Tuesday, July 3, 2018

"Eastlake woman, 82, to be ordained as priest Saturday sees role as example for other women" by Brian Albrecht, Cleveland Plain Dealer

https://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/06/eastlake_woman_82_to_be_ordain.html

Susan Marie Guzik of Eastlake sheds a tear as women priests of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests perform the laying on of hands during the Liturgy of Ordination mass in 2014 at the Brecksville United Church of Christ where she was ordained as a deacon. She will be ordained as a priest at the same church on Saturday. (Plain Dealer file photo)
Susan Marie Guzik of Eastlake sheds a tear as women priests of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests perform the laying on of hands during the Liturgy of Ordination mass in 2014 at the Brecksville United Church of Christ where she was ordained as a deacon. She will be ordained as a priest at the same church on Saturday. (Plain Dealer file photo
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Four years ago, when Susan Guzik was ordained a deacon by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), she was automatically excommunicated by the church.
Got an official letter from the bishop of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese and everything.
It didn't bother her then. And it won't bother her Saturday when she is ordained as a priest and three women as deacons by the ARCWP in ceremonies at 1 p.m. at the Community of St. Bridget in the Brecksville United Church of Christ.
Four years ago, Guzik 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," she added.
"I am doing the right thing."
Guzik, 82, of Eastlake, recently said, "That's still true today. We don't consider ourselves excommunicated."
When asked why she wanted to become a priest, Guzik replied, "Well why not? We're trying to prove that women can do what priests do.
"We're all priestly people. We're all equal," she added. "We don't believe in a hierarchical model. Everybody has voice in everything."
Guzik has been involved with the church for many years.
She received her diocesan certification as a lay ecclesial minister in the Cleveland diocese in 1993, and was active in St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Willowick for more than 55 years. She was one of the first woman lectors in that parish, and was a Stephen Ministry team member and director for several years.
"Most parishes today," Guzik noted, "the lay people - and mostly women - they're doing most of the work in the parish. They always have."
She was married for 53 years to Matthew Guzik, who died in 2012, and has five children and nine grandchildren.
Guzik will be ordained by Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood, who will be ordaining priests and deacons for the first time in Cleveland.
"This is a milestone for Cleveland," she said.
Collingwood said she has know Guzik for the past 35 years and described her as "a very holy woman. She is very much into maintaining the right relationships with people as far as her family, her church and her community.
"She's an avid reader and has a very active mind," she added. "We recognize that she has lived a priestly life for many, many years."
Collingwood said Guzik decided to become a priest because "she thought it was time. This where spirit is leading us."
Susan Guzik, left, is shown as a deacon celebrating with Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood. (Photo courtesy of Mary Eileen Collingwood)
She said Guzik will not have an easy road as far as the church goes.
"You will be ostracized. You will be persona non grata. Nobody will recognize you within the institutional church," she said. "We've had to really come to grips with all of that."
However, she added, "We are a movement that believes church should not be a static spirit, but a continuing, living spirit that continues to move forward."
The women being ordained as deacons Saturday are Toni Kay Attanasio, Geraldne Lococo and Kathleen O'Connell Sauline.
Guzik regards them as examples of a changing society.
"It's just the recognition that yes, women can do this, women have done this for years," she said.
Guzik considers herself a role model, particularly for her granddaughters.
She said her accomplishment might motivate young women she has met who are "lukewarm about the Catholic church because of the misogyny of male priests. They look down on women."
Guzik said she has no plans to drastically alter her spiritual duties once she becomes a priest, and will continue to concentrate on her ministry to the elderly.
"I visit people in nursing homes, visit the sick. I'm not going start my own little circle of people and presiding as priest," Guzik said.
She also she will not celebrate Mass at her current church, the Community of St. Bridget, unless its two women priests are absent.
Guzik chuckled as she recalled one person who asked if she has to be called "father" now, as are male priests.
"No, you can call me Sue," Guzik said she replied. "I'm still the same person."
(The ordination at the Community of St. Bridget, Brecksville United Church of Christ, 23 Public Square in Brecksville, will be followed by a reception in the church hall. Parking is available via Arlington Street, off Brecksville Road.)

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