April 15, 2021         About Us | Communities  | Contact | Search Subscribe | RCWP Canada Youth     
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 music

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 and soul.

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 community.

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                               

  RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

The 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.

Our 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?

Mark 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.
God 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.

2) 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.

3) 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?

Our 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?

In 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.


[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]

Comments to the Editor

When, 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]

Everyone likes a contest -- Introducing Typo Tracker

The editor, Special to The Review | April 15, 2021

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 particular typo.

If this online magazine becomes too proficient at avoiding typos, we may have to plant some.

Berkleycenter, berkleycenter.georgetown.edu | March 31, 2021

This 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.

Editor's note:  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 we?"

View video

Beyond Stereotypes: Women as Full Participants as Leaders in Faith Communities

Baptist World Alliance Women, bwawd.org | April 15, 2021

Women 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.

This session was facilitated by Lauran Bethell of American Baptist Churches, USA and Moreen Sharp, Interim Executive Director, Baptist World Alliance Women.

View video

Read Manuscripts:

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

Can synodality rebalance the charismatic celebrities?  The pope is setting up countermeasures against the dangers of charismatic leadership

Massimo Faggioli, ncronline | March 23, 2021

Pope Francis' push for synodality inside the Church coincides chronologically with the rise of populist leaders and the crisis of democracy on the outside.

Synodality, 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.

Read More

Hans Küng, celebrated and controversial Swiss theologian, has died

Patricia Lefevere, ncronline.org | April 6, 2021

Few 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.

Read More

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 jobs.

These dynamics reflect a history of inequality and a future of equity.

Read More

Downloadable books and book-length articles

This 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.

Downloadable books and book-length articles

        JBK photo           

Reflections on the Sunday Readings
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 of.

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

Read More reflections by Susan Roll

Read other reflections and homilies






Whether at home with Zoom or in person, Teresa Hanlon opens up what it means to be a woman apostle in the 1st century & now

REGISTER ONLINE martharetreatcentre.ca Look for:

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Francis, the comic strip            
by Pat Marrin |  April  6,  2022
National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission

RCWP Liturgies on Zoom

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