Sunday, December 27, 2015

Women's Ordinations - August-December 2015

In addition to the consecration of three new Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) bishops, which we covered separately, the following ordinations have taken place in the second half of 2015:

October 10, 2015 - Bloomfield Township, MI


Jennifer Marie Marcus was ordained a priest and Terese Rigodanzo-Kasper, a deacon by ARCWP Bishop Michele Birch-Conery, who is based in Canada. The ordination ceremony took place at Nativity Episcopal Church in Bloomfield. Rev. Barbara Billey of Windsor, Canada, assisted the bishop. Prior to pursuing the priesthood, Rev. Marcus worked as an attorney specializing in civil and employee rights law. While in law school, she was a delegate to the First Archdiocese of Detroit General Assembly under Cardinal Dearden. She is a current member and former board member of Michigan Call To Action. Says Marcus, "I have always believed and worked for social justice in accordance with Christ's Gospel message of reaching out to the poor and marginalized. I am excited to be ordained a woman priest and proud to stand as a prophetic witness for positive change within our beloved church." She is now serving with Rev. Billey and Bishop Birch-Conery as Co-Pastor of the Heart of Compassion International Faith Community in Windsor, Canada.

A mother and grandmother, Deacon Rigodanzo-Kasper has supported herself by doing freelance clerical, bookkeeping, and software testing work and has had both volunteer and paid employment in the Church. She has worked particularly in music ministry and in hospital pastoral care.Previous employment has also included Saint Joseph Catholic School, Unlimited Health Services, Inc, and Gero Solutions. She is a graduate of The College of St. Scholastica and is completing her theological studies with ARCWP's preparation program and People's Catholic Seminary.

October 18, 2015 - Medellin, Colombia


Blanca Cecilia Santana Cortés was ordained a priest and Lucero Arias Manco, a deacon, by ARCWP Bishop Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea. Rev. Santana Cortes was featured in a photo journalism piece in National Geographic. The ceremony took place at Corporación Primavera, a shelter for prostitutes where Rev. Santana and her husband work. About sixty-five people were present for the occasion and various male priests concelebrated with Bishop Alvarez, including Bishop Rodrigo Ospina from the Old Catholic Church. Some of the clergy in attendance were former priests but there were also active priests who maintained a discrete presence. Families of the candidates were present as well as representatives from organizations the women work with including Comunión Sin Fronteras, Fundación Bordado a Mano (ex-convicts), Mesa Ecuménica por la Paz, and Fraternidad de Foucauld.

In her homily, Bishop Alvarez reminded the gathering of the history of the women's ordination movement as well as individuals in church history in Colombia and elsewhere who suffered persecution and even death for following God's law first. And she appealed to the example of ARCWP "patron saint" Mary Magdalene who, in her words, "didn't turn back to look at the tomb, didn't amuse herself by collecting the sheets or taking them for washing, ironing and folding, or stayed smelling the aromas that permeated them. She knew that that job, though necessary, might also distract her from the one of taking the message to the boys. The sheets have been those social and cultural details that have wasted our time for years, preventing us from getting to Galilee. The Galilee of the disadvantaged, where the Master awaits us all to proclaim and celebrate the Good News. We've been tangled up in them all our lives -- "the rules, canon law says..," "that it's divine power," "Jesus chose only men," "the door is closed", etc., etc. Our mission is a matter of conscience and no one can stop us."

October 18, 2015 - Salt Lake City, UT


Clare Julian Carbone was ordained a priest by ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan. The ordination of the former Poor Clare nun who is now a hospital chaplain took place at the First United Methodist Church. Rev. Carbone, a licensed clinical social worker, received an MSW degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She is actively involved in inter-faith dialogue and peace efforts and plans to continue this work as a priest as well as use her new faculties as part of her work with hospice patients. Kate Kelly, who was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last year after pushing for female ordination, was one of those who laid hands on Carbone during the ceremony.

October 25, 2015 - Albuquerque, NM

Carol Giannini was ordained a priest by ARCWP Bishop Mary Collingwood. No biographical information is available about Rev. Giannini. The ceremony took place at the First Congregational United Church of Christ. In her homily, Bishop Collingwood reminded those gathered that "we are called to act as a retardant against the natural tendencies of societal and church culture that are built on faulty ground to fall into decay. If our traditional church does not recognize that the equality of women is constitutive to the gospel message, all its efforts to right the wrongs in our church will be built on sand."

November 14, 2015 - Palm Coast, FL

A woman named "Joan" was ordained a deacon by ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan.


In October, we also learned of a secret ordination of a nun that happened in April 2015 and was previously unreported. Sister Letetia "Tish" Rawles (seated above with ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan and Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska) had been a Sister of the Precious Blood for 47 years. Now elderly and infirm, Rawles has been living in a Cincinnati assisted living facility where she has been ministering to fellow residents since her ordination. When her order found out about the ordination, she was expelled and excommunicated. However, her order is continuing to help her with medical and housing expenses "...not because she was in the order, but because she is a person in need," according to the order's superior, Sr. Joyce Lehman. Rawles, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and advanced liver disease, said she felt called to the priesthood since childhood and wanted to respond to that call before it was too late. Rev. Rawles celebrated her first public Mass at her assisted living facility in November 2015. She told fellow residents that "even when things appear to be evil or bad, there's always a blessing in them. For example, in my own situation of coming out as a Catacomb priest, there have been many blessings. Among the blessings are the support and solidarity of our women priest communities, ARCWP and RCWP as well as the support of residents here at Atria."

Ordinations are already scheduled for January and March 2016 in Florida and April, 2016 in Albany, NY.

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