Catholic families in Arlington are planning to demonstrate Sunday afternoon against the decision made by some local churches to exclude girls from altar service.
A report in Sunday's edition of The Washington Post spotlighted the decision of the pastor at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in South Riding to exclude girls from training to be altar servers. The decision reportedly caused a dozen families to leave the congregation, which Corpus Christi claims contains 1,100 families.
The pastor of Corpus Christi, the Rev. Michael Taylor, wrote of his decision in the church's bulletin, saying in part: "I would like this service to be a springboard to young men considering the priesthood ... This decision is about priestly vocations."
Taylor continued, "It is my hope that [Corpus Christi] will be able to create opportunities, and perhaps clubs [for girls], for service to others and vocational discernment."
The Catholic Diocese of Arlington declared the girls were eligible to help priests at the altar in 2006, making them the next-to-last bishopric in America to do so (The diocese of Lincoln, Neb. still does not allow girls to serve). However, Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde left the final decision of whether to allow girls to serve up to individual priests. A spokeswoman for the diocese told the Post that 60 percent of the diocese's 68 parishes only allow altar boys.
A vigil with signs and prayers will begin at 2 p.m. at the Arlington Catholic Diocesan Office on North Glebe Road in Arlington.