“More than a theological statement that requires intellectual assent, the Eucharist is an invitation to socially experience the shared presence of God, and to be present in an embodied way.”
– Richard Rohr
This month, Junia’s Journal had the privilege of attending a “Zoom Church” with folks from St. Mary’s, one of the three parishes closed by the Archdiocese of Seattle over the summer. This lively group of active parishioners has been meeting online since the pandemic, although now they also have one hybrid prayer service per month.
The service started with the “St. Mary’s Family Prayer,” spoken in both English and Spanish, by two members. It was a beautiful statement of faith, a credo that testifies to the power of a Trinitarian God who hears the cry of the poor, who holds up each human being as well as the community of love, justice, and mercy. We then sang “Christ Be Our Light” as an opening song and listened to the three Scripture readings for the week. The homily was given by a member of the community – people take turns as lectors, presiders, and preachers – who honored Indigenous People’s Day by sharing wisdom of indigenous spirituality, reading from Braiding Sweetgrass, and pointing out the harmful “Doctrine of Discovery,” which is still alive and well in many Catholic circles.
After the incredibly powerful homily, we were treated to a “musical meditation” by a very talented violinist. It seems St. Mary’s is full of musical talent as well! Community members were then invited to share their own thoughts about the readings and the homily. The prayers of the faithful are also created by the community, and began with “For all the community of St. Mary’s. May we speak our truths with courage and respect as we help create our future as one, united multicultural and bilingual community.”
In addition to participating in weekly prayer services, community members from “Save St. Mary’s” continue to pray the Rosary in front of the Chancery every Wednesday afternoon.
As a community member said in her homily last week: “Our St. Mary’s Prayer is a summation of God’s Vision for all of us who follow Jesus. And every time we say it together we recommit ourselves to that Vision. The theologian Illia Delio suggests that God has a vision rather than a plan for all God’s people and all of God’s creation, and that God relies on us to create the specific plans to fulfill this vision. This suggests a very active co-creating that God seems to be inviting us to be a part of. Perhaps, God is calling we the church of St. Mary’s to help create the Church of the future– a Church that is true to God’s vision for us all.”