Tuesday, March 08, 2011

New Ways of Being Catholic

PR Newswire

BRUNSWICK, Maine, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Lent and Easter approach, many Catholics are finding new ways of being Catholic. Judy and David Lorenz are just two Catholics who, in the tradition of the first Christians, host Masses at home with married priest Rev Donald Horrigan. "I wanted to worship God, use my gifts," says Judy, and we wanted to "reach out to other Catholics who may have lost their spiritual connection for some reason."

Every year, many US Catholics are turning to married priests to celebrate thousands of Masses, weddings, baptisms, and other sacraments. Many of them had no spiritual place to call home -- their church was closed for lack of priests, they felt unwelcome due to divorce or other circumstance, or, like the Lorenz', they sought out a married priest affiliated with CITI Ministries/Rentapriest.com (Celibacy Is the Issue) when they felt disenchanted with the institutional church.

Judy says, "It's sad that Fr. Don's 'priestly' ministry had to be put on hold for so many years, though it is clear to me from my experience with him in Emmaus that he was as much a follower of the Lord in his roles as husband, father, and school principal. It's just a bonus that now he can minister to the rest of us again!." While Catholic priests who marry lose their clerical positions, the church's own theology and canon law state that sacraments by married priests are valid because a priest is a "priest forever" and "cannot refuse" sacraments and permission is not needed from anyone no matter where it takes place (Canons 1335, 290, and 843).

CITI Ministries is a nonprofit organization that offers free referrals to married priests in almost every state. Married priests are available for special one-time services such as Holy Week or Easter Masses, weekly or occasional Masses, first or second marriages, baptisms, Holy Communion, Anointing of the Sick, funerals, spiritual guidance or group discussion, such as those among vigiling parishes who are trying to discern their future as a congregation. The extensive theological backgrounds and experience of these priests has been invaluable to those who might otherwise have fallen away from Catholicism.

For the first 1100 years of the church, popes, bishops, and priests married and fathered children. Celibacy was made a law in 1139 to prevent priests from bequeathing their homes to their spouses and children rather than to the church.

For persons seeking a new path to reconnect with their faith, a married priest may provide an acceptable pathway. A special individual or group Lenten retreat workshop entitled "Strengthening Our Spiritual Immune System" is also available on the rentapriest.com website.

For more information: go to www.rentapriest.com; 1-800-PRIEST-9; info@rentapriest.com, or CITI Ministries, 14 Middle Street, Suite 2, Brunswick, ME 04011, 207-729-7673. See links also on YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook.

CONTACTS: David and Judy Lorenz (MD), jlorenz@verizon.net; Jerry Siegmund (SC), 843-399-8065; Louise Haggett (ME), President/Founder, 207-729-7673; Rev. Rich Hasselbach (NY), 914-804-1944; Rev. John Shuster (WA), 360-551-9982

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