Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Women Become Ordained Priests" by JoAnne Viviano, Columbus Dispatch


(Rev. Irene Scaramazza was ordained in Cleveland on May 25th by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. www.arcwp.org )

..."For the Gahanna woman who spent more than two decades as a Roman Catholic nun, the road to the altar has been littered with fear, doubt, self-loathing and countless hours of prayer.
On Saturday, all that was behind her as she was ordained alongside three other women priests and two women deacons by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The group’s clergy proudly claim their Catholicism despite being excommunicated by the Vatican by virtue of their ordinations.
The ceremony at Brecksville United Church of Christ in Cuyahoga County followed many of the traditions of the Catholic Mass, with a few twists. Women read the Gospel and delivered the homily; and the congregation — Catholic and non-Catholic — was invited to help consecrate the Eucharist and welcomed to receive it.
“For over 42 years, I have been told over and over and over again that I’m not good enough, that I can’t because I’m a woman, and all the rhymes and reasons, but it’s just not right,” Scaramazza, 63, said in Columbus on Wednesday. “From where I stand, the time has come for me to speak my truth.”
Scaramazza’s calling began when she was a child, but she was afraid to go against church teachings. She joined the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, Pa., but the call never stopped.
“Many a night I would call out to God, ‘What do you want with me? Would you please let this go?’  ” she said.
Then, little by little, prayer by prayer, she came closer to answering the call, eventually borrowing words attributed to Jesus telling God: “Not my will but yours be done.”
...A survey conducted in February by the Pew Research Center showed that 68 percent of Catholics polled believe the church should allow women to be priests.
The Roman Catholic women-priests movement traces its roots to the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002; the following year, a Roman Catholic bishop who remains anonymous ordained the movement’s first bishops.
There are now nearly 200 women priests in 10 countries.
...She holds advanced degrees in theology, pastoral counseling and family therapy and is certified to work as a medical chaplain.
She had worked as a chaplain in a Catholic hospital but lost her job, she said, because she was ordained. She now works for Acclaim Hospice and Palliative Care, traveling throughout central Ohio to serve people near the end of life.
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, who presided over the ordinations on Saturday, said women served as leaders during the first 1,200 years of the church, that Jesus had many apostles who were women, and that it was a woman — Mary Magdalene — to whom he first appeared upon his Resurrection, instructing her to spread the good news.
Meehan told those gathered that “justice is rising up in the church” and that the women-priests movement ministers to people who do not have a spiritual home, including the divorced and remarried, gay people and women excluded from leadership roles.
“Jesus’ trademark is inclusiveness. There are no outsiders. All that is required is that we worship in spirit and in truth,” Meehan said.

jviviano@dispatch.com
@JoAnneViviano

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