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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Most Read