Mag imageJanuary 2008 E-Newsletter
In This Issue
It's not a business - it's the Church
Christmas Eve without a Priest
Parish Watch
Women and the Word
Parishioners Won't Ban Rabbi
Over 16,000 Aussies Petition
Bishops Listen
Zambian Married Priest Launches
Book Review
News Briefs
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Rome Pilgrimage
October 7-16, 2008

4 women mosaicA Journey of Discovery

Pilgrimage to Archaeological Sites of Women Officeholders in the Early Church
Rome - Ostia

To learn more,
click here!

To rec
eive a free brochure please email or call 216-228-0869

NEW: Advancing Women in Church Leadership Packet
A sequel to our original packet with new resources to educate and advocate including:
The Women in Paul's Ministry

Lay Preaching: A Hearing Aid

Catholic Women Deacons

Women Officeholders in the Early Church

Tips for Advancing Women in Church Leadership

Organize to keep
arishes Open!
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Order the Save Our Parish Community packet here!

Email parishrights@futurechurch
to become a parish contact in your area and track parish closings and encourage best practices in a time of fewer priests!

Dear Friends of FutureChurch,

We hope you enjoy our January 2008 e-newsletter.
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The staff of FutureChurch
It's not a's the Church
"I sold those people on this clustering process-I had to do something." said Dan Thiel of Toledo's United Parishes speaking at FutureChurch's parish organizing panel at Call To Action .  Thiel was studying to be a deacon when the diocese asked him to work on the new diocesan clustering process.  He agreed only after being assured that it did not mean closing parishes. For the next four years Thiel helped design a clustering plan in which parishes stayed open and supported each other with complementary programs.  When the new bishop, Leonard Blair, decided to close parishes anyway, Thiel organized a meeting of 18 parishes to resist the closure: "I knew there was a problem when a diocesan official told me, 'You don't understand, this is a business,'  I said, 'Oh my God . . . you don't understand what Church is all about...'" To read more click here
Christmas Eve Without a Priest.
Two hundred parishioners from St. James parish in Wellesley, Mass prayerfully welcomed the Christ child into their beleagured parish home even though no priest was present to lead the services.  The Boston Archdiocese  slated the church for closing over three years ago, and decided not to send a priest for Christmas Eve this year.  Lay presiders led the prayer and Eucharistic ministers distributed communion with  hosts consecrated by priests from other parishes. Parishioner Geraldine Cimino  said she prayed  that the diocese would send a priest. But she also thought theChristmas service was as good as ever.  "In my heart, as a Christian and a Catholic, and no matter where I am, God is always there," she said.  To read more click here
FutureChurch launches ParishWatch
FutureChurch has added a clickable map to its website to track parish closing and clustering processes in all U.S. dioceses. To date, approximately 35 parish contacts around the U.S. have jointed a private list serv to communicate strategies for preserving vibrant parishes.  If you are interested in becoming a local contact email Click here to view the ParishWatch section of our website and email us with updates in your area.
Women and the Word :We are making a difference! In mid-November, the Synod Secretary General, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic acknowledged that  "many contributions of the lay faithful" are arriving at the Synod secretariat. Here are our accomplishments to date leading up to the October 5-26, 2008 World Synod of Bishops on the Word:

* The Catholic Biblical Association passed a resolution asking bishops to support inviting women biblical scholars.

* Bishops all over North America heard from over 3,500 lay leaders, priests and parishioners who sent paper and electronic postcards asking Synod attention to women's biblical leadership and experience.

* Nearly 1,100 electronic postcards were sent to the Pontifical Biblical Commission and the Pope.

* Scores of organizers at over 270 Mary of Magdala events celebrated the hidden women of the lectionary, distributed hundreds of postcards and forwarded e-postcard appeals.

* Leaders of religious orders spoke and wrote personal letters to bishops requesting female biblical consultants.

* A number of bishops tell us privately they support our campaign.

Your financial and prayer support, will allow us to
·    prepare and submit a list of female biblical scholars to serve as consultants to synod leaders;
·    seek personal meetings with North American delegates to the Synod asking their support for our campaign;
·    strategize with our international contacts to engage their wisdom and activism;
·    be present at the Synod to meet with delegates and international media about our concerns;
·    lead a pilgrimage to Rome archaeological sites of early women leaders while the Synod is in process.

(Contact FutureChurch by phone or at for pilgrimage information).
Donate or become a member here
Parishioners Won't Ban Rabbi
In mid December about 150 people from St. Cronan's Catholic Church in St. Louis decided to pray  in the rain rather than obey a directive from St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke banning Rabbi Susan Talve from their parish.  Talve, who has spoken for many adevent services at St. Cronan's, infuriated Burke last month when she and her board hosted a ceremony for two Catholic women, Rose Marie Hudson and Elsie Hainz McGrath, who were being ordained into a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests.  To read more, click here.

Over 16,000 Aussies Petition
for Married, Women Priests.
 In just three months, a petition designed by a group of lay and religious leaders in Australia has generated over 16,000 signatures.  The petition calls on the Australian Catholic Bishops to collectively discuss the possibility of ordination of married men and, separately, the ordination of women. The petitioners contextualized their call within the growing crisis of a lack of priests in many parts of Australia.  More information is available here.
Bishops listen to reasons for low Mass Attendance Australia's Catholic Bishops have discussed a survey that reveals many Catholics have stopped attending Mass because they feel the Church is irrelevant to their lives. Reasons given for people ceasing to attend Mass included a perceived irrelevance of the Church to modern life, the quality of homilies, inter-personal problems with a parish priest, problems with Church teachings or personal faith, and disillusionment in the wake of sexual scandals. To read more click here.
Zambian Married Priests Launch Church A splinter Catholic Church called the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia has been launched with Archbishop-elect, Luciano Mbewe, calling for more priests to join the church and fulfill their God-given role by marrying. The new church  has strong links with excommunicated prelate Emmanuel Milingo.  Mbewe said that the hour had come for priests in the Roman Catholic Church to start marrying and taking care of their forsaken children.Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) spokesperson, Paul Samasumo, said in he did not have much information about the newly formed church but  that the Catholic bishops in Zambia would discuss the matter in January. To read more click here.
Book Review Women & Christianity _Volume I
By: Mary T. Malone _Review By: Ann Marie Nocella  Many of us who were educated in the Catholic schools of the 50s, 60s and 70s might be amazed at the rich history of women of major significance who were left out of our religious studies and catechism instruction.  Those looking for the missing truth about women saints, Mary the Virgin Mother of God, and for clarification of Mary Magdalene's story, will find Women & Christianity, Volume I: The First Thousand Years (Orbis 2001) a rewarding read. For full review, click here.
Click Here for other news briefs

A Look Ahead

January 26, 2008, Fairbanks, AK: Women and the Word with Sr. Christine Schenk at the University of Alaska. Saturday January 26, 2:00 p.m. Includes fascinating slides of archaeological evidence for women leaders in early Christianity and discussion of hidden women of the lectionary. Sponsored by CTA Alaska. Information:  907-455-7629 907

January 27, 2008, Anchorage, AK: Women and the Word with Sr. Christine Schenk in Anchorage. Sponsored by CTA Alaska. Information: 907- 272-0638 or

February 9, 2008, Irvine, CA: Women Leaders in the Early Church with Sr. Christine Schenk. Contact Barbara Guerin 949-254-5122 or email

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