My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Road to Ordination

Dear Friends:

I wanted to wait until this article was published, before sharing it with you. In the article, I answered the three primary questions I continue to be asked:


MY ROAD TO ORDINATION
By Ray Grosswirth, CORPUS Media Liaison

March/April, 2007 Edition of ‘CORPUS REPORTS’

Having been part of the CORPUS community for several years, this is my very first article written as a married priest. The road to ordination was indeed long, with a few bumps along the way. However, in the end, my faith has been enriched as a result of my finally saying YES when the Holy Spirit beckoned.

Much has been written and said already in the mainstream media about my ordination. So, rather than restating all the particulars, what follows will be what can perhaps be described as a reflection on what my ordination means in terms of my future with CORPUS and how I intend to carry out my ministries in the diaspora.

I wish to begin by thanking the CORPUS community for all the good wishes I received following my ordination on December 10. I also wish to give special thanks to Bill Manseau, who put me in touch with Archbishop Peter Brennan a couple months prior to the event. In the way of a background, Peter was one of four men consecrated archbishops by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo last September.

After Archbishop Brennan reviewed materials I had sent him, he conversed with Archbishop Milingo, whereby both agreed I was a suitable candidate for the priesthood. It was further agreed that everything would be done according to Roman Catholic specifications and rituals. So, in keeping with the proper specified order, I was first ordained a transitional deacon by Archbishop Brennan, and was then ordained a priest by Archbishop Milingo on December 10.

Bill Manseau did a wonderful job with the feature article he wrote for the January/February 2007 edition of ‘CORPUS Reports.’ In his article, he gave us an overview of the personality and spirituality that defines Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. I am in full agreement that Milingo is a highly spiritual man and that his devotion to the Roman Catholic faith is steadfast, despite some comments that have been made in the mainstream media.

Since my ordination, I have been asked several questions by friends, members of the media and representatives of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Three primary questions have surfaced: 1.) What will my future relationship with Archbishop Milingo be? 2.) For whom will I carry out my ministries? 3.) Have I been threatened with any penalties by the Roman Catholic hierarchy?

Before answering the above questions, I wish to state that CORPUS remains my primary community, although I wasn’t ordained for the community. Nevertheless, the work being done by CORPUS remains extremely vital to the future of the Roman Catholic Church. When historians look back at the history of married priests and the work done toward priesthood inclusivity in general, the work of CORPUS will be recognized for its combination of meticulous theology, bridge-building and its success in attracting members without coercion or deceptive advertising. In short, CORPUS builds relationships, and my friendships that have been cultivated through our organization mean more to me than I can say. So, I was greatly honored to serve as CORPUS Secretary for three years, in addition to serving in my current role as CORPUS Media Liaison – a role I will continue under the current Board leadership.

I will now answer the three questions I am most often asked:

What will my future relationship with Archbishop Milingo be?

Many CORPUS priests will remember their ordination day. Two primary promises were made: a.) obedience to their bishops; b.) a promise to remain celibate. Obviously, since I am a married man, who was ordained by a married bishop, there was no promise of celibacy on my part (thanks be to God). When it came time for the pledge of obedience at my ordination, I knelt before Archbishop Peter Brennan. This is not to say I won’t have a future relationship with Archbishop Milingo. It simply means that I will have my primary episcopal relationship with Peter, since my ministries will be done, at least in part, on behalf of the Ecumenical Catholic Diocese of America (Peter Brennan is primary bishop).

I will at least have a spiritual connection to Archbishop Milingo. Since the archbishop will be traveling back and forth between Africa and the United States, physical contact is problematic. However, his life by example is one of prayer and ministry to those in need. So, I can only hope to emulate, even if in only in a small way, his commitment to Gospel values.

For whom will I carry out my ministries?

At the time of this writing, my application for certification is being processed and evaluated by the Federation of Christian Ministries. If approved, I will be able to carry out my ministries on behalf of FCM. In addition, my ordination certificate gives me faculties to minister on behalf of the Ecumenical Diocese of America. It is my hope and calling to be an officiant for weddings, baptisms and funerals.

Have I been threatened with any penalties by the Roman Catholic hierarchy?

Thus far, there have not been any official statements from the Vatican. However, there has been the predictable comment by spokespersons from a few dioceses to the effect that by my action, I have excommunicated myself. At the very least, however, my ordination is being determined by Canon lawyers to be valid, but illicit.

I still consider myself to be a Roman Catholic and have related to members of the hierarchy that any ministries I carry out will be respectful of Roman Catholic boundaries. Sadly, like many married priests, I will be working on the fringes of the official church, but at the same time, providing valuable ministries to those in the diaspora. Jesus was the perfect role model in this regard, because the diaspora was a very special place for him, as were the people he ministered to.

I ask for your continued prayers as I begin my new life as a married priest, just as I continue to pray for all of you. In addition, let us all continue to pray for the day when Rome will recognize all who are genuinely called to ordained priesthood, whether they be male, female, gay, straight, single or married.

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