ST. LOUIS, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A couple of firsts: Two women were ordained as Roman Catholic priests Sunday in St. Louis -- and the ordination was in a synagogue.
The ceremony for Rose Marie Dunn Hudson, 67, and Elsie Hainz McGrath, 69, was held at Central Reform Congregation with 600 people looking on, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The Roman Catholic church doesn't allow women to become priests and St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke sent the women a letter condemning their plans and informing them they would automatically be excommunicated if they went ahead.
Burke also criticized the Central Reform Congregation, threatening to cease all participation in interfaith events with the congregation, the newspaper said.
"For us in St. Louis today, the (Gateway) Arch is a symbol for the gateway to justice and equality for women," Patricia Fresen, the ordaining bishop with Roman Catholic Womenpriests, told the Post-Dispatch.
The women said they plan to hold services in a Unitarian church, as part of an international organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
McGrath is a great-grandmother, who edited at a Catholic publishing house and served as a campus minister at St. Louis University, a Catholic institution. Hudson, who said she wanted to be a priest since she was 14, is a grandmother who taught in St. Louis schools for more than 40 years.