Jerry Sherbourne ordained a Catholic priest following two-year formation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Father Jerry Sherbourne, an active-duty U.S. Army Chaplain, and former Anglican priest, was ordained a Catholic priest Sunday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the imposition of hands, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., ordained him during a 10:00 a.m. Mass.
Father Sherbourne becomes a Catholic priest, incardinated in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a special Church jurisdiction established by Pope Benedict XVI for those of the Anglican heritage entering full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining distinctive elements of their theological, spiritual, and liturgical patrimony.
In preparation for his transition from Anglican to Catholic, Father Sherbourne underwent a two-year formation program approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Holy See, a process that included his ordination as a transitional Catholic deacon. A married father of six, he also received a dispensation from Pope Francis to be a priest without embracing celibacy. Father Sherbourne and his wife Heather live with their family in north Alabama where he currently serves as deputy Garrison chaplain at Redstone Arsenal.
Originally from Massachusetts, Father Sherbourne, was ordained an Anglican priest in 2000 and has been a U.S. Army chaplain since 2005. In his military career, Major Sherbourne has served at Fort Campbell, Fort Benning, Fort Jackson, Fort Sam Houson, and Fort Bragg. He served on deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Father Sherbourne says he decided to become Catholic following a conversion experience during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2011. He told The Redstone Rocket that he and a fellow serviceman were talking with a Catholic priest when the serviceman asked the priest to explain the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the Catholic teaching that the Virgin Mary was conceived free from original sin. Sherbourne said he “groaned inwardly,” wishing his comrade had asked “anything but that, a concept he thought he understood well and did not believe in.” But to his surprise, the priest replied, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s all very biblical. What does “Hail Mary, full of grace mean?” Father Sherbourne told The Rocket it was like a light went off in his head. “All of a sudden I realized, ‘Wow, that could be true.’”
Of his ordination to the Catholic priesthood, Father Sherbourne said:
“All these years I’ve been waiting for this. It’s just wonderful for me, even as a deacon, to be up around the altar. It’s my environment. It’s what God made me to do. It’s like being finally home, like a fish in the water I was meant to swim in for the first time.”