Local man set to become only married Catholic priest in Cincinna - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Local man set to become only married Catholic priest in Cincinnati

Tom Wray is set to become the only married Catholic priest in Cincinnati (FOX19/Brett Hoffland) Tom Wray is set to become the only married Catholic priest in Cincinnati (FOX19/Brett Hoffland)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

A local man is set to become an ordained priest. The catch? He's married with kids.

This would make him the only married Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and one of the less than 100 in the nation.
 
Tom Wray says this is a journey two decades in the making.
 
"There was a pathway that I could visualize. I knew that this may be an opportunity," said Wray.
 
The Vatican banned the practice of ordained married men in America in the 1920s. But decades later, Pope John Paul II put in a pastoral
provision. It allows for men, including those who are married, who have been ordained as ministers in the Episcopal or Lutheran Church to make the switch to Catholicism.
 
"Certainly with our situation, dwindling numbers of priests over the years, this was something that the Holy Father thought might be beneficial
to the church and certainly a beneficial thing for those who have converted and come into the church," said Father Jan Schmidt.
 
Father Schmidt says Wray has been working at Saint Margaret of York for about two years now.
 
"This was a good place for him to be mentored in the various areas that he needs to be up-to-par on," said Schmidt.
 
For the last several years, Wray says he's gotten to meet other men with similar plans as part of a formation process.
 
"Three years generally speaking of theology, examinations, background checks. So there's a very rigorous vetting process," said Wray.
 
The rules on celibacy in the Catholic Church have historically been strict, but Wray understands he's an exception and he doesn't expect
the Church to change its rules on celibacy anytime soon.
 
"There's no way that I could do what Father Jan and Father James do here just in terms of the pastoral load, the responsibility, the
burdens they carry. This is their spouse," said Wray.
 
Historically and in other parts of the world, the Catholic Church has shown its support for allowing married priests, and Wray says he's
excited for the journey.
 
"I'm not giving up my wedding ring, that comes with," said Wray.
 
There have been two other married Catholic priests in the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. One has passed away, the other moved to a St. Louis.
 
The ordination here is set for March 7.

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