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Retired Monsignor Howard Lincoln marries secretary

Retired Monsignor Howard Lincoln said he decided to leave the priesthood at Sacred Heart Church and Catholic School to marry his secretary Sandra Susini. Lincoln married Susini on July 2.

"Because our age, because of our health, because in particular, we love each other, we decided to move the date way up," said Lincoln.

Laicization is when a priest cannot perform any more priestly duties. Lincoln said the process can take up to two years and he didn't want to wait.

"So I've been a priest for 30 years. I've been at Sacred Heart for 20. I'm 75. And I think it's time and fair I might add that I'd be allowed to marry," said Lincoln. "We love each other and we don't want to be alone."

Lincoln says age, health, and the time frame for laicization were the main reasons he decided to retire and marry days later.

Both discussed the possibility of getting married for nearly the past three years.

"It was just discussions and then we got more and more serious and we started to plan," said Lincoln. "I want to emphasize there was no physical intimacy at all. I certainly maintained my celibacy."

Some friends of the couple have already called to congratulate them on their marriage.

"We have only gotten emails and phone calls that are all joyful for what's happening," said Susini. "I am just very lucky and very happy that monsignor is now going to be my husband."

Lincoln said he had to leave the priesthood to marry, but his successor is already married with kids. Currently, the Vatican allows married men to become priests.

"Should priests be allowed to be married? I think in my case, I feel that the quantity and the quality of priests would soar," said Lincoln

Lincoln announced his plans to marry at his retirement luncheon on June 30. The church's new priest, the Rev. Gregory elder, and parochial vicar, the Rav. Tyler Tripp, posted a letter to their website informing parishioners of Lincoln's plans.

"We know that this information will generate strong emotions for many and we are here for you in this moment of difficulty," said the letter.

In response to the letter posted by Sacred Heart, Lincoln wrote a letter to parishioners.

"However, the question became-- when should our marriage take place. And celebrating this sacrament a scant two days after my retirement seemed very premature," said Lincoln's letter.

"I hope people see me as a priest that truly cared," said Lincoln. "That did his best, tried hard, and they meant the world to me. And they gave me the best 20 years of my life."

Lincoln said he and his wife plan to continue serving the community through Martha's Village.

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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