The Pope's Visit: Praying for Equality

Two women on Long Island say they have answered a strong calling to serve God and the Catholic church, but in very different ways.

Female priests are not recognized by the Vatican.

Female priests are not recognized by the Vatican. (9/25/15)

BRENTWOOD - Two women on Long Island say they have answered a strong calling to serve God and the Catholic church, but in very different ways.

Eda Lorello, a Sag Harbor grandmother, claims she is Long Island's first female priest. She was ordained by female bishops from an international group called "Roman Catholic Womenpriests," who actively challenge canon law 1024. That rule says only baptized males can be ordained.

Female priests are not recognized by the Vatican.

Lorello says she never wanted to be a nun. She loved the ritual and tradition at the altar.
"I broke canon law, and I'm willing to accept the consequences attached to it," says Lorello.

Sister Heather Ganz, a nun with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, says the communal and service lifestyle fits her.

"My call or my pull is to religious life, which is different than the call to priesthood," says Ganz.

Ganz is the caretaker of the convent's organic garden. She does not wear the traditional habit.

When Pope Francis was asked about the ordination of women, he said, "The church has spoken and says no. That door is closed."

Still, both women say they love the pope, and agree that the church needs the strengths women can bring to it.

Lovello holds a service in her house every Sunday, and has been asked to perform the sacraments of baptism and marriage.

She says there are more than 200 women priests in the world, with more than half of them in the United States.

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