Read Revealer Jo Piazza’s latest on Gabriella Velardi Ward, a 63 year-old self-described Roman Catholic Woman Priest and her home church, Praxedis, at WSJ’s Metropolis. Here’s a clip:
Praxedis member Susan Draper, 61, said she had been the Eucharistic minister at the Catholic Church she attended in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, as well as an occasional participant in Ward’s congregation. In January, Draper told the pastor in her traditional congregation that she supported women’s ordination and had been attending mass with a woman priest. She said that he asked her to step down from her post.
“That was a big ouch for me, but I was very naive when I was honest with my pastor,” Draper said. “He said if I hadn’t told him, he wouldn’t have done anything. It was like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.”
On Sunday, Draper served as the Eucharistic minister for St. Praxedis. She walked around the room administering the Eucharist, wine, juice, and gluten-free unleavened bread—transported from home in a lunchbox-sized cooler—to each church-member at their seat.
Ward sees alienation from the church as a thread that unites her parishioners. “A lot of the members…have been disillusioned and hurt by the Roman Catholic Church,” she said. “For me, the priesthood is about celebrating the sacraments and giving service.”
“I once had a woman come up to me and say, ‘I have waited my entire life to go to a woman for confession,” Ward said. “That’s what this movement is about.”