A deacon from the Southern Tier was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest during a ceremony in Wellsville Saturday. YNN's Mark Goshgarian tells us how a married man with adult children became the newest member of the Priesthood.
ALLEGANY COUNTY, N.Y. — He was an Episcopal priest for twenty years.
"Finally discovered in Roman Catholicism a firm place to develop my belief," said Father John Cornelius, RC Vicariate of Allegany County.
Two years ago, John Cornelius became a Roman Catholic.
"And I never really thought there would be an opportunity for me to celebrate Mass, to do my ministry again," said Fr. Cornelius.
That's because Cornelius is married with three adult daughters.
Yet, early last year Pope Benedict the 16th allowed Episcopal priests, like Cornelius, to become Catholic priests in full communion with the Catholic Church, in what's called The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.
"For about three seconds, Pope Benedict the 16th knew my name," said Cornelius.
Saturday, Bishop Richard Malone of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese ordained Cornelius as a Roman Catholic Priest inside Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville.
"I can't even tell you how exciting it is, I feel like a one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater. I am unique," said Fr. Cornelius.
"I've always been proud of him, very pleased, very pleased that he's going to finally be able to celebrate Mass again," said Mrs. Cornelius.
Cornelius will celebrate Mass where needed including at Saint Brendan's in Almond.
He'll also help other Episcopalians who've joined the Catholic Church maintain their Anglican tradition.
"The Anglicans have beautiful hymns, very reverent dignified celebration of the liturgy, not that we don't, but they have it in a different way and they want to maintain that, and I think its a good thing," said Bishop Richard Malone, Diocese Of Buffalo.
While celibacy is required for Roman Catholic Priests, Cornelius says abstinence is not for married priests in the personal ordinariate.
"Following Saturday's ceremony here in Wellsville, both he and his wife made a very personal decision with no pressure from the Diocese of Buffalo to take a vow of abstinence."
"It's what we decided that would be our gift so to speak, or the way we would continue our journey, our work for the Kingdom of the Lord," said Mrs. Cornelius.
"I'm old, and I've had kids and I've raised them, I'm doing it more for my own self spirituality," said Fr. Cornelius.
Cornelius led services Sunday at the Fellowship of Saint Alban which worships in Good Shepherd Church in Henrietta in the Rochester Catholic Diocese.