Monday, October 15, 2012

Open Letter to Archbishop Wilton Gregory from Diane Dougherty

Comment:  Sad but not surprizing, there has been NO response from our Archbishop.

                                                                                                                                                                September 22, 2012
Dear Archbishop Gregory,
                It is with joy that I am announcing to you my upcoming Ordination to the Priesthood in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.  While I understand this choice will cause some pain for you and many other Catholics in that you will exclude yourself from recognizing the event, it brings to me the greatest joy.  I feel a sincere fulfillment of my vocational calling.
                By way of introduction, I come from Painesville, Ohio the birthplace of the first Archbishop of Atlanta, Paul Hallinan.  Through his inspiration and calling, I began coming to Georgia as early as the 70’s with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary.  I worked summers and holidays at St. Thomas the Apostle and thought Atlanta would become the hope of a renewed church.  Disillusioned by a series of experiences in the North, I left community and moved South in 1987.  I taught at St. Joseph’s in Marietta for 10 years in addition to working part time at the ORE.  In 1997, I was asked to work full time in the department. I served for 4 years until the office was restructured.  During that time, the Archdiocese supported my ongoing formation by allowing me to get a Masters in Pastoral Formation and Religious Education. With my background as a sister, 27 years of experience in parishes and schools and this degree, I was fully formed to serve.  It was my hope to have spent these last 10 years at the Archdiocese, but that was not to be. 
                As far as a vocational tract, mine has been one I would not want talented and educated women to pursue.  It has been far too difficult with roadblocks that deeply injure the soul and spirit.  When I discovered I could be a Roman Catholic and serve as a Woman Priest, and listened to the depth of faithfulness these women are bringing to Catholicism, I found hope in a renewed priesthood where I could stand with you as an equal.  This is my hope and my goal.
                In closing, I would like to say that I am probably a little older than you, have served within the tradition faithfully, and against all odds, I have not gone elsewhere.  Neither of us chose our vocations, our calling came from God.  It is far too difficult to continue to serve as a woman within the existing framework, and since I have not been called to another tradition, I am standing still, proclaiming this call and living in joyful hope that someday soon we will not only be able to talk, we will be able to celebrate a renewed priesthood that allows me to stand with you and welcome all.
                I have enclosed a documentary, Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, a booklet by Fr. Roy Bourgeois where he addresses his Journey from Silence to Solidarity and a great booklet on Women’s ordination from a theological perspective, with my invitation.  There would be no greater joy in Atlanta, than you reaching out to at least talk with me about this issue, offering Catholics an opportunity to discuss the underlying sexism that forms the basis of our exclusion.  Won’t you come to our ordination carrying the joy of my gospel call with you?

                                                                                                                                                Very sincerely,
                                                                                                                                                Diane Dougherty
                                                                                                                                                50 Williams Pride Way
                                                                                                                                                Newnan, GA 30265


“It is within our power-to light the watchfires of faith on a thousand hills of North Georgia.  Their flames will purify the fears and hatreds, the indifference and falsehood of our society.  Their heat will raise the dead bones of old customs to a new life.  Their warmth will recreate here, a Catholic body alive to the gospel …….”

Archbishop Paul Hallinan           Atlanta Archdiocesan Synod of 1966

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