In nativity scenes, the figure of Mary stands alone as one who has given birth to Jesus and has been selected for great things in the unfolding of God’s kingdom.

But imagine that at least one midwife was present at the birth of the Messiah.

But imagine that the arrival of God, of love come to meet us, occurred in a climate of both intimacy and community.

What prayer do I voice for Australian Catholic women of this time?

That women will go deep …

…and women will stretch wide …

That women will ask questions…

Faithful God,
Free us from thinking we are indispensable,
Free us from excessive busyness. 

Holy God
Free us from mental and emotional fossilization,
Free us from excessive planning.

Lord I pray

For her persistence in the face of prejudice
For her spine in the face of humiliation
For her humour in the face of obstruction
For her gratefulness in the face of promise.

May the glory and the promise of Easter
bring peace and happiness to you
and those you hold most dear.

And may you know that Christ,
Our Risen Liberator,
Is always by your side

We gather to worship God, Giver of Life,
God, give us the waters of new life.

In the deserts of our lives, in the wilderness within,
God, give us the waters of new life.

To give us hope when our lives run dry, to give us strength when our world seems barren,
God, gives us the waters of new life.

We pray together as a family of the faithful with the vision of a Church community that at its core upholds the full equality of all of its members. So that our daughters and yours may know radical inclusion and justice, equality without qualification, and an institution that transforms oppression into love without bounds.

God of mercy and justice, shake us up!
Make the pain of the victims and their families our pain,
God of mercy and justice, shake us up!
Uproot the culture of abuse in our communities.

LEADER: Recognizing that we are all gifted and called to share in some way in the preaching mission of the Church, we will call upon the Holy Spirit to empower us for this ministry. Therefore, we call upon a cloud of witnesses, a chorus of voices of women who have served as proclaimers of the word of God to stand and pray with us.

ALL RESPOND: Pray with us.

Mary Magdalene, you were healed from ‘possession’
Help me to trust in the Spirit’s healing power
When I am possessed by disappointment, grief, anger,
When I am possessed by depression, loneliness, self-loathing.