Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Cheshire Woman To Realize Dream of Becoming a Roman Catholic Priest"/ New Haven Register

CHESHIRE — "Dorothy Shugrue will fulfill a lifelong dream Saturday when she is ordained a Roman Catholic priest, even if the official church hierarchy won’t acknowledge her achievement.Shugrue’s call to the priesthood, however, is not from the church — it’s from God and the people of God, she says, and so she will consider herself just as much a priest as any man.She is a former nun and works at the Morris Foundation Waterbury as a counselor to pregnant women and new mothers with substance abuse and mental health issues. But Shugrue has always wanted to be a priest who can perform the sacraments.
“I was a justice of the peace when I was a nun, so I could marry people, because the college kids were always asking for me to marry them,” she says. “And then I got one of those ministry things online. ... I’ve done many weddings — all civil ceremonies of course — and actually I’ve done blessings of children, baptisms, naming ceremonies, funerals, all of that.”Shugrue, 68, doesn’t have the blessing of Archbishop Henry Mansell, but she was once in the Archdiocese of Hartford’s good graces. She was appointed a chaplain at St. Joseph’s College in Hartford by then-Archbishop John Whealon, after serving in a similar role at the University of Bridgeport.“And also (Whealon) gave me permission to conduct a Communion service (using consecrated bread and wine) on Sundays if I couldn’t get a priest, because even then it was hard to have priests come in to celebrate,” Shugrue says.Shugrue actually is already a priest, in a small but growing denomination called the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church. But her Irish heritage and love for the Roman church, especially after the reforms of Vatican II, led her to seek ordination in her spiritual home.As she told her mother: “I’m Irish, Mother, I can’t leave the church.” And despite threats of excommunication from the hierarchy for anyone who supports women’s ordination, Shugrue doesn’t believe she has left or will leave the Catholic Church behind.“We consider ourselves fully members of the Roman Catholic Church and we consider ourselves legitimate priests because we follow the line of succession,” says Shugrue of her sisters in the
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. “Male bishops ordained our first women … male bishops that were in good standing in the Roman Catholic Church.” Continued...

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