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Bourgeois supporters vigil outside cathedrals across nation

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Supporters of Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois have been hosting vigils at Masses across the country this week, standing outside churches and cathedrals with signs backing the embattled priest.

Bourgeois, a longtime peace activist, has been threatened with dismissal from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and laicization by the Vatican for his support of women's ordination.

In a press release Tuesday, Call to Action described the vigils as a way to also show support for "women priests in the Catholic Church."

"As millions of Catholics across the country attend services this Holy Week, the majority of those attending are women, but not one priest leading the services will be a woman," said Jim FitzGerald, the group's executive director.

"It is deeply unjust that while women make up the majority of Catholic Church membership today, they are still forbidden to share their ministerial talents in the role of priest."

Below is a slideshow of photos provided by Call to Action of Bourgeois supporters attending vigils in Los Angeles, Calif.; Savannah, Ga.; Venice, Fla.; Chicago, Ill.; and Madison, Wisc.

Examples of engaged faith for Good Friday

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Six weeks before he was assassinated, Archbishop Romero gave a profoundly important speech in Louvain, Belgium explaining the socio-political dimension of faith in Christ.

The archbishop said his work as pastor among the poor of war-torn El Salvador had taught him “that Christian faith does not separate us from the world but rather submerges us in it: that the Church is not an elite but rather a follower of that Jesus who lived, worked, struggled and died in the midst of the city, the polis.”

Like Romero, many people have given witness to this Christ who chose to submerge Himself in this world, a place of exploitation and oppression as well as generosity and goodness. Tucked amidst all the tales of destruction reported in the news are examples of this engaged faith.

I came across two this week that are worth contemplating as we approach Christ’s Passion which occurred and continues to occur in the midst of the polis.

    The Crucifixion of the Earth

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    Earth Day this year (April 22nd) falls on Good Friday. Somehow, it seems all too appropriate this year.

    The eco-system of the Gulf of Mexico has been carrying the cross of the BP oil spill since the Deepwater Horizon well blew apart just one year ago. Radiation from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, is scourging not only Japan but the Pacific Ocean itself. We have no idea when that crisis there will end. As if these tragedies were not enough, the polar ice caps continue to melt at an alarming rate, and sea levels are beginning to threaten some island nations. All this is directly related to climate change. Then there is "hydraulic fracturing" or "fracking," an increasingly common means of extracting oil and gas from shale formations even though it endangers supplies of drinking water.

    The dogwood is in bloom this Easter

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    Across the Midwest, the dogwood is in bloom this Easter. Along the highways, the white flowers glisten in the sun. In St. Louis, where I live, my street is alive with brightness. Years and years ago I planted a pencil-sized Arbor Day dogwood tree. It had grown two stories high, covered in white flowers each spring and red berries each fall, food for the mockingbird family that nests there each spring and flies away in the fall.

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