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A Catholic priest’s journey to the Episcopal priesthood

A Catholic priest’s journey to the Episcopal priesthood

Here’s the story of Chris Roussell, a former Catholic priest whose longing for a family led him to leave the Catholic priesthood, and whose subsequent journey led him back to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.


Molly Barari of the Rapid City Journal tells of Roussell’s decision to leave the priesthood, and his work in the non-profit world where he met Alison, his future wife, whom he had known during his school days. She was now divorced and had two children. The couple were married in an Episcopal Church, but continued to worship and raise their children as Catholics.

One Sunday, the Roussells attended an Episcopal service because they felt they desperately needed to receive Communion. “We both sobbed because it was the first time we’d received the body and blood of Christ since we got married. It was like drinking from the fountain after we’d been in the desert for so long.”

That’s when the couple started their process of becoming Episcopalians.”

The story traces Rousell’s return to the priesthood as the family moved from Louisiana to South Dakota.

“I want people to know that I’m not an Episcopal priest just so I can be a married priest,” said Roussell. “It’s so much deeper than that.

“I love my Catholic tradition, faith and upbringing — but I know I was called to be an Episcopalian. It’s where I feel closest to God and his son, Jesus Christ.”

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Peter Pearson

Funny, but I was just looking for the “LIKE” button. This has also been my experience and joining the Episcopal Church was one of the best decisions of my entire life. As a priest, I can do what is right simply because it’s the right thing to do and that is so refreshingly freeing.

Jesse Snider

“We love the Episcopal faith because of its openness to all of God’s children. We were welcomed right away and offered the sacrament. We needed that grace and gift from God,” explained Roussell.

This was my experience as well. Welcomed in admitted to the sacraments, my parents (non Episcopalians) both buried from my church. I was made ‘one of the family’ from the first day I walked in. Now received fully into the church, an acolyte, reader, and vestryperson….I’ve never looked back my parish has been my family in a sense I never knew in the RCC. When I was ill recently and hospitalized for an extended period time, my parish looked after me in the hospital, cleaned my house, took care of the dog, and when I was home my pastor picked me up from the hospital and the church ladies made sure my first few weeks home I had food in the fridge and warm meals at supper time. Perhaps this is not the experience of every Episcopalian but it’s mine. To me the Episcopal Church has distilled the meaning of being a christian, it’s not wrapped up in doctrines, cannons, and theology. It’s wrapped up in being ‘Eucharist’ being the presence of Christ to each other. I am home.

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