Colonial issues, and the
environment. Latest additions are placed at the bottom of the
list. Recently added was a link to an essay by Hans Kung, Waiting for Vatican III -- Women’s Ordination and Infallibility.
books and book-length articles
Reflections on the
by Susan Roll
Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Easter B, April 25, 2021
Acts 4: 8-12; Psalm
118; 1 John 3: 1-2; John 10: 11-18.
The choice of Psalm 23
would have been obvious, glaringly obvious, for “Good Shepherd”
Sunday, and the Revised Common Lectionary used by mainline Protestant
denominations does just that. But the Roman Missal uses Psalm 118,
echoing Peter in the first reading: the “Resurrection Psalm”
also used at Easter. There’s an odd sort of genius in that choice.
It might offer hope to discouraged, even downtrodden Christians in
an offside way that scripture scholars and theologians never thought
Praying or singing “The
Lord is my shepherd” can take us to lovely places – this is the
comfort psalm par excellence
for funerals. But it can also take us to darker places almost before
we realize it. In the Hebrew Bible the “shepherd” metaphor is
applied to kings, and this sense carries over when Jesus is depicted
as a shepherd in the Gospels of Matthew and John. When the church
couples “Good Shepherd” Sunday with Vocations Sunday it sets up
an identification of clergy with shepherds … which makes the rest
of us, uh, sheep? Yes, sheep. A different species. A less
intelligent species, like domesticated animals that need managing and
protection in order to survive. While this is not very affirming of
the dignity of the sheep (and I’m not so sure that Pope Francis
saying the clergy must “smell like the sheep” does either) the
basic equality of all Christians in baptism suffers as well. A
clerical caste that sees itself as privileged, with a prerogative to
teach and govern others, can easily slide into a mentality of
entitlement, as we know all too well.
Psalm 118 takes us
somewhere entirely different:
It is better to take
refuge in God than to put confidence in mortals.
It is better to take
refuge in God than to trust in princes…
I thank you that you have
answered me, and have become my salvation.
The stone that the
builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is God’s doing!
It is marvellous in our eyes.
Read More of this reflection
reflections by Susan Roll
Read other reflections and homilies
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National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission