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    Catholic Church Group Ordains Transgender Priest

    Over the weekend, Shannon T. L. Kearns became the independent Catholic group's first transgender priest.

    Photo by Orrin S. Pratt

    Father Shannon Kearns (L) and Bishop Benjamin Evans.

    On Saturday, Jan. 19, the North American Old Catholic Church ordained Shannon T. L. Kearns to priesthood. Kearns became the first transgender priest for the independent Catholic group, which ordains women, members of the LGBTQ community, and married/partnered/divorce people.

    "I am honored and humbled," Kearns said in a statement. The new priest has been tasked with starting a new parish in Minneapolis, House of the Transfiguration, which will be open to all people. The parish "will combine traditional Catholic worship with modern expressions."

    While earning his master in divinity from Union Theological Seminary, Kearns transitioned from female to male. In the U.S., there are estimated to be fewer than 100 transgender clergy members. And Kearns is among just a handful in the state of Minnesota.

    Check out more images of Kearns' ordination below.

    Photo by Orrin S. Pratt

    The Bishop presents the new priest with the Gospels.

    Photo by Orrin S. Pratt

    The new priest is vested by his friends Rev. Alison Killeen and Pastor Adam Rao with stole and chasuble.

    Photo by Orrin S. Pratt

    The new priest offers thanks for the gifts.