Rochester Woman Makes History as 3rd African-American Female in US to Become a Priest

Rochester Woman Makes History as 3rd African-American Female in US to Become a Priest


By Melanie Johnson

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — One woman’s path to history brought tears of joy and calls of gratitude to the sanctuary of the Spiritus Christi Church.

“People are not only crying out of a sense of rejoicing,” said Jonathon Leach, a long time friend of the new Rev. Myra Brown. “They’re crying out of a sense of love. They’re crying out of a sense that ‘wow, this is finally happening’ and we cant believe that it’s happening to Myra someone we know.”

A journey that spans over two decades has finally come full circle for Rev. Myra Brown.

In front of a congregation of parishioners, close friends and family, Brown became ordained as the third African American woman in United States history to become a priest.

“It was so emotional because a long time ago they wouldn’t allow a woman on the pulpit so to see her come out through all of that, it’s a blessing,” Brown’s daughter Jasmine Latimer said.

For Rev. Brown, her trailblazing ordination to priesthood reminds her of how her purpose to serve was not always as clear.

“The call that I heard from God when I was 24-years-old, didn’t quite understand it and didn’t see how that would happen because I was black, a woman, and a Roman Catholic,” Rev. Brown said.

The Albion native looks to take her spot in history and inspire others to not only join a kingdom, but become a part of fighting against barriers that she has dedicated her life to breaking down.

Rev. Myra Brown will live out her childhood dream as a priest during her first two masses Sunday.

Spiritus Christi Church split from the Diocese of Rochester in 1998. The split resulted from Spiritus’s practice of blessing same-sex unions, giving communion to non-baptized members and allowing women to take clerical roles in the church.