The Reality

By Chava Redonnet, the pastor of Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church which meets in the dining room of the Rochester Catholic Worker. This is the bulletin for Sunday, January 8, 2022.                                            

Dear Friends,

On New Year’s morning, I woke up knowing what the day would hold: Second Christmas, celebrating with the family members who couldn’t make it on Christmas because of the weather. I was surprised to realize that although I was very much looking forward to time with my family, the thought of another Christmas dinner left me feeling…  unenthusiastic.  As the day went on, texting with my daughters, I realized I was not alone in that. Feeling some mounting stress, I finally texted a list of everything our family has been through in the past two months. Four of us had covid. Three job changes. Two moves, two blizzards, two missed holidays, two surgeries and a car accident. Everyone in the family has had one or more major events happen. We are exhausted! So I pointed that out, and our need for a low-key day. “We’re not going to make up for all that today,“ I said. We changed our dinner plans and ordered pizza.

In the end we had a lovely day, and enjoyed being together. We told stories, we laughed. The pizza was delicious, and no one seemed to miss the fancier meal we had planned. We downsized our expectations and that turned out to be the best thing we could have done.

Continue reading “The Reality”

Lost in Awe and Wonder

By Chava Redonnet, the bulletin for Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church, July 17, 2022

This morning I waited by an elevator with a man from one of my dementia floors. He is someone who used to have things to say, but is increasingly silent and usually asleep. When I do a service on his floor, he sometimes wakes up to join in the Our Father, or clap along to a song, but that’s about it.

The elevator was taking a long time. I took out my phone, and pulled up a picture to show him while we waited. You might have seen it – that wonderful deep space photo from the Webb telescope, that seemed to be all over the internet this morning. I wasn’t sure if he could see it, or understand what it was, but I told him, and showed him the tiny photo. “It brings tears to my eyes,” I told him.

Continue reading “Lost in Awe and Wonder”

Los Samaritanos

An update from Chava Redonnet (right), the priest at Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church (Sunday, August 8, 2021).

Dear Friends,

Three years ago we invited some folks in Batavia to get together and talk about how we might support people being released from the detention center. Fili and his family had noticed that there was a need. We wanted to respond as St Romero’s but soon realized that we needed people who lived closer to the center, and needed the input and participation of people and churches in Batavia. The group that met that first night included several pastors – Presbyterian, Methodist, UCC, and myself, as well as some folks not connected with churches. It took us a while to figure out the details, but eventually we had a sign hanging up in the gas station where people are left to wait for a bus, with a number to call if you needed help and a bilingual person holding the phone, who could alert folks that there was a need. Fili told us that we should include on the sign the message, “You are not alone.”

Continue reading “Los Samaritanos”

A Hole in the Roof or a Whole New Roof?

PC: Lisa, a guest at the Catholic Worker

By Chava Redonnet (right), from the most recent bulletin of Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church.

In July of 2017, when we were trying to buy the house that is now Serenity, the man who came to inspect it had good news for us. Although there were some holes in the roof at the back of the house, and some water damage, his opinion was that if we could get those holes mended we could wait five years to replace the roof. Yay! That was good news. Chuck and Mike did a lot of work that first year and got those holes fixed and the water damage repaired. It was one of our many miracles, that getting the house useable happened without a huge expenditure of funds, thanks both to the volunteer work of Chuck and Mike, and to the damage being fixable.

When we hit the two year mark this summer, realizing that we were just three years away from replacing the roof, we talked about starting a roof fund for the $10-15,000 it is likely to cost. Continue reading “A Hole in the Roof or a Whole New Roof?”

Responding to a Deep, Insistent Sense of Call

Chava Redonnet (1)
PC: Lisa, a guest at the Catholic Worker

By Chava Redonnet (right), from the bulletin of Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church in upstate New York (4th Sunday in Lent)

Something I really do not enjoy doing is arguing. It’s one of those character traits that can be seen as either a virtue or a fault, but whichever it is, it’s me. Live and let live is more my style. We don’t all have to agree.

So in recent years I have found myself less and less interested in trying to convince anyone why women should be priests. I figure my priesthood is my argument for women priests. If someone can look at my ministry and say it’s not valid simply because I’m female, I don’t think anything I could say would change their mind. Continue reading “Responding to a Deep, Insistent Sense of Call”

Like a Roadmap of Resistance

4.2.7By Chava Redonnet, Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church (Rochester, NY)

When I first visited El Salvador in 2005 with a class from Divinity School, we went to the Divina Providencia cancer hospital where Monseñor Romero lived (because he refused to live in the bishop’s palace when the people were living in such terrible conditions). We were there again, on Thursday, October 11, just a few days before his canonization. A Carmelite nun showed us around, and I told her the story of how on my first visit there, I looked at all of his things – daily objects, so lovingly preserved – all so male and old-fashioned and foreign – and they felt strange and distant. But then I saw a pair of clip-on sunglasses that had been his. They were identical to a pair of my own! I could have bought them at Wegmans. And it hit me: this struggle is not some strange, distant, foreign thing. It’s here and it’s now, and the work continues. I am also a part of the struggle; the work is mine, as well. Continue reading “Like a Roadmap of Resistance”

St. Romero

By Chava Redonnet
From her weekly bulletain at Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church

At about 4 pm on Saturday, October 13, Ruth Orantes, Gustavo and I pulled into a gas station across from the statue of El Salvador del Mundo in San Salvador, about 2 miles from the cathedral. Sometimes the journey from Santa Ana feels a bit endless, but all of a sudden, we were there. Ruth parked the car and we joined the gathering throng. There was music and dancing, vendors selling t-shirts and keychains, posters and even an umbrella, all with the joyful message that our beloved Monseñor Romero was at last to be officially declared a saint. A giant poster erected by the comunidades eclesial de base [the base communities of the churches] declared, “Tu pueblo te hizo santo” (Your people have made you a saint), with a picture of Monseñor Romero’s face made up of thousands of photos of Salvadorans, also martyred during the civil war of 1980-92. The atmosphere was peaceful, joyful, full of good energy. We might have been mostly strangers to each other but we were bonded in our love and joy in the moment. Smiles came easily. Continue reading “St. Romero”

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

imagesBy Chava Redonnet, Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church, Rochester, NY
Bulletin for Sunday, December 10, 2017
Second Sunday of Advent

Dear friends,

I’m writing this a bit late… it’s Tuesday, December 12. It’s the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: this morning in Mexico, people got up early and processed through the town with candles, singing “Las Mananitas”… at least, they did years ago and I expect they still do, now. Continue reading “Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe”