Ordinariate Priest appointed to Diocesan Parish in Australia

For the first time a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Australia, Father Lyall Cowell, has been appointed to a diocesan parish.

??????????????????????????Fr Cowell was ordained an Anglican priest in 1973 and in the last nine years before his reception into the Catholic Church and his ordination as a Catholic priest in 2012 served as a military chaplain to the Australian armed forces. Recently he has been living with his wife in North Brisbane, Queensland.

With effect from Sept 6th 2014, Fr Cowell will be seconded to the Catholic Diocese of Lismore, New South Wales, just south of Brisbane, for a period of three years and take up the position of administrator in the parish of St John, Mullumbimby. He will have the added responsibility of promoting the Ordinariate in that diocese, offering the Ordinariate mass in the parish and gathering and growing an Ordinariate group.

St John's Church, MullumbimbyHe will remain an Ordinariate priest with responsibility to the Bishop of Lismore and the Ordinary OLSC for the respective ministries he will undertake in each jurisdiction. This is a groundbreaking appointment for us in Australia and one which highlights the ministry of the Ordinariate as being one of diversity in unity with the Western Catholic Church.

The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK already has quite a number of priests working in diocesan parishes in three different circumstances. First there are those priests who have been appointed priest-in-charge or assistant priest of the parish in which the Ordinariate group which they pastor is hosted. Then there are several priests who administer a diocesan parish and pastor an Ordinariate group in two different places. And finally there is the smaller number of priests who have no Ordinariate group of their own, but who work in a diocesan parish.

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11 Responses to Ordinariate Priest appointed to Diocesan Parish in Australia

  1. EPMS says:

    I seem to recall Norm’s explaining that a priest can be incardinated in only one diocese at a time. How will that work in this situation?

    • porys says:

      I think it is like with orders. Salesians, Dominicans, Franciscans etc. are incardinated to their orders, but work many times like diocesan priests (with the agreement of the local ordinary).

      • Rev22:17 says:

        porys,

        You wrote: I think it is like with orders. Salesians, Dominicans, Franciscans etc. are incardinated to their orders, but work many times like diocesan priests (with the agreement of the local ordinary).

        Actually, there is one difference. Superiors of religious orders cannot grant faculties for sacramental ministry, so clergy of religious orders usually receive their faculties for sacramental ministry from the bishop of the diocese where their unit (monastery, province, etc.) has its headquarters. Once they have faculties for ministry, however, it is the major superior who assigns them to one ministry or another.

        Where an order has agreed to staff a diocesan ministry, the major superior of the order nominates (proposes) a candidate and the bishop then appoints the candidate to the position (or, if he deems the candidate to be unsuitable, asks the major superior to nominate another). When clergy of an ordinariate undertake diocesan ministry, the nomination and appointment would follow the same process.

        Norm.

      • I should make one addition here. In the two cases where a parish has been officially given over to the care of the Ordinariate (Warwick Street in the Archdiocese of Westminster and Most Precious Blood in the Archdiocese of Southwark – in the latter case in perpetuity) it is the Ordinary, Mgr. Keith Newton, who appoints the parish priest.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: In the two cases where a parish has been officially given over to the care of the Ordinariate (Warwick Street in the Archdiocese of Westminster and Most Precious Blood in the Archdiocese of Southwark – in the latter case in perpetuity) it is the Ordinary, Mgr. Keith Newton, who appoints the parish priest.

        You are describing the practical reality correctly: when the ordinariate staffs a diocesan parish, the ordinary effectively chooses the pastor and, if applicable, parochial vicars thereof.

        Canon law, however, requires a paper shuffle, because only the diocesan bishop can make the official appointment of the pastor and parochial vicars of a diocesan parish. Thus, the ordinary has to send an official letter to the diocesan bishop proposing a candidate, and the diocesan bishop then must issue the official letter of appointment. The same paper shuffle occurs when a religious order staffs a diocesan parish: the major superior must send an official letter to the diocesan bishop proposing a candidate, and the diocesan bishop then must issue the official letter of appointment. The official appointment is usually pro forma, though. The diocesan bishop theoretically can refuse the appointment if he deems a candidate proposed by the ordinary or the major superior not to be suitable, whereupon the ordinary or the major superior would have to propose another candidate, but such actions are extremely rare.

        Note, BTW, that the same canonical provisions apply in reverse to situations in which a diocese staffs an ordinariate parish or mission, as in the case of the Sodality of the Good Shepherd, Oshawa. In this instance, the diocesan bishop must propose a candidate, but it’s the ordinary who must make the official appointment.

        Norm.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Everybody,

        Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa….

        I wrote: … as in the case of the Sodality of the Good Shepherd, Oshawa…

        Wrong example. The correct examples in Canada are (1) Saint Edmund, King and Martyr, Cambridge (Fr. William Foote, Chaplain) and (2) Saint Benedict, Edmonton (Fr. David McLeod, pastor). Sorry about the error.

        Norm.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You said: I seem to recall Norm’s explaining that a priest can be incardinated in only one diocese at a time.

      That is correct, and an ordinariate is equivalent to a diocese in this regard.

      You asked: How will that work in this situation?

      It works in exactly the same way as clergy of one diocese undertaking a ministry in another diocese, or as clergy of a religious order undertaking ministry for a diocese. Such clergy remain incardinated in their own diocese/ordinariate or members of their own province, monastery, or other unit of the religious order, and thus fully subject to their own bishop/ordinary or major superior thereof. The diocesan ministry, and only the diocesan ministry, is subject to the bishop of the diocese for which they perform it. The apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus stipulates that there is to be a written agreement between the ordinary and the bishop that establishes the parameters of such ministry and the associated financial arrangements, just as there is a written agreement between the two diocesan bishops or between the diocesan bishop and the major superior of the religious order in the respective equivalent situations.

      Note that this differs from a situation in which clergy of an ordinariate minister within a parish, mission, or other facility thereof. In that situation, the ministry itself is subject to the ordinary and the local diocesan bishop has no jurisdiction.

      Norm.

  2. Rev22:17 says:

    David,

    Your quotation (boldface mine): With effect from Sept 6th 2014, Fr Cowell will be seconded to the Catholic Diocese of Lismore, New South Wales, just south of Brisbane, for a period of three years and take up the position of administrator in the parish of St John, Mullumbimby. He will have the added responsibility of promoting the Ordinariate in that diocese, offering the Ordinariate mass in the parish and gathering and growing an Ordinariate group.

    Upon further reflection, this paragraph is very interesting! Reading between the lines, the sentence that I boldfaced seems to suggest that there may be a group of Anglicans who have expressed interest in coming into the Catholic Church as a community of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, but that there is no cleric coming with them, and that Fr. Cowell is going to where they are to receive them and to become their pastor. Otherwise, the added responsibility of “offering the ordinariate mass in the parish” makes little sense.

    Either that, or perhaps there’s a large number of former Anglicans who were previously received into the Catholic Church and now wish to be part of the ordinariate in this parish, and perhaps neighboring parishes, whom he will serve?

    The other question about this new assignment is that of what is happening to the community that he is currently serving. It appears to be a couple hours away, so it seems unlikely that he would remain pastor or chaplain of both communities.

    Or does his present community consist only of his immediate family, who will relocate with him?

    Norm.

  3. EPMS says:

    St John’s Mullumbimby has been sharing a priest with a neighbouring parish for some years. In a recent parish newsletter the diocesan bishop explains that he has now been able to keep his promise to give each parish its own priest again. Perhaps this was a case of a pastoral need and an otherwise unemployed priest available to meet it, without reference to any notable pre-existing demand for an Ordinariate group. The newsletter does explain what the OOLSC is in some detail, but does not mention that Fr Cowell will be involved in any Ordinariate activity.

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