Woman ordained as part of movement to have female priests

Published: Apr. 30, 2013 at 10:55 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2013 at 10:55 PM EDT
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Rosie Smead
Rosie Smead
Rosie Smead during the ordination ceremony on April 27.
Rosie Smead during the ordination ceremony on April 27.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A woman who calls herself Louisville's first Catholic priest will celebrate her first liturgy May 11.

Rosie Smead had a ceremony over the weekend with followers who are pushing for ordained women in the priesthood. She hopes to be a new kind of pastor for a new Catholic church.

You don't need to call her Reverend.

"I was Rosie yesterday, I'm Rosie today and I'm going to be Rosie tomorrow," Smead said.

In fact, Smead has none of the accessories of the Catholic priests you know.

"I don't use any collars, beanies or other contraptions to put between me and someone else," she said.

Smead doesn't look like any of them either.

"We need to have a woman's voice, a woman's opinion, a woman's heart, a woman's experiences, a woman's way to connect with people to help the whole people of god," said Smead.

The Archdiocese of Louisville didn't want to go on camera about women who want to become priests, but said through a statement that Jesus chose men to form his college of 12 Apostles and they chose men to succeed them.  Therefore the church believes only baptized men can serve as priests. Smead and her fellow women priests believe the bible says otherwise.

"In all of the gospels, Mary Magdalene was at the foot of the cross and she was the first person that Jesus appeared to after the resurrection, which is the central truth of our faith and Jesus said, 'Mary, go tell the sisters and brothers that I have risen,' and what is an apostle, it is someone who is sent forth," Smead said. "She was the apostle to the apostles."

Despite the different look of those leading services, members of churches led by women will see the rites that are familiar in Catholic churches.

"We have all of the sacraments," said Smead. "I had a friend who said, 'Who will bury me?' I said, 'I will bury you. I will be there at the church. I will be at your deathbed. I can anoint you.'"

Smead, a former nun, counselor and Indiana University Southeast professor, felt the call to the priesthood late in life. She said women priests are not leaving the church, but leading it in a new direction.

"Everyone is welcome, not, 'Hey you down there, you have a mortal sin on your soul, you can't come.' We are inclusive and they are exclusive," said Smead.

The Louisville Archdiocese says services led by women priests have no connection to Roman Catholic liturgy or sacraments and Catholics should not support them or attend. The church adds there are serious penalties for simulation of sacraments.

Smead plans to hold her first service May 11 at the St. Andrews United Church of Christ near Hikes Point at 5 p.m. You can contact her by email by clicking here.

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