|May 1, 2019||_____________________________________________________________________
The three circles on the buds represent the Holy Trinity within a Christian context but was likely copied from early Celtic spirituality with the three circles representing earth, sky and sea, Therefore it can be seen as Christianity within creation as a whole, a cosmic oneness.
The Budded Cross honours our call to discipleship, to follow the path of conscious love to fullness of life in the Risen Christ.
Outer Circle: The outer circle represents God and infinity. The community lives within the mystery of God and is called by name to go forth. Mary recognized Jesus at the tomb when he called her by name and sent her forth to proclaim his Resurrection.
Inner Circle: The work of the community in following Christ as disciples. Eucharistic symbols of bread, wine and a towel represent self-giving love, sharing with and service to others. Helping and healing hands supporting the Eucharistic symbols represent the community being the body of Christ for others and ourselves. Hands of different colour represent the inclusive mandate of the Mary of Magdala community.
Triquetra Symbol: On the bottom leg of the cross is the Triquetra symbol. It has its origin in Celtic spirituality and was taken into early Christian spirituality. It is a stylized wild goose, Celtic symbol of the Holy Spirit, symbolizing unity and equality. We believe in the equality of the three in One: Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier. We believe in the equality of all persons and, with all our brothers and sisters, experience the injustice of inequality just as Mary of Magdala did in her life time.
The icon is made of white birch from northern Saskatchewan.
It is a gift to Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community from wood carving artist, Doris Sheldon.
Web site: www.cottagecountrycarving.com
[Jane Kryzanowski is bishop for RCWP Canada and servant leader of Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community, Regina, SK]
Incorporating Mary Magdalene in our Triduum Liturgies
Easter Greeting of Peace to you!
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!
Love is stronger than death. Alleluia! Alleluia!
For fifty days we celebrate as we continue to ponder what this “rising from the dead” means for each of us personally, for our faith communities, and the whole people of God.
In my last reflection on incorporating Mary Magdalene in our Triduum Liturgies I asked, “What difference would it make if we made a conscious effort to incorporate her in our liturgies? Our community in Regina did this in several ways on each of the three days. We made a place for her through the symbol of a red scarf someone wore at each liturgy, we repeatedly used the chant, “Set me as a seal upon your heart for love is as strong as death,” and we had red roses present as the symbol of love. I sensed the power of her gentle, yet intense, loving presence throughout.
Thursday, Mary was there as one of the disciples to have her feet washed as we performed the ritual action mindful that Jesus reciprocated and expanded her gesture of love in the lavish anointing of Jesus for his burial. We used the chant, "Set me as a seal..." throughout this action. The chant echoed from the Liturgy of Anointing we celebrated on Saturday before Palm Sunday as part of a mini-retreat on Mary Magdalene and the Paschal Mystery. A vase of red roses was part of the decor.
Friday, Mary was there as a loving faithful presence when we remembered the women and men who are portrayed in the Gospels. She was remembered as being at the foot of the cross, standing alongside his mother, Mary, and a companion, women who loved him deeply and did not abandon him in death. We also remembered the women who followed at a distance, and Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who took the body from the cross and tended to its burial in a garden tomb. With each remembrance we repeated the chant, “Set me as a seal...” She was also part of the burial ritual where a corpus was wrapped in linen cloth and placed to rest on the altar. Mary and a companion then place a single rose and a spice pot on the altar and sat nearby in vigil.
Saturday, in the Gospel proclamation, Mary told us of her encounter with Jesus in the Garden of Resurrection and then doing his bidding, going to tell the brothers, “I saw him! He lives! Love has come back, love is stronger than death!” As we blessed ourselves with Baptism water we again sang the chant, "Set me as a seal...” This night a pair of red roses graced our Eucharistic table.
Some of those who participated in the liturgies offered their comments:
An especially poignant moment occurred just as we were about to begin the Easter Vigil liturgy. A little child brought a book and asked me to read it to her. As we shared the story of a little rabbit who loved to play with his friends, the adults in the room became quiet and listened. In the story line, the little rabbit has fear of galloping horses that frequently pass the park where he and his friends play and he hides behind a rock. One day the horses come by and he has no place to hid, but a cave at the end of the park. Safely inside he feels secure until some people bring something into the cave and then leave and roll a stone in front of the opening, leaving him locked inside. He explores the object and then nestles in the soft cloth surrounding a warm body – that of Jesus. His fear subsides as Jesus “wakes up” and holds the little rabbit, assuring it that there is nothing to fear.
When we finished the story, the child scampered back to her mother, the adults smiled at the reassurance that even our greatest fears can be surrendered to the warmth of divine love. It was the perfect introduction to our Easter Vigil.
Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Love is stronger than death. Alleluia! Alleluia!
[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]
Regina minister is newest leader of the national Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church, Regina, SK photo
Heidi Atter, cbc.ca | April 7, 2019
Amanda Currie is the newest moderator of the Canadian Presbyterian churches.
The leader of the Canadian Presbyterian churches has the responsibilities of being moderator, serving a local congregation, and travelling the country. Amanda Currie will be doing all of that from her home in Saskatchewan.
'Mary Magdalene' film depicts woman from whom men tried to cast out evil spirits because she would not do what her father and her religion wanted of her
Rose Pacatte, ncronline.org | April 19, 2019
In the year A.D. 33, Mary (Rooney Mara) is a young woman — in the new film "Mary Magdalene" — who spends her days with the women of Magdala along the shore of Galilee. They mend fishing nets and tend sheep. She also acts as a midwife, comforting a young mother during a difficult birth. She takes her place with the women in the synagogue on the sabbath.
Her father Ephraim (Tsahi Halevi) is making plans for her marriage and invites a young man, Daniel (Denis Ménochet), for the sabbath meal. They speak of Jesus, whose reputation as a healer is becoming known. Mary flinches when her fingers touch Daniel's hand as they both reach for the olives. Mary knows she is expected to marry and have children; there is no other way of life for a Jewish girl. Her father tells her that this alone will please him.
Canadian nun, sexologist: Catholics must increase their sexual maturity
Philippe Vaillancourt, globalsistersreport.org | April 1, 2019
A Canadian nun with a Ph.D. in clinical sexology said the sex abuse crisis in the church does not mean "the end of faith" but rather "the end of a lack of formation and the end of deviance," and a call to return to Jesus' message of love.
Immaculate Conception Sr. Marie-Paul Ross told the French-language Canadian news agency Presence info that the faithful must accept that ecclesial structures might need to change.
My Journey to Board Certification: Blessing, Challenge, and Conundrum
Puanani Lalakea, Special to The Review | February 2019
The journey to becoming a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) is daunting. I admit that, initially, I was reluctant to follow the BCC route. I do not believe the letters after one’s name are necessarily an indication of competency or success. Thus, I questioned the need to jump through someone else’s labor intensive hoops in order to “prove” what I already knew; namely, that I am a chaplain. In the end, however, I decided I would pursue board certification because, as a hospital chaplain, I work in a world where letters after one’s name are an important indication of the level of education and training one has received. The BCC designation provides the outward validation that chaplains are trained professionals on a par with other healthcare professionals.
The BCC application process is overwhelming. Therefore, I broke it down to manageable parts. I examined the competencies one at a time. This helped me to realize I was being given the gift of a template through which I could truly reflect on each aspect of my ministry. In doing so, I confirmed that I was already doing many of the things that competent chaplains do. Of course, this didn't mean that my practices couldn't benefit from a few tweaks here and there. I began with making subtle changes to my approach in order to enhance my pastoral care tool belt. Recognizing my abilities gave me the confidence I needed to delve into those areas where I didn’t feel quite yet competent. I found the competency guide invaluable in offering me specific ways that I could build my skills and become a more effective chaplain. Examining the competencies in this way also helped me to recognize and articulate my strengths and growing edges.
The process of exploring the ways to become a more competent chaplain--from seminary, to Clinical Pastoral Education, to becoming Board Certified--has provided me with additional opportunities to continue growing through ongoing reflection and collaboration. Meeting with my interview committee was my first chance to practice speaking specifically about the ministry that I love with professionals outside of my work environment; it was a delight to be able to gather in fellowship with others who share my passion for chaplaincy. Beyond the benefits to my ministry, becoming Board Certified has also opened up opportunities for networking with chaplain colleagues both here in Hawai’i, and on the mainland. In turn, this has given me the distinct pleasure of being able to support the BCC journeys of other chaplains.
[Puanani Lalakea MDIV, BCC serves as Chaplain for Pacific Health Ministry at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, HI. This article first appeared on professionalchaplains.org. It is pubished here with the permission of the author. Puanani Lalakea was ordained recently as a priest for RCWP-USA Western Region.]
Church's foremothers proclaim Jesus from beyond the grave
Christine Schenk, ncronline.org | April 16, 2019
I just returned from a terrific 10-day pilgrimage to Rome and Naples, viewing funerary frescos and sarcophagus friezes of faith-filled fourth-century Christian women.
Some pretty amazing, 21st century women and men joined me in cherishing these oft-hidden women whose tomb motifs depict them in authoritative ecclesial postures, teaching and preaching the good news of Jesus Christ.
and Easter are about freedom, about starting a new life
Emil Kutarna, Special to The Review | May 1, 2019
How did Easter begin?
Well, remember that Jesus (Yeshua bar Joseph) was a Jew, and the first Christians were Jewish. That is very important to keep in mind if we are to properly understand the meaning and celebration of Easter.
Just as Jesus is the central figure for Christians, so Moses is the central figure for the Jews. The greatest event in the history of the Hebrew nation, was when Moses freed them from slavery in Egypt. They called this celebration “Passover” meaning they passed over the Red Sea from slavery to freedom in the “Promised Land”.
When Jesus came along, he spoke of a new kind of freedom, a spiritual freedom from slavery to things of this world. He called this new Promised Land the “Kingdom of Heaven”. The Jews looked upon God with fear and trembling. It was forbidden to even speak the name of God. Jesus turned that idea upside down. He said we should call God by the loving name “Abba”, which means ‘dad”. Instead of observing Ten Commandments, as the High Priests taught, Jesus said there is only one commandment, love of God and love of neighbour.
On the Sabbath, after the reading of the Torah, anyone was allowed to comment on the reading. This is what Jesus often did. But his interpretation of the scripture was so different from what the Priests and Scribes said. No wonder that the Jewish priests felt threatened by the teaching of Jesus.
In addition, the Romans didn’t like to hear of another kind of kingdom. So, they looked upon Jesus as a dangerous agitator.
As it turned out, the Priests and Romans collaborated and got rid of Jesus by crucifixion.
Jesus knew ahead of time that he was in danger. So, at the Passover, like a good Jew, he celebrated the meal with his closest friends. And he tried to prepare them for when he would no longer be with them.
In the Passover meal one guest would read the Haggadah, which told the story of the escape from Egypt, and then explained the meaning of the foods. On the table are three Matzos. This unleavened bread reminds them how, on the night they escaped, they ate in haste so there was no time to let the bread rise. It also reminded them how God fed them in the desert with manna. The salad had bitter herbs, in memory of the bitter slavery in Egypt. Wine was served, because it symbolized their freedom and liberation.
At the Last Supper, Jesus gave these foods a new symbolism. As he broke the bread he said “This is my Body, broken for you”. The disciples probably did not realize that he was talking about how his body would be broken by torture before he died. When he took up the cup of wine, he again predicted his death, saying, “This is my blood which will be poured out for you”. Again, the disciples must have been puzzled, why is Jesus talking about dying when they are celebrating their freedom from slavery?
Can there be any doubt that after Jesus was crucified, the disciples and the early Christians would clearly remember the last day and the last supper with Jesus? Now it was clear to them what Jesus meant when he said “Do this in remembrance of me”.
Of course, now you can see the connection between the Catholic Mass and the Passover supper, and, for example, why we use unleavened bread and wine.
This is a beautiful story, right?
It also has a powerful meaning.
Passover and Easter are about freedom, about starting a new life. Who are seeking freedom today? Refugees come to mind. Men, women and children forced to leave their home and country. That’s hard.
Here is a sad Polish folk song from the southern mountain region that goes like this:
Góralu czy ci nie zal
Odchodzic od stroñ ojczystych?
Skwierkowych lasów i hal,
I tych potoków przejzystych.
Góralu czy ci nie zal?
Góralu wróc sie do hal.
Góral na te góry spojziera
I lzy rekawem ociera.
Te gory opuscic trzeba
Dla chleba, Panie, dla chleba.
Góralu czy ci nie zal?
Góralu wróc sie do hal.
Mountain dweller, are you not sad
To leave the land of your fathers?
The spruce forests and valleys,
And the crystal running streams?
Mountain dweller, are you not sad?
These mountains are calling you back.
The mountaineer gazes at the mountains,
And wipes the tears with his sleeve.
I have to depart from these mountains,
It’s for bread, O Lord, it’s for bread!
Mountain dweller, are you not sad?
These mountains are calling you back.
My mom and dad are Górale. I guess I am too. That song must be how my mom and dad felt when they left Poland. I visited their village in 1958. My Góral heart broke when I had to leave. I couldn’t hold back my tears.
Today’s refugees, men. women and children face real starvation. For bread! O Lord, for bread! It must break their hearts to leave home and country. This Easter, the feast of freedom, may they eat bread and drink wine in a new country, just like my mom and dad did. If it wasn’t for them emigrating, I wouldn’t be here to write this letter.
[Emil Kutarna, Regina, SK]
Easter brings promise of Resurrection, but many will continue their agony without hope
Steven Lenoux, Special to The Review | May 1, 2019
We began Holy Week with Palm Sunday processions into the churches around the world. The altars and priests wore their red to show both the shedding of blood and the fire of God's love. Our canonical journey through darkness to light is about to reach its culmination.
Today's reflection from Fr. Richard Rohr contains this observation:
"There is no such thing as redemptive violence. Violence doesn’t save; it only destroys—in both short and long term. Jesus replaced the myth of redemptive violence with the truth of redemptive suffering. He showed us on the cross how to hold the pain and let it transform us, rather than pass it on to others around us."
If only we could transmit this message to the current administration along with UNDERSTANDING of it and the implications it holds for us as humans. Although most vividly exhibited along the southern border, violence and threats and bullying is the modus operandi of every Trumpian interaction, be it personal, national, or international. They do not get it: compassion is NOT weakness!
If only the clergy would embrace the truth that we the Church need THEIR redemptive suffering to transform the institution back to one of love and safety, back to being our refuge, and that the violence imposed on so many must be publicly purged if we are to achieve that transformation.
We might take hope from Pope Francis' words in his Palm Sunday homily:
"Let us enter into this movement, guided by the Holy Spirit, and thus obtain the grace we sought in our opening prayer: to follow in faith our Savior’s example of humility, to heed his lesson of patient suffering, and thus to merit a share in his victory over the spirit of evil."
But that hope was dashed by his later admonition:
"...the silence of Jesus throughout his Passion is profoundly impressive. He also overcomes the temptation to answer back, to act like a “superstar”. In moments of darkness and great tribulation, we need to keep silent, to find the courage not to speak, as long as our silence is meek and not full of anger."
This sounds more like something Cardinal Ratzinger would issue, a direction that our redemptive suffering is to be done in silence.
Francis equates courage to silence, and he appears to tell us to NOT stand up against abuse and the violence perpetrated against us -- the laity, the "commoners" of the Church. That does not pass my sanity test, and it is woefully out of touch with reality. Jesus was not silent, and he did not tolerate the abuses of the Sanhedrin. Silence did not deliver the Beatitudes or the "Our Father" or his many parables. Jesus did not silently and meekly tolerate the money-changers' profanation of the Temple.
Francis encourages us to display humility in our behaviors and attitudes. Then we see this: Link to copyrighted photo
I'm missing the humility here. Their idea of redemptive suffering is to get dolled up in their finery and gold jewelry and then "suffer" by walking in procession in the warm Roman sun? Oh, that is so much harder than taking the limo.... Methinks they smell like perfume, not the sheep of their flocks.
I think Father Rohr has it right, but how can we get that concept embodied in the minds and hearts of the hierarchy that keeps telling us and showing us that there are two standards, that we the "little people" are expected to shut up and put up?
And how can we be at Mass and hear the priests speak and not understand that their allegiance is tied to the privileged hierarchy and not to the laity that makes up the church (small "c").
This Holy Week there is much suffering to pray about. Easter brings the promise of a Resurrection, but there are so many who will continue their agony without hope. That is where our intentions should be focused.
[Steven Lenoux, Brownsville, TX]
Saskatchewan Elder Noel Starblanket Promoted Indigenous Development and Reconciliation
CBC News, cbc.ca | April 15, 2019
Elder Noel Starblanket died in a Regina hospital early Monday morning surrounded by family. He was 72.
First Nations University of Canada Celebration of Life program photo
Starblanket was well-respected in the community and was known for his leadership. He was a two-time national chief of the National Indian Brotherhood, which is now the Assembly of First Nations, and was one of the youngest chiefs in Canada when he was elected at age 24.
He also served on the board of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.
The sacred triduum's symbols are sacraments that point to what is real
Michael Sean Winters, ncronline.org | April 18, 2019
The symbols we employ during the sacred triduum have reminded us of their power in recent days.
The water of baptism is the foremost symbol of the paschal mystery. Water cleans the body and, in baptism, the unseen soul, taking away original sin and infusing the baptized with grace. Water is also a sign for formlessness before God created the world and from which he brought forth life. Water is also, as our friends who live and farm on the banks of the flooding waters of the Mississippi have learned, enormously destructive.
'Honest Rituals' argues for sacrament update
Marian Ronan, ncronline.org | March 6, 2019
Book review: Honest Rituals, Honest Sacraments
Letting Go of Doctrines and Celebrating What's Real by Joseph Martos
A woman is denied marriage in the church because she can't secure the annulment of her previous marriage to a mentally ill husband who has disappeared. A Catholic grandmother believes her Buddhist granddaughter is going to hell because the seal of her earlier baptism is eternal. The seriously ill and dying in a local hospital are denied the sacrament of anointing of the sick because the Catholic chaplain is a woman and no priests are available.
As Joseph Martos, theologian of the sacraments, explains, these are common experiences in today's Catholic Church. But why do such sacramental barriers exist half a century after the church "entered the modern world" at Vatican II? In Honest Rituals, Honest Sacraments: Letting Go of Doctrines and Celebrating What's Real, Martos takes us back through church history, from the first Christian communities through the Middle Ages to today to lay bare the roots of such problems and propose a contemporary solution.
The parish is dead, long live the parish! 'If the structure is more important than the mission, we will never get anywhere,' says priest who works on parish renewal
Gauthier Vaillant, international.la-croix.com | April 8, 2019
Comparing the current working of Catholic parishes with the sinking of the Titanic? It takes nerve to make that comparison.But that's what Father James Mallon did on April 5 while speaking at an event hosted by a parish in the southern suburbs of Paris."The parish system as we know it is going to collapse," the priest warned. "The quicker we accept it, the sooner we will be able to develop something new."
Divorced and remarried receive communion again, one of the first outcomes of Amoris Laetitia
Félicité de Maupeou, international.la-croix.com | April 10, 2019
Married for 17 years, Chantal, a divorcee and Benoît Vandenberghe, a widower, share with La Croix the unique story of their return to the sacraments. "This couple, deprived of the sacraments for many years, will receive communion once again today," proclaimed the priest at the beginning of the celebration.
On Pentecost 2018, Benoît and Chantal walked down the nave alongside other members of the congregation in their Church in Eu, Normandy to receive the Eucharist. Neither of them made a "great fuss," but all were well aware of the day's significance.This is one of the first concrete outcomes of the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, published three years ago.
Theologians and ethicists grounded in Catholic theological tradition approached the world, nature, human desire and the human spirit as realities to be learned from, not to be feared -- unlike Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Benedict
Jamie Manson, ncronline.org | April 12, 2019
In her 2014 book, Men Explain Things to Me, essayist Rebecca Solnit attempted to analyze what sometimes goes horribly wrong when men and women engage in conversation. Specifically, when men wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume that women don't know things.
Well, swap out men in this scenario for Pope Benedict XVI and swap out women for the entire people of God and what you have is the former pope's attempt at papal-splaining in his recent missive "The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse."
Just a few thoughts from a feminist recovering Roman Catholic woman. First thing that comes to mind as I read this is a reluctant admission to myself that as a supporter of being able to have a voice, so too must I grant that to Joseph Ratzinger.
However, I would qualify that by saying he should not be speaking or quoted as speaking as "pope emeritus." I think that is a ridiculous term and he should not have been allowed to give himself that title. If he wants to speak, he must speak as an ordinary Catholic or as a theologian, but certainly not from platform that gives him the appearance of authority which he does not have.
[Kathy Cameron, Regina, SK]
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