San Ramon woman to be first ordained in NorCal

May 3, 2013 6:41:12 PM PDT
On Saturday, a San Ramon woman will become the first to be ordained in Northern California.

Maureen Mancuso of San Ramon was like a teenager before prom night, trying out the vestment she'll wear during her holy ceremony. "In nearly 2,000 years," she said laughingly. That's how long ago Jesus selected his disciples. Mancuso, 59, says she received that call from God years ago, even before obtaining a Masters of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology.

Olivia Doko is the bishop who will ordain her. She's one of nine female bishops in the world and Diane Whalen, also a priest, came from Washington State to witness the ceremony. "My whole joy about being bishop is to be able to ordain other women into the priesthood. That's like wow for me," Doko said.

Whalen became a priest in 2010. "It's right up there with the birth of my children and my wedding day. It was an amazing, amazing time of coming into who I am," she told ABC7 News.

The movement to ordain women began 11 years ago in Germany. Now, there are about 150 of them around the world.

Mancuso will be ordained at the Lafayette Christian Church. It's not a Catholic church, because that would go against canon law.

"We don't recognize that as a valid ordination. So, I pray for those people. I pray that they will return to the fold of the Roman Catholic Church," said Bishop Designate of Oakland Michael Barber. Some of these so-called dissidents of the Catholic Church are being featured in mainstream magazines.

"All the women who are ordained, they've been called by God and if we are being called by God, who are men to say we are not," Mancuso asked. She will eventually be excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church. That's something she says she can live with.


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