Thursday, December 22, 2011

Historic Ordination of Judy Beaumont of Ft. Myers as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest / Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Release date: December 22, 2011
Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska at 859-684-4247,
Bridget Mary Meehan, 941-955-2313, 703-505-0004,
Judy Beaumont, 239-454-7426,

On Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. Judy Beaumont of Ft. Myers will be ordained a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota and Falls Church, Virginia. The ceremony will take place at Lamb of God Lutheran-Episcopal Congregation, 19691 Cypress View Drive, Ft. Myers, Florida 33967 (239-267-3525, Walter Fohs, Senior Pastor). Prior to the ordination, at 1:00 p.m. there will be a viewing of "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican," the award-winning documentary of the struggle for justice for women in the Roman Catholic Church. All are welcome to attend.

The ordinand, Judy Beaumont, 74, has a rich and varied background as a religious sister, peace activist and as a minister to the poor and homeless. She entered the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago at seventeen and remained in their service for 35 years as a teacher and a volunteer resettling Vietnamese refugees. During this time she earned a bachelor's degree from Mundelein College and a Masters in Religious Education from Loyola University. In 1981 she left Chicago for Connecticut to join the anti-nuclear peace witness near Groton, Connecticut, at that time the home of the Trident Submarine, an instrument of mass death. In 1982, she was a member of the Trident Nein Plowshares nonviolent action which resulted in prison time. Later she helped to start My Sisters' Place, a shelter for homeless women and children in Hartford.

In 1989, she and Judy Lee, her partner in ministry, left Connecticut. Judy worked in two mission parishes and also became the director of religious education for a large parish in Fort Myers. This service was interrupted by her bout with a rare leukemia which she miraculously vanquished with the help of God in 2007. In 2008 she helped establish Good Shepherd Ministries of SW Florida, Inc. and works tirelessly serving the poor and homeless of Fort Myers. She is called forth by Call to Action of Southwest Florida and the Church of the Good Shepherd: an inclusive Catholic Community where she has served in a deacon's role since 2007. The church is located at 2621 Central Ave., Ft. Myers, FL 33901.
"Although immersed in all things Catholic since birth, I never experienced a call to the 'males-only' clerical priesthood." said Judy Beaumont. "After witnessing the renewed priestly ministry of women, it only seems right that I follow their example and call to join in bringing about a new inclusive church leading in the work for justice and equality in solidarity with marginalized and oppressed persons. It is so unfortunate that the Vatican takes a fundamentalist view of the Gospel when claiming that women cannot be ordained since Jesus chose only male apostles. Their failure to listen to contemporary Catholic Biblical scholars who find no basis in Scripture for a male-only clergy continues to relegate women to second class membership. Just think what it would do for women's rights worldwide, if the Vatican were to recognize and allow women's ordination."

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests rejoices in a "holy shakeup" that millions of Catholics worldwide welcome. The good news now is that male priests, bishops, a cardinal as well as theologians have expressed their support of female priests. They are following in the footsteps of Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois whose prophetic call for a dialogue on women priests is being heard in more and more places today in our church.

Fr. Roy Bourgeois attended, delivered the homily and participated in the ordination rite of Janice Sevre-Duszynska on Aug. 9, 2008. This resulted in his excommunication and Vatican attempts to pressure Maryknoll to dismiss him from the Order.

"Nothing can stop the movement of the spirit toward human rights, justice and equality in our world and in our church," said Bridget Mary Meehan. "The full equality of women is the voice of God in our time."

The Women Priests movement in the Roman Catholic Church advocates a new model of priestly ministry united with the people with whom we minister. We stand in prophetic obedience to Jesus who calls women and men to be disciples and equals. The movement began with the ordination of seven women on the Danube in 2002. Today there are over 124 in the movement worldwide. ARCWP is in the United States and Latin America. Our specific charism within the broader global Roman Catholic Women Priests initiative is to live Gospel equality and justice for women in the church and in society now. We work in solidarity with the poor and marginalized for transformative justice in partnership with all believers. Our vision is to live as a community of equals in decision-making both as an organization and within all our faith communities. We advocate for a renewal of the vision of Jesus in the Gospel for our church and our world.

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