Albany Ordination – Press Release
This past Saturday in Albany, New York, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) held an ordination service at First Unitarian Church. The air was filled with joy as Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan led the spirit-filled community. Kathleen Ryan was ordained a priest and Kim Panaro was ordained a deacon.
|Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, lays hands on Kathleen Ryan, newly ordained priest, at Albany Ordination on June 27, 2015|
|Community members, Ed Ryan and his son, Michael, lay hands on Deacon Kim Panaro in Ordination Rite at Albany Ordination on June 27, 2015|
Despite the Catholic Church’s position, clergy and laity have been striving for the ordination of women since the 1970s. According to current polls, the majority of American Catholics are in favor of the ordination of women. Kathleen Ryan knew after Vatican II that she had been called to be a woman priest. Kim Panaro claims she was called as a teenager. Both of these remarkable women have a beautiful and enduring sense of commitment as they go forth in the movement. Their hope is to continue to draw the disenfranchised to the community they serve.
The newly ordained belong to a vibrant inclusive community called “The Upper Room.” This community is facilitated by Priest Mary Theresa Streck, who was ordained several years ago at First Unitarian Church. Mary Theresa, or as most people in the movement call her, “Mary T,” has led these individuals through their ordination preparation with ease and grace. After meeting Mary T, it is obvious that she authentically embraces the values of progressive theology and lives a gospel of equality and justice.
Currently there are over two hundred women priests worldwide. The numbers are growing exponentially as more and more women who have longed for the desire to become priests their entire lives have found a home within the movement. For most of these women, the first time they witnessed an ordination they understood more fully the need to stand in solidarity with those who seek full equality within the Catholic Church.
We can no longer stand still and let the church continue to discriminate against women. Catholic women are leading the church into a new era of justice and equality now in vibrant, inclusive communities like The Upper Room in Albany. As an ARCWP priest, I invite you to visit our website at www.arcwp.org. If you would like to contact Priest Mary T and the Upper Room community, go to www.inclusivecatholiccommunity-nycr.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org@gmail.comRev. Annie Watson, ARCWP