NEW YORK, July 15, 2011 ( – When New York state Senator James Alesi announced to gay “marriage” supporters recently that his priest “embraced” him at mass after he cast his vote for gay “marriage,” he failed to mention one important point – his priest and his religious community have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

“I went to Mass Sunday in my church and I was so warmly received,” Alesi told attendees at an event sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign earlier this month. “It doesn’t matter what religion you are, but I know in my religion, when I went up to receive Communion, my priest embraced me,” he said.

However, the New York Times reports that Alesi belongs to Spiritus Christi Church, which broke with Rome in the 1990s “in order to support gay men and lesbians,” as well as female clergy.

The two clerics at Spiritus Christi are Rev. James Callahan, who was validly ordained in the Catholic Church before his excommunication, and pastor Mary Ramerman. Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester excommunicated Callahan in 1998 and removed him from his post as administrator from the city’s Corpus Christi Church, according to the group. The entire community was declared excommunicated the following year.

Alesi’s office confirmed to that the senator was hugged by his priest, but did not answer when asked who the priest was. Spiritus Christi Church also did not respond as of press time.

Alesi, one of the most prominent senate Republicans in New York, voted for gay “marriage” after previously opposing it. Alesi has claimed that he only cast his vote against gay “marriage” in 2009 as a political move, to help Republicans reclaim the chamber in 2010.