Women issue annual plea to be priests outside Holy Thursday Mass

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 Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput, center, celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015.  (AP File Photo/Matt Rourke)

Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput, center, celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. (AP File Photo/Matt Rourke)

For decades, the Thursday before Easter has meant a protest outside the Catholic Cathedral of Saints. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia as women call on the pope to allow women to serve as priests.

Members of the Women’s Ordination Conference greeted the priests at a renewal Mass with signs and a prayer service calling on the Vatican to change Catholic doctrine to allow the ordination of women. 

“We believe that women are called to be priests,” said Judy Heffernan, who has been part of the annual demonstrations since the 1970s. “We’ve witnessed for 37 years because we believe it’s the right thing to do.”

After pushing for change for 20 years, Jim Clay said he believes women eventually will be ordained.

“In the Catholic Church, I think we move very slowly when it comes to women in general, and especially when it comes to women priests,” he said.

Pope Francis said in November he believes the ban on women priests will continue.

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