Diocese of Orange
Priesthood Ordination


The Diocese of Orange is thrilled to welcome two new priests ordained by Bishop Kevin Vann to the Sacred Order of the Priesthood on June 8, 2024.


Rev. Cole Buzon

First Filipino-American priest in the Diocese of Orange.

Assignment: San Francisco Solano Catholic Church


Rev. Greg Walgenbach

First married priest through the Pastoral Provision for the Diocese of Orange.

Assignment: Director, Office of Life, Justice and Peace. Director, Mission Office. 


Pastoral Provision FAQs

A: Celibacy is a discipline of the Catholic Church practiced universally in the West. Although it is highly valued, Pope St. Paul VI stated that celibacy “is not, of course, required by the nature of the priesthood itself. This is clear from the practice of the early Church and the traditions of the Eastern Rite Churches.”

Much has been said about practical reasons for celibacy, such as giving the parish priest more time to dedicate to the people of God. Pope St Paul VI writes: “In a similar way, by a daily dying to himself and by giving up the legitimate love of a family of his own for the love of Christ and of His kingdom, the priest will find the glory of an exceedingly rich and fruitful life in Christ, because like Him and In Him, he loves and dedicates himself to all the children of God.” Still, it is not essential to the priesthood, but it is a radical witness to the reign of Christ in the world.

In the West, the Church adopted celibacy as a universal discipline. The East, however, did not. The Orthodox Churches today, continue to hold that men who are already married can be ordained to the priesthood, though unmarried priests cannot marry after ordination. In some rare cases, the Latin Rite also allows men to become priests if they previously served as ministers within specific Protestant denominations prior to their conversion to Catholicism.

A: In his 1967 encyclical, “On the Celibacy of the Priest,” Pope St Paul VI called for a study of the circumstances of married ministers of other churches or ecclesial communities separated from the Catholic Church and of the possibility of admitting those who desire full communion to the Catholic priesthood to exercise priestly ministry.

Pope Pius XII had already granted special permission for some married Lutheran clergy to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood shortly after World War II. In a 1980 statement, Pope St John Paul II, allowed an exception for married Episcopalian clergy to be ordained Catholic priests. This process, known as the “Pastoral Provision,” was intended to ease the way into full communion with the Catholic Church for Episcopalian clergy. A delegate in the US was established to coordinate this process and serve as the link with the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office responsible for overseeing the Pastoral Provision and handling the dispensation process to allow for the ordination of married men to the priesthood.

A: The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, also simply known as the Ordinariate, was established on January 1, 2012, by Pope Benedict XVI. The Ordinariate is separate and distinct from the Pastoral Provision. The Ordinariate oversees individuals, parishes, priests, and religious communities that wish to use the Book of Divine Worship, an adaptation of the American Book of Common Prayer. It preserves along with the Book of Divine Worship, Anglican traditions, and customs. Former Protestant ministers who apply to the Pastoral Provision, desire to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests of the Latin Rite in their local Latin Rite diocese, celebrating the Latin Rite liturgy.

A: No. The ordination of a married man remains an exception and one that is granted only in specific cases involving men who had already been called to ministry in another church or Christian denomination and later came into full communion in the Catholic Church.

A: In the United States, it is relatively uncommon but notable that over 300 married former Protestant ministers, originating from Episcopalian, Lutheran, Presbyterian or Methodists backgrounds have transitioned to serve as Catholic priests.  These individuals experienced a calling to join the Catholic Church, underwent a formal process to enter into full communion with their families and received permission from Rome to be ordained as Catholic priests. They are now active in their priestly ministries throughout the country.

A: Yes. Originally, this practice only applied to men who had been Episcopalian/Anglican clergy. It also involved the situation of whole parishes coming into full communion along with their ministers. They were permitted to use adapted liturgical practices borrowed from their Episcopalian roots. Over the years, petitions from ministers of other Protestant denominations were considered and permissions granted.

A: The Catholic Church does not recognize the ordinations of Protestant ministers. However, it does recognize the priesthood ordinations of Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Church of the East priests and the priestly ordinations of the Polish National Catholic Church.

A: Men seeking to be ordained under these provisions undergo a theological evaluation. A team of experts evaluates their knowledge of seven subjects. Among the areas tested are Ascetical Theology, Canon Law, Church History, Dogmatic Theology, Liturgical and Sacramental Theology, Moral Theology, and Sacred Scripture. Each candidate is criminal background checked and must pass a psychiatric evaluation. If married with a family, the marriage and family life must be evidenced as stable and healthy.

Based on this, a prescribed plan of studies is assigned on a case-by-case basis. After the syllabus is completed, the candidate is required to pass all exams.

A: The diocesan bishop is required to present the case to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. A dossier of required documents is submitted, including a petition for a dispensation from the impediment of marriage that stands in the way of the ordination to priesthood. The actual dispensation can only be granted by the Holy Father.

A: No. The Church has no tradition of allowing someone to marry after ordination. In fact, should one of the married priests become widowed, he is not permitted to marry again. Also, in keeping with long Tradition, a married priest is not eligible to be ordained a bishop in Catholic or Orthodox Churches.