Photo Caption: myself, Fr. Roy and Anne Herman (former Prisoner of Conscience for action against the School of the Americas) taken April 2007 in Las Cruces, NM
On Saturday August 9, 2008 Janice Sevre-Duszynska was ordained a Catholic priest in Lexington KY. Those present called it an inspiring concelebrated ceremony with many women priests joined by Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who preached an inspired homily at the service.
Roy Bourgeois, a priest for 36 years, was the very first male Catholic priest in good standing to openly participate in the ordination of women as Catholic priests. Janice Sevre-Duszynska has been a long-time peace activist and active in the School of Americas Watch movement. She spent several months in federal prison for crossing onto Ft. Benning to protest the training of human rights violators by our government.
Now Roy is summoned to an August 18 meeting with his superiors in the Maryknoll community at their home office in NY – apparently at the request of Cardinal Egan of New York. Roy faces suspension from the priesthood, dismissal from the Maryknoll community, and even excommunication from the Roman Catholic church.
In the realm of church politics, his was a symbolic act of non-violent self-immolation. Roy--who I understand is battling cancer--has spent his entire adult life as a voice for the vulnerable of Central America railing against the U.S. School of the Americas. This clip from his homily proclamation is revealing:
Conscience is something very sacred. It gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. Conscience is what compelled Franz Jagerstatter to refuse to enlist in Hitler’s army. On this day, August 9, 1943, this humble farmer was executed for following his conscience. Conscience is what compelled Rosa Parks to say, “No, I cannot sit in the back of the bus anymore.” Conscience is what compels Janice Sevre-Duszynska and the other women to say, “No, we cannot deny our call from God to the priesthood.” And it is our conscience that compels us to be here today. How can we speak out against the injustice of our country’s foreign policy in Latin America and Iraq if we are silent about the injustice of our church here at home?
If you'd like to support Fr. Roy Bourgeois and womenpriests, send emails to his Superior General, John Sivalon at firstname.lastname@example.org and to the three-member Maryknoll Council at mklcouncil@ maryknoll.org and/or fax to 914-944-3600.
Write to: Maryknoll Council, P.O. Box 303 Maryknoll, NY 10545