Ceremonies: A referral for you
An increased number of people have asked me to walk with them and their families as they begin to seek healing from the effects of trauma and abuse in their lives. As a result, I have shifted my energies away from wedding ministry and will now focus full time to help them find a path of personal healing in their lives.
If you have visited my web site in search
of an officiant for your upcoming wedding,
I would like to refer you to my friend and colleague Rev. Bob Riler of Tacoma, WA.
You may contact Bob and Marcia at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 566-4078.
I am no longer scheduling wedding services at this time.
REV. JOHN SHUSTER
Port Orchard, WA
Of the many ways I serve people as a married priest, I enjoy weddings best! I realize that couples put hard work, detailed preparation, and significant resources into their wedding ceremony. They want everything to be perfect on their special day. I understand, and I make that perfection my goal too. In the Gospel of John, Jesus' first public miracle was the wedding at Cana. To make it a perfect wedding day for the couple, he changed water into good wine when the original supply ran out. Jesus put the bride and groom first, and used a miracle to make their wedding day special.
I want the couples I serve to enjoy a perfect wedding that exceeds their expectations. I begin with a positive attitude towards love and marriage. Together, we plan a ceremony that celebrates the special love they share. I provide a workbook with many different options, then we work together to create a memorable ceremony that will hopefully have the married couples in attendance holding hands and commenting on how that was the nicest wedding they had ever attended!
Many couples ask me if I have any special rules. My answer is: "Yes, I have one rule. I'm going to do things according to your wishes!" Using a blend of my liturgical experience and the couple's creativity, we end up with a tailor-made wedding ceremony that is warm, personal, and reflective of the couple's unique personalities.
My best flexibility comes with planning good second marriages that include children and any special needs the couple might have to be addressed. I'm also ecumenical in my wedding ministry (my wife Sally is Presbyterian) and I welcome couples of all denominations in celebrating their special day.
As an ordained Roman Catholic priest, the wedding ceremonies I witness are officially recognized by the State of Washington. Since I am a married priest, the weddings are not currently recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. Many couples who have been disqualified by the local parish priest from having a Roman Catholic Church wedding, or those wanting an outdoor wedding celebration, find that they can have a pleasant spiritual ceremony tailored to their needs and desires with their local married priests. With all the work I invest in your ceremony, I do ask for a stipend. Those funds go towards the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, to help people who have been abused by clergy to heal and to keep our children free from sexual predators in church settings.
As a married priest, I put people and their needs first. I believe that religion exists to serve people. I keep everything upbeat and positive. I handle issues creatively and with sensitivity to all involved. We put all the preparation into your ceremony beforehand, so that you can relax and enjoy your wedding day. I'll coordinate everyone's part in the ceremony at the rehearsal, and make sure that things progress smoothly. I'll complete your marriage license paperwork, make sure that everything is in order, and deliver it to the county auditor's office. There's nothing for you to memorize, just repeat your chosen wedding vows after me. You hold hands, look into each other's eyes, and exchange your sacred promises. Your wonderful love is the sacrament we will celebrate!
A bit more about my history. I was ordained in 1979 by Bishop Joseph Francis to serve as a priest in the Roman Catholic missionary order, the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). I graduated from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago in 1980 with a Masters of Divinity with specialization in cross-cultural ministry. During my four years as a celibate priest, I served in Mexico, and at parishes in East Los Angeles and South Central L.A. I left the corporate priesthood because of the sexual politics I endured and the financial corruption I observed. One out of every three priests has left the current clerical culture (over 110,000 world-wide) over the past 40 years and resumed their lives in marriage and employment. For more details on the internal scandals that drove my transition to the married priesthood, click here.
1979 Ordination day
Our Family: Nate, John, Sally, & Kellen
When I transitioned from the celibate clerical life to the married priesthood, I was able to find work selling medical supplies. St. Paul found employment as a tent maker so that he would not be a burden to the people he served. We married priests do the same. We work at our day jobs and help people as priests on evenings and weekends. Some married priests support themselves exclusively through wedding stipends. Bottom line, we married priests have families and we lead lives just like the people we serve. Many people think that makes us better priests!
Louise Haggett is a key person in my life as a priest. She had a creative solution for solving the shortage of priests in the Roman Catholic Church - have married priests start to fill in the gaps by ministering to people. When we met, she had recently formed Celibacy Is The Issue and started the Rent A Priest program to put aliendated and neglected Catholics in touch with married priests for spirituality and the sacraments. What a great idea! I signed on immediately. Thousands of other married priests have done the same. Because of Louise's efforts, many Catholics are welcoming married priests into their homes and receiving the pastoral care they need and deserve.
The married priesthood continues to be a timely and newsworthy issue. Married priests have been featured in newspaper articles and in radio and television programs over the years. Louise and I were interviewed by Mike Wallace and appeared on the CBS 60 Minutes program in 1995. I have also discussed the married priesthood on Seattle's NBC affiliate, KING 5 TV, and with the nationally acclaimed talk show host Dave Ross at KIRO 710 radio in Seattle.
If you'd like to learn more about married Roman Catholic priests,
click here to visit our international web site: The Married Roman Catholic Priest Faith Community - CITI Ministries