Ordained Pret 2018

Helen Weber-McReynolds

Master of Theological Studies in progress  

BMS Physician Assistant Studies  

BA Psychology 


Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I was the oldest of four daughters. Our parents encouraged us to study hard, because God had work for each of us to do, to make the world a better place. We walked three blocks to our Catholic grade school and were blessed to be taught by the Sisters of Providence, one of whom was our  great-aunt. In high school we were taught by young, dynamic, inspiring Franciscan  priests and sisters, who opened the Scriptures for me and introduced me to the God of  love, and the Church of social justice. To me, the interrelatedness of all Creation is the  image of God. Just as every plant and animal is essential to and influences the ecology  of the earth, so is every person vital to the Body of Christ. Our love for our Creator,  poured out to one another, is our aliveness in the Body of God.  

After I married Jeff McReynolds in 1983, we had four children and and now have four  grandchildren. First, I earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame,  then, a BMS in Physician Assistant Studies from St. Louis University. Now, I am  completing an MTS from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.  

I had always longed to study Scripture on a serious level and started this degree as part  of the discernment for my priestly vocation. It has turned out to be a mind-blowingly  enlightening, liberating, and affirming experience. CTS is a progressive ecumenical seminary, full of gifted, passionate students and faculty, and I love the way we have all  educated one another. When I was at Notre Dame in the late 70’s, it was a time of  wonderful liturgical innovation and artistic creativity, in the wake of Vatican II. I was  inspired by all styles of gathering the Christian community around the Eucharistic table,  from midnight Saturday masses in the dorms, to Easter vigil in the Basilica.  

Taking any leadership roles open to me in the church, I was a music leader, on the  Parish Council, and a Religious Ed teacher. I read about RCWP in the National Catholic  Reporter and other publications before I became involved with what grew to become  the St. Mary of Magdala Catholic Community in 2010, when Maria Thornton McClain  convened a support group to help her discern and prepare for ordination. I was invited  to Maria’s first prayer service. After that, we began to form SMMCC. Eventually an  RCWP member, Bishop Nancy Meyer, asked me if I thought I was called to the  priesthood, and I said yes. That was the winter of 2015.  

In 2016 I was accepted into RCWP, ordained deacon in 2017, at Holy Wisdom  Monastery, Madison, WI and a priest in 2018, in the Sweeney Chapel at Christian  Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN. With the guidance of Maria McClain and Nancy  Meyer, I served my diaconate ministry in the community and after ordination I co pastored in the community and was the music director. My ministry as pastor of St.  Mary of Magdala Catholic Community, began in 2019, upon the retirement of Pastor  Maria Thornton McClain.  

I still work as a Physician Assistant in Family Practice and Emergency Medicine. The  many patients whom I have told that I am a priest respond very supportively because  most are grassroots Christians. They believe women should share leadership in the  Church, and that the institutional Church desperately needs reform. I don’t actually do  my work any differently now from how I did it before I was a priest because I have always  considered my work with patients a ministry. I honestly never plan to retire. I love my  job and plan to work and minister in it as long as I can.  

As a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, I am a Facilitator for the Central Indiana  Council, specializing in outdoor skills. My role is mostly about empowering young women and trying to inspire appreciation and protection of the environment. 

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