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Dear Friends,

The theme of this Second Sunday of Advent is Prepare the Way for our God!   Traditional Catholic teaching says that the Messiah will come again.  Jesus says that no one knows the day or the hour.  Some scripture scholars

say that the reason why no one knows is that it depends on us human beings who must prepare the world with such justice and peace that the Messiah will be recognized and acclaimed as Leader of Peace and Justice.  The way our God works is by empowering us to bring it about.

This theme dovetails with some important news we have:  Jean has been chosen by her colleague Roman Catholic Women Priests of the Eastern Region to be their next bishop!   She is stunned and overjoyed: “I get my old job back!”  You may know that, as Director of Health Care Ministry for the Archdiocese of Boston, she was commissioned to be “chaplain to all the chaplains,” to provide pastoral care to them.  Now she is being called to provide pastoral care to the women priests in this Eastern Region.  In RCWP, the bishop is not an administrator, rather the role is one of pastoral and  sacramental ministry….“pastor to the pastors”.    That is the way of preparing the way for God to come again.  With that I (Ron) turn the “pen” over to Jean.

The “way” to this Advent announcement in my (Jean here)  life was paved by a discernment process during which all the priests, deacons, and candidates in this Eastern Region of RCWP  ‘met’ in ‘clusters’ and discerned and shared with one another our vision of the role of bishop, and the qualities we felt were indicated for a bishop to successfully fulfill that role.  While I was ‘eligible’ by way of number of years ordained, I had personally discerned that would not seek nomination unless asked to do so by one of our priests.  To my surprise, I received such an invitation, and with grace and guidance agreed to ‘trust the process’….and the Spirit, not actually expecting that I would be called to serve as bishop.   Ultimately, those of us ‘nominated’ were asked to write a brief narrative describing how each of us might approach the role and our vision.  I’m attaching a copy of the narrative that I prepared for your reading if you wish.  I am, as Ron wrote, still somewhat ‘stunned’, deeply humbled and absolutely elated.   Needing to resign from a  deeply meaningful ministry in order to live out my ordained priesthood, was heart wrenching for me….now, having the opportunity to serve the women of RCWP in this area in a much similar role….with a different and somewhat daunting title….minus the salary….but with such an abundance of opportunity to serve, to grow with and learn from my outstanding womenpriest colleagues….I am (again as Ron wrote) “Overjoyed!”   Christmas has come early to my heart….yet I’m profoundly aware that this is a new step on my spiritual path…a  new “way” for me to “be” and an Advent journey unfolding in my life.  Yesterday we were blessed to host our community’s Advent Retreat here in our home, and the gracious facilitators invited the participants to join them in offering a blessing upon me as this journey unfolds, using the words and wisdom of Jan Richardson.  We share Jan’s “Blessing the Way” with you are you begin this 2nd week of Advent.   May it be a blessing to each of you as you walk your path and “prepare” for the way your story will continue to unfold. 

Blessing the Way

With every step
you take,
this blessing rises up
to meet you.

It has been waiting
long ages for you.

Look close
and you can see
the layers of it,

how it has been fashioned
by those who walked
this road before you,

how it has been created
of nothing but
their determination
and their dreaming,

how it has taken
its form
from an ancient hope
that drew them forward
and made a way for them
when no way could be
seen.

Look closer
and you will see
this blessing
is not finished,

that you are part
of the path
it is preparing,

that you are how
this blessing means
to be a voice
within the wilderness

and a welcome
for the way.

—Jan Richardson

We invite you to come and share Advent with The Spirit of Life Community as we gather together around the Advent Wreath and in prayer and song light the Wreath each Sunday.  And thru the generosity of Sue & Jim Malone, copies of the Pax Christi Advent Booklets are available for each of us to guide our prayerful reflections each day of Advent around your Advent wreath at home.

At The Spirit of Life, we work together in prayer and companionship to loosen the attitudes and brokenness which can hold us bound.  We believe that God’s desire for us is that we be “Whole” and thus “Holy”… full of life , unfettered by life-destroying prejudices and free to move openly as the Spirit calls us.  Our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world.  We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey.  We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life. 

Abundant Blessings of healing and hope,

Ron & Jean