updated 11/2/2006 6:50:29 PM ET 2006-11-02T23:50:29

A renegade African archbishop who has rejected his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church plans a convention of 1,000 married priests in New York, his group said Thursday.

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo’s group Married Priests Now! said the summit on “theology of a married priesthood, uniting married priests to work together” would be held Dec. 8-10.

A statement on the group’s Web site said it expected more than 1,000 married priests — and their wives.

The announcement of the convocation said there would be “concelebrated masses, renewal of marriage vows, and ordinations for married men to diaconate and priesthood.”

Milingo is committed to forcing the church to accept married priests and says its celibacy policy had created a critical shortage of clergy.

He made headlines in 2001 when he married in a mass ceremony held by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church and was excommunicated on Sept. 26 for ordaining four married men as bishops at a ceremony in Washington.

Still partakes in church services
A person excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church is forbidden from receiving the sacraments or sharing in acts of public worship, but Milingo has said he continues to celebrate Mass and conduct faith healing services for which he is noted.

Milingo was married in 2001 in the mass ceremony in New York to Maria Sung. He later left her, rejoined the Catholic Church and lived at a convent near Rome.

He resurfaced in Washington in July to announce the formation of Married Priests Now!

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