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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 Communion table.

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.


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