--For immediate release--
Holy Week and Easter services, considered among the most holy in the Catholic Church, will not take place in many of the U.S. parishes this year due to a shortage of priests. Recent and continuing sexual abuse revelations have resulted in shortfalls and churches closing in most dioceses, leaving parishioners with no Lenten rituals.
Rentapriest.com, a free referral service of CITI Ministries (Celibacy Is the Issue) offers married priests in almost every state, for confession and Holy Week services including Easter Mass. Church law has provisions for the use of married priests either in or out of the church building, when no priest is available. The request, however, must be come directly from the people, without permission from anyone.
Over 50,000 individuals have been spiritually served by married priests over the past 10 years, with baptisms, marriages, anointings of the sick, funerals, in-home Mass and other needs. In the spring of 2005, the parishioners of Sacred Heart Church in Natick Massachusetts, one of the 80 parishes scheduled to close in the Boston diocese, called a married priest for Easter Mass in an outdoor setting. 250 attended.
According to founder/president Louise Haggett, "CITI is not a protest organization. We see our work as an adjunct to the church and it has been quietly applauded by several bishops. We exist only to provide ministry where needed because of the tremendous shortages. We also serve many people who have been turned away by the Catholic institution: divorced Catholics, interfaith situations and others. We believe that by just doing it--using married priests, they will become the norm in the church the way female altar servers did. People ignored the Vatican in the 1980s and used female altar servers anyway. Now they are 'legal.' We can do the same with married priests.?"
More information is available at http://www.rentapriest.comor by calling 1-800-PRIEST 9 (774-3789). According to Haggett, ?No one should be without Easter services, and it's unlikely that any hierarchical figure will stop the grassroots effort of "just doing it without permission," because Canon 1752 says, "'the salvation of souls'is always the supreme law of the church."
CONTACTS: Louise Haggett, 207-729-7673
MJ Harris, 386-445-1476
CITI MINISTRIES, INC.
(Celibacy Is the Issue)
14 Middle Street, Suite 2
Brunswick, ME 04011
1-800-PRIEST 9 (774-3789)
Contact: Louise Haggett, Pres. 207-729-7673; cell: 508-740-3365