Married Catholic priest to be keynote speaker

A married Catholic priest will be the keynote speaker at a public dinner later this month.

Father Gregory Elder, who is the first canonically ordained and married Catholic priest in the Diocese of San Bernardino, will speak at the Italian Catholic Federation’s gala dinner on Thursday next week.

Elder, who was brought up in the Episcopal Church, studied Anglican theology at Oxford University after receiving his bachelor’s degree.

In 1983 he was ordained as a deacon and an Episcopal priest.

He served almost 20 years as an Episcopal priest after being assigned three congregations.

In 2003, Elder converted to Catholicism and was received into the Church.

After applying for a pastoral provision to become a priest in the Catholic Church he was scrutinised closely.

This included a number of interviews, psychiatric examinations, reviews of academic transcripts and letters of reference.

The Most Rev. Gerald R. Barnes, bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino, sent the results of Elder’s various examinations to the Vatican, requesting the late Pope Saint John Paul II confer priesthood to a married priest, under the pastoral provision.

In 2005, Barnes received permission from Rome to ordain Elder to the Catholic priesthood.

In addition to being an ordained priest, Elder is a professor of history and humanities at Riverside Community College.

He and his wife, Sarah, have two children.

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