CASA GRANDE — The Liberal Catholic Church International will elevate the Rev. Maria Celia Jose to the office of presiding bishop of the denomination on Sunday, Oct. 13, in New York, a press release from LCCI said.

The ceremony, to be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Liberal Catholic Cathedral, 147 W. 144th St., marks the first time a woman has attained the highest clerical and administrative office in the denomination’s century-long history.

Jose is the pastor of St. Michael and All Angels Liberal Catholic Cathedral in Casa Grande. She is a native of Tucson. She was ordained in 2005 as the first female priest in the church’s history and was consecrated as a bishop in 2017, according to the press release.

The ceremony is scheduled to occur during the General Episcopal Synod of bishops of the Liberal Catholic Church International, which takes place every three to four years.

Jose was ordained soon after the organization approved the ordination of women during the 2004 gathering at St. Michael and All Angels Liberal Catholic Cathedral in Casa Grande.

She had studied for years in preparation for ordination.

LCCI ordains people who complete the proper program of study and personal preparation regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, nationality and any other identity-based requirement.

The Liberal Catholic Church International came into existence as the result of a complete reorganization in 1915-16 of the Old Catholic movement in Great Britain. The church derives its orders from the Mother-See of the Old Catholic movement of Utrecht in the Netherlands, according to the press release.

The LCCI has preserved its line of Apostolic Succession and offers the sacraments to everyone, even those who have been unable to receive them in other Catholic churches.

For more information, visit www.azlcci.org or call 520-560-5397.

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