I was a single mom when I met him. I started attending [Akron’s] St. Bernard’s, where he was an associate pastor. We very quickly became friends. We had a lot in common. We used to discuss theology a lot. I think I frustrated him, because I was more liberal than he was. He had a very strict Catholic upbringing. I was more open. I had attended a lot of different churches, but I always felt called to the Catholic Church.
I always thought that when my son Scottie was on his own, I would become a nun. I never really thought I would ever marry again. But, I thought if I ever did find the right man, I wanted someone who loved God as much as I did.
After five years, it became too difficult. I was going to leave St. Bernard’s. I invited him over to dinner to say goodbye. That’s when we admitted to each other that we were in love. That’s the first time I could call him Phil.
It’s terrible to be in love and just want to tell the whole world but have to keep it a secret.
People ask us why we stay Catholic. We believe in the church. We believe in the sacraments. We know the church has a lot of problems, but they are not going to be solved if people like us take the easy way out and leave. So we stay and hope we can make a difference.
— as told to Andy Netzel
Phil Marcin: What effect does mandatory celibacy have on the priesthood?
Phil Marcin: Should you be able to serve?
Sheila McGinn: Is there a historic basis for celibacy in the church?
Sheila McGinn: Why doesn't the Vatican let married priests serve?