Anniversary of the priesthood—19 years

Come in on a Sunday after Mass and it is not unusual for us to have a cake to celebrate some milestone or another at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa.

Last Sunday was no exception.  We celebrated the 19th anniversary of Kipling Cooper’s ordination to the priesthood in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada.

He and [Fr.] Doug Hayman will begin a formation program for the Catholic priesthood at the beginning of Advent.

[Fr.] Kipling played a big role in my early formation when I first started coming to the Annunciation about 12 years ago.   Back then I was in big turmoil about my employment.  My position at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had been cut but I could keep the good salary and benefits if I took a lesser job and bumped a young family man out of his job.   That did not seem right.  And I very much wanted one particular job—-way too much—but was offered another that was like getting asked to the prom but not by Prince Charming.  The job I wanted was to work for the new leader of the Official Opposition, an openly Christian and pro-life politician, Stockwell Day.   But nothing was happening.

I laid out all my turmoil over these job-related decisions to Fr. Kipling and he advised me to do the following:  when you are in circumstances like that where you don’t know what to do, the best thing is to go do something for someone worse off than yourself.   Then he added that he suspected I would have a supernatural sign accompanying the answer to my question, “something like a phone call from outside your usual circle of friends.”

That day I called a friend from my previous Baptist Church to see if there were any sick that needed prayer.  She told me of a mutual acquaintance who had just finished chemo and was awaiting results on whether her cancer was back.  So I called Mabel and went on over.   We prayed together and I left feeling lifted in such grace, such overwhelming peace and dispassion about my job situation that I knew that as long as I had Jesus, it did not matter about my “self-realization” regarding my career—-I could clean toilets for the rest of my life if that’s what being in His will meant.

I called this the “Fr Kipling Cure” because it so dramatically worked to lift me out of the anxiety and turmoil.  By the time I had two job offers side by side, I was totally dispassionate and awaiting my supernatural sign and/or clear leading one way or the other.

The night before the deadline to make a decision on the less-exciting job, as I was going to sleep in someone’s basement guestroom in another city, around 11 p.m. my cell phone went off.  I usually turned my cell phone off to charge it up.    “Hello, it’s Stockwell Day calling . . .”

Well, that was outside my circle of friends!  He asked me if I would take the job and I said, “Yes.”

Now, that job proved to be jumping from the frying pan into the fire but that is another story.  But I will never forget [Fr.] Kipling’s advice.

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8 Responses to Anniversary of the priesthood—19 years

  1. Pingback: Anniversary of the priesthood—19 years | Catholic Canada

  2. EPMS says:

    I have followed the fairly extensive photo record of your parish over the years but have not noticed that a cake was supplied annually to all your clergy. Perhaps that has always been the case. Otherwise 19 years seems a bit random, and the use of the phrase “a priest” rather than say, “the 19th anniversary of your ordination,” a bit ” in your face” when from the perspective of the Catholic church we are talking about someone who is not now nor has ever been a priest. This celebration may well be filling a local pastoral need but publicising it could be confusing to those who might be visiting your blog with a view to exploring membership in the Catholic church.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: I have followed the fairly extensive photo record of your parish over the years but have not noticed that a cake was supplied annually to all your clergy. Perhaps that has always been the case. Otherwise 19 years seems a bit random…

      It sounds like the salient point is that this was the actual day of the anniversary. If the anniversary does not fall on a Sunday, they may well hold the celebration on the actual day rather than at the “bun fight” after mass.

      You wrote: … and the use of the phrase “a priest” rather than say, “the 19th anniversary of your ordination,” a bit ” in your face” when from the perspective of the Catholic church we are talking about someone who is not now nor has ever been a priest. This celebration may well be filling a local pastoral need but publicising it could be confusing to those who might be visiting your blog with a view to exploring membership in the Catholic church.

      You clearly do have a valid point about the phrase “a priest” in this situation, but “19th anniversary of your ordination” is no less incorrect because the Catholic perspective is that he has not yet been ordained to any sacramental order. Wording that does not imply ordination (“19 years of ministry”) would have been more appropriate.

      But having said that, I value anything that affirms the person in the midst of what probably is a very difficult time in his life. With his sacramental ministry on hold for a year or so, he probably is feeling a certain uselessness that has to be psychologically wearing. That cake may well have been just the “pick me up” that he needed at such a time. Rather than dwelling on a mistake that’s relatively minor and that did not last beyond the consumption of the cake at the scene, we ought to rejoice that whoever obtained the cake cares enough to reach out to support and encourage this pastor through such difficult times.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        Of course it lasted ” beyond the consumption of the cake at the scene”; there is the picture as long as this blog stays up. Nor, apparently, judging from the icing, is it accurate to say the congregation doesn’t “address him as ‘Father’ during this time.” I find the whole thing provocative.

  3. Foolishness says:

    EPMS, you have not revealed your identity to me in a private email. Would you kindly do so? dhgyapong AT rogers DOT com

    You know, he was a priest vis a vis the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and we honored that anniversary with a cake. Big deal! He no longer wears a collar, but dresses as a lay man, as do all our former clergy. We do not address him as “Father” during this period, preferring a veil of mystery to cover this limbo period. It will be interesting to see what his date of ordination will be when he is ordained a Catholic priest. As I reported, even Msgr. Steenson could not help calling Carl Reid “Bishop Carl” when he visited here earlier this fall. It’s not a big deal, and in fact was endearing of our Ordinary.

    Don’t be afraid, EPMS. We GET it about how the Catholic Church views Anglican holy orders. But we also come from a church that had the same belief about holy orders as the Catholic Church does, i.e. that an ontological change took place. It might not have been ontological enough for Catholic standards but it was ontological enough for us and prepared us for becoming Catholic in terms of our beliefs about holy orders. All our former clergy have surrendered all on the threshold of entering the Catholic Church. But we have not become rabid anti-the-forms-of-grace-that-led-us-to-this-point and become extremist let’s-reject-everything-about-our-past. So please, give it a rest. We do not view everything that happened prior to our becoming Catholic as bogus, a sham, a sacrilege, or playing church, and thankfully the Holy See is not requiring us to renounce everything in shame.

  4. EPMS, for God’s sake! A man who after nearly 20 years of ministry leaves it all and fully submits to the Church, humbly awaiting her verdict for quite a prolonged time, deserves our outmost respect not some cheap remarks. Especially that Mrs. Gyapong has clearly made her point elsewhere by putting ‘Fr.’ in square brackets.
    Let us pray that Fathers Hayman and Kipling are ordained as Catholic priests as quickly as possible (hopefully around Easter) – and I omit square brackets, as I truly believe that it is not necessary to make one’s theological point in every single statement written on the net.

  5. Foolishness says:

    I suspect that EMPS is a member of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada as those most adamantly opposed to the Catholic Church are often the ones most likely to turn the screws of an ungenerous pre-Vatican II ecclesiology on those of us who have joined or wish to join.

  6. Father Don Malins says:

    Chuckle

    Chuckle!

    1

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