Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Precious Memories of the First U.S. Ordination of Roman Catholic Women Priests at Pittsburgh Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Happy 8th Anniversary!
I will always remember this historic day when I was ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest. The dream of a lifetime came true for me. 

 During the laying on of hands, my dear Dad, Jack, placed his hands on my shoulders connecting me to our entire Irish family ancestral line.
I felt such gratitude and  joy that he had lived to see this day and I knew my wonderful, devout Mother , Bridie, who had died 8 years before, was holding me too.  My brother Patrick and  some close friends from VA, MD, New York,  Kansas City and Colorado accompanied me on this momentous journey. Sister Regina Madonna Oliver and Peg Bowen, who had shared 15 years of pastoral ministry with me, played key roles in the Rite by presenting me for ordination and laying out the prostration cloth. Several Sisters for Christian Community were present to offer prayerful support and affirmation.  

  I sensed the Spirit moving within me and all around us, and felt like  I could almost float away. With my faith eyes, I could see the communion of saints cheering us on as the  beautiful Litany of the Saints was sung  Earth and heaven rejoiced on that great day. 

Bishops Patrica Fresen,, Gisela Forster and Ida Raming laid hands on us in silence in the solemn moment of ordination. Then, the entire assembly was invited to lay hands on the ordinands. The people stood in a long line that wound around the boat, waiting to place their hands on our heads. While soft liturgical music played in the background, some people quietly wept  as they prayed over us.  

We twelve women were  modern day gutsy disciples , disobeying an unjust man-made law so that justice and equality could  become a reality for women in our beloved Church. My  life has never been the same since  that day when  we sailed down the Three Rivers  on the beautiful riverboat Majestic.

The good news is that our Women Priests Movement continues to grow and to renew the church into a more open, inclusive, egalitarian community of believers in seven countries.  Indeed the Spirit is a'moving in this holy shakeup of the Catholic Church. Bridget Mary Meehan, 

On July 31, 2006, Eileen McCafferty DiFranco,  Olivia Doko, Joan Clark Houk, Kathleen Kunster, Bridget Mary Meehan, Roberta Meehan, Dana Reynolds, Kathy Sullivan Vandenberg were ordained as Roman Catholic priests.  Four deacons were also ordained at the ordination.  The ordination took place on a riverboat in Pittsburgh, PA.  

On the day of the ordination, Joan Houk said she hoped that as priest she would be able to  “Connect with people who are Catholic who have walked away or are not participating…”  Today there are approximately 180 RCWP members worldwide; more than 150 of these women are located in the United States.  Roman Catholic Womenpriests are ministering in house and parish communities, perform weddings, baptisms and funerals; are chaplains and offer sacraments to the sick and elderly, serve the homeless and provide spiritual direction and retreats.    

The movement within the Church began in Germany with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002, by male Roman Catholic Bishops and in 2003 two of the “Danube 7” were ordained Bishops. 

RCWP rejects Canon law that does not allow women to be ordained priest today.  Many historians and theologians can provide evidence that women were ordained Deacons, Priests, and Bishops in the early church.  In addition, in 1970, because of the Soviet Bloc, a Czech Bishop ordained women to serve in the women’s prisons where men could not go.

You can help us continue to prepare and ordain women by making a donation to RCWP-USA and to today. 

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Read More about the Historic Day:

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Group Ordains 8 women as Priests.

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