Women's priesthood group to perform ordination for Three Oaks wo - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Women's priesthood group to perform ordination for Three Oaks woman

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There's an unusual ordination ceremony in southwest Michigan this weekend.

Lillian Lewis is 75 years old. She has been studying theology since the 60s, was an international Catechist for 20 years. She wrote a book. She is a wife and mother, and Saturday, she'll take on a new task. "Tomorrow is my ordination. My priestly ordination," she says.

Lewis says she'll be ordained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Saturday at her home in Three Oaks. The group began ordaining women in Germany in 2002 and now has 182 priests and priesthood candidates worldwide, 146 of them in the U.S.

"The celebration is quite joyful. A lot of singing. People come away after an ordination saying, 'this gives me hope,'" says Joan Houk, who is a Bishop with Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

Lewis says becoming an ordained priest is a mission of her faith.
She says the Catholic church is crumbling, and she wants to be part of the fix.

"I think I need the left and the right. I take a little whack with the hammer at the Vatican, but with the right hand, I keep truckin with the spiritual life," says Lewis.

The ordination is drawing criticism from a Kalamazoo Bishop, who says it's against the law of the Church and will bring Lewis "automatic excommunication."

Lewis and the Roman Catholic Womenpriests hope to inspire change.

"The only place that didn't embrace women, you might say, is the church. The Catholic Church. All the other churches have either ordained women or anointed women in some way," says Lewis.

Houk says, "Sometimes, when you try everything, and an unjust law can't be changed. The only thing you can do then is to break it."

Even though Lewis realizes the Church won't recognize her as a priest, she plans to immediately take on priestly duties.  In fact, she's already scheduled to officiate a wedding this summer.
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