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.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Press Release: Formation of 'Married Priests USA'






Dear Blog Visitors:

What follows is a press release from five bishops who have made a collective decision to disassociate themselves from Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo for philosophical and theological reasons. I respect the decision of the five bishops and look forward to my new relationship with 'Married Priests USA.'

If you are familiar with the Roman Catholic ordination rite, a priest's primary allegiance is to the bishop he pledges obedience to. Although I was ordained by Archbishop Milingo, when it came time during the rite for my allegiance pledge, I knelt before Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan, with the understanding he would be my primary bishop, since he resides in New York. I am pleased that my relationship with Archbishop Brennan will continue via 'Married Priests USA.'

Pictured above are my ordination certificate, signed by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo and Archbishop Peter Brennan, in addition to an Apostolic Blessing issued by Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of Archbishop Brennan's thirtieth anniversary of his initial consecration.

Here is the press release:


Press Release - Press Release

Immediate Release as of June 17, 2009

The five bishops of the Married Priests Now! Catholic Prelature hereby withdraw from the Prelature and disassociate themselves from Archbishop Milingo for philosophical and theological differences.

Our new organization for Married Priests for the United States will now be called Married Priests USA.

Contact: Archbishop Peter P. Brennan

151 Regent Place
West Hempstead, New York 11552
516 485 0616

Archbishops Peter Brennan (NY), Joseph Gouthro (NV), Patrick Trujillo (NJ),
George Stallings (DC)and Bishop Joaquin Perez (FL).Pp

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Discerning Possible Pastoral Role



Dear Blog Visitors:

Ever since I was ordained a married priest in 2006, I have received numerous inquiries as to whether or not I would be interested in pastoring a small, independent Catholic community. The short answer is that if an opportunity knocks, I will discern my response carefully.

I live in the town of Henrietta, New York, which is one of Rochester’s suburbs. Concerning diocesan parishes in my general neighborhood, there are three – all led by lay pastoral administrators: Good Shepherd, St. Joseph and Guardian Angels (Guardian Angels borders the towns of Brighton and Henrietta).

I often hear from what has come to be known as ‘Catholics in the diaspora.’ In brief, from a biblical perspective, the ‘diaspora’ has come to symbolize a place of displacement. Indeed, more Catholics would define themselves as not belonging to a parish than those who have an affiliation. If I were to lead a small, independent community, I would hope to attract Catholics who have a love for the sacramental life of the faith, but for whatever reason, have particular issues with the institutional church.

Obviously, those who would define themselves as Catholic liberals, are often frustrated with the slow pace of reform. Traditionalists also find themselves a little frustrated at times. As an example, just two weeks ago, a traditional Catholic informed me that he and his wife stopped going to Mass two years ago, following 35 years of regular attendance. Their cited reason was their being humiliated by the sexual abuse crisis, and the church’s insistence upon mandatory priestly celibacy in the face of a clergy shortage.

Those who know me well would probably describe me as a moderate Catholic. On the liberal side, I support the ordination of women and married men. I also support gay marriage, and have indicated that I will be available as an officiant, if the New York State Senate passes same-sex legislation. On the conservative side, I subscribe to the sacramental life of the church, and I tend to favor traditional music over what we are increasingly seeing, such as rock music or gimmickry designed to attract the younger generation.

A challenge for any faith community is satisfying all its members. At the very least, this is a daunting task, and my guess is that it would be difficult to find a community with 100% content members. It is for this reason that Catholics in large numbers continue to shop for a parish that suits their particular needs.

If I should eventually lead a community in the Henrietta, NY area, it would be my hope that responsibility for administration would rest with lay members, whereby I would simply be available for sacramental and liturgical needs. I would hope to model Jesus as a servant to the people, as opposed to making administrative decisions. Many pastors today get themselves into difficulties by being masters over their parishes. My desire is to be a servant, as opposed to being a master.

For the time being, I am content with being a member of Spiritus Christi Church and being an independent officiant for weddings, baptisms and funerals via my certification from the Federation of Christian Ministries. However, if I am called upon to be the spiritual leader of a community in the Henrietta area, I will discern carefully.

Let us continue to pray for a more inclusive church.

Peace to all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rev. Denise Donato's New Community



Dear Blog Visitors:

I want to take this opportunity to wish Rev. Denise Donato well with her new venture in Fairport, New York.

Denise and I were classmates at St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry and I predicted back then that she would prove to be an outstanding leader in the Catholic community.

Several years ago, I was proud to participate in Denise's ordination to the priesthood at Spiritus Christi Church, where she served with distinction. Denise's latest venture will give another community an opportunity to be beneficiaries of her ministerial skills.

I hope residents of Fairport, New York and beyond will visit the newly-created Mary Magdalene Church, which is utilizing worship space at the Mountain Rise UCC Church. The website for the new community is as follows: www.marymagdalenechurch.org.

Here is the on-line advertisement for Mary Magdalene Church:

An Inclusive Church in the Catholic Tradition
Reverend Denise Donato Welcomes You!

Join us for Mass

Summer Schedule
2nd Sunday of each month at 5pm

June 14 August 9
July 12 September 13


Services will be held at:

Mountain Rise United Church of Christ
2 Mountain Rise, Fairport NY 14450

We Hope You Will Join Our Community!
Contact Information
Email :
RevDeniseD@gmail.com
Phone :
585-943-3633
Address :
Reverend Denise Donato
Church Office: 121 Wakeman Rd
Fairport, NY 14450

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Congratulations to Bishop Matthew Clark




Dear Blog Visitors:

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Bishop Matthew Clark for his extraordinary 30 years as shepherd of the Diocese of Rochester, New York.

The first photo above was taken of Bishop Clark and yours truly at a 1990 gathering of older men considering the diocesan priesthood. (As you know, I chose marriage, as opposed to mandatory celibacy, but was ordained outside the institutional church by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo in 2006.)

Although Bishop Clark would have preferred that I had not pursued an alternate path to ordination, I am nevertheless appreciative of the fact that he appeared in two recent television interviews, during which he articulated his openness to the inclusion of married priests.

In the process of my church-reform activities, I have occasionally criticized hard-line bishops. On the other hand, I have consistently praised Bishop Clark for his pastoral leadership. We need more people like him in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and I will be sorry to see him retire.

If you have followed my blog, you know that I recently joined Spiritus Christi Church in Rochester, which is independent of Rome. However, I am nevertheless pleased that the Spiritus Christi community prays for Bishop Clark at each liturgy, just as Bishop Clark prays for the Spiritus Christi community. It is my prayer that Vatican officials will see the wisdom in appointing more bishops like Matthew Clark, just as it would be wise for our cardinals in Rome to see the advantages of a more inclusive church.

As I near retirement from my secular job, I plan to devote the rest of my life to ministry. I have been approached on a couple occasions about the possibility of pastoring a small-faith community. This is certainly an option. Whatever choices I make, I will always be thankful for the kindness, pastoral leadership and inspiration that have been consistent trademarks of Bishop Matthew Clark. My sincere thanks to him for leading the Rochester Diocese for thirty years. This is a remarkable achievement indeed!