MMICC Synod Final Report

MMICC “Synod for a Synodal Church” Summary

February 2022

Strike the rock so that water will flow from it Exodus 17:6

Treaty 7 Territory The Oldman River Valley, Alberta


Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community (MMICC) has been very busy meeting with members, organizing Zoom discussion groups around the synodal process questions, and writing summaries and reports in preparation for the final document that will be sent to the archdiocesan committee.

Throughout all our exchanges, a particular question arises: “Will our voices be heard?” So deep now is the wound that, over centuries, the patriarchal and hierarchical Church has inflicted on its faithful and faith-filled women, that we are not sure that our voices will indeed count for anything in the assessment of synodality. Yet, we live and worship in hope and have been strengthened by this process of gathering and listening to one another’s hearts.

We refer to the Exodus story where Moses leads his people to a dry, unsheltered, inhospitable land and they come begging him to pray that God quench their thirst. The people question the reason that have they followed him to such a place and wonder: “is it only to die?” In this story, God heard the people’s plea. God gave Moses the gift of drawing water from a rock, and the water brought life to the people who were thirsty, discouraged, and destitute. It is our hope that our stories and testimonies in this report will be understood as the story of people who thirst for the water of life.

For centuries, women of the Church, including many great mystics, have shown the world over and over that when it comes to faith and leadership, they are second to none. We have nothing further to prove. Women of the Church have cried out and continue to cry out for that water of life from within the institutional Church, for a recognition of their full identity in Christ. Yet, women who make up the biggest part the Church faithful, have been and are still dying of thirst. Some of them have rediscovered that they can find the Source for themselves and others. We now drink again from our baptismal identity as priests as men have done and incorrectly purported for centuries as an exclusive male right.

These women and men have heard and heeded the words from Revelation: 22,

17: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Will the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church leave us yet again in a desert space where women are not allowed to answer faithfully the call of God to become servant leaders for God’s Church today? Will the leaders of this Church, despite the fossilized hierarchy and hindering canonical law, hear what we have to say in our synodal reports and take it to heart? Will the leaders strike a rock of biblical and historical truth, and provide a route out of the desert, to waters of life within the Church and let us drink as much as we need, as much as we are called to serve?

It is our hope that our archdiocesan committee will read our report and our stories. It is our hope that they will be handed over, uncensored, to the Western Conference of Catholic Bishops and then, on to Rome.

Be assured of our prayers for the synodal process in our community. Be assured, too, that we live in hope, and also that this community will continue to proclaim Christ through its ministries, relationships, vision, prayer, and presence in the world. Called by Christ, we live out and embrace the role of women priests in the Church. May you come to know in your hearts, through the voices evoked by the Holy Spirit in this “Synod for a synodal Church,” that MMICC does indeed drink from the Living Waters of Christ, and offer non-judgmentally, freely, this wellspring to those who “Come!” –all who come to the waters!


Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community (MMICC) of Regina and beyond (Email messages to 170 contacts go out for Sunday worship), under the servant leadership of Jane Kryzanowski, is participating in the “Synod for a synodal Church” through the invitation of the Archdiocese of Regina. We are delighted to take part!

Our preparation team of a dozen or so members gathered several times to pray and plan. We attended a synodal workshop with the archdiocese, accessed materials on-line and made decisions to include as many voices as possible. We spread the opportunities to respond to the two questions over six different Zoom gatherings. Group facilitators and recorders were at the ready, so that everyone could submit their breakout room notes and quotes to an on-line “survey” which acted as a collection tool.

We gathered several times in December through to February 2022, 109 person-visits, to listen generously and respectfully to the faith stories of MMICC. We opened to one another’s joys and pains, childhood upbringings, and family worship narratives. We respected the voices, the choices, and held to the synod process of inviting the Spirit to journey with us, to ask and listen to what the Spirit is saying. Those involved had an opportunity to read, respond to, and suggest changes to the final report.

Here is our response to the 2021-2023 Synod for a Synodal Church including an introduction, a thematic summation and a conclusion, all in larger font. We are grateful for your invitation to listen to us.


Who are we?

MMICC is an inclusive Catholic community under the servant leadership of Jane

Kryzanowski, an ordained woman priest of Roman Catholic Women Priests Canada (RCWP Canada). We regularly gather for Eucharist via Zoom twice monthly during the pandemic. Our numbers have increased, as the geographical location of our members has expanded from coast to coast in Canada and internationally as well.

Our liturgies are renewed and relevant, grounded in the liturgical seasons and readings of the Roman Catholic lectionary, adapted for inclusivity and remote participation. Congregants are invited to bring their own bread and wine which we consecrate and consume together. We sing, we pray, and share the Eucharistic prayer among the community members. Our ministries follow Christ’s lead in non-judgemental love and social justice.

We embrace the values (equality, justice, accountability, collegiality, prophetic obedience) and principles of RCWP Canada. (Please reference our website: https:// ).

We listen first hand to the Indigenous teachers of our country. At the Eucharist we acknowledge the territories we occupy and have begun to embrace a consensual stewardship with Mother Earth.

Coulee landscape The Oldman River Valley, Alberta

Question One

This executive summary is arranged by question and thematic content after each of the Synod’s two questions. Here is the MMICC “Good News” story collected through a time of pandemic.

A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, "journeys together." How is this "journeying together" happening today in your local Church? What experiences of your local church does this question call to mind?

1. Local Church Apathy

Several people expressed a paucity of fellowship or journeying with the local church.

Church, the Building

Right now I have no local church. There is a beautiful building in the village I live in that calls itself a church but its attendance is low.”

The journey is one of two roads, one of which is in a stagnant empty building and the other yet to be formed.”

Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community is fortunate to not have buildings to maintain and repair. This enables the community to have a relatively large amount of money to give to charity.” Church, the People

If the local church means the RC church in my physical community, there is no journeying with that any longer. Sadly, the joy in my heart after attending a liturgy there has for several years dwindled to the point where I feel there is not much point in going anymore. The experience has become underwhelming, sometimes frustrating, and largely irrelevant to my life today.”

I felt committed to becoming a Catholic early in married life, to raise children in the faith. As time went on, different experiences led to growth in faith, but at same time feeling more and more an outsider in own church.”

Although I was born and raised Catholic, I had lost my way, my joy. It was hard to follow the ever-growing set of “rules,” especially after I retired and joined a more conservative parish.”

We don’t want the Church that is stuck in the past with no inspiration of Spirit.”

Sadly, I have not experienced any kind of ‘journeying together’.”

I have only two persons with whom to share my growth in theology.”

Our local church does not reach out to us. Especially during the pandemic when we need to be remembered. I feel I am unimportant to the parish. Maybe a team of visitors to people’s homes would help.”

Parishes are so large they can’t reach out. We need to belong to smaller parishes.”

Looking back on decades of attending Mass there is generally a little interaction on the way into the church building and a little more on the way out, but once inside it is one-way traffic.”

2. Disappointment and Disgruntled with Church Leadership

Some people pointed to the hierarchy, the clergy’s authority and the priests’ entitlement for part of their struggle on the journey. Here are some of their comments.

Priests are set in their ways. They ask the deacon to do things like the synod process, but not parishioners to lead. They don’t want change.”

Pastors perform sacraments and don't seem willing to let go of power.”

Most of the priests were simply present to dole out the sacraments to ‘save us.’

My own questions have been too much of a challenge for an institutional Church.”

I am a little skeptical of the motives of the “big church.”

People no longer believe what the Church says we are supposed to believe.”

People do not feel they owe the church any kind of allegiance.”

I do not need Rome.”

Married priests are able to minister much better than someone without a family and children. The Church can drop its celibacy requirement.”

Priests are not well prepared [for real life experience of parishioners].”

I find many international priests (bless their hearts) so difficult to understand. Faith cannot grow when you don't know what the priest is saying.”

Our call for change is but a drop in the tsunami wave of calls for reform of the


3. Desire for (up-to-date) Adult Faith Formation

Many participants expressed a desire to grow in their faith, but are not finding a path for growth to follow through Mass or other parish offerings in the local parish.

The canonical church seems unable to accompany us into adult faith.”

Church needs to open to … adult faith formation and opportunities.”

Sharing stories of relationship with Church, there is a common thread of the parish experience being unable to keep up with adults’ maturing in faith. Education, prayer, liturgy, and discipline are inadequate to meet the spiritual hunger experienced.”

Teaching on original sin is outdated. God declared Creation good.”

I am grateful for this universal church [of MMICC], where I can continue to grow in adult faith and service, and I hope the mainstream Catholic church will respond to the call to better respond to this need in lay people to be nourished and called to adult faith which bears fruit in witness and service in our world.”

Other churches have great ministry and other adult education courses where I learn.”

How have we been changed by this process [of synod]? How can it help us live more fully into who we are as community? The outcome of our sharing is a tool to shape our pastoral visioning! This is key.”

How do we as faith communities nurture adult formation? Not with a philosophy of obedience and acceptance and unworthiness. There were priests along the way that have risen to the occasion and had that awareness, and there were others we encountered who took no interest in us. Their purpose was just about getting through the Mass.”

Mostly our journey together is faithfulness to the Sunday Eucharist and the sacraments.

The local church has groups for involvement like CWL, the Knights, St. Vincent de Paul

Society and offers missions and occasional evening session which invite faith sharing.”

4. Abuse, Participation and Leaving

People spoke about painful findings of clergy abuse, and leaving.

Mandatory celibacy is spiritual abuse.”

Listening to those who suffered abuse is a good place to begin in order to understand the devastation caused to a person by patriarchy.”

There is guilt and fear and a lack of freedom with the canonical Church. This is painful.”

The sexual abuse crisis with its coverup, the trauma of residential schools, and exclusion of women who are called by God for full ministry are but three examples that give witness to the engrained and abusive kyriarchy and misogyny that infects the Church. These are the things that lead people to leave the pews.”

One wound was a priest who for 5 years preached on how we were inadequate, didn’t know how to pray. His job was to “improve” us. Hearing that for 5 years was not affirming, and did not fit with the world. I came away from that experience resentful and angry.”There is no sense of the gravity of the sin that violates another person. Whether a person is abused in body or spirit, is serious.”

I tried to ignore the things that didn’t sit well with me, treatment of women, lack of inclusiveness, the sexual abuse and subsequent coverups. I started doing pastoral care, communion services and training other parishioners in the diocesan pastoral care training sessions. It only made my dance more difficult.”

Catholics are not so much fallen away, but driven away.”

As a woman working for the church, I was made to feel ‘not enough.’ I watched my step and had to make Father ‘look good’”.

Accepting that ‘I am loved, beautiful, smart’-- helps me get past ‘I am not worthy.’”

My own journey as a young person with little faith in a Church that had no room for questions (had high school education by Benedictines). Then later, when I had a family, I became involved in Church but could still not accept some teachings (eg: confession -- forgiveness comes from God when I am sorry, not when I tell a priest) so I felt like a “pick and choose” Catholic! Am really a fed-up Catholic! - still searching, sometimes in a good space then not. It took a long time to feel worthy.”

5. Rules and Exclusivity

One of MMICC’s strongest experiences was that Church rules exclude people and contribute to feelings of not being good enough.

Church as institution has no feelings. Canon Law is made by humans, not God. The

Church does not have a copyright on Jesus, Jesus is found everywhere, not only in the

Church as was taught by the Church.”

Every person is a sacred / beloved child of God, but is not treated that way.”

I have “feelings of not being good enough from so many rules and regulations.”

The institutional Church is characterized by a lack of welcome. … The community’s welcome can be friendly, but rules exclude people and justify homophobic sentiment.” Exclusivity of people who are non-conforming to rigid rules leads to seeking spiritual practice with groups where inclusivity is a priority. There needs to be a fuller embracing of community. Church needs to open to women's ordination, less obstruction for LGBTQ2IA+ who want to marry, adult faith formation and opportunities.”

We need a community of faith to journey with; a community which respects our personal experiences of the Divine as authentic. Where love of God, self, and neighbour is more important in living the Gospel of Jesus than abiding by rules. Less hierarchy, more ‘of the people.’”

After realizing that RCWP is my community, I had a discussion with the local bishop of the Catholic Diocese about continuing with my pastoral care. He had “dis-ease” at my continued participation both as a trainer and as a participant and told me I could no longer perform those functions in his diocese. There was both freedom and sadness that followed that conversation but I have directed my time and efforts to other causes.” “The Church is losing out on good ministry because of its rules against women’s ordination.”

The church will limp along until the rules are changed.”

Marriage and Annulment rules

Some stories named divorce and annulment rules as painful, confusing and anger provoking. One person mentioned a positive annulment experience.

Ongoing mistreatment of separated and divorced people takes place.”

Rules are abusive. Our family felt guilt, denial, and shame with my brother when the church annulled his marriage declaring that the union was flawed when it occurred and therefore not valid. The anger and pain have long lasting effects”.

I was also saddened at one point in my life where my uncle divorced and remarried. Because his brother wouldn't write that my uncle was "crazy", the papers for annulment didn't go through. I was always amazed that my uncle respected his older brother for his decision. However, the Eucharist was an issue. Then, a new priest arrived and invited my uncle and his wife to mass and to receive the Eucharist. Life in faith was good. Until that priest was transferred and my uncle was no longer permitted to receive the Eucharist. Sadly, this went to the day he passed away. So much anger toward the Church. He died, was cremated and buried the next day. No words of farewell and no family present. Found out through Facebook.”

For me, the annulment process alone was so healing: to guide me through remembering the whole 25 years, to help me come to recognize that my spouse and I were two good people who did the best we could with what we knew at that time. Even if I had been denied an annulment, the process itself would have been worthwhile. Of course, I also had good support from clergy and family who knew both of us at that time.”

Rules Excluding LGBTQIA+

Gay and non-gay people spoke up for same-sex marriage and gay rights.

Church needs to open to … less obstruction for LGBTQ2+ who want to marry.”

I saw an ad in the paper for interested gay Catholics to call this number, so I did. I met with the man who placed the ad in the summer of 1983 and in November, seven of us got together and decided to form a Dignity Chapter. We paid our membership dues to Dignity Winnipeg at that time. In 1982 the Canadian group decided that they were large enough to form our own Dignity group, starting at the end of 1984.

On Oct 31, 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a 6-page letter to the bishops of the world on the Pastoral Care of homosexual persons. In it he stated that we are intrinsically disordered and self- indulgent. It also told them to deny any use of church property to Catholic gay individuals and organizations. It has never been rescinded so Rome still teaches that this is still the law.

Regarding LGBTQIA+, I think Rome must:

  1. Recant that 1986 letter

  2. Allow catholic adoption agencies allow gay couples to adopt children

  3. Recognize same sex marriage as just another form of marriage

  4. Forbid bishops from firing staff members when they discover they are gay

  5. Quit pushing COURAGE as a solution to being gay. Courage teaches gay men (not women) that they were not born gay, but acquired this as they got older. It is as if they woke up some morning and decided they would be gay. It is a dangerous form of brain washing which convinces the person that he is not gay. The person is very happy about that but in a lot of cases, overtime the old urges and desires resurface and in a lot of cases they cannot cope with this and choose suicide.”

6. Authentic Community: Hopeful, Life-giving, Belonging

Many members who came expressed hope, shared their life-giving experiences and testified to a sense of belonging in the worship time and other gatherings held by MMICC—all expressions of authentic gospel hospitality and proclamation of Christ’s love. MMICC shows maturity in its open table and inclusivity. People also wondered how we might spread this good news.


We have found a ‘home/community’ that is providing us with spiritual nourishment and encouragement [MMICC].

RCWP Canada is a community who provides life-promoting opportunities informed by the Word for an all-inclusive Mass. The eucharistic breakout rooms are a reflective process for me. They foster adult real-world faith development and spiritual integration. Interestingly, the women priests do all this in a time of major pandemic disruption.”

I haven't abandoned the church. I remember that I have a God-given place, and a role, and celebrate being part of a movement to inform and foster renewal in the big church.”

If the "local church" means my involvement with the MMICC, then that is a different story. The liturgies are meaningful, beautiful, and I look forward to participating. Why is there such a difference? The music, the language in the prayers, the readings, the active participation in the liturgies are life-giving, inspiring, and move me deeply on a spiritual level.”

Through the church I received my original catechesis which gave words to my experiences of God as a child. As an adult I’ve lived and been supported in my faith in communities alongside the church, the Catholic college I attended, L’Arche, a Spiritual Director’s Peer Group, a centring prayer group, spiritual direction and retreats and sessions offered by retreat centres and the Ignatian Apostolate. I’ve also been strengthened, supported, and challenged to grow by Catholic writers such as Joan Chittister, Ronald Rolheiser, Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, Ilia Delio, and now the communities led by women Catholic priests like Mary Magdalene Inclusive Catholic Community.”

Women preaching and presiding is good.”


In MMICC and other RCWP Mass celebrations inclusivity is a balm.”

What does give life in the local parish is the music ministry, the word and the Eucharist

- but it needs to be open to everyone present.”

Eucharist on Zoom is valid. Faith counts, not just words.”

Exclusion does not emulate Jesus' s way. Inclusivity does. Jesus says "all are welcome." MMICC does inclusivity well.”

MMICC and the other RCWP-led communities are providing an alternative way to be in community with others on the journey of faith.”

The inclusive readings and prayers are formidable and I can relate more with them - they are loving and not commandeering.”

Music ministry has been a life-giving way for me to participate in worship and in the parish.”

I no longer pick and choose what I believe in. RCWP is life giving, life-saving, the spirit flows in me and through me. Now I journey together in love with this community.” A sense of belonging

In MMICC liturgies, I am not a spectator. Journeying with this community gives me a sense of belonging and that my presence is valued. I feel at home here.”

I've been nourished by various community groups alongside the Church, including MMICC.”

Meeting people is a positive aspect of gathering as church. MMICC does this well, especially on Zoom Mass through the pandemic.”

LGBTQ2+ need to be welcomed in all Sacraments. They are God's gift revealed because they are born as God's children.”

There is servant leadership with discipleship of equals [at MMICC].”

What we say may have little impact on the institutional church. However, what will come of our conversations has the potential of enhancing the way we in MMICC journey with one another. As we break open our lives and share our experiences with one another in a discipleship of equals, our companionship will be solidified and our faith in a God who is in all, above all, and around all will continue to sustain us as we travel through life not knowing where the road will end.”

Anyway, looking back at the question, my past helps me to relate to what this journeying means now in the MMICC. It's great! Total acceptance. It is a respectful and loving community of which I am a member and proud to be one! It doesn't judge anyone who expresses a different opinion, thought, discussion, etc.”

I enjoy the breakout rooms after the Gospel reading and homily. I don't have to agree with what is being said or taught and everyone in the group is respectful. When I first joined, I was immediately accepted and there was an eagerness for others to get to know me. I wasn't just a face in the Zoom eucharistic celebration.”

I love the openness of the community and as a person, that gives me an opportunity to participate actively if I want to. It reminds me a lot of my journey with my grandmother because she was open - we would call her: une grandmère á la mode.”

7. Indigenous-Settler Relations

The people who came together were largely non-Indigenous, but concerned for the Indigenous-settler-church relations.

There needs to be a Land Acknowledgement at every Mass in every parish in Canada.”

We need to learn from the Indigenous peoples how to be with the land.”

Indigenous wisdom and Indigenous-led prayer is inclusive, open, and encouraging. It nourishes your soul and can be an important part of truth and reconciliation in Canada.

8. Youth

There was concern for a liturgy and activities relevant and meaningful to young people’s language and interests. Also, one person told a story of journeying as a young person.

How does the church expect to attract young people when the language in the liturgy is from the Middle Ages?”

Our adult children no longer attend because the Catholic Church is irrelevant to what is meaningful in their lives and can no longer be trusted to be honest or transparent.” Someone mentioned that the music in the church needs to be alive and vibrant so that young people can relate to it. The old music is okay, too, but we need lively music for them to connect, belong and feel the Spirit. “We need to go where youth are.”

My journey began with an experience of God at the age of 5. Jesus was always at my side when I was young and I held his hand. In grade five, I had a thirst for church, attended, and participated as a reader - all this before school in the morning.

At the time, I lived with my grandmother who had put the first brick in the building of the church in her community. She was the stronghold in my life and church wasn't just attending but a community of people who helped each other out in hard times. She was a blessing in my life. In my early teens I was accompanied with my friends to Mass. Being teens, we didn't want to go with our parents so we went to the 4:30 pm Mass on Saturday - this was new and hip.”

9. Women in the Church

Christ moves within and outside of Church rules. Women tell their story from a sacred place of relationship with Christ.

Women’s ordination—just one part of a renewed Church

What if the vocations of women to ordained ministry are of the Spirit? The first century Church could dispense with male circumcision; can we dispense with a male-only priesthood? With the help of that same Spirit!?”

Can Pope Francis open himself to an encounter with women with a calling like mine and listen to our stories, something his predecessors have never done?”

We need to be faithful to who we are, to who God has made us, and in that faithfulness be led and confident—even if the goal or destination cannot be seen / known.”

The Priesthood of Christ is missing more than half of the body

In Christ there is neither male or female. All are one.” – Galatians 3.28.

The church is missing out on the fullness of the gifts of married men and all women by denying them an equal partnership in serving the people of God in the priesthood.” “I served to the best of my ability when working for the parish. However, I was never allowed to serve to my full ability.”

Women have unique gifts of the Spirit manifest in them for the good of the whole Church.”

Unfortunately, the pews will keep emptying until women are allowed to be ordained, to lead and to minister according to their gifts.”

Women are called by God; they are rejected by the hierarchy of the Church.

In the core of my being I know my call to priesthood to be real and truly from God.”

As a woman I was never enough – not that I wasn’t good enough, but that I didn’t have the right parts - nagging pain of a patriarchy wound that I carry.”

Thomas Aquinas called women, “misbegotten males.” That attitude continues to prevail as women are defined by men and denied the opportunity to respond to God’s call to serve as ordained priestly ministers.”

The Church assumes absolute power and control over women, defining them and the roles they can have without dialogue with women.”

Women are spiritually abused by a patriarchal administration

Women continue to be oppressed and held captive by the patriarchy and misogyny that permeates the theology and governance of the Church.

Women who answer the call to ordination are bullied by the “punishment” of excommunication.”

I do not feel spiritual freedom to participate in the sacraments of the Church.”

Judgment is strong in my parish since I have answered the call to priesthood and the bishop asked that I stop my involvement with music, the Word, the office and any other ministry, giving retreats, etc.”

The rejection of my call to priesthood is a spiritual wound I carry daily.”

All clergy should study patriarchy and gender discrimination and the harmful effects it has directly on women and girls, and gender diverse people.”

Every time a priest/deacon vests for liturgy, he should be aware of the fact that women who are called to ordained ministry are denied the opportunity to answer God’s call. Not acting against patriarchy is complicity with its evil.”

Create opportunities for women to talk about their experiences of patriarchy and how it has affected them much like opportunity has been created for victims of clergy sexual abuse and survivors of Indian Residential Schools. These issues are all related –the root is abuse of power and control.”

It is painful to be told as a woman with a vocation of priest, that you don’t belong and that

your relationship with God who calls you is not believed by Rome.” People would like - and should have access to women priests

There are things in my life I will never tell a [male] priest. I would like to have a woman

[priest] to turn to in the same way as I can have a woman doctor.”

There are priests who are open to women's ordination. Studies show that the majority of laity would accept women priests.”

I find many international priests (bless their hearts) so difficult to understand. Faith cannot grow when you don't know what the priest is saying. Ordaining women would solve this.” Experiences of women priests: acceptance, inclusion

There is joy is being in a place (a community led by a woman priest) where I can be who I am, and whatever I have to offer is valued and encouraged.”

The joy for me is in the relationships with parishioners who are curious and open to hearing my story.”

This community is HOME for my soul.”

Urgency of using inclusive language

For centuries the exclusion of inclusive language and feminine images of God have cut negatively into theology with a detrimental effect.

As we pray, so we believe. If we pray only to God the Father and talk only about God as Father, that is what we will believe. If we pray to God in a broad range of metaphors, we will believe in an expansive, multi-faceted God.”

Attending Mass with exclusive language is frustrating for me and generates anger. It leads to people leaving.”

stone, lichen, snow, vegetation

Summary Statement One

How is our walk with the Local (Canadian) Church?

  1. Community connections falter

    • Church buildings are not as important as a desire for social and spiritual connection within the community. People feel left out.

  2. Church leadership lacks connection with people

    • International priests, male only, and mandated celibate priests emphasizing clericalism all contribute to distancing of clergy from laity. Married and women priests break down clericalism.

  3. A great thirst for adult faith education and formation is present

    • An over-emphasis on sacraments in parishes means that adult education is lacking; MMICC balances the sacraments with adult formation and equity in discipleship.

  4. Abuse leads to feelings of unworthiness and a departure from the Church

There is a lack of trust in the canonical Church due to misused power especially for the abuse and coverups of sexual and spiritual exploits of children, women, LGBTQIA+ and priests who are called to marriage.

  1. Exclusion of many people in various ways is justified by rules founded on control and fear.

      • Excluding married men and women from Holy Orders is spiritual abuse. The Holy Spirit does truly call them.

      • Living the gospel in love is more important than abiding by rules: Less hierarchy; more “of the people.” A Eucharistic open table extends Christ’s hospitality.

      • While retro-examining a failed marriage can be healing, circumstances around the annulment process has also proved confusing, angerinducing, and painful.

      • LGBTQIA+ persons must be known as full sisters and brothers in Christ in every way. All Church policies, rules, attitudes and withholding of Sacraments to the contrary are spiritual abuse. It is time to acknowledge God’s giftedness unique to queer people.

  1. MMICC offers authentic community

        • Liturgies with inclusive language, ritual, and open tables are hopeful.

        • Leaders volunteer or are appointed by the community.

        • Music-making and meeting others in conversation in light of the gospel message is life-giving.

        • A small community in which a pastor visits without an agenda, in which synodal conversations spark Spirit connections and everyone is accepted as they are how they are, fosters belonging and MMICC does this well, like a balm.

  1. Indigenous relations are a priority when we own and address our (predominantly white) settler privilege

        • Indigenous prayer is exemplary of stewardship of all Creation as sisters and brothers. It is open and encouraging.

        • Land acknowledgements at every Mass orient us to where and who we are in relation to the ones who know best how to be with this land. Keeping treaty promises is an essential way of life as Church.

        • Truth first, and reconciliation are priorities given the historical policies of genocide and residential school deaths and abuses.

  1. Women who worked for the Church shared their experiences of journey with it. All felt a sense of call to ministry and were grateful for the opportunity to serve to the extent allowed. However, navigating the patriarchal, clerical system was a continual challenge. There was a climate of suspicion and continual scrutiny. This has to change.” Women called to ordination and not believed are spiritually abused. The risen Christ (or Jesus) cannot be defined by genitalia—action, speech, and prayer are essential measures of discipleship.

        • Humility and truth telling will lead us to change. Recent scholarship1 shows that the risen Christ has always called, through the Holy Spirit, female and married deacons, priests, and bishops. We acknowledge this to be so in the gospels and Paul’s writing, uncovered images and writing in church floors, walls and cemeteries up to the sixth century.

        • The majority of Catholics are open to, express need of, and welcome women priests. Sister Christians welcomed and ordained women decades ago.

        • We are called to inclusive language and honour inclusivity in RCWP liturgies. For the sake of today’s youth and their image of the divine:

God is not a boy,” as one participant said, or “two men and a bird”

(S. Schneiders), but scripturally a hen, a woman searching for a lost coin, and one nursing her child with her abundant, milk-filled breasts —this versatility of God/de’s nature is life-giving.

The patriarchal model has failed in its abuse of power, sexual violence, and exclusion of women’s value as equals. No longer should the priest dominate and dictate. Servant leadership washes feet, listens to people and heals hearts. We are called to principles of equality and prophetic obedience as they uphold the dignity and gender equality of those who walk with Christ.

We take heart in Mary, mother of Jesus, represented by early images of her as a bishop in red shoes standing in orans position rather than the docile, bent body language portrayed in the art of the Medieval era which is intent on showing women’s submission to men.2

Head of a Woman
Mary Doyelle

Question Two

Before we open to the steps the Spirit is calling us to take as Church, we note that there was an overall excitement to respond to the Synod call, and also some doubt.

10. Doubt and Lack of Trust Regarding the Synod Process

I am not sure where this is going. I am not convinced that any of this synod stuff will ever reach Rome.”

It appears to me that little has changed in the institutional Church over the past 50 years that would foster much optimism about the outcome of the Synod initiative in 2021+. I have only so much time and energy left in my 69-year-old life to devote to the search for a mature spirituality that integrates Christ-like values of inclusion, ecumenism, gender equity, and social justice in daily life. I don't want to waste precious energy on initiatives with predictable, and possibly predetermined outcomes.”

When still involved in Parish Council, at one time I suggested they talk about the issue of ordaining women and was met with significant pushback. In the end, they did send a document of their discussion to the diocesan level but never got feedback. So, feeling cynical about this process.”

In my parish the priest took all the synod reports and changed them to what he thought the bishop wanted to see. We hope this doesn’t happen here.” Following are the themes discovered in our conversations regarding the question:

What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together?”

The Spirit Invites Us

  1. To Truth Telling

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed” Luke 8:17”

Truth telling and change, change, change.”

We need to tell the truth about women and the Early Church.”

Historical, and biblical study is surfacing in regard to women priests and bishops active and documented in vessels, church floors and wall frescoes in Italy and Israel that were covered up for centuries. Martha and Mary Magdalene both take on a more prominent presence in recent biblical scholarship.”

Hierarchy lacks transparency, balance, and truthfulness.”

Clerics from the pulpit say every life, every person is sacred, however, they don’t walk the talk.”

12. To Welcome the Marginalized

There is a call for the restrictions on sacramental life to open to “all are (truly) welcome”

Inclusivity is valued in small faith communities and is evident [at MMICC].”

Married men and females, LGBTQIA+—all baptized people who are called should be priests.”

The Spirit invites us to be inclusive so that no one is outside the community. “Understand that people belong to a host of different communities because of their ethnicity, culture, political views, gender roles, economic interests, and such.

It is important for persons embarking on a spiritual community to put these other considerations aside so as to be able to welcome everyone.”

A priority for me is listening to the marginalized. Let the Church’s listening be informed by Gospel values rather than Church rules.”

The Church does not recognize that we are all called to the table.”

The synod process has been an exercise that enriches MMICC. Especially of value to the members is its inclusivity and its respect for women, as compared to the negative experience in former parishes.”

  1. To Care for the Earth

Allegiance with Indigenous people and an ethic for Earth stewardship is of the Spirit.

The Indigenous wisdom invites us this past year to work on truth first, then trust and how we as settlers are to shift from self-centred living to thanksgiving-based respect for Mother Earth and God’s voice speaking by the land, its plants and creatures.”

To embrace creation spirituality. God is everywhere – taking us closer to Indigenous wisdom and incorporating their knowledge and spirituality into our communities.”

  1. To Hope and to Change

The nature of the Spirit is to live in hope and change is a sign of Spirit.

I think that the process of inviting us to share locally with one another is in itself a good start.”

Last 50-60 years in the Catholic church has been a time of formation. Now I find myself on a path where that piece (Church involvement) is past and invited to new path.” It is a blessing when the church demonstrates the mercy of God which allows us to change and grow and it is a joy when there is openness in which all are welcome.” Change in the Church is palpable in people we speak to and in what we see in the worshipping of small faith communities. Inclusivity is valued in small faith communities and is evident there. Some of us are torn between a canonical parish and a small faith community. Some are comfortable with either or both.”

The Spirit invited me to change paths. I was drawn to the RCWP by Google. At first, I thought it was just a pop-up ad and ignored it. I went to bed and reflected on this, and decided I would look into it the next day. I wrote an email and told myself no one will ever contact me. That same day someone did. The Spirit invited me to look at things differently. So, here I am. I have not only begun a journey in a new authentic community but I am getting to know my sisters and brothers. I am journeying with a family. And not all members of the family agree with one another, as we are all different, so I really like the fact that the community is so inclusive. We are truly the people of God/de.”

Hope is a theme that seems stronger than love or faith during Covid. Change is another theme that is strong since the closing of the church doors in early Covid and the possibilities for seeing and hearing new ways, like Zoom Mass online -- or going further afield. It is like the Spirit closing one door behind us and opening up many possibilities for change from the stagnant medieval liturgy.”

Hope is expressed that this community will continue on Zoom even after the pandemic ends.”

Faith and hope are not certainty but unfolding patterns in Mystery.”

15. To Begin Healing by Putting a Stop to Oppressive Ways

MMICC members are healing as they experience equity in discipleship and inclusivity, free of oppression from patriarchy and spiritually abusive rules.

Doing church differently is how we feel the Spirit is inviting us in order to grow in our walking together as a local small faith community and walking with the Catholic Church.”

But the local church cannot heal from the bigger injustices stemming from systemic dysfunction because of the gendered and hierarchical structure of the church.”

We see the star, get a glimpse then lose sight -- are we on the right road? Sometimes it gets clearer, then again not so clear. Spirit invites us to investigate our lives in ways we have not done before, and to integrate new understandings/practices into our lives in a meaningful way. Not a rejection but a growing into a new reality.”

My family was immersed in Church and parish life. My husband, children, and I were involved in many ministries in our parish. There was richness and a desire to belong and to be part of our parish. We participated in many great liturgical celebrations. I never questioned - I listened, listened, listened. I admired my children who are opinionated and questioned our priests and church rules. Therefore, I never felt a freedom to truly state who I am and what I believe. Rome knows all the answers. The Pope, the cardinals, Bishops. etc. make the rules and they are correct, or so the laity is told.”

No speaking out or voicing one’s opinion for fear of backlash.”

We are learning new things with our small faith community: I am loved; I love myself; I love others.”

Inclusive language is important in combating patriarchy. It is not frivolous. For centuries the exclusion of inclusive language and feminine images of God have cut negatively into theology with a detrimental effect.”

There is a need for healing conversations which cannot take place where there is oppression and coercion.”

I was impacted by my formation in Grade 8, writing a paper on religious life and the model of perfection which really didn’t teach me to discover who I am inside. That’s a fundamental issue, probably for all of us. These norms complicated personal growth. It seemed an easy way out just doing what I’m told. Being healed is not a once-and-for-all thing. It is very deep. We need to live with awareness and walk with ourselves in acceptance. Communities like L’Arche empower us to be open.”

Church as an institute has no feelings.”

In MMICC a deeper spirituality is experienced, has helped to expand our idea of church, has helped needed spiritual growth, and heal hidden traumas of the past.”

16. To Be Authentic Where There Has Been Inauthenticity

The Church is challenged by the Spirit to love authentically.

Belonging to MMICC is a gift. It is evident now that there was a gap between what the Church teaches and what it practices.”

Cleaning church urinals some years ago, I reflected that I found it strange the hands of a pedophile hands over the Eucharist, while the woman whose hands clean the urinal and is morally pure yet denied handling the Eucharist as priest. There is a lack of authenticity there.”

Canon law is made by men, not God.”

Not acting against patriarchy is complicity with its evil.”

Another example of inauthenticity is the Pope’s January 1 homily. Someone sent it to me. He spoke about ‘how the manger becomes our food. That the Church is feminine’– and yet women can’t be priests!”

Parish priest chooses his favourites for ministries.”

The Spirit is inviting me into ‘Story’ –how the Hebrew people and Jesus valued the story over fact telling or proving something.”

The Holy Spirit guides us into a deeper relationship with Jesus.”

She invites us to have “courage to stay the course, to ask, to speak, to listen.”

Annulment rules are unclear and left for interpretation of the clergy. My brother was told that his marriage would be annulled only if the Church decided that the relationship was ‘flawed and invalid from the onset’. The guilt, denial, and shame has left him and our family wounded and certainly rejected.”

My niece, a new Catholic, struggles in two ways: seeing her mother’s tremendous challenge with getting an annulment. The rules that are there are not clear and enforced differently.”

There are so many bigger social justice issues. My niece’s experience with her children in a Catholic school where conflict and bullying arise over her being a single parent. That invites us to get out of our own ghettos as white people to meet people who are different and to listen to their stories.”

The Truth and Reconciliation process is not handled well in the Catholic Church. Other churches have paid and provided reparation, but the Catholic Church puts conditions on their payments which doesn't respect the individual's needs.”

Catholics have been told that this religion is ‘better’ than others.”

17. To Move Forward with Vatican II

Vatican II offers much wisdom for change; the push for pre-Vatican II ideals reinforces hierarchy and patriarchy.

RCWP Canada answers the Spirit’s call to non-hierarchical, non-clerical servant leadership.

Spirit was inviting us to cry. We were rescued by nuns who took us to “Call To Action,” an organization of Catholics across the U.S. and Canada hoping to actualize Vatican II.” One person spoke about her experience as "Remembering the past and imagining the future."

Another person was involved in building a new church building in her parish. She wanted to incorporate Vatican II ideas—big meeting/greeting space. Men were all assigned to be heads of the committees; women perceived as slowing down the process by asking too many questions.

Manifestación [detail] Antonio Berni

Summary Statement Two

Ways the Spirit Invites Us to Grow as Church

  1. To tell the truth; to be authentic where there has been inauthenticity

    • We acknowledge mistakes, errors in judgement, failures and learn from them. For example, the concept of original sin is man-made theology. God in Genesis sees creation and sexuality as good.

    • We learn from, free from an intention to fix or correct, and stay open to the perspective of the oppressed, the Indigenous story, herstory, and LGBTQIA+ stories.

    • Our MMICC worship and ministry are non-hierarchical and not held back by Canon Law. It is gospel and sensus fidelium oriented. We are present to one another as members of One Body.

    • To continue with the synodal process! Our experience has been rich in growing as a community through involvement in this synod. We discovered what our values and principles are from one another, in meeting Christ in one another.

  2. To welcome the marginalized – all of them

    • When we sing, “All Are Welcome,” we live out that welcome fully, sacramentally in language, principles, and action.

    • We serve outsiders according to their need, as they define it.

  3. To care for the earth; to embrace Creation Spirituality

    • We listen to the wisdom and philosophy of Indigenous Elders who carry values and knowledge of survival from 10s of thousands of years as to how to live harmoniously, consensually and gratefully with all creation.

  4. To hope for and make change

    • We let go of “it has always been/said this way” and open to gospel transformation and Early Church wisdom. We ask “What is the Spirit calling us to now?”

  5. To begin healing by putting a stop to oppressive ways

    • We actively work to dismantle patriarchy and repair relationships with those whom patriarchy has held captive.

    • We incorporate inclusive language when referring to God in the liturgy and in teachings.

  6. To move forward with Vatican II in Spirit and action We foster adult faith formation and synodality.

    • Ecumenism is essential in the Body of Christ as is inter-religious dialogue and prayer.


When the Synod conversations settle and the voices of the faithful are heard, may there be steps taken to embrace: truth, change, healing, inclusivity, and justice in the actions of the Roman Catholic Church. Women’s call in Christ to ordination must be validated for the wellbeing of the whole Church. May the patriarchal oppression cease, and Vatican II wisdom be welcomed through a renewed listening to the Holy Spirit.

MMICC lives out this breath of the Spirit intimately in her listening to and applying Indigenous teachings, in her liturgies, social engagement, and ministry of prophetic obedience. She is a sign of hope, blessing, and Christ’s love available to all people.

El Papa Francisco busca una gorra nueva3

1 The recent work of Dr. Ally Kateusz, Dr. Beth Allison Barr, and Dr. Elizabeth Schrader as well as many others shows that the magisterium and biblical translators have not believed, but covered up historical evidence both scriptural and archeological (at St. Peter’s in Rome and elsewhere), of women’s ordained ministry in the Early Church.

2 See the mosaic of Mary, Mother of Jesus (650 AD) just below Jesus in the apse of the St. Venantius Chapel in the Baptistery of the Lateran Palace in Rome.

3 Photography Vincent Hanlon; MMICC Cross sculptor: D. Sheldon,

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