BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Deacon John Cornelius, a husband and father of three, will be ordained by Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone on Saturday.
Cornelius describes himself as "orthodox" and "traditional" in his beliefs.
"I've always had a great desire for order in my spiritual life. I like black-and-whites. I'm not fond of gray areas. So I found that, in the Roman Catholic Church," he said. "I've always been called to the Roman Catholic Church. Even as a kid, I remember my Irish Catholic friends in Bolivar letting me go into St. Mary's Church with them, teaching me how to genuflect and light candles and pray before the saints."
When the 64-year-old is ordained by Bishop Malone, he'll become the first married man and father to serve as a Catholic priest in Western New York. It's already happening in other Dioceses, and Bishop Malone says, the faith community here is ready.
"It's a great joy, for a Bishop to ordain a man to the priesthood, no matter what," Bishop Malone said.
Cornelius will say Mass at Blessed Sacrament in Andover every Saturday night. He'll continue to lead the Fellowship of St. Alban in Henrietta. Cornelius' parishioners, like him, are mainly Episcopalians who want to assimilate into Catholicism.
Bishop Malone said, "Although he's also going to be available, for example, to celebrate Mass in some of our parishes. He'll be a true Catholic priest."
They are part of what's called an "ordinariate" - Anglicans coming into the Catholic faith, while at the same time keeping their own traditions, including the tradition of priests, as husbands.
"The Anglicans have beautiful hymns; very reverent, dignified celebration of the liturgy," Bishop Malone said.
The ordination mass for Cornelius will take place Saturday at 5 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville.
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