Community Calls Woman to Priesthood
Rev. Mary Ramerman after her ordination
by the Old Catholic Church in Rochester, N.Y., on Nov. 17.
On November 17 Mary Ramerman was ordained to the priesthood by
Bishop Peter Hickman of the Old Catholic Church. Ramerman was called
to ordination by members of the Rochester, New York Spiritus Christi
community whom she had served as a pastoral minister for many years.
In 1999 Spiritus members formed their own community after refusing
to comply with Roman Catholic Bishop Matthew Clark's directives
changing long-standing practices at Corpus Christi Parish where
all were then members. Allegedly under pressure from the Vatican,
diocesan officials said Ramerman could no longer serve in a visible
liturgical role at Mass. Corpus priests Fr.James Callan and Enrique
Cadena were instructed to stop blessing same sex unions in private
homes and to discontinue their practice of inviting all to the
The Old Catholic Church broke from Rome in the 19th century over
Vatican I's declaration of papal infallibility. In the past seven
years, Old Catholic Bishops in Austria and Germany have ordained
three women, while in the United States Bishop Hickman has ordained
two. The new Spiritus Christi Community numbers some 3000 people
who support vigorous outreach ministries to the poor of Rochester,
Haiti and Chiapas, Mexico.