Father Greg Reynolds leads Mass at the Inclusive Catholics service in South Yarra, where one first-time visitor brought his dog along
Fr Greg Reynolds wants his church of dissident Catholics to welcome all - ''every man and his dog'', one might say, risking the non-inclusive language he deplores - but even he was taken aback when that was put to the test during Mass yesterday, reports The Age.
A first-time visitor arrived late at the Inclusive Catholics service in South Yarra with a large and well-trained German shepherd. When the consecrated bread and wine were passed around, the visitor took some bread and fed it to his dog.
Apart from one stifled gasp, those present showed admirable presence of mind - but the dog was not offered the cup!
Fr Reynolds, a Melbourne priest for 32 years, launched Inclusive Catholics earlier this year. He now ministers to up to 40 people at fortnightly services alternating between two inner-suburban Protestant churches.
The congregation includes gay men, former priests, abuse victims and many women who feel disenfranchised, but it is optimistic rather than bitter.
Yesterday a woman, Irene Wilson, led the liturgy and another, Emmy Silvius, preached the homily. Two more passed the bread and wine around.
Fr Reynolds - his only clerical adornment a green stole around his neck - played as small a role as he could.
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