The Rev. Jim St. George, the former Chestnut Hill College adjunct professor who was fired last month for being openly gay, has moved to the Ivy League.

St. George is co-teaching a course on religion, social justice and urban development at the University of Pennsylvania with Penn urban-studies professor Andrew Lamas, who offered the position to St. George after hearing of his travails.

"It feels good to be teaching again," said St. George, pastor of St. Miriam Old Catholic Church in Blue Bell. "The students are great, and I am thrilled at the chance to delve into subjects I care deeply about. I'm grateful."

It's an unexpected turn of events for St. George, who was fired after a local attorney complained to Cardinal Justin Rigali and Chestnut Hill College president Sister Carol Jean Vale that St. George was a "heretic" who should not be permitted to teach religion courses at the Roman Catholic college.

In the aftermath of the firing, St. George, 45, became a local cause célèbre for gay rights and was also outed as a former felon convicted of fraud two decades ago. St. George said that his conviction was no secret and that he often used it as an example in classes about the power of redemption.

St. George, who was elevated to the position of monsignor Sunday, also has been invited by Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill to lead a discussion there called "Human Dignity, Human Sexuality and the People of God: A Conversation."

The event is scheduled for May 10.

- Ronnie Polaneczky