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Ordination of Jane Kryzanowski

Homily on the occasion of the  Ordination of a Roman Catholic Woman Priest at Regina

Marie Bouclin | July 11, 2015

[Readings: Wisdom 8:1-4, 9-11; Philippians 1:1-2, 8-11; Luke 10:1-9]

On this historic day for the church of Saskatchewan, as we celebrate the ordination of its first Roman Catholic woman priest, we gather to surround Jane Kryzanowski with our love and support.  A seed is being sown today for what we pray will be a rich “harvest of justice”, that the "overseer will send out many workers to the harvest".

The three readings that Jane has chosen are perfectly suited to illustrate three gifts that I believe God is offering the church by calling women to priesthood.

The first is maturity.  Maturity comes when Wisdom infuses and enlightens our experience.  We are mature because collectively, we bring to the church years of learning theology and doing parish work; years of teaching at the elementary, secondary and university levels; years of working with the sick and dying as nurses; years of serving the poor and troubled as social workers.  We have worked in business.  We have experienced religious life, married life, motherhood and grandparenthood. We have balanced budgets, worried about meeting mortgage payments, experienced the pain of divorce, single parenting, underemployment and loss of employment, life-threatening diseases and living with handicaps.  We are real persons living in the real world with its very real needs.

Maturity gives us the right to question why real needs are not being met.

Wisdom and experience have taught us that behaviours such as sexism, racism, exclusion and the violence that inevitably accompany them, are not acceptable to God, they are not "in keeping with Wisdom's precepts."

The second gift Roman Catholic Women Priests bring to the church is prophetic obedience.  Prophets are people who stand up and speak out against unjust practices within their own institutions when others keep silent.  We stand up and speak out against the exclusion of women as full members of our church.  We choose to obey God rather than man-made unjust laws.  We denounce all forms of violence, especially violence against women and children.  From a place of relative powerlessness in a patriarchal church, we speak out for those who are even more powerless -- the victims of abuse, of violence, of senseless and needless poverty. W e preach and strive to practice radical inclusivity and acceptance, not just tolerance and acceptance of differences. We signify this by welcoming everyone, as Jesus did, to our sacramental table.

We answer the call to ordained ministry to keep alive the subversive memory of Jesus, his life and his teaching, through the celebration of the Church's sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  Prophetic obedience to the Holy Spirit requires tremendous inner freedom.

The Dominican theologian Albert Nolan writes of Jesus that, "He was able to stand up and contradict the assumptions, customs, and cultural norms of his society. He interpreted laws" (and if they were not a force for good, he disregarded them)... Within (his) society and its religion he had no authority to do any of that. What he did have was the personal freedom to do God's will regardless of what anyone thought or said."

As we heard again in last Sunday's gospel from Mark, while a prophet is not without honour, she is seldom welcome in her home town, or even in her own church. We do not observe a man-made law (Canon 1024, to be precise) because it is not life-giving for God's people. For this, we have been exiled to the margins of the church.  Oddly enough that is exactly where Pope Francis tells Catholics they should be ministering.

The third gift God is offering our church through the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement, is servant leadership, also called the companionship of empowerment.  This is the nub of today's Gospel reading.  Jesus empowers seventy-two disciples to go in pairs, ahead of him.

First he tells them to pray that God will send out more workers, but cautions them and us that we will meet with opposition, even hostility.  We know about rejection, exclusion and ridicule.

Then he advises us not to carry too much baggage, to let go of whatever crutch we're leaning on and to move forward with singleness of purpose.  We have to let go of the crutch of approval by hierarchy; we let go of the baggage of our old dogmatic certainties, the need for finding security in childish conformity.  Especially, we need to let go of the illusion that some people (clergy, for instance) are more worthy than others.  God created each one of us in God's image and likeness!

It is together, as a community empowering all its members to reach their full human and spiritual potential, that we become workers of the reign of God, architects and engineers of a new model of church.

We believe our church still needs ordained ministers, people who are called to lead community worship, people who have studied the faith and can account for the hope that dwells in them, both publicly and in the context of small faith communities. We are not ordained for ourselves, but for others. Women are not asking to be ordained because they are holier or more worthy. We are simply and humbly answering the Spirit's call to use our gifts of wisdom and prophetic obedience to create communities of mutual empowerment, for the People of God, to the greater glory of God. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Marie Bouclin, bishop for RCWP Canada

What else can one do but say, “Here I am!”

Gerard Guimond | July 24, 2015

It isn’t about courage. It’s about awareness.  When we feel called and called often enough, that genuine awareness is enough to stir us to act.  It’s when we feel desperate about that awareness we are at our best because acting through the inner disturbance is all we have left.  When one is female in a burdensome, misogynist, male-dominated social order as is Roman priesthood, and feeling this gnawing, continuous call to the same privilege of leadership, what else can one do but say, “Here I am!”

While driving the prairie road to Saskatchewan I responded to my wife, Jackie, “Never mind. We’re going to our own excommunication.  It’s just one more time!  We’ve been doing this seemingly natural thing now for how many years?  And hey, we’re merely maintaining our relationship with all the greats, both men and women who have done as much or more to contribute to this wonderful state of excommunication from the tyranny of Rome. So what’s the big deal?”  Well, the big deal is we’re not ready or willing to tolerate distorted Roman sexuality any longer.  Rome needs us more than we need Rome. Simple!

God, the prairies can be so beautiful!

Gerard Guimond, Fort Frances, ON

A Cradle Catholic Attends a Catholic Ordination of a Woman

Jacklynne Faragher-Guimond | July 23, 2015

It is Wednesday, July 8, 2015.  My husband and I are en-route to Regina, Saskatchewan to participate in the ordination of our friend, Jane Kryzanowski.  We met Jane and her husband, only two and a half years ago and had no idea where that encounter would lead.  We are passing the  “Welcome to Winnipeg” sign when I blurt out: “Gerry, are we going to celebrate an excommunication?”  He looks at me and says: “Perhaps so!”  And so the floodgate of thoughts burst forth.

Ordination means there will be a bishop
…mmm...the first bishop I encountered slapped me on the head at age10 and initiated me into the church militant as a soldier of Christ.  Egad! Am I really that old?  They don’t do that anymore, do they?  Also had to ‘get permission from a bishop’ to enter a second marriage in the church as part of the annulment process. (Should I complain? It was granted!!!)
I don’t like those funny hats.  I wonder how long it takes them to learn when to change hat to beanie throughout a liturgy.  And that crozier…is it really a shepherd’s hook or is it a weapon to keep us in line?  Thankfully, bishops like Tom Gumbleton, Remi DeRoo and Reynauld Rouleau have given me positive hope. 

I wonder what a woman bishop will be like?  Ordination of women has been going on for a few years now but this will be my first witness of such an event.  I wonder if it will be a sea of women instead of men.  I wonder about ordination itself; do we need priests, or do we want priests?  If God continues to call people (women and men) there must be a reason.  I’ve heard prayers for vocations said at Mass over the years and quit praying them long ago when I realized the church wasn’t using the ones it had (married priests who wished to continue in ministry) or accepting women who were called.  I have come to believe in a God who is too big to let us starve to death (sacramentally speaking) for lack of ordained priests.  Diarmuid OMurchu reminds us: “Eucharist was not made for the priesthood; priesthood was made for the Eucharist”.

These and many other thoughts mull through my head as we travel across the prairies, drinking in the beauty of creation…yellow canola and purple flax fields with a blue sky above, overloaded with marshmallow clouds as far as the eye can see. Wow!

Two days of basking in the holiness of Qu’Appelle House of Prayer and we are on our way to Jane’s celebration at Sunset United Church in Regina.  It is a lovely worship space and one feels joy and excitement in the place. The altar and ambo are purposely angled to create circular seating for those gathered.   A pianist, guitarist, flautist and choir break into song as we begin with “God Has Anointed Me”.

Two lovely liturgical dancers emerge, bringing up the stole and chrism oil for Jane’s ordination.  Oh my gosh!  I see a ‘baby bump’ on one of the dancers and a lump in my throat stops my singing.  There are not two but three dancers here…another sign of  Mother God’s presence...an intense moment for me.

Bishop Marie appears with NO hat, NO crozier, wearing but a lovely red chasuble and a beautiful smile.

Lump #2 jumps into my throat when I spy several male priests also processing in.  OMG! They are all grey-haired!  I’ll bet they never dreamed they would ever see this when they were ordained.  Oh great, now there are tears joining the lump.  And we haven’t even started yet.  The liturgy is lovely…familiar and appropriate hymns that everyone knows and can participate in…the readings so powerfully proclaimed by friends of Jane, Marie’s message with good words for us all.

Lump #3 enters my being as I listen to my husband’s beautiful voice chanting the Litany of the Saints.  Thank you God for your gift to him.

Lump #4 - The Laying on of Hands...and with the Bishop we are all invited to pray over Jane.  This woman is being raised up by her family and friends…it is a sacred sight watching as each one reverently invokes the Spirit over Jane.

Lump #5 – actually more of a choke with tears streaming…her husband (himself vested) ‘dresses’ his wife in her priestly garb, chasuble and stole.  I catch myself thinking: “Is this really the catholic church?”

A line from Anne Murray’s old song, “You Light up My Life” comes to mind.  “It can’t be wrong, when it feels so right...”   I reason: “If this isn’t the real catholic church, it should be.”  I envision a square, representing the church, being stretched so that the corners are disappearing  and a circle appears...stretching enough to make room for all God’s people to live freely…no one confined to a corner anymore.  It is happening!

Watching the daughters bringing up the gifts, seeing husband and wife priests distributing communion together, hearing that Jane pledges obedience only to God and the people she serves, and finding out that the chasuble she was vested in belonged to her husband those many years ago…so much emotion swirling around in me…what a privilege to be part of this wonder-filled event.

Jane’s word of thanks and closing remarks remain with me.  She reminded us that her ordination is not for her alone, but for all of us, especially for all women who may receive God’s call to priesthood…our daughters and granddaughters included.  When asked how she will be living out this new call in her life, she said it would be up to those gathered to let her know that; she is available to serve wherever most needed.

The Great Amen for me came after the liturgy when during lunch I asked a little boy at my table why he was there.  His reply was: “She’s my Grandma!”

Jacklynne Faragher-Guimond
Fort Frances, ON


Remarks at Ordination to Priesthood

Jane Kryzanowski | July 11, 2015

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for this day:  First to our God of Abundant Blessings for bringing me and us to this day of truth and justice in the church.  We recognize the truth that God can and does call women as well as men to priestly ministry among God's people, and we act according to that truth despite church laws to the contrary.  Thank you, each and every one, for being here – some coming from great distances across our country to participate in the movement of the Spirit for justice and equality.  And thanks, also, to those who were unable to be physically present but are here in thought and prayer.  The Spirit of Presence knows no bounds.

I would be remiss not to make a few personal acknowledgements with thanks:

The inevitable question is, “Now what?”  I have been asked, “What are you going to do?”  “How does this work?”  “Will you have a parish?” 

Today, I have committed to being a servant-leader in an inclusive discipleship of equals.  This is our model as Roman Catholic Women Priests.  I am here for you and to be with you on the spiritual journey.  My question is, “What are your desires and needs for sacramental worship and pastoral ministry?”  You, especially the local community, are partners in how my ministry will develop.

To begin, on July 22nd, Feast of Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles, those who are able are invited to our home to celebrate Eucharist and to talk about possibilities.

For now, I may not know for certain where the path I walk will lead, but I do know whose steps I follow:  Jesus, the Christ; and that will take me to where I must go.  Welcome to the journey with me.

Jane Kryzanowski, priest, RCWP Canada

Calgary, AB

Community Members News

Ordination of Jane Kryzanowski

From community member Dave Pogue:

It was a grand celebration as 120 gathered in Sunset United Church, Regina, on Saturday, July 11, 2015 to participate in the ordination of Jane Kryzanowski as the latest Canadian Roman Catholic Womanpriest.

Two dancers and a remarkable team of musicians led us into the joy and wonder of the mass, such as we seldom experience.  The traditional Liturgy of the Saints, sung by a cantor, combined nicely with contemporary hymns, and - dare I mention it?- a reverently delivered whistle!

Bishop Marie Bouclin of Sudbury presided and gave the homily (click here to read): (http://rcwpcanada.x10.mx/). She was assisted by RCWP priest Ruth Wasylenko of Edmonton, and other regional concelebrants. The convoy from Calgary included Fred Williams and Adelle and Dave Pogue.  

Our thanks to all who helped to make this a memorable event. 

--Dave Pogue

From community member Fred Williams:

On July 11th, 2015 at Sunset United Church in Regina, SK., some 200 people assembled to witness this first for Saskatchewan, i.e. the first woman to be ordained to the priesthood in that province. 

Four of us from Calgary were in attendance. The ceremony began on time at 2 pm with our Canadian Bishop Marie Bouclin presiding. Joining her in the procession, all vested with with red stoles, were Ruth Wasylenko (Roman Catholic Womanpriest from Edmonton), a United Church minister and his wife, Emil and Jake Kutarna with their wives, and myself. 

The ceremony began with the hymn "You Have Anointed Me" and was danced to the music by two young women all dressed in white. The two lovely young ladies danced also at the Responsorial Psalm "Rain Down" and then a third time at the Recessional hymn "The Magnificat." They were all beautifully done and added, perhaps, a touch of the feminine to the ceremony as they were so gracefully done. The Rite of Ordination had its own flare to it at the beginning with the prayer to the Holy Spirit "Spirit Come." Then came the haunting (to me) "Litany of the Saints" with prayers to Sarah, Abraham, Ruth, Judith, Esther, and our New Testament saints: Peter, Paul, Andrew, Mary Magdalene, Martha, Mary, Phoebe, Prisca and Aquilla. Then came the invocation to those "other" saints, like Hildegard, Catherine of Sienna, Julian of Norwich, Kateri Tekakwitha, Angelo Roncalli, Oscar Romero, Henry Nouwen and Iris Miller. 

For the laying on of hands (the actual Rite of Ordination) the entire assembled community came forward beginning with Jane's family. There were three local groups present in support of Jane's ordination: Sophia Sisters, Spirit Seekers, and Celebration Circle. The investiture with the Stole and Chasuble was a touching moment. 

It was a wonderful celebration of life for us all. At the end, after Jane addressed the assembled community and spoke so eloquently about the call for equality and justice in the Church of today, we gave her a standing ovation that simply went on and on and on!

We stand with you Jane as one  gifted and called to priestly ministry among God's people. To all the women priests of Canada (and worldwide) I recall Oscar Romero's statement: "You are of a future that is not your own." -- Fred Williams

Participants' Reflections on the Ordination Liturgy

Joan Rink | August 10, 2015

At a recent gathering, community members who attended the ordination of Jane Kryzanowski as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest, shared their reflections.  Some of the comments are as follows:

Being involved in the preparation for the ordination one could feel the anticipation build.  This was something extraordinary and the community came together for it.

The music preparation, in particular being able to really pray the music, gave the feeling that the ordination started weeks before.  The music came together quickly.

Seeing all the familiar faces as we gathered for the ordination gave a strong sense of community, a feeling as brother and sister, a relationship of choice.  It was wonderful to be with and see the size of the community.  There was so much love and support for Jane.

From the beginning tears flowed freely, this celebration was like none other – a soul homecoming.

The inclusiveness of the liturgy felt so good, it gave a sense of belonging.  Notable were:

1. Seeing the married priests and their wives walk together in the opening procession plus all the other combinations of ordained priests and ministers – United Church and Anglican.  What gifts the marginalized priests could have offered God's people.

2. The use of inclusive language and feminine vocabulary in the songs and prayers was a relief to every cell in the body—No interior translation was needed.  The congregation could just sink in and be.  The participation by the community in the ritual and prayers was very meaningful.

3. Having members of the community question Jane on her willingness to serve the people, to faithfully proclaim the Gospel, and to celebrate the Sacraments was special.  We were happy to say “YES” when the bishop asked us if we accept her and will support her in her ministry.

4. Inviting everyone to the table, to partake fully in the feast, this is what Jesus did.  Having the priests serve communion to others and receive last said, “This is service.”

The music and liturgical dance were inspirational: “They danced my soul.”  The awareness that there was a third person dancing, the promise of newness of life, was so touching and inspiring.  This is for future generations. 
The cantor for the Litany of the Saints was so prayerful and has such a rich beautiful voice.  The litany included more women and contemporary “holy men and women”, friends of God and prophets.
Having the MC explain the rites as we went along was helpful. Not only did we know what was happening but why.  In the ordination rite Jane stood before the altar and cross and promised obedience to Christ and the Gospel not the Bishop.  This put the focus on the source of the call, not only for her but us as well.

The experience of laying on of hands was powerful.  A real sense of the Sacred in the moment as if the power of the Spirit increased as each person laid on hands.  It was a living witness to the laying on of hands from generation to generation – a calling forth of whom the assembly desired to preside.  It was observed that the ordination occurred precisely at 3:00 p.m.

Jane's remarks at the end were very touching in her gratitude and hope for the future.

Jane's heartfelt humility in her testimony of promise to follow in the footsteps of Jesus was a strong witness to her commitment in faith.

Joan Rink, Regina

A reflection on my ordination as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest

Jane Kryzanowski | August 19, 2015

On July 11, 2015 over 100 people gathered in Sunset United Church, Regina, SK to witness my ordination as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest.  Bishop Marie Evans Bouclin, Sudbury, ON presided.  In addition, the Spirit of Presence was very evident in many, many ways, from the wishes of people who could not be present to the use of heritage items from my ancestors in faith and gifts made especially for this occasion.

Emotions were strong throughout, though less overwhelming than when I was ordained a deacon 10 months earlier.  At that time there was a strong feeling of stepping over a threshold into a new reality.  This time I felt more self-assured, knowing I am responding whole-heatedly to the call of God and, though I may not know for certain where the path I walk will lead, I do know whose steps I follow:  Jesus, the Christ; and that will take me to where I must go.

The liturgy began with the song You Have Anointed Me and included a beautiful liturgical dance in which the stole, symbol of the office of priest, and the Sacred Chrism with which I was to be anointed, were brought into the assembly.  My soul soared!  “The oil of gladness . . . the mantle of joy . . .”  These are the gifts of God for the people of God being entrusted to me in a special way at this time.  I pray that my ministry will bring joy and peace to those I serve.  There is so much joy here today.

I was presented for ordination by Ruth Wasylenko, RCWP, from Edmonton.  My local sponsors gave testimony to my preparation, suitability, and readiness for ordination.  Bishop Marie then announced that I was chosen as priest.  My earlier questioning, “Who am I?” and, “Why me?” had dissolved with God's reassuring, “You have not chosen me, I have chosen you.”  So, as my name was called, I responded from the depths of my soul, “Ad Sum – Here I am, I am ready.”   Though prophets are not accepted in their own lands, I know it is not my word that burns within, but that of our loving, all-embracing God who desires justice and compassion, joy and peace for all peoples and all creation.

The selected Sacred Scriptures were proclaimed and opened for us by Bishop Marie.  Her homily appears at http://rcwpcanada.x10.mx/content/
OrdinationJaneKryzanowski.html.  Wisdom, prophetic obedience, and servant leadership are the gifts of the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement to the church today.   Simply stated, abiding Wisdom that becomes rich with age, will guide me (us) if I am (we are) attentive and listen to the Spirit (Wisdom 9: 1-4, 9-11).  Prophetic obedience, will lead to a rich harvest of justice promised in Philippians (1:1-2,8-11).  Like the disciples in Luke (10:1-9), we are sent in a companionship of empowerment to proclaim the good news.  We are urged to leave our personal trappings behind, trust in God, and simply be with those to whom we are sent, those on the margins of church and society, reassuring them that they are part of God's loving, inclusive kin-dom. 

The Ordination Rite enveloped me as a loving mother embracing her child.  The hymn, Spirit of God Transform Us by Gregory Norbert, felt like Ruach Elohim, the breath of God, infusing my soul as we sang, “Deep in the womb of our heart, reveal your presence, O God.” 

Representatives of the Regina community circles together with the Bishop asked me the questions of the sacred promises we make as a priest:  Are you ready to be ordained for priestly ministry by the power of the gifts of the Holy Spirit?  Are you ready to support and serve the people of God with compassion?  Are you ready to celebrate the mysteries of Christ faithfully?  Are you ready to teach the word of God with integrity? Are you ready to consecrate your life to God for the Spirit's saving work, and to unite yourself with Christ who lived and taught us justice in the beatitudes and his works of mercy? 
To each question, I replied, “I am,” concluding “with the help of God.”  I was humbly reminded that this is the work of God in this community, not of my own doing.  Empowerment comes through the Spirit at work in community and in my own life.  I must forever remember God is the potter; I am only the clay in God's hands.  The community was then asked if they accepted me as Christ's minister and would support me with their prayers; and the community gave a resounding YES! 

We continued with the Litany of the Saints.  I stood before the altar and cross with open hands extended, to express my openness to hear and readiness to respond to the voice of God, the stirrings of the Spirit and the cry of the poor, in obedience to Christ and the Gospel.  The community stood in solidarity with me; and the Spirit of Presence echoed the names of each of the holy men and women, martyrs and mystics, friends of God and prophets, as they came to stand by me, surrounding me with strength and courage.  Tears welling in my eyes, I prayed for the community as they prayed for me.

I was overwhelmed by the power of the Sacred Spirit in the heart of the ordination rite, the laying on of hands and prayer of consecration.  The silent laying on of hands, first be Bishop Marie and then by each person present, felt full of blessing; I returned blessings to each one.  Some hands were firm, others gentle – barely touching; some hands were large, others small (for the children I had to bend down to their level to receive their touch); some people laid both hands upon me, others one; sometimes there were couple hand laid upon me, two. . . or four. I was simply overwhelmed!

During the prayer of consecration all were invited to extend their hands with the bishop, invoking the fullness of the gifts of the Spirit upon me.  One of the priests present pointed out to me that Bishop Marie ordained me at precisely 3 o'clock.  Also, he noted that it was the feast of St. Benedict, church reformer in his day, renowned preacher and liturgist.  Not to mention, Benedict had a twin sister, St. Scholastica, who was a great influence on him.  (Benedictine Sisters were my elementary school teachers.)

My husband vested me in chasuble and stole, the garments of a priest.  The chasuble I chose to wear was made for him over 45 years ago.  The stole was a gift for the occasion. My husband's full participation in the liturgy expressed a fulfilment of our life-dream of equality in marriage and ministry.  The instrumental music, My Heart is Moved by Carolyn McDade, which accompanied the vesting, reverently expressed my attitude of solidarity with those on the margins and those who seek justice and compassion for all creation.

I was presented to the assembly as the newest priest of the church to much applause, even the waving of pom-poms by the children!

During the Liturgy of Eucharist, my heart skipped a beat as my three daughters approached the altar, arm in arm, to offer the bread and wine contained in earthen vessels they had commissioned for me from a local potter as an ordination gift from their families.  They have been big supporters of me throughout my journey of the past few years, encouraging me with words I used on them from time to time, “You can do anything you desire (as long as it's good).  Don't let being a woman stop you!”  The smiles on their radiant faces spoke volumes of affirmation and blessing.

The Eucharistic prayer was shared by the priests at the altar, and all joined in to say the words of consecration.  This is the thanksgiving prayer of all the people; we make our prayer together through, with, and in Christ.

Holding out the Body and Blood of Christ with the invitation that all are welcome to the feast sent shivers down my spine.  Even though I have participated in inclusive celebrations many times before, this initial offering by me, as priest, was special.  The community sang the inclusive message, For Everyone Born a Place at the Table.   And we mean it in practice.

At the conclusion of the celebration, my heart overflowed with gratitude as I said a few words to the assembly.  They are really the ones who are at the heart of this day.  Ordination is for the people, not the priest.  Our call is to be servant-leaders in a discipleship of equals.  Working together we will make our way, one step at a time, bringing Christ to the marketplace, being Christ on the margins.

The joy of the day was beautifully expressed in the closing liturgical dance of the Taize Magnificat.  Bishop Marie and I followed with happy feet, rejoicing as we went out from the assembly to begin our service among the people of God.

Our celebration continued for the rest of the day and into the next at a reception for all at the church, and then smaller gatherings of family and friends as we basked in the wonder of the movement of the Spirit in the Regina community.  Where will it lead?  That is yet to be revealed as I strive to be faithful to the promises I made to God and the community, and give my all at this time in my life.  This is my one-way ticket, my final raison d'être.

Jane Kryzanowski, RCWP Canada

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