Kansas City's first woman priest: 'I'm sort of humbled by the role that I'm playing'

Women priests Janice Sevre-Duszynska, left, and Dotty Shugrue, right, bless Georgia Walker. (Dawn Cherie Araujo)

Three days before her ordination as Kansas City's first woman priest, Georgia Walker sat in the storefront office of Journey to New Life, the organization she co-founded in 2013 to help people in the city re-enter civilian life after incarceration.

Looking out on Troost Avenue, a street long considered the line in Kansas City's racial divide, Walker pondered the line she was about to cross. Having previously been arrested and tried in federal court for protesting nuclear weapons, Walker is no stranger to controversy. Yet, she said she was somewhat surprised by the celebrity incurred by her decision to be ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

"I'm getting a lot more attention than I would have preferred," Walker said with a laugh, referencing the stories about her that had appeared in the local media -- and the more than 2,000 emails she received since.

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Saturday, more than 100 people came to Walker's ordination ceremony at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church. Bridget Mary Meehan served as presiding bishop and gave the homily, telling attendees that Catholic women needed to be ordained so the church could begin to heal.

"I believe that on a deep, spiritual, mystical level, women priests are beginning a healing process of centuries-old misogyny in which spiritual power was exclusively invested in men," she said.

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