St Alban’s Rochester to attend Mass at St Thomas

Andrew from the Fellowship of St.Alban, Rochester, NY, has informed us:

After discussions among the brethren, and input from Msgr. Steenson, Fr. Hough, and Bishop Matano, we have developed the following plan of action:

Since Fr. Cornelius has retired from his ministry with our group, and a regular priest from the diocese is unavailable, owing to a clergy shortage, we must make alternative plans for our attendance at mass for Sundays and Holy Days.

St Thomas Irondequoit NY - temporary home of FSAAt the recently concluded USCCB meeting, Bishop Matano suggested to Msgr. Steenson that we might consider the 9am English service at the newly reopened St. Thomas the Apostle church in Irondequoit.

We have decided to take Bishop Matano’s suggestion, and hereby designate the St. Thomas the Apostle 9am (English) mass to be the St. Alban’s mass in the interregnum.

We recognize that this church is across town from where we are currently located – so we entirely understand if some of our members cannot make it at this earlier time in a very different part of the city.

We still plan to have scheduled events for St. Albans proper, such as Evensong, Lessons and Carols, and other events where we can either find a substitute priest for a given service, or where we can officiate as laymen. We expect such events to be roughly on a once-a-month basis. Please watch our “What’s happening” page for event notifications.

We also have an update from Fr. Hough: that he and Msgr. Steenson have identified a successor priest-to-be for our group. More details will be forthcoming as the arrangements are finalized. However, it may be some time until we have our own regular Anglican Use mass once again.

St Thomas Irondequoit NY - temporary home of FSA - interiorDirections to St. Thomas church are posted under the Location link of our website.

We hope to see as many people as possible  there on Sunday! This will allow our group to stay together, and also help out bishop Matano on his St. Thomas Church revitalization project.

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39 Responses to St Alban’s Rochester to attend Mass at St Thomas

  1. EPMS says:

    It is good to see that everyone has displayed creativity and co-operation in dealing with a situation that a number of small OCSP groups now ministered to by priests past (secular) retirement age may face in the next few years. Unlike a typical Catholic Ordinary, Msgr Steenson cannot apparently just tell his clergy to pack up and relocate. An earlier discussion on succession planning in the Ordinariate was able to identify only one (celibate) vocation to the priesthood which had come out of a Pastoral Provision parish; the OCSP throws a wider net but as I have mentioned elsewhere generating vocations from even the larger parishes presents a challenge, IMHO. So flexibility is key.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Unlike a typical Catholic Ordinary, Msgr Steenson cannot apparently just tell his clergy to pack up and relocate.

      Canonically, the ordinary of an Catholic ordinariate has exactly the same canonical authority to reassign clergy of the ordinariate, with immediate effect, as the bishop of a Catholic diocese to reassign the clergy thereof.

      The practical realities of married clergy, however, do complicate matters more than a little. A celibate cleric typically can load his personal possessions into his automobile and drive across the diocese to his new assignment, where a fully furnished rectory awaits, within a few hours of receiving notice of his new assignment. If need be, he can take the essentials on his first trip and make two or three additional trips over the course of a week or so to relocate the rest of his belongings. A married cleric, on the other hand, must deal with finding suitable housing for his family near his new assignment, his wife arranging a transfer or finding suitable employment at their new location, arranging for movers to move furniture and other household goods to their new home, and transferring children to new schools as part of the relocation process. That’s not happening in a day, even in the best of circumstances. The expanse of an ordinariate’s territory also adds the element of distance: one does not make multiple trips to move one’s possessions if the distance is hundreds, or even thousands, of miles.

      Norm.

  2. Rev22:17 says:

    David,

    From the article: We also have an update from Fr. Hough: that he and Msgr. Steenson have identified a successor priest-to-be for our group.

    The operative term here seems to be “priest-to-be” — apparently meaning somebody who is not yet ordained. This replacement could take a year or two.

    Norm.

    • Or maybe there is just a hyphen missing. Perhaps it should read: “successor-priest-to-be” instead of “successor priest-to-be”

    • EPMS says:

      Norm, apropos of this comment and your comment below of 12:35 am CET, I am aware of only one OCSP community—the group in Indianapolis—which is awaiting the ordination of its pastor-to-be, formerly their clergyman in the ACA, I believe. The other groups without pastors either did not enter with a potential candidate for ordination, or in a few instances had a pastor who was not given the necessary approval to proceed to ordination.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: … I am aware of only one OCSP community—the group in Indianapolis—which is awaiting the ordination of its pastor-to-be, formerly their clergyman in the ACA, I believe. The other groups without pastors either did not enter with a potential candidate for ordination, or in a few instances had a pastor who was not given the necessary approval to proceed to ordination.

        Perhaps you have forgotten, but Fr. Lee Kenyon contradicted that statement in a comment on another thread of this blog a few months ago. He indicated, at the time, that at least two or three of the Canadian communities have former Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) pastors who are still in the process of preparing for Catholic ordination. IIRC, he alluded to Richard Harris in Fredericton Junction explicitly and indicated that Dr. David Skelton in Edmonton (whose ordination apparently had been deferred due to health issues) is still a candidate for ordination. His comment also seemed to encompass Gerard Trinque in Tyendinaga. My guess is that Mssrs. Harris and Trinque had not completed a normal Anglican program of seminary formation, and thus require more extensive formation than those who are already ordained, so their Catholic ordinations might still be a couple years away.

        As to the group in Indianapolis, it is not clear to me that Luke Reese is currently in formation for ordination. When I last looked at the web site of the parish that hosts that community, it listed his name as the parish’s music director, so he obviously is still living in Indianapolis — and I’m pretty certain that he fell into the category of those who had not completed a full Anglican program of seminary formation. The only seminary in the archdiocese that hosts that parish where he could take courses is collocated with the Benedictine archabbey in Saint Meinrad, located midway between Siberia and Santa Clause about three hours to the south. He also has a rather large family, with some children who are quite young, so going to seminary full time would be difficult. My guess is that he is not currently in the process of preparing for Catholic ordination.

        Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        Norm, apropos of your comment below (of 5:45 pm), Fr Kenyon did state that Richard Harris (formerly a priest of the ACC who certainly completed an M.Div or equivalent) was in the process of seeking ordination. He has not yet appeared on the prayer list for those preparing for ordination, however. Five ACCC clergy in delict of schism were denied a nulla osta several years ago; three were reconciled to the Church as laymen, one of whom ministers in that capacity to the Tyendinaga group. Apropos of health issues, physical health is not usually an obstacle to ordination in these circumstances; Fr Mercer mentions in an article reposted here that a member of his formation group in the OOLW was terminally ill with cancer and died within days of his ordination. I have seen a similar story about a Pastoral Provision priest.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: Apropos of health issues, physical health is not usually an obstacle to ordination in these circumstances; Fr Mercer mentions in an article reposted here that a member of his formation group in the OOLW was terminally ill with cancer and died within days of his ordination. I have seen a similar story about a Pastoral Provision priest.

        Each case is different. Where someone is about to die of terminal illness, there’s little potential for harm in proceeding with ordination of an individual who has not completed the entire program of formation since the individual is not going to do any ministry anyway — and this allows the individual to die and to be buried as a Catholic priest, which may be very significant to the candidate. In other circumstances, however, deferral of the ordination is more clearly indicated — especially if the illness has interfered with the individual’s ability to complete all aspects of the program of formation, if the ordination would have to take place in a hospital room, without the participation of the individual’s congregation, rather than in a church, if the individual temporarily cannot assume the normal postures prescribed in the rite of ordination, etc. I don’t know the details of Dr. Skilling’s situation, but those in charge obviously do. Thus, I don’t dispute their decision to defer it.

        Norm.

  3. EPMS says:

    If the “replacement priest-to-be” is in formation this could mean anything from the two months or so required to complete the on-line/video course which many OCSP clergy have undertaken, to years of conventional seminary training.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: If the “replacement priest-to-be” is in formation this could mean anything from the two months or so required to complete the on-line/video course which many OCSP clergy have undertaken, to years of conventional seminary training.

      Theoretically, that’s true.

      I suspect that the reality is closer to the former than the latter, as there clearly is some urgency to the situation, but it might be an individual who is not yet received into the full communion of the Catholic Church — a circumstance that most assuredly would explain the need to delay announcement of the name of the individual.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        Norm, Fr Kenyon’s comment to which you refer was about Canon Harris, not Dr Skelton.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: Fr Kenyon’s comment to which you refer was about Canon Harris, not Dr Skelton.

        My recollection is that the mass of ordination of Dr. Skelton was abruptly cancelled due to sudden onset of a medical problem, and that Fr. Kenyon stated afterward that his ordination would happen when circumstances permit. At the same time, he indicated that Canon Harris was still progressing toward ordination.

        Norm.

    • EPMS says:

      Correction to my comment of 8:05 above, two of the five former ACCC clergy were reconciled as laymen. Two remained with the ACCC and one now belongs to another “continuing” denomination. And regarding the prayer list for those preparing for ordination in the Canadian deanery, there is currently no such list in the St John the Evangelist, Calgary notices, so the implication is that no one is in that situation at the moment.

      • EPMS says:

        I understand that the former rector of the ACCC parish in New Brunswick, Richard Harris, has received a votum, so the OCSP group there will presumably soon be in a position to offer the Ordinariate rite.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: I understand that the former rector of the ACCC parish in New Brunswick, Richard Harris, has received a votum, so the OCSP group there will presumably soon be in a position to offer the Ordinariate rite.

        That’s certainly great news!

        Undoubtedly one of the major complications in all of this is that many of the clergy coming into the ordinariates were “non-stipendiary” clergy who worked at secular positions to support themselves in the respective church of the Anglican Communion or the “continuing Anglican” body from which they came, and who may now be continuing in their prior employment. Such individuals obviously cannot devote as much time to study as those who are living on pensions or on stipends from the congregations that they serve, and thus require more time to complete even the shortest program of formation for clergy who had completed the full course of Anglican seminary formation. And obviously, those whose previous formation fell short of a full course of Anglican seminary formation may have to do additional work proportionate to the shortfall. Thus, we probably will see some additional ordinations as the candidates complete their preparation.

        Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        Pursuant to Norm’s comment of Feb 9, I believe Richard Harris was already retired from the ACC. Non-stipendiary clergy in the ACC are virtually non-existent, so I do not imagine that the demands of secular employment are preventing any current Anglican Church of Canada clergy from completing the required academic preparation, which in the case of someone with an M.Div or equivalent is pretty undemanding, in any event. In previous exchanges I think most of the former ACCC clergy who entered the Church have been accounted for: those who expect to remain laymen and those who intend or intended to proceed to ordination. I think Canon Harris is the last of the latter group.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: In previous exchanges I think most of the former ACCC clergy who entered the Church have been accounted for: those who expect to remain laymen and those who intend or intended to proceed to ordination. I think Canon Harris is the last of the latter group.

        What about Dr. David Skelton in Edmonton? IIRC, Fr. Kenyon indicated a while ago that his ordination was delayed but is still in the works.

        Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        The comment by Fr Kenyon confirming that Richard Harris was hoping to proceed to ordination, despite previous indications to the contrary, was made on September 15 2014. Dr Skelton’s change in status was noted in June of that year. I have not found any statement by Fr Kenyon about it, apart from his being dropped from the prayer list at St John the Evangelist.

      • I can confirm that the situation in Edmonton has not changed. The issue regarding ordination is in the hands of Dr Skelton and his wife, Mary. That’s all I can say on the matter, I’m afraid. Other than the Maritime situation, there are no other (public) candidates in process in Canada at the moment.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Fr. Kenyon,

        You wrote: I can confirm that the situation in Edmonton has not changed. The issue regarding ordination is in the hands of Dr Skelton and his wife, Mary. That’s all I can say on the matter, I’m afraid. Other than the Maritime situation, there are no other (public) candidates in process in Canada at the moment.

        Thank you for the clarification.

        I very much understand the need for confidentiality with respect to both (1) personal matters and (2) those who have not yet formally left the bodies from which they might be coming, and I understand that announcements will come when it is appropriate.

        Norm.

  4. I would highlight the phrase “More details will be forthcoming as the arrangements are finalized.”

      • godfrey1099 says:

        David, perhaps you could include a particular intention for St Alban’s community in our cycle of prayer. It really seems that their commitment is being tested in fire, and we could support them with our prayers, so that they emerge even stronger from this difficult period.

      • If you agree, I shall include an intention for all the Ordinariate communities without pastors at the moment: Rochester and Flushing in New York State, Birmingham and Hemel Hempstead in the UK, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario (etc.?)

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: If you agree, I shall include an intention for all the Ordinariate communities without pastors at the moment: Rochester and Flushing in New York State, Birmingham and Hemel Hempstead in the UK, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario (etc.?) (boldface in original)

        JTOL, given the critical nature and magnitude of this trial, perhaps in the future it would be better to include a separate day for each community that is without an ordinariate pastor as of the publication of the list rather than lumping all of them together?

        Norm.

      • Unfortunately we haven’t got enough days in the month.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You said: Unfortunately we haven’t got enough days in the month.

        Then what about spreading them over the available days in two or three months?

        It would seem to me that this matter is sufficiently critical to justify consolidating other sets of related intentions into fewer days.

        Norm.

  5. godfrey1099 says:

    You’ve had even better idea. Thank you!

  6. EPMS says:

    The former “mentor priest” for the group in Tyendinaga celebrates an Ordinariate Use mass for them once a month, I understand, and on the other Sundays a Communion Service is led by their former ACCC pastor. Not ideal, but perhaps better off than the group in Springfield, MO who only recently began having an Ordinariate Use mass celebrated quarterly, or the group in Fredericton who have had one Ordinariate Use mass since their reception in June 2013.

    • EPMS says:

      PS And I assume the new group in Strafford PA is looking for a pastor, if they wish to be a parish distinct from St Michael the Archangel, Philadelphia.

  7. To be truthful, this extraordinarily high number of groups without their own regular Eucharists because of an absence of a parish priest demonstrates clearly just how immobile a married clergy is. This makes it all the more important for there to be a pool of clergy in excess of the number of Ordinariate communities and shows how short-sighted it is to say that priests coming without a group should be incardinated into a diocese rather than the Ordinariate.

    Another important development to my mind would be the ordination of a large number of permanent deacons, the appointment of lay readers and, where suitable, the ordination to the priesthood of married men. Ways of caring spiritually for small groups of Christians can be considered as part of the Anglican patrimony and is something which we can fruitfully bring to the Church.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      David,

      You wrote: To be truthful, this extraordinarily high number of groups without their own regular Eucharists because of an absence of a parish priest demonstrates clearly just how immobile a married clergy is.

      Actually, the fact that many of the ordinariates clergy have assignments to other ministries (hospital, prison, and university chaplaincies, service to a diocesan parish, etc.) is also a major contributor to their relative lack of mobility — probably far more significant than the fact that they are married. Of course, these assignments are, in large measure, by the consequence of the ordinariates’ inability to pay stipends due to their low income.

      Norm.

      • You are right of course – and I don’t know what kind of notice a priest must give who is working in a diocesan parish or other ministry – probably somewhere between 6 weeks and three months. But this period would be manageable, don’t you think? Some of our Groups have been waiting a lot longer.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: You are right of course – and I don’t know what kind of notice a priest must give who is working in a diocesan parish or other ministry – probably somewhere between 6 weeks and three months. But this period would be manageable, don’t you think?

        There’s no canonical prescription of required notice, but an ordinariate cleric takes on a diocesan ministry by appointment thereto from the diocesan bishop, who must fill the vacancy created by the ordinariate cleric’s departure — and therein lies a major entanglement.

        >> 1. Diocesan bishops who have the rug pulled out from under them by the transfer of an ordinariate cleric on a timetable that does not allow timely replacement might not be so eager to make positions available to ordinariate clergy in the future.

        >> 2. And there might also be a need to identify suitable positions to which ordinariate clergy can receive collateral appointments in the dioceses of their new assignments, which requires the collaboration of the respective diocesan bishop.

        So prudence surely recommends strongly in favour of coordinating the timing of such transfers with the respective diocesan bishops!

        You continued: Some of our Groups have been waiting a lot longer.

        Yes, and some of those groups have former Anglican clergy who are still in the process of preparing for Catholic ordination.

        Norm.

  8. EPMS says:

    As Norm implies, it is not that Fr X could not leave his hospital chaplaincy or other diocesan employment at fairly short notice which limits his mobility, but the fact that he cannot support himself or his family until/unless he lines up similar supplementary employment in the new community—employment which would depend on the goodwill of the local diocesan. But there are other issues; for example, Victoria has four clergy serving a congregation of perhaps two dozen. They are all retired and self-supporting in a Canadian context, but the OCSP would not be able to offer health care benefits to them or their spouses should they be relocated to Rochester or Philadelphia. Presumably there are other obstacles to relocating any of them to Eastern Canada.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: … it is not that Fr X could not leave his hospital chaplaincy or other diocesan employment at fairly short notice which limits his mobility, but the fact that he cannot support himself or his family until/unless he lines up similar supplementary employment in the new community—employment which would depend on the goodwill of the local diocesan.

      If Fr. X were to depart his chaplaincy at St. Margaret’s Hospital for a new assignment on short notice, how do you think that the local diocesan bishop who would have to replace Fr. X on equally short notice would react?

      I rather suspect that such an action would raise more than a little ire from the local diocesan bishop, and that the local diocesan bishop might become a whole lot less willing to appoint ordinariate clergy to positions of ministry in his diocese in the future. The ordinaries undoubtedly would like to avoid such backlash.

      Norm.

      • This discussion only serves to underline my point that the Ordinariates need as large a pool of clergy as possible, but also a level of willingness to move which is far superior to that which Anglican clergy are accustomed to.

        The situation in Victoria with four priests in a mini-Community is not atypical, but certainly thought-provoking. This reminds us of the good old days of the Catholic Church with a parish priest, two or three curates and a retired priest in each parish.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: This discussion only serves to underline my point that the Ordinariates need as large a pool of clergy as possible, but also a level of willingness to move which is far superior to that which Anglican clergy are accustomed to.

        Yes, I agree.

        Part of the relocation issue is the territorial expanse of the ordinariates. In most cases, a priest who works in the chancery full time could provide Sunday services for a parish whose pastor suddenly dies or becomes disabled until the bishop can assign a new pastor. In the ordinariates, this is utterly impracticable due to the distances involved.

        Of course, this situation is entirely foreseen so the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and the associated complementary norms make the following explicit provision for the pastor of the territorial parish within which the church of an ordinariate community is located to “supply what is needed” whenever a congregation is without a pastor or its pastor is impeded.

        The situation in Victoria with four priests in a mini-Community is not atypical, but certainly thought-provoking. This reminds us of the good old days of the Catholic Church with a parish priest, two or three curates and a retired priest in each parish.

        Yes, a situation in which each ordinariate congregation has a pastoral team of at two or three priests seems to be ideal from a couple perspectives.

        >> 1. If something happens to one of the priests, the others are in position to carry on the ministry of the parish.

        >> 2. And those priests are also well situated to assist in various ministries of the local diocese. With many dioceses experiencing a shortage of clergy, the availability of clergy to assist by filling a few voids undoubtedly will be welcome, and will give diocesan bishops good reason to support the ordinariates and to welcome the establishment of ordinariate congregations in their territories.

        Norm.

  9. EPMS says:

    Norm, Luke Reese is indeed described as “Music Director” on the website of the host parish in Indianapolis, but the website of the Ordinariate group (St Joseph of Arimathea) has a picture of him which identifies him as a seminarian in formation for the priesthood. There is a November 2014 calendar on the website so I assume the information is up to date. Distance learning?

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