Sacramento gets its first married priest

Sacramento gets its first married priest June 6, 2011

Several months ago, I posted an item on this man’s unusual journey to the priesthood.  Now, his journey is complete.

He was ordained with two other men this weekend:

A Protestant convert to Catholicism has become the first married priest in the Diocese of Sacramento. He was among three men ordained by Bishop Jaime Soto on Saturday, June 4, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

Jeff Henry – now Fr. Jeff Henry – is a 51-year-old former Lutheran pastor and a convert to Catholicism. He has been married to his wife, Peg, for 26 years and has one adult daughter.

In a December 2010 letter to priests and religious of the Sacramento diocese, Bishop Soto announced that the Vatican had been given permission from the Vatican to ordain Fr. Henry.

“After prayerful discernment following his reception in the Catholic Church, Mr. Henry petitioned my predecessor, the Most Reverend William Weigand, for ordination to the priesthood,” said Bishop Soto in the 2010 letter. “Bishop Weigand, in accord with the special provisions provided for such by the Holy See, requested permission to ordain Mr. Henry after proper preparation. This decision was granted last month.”

In 2004, Fr. Henry resigned as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Fairfield to become a Catholic, according to a diocesan news release. He had served as pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran for about 18 months, and before that had been pastor of a Lutheran church in West Virginia.

“During all of his time as a Lutheran minister, however, he had been studying the early Church fathers and for years wrestled with the question of conversion,” said the diocesan news release.

“When you begin quoting popes in your sermons in a Lutheran church, it is time to quit,” Fr. Henry said at the time.

Read more here. And you can see a video report at this link. Welcome, Fr. Henry!  Ad multos annos!

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6 responses to “Sacramento gets its first married priest”

  1. God bless him and I hope he does well, but is this fair to all the other priests? And Deacons, since they may have wanted to become priests? Nonetheless, I welcome him into our wonderful faith.

  2. ….Byzantine Catholic police here (just joking)… this might be the first for the Roman rite, but you already have a married Byzantine priest in the area.

    Manny- it would be wonderful if all those men who wanted priesthood and cannot have it will pray for this new priest- it isn’t easy! Forgiveness all around…

  3. Maybe the RCC will realize that priests can actually be married AND serve their parishes well also—and stop the restriction on priests marrying. Wish him the best in his new post!

  4. where are the story of the wife in the life of these priests and deacons who are married ?

  5. I just don’t see how this can end well with respect to obedience for the RCC clergy. How can Rome expect celibacy to be mandatory for priests anymore? How can they refuse to allow married deacons to proceed to full priesthood?

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