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.
The following is an article about the Ordinations from the MoristownGreen.com. 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.
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