Historic Ordination of First Latin American Roman Catholic Woman Priest
A diverse community of supporters, including the poor and marginalized from Good Shepherd Community in Ft. Myers, Florida, celebrated the historic ordination of the first Roman Catholic Woman Priest from Latin America. A prominent leader in the ecumenical religious community and a missionary activist, she was ordained by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Sarasota, Florida on Dec. 11th, 2010.
The newly ordained woman priest was inspired by the religious women who taught her in grade school and high school. She was not only a product of Vatican II and the changes that took place in Latin America, she was an active participant of the Gospel mandate for and church teaching on social justice.As a passionate advocate of gender equality and liberation theology, her life mission has been working with the poor especially women in base communities in cities in Latin America. In addition, she is a member of ecumenical organizations and skilled at working with clergy from various denominations. Her goal has been to empower, educate, and to raise consciousness. "Liberate yourself from the past, even though the church, society and your family may have condemned you. God does not condemn you," the first Latin American woman priest said, "We need to have an ethics of love, not punishment or fear, the sacraments are not pieces of paper but relationships to Spirit." In her ministry to the poor and indigenous she proclaims "we have the blood of Christ." She advocates raising the poor and indigenous people to full equality in the church and in society. In other words, one's ethnic background, social standing, race or religion does not matter. All are one in Christ. This theology is rooted in the first principal statement of Vatican II: "Every form of discrimination against persons, either because of religion, nationality, race or gender, must be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent."
This courageous and prophetic first Roman Catholc Woman Priest believes that women's ordination is a question of justice. Her vision is building up partnership between women and men in Latin America. She follows directly in the footsteps of holy women and men who have embraced Gospel justice in solidarity with the poor and marginalized in Latin America.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests