Two Women Ordained Roman Catholic Priests In New Jersey

This morning, April 21, 2018, amidst the great joy of the large congregation gathered two well prepared women were ordained into the Roman Catholic Priesthood at the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, New Jersey. Donna Enos Burke of Amherst, New Hampshire and Erma Durkin of Glen Arm, Maryland took the vows of Holy Orders with Bishop Andrea Johnson of the Eastern Region of RomanCatholicWomenPriests, RCWP, presiding. As Bishop Johnson is validly ordained via a line of Apostolic Succession beginning with a male Bishop in good standing with the Church whose name will be revealed upon his death, this is a valid ordination. Because by Canon Law the Church only ordains men this is also an illicit ordination. The Church says that the women excommunicate themselves by accepting Holy Orders. However, they reject this excommunication noting that “…nothing can separate me from the love of Christ…” Both women were called forth to serve by their own communities and look forward to serving as priests.

For Donna Burke the call to serve as a priest came in childhood in Fall River Massachussets. Although many attempted to discourage her she hopefully pursued the possibility throughout her life as she served the Church and God’s people in many ways. She has a Masters in Theology and Scriptural Studies and also will complete a MDiv degree at Andover Newtown Theological School. She plans to do hospice work focusing on both patients and their families and looks forward also to pursuing a DMin degree in the future.

Erma Durkin has led a life of service. She was a Religious sister for twenty years serving in many different States in the US and in Puerto Rico. Her specialty is Religious Education and she served in parishes until recently. When she left Religious Life she became a wife and mother of three and is a grandmother to two. She will continue to serve with other Priests at Living Waters Community in Maryland.

Congratulations and God’s richest blessings upon these faithful and courageous new Priests and their Ministries!

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Love and blessings,
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Florida

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