The Pastoral Provision keeps rolling along...
Rochester, N.Y. - He's married -- with six children. And in the spring of 2011, Scott Caton will be ordained as a priest in the Rochester Diocese.
Caton was granted special permission from the Vatican to become a priest. He is a former Protestant minister who converted to Catholicism 12 years ago. Caton is a Spencerport native who has been married for almost 28 years. He and his wife Bonnie have six children, ranging in age from seven to 26. Caton is currently a Professor of History at Roberts Wesleyan College, and a Professor of History and Culture at Northeastern Seminary, a ecumenical seminary on campus.
A provision of canon law does allow former protestant ministers to become Catholic priests without taking a vow of celibacy. According to Caton, the calling to serve and perform Sacraments became too strong to ignore.
Caton will spend the next year serving as a transitional deacon at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester.
"It's an internship of sorts," said Father Robert Kennedy, a pastor at Blessed Sacrament. "Caton will preach, lead baptism and marriage ceremonies, and learn more about parish life."
For Kennedy and his staff, it's a chance to be part of something rare and different in the Catholic church. Caton's ordination as a priest is a change in church law that came about only a decade ago.
"I'm very pleased to be a part of this," Kennedy said. "I've met Scott several times and I'm delighted he's going to come and bring his talent and insight to our team here."
Local Catholics gathered for a confirmation ceremony at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Monday. Katy Martin had just heard about Scott Caton, and was surprised.
"It's not very common, and you don't hear about it a lot," Martin said. "It will be interesting to see how people react."
Martin believes it could be a potentially positive change.
"In my parish, our deacons and their families are very active, and I think that's a great blessing," she said.
Caton will be ordained a transitional deacon on June 5, 2010, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Photo: Scott Caton