LEWISTON — A local Catholic woman has lost her position as a lay minister at the Prince of Peace Parish churches this week after penning a newspaper column in support of legalizing same-sex marriages.
Pamella Starbird Beliveau, 47, of 40 Hillcrest Ave., said she met with Monsignor Marc Caron on Wednesday and was notified in writing Thursday that she had been dismissed as a lector and as a Eucharistic minister.
Her column, "A committed marriage is a worthy aspiration," appeared in the Oct. 18 edition of the Sun Journal.
"We were both very sad that it had come to this point, but I was treated with the utmost respect," Beliveau said. "I take no pleasure in being in conflict with my pastor."
Beliveau was not surprised by the dismissal, she said.
"The Catholic Church has every right to determine who can and cannot minister," she said. "I fully respect that."
Beliveau has been a member of the parish for 20 years, and a lector, reading for parish Masses at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. She has also been a lay Eucharistic minister for much of that time.
The Sun Journal contacted her by phone Friday night after word of her dismissal had spread. It was mentioned in an Oct. 30 open letter to the Maine Council of Churches that defended Ann Underwood, a Catholic member of the council, for her support of same-sex marriage.
Beliveau said she wanted to keep people focused on the issue of same-sex marriage.
"I do not want this to become about me and my ministry with the church," she said. "I want to keep our eyes on the issue. This is about equality for the gay and lesbian friends, neighbors and family that live and work and love in our state."
Beliveau said she was told she could ask to return to her ministry through a tribunal process.
"I will be there on Sunday," she said. "I am a Catholic."
Neither the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland nor Monsignor Caron could be reached for comment Friday night.