Former Protestant minister first married priest ordained in Nebraska


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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (CNS) -- Father Sidney Bruggeman is not the only Catholic priest to be ordained this year in Nebraska, but he is the only one with a wife, children and grandchildren.

Ordained June 5, he is among approximately 100 married priests in the country -- and the only one in Nebraska, said Bishop William J. Dendinger of Grand Island.

The Vatican in 1980 granted permission for married former Protestant clergymen in the United States to become priests on a case-by-case basis. Father Bruggeman last served as an ordained minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from 1988 to 1995.

There will be stipulations to Father Bruggeman's status as a priest, Bishop Dendinger said.

For instance, he cannot be named a canonical pastor of his own parish, although he can be an associate pastor or work in a social services capacity, such as in a hospital or a school.

Father Bruggeman and his wife, Carol have four children and 10 grandchildren with two more on the way.

Before he could begin studying to become a Catholic priest, he had to receive approval from the Vatican. It came through in April 2005 after a two rounds of documentation.

He began classes at St. Paul's Seminary in September 2006 and spent a month in Rome after he finished classes in January 2009.