Last night, during Easter Vigil, we rang bells at the start of the Gloria. It was so spine-tingling wonderful that I decided to record it this morning. Maybe you had to be there, and the opening is a little rough because of all the sounds of people standing up.
There is nowhere else I would rather be for Easter, and how wonderful it is that this is our first anniversary as Catholics.
Today, Bennett Candy was confirmed.
Here are some pictures. I have company coming soon, so more later on the Baptism of our youngest member Robert Benjamin Clement Trolly who you will see joining his mom Rebecca and dad Michael, our organist and assistant, as Bennett’s sponsors.
Fr Carl Reid wore the chasuble Archbishop Terrence Prendergast gave him after his ordination to the Catholic priesthood.
The Candy family: Joe, Heather, Paul, Bennett and Zack, our thurifer, were all present.
We are hoping Zack and Ben will have lots of children. But, as their mom said, after they’re married first! Of course.
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It is lovely to see these pictures, especially because the issue of growth is naturally on one’s minds as the anniversary of your reception comes up. An article in the Toronto Star pointed out that between 1500 and 2000 adults a year typically join the Catholic church in Toronto. How many of them are ex-Anglicans? Have any of them joined the Ordinariate in the last two years? How many formerly Anglican converts have explored the Ordinariate option in the Canadian deanery? Or has recruitment stalled?
Between the Oshawa Sodality and the Toronto Ordinariate Group, there are a number of former Anglicans, who became Roman Catholic in the last 30 years who are actively seeking membership in the Ordinariate. Perhaps, in time, a number of such individuals will come forward once both groups become more solidly established and have their own clergy. Right now, the Oshawa Sodality is attracting some traditionalist cradle Roman Catholics, and there are a few former Anglicans waiting in the wings. I may be the only Third Order Secular Franciscan hoping to join the Canadian Deanery, unless there is anyone else out there I am unaware of. I am certainly the only Minister of a Third Order Fraternity ( Fraternity of St. Angela Merici, Oshawa) within the Deanery. I was also involved with Mahons in the Toronto group when we were part of the St. Thomas More Society ( a group that tried to establish an Anglican Use parish in Toronto under the Pastoral Provision about 20 years ago). This ended up going nowhere at the time. I am wondering where some of the members of this group are now and whether they will give consideration to joining the Ordinariate.
Calgary St. John’s Sunday notices have been showing record high attendance for several months. Seems like at least 30% growth over the year. And according to Fr. Lee Kenyon, nine people were admitted into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil alone.
Yes, St John’s regularly attracts 120+ to the parish Mass. What can others learn from their experience?
St John’s Calgary really seems to be a resounding pastoral success. They have gone from an ASA of around 70 to an ASA of around 130 (which is big for an “Anglican” parish) in a year. They multiply their activities of all kind, for example they will open a choir school next September. And at least 3 former Anglican priests (1 from the ANiC, at least 2 from the ACCC) received in the Church there are enrolled in the formation program of the ordinariate. God is good.
If only some of the few great Anglo-Catholic churches remaining in the ACoC had come over… Let’s hope they will in the future.
+ pax et bonum
What a lovely singing voice, Mrs. Gyapong. I assume it’s yours?
+ pax et bonum
The latest issue of The Portal features, as it often does, a profile of an Ordinariate group within OOLW. As in previous profiles, the group spokespeople speak warmly of their worship and fellowship. Then comes the question “What are the prospects for growth?” and the typical answer “Sandra and Rita could not see the Mission growing.” Is this attitude a recipe for failure?
The Protestant theology of ‘Church Growth’ as the only criteria for existence is frightening…at least to me.
You wrote: The Protestant theology of ‘Church Growth’ as the only criteria for existence is frightening…at least to me.
A living organism is never static, but rather is in a state of constant change. If it is not growing in one way or another, it is in a state of decay.
So, too, a parish.
I believe it was our holy Father John Paul II who said that “the church exists to evangelize.”
You wrote: I believe it was our holy Father John Paul II who said that “the church exists to evangelize.”
Actually, I think that the Second Vatican Council said that quite clearly, albeit perhaps not quite so concisely, in the dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium and amplified upon it extensively in the pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes. Note, for example, the following statement within No. 17 of Lumen gentium.
Fortunately the apostles didn’t think that twelve was plenty, if they were really committed. How can “growth” be a Protestant idea?
So, if the Anglican Use does not grow, it must be in a state of decay, and by implication, not worth the time? How about the Christian communities of the Middle East who have been shrinking since the Arab invasions…they, under immense persecution, have preserved the Faith, but are, numerically, in a state of decay. I think perseverance in the Faith trumps growth…but that is only my opinion.
You said: So, if the Anglican Use does not grow, it must be in a state of deca…
You continued: … and by implication, not worth the time?
No, this does not follow. Rather, lack of growth may indicate a need for pastoral attention to address the problem.
You said: How about the Christian communities of the Middle East who have been shrinking since the Arab invasions…they, under immense persecution, have preserved the Faith, but are, numerically, in a state of decay.
Growth of a Christian community can happen in many ways, only one of which is growth in numbers, just as human beings can grow in ways other than physical size. Sometimes the more significant growth can be a deepening of faith or a strenghtening of the bonds of community, just as adult humans can grow in knowledge, in faith, and in life experience without expanding their waistlines to the point of obesity.
I imagine that many Middle Eastern Christians are getting out if they can, in case the area slides further into violent Islamism. Their desperate situation has nothing in common with Ordinariate Catholics. The Catholic Diocese of Calgary closed 25 churches in 2001 because their size (average 200-300 parishioners) made them inefficient to run and difficult to staff. Bishop Henry says that any new church built in the diocese should accommodate at least 1,200 worshippers. If an Ordinariate parish cannot justify itself by bringing new souls to the Catholic church it would appear to be siphoning off needed resources in an unjustifiable manner.
Yes, this has always been one of my problems with the whole concept of the Ordinariate. Anglican parishes have always been small, especially Anglo-Catholic ones. In Las Vegas, Nevada, the people of the Anglican Use parish had built an absolutely beautiful church, which, by Anglican standards was full every Sunday, but because of its small size, when the converting Anglican priest had to retire because of ill health, the local diocese could ill afford to “waste” a priest on less than one hundred souls. The church was closed and is now a mini-mart parking lot. With the enforcement of mandatory celibacy on future Ordinariate clergy, I feel that the priest-shortage experienced by all Latin rite parishes will also affect the Anglican Use, the future does not really look too bright. I say this with sadness. What has kept the smaller Eastern rite Catholic communities afloat in the Middle East is that their clergy are married and they have not experienced the clergy shortage that has so affected the Latin rite.
Ordinariate clergy in the UK seem to be retired on a CofE pension or multi-tasking in the local diocese or both. Many groups have a specific “Anglican Use” service only once a month. Virtually all are worshipping in local Catholic churches. So the local diocesan bishops are getting good value in clergy who, after all, were educated on somebody else’s dime and parishioners who contribute far more generously than the average Catholic. The situation in North America is very different. I suspect that the willingness of local bishops to subsidise Ordinariate parishes will depend heavily on whether this project continues to be perceived as something important to the Pope.
First of all, the liturgical, pastoral and spiritual particularities of ordinariate people easily justify that the threshold of viability considered for a parish to be much smaller than for a regular diocesan one. Just think of the Eastern Eparchies in Canada or in the US that are in the very same situation. There is no siphoning out of resources toward ordinariate parishes as it is aimed that they will be auto-sufficient , and when they are too small to be so, the priest is generally put to some use in diocesan parishes or organisms.
Then, clergy shortage has NOTHING to do with married priesthood, or with the Latin rite. Then how come the Lutheran Church in my country is absolutely unable to find vocations to the pastorate and has to import its ministers from Madagascar? It has to do with the prevalent culture in the Church. If the mentality is Malthusian, the priesthood considered as not necessary as the laypeople “can do almost all Father does”, and priests not asked for (in my parish Mass intentions every Friday are aimed at asking the Lord for Priests), yes there will be no priests. But if the mentality is truly Catholic, oriented toward the propagation of the Gospel, an internal renewal of the Church and valuation of young people aimed at helping them to find their vocation, there will be priests. I point that there are already 3 celibate seminarians in the English ordinariate.
Moreover, I think there will be a continuing stream of Anglican clergymen joining the ordinariate, after all since the Reformation a considerable number of them have found their way to the Church and as this stream has not ceased to grow since the 90’s (and women ordination) I don’t see it stopping. It will be constituted of both “Catholic” Anglicans whose beliefs were barely indistinguishable from ours who will just make a small step toward the rock of Peter, but also of Liberal and Evangelical Anglicans who will experiment a true conversion of the heart (see Fr. Longenecker as an example of low churchman now a Catholic priest).
+ pax et bonum
You wrote: With the enforcement of mandatory celibacy on future Ordinariate clergy, I feel that the priest-shortage experienced by all Latin rite parishes will also affect the Anglican Use, the future does not really look too bright. I say this with sadness. What has kept the smaller Eastern rite Catholic communities afloat in the Middle East is that their clergy are married and they have not experienced the clergy shortage that has so affected the Latin rite.
It is seriously misguided to blame this on celibacy. Many Protestant denominations have a similar shortage, and their clergy are married.
The factors that have contributed to the decline in numbers of ordained clergy are many and complex, but the most significant is an utter absence of faith even among the clergy of some dioceses, which has spilled into the parishes. I have heard homilies utterly devoid of spiritual content — or, worse, that completely countered what the scriptures were actually saying — and the readings from the scripture pronounced at the pace of an auctioneer, such that nobody had time to comprehend a word of it. When such abuses occur, it’s not really surprising that many of the people leaving the church after mass were saying that they did not know why they bothered to go to mass because they were not finding anything beneficial in it. When Fr. Clueless habitually races through mass in this manner, it’s no surprise that his parishionners lack faith and his parish does not produce vocations — and not only to the ordained ministry, but to religious life as well. In my archdiocese, this situation is so horrible that I normally drive to a Benedictine abbey about ten miles from my home for its conventual mass, easily passing within a block of about half a dozen parishes no matter which of several reasonable routes I take. There are about two dozen parishes that are closer and that offer more flexible mass schedules, but they are spiritually dead. The sexual abuse scandal that erupted about a decade ago, for which the archdiocese became “ground zero” in the United States, is actually a symptom of a much deeper problem.
Unfortunately, fixing this type of problem is not easy. One priest who seems to understand how bad it is equated it to trying to replace the wing of an airplane while the plane is flying. My solution would be to erect a few “pilot parishes” (as personal parishes, meaning that membership is strictly voluntary) with hand-picked clergy who “get it” and a requirement that parishionners of those parishes commit to (1) participation in ongoing formation to deepen of their own faith and (2) two hours per week (or one Saturday per month) of volunteer service to the parish. Once the “pilot parishes” get established, they would become a draw for people seeking something more. They could be divided as the numbers of parishionners and their resources become sufficient, and they would eventually take over as the normative Catholic experience.
But having said that, the “New Evangelism” is clearly a step in the right direction.
EPMS But it does have much to do with size, and growth.
It was stated, “Then, clergy shortage has NOTHING to do with married priesthood, or with the Latin rite.”
The above is wishful thinking, and not true. As an example, in Hungary only two diocese have actually an abundance of clerical vocations, both of them Greek Catholic with married clergy, the clergy shortage in the Latin rite diocese in Hungary is dire. The same can be said for the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, who have over two vocations for each available seminary position, also their clergy are married.
I still don’t agree. First of all, for the Ukrainian Church you are talking about, a big part (I’d say about 40%) of their clergy is celibate! Regular parish priests can be married (in facts it is a requirement for not being a monk), but many priests are monks too, and they are celibate. Of course, as you are saying there are 2 vocations for each free bed in a seminary, but this applies too to the priests-monks. For example, the Basilians in Lutsk have an enormous novitiate.
Moreover many Eastern Churches have adopted clerical celibacy as a norm and thus have no married priests, among those are the Syro-Malabar Church (the 2nd bigger Eastern Church), the Syro-Malankara and Coptic-Ethiopic Church.
You are talking about Hungary. But I answer Poland: there there has been no shortage of vocations to the priesthood. We have even witnessed a surge since about 2010. Even in France, there are very healthy places:The novitiate of my very dynamic community (I will be a seminarian next year) will even move to another part of the country in 2014 because it is too small for the such high number of vocations we have! Why so? Because of what I explained supra. Where there is Faith, and Faith put in motion, vocations will blossom.
+ pax et bonum
Don Henri – you are absolutely right. I give you some other pros. In South Korea (which is comparing to the another Asian counties relatively developed country) catholic church every year ordinates about 300 priests. In Greek-Ukrainian Catholic Church in Poland celibate for new ordinands in mandatory (however it is very easy to get indult for ordinations of married man), and ratio number of new priests vs number of faithful in two GUCC dioceses on Polish territory is bigger than in another Latin dioceses in Poland.
In 2011 20 men were ordained to the Catholic priesthood n England and Wales. The corresponding figure for the CofE was 510.
Anglican vicar: 2 years of study, men and women welcome, gays and lesbians too, also many of them are non stipendiary, meaning they don’t do this as their main job. The typical Anglican priest now in the UK and the US is a 50 something women ordained after she retired from her secular career.
This *cannot* be compared with a Catholic priest who has given his whole life to the Lord, has studied for 6 years at least and made a vow of celibacy.
I fear many in this comment box view priesthood only as a function, and wish to applies to the lack of priest the remedies a multinational firm would apply to the lack of, say, engineers.
Vocations are gifts of God, arising concretely from the way the faith is lived in the parish, the Catholic school, the Catholic groups. It’s not with administrative measures such as ending celibacy (how? at what price? with how much battles and bitterness involved?) that we will solve the crisis.
As a seminarian, I *know* what I am talking about. I don’t want to be a civil servant in a big “charitable organization”, with a nice wife and many perks, I want to throw myself body and soul in the sacerdotal mission of bringing God to the world and the world to God.
Let us ask God that more men answer to the call.
+ pax et bonum
Don Henri: I am not discussing qualifications, just numbers. Half of the priests in France are over 75. For every 8 priests who die in a given year, 1 is ordained. In 2012, 96 diocesan priests were ordained. This year, the anticipated number is 76.
Yet, the big picture is that the number of Catholic priests worldwide is highest than ever before.
Last year the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, with 1.9 million parishioners on the rolls of 225 parishes, ordained 3 men to the priesthood. The Anglican diocese, with 80,000 parishioners at 205 parishes, ordained 6 priests. The clergy shortage is not evenly distributed; not even close.
In the Episcopal diocese of Washington, very few have been ordained, but the reason is that they have put a limit on the numbers, since there are now more ordained clergy than places for them. But in the Latin rite, even those areas with vocations, it is doubtful there are enough to make up for the diocese that have few, if any, vocations. The closing of many parishes, at least in the U.S. is not because of a dearth of laity, but of clergy; and I agree, the local Latins cannot also have to staff small Anglican use parishes after the death or retirement of the original converting clergy. it is really going to be a pastoral issue in the end.
Continental Catholic: Where are you getting your figures? CNS shows the number of priests in 2010 as 412,236. In 1970 there were 419,728. Meanwhile the number of Catholics worldwide has nearly doubled.
You’re right. Though the number of Catholic priests is the highest in 30 years, the post-conciliar slump has not been fully overcome yet. It will take a further few years to make up for, though the upward trend is clear 😉
Interestingly, the Catholic Church has about doubled in size since the 1960s. So that has to be taken into consideration when it comes to priests as well.
Currently, for every ten priests who die in the US in a given year, between three and four are ordained. Half of the current priests will be retirement age by 2019. I am no mathematician but it seems that more than a “further few years” of increases will be required.
PS Not trying to beat this to death, and certainly not suggesting that the sky is falling, but some postings strike me as classic examples of the opposite approach: “Problem? What problem? Don’t waste my time with facts and statistics; I can see with my own eyes here at St Dorothy’s that things just couldn’t be better.” There is a difference between Christian hope and being in denial.
It would certainly help us to recognise your true care for the (Catholic) Church and unbiased matter-of-fact attitude, if you revealed what ecclesial affiliation you represent.
You wrote: Currently, for every ten priests who die in the US in a given year, between three and four are ordained. Half of the current priests will be retirement age by 2019. I am no mathematician but it seems that more than a “further few years” of increases will be required.
There’s another aspect to this issue that you have not even remotely begun to address. Here in the States, we have about 200 dioceses and other entities (several eparchies, an ordinariate, etc.) canonically equivalent thereto. The situation is far from uniform. Jurisdictions in which the clergy, truly tuned into the Holy Spirit, are preaching the gospel faithfully, beginning with the example of their own lives, are getting plenty of vocations. Jurisdictions in which the clergy are preaching anything but the gospel, on the other hand, are still seeing vocations decline.
The reality is simple. God has no need for parishes and dioceses that are not faithful, as they don’t form disciples who follow the Lord in faith. Thus, those that are not faithful will continue in precipitous decline until they are reduced to a faithful remnant — and that, only if they have enough who are faithful to constitute a remnant. Let’s also not forget that faithful people are not going to seek ordination in a diocese, or equivalent jurisdiction, where an administration full of the unfaithful are going to make their lives completely miserable, but rather will move to another jurisdiction where the those in the administration are faithful.
By looking only at numbers of clergy, you are missing this issue completely.
Actually, statistics show that ordinations are fewer in dioceses with majority Catholic populations than in those where Catholics are a minority. A 2012 study reported on in Catholic World Report suggested that this might be due to “market forces” ie competition for membership encourages such dioceses to be more “innovative and vogorous”. Another explanation is that dioceses with a high percentage of Catholics but few or no ordinands are often majority Hispanic, a group whose ordination rate is about half that of non-Hispanics. In any event, suggesting that dioceses like El Paso (649,648 Catholics, no ordinands) be allowed to simply die out for lack of priests seems a bit harsh.
You wrote: Actually, statistics show that ordinations are fewer in dioceses with majority Catholic populations than in those where Catholics are a minority. A 2012 study reported on in Catholic World Report suggested that this might be due to “market forces” ie competition for membership encourages such dioceses to be more “innovative and vogorous”.
The attribution to “market forces” is seriously misguided at best. The Church is not a business.
That said, there is the reality that “cultural Catholicism” — which is often devoid of faith — tends to prevail in ghettos of immigrants or descendants of immigrants of the same nationality, and that such ghettos tend to be prevalent in dioceses in which the majority of the population is Catholic.
You wrote: Another explanation is that dioceses with a high percentage of Catholics but few or no ordinands are often majority Hispanic, a group whose ordination rate is about half that of non-Hispanics.
This situation seems to be more complex than first meets the eye. Many Hispanic cultures seem to place very little value on education, so children who grow up in those cultures often don’t pursue it even when given the opportunity. As a result, the percentage of the Hispanic population who would qualify to go to a Catholic seminary is much smaller than that of the general population here in North America.
You wrote: In any event, suggesting that dioceses like El Paso (649,648 Catholics, no ordinands) be allowed to simply die out for lack of priests seems a bit harsh.
Or such dioceses will have to seek assistance of religious orders and dioceses that have an abundance of clergy.
It is possible to turn such situations around, but one must bring in clergy who preach the gospel faithfully to do so. Of course, the first step to fixing a problem is to admit that there is a problem and the second step is to identify the real problem — that is, the disease rather than the symptoms. Treatment of symptoms never cures a disease.
On another “growth” related topic, I tried to find out how many new members OOLW attracted this Easter, as they seem to keep a central count. However, while the Catholic Church in England and Wales website gives a diocese by diocese breakdown of the 3000+ who participated in the Rite of Election in 2013, the table shows no one joining the Ordinariate. This cannot be accurate. Has anyone found a more complete source?
You wrote: However, while the Catholic Church in England and Wales website gives a diocese by diocese breakdown of the 3000+ who participated in the Rite of Election in 2013, the table shows no one joining the Ordinariate. This cannot be accurate. Has anyone found a more complete source?
Why the focus on Easter?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) comes to its climax with the Christian initiation (that is, baptism, confirmation, and first communion) of “the elect” — that is, converts, meaning those who are coming to Christian faith from unbelief or from a non-Christian religion. It is actually an eggregious abuse and a direct violation of the general instructions to the RCIA, albeit widespread at least in the United States, to combine formation for the RCIA with formation of baptized Christians who are candidates for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church, as those who are already baptized into Christian faith are neither catechumens nor converts. This reality also implies that the time reserved for baptism of converts (that is, the Easter Vigil) is a singularly inappropriate time to receive Christians coming from other denominations into the full communion of the Catholic Church. Note that the appendix of the RCIA containing the combined order of baptism of converts and reception of candidates bears the title “Combined Rites for Use in Exceptional Circumstances.” You will have a very difficult time convincing me that the “exceptional circumstances” envisioned by this title are what exist in the majority of Catholic parishes in North America or the United Kingdom! Further, the general instructions to the Order of Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church explicitly state that the reception should be low key and devoid of the very triumphalism that is the hallmark of the Easter Vigil, also rendering it an inappropriate occasion to receive baptized Christians into the full communion of the Catholic Church. Rather, the most appropriate time to receive baptized Christians into the full communion of the Catholic Church usually is a normal Sunday mass of the receiving community. Of course, the reception of an entact congregation, coming into the Catholic Church with its pastor is a materially different situation than the reception of individuals into an existing parish: the appropriate mass of reception would then be the first Catholic mass of the incoming community, so it could take place on a Sunday or at another time — even at the mass of ordination of the pastor as a Catholic presbyter.
Indeed, based on this reality, I would expect that the numbers for the ordinariate would be quite small, and perhaps even zero, as most ordinariate communities probably have not started an RCIA as yet. Rather, most of the folks coming into the ordinariates are Christians coming from the Anglican Communion or from various “continuing Anglican” bodies, and thus are properly received at another time. And indeed, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been receiving new members and congregations throughout the year.
One of the related Facebook pages has indicated that a total of over two hundred people were to be received into the Church through the OLW Ordinariate during Holy Week alone.
That was my question, where did you read about “new members and congregations”?
Godfrey, could you identify that Facebook page? I can find numerous references to the 200 people received in 2012, but nothing for this year.