The Perspective of a Wife of a Catholic Priest

April 1991By Mary Vincent Dally

Mary Vincent Dally is the author of Married to a Catholic Priest, a wife’s-eye account of how her husband, Peter, came to be one of the few married Catholic priests in the U.S. Peter is now Associate Pastor at Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa.

Ed. Note: On August 20, 1980, the Holy See announced a Pastoral Provision according to which married Episcopal priests (never having taken any vow of celibacy) would be able to enter the Catholic priesthood while remaining married to their wives. On May 31, 1985, Peter Dally, a former Episcopal priest, was ordained a Catholic priest in the presence of his wife, Mary.

“What does your husband do?” the pleasant voice asked.

I looked up from my book to see an attractive woman seated beside me. There were a number of other empty seats she might have chosen in the airport waiting room. Why did she sit here? And why this question?

As I made a conscious decision to answer her, I quickly prayed for the courage I always seemed to need. I breathed deeply, allowing memories to flit momentarily through my mind. The woman waited patiently for my answer.

“My husband is a Catholic priest,” I said simply. I smiled. “I’ll bet you haven’t met many Catholic priests’ wives, have you?”

She paused. “No…no, I haven’t.”


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