- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2006

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (AP) — She stood at the altar in a white gown and veil, but she was there for no earthly man. Lori Rose Cannizzaro was dedicating her virginity to Jesus.

Saturday’s rare Catholic ceremony, one her own pastor didn’t know existed, turned the 42-year-old into a “consecrated virgin.” Fewer than 200 women in the United States and 2,000 worldwide have declared their perpetual virginity this way, according to the U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins.

“There are people who think I’m nuts,” Miss Cannizzaro said.

The ceremony was a revival of one of the church’s oldest rituals, available only to virgins who agree to abstain from sex so they can dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ. Each woman wears a band on her left ring finger as a symbol, much like a wedding band.

Miss Cannizzaro works as a cook at Christ the King Seminary in a Buffalo suburb.

The ceremony was just the second of its kind performed in the Diocese of Buffalo. The idea of consecrated virgins faded in the Middle Ages, but Pope Paul VI restored the rite in 1970. Only a bishop can perform the special Mass.

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