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Called to be the Wife of a Priest: the “Spiritual Mothers” of the Catholic Church

Father_Hezekias_Carnazzo_wife_Linda_and_children

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 05/20/16

Here’s a fascinating glimpse at a vocation within a vocation, from the National Catholic Register’s Peter Jesserer Smith:

Linda Carnazzo knew that when she was dating her future husband that he might have another vocation as well: to serve as a priest in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Which meant she had to discern seriously another vocation: whether she could take up the maternal vocation of the priest’s wife. “He brought up the idea and asked me to take it into account,” Carnazzo said of her husband, Sabatino, who was a member of one of the Eastern Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome. She told the Register that they met at Christendom College, a Catholic liberal arts school based in Front Royal, where they currently reside, and were dating when Sabatino’s pastor, Father Joseph Francavilla, asked him to consider a vocation to the priesthood after marriage. The priest informed Sabatino that the Eastern Churches, including the Melkite Catholic Church, have an ancient tradition of ordaining both married men and celibates and did not view the callings to priesthood and matrimony as “mutually exclusive.” So Linda ultimately said, “Yes,” and, after 10 years of marriage, with five children between the ages of 1 and 9, she finally gave her “Yes” again: to the ordination of her husband, now-Father Sabatino Carnazzo and the director of the Virginia-based Institute of Catholic Culture. On May 1, Bishop Nicholas Samra of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton ordained him at Holy Transfiguration Church in McLean, Va., giving him the name “Hezekias,” where the Catholic congregation welcomed their new priest with shouts of “Axios!” (“He is worthy!”).

And there’s this interesting detail: most married priests and their wives in the U.S. actually belong to the Latin Church.

Read on. 

Photo: National Catholic Register

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