On May 22, 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” (“Priestly Ordination”) which reserved priesthood in the Catholic Church to men only.
"This teaching that 'women are not fully in the likeness of Jesus' -- qualifying, as it does, as a theological explanation -- is utterly and demonstrably heretical,” said Augustinian theologian John Shea in his 2nd letter to U.S. bishops.
In his recent book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power, President Jimmy Carter, who supports women’s ordination and women’s equality in all religions, finds it “ironic” that women are welcomed into many professions “but are deprived of the right to serve Jesus Christ in positions of leadership” as they did in the early Christian churches.
Despite 20 years of blatant discrimination of women and denial of women’s basic human rights as spiritual equals before God, women priests are serving in priestly ministry. With almost 200 Roman Catholic Women Priests, a renewed priestly ministry is flowering in 10 countries. Catholic worldwide are ready for a new model of church led by women and men.
Release date: May 12, 2014
Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (media) 859-684-4247, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-505-0004, email@example.com
On Saturday, May 24, 2014, at 1p.m. four women will be ordained priests and two women will be ordained deacons in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota, FL. The ceremony will take place at Brecksville United Church of Christ, 23 Public Square, Brecksville, OH 44141. All are welcome. The balcony will be reserved as a photo-free zone. A reception will follow the ceremony in the church hall.
Media are invited to schedule interviews during the time leading up to the ordination and at 11 a.m. on May 24th at the church. Respectful filming/photo-taking during the ceremony is acceptable.
The ordinands are theologically prepared and have many years of experience in ministry.
To Be Ordained Priests:
Mary Bergan Blanchard of Albuquerque, NM firstname.lastname@example.org 505-857-9288, is a widow, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer and licensed counselor. Twenty of the 37 years she spent teaching were with the marginalized and the Early Childhood disadvantaged. After retiring in New Mexico, she served as a Mental Health Counselor in a Roman Catholic Church for 20 years.
“Until the Church recognizes that women are equal to men by allowing them to participate in the sacramental life of the Church, all women will remain second class citizens, subjects in a patriarchal society…a dark world indeed. Jesus has called us to be the Light of the World. I am becoming a priest because I believe it’s time to flick the switch.”
Mary Collingwood of Boston Heights, OH email@example.com 216-408-4657, is a wife, mother and grandmother who, with her advanced degree in theology, has served for 40 years in church ministry and taught theology on the high school and college levels. In the parish she was Director of Religious Education, Coordinator for Marriage Preparation and Pastoral Minister. On the diocesan level she was an administrator and served on various boards and councils, an activist for church reform.
“Women are being called by the Holy Spirit to image the Divine Feminine through ordained priestly ministry thereby restoring the wholeness of God’s presence in our Church. Personally, this entails ordination and embracing circle leadership as an egalitarian model of decision-making within Roman Catholic communities. It is truly right and just for me to live this Spirit-led change in solidarity with the People of God by serving communities of faith while supporting my sisters in ordained ministry.”
Irene C. Scaramazza of Columbus, OH firstname.lastname@example.org 614-357-0626, has advanced degrees in theology, pastoral counseling and family therapy. She is currently working as a hospice chaplain having completed her Provisional Board Chaplaincy Certification.
“I am being ordained a priest because God continues to call me to deeper union with Godself. That union is lived out in service to others. For me, ministry has always involved an immersing of myself in the life of the people I have been sent to serve and together discovering our Living God.”
Marianne Therese Smyth of Silver Spring, MD email@example.com 240-444-0781, has worked nearly 35 years in Montgomery County Public Schools and 25 years as a para-educator with special needs students. She completed a theological certificate program and serves the Living Water Inclusive Community in Catonsville, MD and has a Masters of Education in counseling.
“I am becoming a priest because God asked. God’s inclusive love cannot be expressed or shared from a strictly male point of view. That was not the message of Jesus. My love is hospice ministry and I will be expanding into bereavement work and healing modalities such as Reiki.”
To Be Ordained Deacons:
Barbara Billey of Windsor, Ontario, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org 519-735-3943, has been married for 32 years and has extensive experience in a variety of professional and volunteer capacities from wellness educator and health care administrator to retreat facilitator and dancer. She is currently a counselor and art therapist. She is engaged in theological study and has a particular interest in women’s spirituality and a passion for integrating sacred arts in liturgy.
Susan Marie Guzik of Eastlake, OH email@example.com 440-477-5962, is a widow, mother and grandmother. After her theological studies, she received certification as a Lay Ecclesial Minister in the Diocese of Cleveland. She has volunteered in the Diocese as a pastoral minister and has been an active pastoral leader in her parish. For the past 15 years she has been part of the leadership team in the Stephen Ministry program at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Willowick, OH and for the past seven years served as their Director/Advisor.