Female priest: Coming soon to a church in Albany

Posted at: 09/13/2013 5:54 PM
Updated at: 09/13/2013 8:50 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

ALBANY -- Eleven of the country's 100 women who call themselves and work as Catholic priests will gather in Albany this weekend for the ordination of Mary Theresa Streck into the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. 

Streck, who grew up at a church in Loudonville and joined and left a convent, says Catholocism has been her life-long calling and becoming a priest is a fulfillment of her faith.

"To facilitate bringing people together to celebrate Eucharist and all celebrate Eucharist together.  We are all saying the words of Consecration and all praying together in a community of equals," Streck explained of her calling.

The ceremony will be performed by a bishop affiliated with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.  Bridget Mary Meehan was one of the country's first women priests and denounces the Vatican's position that this is not a valid ordination.

"We are faithful Catholics who love our church and who embrace the vision of Jesus and the Gospel," said Bishop Meehan.

Once ordained, Streck will lead what she describes as an inclusive, Catholic community of about 40 people -- men, women, gay, straight, divorced, married and single -- at a Unitarian church in Albany.

"(People) who have been pretty much disenfranchised from the church and so they look for spirituality, a place they feel welcome and a theology that resonates in their heart and soul," added Streck.

Despite her new position, Streck plans to also attend a church within the Albany Diocese.

According to Diocesan spokesman Ken Goldfarb, "...A woman who claims to be an ordained Roman Catholic priest has separated herself from full communion with the Roman Catholic Church Further, the sacraments she celebrates are not considered valid in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church."

"It's really about sexism," added Meehan.  "There is a blockage with women not seeing them as true equals.  The gift of our movement is we are equal images of God."

Goldfarb stated, additionally, that sacraments like communion are a private matter between a pastor and an individual.

Streck's ordination is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Church on Washington Avenue in Albany.