As part of our discernment process whether to credential women as presiders at Dignity/Washington, the Liturgy Committee’s Women Presiders Task Force invited Rev. Ann Penick, a Roman Catholic Womanpriest, as a guest to preside at a liturgy held on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Saturday, June 28.
Basing her remarks on the feast’s Gospel of the Holy Family’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 and how Mary and Joseph anxiously searched for him when they were separated, Rev. Ann highlighted Mary’s recollection of the angel Gabriel’s words to her twelve years earlier that Jesus was destined to be the Savior and Christ; it was the memory that got her through this and many other painful events in her life. She exhorted all to have that same kind of trust and hope in the promises of God.
Following the liturgy, Rev. Ann was given the opportunity to recount how she came to discern her call to ordained priestly ministry and the influential people and events over the years that convinced her that her call was from God. She charted this journey from her early days in Chicago as a convert to Catholicism at age 19 and through her involvement and training in many lay pastoral ministries in parishes and college campuses in Birmingham, Alabama, Charleston, SC, and Boston until she applied and was accepted for the ordination process of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA.
She described the credentialing as including, among several other requirements: her master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Boston College, a psychological evaluation, a criminal background check, several letters of reference, an admissions interview with the formation staff of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and a full year of study and formation in priestly ministry. She was ordained a deacon in May 2010 and a priest the following year. She regularly presides at house and family liturgies in Baltimore and officiates at baptisms and weddings. She and her husband make their home in Southern Maryland. She, and all other Roman Catholic Womenpriests, are fully vetted and certified through the Federation of Christian Ministries, an ecumenical and national certification and commissioning organization.
A lively Q & A session with Rev. Ann ensued that lasted over an hour. For more information she may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Dignity/Washington will continue the discernment process over whether or not to have RC Womenpriests preside at its Masses with two final community sessions later in July 2014. Please check our website, www.dignitywashington.org and our Facebook page for details as they become available.