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Sisters, Carry On: Roman Catholic Women Ordained Deacons and Priests by Women Bishops"

Like Rosa Parks whose refusal to sit in the back of the bus ignited the civil rights movement, Roman Catholic women priests are redefining priesthood and claiming full equality for women in the church.
On July 25, 2005, nine Roman Catholic women were ordained deacons and priests by three women bishops. Sailing down the sparkling international waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the boat symbolized the church floating in the waters of divine love, calling forth the gifts of women to equal ministry.

Roman Catholic WomenPriests Ordinations on July 25, 2005 on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Video Clip 1 - "Let the Women Be There": In this mini-clip candidates for priestly ministry express their commitment to serve God in ordination ceremony on St. Lawrence Seaway on July 25, 2005.


Video Clip 2 - In this clip, Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger explains that the women bishops were secretly ordained by Roman Catholic male bishops in good standing with Rome. This clip shows the laying on of hands in the ordination ceremony that took place on July 25, 2005 on St. Lawrence River.
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"Sisters, Carry On: Roman Catholic Women Ordained Deacons and Priests by Women Bishops"

On July 25, 2005, nine Roman Catholic women were ordained deacons and priests by three women bishops. Sailing down the sparkling international waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the boat symbolized the church floating in the waters of divine love, calling forth the gifts of women to equal ministry.

These courageous women defied an unjust law banning women from priestly ministry. The three women bishops, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Gisela Forster, and Patricia Fresen, who presided at the ordinations, were ordained by Roman Catholic male bishops in a secret ceremony to avoid Vatican reprisal.

Women deacons, priests, and bishops are part of the ancient heritage of the Roman Catholic church. The image on the ordination program depicts Episcopa Theodora, a women bishop in the early church. The original mosaic appears in a side chapel in the Church of St. Praxedis in Rome. Likewise, there is a fresco depicting a woman deacon and a bishop ordaining a woman priest in St. Priscilla’s catacomb in Rome.

A Native American woman, from the Algonquin tribe led the opening ceremony with drumming and chanting of "The Strong Women." The readings from the Bible affirmed women's equality in the church. The letter from St. Paul proclaimed that we are all one in Christ. "there is no Greek or Jew, slave or free, male or female." The Gospel encounter between Mary Magdala and the Risen Christ was read.

The three women bishops presented a down-to-earth dialogue homily that roused the community to laughter several times. "The Vatican hierarchy has been at anchor for many centuries. We are saying in a friendly way the Vatican sailors must be reawakened," Bishop Gisela Forster said, "thousands of people are yearning for an understanding church, they are looking for reforms."

Family and close friends, shared touching anecdotes about their relationships with ordinands over the years as they called them to priestly ministry. The bishops and the community laid their hands on the heads of the ordinands, praying in silence over them. The liturgy utilized inclusive language. Prayers were directed to "Mother and Father God." The entire community prayed the prayers of consecration. After the blessing we closed with a rousing rendition of the hymn: "Sister, Carry On". As we sang, "let the women, be there," there was a palpable sense of joy that women were taking their rightful place at last, as partners and equals in a church modeled on Gospel equality. As they processed out carrying waters from the rivers of the world, the newly-ordained women walked into history, leading the Catholic church into a new age in which the identity of priest will reflect the experiences of women, as representatives of the sacred. Women priests remind us that woman are equal symbols of the holy. Patriarchy's dark lie that women are more responsible for the fall has been smashed as women in priestly ministry defy an unjust law that keeps women subordinate in the Catholic church. Viva Roman Catholic women priests, may you step out of the boat and walk on water, keeping your eyes on God through the rough waters ahead!
Here are a few "news briefs" that I heard on the boat:
---One nun reported that a priestless parish was seeking g a woman priest to staff a church in US
--Several nuns from religious orders who were guests at the ordination said that they are going to raise the issue of supporting women in their religious orders who are called to the Roman Catholic priesthood.
--A woman who was ordained in France in July 2005, was approached for confession by a woman who had been out of the church for 30 years, and a priest in her area invited her to concelebrate Mass with him in a private home.
--In California one of the newly ordained women priests was invited to celebrate Mass with a local community.
There were 57 media outlets that reported on the ordinations. This resulted in widespread coverage of the ordinations on TV and newspapers. To read news stories on women priests, go to a search engine such as Yahoo news, type in women priests ordained in Canada and you will get around 200 news wire articles. On Google there are thousands of articles on this topic.
Here is a link to a BBC article with a great photo of the ”laying on of hands” in the ordination ceremony..
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4717277.stm For photos of ordination, visit www.corpus.smugmug.com
To find out more information on the Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement, visit www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org
Bridget Mary Meehan, sfcc , Co-Coordinator of Women-Church Convergence