Roman Catholic women ordained female priests and deacons in Sarasota Saturday

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SARASOTA, FLA. – The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is an international organization devoted to providing justice to women in the Catholic Church.

“Our mission is to provide a renewed priestly ministry in which women take their rightful place as partners and equals” said Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan.

On Saturday, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests held an ordination service and ordained two female priests and two female deacons. Bishop Meehan told ABC 7 that historically women held roles of leadership within the Catholic Church.

“It was not until around the 12th century that we had an all male celibate clergy and women were set aside because the church moved from the home into the public forum.”

Meehan says the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests started in 2002 and has grown into an international church.

“It is the grass roots communities rising up for justice in South America, in Europe, in the United States, in Canada, Africa. We hope that we continue to grow everywhere.”

The Diocese of Venice told ABC 7 in a statement “the Diocese has no association with this group. The Catholic Church has no authority to confer the sacred ordination on women, and this has been stated time and again.”

But that has not stopped the Roman Catholic Women Priests. They say they welcome everyone into their churches.

“We do not discriminate against gay people. We do not discriminate against divorced Catholics,” said Maureen McGill, who was ordained as a new priest on Saturday.

She has not given up hope that the traditional Catholic Church will recognize her role as a women priest.

“The current Pope is awesome. Though he has not recognized the women yet, I think eventually he will. It is just a matter of when, where and how.”

In the meantime, these women say they will continue ministering to their communities and their church that now has over 180 women priests.