Mary Sue Barnett lay prostrate Sunday before members of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and others laid their hands on her in solemn reverence and prayer.
They had a clear message for the Vatican on Sunday, ordaining Barnett as its latest woman priest.
time has come for a holy shakeup that will bring new life, creativity
and justice to the church and beyond,” the Rev. Bridget Mary Meehan, the
ordaining bishop, said during the ceremony.
More than 200 people attended the afternoon ceremony for Barnett at Central Presbyterian Church in Old Louisville.
other women were ordained as deacons: Denise Menard Davis and Betty
Smith of Louisville, Mary Weber of Indianapolis and Ann Harrington of
It was the second such ceremony in Louisville in the past year.
“It’s a very
natural next step for me, a joy-filled step,” Barnett, 51, said after
the ceremony, adding there are “women of all ages who need to be visible
and need to be heard.”
She will give her first liturgies at First Unitarian Church on Fourth Street at 5 p.m. Dec. 21.
who is married, has two sons and lives in the Lyndon area, was born and
raised in the traditional Roman Catholic Church, attending St.
Athanasius, Mother of Good Counsel and Church of Epiphany in Louisville.
She also has taught at Catholic institutions, including Presentation
Academy, Assumption High School, Spalding University and St. Catharine
now more than 160 women priests in the association, said Meehan, of
Mother Mary of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Fla.
The association’s first seven women were ordained as priests in 2002
on the Danube River in Europe, and a dozen more were ordained in the
first U.S. ordination in Pittsburgh in 2006.
Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville officials have said Catholics should
not support or participate in events held by the association,
maintaining it has no connection to the Roman Catholic Church.
association supporters who attended Sunday’s ceremony sat on the upper
level to avoid having their photos taken because they said they would be
excommunicated if they were seen at the ceremony.
Francis, like other pontiffs before him, has rejected the idea of women
priests, although he is trying to include them more in the church.
The Rev. Janice Savre-Duszynska, an association member, said priesthood “goes beyond gender.”
She’s among those who say frescoes the Vatican recently restored
in the Catacomb of Priscilla — including one that appears to show a
woman being ordained by a bishop — are evidence of women deacons and
But the Vatican has a different interpretation.
is an elaboration that has no foundation in reality,” Barbara Mazzei of
the Pontifical Commission on Sacred Archaeology told Reuters last