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Women in Rome: Episcopal Suffragans meet Pope Francis

Women in Rome: Episcopal Suffragans meet Pope Francis

The Episcopal Church Bishop Suffragans are having their meeting in Rome this year. They are learning about the work of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, especially the work of St Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome. Yesterday they were greeting by Pope Francis. The Rt Rev Diane Jardine Bruce has been blogging about their experiences and posting photos on Facebook. She writes:

He came down to the bottom of the steps to meet us. I think it is because he 12072593_10153588357835256_68124183674352312_nsaw I was using my cane. When he got to me, I greeted him in Spanish,  gave him a Laundry Love pin and told him about this ministry — I asked him to pray for us and he asked me to pray for him. I had to do it very quickly! A suprise when I woke up this morning is that some photographer for a website which has a Facebook page — Famiglia Cristiana — who was behind us got a shot of me turning to walk away — the Pope still smiling. It is not the official Vatican photo which I will hopefully get in the next few days — but I think in my heart it is the capturing of a special moment, and I”m grateful for the photo.
I cannot begin to express my feelings about this moment. Growing up as a Roman Catholic, it was always a dream to one day meet the Pope. Even as an Episcopal Bishop, I never thought I’d have this opportunity. Yet, Bishop Pierre Whalon helped make that happen. We were front row — just being that close and hearing him would have been enough. Being able to shake his hand and tell him about a ministry we do for the poor and to share that small pin with him was a great gift to me.

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Anne Bay

I should also include that two women were consecrated bishop at Long Beach Convention Center. Mary Douglas Glasspool is also a Suffrgan Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles….both Bishop Bruce and Bishop Glasspool were consecrated in 2010 at the L.B. convention center. Huge step forward for the church to me, and remains so.

Anne Bay

My daughter and I attended the Consecration of Bishop Bruce at the Long Beach Convention Center -several years ago now. There were some hecklers with signs outside of the convention center who opposed women being clergy and also objected to the consecration of bishops who were of the LGBT community. My daughter “took on” a very vocal protester and I was so proud of her-she was a teen then. I will never forget how well she voiced her opinion and talked with the protester. She is very articulate. During the ceremony a man and his son yelled out in protest and stalked out. The Diocese of Los Angeles is very fortunate to have such a qualified bishop as Bishop Bruce. The Roman Catholic Church is so much less than it could be by not having women clergy -all orders: Deacons, Priests, Bishops. Being able to observe through the years how incredible my daughter is in every way, I can’t understand the need of the Vatican to refuse to have women in the clergy. A huge loss to them. In a very real sense, they rob their church of as the U.S. Army says, “be all you can be”……Just glad the Episcopal Church is making headway to include everyone in the church’s life, including same sex marriage. Equal means just that.

JC Fisher

There may be other pictures of other Popes smiling at bishops-who-happen-to-be-women.

But I’m not aware of them.

Inch by inch, row by row…

Philip B. Spivey

What’s apparent to me is that Pope Francis is a generous spiritual leader. He meets, greets and embraces folks of all stripes and all walks of life. The kind of change we admire in TEC is a long way off for the Roman Church. But—see how gracefully the Pontiff avoids erecting (doctrinal) barriers to Christian hospitality. Our global south partners in the Communion would do well to take a page from His Eminence.

Betty Cordoza

I have heard that Pope Francis does not like big expensive gifts. He wants small gifts that mean something. President Obama, on first meeting Pope Francis brought him seeds from the First Lady’s vegetable garden. Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce’s pin representing Laundry Love, and her explanation (in Spanish, yet) of the Ministry that the pin represents; now that sounds like something that Pope Francis will cherish. Blessings on all the Bishops and Pope Francis.

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