Join us at St. Vincent’s Parish for a Listening Session on the Synod on the Family March 15

St. Vincent’s Parish, 900 Madison Ave., Albany, NY is offering a ‘Listening Session’ for the faithful in response to Pope Francis’ call for broad input for the Synod on the Family this October in Rome. All are invited.

A Time of Dialogue: Preparation for the 2015 Family Synod.

The ‘Listening Session’ will take place in the Parish Hall (at the Church) from *1-3pm on Sunday, March 15*. Facilitators from the parish will use a structured model of small group discussion to capture conversation on marriage, family and pastoral practices in the Catholic Church. When compiled, the results will be shared with our bishop and also those attending. In October 2013, Pope Francis called for an Extraordinary Synod of Bishops to address pastoral challenges in the family to be held in October 2014. He said, “”The church is a mother, and she must travel this path of mercy, and find a form of mercy for all.” Because of the centrality of the family and the challenges families face, Francis mandated two synods, an Extraordinary Synod followed by an Ordinary Synod in October 2015 where decisions about pastoral practices will be finalized. This time in-between the synods gives us the opportunity to enter into a period of reflection and dialogue about our Church’s pastoral practices. Are they characterized by a ‘culture of encounter’ capable of recognizing the Lord’s gratuitous work, even outside customary models?” Do we reach out to those on “life’s periphery?” Let us discuss together the realities of family, marriage and human sexuality as we prepare for the 2015 Family Synod and let our bishops and synod delegates hear our stories. This is an opportunity for the faithful to express their opinions and experiences with Church teaching and practice concerning Families. All faithful are encouraged to participate.
The St. Vincent’s Listening Session planning committee.
Questions: Please call Steve at (518) 596-6414.

Dr. Diana Hayes at Siena Thursday: Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made

Please join us at the 2015 Ours to Do Lecture this Thursday, March 5, at Siena College at 7pm in the Maloney Great Room, Sarazen Student Union.

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Diana Hayes to campus to present her lecture:

Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made: The Making of a Womanist Theologian

Dr. Hayes shared the following about her upcoming lecture: “Black Women have played a critical role in the growth and development of the Black Church, and the Black Community, in the United States. In this lecture, I speak of my own faith journey as I moved from Methodist to Roman Catholic and from practicing law to becoming a womanist theologian. I share the significant role my mother(s) have played in preparing and empowering me to speak for and with Black Christian women as a womanist theologian who works to eradicate oppression in all of its forms.”

We will also honor the 2015 Ours to Do Women’s Center Service Trip Scholarship winners: Tess Biskup, ’16 and Katelynn McDowell, ’15. A light reception will follow the program.

Hope to see you on Thursday!

LIturgy, February 15

This Sunday, February 15, we will gather for a potluck breakfast at 10:00am followed by a liturgical celebration at 11:00am.  The theme for the liturgy is “How Can I Serve?”  When we think of Lent, we often think about what we can do to make ourselves a better person.  Thoughts go to “What can I give up?” to maybe this is a good time to begin that much needed diet.  What if this year we ask ourselves instead, “How Can I Serve?”

We will be using the meditation from Deepak Chopra as our first reading and the Gospel of John 15:15 printed below.  Our homilies are dialogue homilies, come and share your inspiration with us.

How Can I Serve?

This is a meditation by Deepak Chopra from Desire and Destiny, Day 15
The word service can bring up many thoughts and feelings.  Often it is interpreted as a type of giving that may feel out of reach like joining the Peace Corps to help people in distant countries or giving time and money in ways that will change the world. It can also be connected to thoughts of work, obligation or to one of those things that good people “ought” to do. We may begin to believe that service requires self-sacrifice, a great deal of time, unique talent, or expertise, or perhaps even money. We may wonder how we can truly serve the whole world. Martin Luther King Jr. offers another way to look at this concept. Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. Service needn’t be grand gestures. We don’t need to embark on adventures far from home to be of service. Service in every moment is about understanding our unique talents and using them to bring happiness to others and ourselves.
The universe is all about flow and dynamic exchange, giving and receiving, which are simply different aspects of the same flow of energy. Therefore when we freely share our gifts with others we really give back to ourselves. It feels good to give and giving also comes back to us from others through love, smiles and hugs, the good things of life. Now let’s look within. Ask yourself: how can I serve? This timeless question has no wrong answer. It is a question that I encourage you to ask yourself every day. How can I serve? Quietly listen for the answer. How can I serve? Listen deeply. Receive each and every whisper from your soul. Receive and ask again. How can I serve? Once we begin to listen carefully to the answers within, we may be surprised at just how we are meant to serve. As we listen, we open the door to infinite and abundant possibilities. As you travel through the day, give yourself permission to practice living in the spirit of service. Perhaps you will hold the elevator door for someone who’s rushing to make it in, or you might share a smile with another. Maybe today you will inquire about a volunteer project you have been thinking about. We each have wonderful talents to share with one another. We can freely enjoy the exchange of gifts, the flow of abundance with everyone around us in the spirit of service. Serving others serves me. I nourish the universe and the universe nourishes me.

A reading from the Gospel of John  John 15:15-17

I no longer speak of you as subordinates, because a subordinate doesn’t know a superior’s business. Instead I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learned from Abba God. It was not you who chose me; it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit.  This command I give you: that you love for another.


Added Services

Beginning February 8th, our community will meet more frequently for Liturgy.   In addition to the Liturgies currently celebrated on the first and third Sundays of each month, we will meet every other Sunday (second and fourth Sundays) for a simplified Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist. There will be no breakfast or luncheon on these days.

On February 8th, the Liturgy of the Word will be a reflection on the first chapter of Diarmuid O’Murchu’s “The Meaning and Practice of Faith”.

Please check the calendar (link above) for additional information as time goes by.



Jim Marsh Ordained Deacon

Bishop Bridget Maru Meehan imposes hands on deacon-elect Jim Marsh.

Jim Marsh, a member of the Inclusive Catholic Community of the New York Capital Region, was ordained deacon in a joyful ceremony January 17th at Christ Unity Church, Orlando, Florida.    In the same ceremony, Rita Lucey was ordained to the priesthood and Kathryn Shea and Mary White were ordained as deacons.



On Being Catholic

I strive to be Catholic

in the oldest and deepest sense of the term

with a sensibility grounded in mystical spirituality,

not parochial Roman Catholicism.

I try to be engaged in the pressing issues of the day

with a loving intelligence, freedom, and boldness,

self-confidently Catholic in its truest sense.

I treasure a heritage that traces all the way back

to the greatest of early Christian theologians

who combined an unswerving embrace of Love and Faith

with a willingness to subject obscure or undefined elements of that faith

to critical examination.

I strive to dedicate my mind to follow the path of truth

wherever it might lead.

I am convinced that the tension between intelligence

and a heart committed to love

is a creative tension.

I appreciate both the necessity for truth embodied in specific forms and words

and the reality that truth transcends all such specific embodiment.

That this heritage is so imperiled in today’s church

makes it all the more precious.

The space I seek to occupy is a tight one,

difficult to maintain in a world

that insists I either mindlessly adhere to hierarchical teachings

or recklessly reject the wisdom of the past in the name of enlightenment.

In such a world, the notion that I can be liberal in some ways

while conservative in others

seems too difficult for many to grasp.

I find myself split between fundamentalists and modernists.

On issues such as the religious leadership of women

or the inclusion of homosexuals,

many invoke the unswerving authority

of fundamentalist Scripture or the hierarchical magisterium,

while I mistrust mindless obedience.

Meanwhile, the distance between liberals and conservatives

—an inadequate but unavoidable distinction—

inexorably grows,

deepened by chronic misunderstanding and distrust.

If the religiously liberal regard traditionalists as dumb sheep,

the latter regard the former as wolves out to ravage the flock.

Mutual acceptance remains difficult to find

and almost impossible to sustain,

and so the two groups drift ever further

into a kind of ghettoized separation.

I espouse liberal convictions,

increasingly finding myself at the margins of a tradition

many wish to freeze,

while I take refuge in a healthy growing conscience.

I feel more at home in a Small Faith Group

(Intentional Eucharistic Community)

than at the local parish.

The flight of Catholic intellectuals from the clergy and the parish

has led to a dismaying split

between a loving intellect

and the church as the repository of rite and ritual.

This loss of the loving mind

has had sorry consequences across the board,

as the church has severed the link

between critical thinking and faith.

In Catholicism, the tradition of the learned pastor is virtually dead.

Rare is the bishop or parish priest

who can hazard a critical reflection in a sermon

or other public setting.

The protectors of Catholic orthodoxy are vigilant,

ever ready to identify and judge me a heretic

for simply living and speaking my conscience.

Hiding my true faith, or abandoning it altogether,

is increasingly the price of friendship

with family and friends

who are willing to simply

pay, pray, obey,

a price I am unwilling or unable to pay.

I strive to be a Fundamental Catholic,

not a Catholic Fundamentalist.

I can

and must


my head AND my heart

Catholic evermore,

Roman never again.

I view the Creator,

Both noun and verb,

As BEING-in-Love

being closest to God

Being in Love.

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Dedication of Saint John Lateran Basilica

Today we interrupt the regular flow of our liturgical year
for the feast of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran,
the oldest of Rome’s four great basilicas.
From 311, when Constantine
gave the building and land to the Catholic Church,
it’s been considered the cathedral of Rome
and the mother church of Christendom.
Through the centuries, the Lateran has suffered earthquakes,
attacks by Vandals and Saracens, and destruction by fire.
It was rebuilt each time.
But is that building the Church?
Pope Gregory IX started the Inquisition in the early 1200s
to fight heresy by torturing people
until they changed their mind about what they believed,
or it killed them.
In 1310, for example, Marguerite Porete was burned at the stake for
refusing to take back her writings about God’s love.
The effort against heresy continues today
in Vatican offices known as the Curia and the CDF
(Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)
which orders theologians and teachers and priests
and ordinary people who speak truth to power
to deny their consciences and be silent.
Popes and bishops no longer have the civil authority
to burn people at the stake for their beliefs,
but in recent years that CDF has attempted to silence,
among others, priests like Helmut Schiller, Tony Flannery,
Roy Bourgeois, and John Dear;
the Leadership Conference of Women Religious;
and 200 Roman Catholic priests who happen to be women.
Is that the Church?
From the time I entered first grade at Fremont Saint Ann’s
until I graduated from the seminary,
4,392 U.S. priests were accused of abusing 10,667 people.
Those abusers were protected,
and their victims re-victimized
by an institutional structure that covered up their abuse.
Is that the Church?
No, that is not the Church.
The Church is not the building in Rome known as St. John Lateran.
It’s not the Inquisition or the Curia or the CDF.
It is not an oppressive hierarchy that protects abusers.
We know what the Church is.
The Church is us.
Paul told the Corinthians that God’s Spirit within them
made them a holy place, a temple of God.
They were God’s building, founded on Jesus.
They themselves were the Church.
The Jewish people went to Jerusalem to visit the Temple,
there to encounter God in the holy place.
But, as John’s Gospel tells us,
those who had authority in the Temple
were using their power to oppress God’s people.
Jesus criticized them for their misuse of power.
We, if we are to be followers of Jesus’ Way,
must imitate him.
When people are oppressed,
we are the ones who must speak truth to power.
We are called to make Ezekiel’s vision live:
abundant water flowing out of the temple of God,
those in whom the Spirit of God dwells,
the holy ones, us.
Every couple of weeks or so I receive an e-mail
asking about Holy Spirit.
What kind of community are we?
How do we worship?
What’s our Mass like?
Where is our Church?
I have two answers:
we meet at 3535 Executive Parkway these days,
and wherever we gather is where our Church is,
because we are the Church.
Sure, we meet here in this chapel,
a physical building made of bricks and stones.
It’s like the dining room table at Thanksgiving Dinner.
The location may move from place to place over the years,
depending on how old we are or what we do for a living
or any of a seemingly unlimited number of other life changes.
Still, no matter where we are, the people we are with are our family,
by biology or by marriage or by adoption or by companionship.
It’s the same way with Church.
Wherever we are, we gather around the altar,
this Thanksgiving table,
each of us a temple of the Holy Spirit,
a living stone,
a member of the People of God.
The Spirit is alive and among us.
We are Church.
In today’s first reading
Ezekiel gives us a beautiful image of God’s temple,
a way to recognize when we, the People of God,
are doing what we should be doing.
He describes the temple and the living water that flows from it.
He says a river of life flows out from it, and
“Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes
the sea shall be made fresh.“Along both banks of the river,
fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade,
nor their fruit fail.

“Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food,
and their leaves for medicine.”

God’s temple is known by its effects:
living waters,
food for life,
medicine for the sick,
goodness and kindness and mercy flooding the land.
We met again this past week
to continue our work to make living water flow out from us,
from these temples that we are,
this Church that we are.
We’ll spend the winter months ahead
planning ways to refresh the waters
of the Maumee River and Lake Erie,
to replenish the dome of leaves that protects our land,
to encourage the produce that feeds us and keeps us healthy.
We will collaborate with government agencies
and corporate entities
and community foundations,
and while we’re encouraging them and expecting them to act,
we ourselves will also act in every way we can.
As Pope Francis puts it,
Nurturing and cherishing creation
is a command God gives to each of us.
It means transforming the world
so that it may be a garden,
a habitable place for everyone.
We will work
to make real our vision
for the kin-dom of God
here in northwest Ohio.
The Spirit of God is upon us,
and we will renew the face of the earth.
We are the Church.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor


Dear peacemakers,
As many of your know our brother in peace, Mark Coville, is going to be sentenced in early December by Judge Jokl in DeWitt Town Court for his nonviolent witness against the US government’s”murder by drone” policy.  He may spend a year in jail for his public support of the innocent victims of drone warfare and the Gospel of Peace.In the post below this one are two petitions:

  • A generic one for anyone to sign and;
  • A religious one for Catholics (can be modified for any faith community).

Please consider signing  a petition in support of Mark. You can do so in one of two ways:

  1. You can take a petition to your peace groups, faith groups, friends, family, ListServs, organizations, etc. and mail it in – the instructions are at the end of the petitions.
  2. You can email Linda Letendre your support of Mark in a message (“Consider this message to be my signature for the petition in support of Mark Coville.” along with your address and phone number) and she will send it.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Linda LeTendre

Invitation to Listening Session – Synod on Family – St. Vincent’s Church, Albany, March 15

St. Vincent’s Parish, 900 Madison Ave., Albany, NY is offering a ‘Listening Session’ for the faithful in response to Pope Francis’ call for broad input for the Synod on the Family this October in Rome.

A Time of Dialogue:  Preparation for the 2015 Family Synod.

The ‘Listening Session’ will take place in the Parish Hall (at the Church) from 1-3pm on Sunday, March 15.  Facilitators from the parish will use a structured model of small group discussion to capture conversation on marriage, family and pastoral practices in the Catholic Church.  When compiled, the results will be shared with our bishop and also those attending.

This is an opportunity for the faithful to express their opinions and experiences with Church teaching and practice concerning Families.  All faithful are encouraged to participate.  If you plan to attend please RSVP to by March 8 if possible to facilitate our planning.

Steve Powers, on behalf of the St. Vincent’s Listening Session planning committee.