Per­ryville grad be­comes priest in new Catholic church

Cecil Whig - - RELIGION - By JANE BELLMYER jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

NORTH EAST — By the time Mark G. Dick­son-Pa­trick grad­u­ated from Per­ryville High School in 2010 he knew he was go­ing to be­come a priest.

“Ever since I was a lit­tle kid I knew what I wanted to be,” Dick­son-Pa­trick, 25, said. “I grad­u­ated from Per­ryville and went into sem­i­nary.”

What sets him apart from tra­di­tional Catholics is that Dick­son-Pa­trick is mar­ried and gay.

At 11 a.m. Satur­day at St. Mary Anne’s Epis­co­pal Church in North East he will be or­dained by The Most Rev. David M. Martins, bishop of the Dio­cese of New Eng­land with the In­de­pen­dent Catholic Church of the Amer­i­cas.

“It is not of­fi­cially part of the Ro­man Catholic struc­ture,” Dick­son-Pa­trick said.

The In­de­pen­dent Catholic Church of the Amer­i­cas ac­cepts gay mar­riage and women in the priest­hood while fol­low­ing the same sav­ior, Je­sus Christ.

“We preach the re­deem­ing love of the gospel like Je­sus did,” he said, adding the church fo­cuses on bring­ing the scrip­tures into mod­ern con­text.

Dick­son-Pa­trick pointed specif­i­cally to the scrip­ture in the Old Tes­ta­ment book of Ge­n­e­sis about the de­struc­tion of the cities of Sodom and Go­mor­rah. The scrip­ture de­scribes how Lot, a for­eigner in the city, in­vited two men who were strangers in the city to stay the night in his house. How­ever, upon hear­ing about this, the men of the city de­manded that Lot turn over his guests so they can have sex with them. When Lot re­fuses, the strangers re­veal them­selves to be an­gels and they blind the men. Lot and his fam­ily are then whisked out of the city the next day be­fore it is com­pletely de­stroyed.

The tra­di­tional Chris­tian view is that th­ese two towns were de­stroyed be­cause they were guilty of sex­ual im­moral­ity. How­ever, Dick­son-Pa­trick be­lieves that’s not the case.

“Sodom and Go­mor­rah’s sin was they were un­char­i­ta­ble,” he said.

Other verses from scrip­ture have been mis­in­ter­preted too, Dick­son-Pa­trick said.

“The verses about ‘don’t have sex with men’ were talk­ing about tem­ple wor­ship,” Dick­son-Pa­trick said, re­fer­ring to pa­gan prac­tice that Old Tes­ta­ment Jews and New Tes­ta­ment Chris­tians were warned about re­peat­edly. He said the is­sue of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is taken out of con­text from those scrip­tures.

Dick­son-Pa­trick will pas­tor a con­gre­ga­tion called Ora­tory of St. An­drew, which is still in search of a place to wor­ship.

“Our goal is to get an in­de­pen­dent Catholic mis­sion be­tween Har­ford and Ce­cil coun­ties and get in­volved in ec­u­meni­cal min­istries, soup kitchens,” he said.

Although born and raised in Ce­cil County, Dick­sonPa­trick and his hus­band Alexan­der S. Dick­son-Pa­trick now live in Bel Air. He would like to find a site con­ve­nient for peo­ple from both coun­ties to at­tend. So far they have held ser­vices in pri­vate homes, but their num­bers are grow­ing. He noted some em­brace the new idea while oth­ers are still work­ing it out in their hearts and minds.

“We have parish­ioners tell us they are not quite sure of this,” he said. “Then there are oth­ers who say, ‘Rome, you were wrong about this.’”

While not tech­ni­cally un­der the Vat­i­can rule, Dick­son-Pa­trick says he ad­mires and re­spects Pope Fran­cis.

“I see a fa­ther who wants to gen­uinely help his chil­dren find whole­ness,” he said. “I want to be like that. We’re on this jour­ney to ho­li­ness to­gether.”

Dick­son-Pa­trick said he chose to name the par­ish he will lead af­ter St. An­drew be­cause, like the dis­ci­ple who sought God in all things, Ora­tory of St. An­drew has the same mis­sion: “To be a place for peo­ple to come and pray and seek where He abides.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the or­di­na­tion cer­e­mony — which is open to the pub­lic — or Ora­tory of St. An­drew, con­tact Dick­son-Pa­trick at 410-688-5595 or go on­line and visit http://www.or­a­to­ry­s­tan­drew.org/

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

The Rev. Mark G. Dick­son-Pa­trick will be or­dained Satur­day as a priest in the In­de­pen­dent Catholic Church of the Amer­i­cas.

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