A Celibacy Rite for Single Adults by Ann Dumolt

Deacon E. Ann Dumolt, graduates next Spring from the joint Bloy House-CST M.Div. program to become a licensed chaplain.  She is the parish deacon at St. Luke’s, Monrovia and works for the California Department of Social Services.

The Rev. Ann Dumolt

Deacon E. Ann Dumolt, graduates next Spring from the joint Bloy House-CST M.Div. program to become a licensed chaplain.  She is the parish deacon at St. Luke’s, Monrovia and works for the California Department of Social Services.

Growing up in the Roman Catholic Church, there was always an understanding that when one matured into adulthood, one either married or entered into a religious vocation.  Being a woman, my prospects were further limited to marriage or the religious life—ordination not being open to women.  But what if I did not choose either?  Why could I not choose to serve God as a single person?  And why could I not formerly “seal the deal” so to speak, by professing a way of life that would include celibacy and take my place in the Christian community as a single adult “to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever [I might] be; and, according to the gifts given [me], carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take [my] place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church?”[1]

I am still a single adult and have chosen not to marry, opting instead to remain celibate—reasons for which I will address later.  But I would like to formally profess a vow of celibacy.  Why would this matter at all?  Jean Sheridan, in her book, The Unwilling Celibates[2] sums it up this way:  “[Lifestyle] strongly affects the way in which one is perceived by the church….”  Whether intentional or not, the church tends to disenfranchise the single adult, i.e., a singles ministry tends to be a social gathering with the goal of pairing for marriage.  The Church does not know what to do with those who are divorced, widowed, and the never married that are outside the bonds of marriage. And how to address those who may be sexually active in an illegitimate way?[3]  There is a need to raise the awareness of what the single adult has to offer the Church and how the Church can affirm and support single adults in its congregations.  There is no sacrament for single adults as there is for marriage and ordination.  But something could be created that is similar to that which is carried out in religious orders:  A rite that affirms the ministry of single adults which includes a vow of celibacy.

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El Día de los Muertos as Cultural/Social/Spiritual Bridge-Building Between Communities by Francisco J. Garcia Jr.

Francisco Garcia

The Rev. Francisco Garcia

The Rev. Francisco J. García, Jr. received his Master of Divinity degree from the Bloy House/CST joint program in May of 2013.  He is the Director of Peace and Justice at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California and was ordained as a transitional deacon in the Episcopal Church in June of 2013.

While celebration of the Day of the Dead goes back several hundred years in Mexico, its arrival in the United States is much more recent, a late twentieth century phenomenon with increased cultural and economic globalization and contact.  Whereas in Mexico, the traditional Day of the Dead ceremonies align closely with Catholic observation of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, and had explicit spiritual and religious meaning, in the U.S., the Day of the Dead celebrations have emerged largely through the Chicana/o artistic movement—out of a cultural, ethnic and political identification with the celebrations.  Nonetheless, both forms of the tradition are deeply embedded rituals and have sacred meaning for those who take part in the traditions.  There is power in both forms, and I would argue that an even greater potentiality for trans-formation can be achieved if the artistic, cultural, and religious rituals are more closely integrated.  This paper will examine the Day of the Dead in both of its Mexican and Mexican-American forms, seeing them as different but related forms of Latino/a popular Catholicism—a Catholicism rooted in the experiences and faith practices of the Latino/a people.  After examining the historical roots of the Day of the Dead in Mexico in the context of Latino popular Catholicism, and its arrival and expression in the United States, I will conclude with thoughts for application in a parish and community context. Continue reading