Friday, May 23, 2014

Ordination of 6 women in Cleveland comes 20 years after pope affirmed ban/ article in The Plain Dealer

By Tom Feran, The Plain Dealer The Plain Dealer  

mary-collingwood.jpgMary Collingwood 
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Six more women will claim ordination as Roman Catholic priests or deacons on Saturday, in a ceremony the church says has no validity and incurs automatic excommunication.
That judgment is not accepted by the sponsoring Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) or by the two Northeast Ohio women being ordained at 1 p.m. at Brecksville United Church of Christ.
"I don't accept the verdict that I am excommunicated," said Mary Collingwood of Boston Heights, who will be ordained a "servant priest," as she put it, by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota, Florida. "The men made that rule, and a man-made rule can be changed -- especially if it's unjust.
"I align myself with the belief that I am part of the people of God," she said, noting that saints from Joan of Arc to the Australian nun Mary MacKillop, canonized in 2010, once were declared excommunicated.
Susan Guzik of Eastlake, who will be ordained as a deacon, said it was hard to step away from the parish, St. Mary Magdalene in Willowick, where she has been a diocesan-certified lay minister, pastoral leader and parishioner for 60 years.
"But all my friends are still my friends," she said. "We're still Catholics. We believe we are the church. "There have been times I've wondered if I'm doing the right thing.
"I am doing the right thing...."
Saturday's ordination, at least the sixth in the United States this year, includes women from Canada and as far away as New Mexico. Collingwood said they are following conscience and being obedient to a higher authority.
"We're rising up and claiming our rightful role in the institution," she said. "I call it an awakening. It started about three years ago, but my whole life prepared me for that."
Collingwood, 61, the married mother of seven and a grandmother, has a master's degree in theology and taught high school and college theology. She is a past director of the Cleveland diocese's pro-life office.
"I have given 40 years of service to the institutional church," she said. "I realized I was being called to help change and reform the church.
"I want to die knowing my footprints were headed in the right direction."
Guzik, 78, the widowed mother of five, a grandmother and great-grandmother, said she will, like Collingwood, enjoy the support of her entire family at the ordination.
The support extends to pushing her to make her diaconate a transitional one. She hopes to be ordained a priest next year.
"At first I thought I was too old, but other people my age or older have inspired me." Having stepped away from her parish, she said her place will be "anywhere God is calling me."
Starting on June 7, one of those places will be Brecksville United Church of Christ, where Collingwood and Ann Klonowski, who was ordained last September, will say Mass weekly at 5 p.m. Saturdays.
Collingwood said it will be a community where "all are welcome at the table.
"The sacraments are not rewards," she said. "They are essential nourishment for people on the journey.
"There are so many people on the margin who don't have a spiritual home, and we will embrace them. Jesus excluded nobody."

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