Bishop George Augustus Stallings Jr. of the African-American Catholic Congregation said he will ordain two married men as priests, and two deacons -- one of them a woman -- today in Baltimore.
The ceremony will be the first step toward "the formation and development of a sensitive, indigenous African-American clergy and leadership" which are "essential and critical to making the ideal of a truly universal church a reality," according to a statement the congregation released.
The African-American Catholic Congregation was founded last year by Stallings, who broke from the Roman Catholic Church, which he contended was oppressive.
When he declared his independence from the Catholic Church, Stallings said the African-American Catholic Congregation would ordain women and married priests and would not condemn women who have abortions.
Priests to be ordained at the Palladium in Baltimore:
The Rev. Reginald C. Dance, Baptist minister in Richmond. He has been a spiritual adviser for the Kujichagulia Temple in Norfolk. After he is ordained, he become pastor of that temple.
Eugene Dunn, who had been a permanent deacon at St. Gregory's Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore. He is the father of seven children. He will be an associate pastor at Imani Temple.
Deacons to be ordained:
Rose Marie Vernell, 49, an ex-Oblate sister who left the order in 1968. She is a human resources specialist in Asbury Park, N.J. As a deacon she will be responsible for expanding the congregation in New Jersey.
Carlos E. Harvin, 31, an employment counselor for the Center for Youth Services in the District. He has counseled couples planning to marry at Imani Temple in the District. He had been a student in the Theological College at Catholic University. He will complete his training under the direction of the congregation.
The former pastor of a Roman Catholic church in New Orleans has announced that he is joining the African-American Catholic Congregation. The Rev. Glenn Jeanmarie said he believes his move will give more credibility to Stallings's efforts.