The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Great Falls-Billings welcomes its first married priest

Another married Episcopalian is swimming the Tiber — and is about to be ordained a priest.
From the Billings Gazette:

When the Rev. Bart Stevens is ordained a Catholic priest in Billings on Thursday, he will share the moment with friends and family — including his wife and five children.


Stevens, 35, joins a small fraternity of married Roman Catholic priests. Since 1980, slightly more than 100 former Episcopal priests in the United States have been ordained priests in the Catholic Church.

He is the first in the Great Falls-Billings Diocese. And his presence has sparked talk around town, as his wife, Becky, found out not long ago at a local grocery store.

“She’s in the checkout line and these people are talking about me,” Stevens said, sitting in his office in a house next to Holy Rosary Church. “One says ‘Did you hear about the married priest in the Catholic church?’ ”

The other person corrected the first one, suggesting it must be an Episcopal priest. The two went back and forth until Becky Stevens broke into their conversation.


“Becky’s like, ‘I think you’re talking about my husband,’ ” Stevens said, smiling. “It takes people a while to wrap their head around it.”

He will be ordained at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral by Bishop Michael Warfel. Priests from throughout the diocese are expected to attend the ceremony.

So will Becky and their children, three girls and two boys ranging in age from 9 years to 4 months.

For Stevens, who will serve three parishes in Billings, his ordination is the completion of a journey that has brought him to the faith he was meant to embrace.

Read more. And welcome, Fr. Bart!

Comments read comments(11)
post a comment
Roman Girl

posted December 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm

What a beautiful event to take place. God, bless all our Catholic priests and give special grace to those converting the Roman Catholic faith!

report abuse

Roman Girl

posted December 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm

converting **to** the Roman Catholic faith. :o)

report abuse


posted December 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Awesome! My prayers for him and his family in their ministry. Yes, his wife and children, like all Christians, are called to witness in their vocation.
Now when will a Pope lift a pen and finally ordain married men to the priesthood?
I have had nothing but great experiences with the married clergy that have converted from the Episcopal or Lutheran churches. So, why aren’t we acknowledging the call of cradle Catholic men? Trust me: I don’t think that Fr. Bart’s parishioners will be “scandalized” that their parish priest is married. I’m sure the majority of them will be happy to welcome him and his family. I’ve seen it first hand — the majority of the laity, even deeply observant laity, are ready for married parish priests.
It’s time for Rome to listen to the laity and bring compulsory celibacy to a close. Yesterday.

report abuse


posted December 10, 2010 at 6:57 pm

praesta: Ditto. When will Rome wake up and stop compulsory celibacy?
Wishing the married priest and his family the best. Am sure he will be a wonderful priest to his new church. He will have 5 “little” helpers, plus his wife.

report abuse


posted December 10, 2010 at 11:10 pm

The eastern rite has married priests because it’s their tradition. But I always think this whole situation is kinda odd: while former anglican and episcopalian priests will be able to mantain both of the vocations they were called to, cradle catholic men won’t be able to. I’m sorry but, in a way, it’s unjust. I agree that celibacy is good, it should always be higly esteemed, and if God calls you to be celibate, then that’s awesome. But what if you’re called to both vocations: be a priest and be a hubby? Cause that’s happened to these pastors. If they were called to be husbands and priests, and the church recognizes this, then the church has to agree on the fact that maybe she’s hindering God’s will for the lives of some men. Again, i’m not against celibacy.I think it’s awesome. But if our eastern rite siblings have that, why can’t we imitate them? With the pastoral provision and the “anglicanorum coetibus”, haven’t we created an odd and unjust situation in our church for some cradle catholics? because then the roman church recognizes that a man can be called to both the priesthood and marriage. Again, aren’t we hindering God’s will for some catholic men?

report abuse

Rev. Bob Couto

posted December 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm

The celebate priesthood is a disciplinary degree from the Lateran Councils. Until the 11th Century, priest were allowed to marry. That changed with the period of feudalism when the church became the victim of alienation of property, simony and other abuses when the children of the Lords married children of priests and the land owners took over the churches, relics, finances, liturgical supplies, etc. Favors were sold, sacraments were compromised, etc. Certainly in most free cultures this would not be a problem today – except for certain regions such as China.and other atheistic countries. However – in order to return to a married priesthood we need to re-educate the members of the parish concerning the matter of finances. A cup of coffee costs mote than $1.00 yet George Washington comes to Mass more than any other president. It is difficult enough for parishes to meet financial obligations (utilities, staff salaries, payroll taxes, repairs, maintanence, liturgical supplies property and liability insurance, health insurance, diocesean consolidated expenses,rectory expenses and supplies, etc.)let alone trying to figure out how we provide adequate salaries for married priests in order for them to provide for their families. They certainly face all of the financial obligations any married family faces: food, education, health care, medical insurance, housing, transportation, etc. It is time for the church to form a commission to study this question – seeking information from the married priests we have as well as from our non-Catholic brothers and sisters. A married priesthood is not impossible and more likely to be an asset. But the move in that direction requires careful planning and study.Our current model of financial support needs to change – a paradigm shift. We should start that process now. Rev. Bob Couto, NH

report abuse


posted January 3, 2011 at 11:09 am

Why is this news:
1. There are hundreds of married priests in the roman catholic church. All are converts, who sought out their calling to Jesus and found their home in Rome after they were married.
2. Rome may if it wants change its policy on Priestly Celebicy. However, if you ever read the bible then you know that both Jesus and Paul taught that celebicy was a higher calling and both were celebit.
The Church wants is priest to seek this higher calling as you cannot serve two masters.
3. God Bless him and his family for seeking the truth of christianity and worship of the lord. He had to leave everything he new to follow the truth. Most married converts who have young children are positioned as deacons and may become priests “after” their kids are grown up.
4. A married priest or Deacon must live a celebit life after their spouses death. Just like Paul taught.
– How many protastant ministers do that?

report abuse


posted February 2, 2011 at 7:41 am


report abuse

Current Anglican Future Catholic

posted February 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

“Until the 11th Century, priest were allowed to marry. That changed with the period of feudalism…”
Just to clarify. Priests were NEVER, NEVER allowed to marry in any Christian tradition, east or west.
Married men have, however, been allowed to become priests until the 11th century in the Western Church and remain able to currently in the Eastern Church. It may seem like a semantics point but it’s a very important distinction to make.
If you are called to the priesthood before you are married then celibacy should be your rule. However, I don’t see the harm in allowing married men, who have truly received a calling from God, into the Sacred Order of Priests and Deacons on a limited and case-by-case basis.

report abuse

Pingback: Oh, No! The Editor is Back! « The Anchoress

Deacon Jim

posted May 23, 2012 at 7:57 am

What a grace filled moment for our church. Perhaps some day our Holy Father will permit married men of the Roman Catholic faith to join Fr. Stevens as Priests.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.