Learn More About the Upper Room Community

Welcome to the web site of the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community. Click here to learn more about this intentional Eucharistic community whose goal is to achieve full equality for all people through the vision of Jesus in a renewed Roman Catholic Church.

Peoples’ Catholic Seminary – Spiritual Encounters with Women Mystics for the 21st Century

Spiritual Encounters with Women Mystics for the 21st Century invites you to catch the living spirit of amazing women witnesses to the inbreaking of the Holy One’s infinite love in our midst and to our oneness with all creation.

In the reflections, discussion starters, and prayer experiences from Praying with Visionary Women that accompany each woman’s story, you are invited to reflect on her words and actions in light of your own life experience and the Spirit of God working within you.

In prayer and journaling, you dialogue with these soul sisters, and contemplate their wisdom, compassion and courage as a reflection of the feminine face of God for all times. Their words and actions are a rich source of inspiration and renewal in our prophetic commitment to work for justice, peace, and equality in our world.

As the bondage of sexism, racism, militarism, and ageism continues, this course offers us a rich variety of resources to nurture your inner mystic and calling to be a courageous disciple of Gospel justice and empowerment in the 21st century.

This on-line course opens the week of May 1, 2017 and concludes the week of July 17, 2017. The course is presented in six sessions. Each session is two weeks long. In the first week participants read and reflect on course materials and in the second week, participants write a refection on the session’s theme.

Course Faciloitators:

Bridget Mary Meehan, MA, DMin, ARCWP

Mary Theresa Streck, Ed.D., DMin

Cost: $100 (financial aid available)
Register now at peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com

Mail check or money order to:
People’s Catholic Seminary
PO Box 421
Watervliet, NY 12189

For further information, call 518-441-9649

 

Stop the Hate Interfaith Prayer Service

PEOPLE’S CATHOLIC SEMINARY OPENS NEW COURSE ON JESUS

REDISCOVERING JESUS IN A COMPANIONSHIP OF EMPOWERMENT FOR THE 21st CENTURY


Course Description: In this course, adult faith seekers will primarily use Diarmuid O’Murchu’s text Christianity’s Dangerous Memory: A Rediscovery of the Revolutionary Jesus along with supplemental materials available on the Internet. This course provides a liberating spirituality for a companionship of empowerment rooted in compassion, justice and equality that expands what it means to be a follower of Jesus in the 21st Century. Class participants will explore a Christian faith that is much bigger, deeper and more challenging than churches have ever acknowledged or proclaimed.

This on-line course opens the week of January 30, 2017 and concludes the week of April 10, 2017. The course is presented in six sessions. Each session is two weeks long. In the first week participants read and reflect on course materials and in the second week, participants write a refection on the session’s theme.
Registration closes January 27, 2017

Course Facilitators


Bridget Mary Meehan, MA, DMin, ARCWP, a Sister for Christian Community, is one of the founding members of the People’s Catholic Seminary. She is a member of the pastoral team at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida. Bridget Mary presides at liturgies, officiates at weddings and offers sacramental ministry. She is an author of twenty books. Her work in communications media include programs about women priests on Google and YouTube. Bridget Mary was ordained a priest in the first USA ordination in Pittsburgh on July 31, 2006 and was ordained a bishop in Santa Barbara, California on April 19, 2009.

Mary Theresa Streck, Ed.D., DMin, is one of the founding members of the People’s Catholic Seminary. She is a member of the pastoral team at the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community in Albany, NY. She presides at liturgies, officiates at weddings and offers sacramental ministry and is a member of the ARCWP Program of Preparation team. She earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership from the Sage Colleges and a Doctorate in Ministry from Global Ministries University. She was ordained a priest on September 15, 2013.

Cost: $200 (financial aid available)
Register now at peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com

Mail check or money order to:
People’s Catholic Seminary
PO Box 421
Watervliet, NY 12189
(paypal coming soon!)

Christianity’s Most Dangerous Memory​ – ​
Book Review from www.amazon.com

Drawing from the best contemporary scholarship, bestselling author Diarmuid O’Murchu deconstructs the history of Christianity, and specifically the life of Jesus Christ, as it has evolved over the past two thousand years. With rich language and clear metaphors, O’Murchu speaks to every Christian who is fed up with a revisionist Christian doctrine based on banal ideas and who desperately seeks affirmation that the Christian faith is a much bigger, deeper, and more challenging institution than churches have ever acknowledged or proclaimed. According to O’Murchu, Jesus was never an earthly prince, but rather the first rebel, a countercultural outsider who sought to empower the oppressed and marginalized while questioning the core beliefs of longstanding institutions—and ultimately paying a mortal price for his convictions. Using this portrait of Jesus, each chapter addresses a range of common human problems that Christ himself overcame, such as understanding others, resolving hostilities, discovering empowerment by suffering, and preserving personal identity in a globalized world. O’Murchu’s stunning conclusions serve to reintroduce the world to the revolutionary Jesus, giving His story new life and relevance for the modern age.

Visiting Israel

Kathie Ryan, ARCWP, and member of the Upper Room Community in Albany, NY, recently visited Israel.

Here are two pictures she sent from Israel:

The is the Upper Room in Jerusalem. Below is King David’s tomb and above is a mosque. Very inclusive.

sea-of-galileeSunrise on the Sea of Galilee

 

People’s Catholic Seminary – Course 401-Sacraments

People’s Catholic Seminary will begin a new on-line course the week of November 7. This course aligns with Unit 4 in the ARCWP Ordination Units and is free to ARCWP candidates and their program companions.
Registration closes November 1.
Many blessings,
Bridget Mary and Mary Theresa

http://pcseminary.blogspot.com

401: Sacraments
Facilitators:
Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Dr. Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP
The course opens the week of November 7, 2016 and concludes the week of December 19, 2016.
Cost: $200 (financial aid available)
Register now at peoplescatholicseminary@gmail.com

Course Overview

Course participants will engage in dynamic conversations about sacraments for the 21st century through on-line blog postings.
The primary text for the course is “Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and Reconstructing Catholic Ritual” by Joseph Martos. Other supplemental material for the course will be posted in the interactive blog. Class discussions will focus on the material presented in Joseph Martos’ book.

According to Martos, Catholic sacramental doctrine has lost much of its credibility. Baptized people leave the church, adolescents stop attending shortly after they are confirmed, supposedly indissoluble marriages regularly dissolve, few go to confession, and many do not believe in transubstantiation.

Drawing upon his decades-long study of the sacraments, Martos reveals how teachings that seemed rooted in the scriptures and Catholic life have become unmoored from the contexts in which they arose, and why seemingly eternal truths are actually historically relative.

After carefully constructing Catholic teaching from the church’s own documents, he deconstructs it by demonstrating how biblical passages were misconstrued by patristic authors and how patristic writings were misunderstood by medieval scholastics. The long process of misinterpretation culminated in the dogmatic pronouncements of the Council of Trent, which continues to dominate Catholic thinking about the church’s religious ceremonies. If the sacraments are released from their dogmatic baggage, Martos believes that the spiritual realities they symbolize can be celebrated in any human culture without being tied to their traditional rites.

Upper Room Blesses Mary Theresa on 3rd Anniversary of Ordination

The Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community of the NYS Capital Region celebrated Mary Theresa Streck’s third anniversary of ordination as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest.

Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, led the Upper Room Community in the following blessing for Mary Theresa at the beginning of liturgy:


Let us take time now to bless this wise woman.

Mary Theresa, we call you to the center of this circle to honor you for the gifts you have given this community and in celebration of your anniversary of ordination. Come forth, good and faithful wise woman!
The gifts you have given so freely to our community have flourished and born fruit. We now anoint you with oil, symbolizing you are a wise woman.

 anointingmts-9-11-16

I ask the Community to join me in blessing Mary Theresa today. Please come forward and bless her as we pray together:
Divine Creator of the Universe, She Who Is and Will Always Be, we ask you to bless Mary Theresa today and every day.
May you have strength, courage and wisdom for the journey ahead.
May you be blessed with good health.

May your heart be filled with compassion in the work of justice.

May you be filled with hope, laughter and love.

May you know the comfort of community, good friends and family.
May the peace of divine wisdom live always in your heart and your home.

May you always bear witness to the love of divine wisdom in this world.
May Holy Wisdom bless you and keep you.

May She make her face shine upon you and be gracious to you.

May She lift up her countenance upon you and give you peace!
This is our prayer and a blessing upon you Mary Theresa,

Wise and faith-filled woman.
And as community we say, amen!

Let it be so!

Nuns on the Bus Coming to Albany July 21

NETWORK

Come See the Nuns on the Bus

We’re Coming to New York!

In just a few days, NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus will be visiting your area on our journey to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. In an election year, it’s crucial that our message to Mend the Gaps in income and wealth inequality in our nation be heard and heeded. We hope you’ll join us in New York!

Rally
Thursday, July 21, 12:00 Noon
New York State Capitol, West Capitol Park
State Street, Albany, NY 12210

Download our Rochester flyer Download our Albany flyer

Our goal is to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with our message of inclusion.

Pope Francis has said, “a healthy politics is sorely needed.” View our schedule and RSVP to join us on this journey.

Can’t make it? There are other ways to get involved:

  See you there,

Sister Simone Campbell
Executive Director

P.S. We’re sending these announcements to everyone in a state with a bus event or within two hours of an event — which means you may end up receiving more than one email. We’re sorry for any inconvenience, but wanted you to know about all our stops near you.

Join us for our Mary Magdalene Celebration 7-21-16 Upper Room Community

The Upper Room Community in Troy has accepted the invitation to host the 2016 celebration of the Feast of Mary Magdalene

Dear CTA and Upper Room Communities,

This year the Upper Room Community is honored to prepare the Mary of Magdala celebration. We will begin our celebration at 7:00pm. at the Upper Room in Troy, NY.  For this celebration, wear a colorful stole or scarf and we will celebrate Eucharist together.

The Upper Room is located next to Brown’s Brewery.   (map) Some of you may want to meet before or after for dinner.

Here is the address:

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community

415 River Street, Second Floor

Troy, NY 12180

handicap accessible

(Click the images below to enlarge)


Why Roman Catholic Women Priests

Dear Friends,
Last weekend, June 18, I joined the Call To Action witness at the Cathedral in Albany, NY. That morning four men were ordained for the Albany Diocese. During the witness, I held a sign that proclaimed: “Women Priests Are Here!” Some of you may wonder why Roman Catholic women are seeking ordination through the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement. Hopefully the points below will help to answer your questions. I am happy to meet and discuss them with you or with a group who is interested in learning more about us.
The best way to contact me is through email at mtstreck@gmail.com.
Many blessings,
Mary Theresa
 

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

 

What do you think about Pope Francis and the new commission he called for to study the ordination of women deacons?

We are grateful for Pope Francis’ work to protect mother earth, his care for the poor, and advocacy for economic equality. However, he must make the connection between poverty and gender justice. Two thirds of the world’s poor are women and their dependent children. If the Catholic Church were to embrace women’s gifts as equals in the priesthood and in decision-making, just imagine the many blessings this affirmation would bring to a world where women suffer injustice and inequality every day. We hope that Pope Francis will chart a new path toward human equality in our church by opening all ministries to women. The commission on women deacons could be a first step toward the full equality of women in the church.

http://www.womenpriests.org/history.asp

How did your Movement begin?


The Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement began with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002. An anonymous male bishop with apostolic succession ordained our first women bishops. Therefore, our ordinations are valid. We are disobeying an unjust man-made church law (canon 1024) that discriminates against women by prohibiting women’s ordination. Right now, there are seven sacraments for men and six for women. The Catholic Church cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it.  Presently, the official teaching states that the Church has no authority whatsoever to ordain women because the priest acts in “persona Christi”, and must bear a physical resemblance to Jesus. Thus, only men can be priests.  Baptism makes us all spiritual equals, and opens the door to all the sacraments, including Holy Orders. Baptized into Christ, we are all spiritual equals (Galatians 3:27-28). We are following our consciences and leading the church toward justice and equality by ordaining women in apostolic succession in a new model of church that is inclusive, non-clerical and empowering for all.Â


In June 2016, Pope Francis has received our ongoing petition campaign from our international movement to lift our excommunications, stop all punishments against us and our supporters, and begin a dialogue with us.  See our petition to Pope Francis:

SIGN PETITION : CATHOLICS SUPPORT WOMEN PRIESTS. POPE FRANCIS SHOULD DO THE SAME., Groundswell Campaign

https://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/pope-francis-welcome-all-priests#

What is your vision/mission?

Roman Catholic Women Priests are a renewal, justice movement, within the Catholic Church. We are creating a bridge between our present institutional church and a new model of church, rooted in Jesus’ vision of an open table, and beginning a healing process of centuries-old  misogyny.

We are changing the church, one inclusive Catholic Community at a time. We offer hope that gender equality can be a reality now by living as companions in a blessed, mutual partnership of love, rooted in the teachings and example of Jesus. We are companions on the journey, an egalitarian partnership with the community of the baptized, facilitating inclusive liturgies and building loving communities of service in our local areas. Our mission is to serve especially those whom the Vatican marginalizes and to serve Catholics who are ready to embrace a more inclusive church. We have an open table which means everyone is welcome to receive sacraments: LGBTQI, divorced and remarried, etc. In our faith communities, everyone consecrates Eucharist, offers mutual blessing and shares in homilies and governance decisions. We are a community of equals, celebrating our identity as united in our diversity in the Body of Christ.

The real issue is the full equality of women in a renewed church where all are equal and all are welcome.  The Church that treats women as second-class citizens violates God’s will. Genesis 1:27: God created humanity in God’s image, in the divine image, God created them, male and female God created them.  Galatians 3:27.St. Paul reminds us that by our baptism there is neither male nor female, all are one in Christ.

Now is the time for a loving “holy shakeup”, an explosion of grace, which will bring fresh hope for justice and equality for women in the church and world. As a new ecclesial movement we are blessing the church with new life in grassroots egalitarian communities where all are  equal and empowered.

Who is your target group?

We are serving inclusive Catholic communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments. Thirty-three million Catholics in the U.S. have left the church and we are welcoming them to our inclusive Eucharistic communities.

Are your orders recognized in the Catholic Church?

Roman Catholic Women Priests have valid orders. A male bishop in apostolic succession ordained our first bishops. According to recent polls, a growing number of people in many countries support women priests. Our international movement has ordained members in thirteen countries and on five continents.

Why don’t you get ordained in another church, rather than face excommunication and rejection?


We are faith-filled members of our church dedicated to making our church more loving, open, inclusive, just and equal. The church is our spiritual family and home. Jesus stood on the margins with the least and the last. He treated women as disciples and equals. He proclaimed that we are all the beloved of God, who is love. As followers of Jesus, we live the beautiful mystical, prophetic and sacramental tradition of our church.  Pope Benedict canonized two excommunicated two nuns: Theodore Guerin and Mary McKillop. Like these courageous women we spoke truth to power and suffered condemnation; we too are called to be prophets of gender justice for women in our church today.

How do you deal with excommunication?

We reject excommunication. No punishment can separate us from Christ or cancel our baptism. No church authority can separate us from God. This is our church and we are not leaving it no matter what the Vatican says or does (The Vatican’s official line is that our excommunicate is the automatic type, by your choice, you have excommunicated yourself).

Were women ever ordained in church history? The church teaches that Jesus had twelve apostles. How can women be priests?

Jesus called women and men to be disciples (Luke 8:1-3). Jesus did not ordain anyone. The Twelve symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel. Women were apostles: Mary of Magdala and Junia in Romans 16:7.  Paul calls Junia an outstanding apostle! So there were more than 12 apostles. Paul was an apostle, and Mary of Magdala and Junia were two women apostles. The early Church Fathers referred to Mary of Magdala as the apostle to the apostles!

The Risen Christ called Mary Magdala to be the apostle to the apostles. She was the first to proclaim the central message of Christianity, the Resurrection. Vatican hierarchy should follow Jesus’ example of Gospel equality and the early church’s tradition of women in liturgical leadership as deacons, priests and bishops.

What is the History of Women’s Ordination?

For 1200 years women were ordained (Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination, Dorothy Irvin’s archaeological evidence etc., and see major scholarship “women can be priests” in many languages: http://www.womenpriests.org/).

In the early centuries of Christianity, ordination was the process and the ceremony by which one moved to any new ministry (ordo) in the community. By this definition, women were in fact ordained into several ministries. A radical change in the definition of ordination during the eleventh and twelfth centuries not only removed women from the ordained ministry, but also attempted to eradicate any memory of women’s ordination in the past. …However, the triumph of a new definition of ordination as the bestowal of power, particularly the power to confect the Eucharist, so thoroughly dominated western thought and practice by the thirteenth century that the earlier concept of ordination was almost completely erased. References to the ordination of women exist in papal, episcopal and theological documents of the time, and the rites for these ordinations have survived (Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination).

The Vatican and Google have created a virtual tour of catacombs including two frescoes in St. Priscilla’s catacomb that provide evidence of ancient women deacons and priests in first centuries of church’s history. One fresco depicts a woman deacon in the center vested in a dalmatic, her arms raised in the orans position for public worship. In the same scene there is a bishop being ordained a priest by a bishop seated in a chair. She is vested in an alb, chasuble, and amice, and holding a gospel scroll.  The third woman in the painting is wearing the same robe as the bishop on the left and is sitting in the same type of chair. In another fresco in the Catacombs of Priscilla, women are conducting a Eucharistic banquet. This evidence portrays women in liturgical roles and vestments.

Why are you being ordained as deacons, priests and bishops? Do you support clericalism, a top down pyramid model in which the people are basically shut out of decision-making?

We are called by God to minister in a renewed priestly ministry that celebrates our baptismal equality in Christ.  We live a non-clerical, circular model of decision-making in our governance and in our independent, inclusive communities. In our liturgies, all are welcome to receive sacraments and fully participate as baptismal equals in celebrating liturgies.  In many of our communities there are dialogue homilies, everyone recites the words of consecration and offers mutual blessing. Until women are affirmed as equals at the altar and in decision-making, women will be second-class citizens in our church.

What is your response to sexism in the church today?

All the baptized are in “Persona Christi” who celebrate Eucharist as the Body of Christ.  In our present Roman Catholic structure, only male priests are officially recognized as in Persona Christi, and therefore, only male priests are called to preside at Eucharist. Roman Catholic Women Priests are visible reminders that women are equal images of God and therefore, are called to preside at and celebrate Eucharist as the Body of Christ. The Vatican hierarchy cannot continue to discriminate against women in sacramental ministry and in decision-making by insisting only ordained males are in Persona Christi. Our movement follows Jesus’ example of an open table where everyone is the Christ-Presence and all are welcome at the banquet table of God’s love.


How many are in your international movement and where are you?


The total number is approximately 225 for the entire Roman Catholic Women Priests international Movement which includes branches in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Canada, U.S., South America and South Africa

Why are there two branches of this movement in the United States?


In the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement, there are two RCWP groups in the United States, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) and Roman Catholic Women Priests  USA (RCWP-USA). Like two religious orders RCWP and ARCWP offer different approaches to governance and program preparation. Our common mission is a renewed priestly ministry in an inclusive church.

Both ARCWP and RCWP-USA offer a new model of priestly ministry in a renewed church that lives prophetic obedience and Gospel equality in the Roman Catholic Church now. Both ARCWP and RCWP-USA communicate and share resources on a regular basis. We have a common listserv and national retreats. We collaborate on major reform movement events such as the celebration of liturgy at Call to Action National Conference..

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priest’s (ARCWP) vision is a renewed priestly ministry within a community of equals. ARCWP makes decisions by a consensus process that involves all members.


ARCWP is an international group without regional territories. Presently, ARCWP is in the United States, South America, and Canada.

Our website is www.arcwp.org

Media Contacts: Bridget Mary Meehan sofiabmm@aol.com, Janice Sevre Duszynska rhythmsofthedance1@gmail.com,

The Upper Room’s website is: http://www.inclusivecatholiccommunity-nycr.org