On Holy Thursday, a group of women who have been lobbying for the right of their gender to be ordained as Catholic priests will hold a witness outside the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul.
"Our church now suffers a poverty of spirit brought about by the exclusion of women from full participation in the church," the Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference (SEPA-WOC) said in a statement announcing the Witness for Women's Equality in Ministry. "Women are ready, willing and called to offer their gifts and service in an inclusive ministry in a renewed church."
The women will hold their witness across the street from the cathedral at 10:45 a.m. on Holy Thursday -- which is the time of Chrism mass, when all priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will accept the oils used in the Holy Week services and throughout the year.
Maureen Tate, a member of SEPA-WOC, said the event is scheduled to make themselves visible to the priests.
The group, which also believes clergy should have the right to marry, says that women in the clergy could benefit the church.
Throughout time and the history of our church, women have been the loving face of God to the afflicted," SEPA-WOC said in a statement. "Women’s full participation in the life of the Church is directly related to the experience of women and families in our Church and to the teachings on sexuality that affect so many Catholics who are alienated or marginalized from our faith community."
According to the Archdiocese, half of diocesan administrative and professional positions are held by women, and women occupy about 80 percent of lay parish ministers' roles.