Father Dean Henderson is the new pastor at St Rose pf Lima church in Sooke. He takes over from Rev. Marinaldo Batista. (Kevin Laird/Sooke news Mirror)

B.C. Catholic priest has five kids and Pope’s blessing

Father Dean Henderson is new pastor at Sooke church

You might not be able to tell just by looking at him, but Father Dean Henderson is unlike most Catholic priests. He is married, and he has kids – five of them.

To understand how Father Dean got to this position as a married Catholic clergyman, you have to go back to the beginning.

Father Dean was raised in a non-religious home in Montreal, where his dad was an IBM executive and his mother a teacher. But it wasn’t until early adulthood, he felt that calling to serve God, while participating in a young adult church group.

“It was a journey of change, real transition. I really had to think differently,” he said. “I don’t regret a single day of the conversion. It just made my life better.”

He soon met his wife, Linda, and they married.

Father Dean was ordained as an Anglican minister in 1990 serving at parishes in Parksville and Nanoose Bay. It was while he was on sabbatical in England that he was drawn to Catholicism.

“It was the attraction of Pope John Paul II as a phenomenal missionary, phenomenal scholar, and phenomenally courageous,” said Father Dean.

“I then bought a Catholic catechism and read it from cover to cover, and believed 90 percent of what it said.”

The process of converting and then becoming re-ordained in the Catholic faith took several more years because of the slow bureaucracy of the Catholic church.

The most glaring question surrounding this is how can a married man become clergy without abiding by the sacred vow of celibacy. For that answer, you have to go back three decades.

In 1980, Pope John Paul decided to allow married men to become priests in certain situations, said Bishop Gary Gordon, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria.

“For the first 20 years, married priests were not permitted to be pastors because of the ethos of the church was that all clergy were celibate. So they had roles as chaplains or university professors,” Bishop Gordon said. (In Canada, the term pastor is used by Catholics for what in other English-speaking countries is called a parish priest).

Father Dean was ordained in 2017.

The ordination took place at St. Andrew cathedral in Victoria.

He has spent the last nine years as chaplain at the University of Victoria and often did relief for church pastors. He was inducted by Bishop Gordon on Feb. 11 as the new pastor of St. Rose of Lima church in Sooke.

“I really love the work of a parish ministry,” said Father Dean, noting it was something he did throughout the 1990s as a minister in the Anglican faith.

The uniqueness of the situation also brings opportunity – especially for parishioners, he said.

“The married state certainly gives me insight that’s different. It’s different from my brother priests who are celibate and live on their own.”

Bishop Gordon said the church’s experience over the last 25 years is that while married priests are an anomaly, they haven’t been a problem for those in the pews.

“The only thing it’s caused is question, and those questions were answered. Everything has just moved along,” he said.

There are four married priests in the diocese, like Father Dean. As a married member of the clergy, he can baptize, witness marriages, anoint the sick, say Mass, lead a church, and partake in any duties or sacraments other Catholic priests perform. However, there are a few restrictions, Father Dean can never become a bishop or Pope.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sailings filling up on Northern Sea Wolf

There is a strong demand for the service

New ownership group presents Mount Timothy Resort plans

‘More activity and more people on the hill means more fun’

Thunderstorms in forecast for much of Cariboo Chilcotin

Special weather statements, concerns of flash flooding, for southern B.C. regions

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Most Read