A message from Father Jason Catania

The new priest in charge of the Sodality of St. Edmund, King and Martyr, in Kitchener, ON, Canada, Father Jason Catania, who has now been in office for less than two weeks, has written the following message to his congregation, in which he gives an insight into his background and some of his plans for the immediate future at St. Edmund’s:

Dear Friends in Christ,

Father Jason CataniaA blessed and holy Advent to you all. I am most pleased to be writing to you as the new priest in charge of the Sodality of St. Edmund, King and Martyr. Please permit me to take this opportunity to introduce myself, and to share some initial thoughts about the future of St. Edmund’s. As most you know, I am an American, but please don’t hold that against me. Originally from New Jersey, I was ordained in the Episcopal Church (the body to which most American Anglicans belong) in 2000. I come to Ontario from Baltimore, Maryland where until recently I was the priest administrator of Mount Calvary Church. I became rector of Mount Calvary in 2006, when it was an Episcopal parish. In 2010, the parish and I discerned a call to separate from the Episcopal Church in order to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. After lengthy negotiations with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, we reached an agreement to keep our church property, and on January 22, 2012, the congregation and I were received into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. On June 9 of that year, I was ordained a Catholic priest by the Most Reverend William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore.

Having just arrived at my new home in the rectory of St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows Catholic Church in Kitchener, I am still getting settled in, and I have only barely begun to get to know the people of St. Edmund’s and the Catholic scene here in the Tri-City area. But my initial impression is that St. Edmund’s move to St. Mary’s affords the congregation with significant opportunity for growth, and for ministry to the wider community. I commend the people of St. Edmund’s for your persistence in remaining together since coming into the Church in January 2012, and appreciate the support provided to you by Fr. Foote and the Diocese of Hamilton.

Yet now, with a more central location and a more convenient Sunday Mass time, I believe St. Edmund’s has the potential to be more than just a safe refuge for its original members within the Catholic Church, but to become a center from which to share the best of our Anglican tradition with the Catholic community in Kitchener and beyond.

In his apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, by which he called for the creation of personal ordinariates for former Anglicans within the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI refers repeatedly to the “Anglican patrimony”. To me, this phrase suggests, first and foremost, the historic liturgical practice (codified and purified for Catholic worship) proper to Anglicanism. We see this expressed in the liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, the Burial of the Dead, and especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which thus far comprise “Divine Worship”, the provision approved by the Holy See for use by the Ordinariates. A key component of the worthy celebration of these rites is the musical expression which is so characteristic of historic Anglican liturgical practice. For that reason, I am looking forward to making St. Edmund’s Sunday Mass a weekly full Sung Mass, incorporating the hymns, chants, settings of the Ordinary of the Mass, and other music which characterize the best of our Anglican heritage. I also hope to supplement the Sunday Mass with weekday celebrations and seasonal observances. And since the sacrament of Penance is of such vital importance to the spiritual life of every Catholic, each Mass at St. Edmund’s will be preceded by opportunity for confession.

Beyond the liturgy, I also view teaching and fellowship as integral components of our Anglican patrimony. Therefore I expect to provide regular teaching on various aspects of the Catholic faith, most likely on a weekday evening. Finally, given the fact that one of the elements which so often draws people to Ordinariate communities is a greater level of intimacy amongst the laity and between laity and clergy than one finds in the typical Catholic parish, I hope to follow each Mass with some opportunity for fellowship. This would take the form of sharing in refreshments, as well as occasional dinners and other events.

As I am just beginning my ministry to St. Edmund’s, it will take a little time before all these things can be put in place. And of course, I will of necessity rely on the help and support of the current members and friends of the congregation. Furthermore, I will also be exercising my priestly ministry in some capacity in the Diocese of Hamilton, at the direction of Bishop Crosby. Nonetheless, I have great hope that my time among you will be fruitful. I ask for your prayers and that I might be an instrument, by the grace of God, in helping St. Edmund’s become a true beacon of Anglican patrimony and orthodox Catholic witness in this place.

Wishing you all a blessed Advent and a happy Nativity,

Father Jason Catania, December 10, 2014

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17 Responses to A message from Father Jason Catania

  1. EPMS says:

    The Soldality of St Edmund is an example of a small group that has remained together, but not grown, for three years. We now see several new elements brought into the mix: a pastor who is a member of the OCSP, who is younger, and who does not have primary care of another community; a new mass time; a new location described as “more central”; a commitment to add music to the Sunday mass; and plans for “program”. Will this add new members to the original eleven, and if so, which element(s) will have the most impact? I am sure many similar groups will be following Fr Catania’s new ministry with interest.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: We now see several new elements brought into the mix: a pastor who is a member of the OCSP, who is younger, and who does not have primary care of another community; a new mass time; a new location described as “more central”; a commitment to add music to the Sunday mass; and plans for “program”. Will this add new members to the original eleven, and if so, which element(s) will have the most impact?

      I rather suspect that the most significant change is simply that the Sodality of St. Edmund now has a pastor who is clearly there for the long term, and thus the appearance of stability, rather than a caretaker and thus the appearance of a temporary and transient situation. Many people are not so willing to commit to an organization with an ambiguous future.

      Norm.

  2. EPMS says:

    You may be correct about people’s perceptions of stability and transience, but in fact we have seen that these do not necessarily reflect reality. Priests come and go, the Church remains.

  3. sottocapo says:

    What a very encouraging letter! I would be delighted to be a member of a congregation that had such a devoted and focused priest.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      sottocapo,

      You wrote: What a very encouraging letter!

      Yes, indeed! Fr. Jason is clearly very motivated. In any case, the message hits all the right notes of vision and direction. I suspect that this congregation will be growing!

      Very, very encouraging, indeed!

      Norm.

  4. sottocapo says:

    And if it is true that the group consists of 11 laity they must be the most graced Catholics in the whole of North America to be receiving their own pastor who is so on fire with the gospel. Talk about heavenly blessings, God clearly has a very specific plan in mind.

  5. Rev22:17 says:

    sottocapo,

    You wrote: And if it is true that the group consists of 11 laity they must be the most graced Catholics in the whole of North America to be receiving their own pastor who is so on fire with the gospel.

    To be clear, Fr. Catania won’t be a full time pastor for that group. Note the following sentence in the last paragraph of his letter: “Furthermore, I will also be exercising my priestly ministry in some capacity in the Diocese of Hamilton, at the direction of Bishop Crosby.” It seems most likely that Fr. Catania will serve either as a parochial vicar of the parish that hosts the ordinariate congregation or as a chaplain of some institution. But in any case, whatever ministry becomes the “some capacity” of this comment is likely to consume most of his ministerial time.

    Norm.

    • EPMS says:

      According to the Diocese of Hamilton newsletter Fr Catania will be “providing some assistance at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Kitchener”. This is a different parish from the host parish for the Sodality of St Edmund.

  6. EPMS says:

    I see that a notice regarding the weekly celebration of the Ordinariate Rite mass at St Mary’s has been placed recently in many parish bulletins in the Kitchener area. This seems an excellent way of getting the message out to former Anglicans and other interested Catholics.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: I see that a notice regarding the weekly celebration of the Ordinariate Rite mass at St Mary’s has been placed recently in many parish bulletins in the Kitchener area. This seems an excellent way of getting the message out to former Anglicans and other interested Catholics.

      Yes, absolutely!

      Indeed, the bishop of each diocese that hosts an ordinariate community might direct the pastors of each parish in the vicinity thereof to put such a notice in the parish bulletin each Sunday for a month or two.

      Norm.

  7. Joe says:

    I have been born and raised a Roman Catholic. I have to say that the Ordinariate Use Mass as well as the Tridentine Rite has given me an all new appreciation for Catholicism. I am fortunate to be able to attend weekly, the Ordinariate Use Mass at St Edmund’s. Fr Catania is a real blessing to our community. For so many years up until 2005, I was an altar server for the Novus Ordo Masses in my hometown. For a few weeks now, I have been altar serving for the Ordinariate Use Mass at St Edmund’s. I am very happy to be involved with the Ordinariate in this capacity,

  8. EPMS says:

    And where did you hear about them then: personally, on-line, newsletter? It helps to know how the word gets out.

  9. EPMS says:

    It is unfortunate that the St Edmund’s monthly newsletter did not make an appearance this month, as the Ordinariate Rite mass will be used at the 7 pm Ash Wednesday celebration at St Mary’s, and on Sunday the mediaeval music group Sine Nomine will be providing the music at the regular 5pm Ordinariate celebration.

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