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Louise Haggett

Founder and President from 1992-2011

In September 1992, CITI Ministries made its debut at a national Roman Catholic Church leadership conference in Washington D.C. under the name Rent A Priest. No one had ever taken a seemingly “irreverent,” light-hearted approach regarding such serious issues in the Church, namely mandatory celibacy for priests and nuns, shortages in the clerical priesthood and the advent of circuit-rider priests (traveling from parish to parish for Sunday Mass celebration).

As a mainstream “traditional” church-going Catholic, Louise Haggett became aware of these issues only after cursory research because of an inability to find a priest to visit her mother in a senior assisted-living facility the previous year. In her research Louise was surprised to discover that 20,000 (400 per state average) priests had resigned the clerical priesthood in only a twenty year span; 9 out of 10 left to marry.

Since 1980, the Vatican, has been converting and ordaining to the Catholic priesthood, married Protestant ministers and welcoming their families into the faith. (In one Maine parish, a priest who married was replaced by a married priest!) Sensing a terrible injustice and the lack of priests available for ministry especially for seniors, Louise got fired up and was motivated to nudge back into ministry, priests who resigned from the clerical priesthood to marry. With the support of the 21 canon laws that validated their priesthood and sacramental ministry, Louise provided these priests with an opportunity to minister again and she provided millions with the opportunity to be served.

Though CITI Ministries was initially developed with the idea of serving priest-less parishes, it was surprising to learn that those responding to Rent A Priest were Catholics who were not going to church (73.3% of the total American Catholic population–48 million). CITI’s “restoration of a married priesthood” is not necessarily an advocacy to place married priests back at the altar under the jurisdiction of today’s Vatican. We are restoring the dignity of married priests by acknowledging their existence and the ministry that Jesus called them to in the first place– feeding His sheep-wherever and however. Like Jesus, these are holy people whose ministry has no denominational boundaries. While the group may be exclusive, the work is Catholic, interfaith and ecumenical and the need is worldwide.

Ezekiel 37:1-10 speaks of the awakening of dry bones and breathing new life in them. This is what has happened to married priest couples whose ministry was oppressed by the institution, and who become affirmed today whenever they meet and minister to/with people in need. God’s people whose lives are touched by married priests also experience the new spirituality that is being breathed into their dry bones.

Judy Lorenz

President from 2011- 2019

Judy assumed the role of President and Executive Director in 2011 when Louise retired. Originally from Moonachie, NJ, she grew up in a loving Catholic family as the youngest of five children. She moved to College Park to attend the University of Maryland and soon after, married David Lorenz, with whom she has four children and two granddaughters. Judy was a Catholic elementary school teacher for ten years and worked as Children’s Liturgy Coordinator. In 2007 she became a Program Assistant for the Bowie Senior Center.

Life’s unexpected twists led to Judy’s involvement in SNAP, Voice of the Faithful, and CITI Ministries, which provided her with a priest as she founded the Emmaus Community of Bowie. She later became a board member of CITI and was appointed President. Judy’s dedication and concern for the well-being of CITI Ministries over the past 8 years is truly appreciated. Thank you, Judy!

Mallory Zolyan Schmitt

President 2019 – Current

Mallory joined CITI in 2015 as Business Manager. She later accepted the invitation to join the Board of Directors. She has assumed her new role as President/Executive Director and looks forward to helping guide CITI Ministries into the future.