Thursday, July 9, 2015

Windsor’s 1st Roman Catholic Woman Priest to be Ordained as Canada’s 1st Woman Priest Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Release date: July 9, 2015
From: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (See:
Contact:  Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (media)
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, (703) 505-0004,
On Saturday, July 25, 2015, at 2 p.m., the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain Barbara Billey a priest, (519)735-3943. The ordaining bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan.  The ceremony will be held in the Chapel of Cardinal Smart Retirement Living, 3140 Peter St., Windsor, ON (519-254-1112). Parking at St. Michael’s School.  A dinner will follow at 6:30 pm, 140 Bridge Ave., Penthouse (Buzz #6). Street parking only. All are welcome.
Barbara is a registered psychotherapist and art therapist who has a private practice working with children, youth and adults.  She enjoys using the creative arts as part of her healing ministry in order to facilitate encounters with the Sacred. Barbara holds graduate degrees in education and counseling/art therapy as well as a Doctor of Ministry. “We, God’s beloveds, the sacraments, and the Church cannot be truly whole without women at all levels of ministry, including priesthood.  While I’ve had many challenges in this sacred calling, deep within is a steadfastness that sustains my going forward. I’m gripped by this grace.”
July 25th is also the 10th anniversary of Canada’s first woman priest, Michele Birch-Conery, (519) 962-7016 who was ordained on the St. Lawrence River in 2005.  A retired professor of English Literature and Women's Studies with a focus on Women and Religion, she lived and ministered on Vancouver Island, British Colombia with outreach to the GLBTQ Dignity Vancouver community. In 2013, she moved to Windsor where she collaborates with Barbara and their Heart of Compassion Faith Communities in Ontario and Michigan.
As urban priests and compassion activists, Michele and Barbara presented the Charter for Compassion for adoption by the City of Windsor and are currently supporting the empowerment of young women of various faith traditions through their Wisdom Women Circles of Compassion initiative. In Detroit, Michigan and area, they also partner with Deacon Jeni Marcus in activism with GLBTQ communities and an ecumenical Call to Action community.
Pope Francis in his Encyclical on Mother Earth, Laudato Si, writes, “God’s love is the fundamental moving force in all created things (77).  No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to [God’s] grace at work deep in our hearts.”
Women priests are responding to the Spirit’s call to serve in a renewed priesthood within a circle of equals. In our prophetic movement of justice-making, spiritually transforming and righting relationships, we are mystically healing the Earth, the circle of life, and the wounds of sexism. As images of the Divine in partnership with all of creation, our lives call out for the full equality of women.
We ask Francis to make the connection between the disempowerment and domination of women in church and society and the abuse of women and creation.  In response to the growing interest of women to be ordained, ARCWP will ordain three bishops in Philadelphia, USA on September 24th, including one from South America.

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