Q: Are you Catholic?
Q: Do you follow Catholic practices?
A: Absolutely! We follow them, take them seriously, and together delve more deeply into the source of the traditions that has brought us to today. As an outcome of our discernment, some of our practices have been modified; sometimes in the particular choices of words used, and sometimes in the gestures or symbols used.
Q: What’s different about your Mass?
A: The Mass is a Catholic Mass, and contains the standard parts of the Mass
with which Catholics are familiar.
The two most noticeable differences are that we incorporate inclusive language and a shared homily into our Liturgies.
We also remove words reflecting militaristic language and language of dominance and/or power-over.
So that all may participate in Eucharist, we use gluten free bread and alcohol free wine.
The assembly is encouraged to participate fully in the Eucharist by joining the priest-celebrant in the Words of Consecration and the Doxology.
Q: What is a Shared Homily?
A: A Shared Homily is one which is usually begun by the Presider of the Liturgy, and which focuses on a particular thread or theme found in the day’s Scriptures. This beginning is usually 5-8 minutes in length, and is followed by the reflections of others in the community – as they are led or inspired by the Spirit in their own lives.
Q: Would you say more about “Inclusive Language?”
A: Inclusive uses non-gendered language for God and for men and women. The term “He” for our God is not used. Rather, terms such as Holy God, Holy Mystery, Gracious God, Creator, Ground of Being, Source of Life, Source of Love, or, simply “God.” Rather than using “man” or “mankind,” terms such as men and women, humanity, all creation, brothers and sisters, etc., are used.
Q: Why do people come to Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community?
A: While people of all faith traditions are welcomed, most people who come to Sophia are Catholics who for some reason – which may be known only to themselves – cannot find a place of nourishment and community within the Official Church. Many have been hurt directly or indirectly by words and/or actions of representatives of the Official Church. Many have a longing for a deeper connection to the Mystery that we name God, which they have been unable to experience within the larger Church.
In Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community, all are welcome, regardless of individual differences. What is assumed is that all are deeply committed to following their consciences. We have no “litmus test.”
Q: Who is Sophia – why the name?
A: Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom – the Wisdom of God.
She is found throughout the Wisdom Literature of the Hebrew Testament: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom, and Sirach, and of the Christian Testament: in many of Paul’s letters, and especially in the Gospel of John.
Sophia was chosen after discernment and dialog among community members as a way of reconnecting with the feminine face of God – not to the exclusion of the male image, but as an important counter-balance and a means of knowing God more deeply.
Please refer to the “Who is Sophia” page for a sample of Scripture references.
Q: Why do people say you are excommunicated?
A: Excommunication is the Official Church’s process of declaring a person or group not in “full communion” with the Church.” It carries with it a prohibition from participating in the sacraments of the Church, but it does not declare that the person or persons are “no longer Catholic.” Baptism confers membership in the Christian Community to the one or ones baptized. Baptism cannot be rescinded.