Two Women Ordained Roman Catholic Deacons in New York on Sunday October 14,2018

Leslie Frances Handy,60, and Celie Katovitch, 29, were ordained transitional Roman Catholic Deacons in a sacred and joyful traditional Ordination ceremony at the Stony Point Conference Center in Stony Point, New York by Bishop Andrea Johnson of the Roman Catholic Women Priests, Eastern Region on October 14, 2018. Each woman is well prepared for the diaconate by life,service, ministerial and educational experience and will serve into 2019 in their respective communities of Baltimore, Maryland and Rochester, New York.

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Fran Handy, as she likes to be called, has led a life of service. She was a religious Sister for many years before returning to lay status and continuing to pursue opportunities to serve God’s people. She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and is completing a Master’s Degree in Theology and Pastoral Service at Global Ministries University. She is a part of the Living Waters Inclusive Catholic Community in Maryland and will serve as Deacon with them. She is married to Mimi Giguere, works a full time job and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her passion is to serve the poor, the outcast, children and families and the LGBTQ community.

Celie Katovitch of Syracuse, New York, has ministerial experience as an ordained Pastor in the Unitarian Universalist Church before returning to Roman Catholicism and membership in the Spiritus Christi Catholic Community in Rochester, New York. Her undergraduate degree is in Philosophy, Peace and Justice from Gettysburg University. She holds a Master’s of Divinity Degree from Harvard University Divinity School(2013) and is also a graduate in Spiritual Direction from the Haden Institute(2018). Her commitment is to serve the poor and disenfranchised.

We are truly blessed and happy to have Fran and Celie as Deacons in the Roman Catholic Women Priests, Eastern Region.
The first picture below is of Deacons Celie and Fran with Priest Jackie Clarys.
The second is all of the Eastern Region priests who were able to be in attendance at this joyful celebration.

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Eastern Region Oct. 14, 2018

The Ordination followed the Retreat of the Eastern Region’s clergy at the rustic and beautiful Stony Point Center from 10/12-14. On the first night we celebrated the lives of two of our priests who died this year: Judy Beaumont and Claire Gareau. Priest Gloria Carpeneto who had been Claire’s mentor told of her gentleness and service and her love of baseball. And I, at times tearfully, shared two poems about the life of unceasing compassion, prayer and service led by Judy. In a truly moving celebration of their lives we shared the grief of loss and the hope of lives lived entirely for and with Christ in love and service.
In the picture below our Colombian priests, Marina Teresa Sanchez Mejia, Judith Bautista Fajardo and Maria Elena Sierra Sanchez sit at the memory altar and consider the lives of Judy and Claire.
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As Judy Beaumont and I went to Colombia four times to assist the priests there having our Colombian priests at this Memorial Celebration was particularly meaningful.
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The topic of the Retreat was “Claiming Our Prophetic Voice and Witness” structured on the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus in John 4. Our retreat leader was Amy Wellborn who was amazing. We applied this truly exciting story to our individual lives and to our mission as Roman Catholic Women Priests. One of the questions we considered was: “We also pondered the questions; How do we speak to power? How do we read the signs of the times? How do we create bridges to the future? and How do we embody the gospel message?”. As Roman Catholic Women Priests we are wondering if witnessing and being a new model of church is our prophetic call?” We did not find all of the answers but generated energy to pursue these important questions by our work and caring interactions.

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How blessed we were and how fitting it was to end this important retreat with the ordination of two new Deacons! Celie and Fran, Fran and Celie,Bienvenidos, Welcome! ANd Bendiciones, Blessings! You remain in our hearts and prayers as you continue to serve our loving God.

This is the quilt of our names made by our Priest Barbara Beadles. Our departed members lead us at the top of the quilt.
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THANKS BE TO GOD!
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

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