Six Roman Catholic Women Ordained in Cleveland on May 24,2014


The Laying on of Hands on Marianne Therese Smyth  by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan

Pastor Judy Beaumont and I were happy to attend this wonderful ordination of four women priests and two women deacons in Cleveland on Saturday 5/24/14. The church was packed and joy,happiness and expectation filled the air.

This was an especially happy occasion for me as my cousin Marianne Therese Smyth was one of the newly ordained priests. It was my joy to present her to the Bishop and the community along with our cousin, Jackie Weinmann Marion who also participated in the Procession and the ceremony, helping to vest Marianne and presenting her with a chalice and paten from the family.

Marianne and Judy Lee




Jackie Weinmann Marion bringing up the Chalice and Paten

Marianne,a mother of two and a grandmother of four, is theologically and experientially prepared for the priesthood. She was a third order Carmelite for five years, undertook much advanced study and spent her professional life teaching and counseling special education students and later was devoted to the care of her elderly and much beloved mother, Betty whose spirit was very much with us.  She is presently preparing herself for ministry with the dying and their families by taking an eleventh month course and practicum called “Companioning the Dying”. She feels blessed by this ministry  especially when called in to accompany someone at the eleventh hour. Marianne has conveyed that she is trying to live her life as a “conscious sacrament” and that she feels called to celebrate sacred connectedness and God’s boundless love for everyone. She will also be celebrating with the Living Waters Inclusive Catholic Community with RCWP Bishop Andrea Johnson and Priest Gloria Carpeneto and others in Catonsville, Maryland.


Left to right: Marianne T. Smyth, Irene C. Scaramazza and Mary Collingwood, Three Newly Ordained Priests

Each one of the women ordained is a special and courageous woman. We are truly blessed to have them with us in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

Below Front: Mary Bergan Blanchard, Irene Scaramazza, Priests, Susan Guzik and Barbara Billey, Deacons,  Bishop Bridget Mary,and Mary Collingwood and Marianne Therese Smyth, Priests. Rear: Other ARCWP Priests Attending


Article from Bridgetmarys.blogspot

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photos of ARCWP Cleveland Ordination by John Kuntz, Article by Tom Feran of The Plain Dealer


Catholic Women Priests ordain six in emotional ceremony despite church’s stance (slideshow)BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — A message of inclusiveness as well as faith was delivered on Saturday when six women were ordained as priests or deacons in a ceremony sponsored by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
Presiding Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, of Sarasota, Florida, said the ceremony was held at the Brecksville United Church of Christ because of the lack of institutional inclusiveness in the Catholic church, which says the ordination has no validity and incurred automatic excommunication.
Meehan pointedly cited in her homily the story from the Gospel of John of the woman at the well. In it, Jesus crosses several social boundaries to ask for water from a Samaritan woman. The exchange becomes the longest individual conversation in scripture, and the first time Jesus reveals himself openly as the messiah.
The church was filled for the emotional ceremony, nearly two hours long, which included ordinations of two Northeast Ohio women: Mary Collingwood, of Boston Heights, as a priest, and Susan Guzik, of Eastlake, as a deacon.
Collingwood and Ann Klonowski, who was ordained last September, will say Mass weekly at 5 p.m. Saturdays starting June 7 at Brecksville United Church of Christ.

TV Coverage:

Posted by Bridget Mary Meehan at 12:30 PM No comments:Links to this post


ARCWP Ordination:Homily by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, May 24, 2014, Cleveland “Women Priests Sharing the Living Water of God’s Love of All”


Today we rejoice that the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain 6 women:

Deacon Barbara Billey who lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, has been married for 32 years. She is currently a counselor and art therapist. Barbara, a Doctor of Ministry candidate, has a particular interest in women’s spirituality and a passion for integrating sacred arts in liturgy.  

Deacon Susan Marie Guzik from Eastlake, a suburb of Cleveland, is a widow, mother, grandmother. She received certification as a Lay Ecclesial Minister in the Diocese of Cleveland. Susan has volunteered in the Diocese as a pastoral minister and for the past seven years served as the Director/Advisor of the Stephen Ministry Program at St. Mary Magdalene Parish.

The following women will be ordained PRIESTS:

Mary Bergan Blanchard from Albuquerque, NM, is a former Sister of Mercy, a widow, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer and licensed counselor. After retiring in New Mexico, she served as a Mental Health Counselor in a Roman Catholic Church for twenty years. 

Mary Eileen Collingwood, from the Cleveland area, is a wife, mother and grandmother who, with her advanced degree in theology, has served for 40 years in church ministry and taught theology on the high school and college levels.  In the parish she was Director of Religious Education, Coordinator for Marriage Preparation and Pastoral Minister.  

has  advanced degrees in theology, pastoral counseling, and family therapy.  She is currently working as a hospice chaplain having completed her Provisional Board Chaplaincy Certification.

Marianne Therese Smyth, from Silver Spring, MD; is a mother of two sons. She is a hospice volunteer with Montgomery Hospice and has worked for 25 years as a para-educator with special needs 
students. She has a Masters of Education in counseling, a certificate in theological studies and serves the Living Water Inclusive Community in Catonsville, Maryland.

 These women, like the Samaritan woman have left their water jars behind. They come today to share the living water of their lives with God’s people.

The story of the Samaritan woman at the well records the longest conversation between Jesus and anyone in the gospels. This sacred text reveals that Christ is the “wellspring of love” that will fill us forever. Eve­ryone is invited to drink the “living water” and belong to the community of faith. Jesus’ trademark is inclusiveness.  There are no outsiders. All that is required is that we worship in spirit and truth.

In the encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus goes beyond the social and religious taboos of his times.  It is astonishing for us and shocking even for the apostles that Jesus confided his identity as Messiah to a woman who does not belong to the religious establishment and who is a foreigner and divorced.


According to biblical experts, the woman understood Jesus’ mention that she had no “husband” not as a call to true repentance, but as a call to true worship. Other commentators believe that Jesus’ referral to the woman’s “husbands” pointed to the Samaritan practice of intermarriage outside the tribe, a custom that caused tension with the Jews because it destroyed Jewish ancestral lines. No matter what interpretation we accept, the Samaritan woman continues to live in couples today who reflect the face of God as they live as spiritual equals in committed, covenantal relationships.

So too, today, Roman Catholic Women Priests are listening and responding to God’s Living Water flowing through us as we evangelize our church with the good news that all are invited to live Gospel equality now in inclusive communities where everyone is welcome. 

Like the Samaritan woman, we too are daring and bold women, who are leaving our water jars behind, because we are being and encountering the Living Water of God’s love every day on the margins of our church.  Beyond our comfort zone and off the power grid we minister to the family of God who do not have a spiritual home – divorced and remarried Catholics, gays, lesbians, transgender, women who are excluded from liturgical leadership, youth and many others who are seeking a contemporary model of Church that is aligned with Gospel values.


In his recent book, A Call to Action:  Women, Religion, Violence and Power, President Jimmy Carter, who supports women’s ordination and women’s equality in all religions, finds it “ironic” that women are welcomed into many professions “but are deprived of the right to serve Jesus Christ in positions of leadership” as they did in the early Christian churches. The former president said that the violence and abuse of women in society is directly connected to the spiritual inequality of women in religious practice. He said that he would become a Catholic when he is invited to do so by a female priest!  I assure you that we have issued an invitation!

World-renown Spanish human rights activist, Sister Teresa Forcades, affirms the vision of Vatican 11 and suggests that Pope Francis might be an agent for change. In an article entitled: “Activist Nun -Change Comes from the Bottom” written by Janice Sevre-Duszynska and published by the National Catholic Reporter:

 “Sister Teresa said that it must be the people in the church who will promote the acceptance of contraception and an end to the church’s homophobia and who become voices in the struggle for justice for women.” ‘We now have women priests with the people from the bottom up,’ Forcades said with a smile. ‘The people are ready.’ ”



Twenty years ago, on May 22, 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” (“Priestly Ordination”) which reserved priesthood in the Catholic Church to men only.”This teaching that ‘women are not fully in the likeness of Jesus’ — qualifying, as it does, as a theological explanation — is utterly and demonstrably heretical,” said Augustinian theologian John Shea in  his 2nd letter to U.S. bishops.

Despite two decades of blatant discrimination of women and  denial of women’s basic human rights as spiritual equals before God, justice is rising up for women in the church in grassroots, inclusive, Catholic communities. With almost 200 Roman Catholic Women Priests in the international movement, a renewed priestly ministry is flowering in 10 countries. Catholics worldwide are embracing a new model of church led by women and men.

In imagining a dialogue with our beloved Pope Francis, I would invite him to consider faithful dissent in our church as healthy. I would ardently appeal for the end of discrimination, spiritual violence and bullying toward any member of the Body of Christ, including the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and for the cancellation of ecclesiastical punishments, including excommunication against women priests and our supporters. Let us pray that the Spirit will move our Pope to affirm all of us as beloved sisters and brothers in the family of God. 



I believe that on a deep, mystical level women priests are beginning a healing process of centuries-old deep misogyny in which spiritual power was invested exclusively in men. With your prayers and commitment, we are recovering the dropped thread of our sister women in the early Church who embraced with dignity their full right to preach, to proclaim and to lead worship.

Now we ordain you, our beloved Sisters, Mary, Marianne, Mary, Irene, Barbara and Susan.   In solidarity with Jesus and the Samaritan woman may you be God’s living waters bringing refreshment to the arid structures of our Church and beyond. May you help to liberate God’s people from oppression by  acts of justice, compassion and love.  May you  foster spiritual renewal in inclusive faith communities of equals.  

Today, all of us rejoice that Christ Sophia, Wellspring of Wisdom, is in our midst!

Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., a Sister for Christian Community, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2006. She was ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009.  Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 20 books


Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP






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