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.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Year of the Priest



Dear Blog Visitors:

I try to stay away from blogs of critics (mostly persons committed to maintaining a status quo in the Roman Catholic Church). However, if someone should call my attention to particular postings that make false charges against me, I will occasionaly feel obligated to respond.

It seems that a few bloggers feel my becoming a married priest was in response to a personal desire, as opposed to being called forth by a community. I want to assure critics that my priesthood discernment lasted almost twenty years, beginning with my name being submitted to the Rochester Diocese in 1989 as a potential priest by members of the community of St. Mary's Church in downtown Rochester. This was followed by personal interviews, an extensive background analysis, and enrollment in a discernment group for men over the age of 40. This included weekly meetings at Becket Hall (residence for potential seminarians) for almost two years. Others discerning the priesthood at that time were Joe Fenlon, Richard McCrory, Ed Simmons and Dick Thorpe. We were aided in our discernment process by Fr. Tom Valenti, Fr. Peter Deckman and Fr. Tim Brown, in addition to occasional visits by Bishop Matthew Clark.

None of us in the discernment group went on to diocesan priesthood, due primarily to the mandatory celibacy requirement, although some of us did fulfill degree requirements (in my case, an M.A. in Theology and a Master of Divinity). As you know by now, I took an independent route to ordination in 2006, culminating in my becoming a married priest, inclusive of a laying-on-of-hands by several married archbishops and a calling forth by several groups of married priests.

In short, I want to assure critics that I was indeed initially called forth by a community to become a priest. I have responded by becoming a married priest, in the hope that the Vatican will finally come to realize the wisdom of welcoming women priests and married priests to the altar at diocesan parishes throughout the world.

Pope Benedict XVI has declared 2009 to be the 'year of the priest.' This is the perfect time to recognize the fact that a call to priesthood is not limited to celibate males.

The picture above is of the discernment group described in this posting. From left to right in the bottom row are Bishop Matthew Clark, yours truly, Dick Thorpe and Fr. Peter Deckman. From left to right in the top row are Fr. Tim Brown, Richard McCrory, and Joe Fenlon.

Peace to all,
Ray

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