Seven Women Ordained Roman Catholic Priests in Morristown, New Jersey on April 25,2015

On Saturday April 24th in Morristown ,New Jersey, seven well prepared women were ordained Roman Catholic priests with Andrea Johnson, Bishop of the Eastern Region of Roman Catholic Women Priests-USA presiding. The women were Barbara Ann Beadles,  Norma Harrington, Patricia Shannon Jones, Susan Marie Schessler, Kathleen Gibbons Schuck, Ann Therese Searing and Mary Steinmetz.  The women had been deacons with RCWP- East since 2013 or 2014 and completed the Program of Preparation and mentoring as they continued to discern their call to serve as priests and developed their own ministries and churches. They hail from Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The holy and auspicious event was hosted by the Church of The Redeemer, an Episcopal church welcoming all within its doors. RCWP is indebted to the generous hospitality of this church and its Rector,Rev. Cynthia Black.  Rev. Black wrote the following about hosting the RCWP Ordinations:

“The Roman Catholic Womenpriests is a renewal movement that began in Germany with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River, in international waters, in 2002. They were ordained by three bishops in Apostolic succession (the names of two of them will only be released upon their death, but all details, including photographs, have been deposited in a safe deposit box until that time, so that no harm comes to these individuals). Subsequently, several womenbishops (their terminology) have also been ordained. We are excited about hosting this historic event…”

It was attended by over two hundred joyful supporters.

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The following is an article about the Ordinations from the Rev. Marellen Mayers,RCWP is currently the Administrator/Circle Leader of RCWP-USA Eastern Region and is also the President of the Board for RCWP-USA.

Catholic dissident group to ordain women priests in Morristown, April 25

April 25, 2015 by Kevin Coughlin 

Catholics who thought they never would live to see the ordination of women priests can witness it right here in Morristown, on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

A dissident organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests will ordain seven women at 2 pm, at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.

The Vatican does not recognize females as priests, and has warned women that the ritual amounts to automatic excommunication, according to the Rev.Marellen Mayers, who has traveled from Baltimore for Saturday’s ceremony.

“Jesus calls both men and women,” Mayers countered.

Established in Germany in 2002, Roman Catholic Womenpriests now numbers about 200 women priests, mostly in the U.S., Mayers said.  They have staked a claim to “apostolic succession” — theological  legitimacy — based on ordinations they say were performed by Catholic bishops who they decline to name.

Asked in 2013 about the ordination of women, Pope Francis declared: “The church has spoken and says no… That door is closed.”

Wouldn’t it be easier for women to switch to the Episcopal Church, where they would be welcomed into the priesthood?

“I’m born and raised a Roman Catholic,” Mayers said. “As much as I appreciate the Episcopal Church and all they have done to further social justice, I’m Roman Catholic and want to further change in my church.”

One of the seven women to be ordained, Susan Schessler, is a retired school administrator from High Bridge, Mayers said. The others hail from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland.

About 200 people, including 25 priests from the sect, are anticipated to attend the two-hour service.

Morristown was chosen because it’s central to the ministry’s eastern region, which extends from Nova Scotia to Florida, and because it’s near where the Rev. Mary Ann Schoettly  preached until her death last year, Mayers said.

The Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community worships in Harding and Sparta.

Services celebrated by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests differ from traditional Catholic masses in more than priestly gender.  Anyone can take communion. And the liturgical language is more “inclusive,” Mayers said.

Instead of parishes or congregations, these women priests lead “inclusive communities,” which gather in rented halls or homes, as early Christians did, Mayers said.

There are no seminaries for these women.  Requirements for the priesthood generally include a master’s degree in divinity/ theology, parish experience, and psychological screening, Mayers said.

Many of the candidates are former nuns, Mayers said. Others are retirees or work day jobs, because they are not paid for their ministries.  Mayers works as a preschool administrator; she had to forego her career as a Catholic school theology teacher when she pursued the priesthood.

“That’s how strong the calling is,” she said. “It gets to the point where that’s what you’re being called to do.”

The Vatican’s insistence on celibate male priests, stretching back centuries, is rooted not in theology, but rather in protecting church property from being handed down to heirs of clergy, Mayers said.

Yet she contends the modern church would have saved enormous sums — and spared many children from trauma — by ordaining women.

“If men and women were in the ministry all along, the pedophile scandal never would have happened,” Mayers said. “Women would have held men accountable.”

Copyright 2015 Morristown Green

CONGRATULATIONS to the New Priests!

with love and blessings,

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

14 responses to “Seven Women Ordained Roman Catholic Priests in Morristown, New Jersey on April 25,2015”

  1. Anne-Marie Hislop says :

    Mary Ann Schoettly was my biology teacher at Immaculate Conception HS in Montclair, NJ in her first year out of college. As I recall they let her go because she was getting married and they assumed she’d soon be pregnant and disrupt the school year. She was one of the best teachers I ever had (my friends and I went to the church to see her wedding). It’s sad that she died on the young side. It sounds like she was doing wonderful work.

    • judyabl says :

      She was a wonderful Priest and her Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community continues her tradition of sending support to our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community!

  2. Julie Oldach says :

    I think it’s wonderful! Women love the Lord as much, maybe even more than many men do. They are also just as bright, loving, kind with a listening ear to the hurting lambs which is a big lack in many priests. You have your extraordinary ones in each sex. Jesus was surrounded in the bible by women who helped him. This is strictly a manmade rule as far as I can see. So many other religions have women serving God & they are dynamic!

  3. Tony Bala says :

    The world we are living today is becoming something else, women ordained Catholic priest, anyway God knows better than we do. congratulations

  4. Tony Bala says :

    The world we are living today is becoming something else, women ordained Catholic priest, anyway God knows better than we do. congratulations
    Now each of this women priest, are they going to have their parishes

    • judyabl says :

      Thank you, Tony. We don’t have a traditional parish structure as each priest serves where she is according to her charisms. Some priests serve together. So for the 210 women priests world wide maybe we have well over 100 congregations of various sizes. As you may learn from my blog we serve a church in Fort Myers, Florida and have a congregation of about 70 if all came at one time. We bought a house in a low income neighborhood so we can continue to serve the homeless and low income as well as a whole range of other Catholics who join us for Sunday Mass. The front of the house is the church, the rear apartment has served as a home for 35 people moving out of homelessness over the last 7 years. It is something like the Dorothy Day Catholic worker House model, but we do not live there- people in need of housing do. Many blessings, Pastor Judy

  5. joeyisared says :

    Reblogged this on Joey is a Red and commented:
    While Christianity, Judaism, and Islam continue to deny women access to true leadership in their religion, there are those that are slowly making changes for the better.

  6. kim says :

    Please do not clam you are Roman Catholic because you are not you are a break away that does not repercent the true church.

    • judyabl says :

      Thanks Kim, but do know that Jesus, the Christ, from whom the church flows was considered a “break away” from Judaism, although he did not see himself that way, and neither do we. He came to fulfill the Law and we have risked changing a man-made part of church law, not made by Christ, Canon 1024, to fulfill what Christianity started out to be, inclusive of all in all ways. God can call whomever God wants to call. Jesus broke the Laws of his tradition that did not serve people- like healing on the Sabbath, so breaking unjust laws is very much a part of Christian tradition. It does not change that one is a part of that tradition.

      • Sibusiso says :

        I am an Anglican priest who decided to leave the Roman Catholic Church because I was tired of the man-made rules of the Roman Catholic Church. I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead the Roman Catholic Church.

  7. brgeem says :

    What a fabulously happy picture – one the Church Universal should be proud of. Go Gals!

  8. Ayantunde says :

    I have always believed that men and women are complimentary beings, not beings in competition. As long as we realised that we are complementing each other there wouldn’t be this craze to be others. Mother Theresa was more recognised worldwide for her ministry of caring than many priests are, yet she achieved this not being a priest. Priesthood is not the only avenue through which you can minister to humanity, just one of the avenues.

    • judyabl says :

      All are equal in God’s eyes by virtue of baptism and as Paul said. “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female…” It is not competition to accept God’s calling to the priesthood, that has no part in it, it is simply answering God’s call…no matter what it costs…Blessings, Pastor Judy

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