A new priest for the US Ordinariate in Tucson, Arizona

Ken Wolfe, with fellow new deacons, at their diaconal ordination in December

Ken Wolfe, with fellow new deacons, at their diaconal ordination in December

Ordained to the diaconate on December 20, 2014 by Bishop Kicanas of Tucson, AZ, Deacon Ken Wolfe is married to his wife Shelley L. Stone, who came into full communion with the Catholic Church on April 7, 2012.

Ken holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature, a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School, a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from Boston College Law School and a Doctor of Ministry in Marriage and Family from Palmer Theological Seminary.

He served as an Episcopal priest in Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Vermont. He was also a special agent for the FBI.

Since coming to Tucson, he has helped in prison ministry, outreach to the homebound and those in hospice. He is a member of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

He will be ordained priest for the Ordinariate on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 5 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Tucson.

(adapted from the Diocese of Tucson’s “Monday Memo”)

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15 Responses to A new priest for the US Ordinariate in Tucson, Arizona

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    David,

    You wrote: He served as an Episcopal priest in Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Vermont. He was also a special agent for the FBI.

    Since coming to Tucson, he has helped in prison ministry, outreach to the homebound and those in hospice. He is a member of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

    He will be ordained priest for the Ordinariate on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 5 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Tucson.

    This is wonderful news!

    I’m wondering whether there is a community preparing for reception into full communion at the time of his ordination. If not, it will be interesting to see whether he remains in Tucson to grow an ordinariate community there or relocates to serve an ordinariate community elsewhere — he certainly has relocated several times in his prior ministry. There are several ordinariate communities that don’t have their own clergy, including two communities in the state of New York. Also, the Oshawa community’s web site indicates that they are not having weekday masses right now and that another priest is celebrating mass with them on Sunday because Fr. Tilley is quite ill. The web site does indicate expectation that Fr. Tilley will return in six to eight weeks, which would be reasonable for recuperation from major surgery, but the indication of “illness” rather than “surgery” certainly is cause for concern.

    Norm.

  2. EPMS says:

    Fr Tilley had heart bypass surgery, I believe, joining Fr Sellers and Fr Venuti on the list of those recuperating from this procedure. As we have discussed before, the OCSP clergy do not seem to be very flexible in their ability to relocate. Fr Catania’s move to Canada was a rare exception, perhaps because he did not have a family to consider. Most communities are one priest away, often someone past secular retirement age, from being without clerical leadership for the foreseeable future.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Fr Tilley had heart bypass surgery, I believe….

      If that’s the case, I pray that he will have a speedy recovery!

      You wrote: As we have discussed before, the OCSP clergy do not seem to be very flexible in their ability to relocate.

      It’s certainly possible for married clergy to relocate, but it is considerably more complicated and more expensive than relocation of celibate clergy. The needs of the family must be considered: the ability of a working spouse to transfer or to find new employment, the timing and potential consequences of children transferring to new schools, etc. And in the case of ordinariate clergy who have collateral duties for the local diocese, there’s also the need to coordinate the timing with the diocese that they leave and a new collateral assignment with the diocese to which they go.

      You concluded: Most communities are one priest away, often someone past secular retirement age, from being without clerical leadership for the foreseeable future.

      Yes, and this is a very important issue.

      Each of the ordinariates really needs to have some percentage of its clergy available to fill in for a pastor who requires surgery or who is suddenly taken ill. Where there are clusters of communities within a reasonable geographical proximity, this might be best achieved by assigning the “extra” priest as a parochial vicar of the largest or most central. But for parishes that are pretty isolated, it probably would need to be somebody with an administrative responsibilities who can fly out on short notice.

      Of course, this requires the ordinariates to have some surplus of clergy….

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        In the OCSP, there has been a sudden death, an abrupt retirement owing to illness, and six priests who have had to take time off for medical reasons in the last month. And of course at least another half dozen groups have never had an OCSP priest. In all instances the affected congregations have had to rely on local diocesan clergy. No one in the OCSP has purely “administrative responsibilities”, including the Ordinary, so the only “surplus” clergy are older men who probably lack the inclination and the resources to “fly out on short notice”. I do not see a solution to this problem in the short term.

      • Especially when the Conference of US Bishops leans on the Ordinary not to ordain priests who don’t come with a group, but rather to let them enter the dioceses through the Pastoral Provison. Does maybe Fr. Ken Wolfe in Tucson represent a welcome exception to this practice? Although because of his chaplaincy work he will most likely not be available for “firefighting” duties.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: Especially when the Conference of US Bishops leans on the Ordinary not to ordain priests who don’t come with a group, but rather to let them enter the dioceses through the Pastoral Provison. Does maybe Fr. Ken Wolfe in Tucson represent a welcome exception to this practice?

        I rather suspect that the “leaning” is the acts of individual bishops rather than the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as an entity, though I would not doubt that there might be some amount of informal collusion behind it. It’s not surprising that bishops of dioceses that don’t have enough clergy to staff their own parishes, chaplaincies, and other ministries would be scheming to have former Anglican clergy come into their dioceses rather than into some other entity, especially if that entity is asking the bishop to provide positions of ministry and financial support for those clergy.

        Of course, some bishops undoubtedly have a different perspective on this. Some bishops are glad to have additional clergy available to assist with ministry in their dioceses, regardless of whether the clergy belong to the diocese or to some other entity.

        Having said that, I have not seen anything indicating that there is a community preparing for reception in Tucson — but I also have not seen anything that says that there is not. In view of the propensity of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter to favor confidentiality, one cannot presume the absence of such a community.

        You continued: Although because of his chaplaincy work he will most likely not be available for “firefighting” duties.

        That’s a bit harder to gauge. His present “chaplain’s duties” clearly do not involve any ministry that requires ordination beyond the order of deacon, so he probably is functioning in collaboration with a presbyter who is the official chaplain, so it’s likely that they formally constitute part of his formation for Catholic ordination rather than a ministerial assignment that will endure after his ordination.

        Norm.

    • Paul Nicholls ofs says:

      Fr. Tilley must undergo surgery again for another serious problem, so he is not out of the woods, yet, so to speak. Prayers are very much needed. Fr. Marco Testa, a very traditional Roman Catholic priest, has done a magnificent job of filling in during this most difficult time for the Oshawa Sodality. He serves as pastor in a church north of Oshawa and, despite having to serve the needs of his own parish, has generously given his time to our community. Personally, I am not greatly affected by the lack of an Ordinariate mass through the week, in that I have no problem attending regular masses in other Roman Catholic churches. I am somewhat picky about where I attend. This is having more of an impact on some former Anglicans who have only recently entered the Catholic Church.The survival of this community is in God’s hands and I hope very much that we can hold on. Under the circumstances, we can only take things on a week to week basis and can not speculate as to what will happen in the time to come.

      • Paul Nicholls ofs says:

        I would just like to add that the one way that I keep my Ordinariate connection through the week, is by praying the Anglican Use offices ( I know we are not to call it that- just using the term informally) in my home chapel. Otherwise, my only exposure to “the Ordinariate way” of doing things would only be on Sundays. What others do through the week as far as matins, evensong and compline is something I just don’t know. But, I am holding onto my Anglican heritage tenaciously despite all the setbacks we have faced here. In some respects, the Rochester group is facing a similar set of problems since the departure of Fr. Cornelius and I have an affinity towards this group. Both the Rochester and Oshawa groups need prayers.

  3. pioraviacasino says:

    Congratulations Deacon Ken, may the Holy Spirit lead you in your Sacred Ministry. I will pray for you , please pray for me. In Jesus name, Blessings, Fr. Bill H. (AUSTRALIA)

  4. EPMS says:

    I can think of about a dozen OCSP priests who came without a group, including at least three active military chaplains. I agree that this seems contrary to the policy behind maintaining both the OCSP and the Pastoral Provision, but no doubt there are behind the scenes negotiations of which we know nothing.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: I agree that this seems contrary to the policy behind maintaining both the OCSP and the Pastoral Provision….

      No, not at all.

      Don’t forget that Pope John Paul II promulgated the so-called “Pastoral Provision” in 1980 for two purposes:

      >> (1) to facilitate the processing of dispensations from celibacy for very large numbers of former clergy of The Episcopal Church (TEC) who were requesting ordination in the Catholic Church and

      >> (2) to provide a means for a handful of former congregations of TEC to come into the Catholic Church substantially intact with their liturgical and other customs.

      Some of the congregations that came into the Catholic Church under the so-called “pastoral provision” have encountered obstacles that are inhibiting their movement to the ordinariate, and thus remain under the so-called “pastoral provision.” It won’t be practicable to dissolve the so-called “pastoral provision” until those congregations either move to the ordinariate or dissolve.

      Norm.

  5. EPMS says:

    Norm, as we have discussed before, confidentiality would indeed be necessary if a clergyman were contemplating leaving his current denomination for the OCSP. But in the case of lay people some kind of publicity is surely imperative. I realise that we are not likely to hear anything official from the OCSP, possibly until a year or two after any such group has been received into the Church, but for purposes of gathering prospective members the word has to be out on the street, ie the web.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: But in the case of lay people some kind of publicity is surely imperative.

      No, not at all. In fact, just the opposite. In this regard, the general instructions of the Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into Full Communion of the Catholic Church are quite explicit — and for good reason. Note the following provisions (boldface added).

      3. a) The rite should be seen as a celebration of the Church, with its climax in eucharistic communion. For this reason the rite of reception generally is celebrated within Mass.

      b) Anything which has the appearance of triumphalism should be carefully avoided, and the manner of celebrating this Mass should be precisely defined. Both the ecumenical implications and the bond between the candidate and the parish community should be considered. Often it will be more appropriate to celebrate the Mass with only a few relatives and friends. If for a serious reason Mass cannot be celebrated, the reception should take place where possible during a liturgy of the Word. The person to be received into full communion should be consulted about the form of reception.

      Here, publicity surrounding the reception of a community from another denomination smacks of the very sort of triumphalism that this rubric explicitly forbids — and it’s also a stick in the eye to the denomination from which that community comes, with potentially serious repercussions for ecumenism, whose members are already grieving the loss of that community. The low key approach is much more appropriate in this situation.

      You continued: I realise that we are not likely to hear anything official from the OCSP, possibly until a year or two after any such group has been received into the Church, but for purposes of gathering prospective members the word has to be out on the street, ie the web.

      Yes, and getting the word out about the establishment of a new ordinariate community is another matter. The ordinariate certainly could put a news item announcing the establishment of a new sodality, or mission, or parish, or whatever on its website. More importantly, it would be good for nearby Catholic parishes to put an announcement of the establishment of the new congregation for former Anglicans. But that’s not the same thing as a press release announcing the reception of baptized Christians from another denomination into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        I did not mean that the actual reception needs publicity, although as I have pointed out all the receptions in the Canadian Deanery of OCSP have been reported in the local Catholic press, with pictures and interviews, and I have seen many similar accounts from US publications reposted at Steve Cavanaugh’s site and elsewhere. This reception coverage may get the word out to future candidates, but it is not strictly necessary, I agree. I was referring, however, to the necessary publicity around forming the group of aspirants to reception in the first place. No one is going to attend the preparation sessions if they do not know they are being held. We are not talking here of a parish group led by their rector—clearly this is not the case in Tucson—but of a gathered group of current Anglicans, supported perhaps by former Anglicans who would like to be part of an Ordinariate community.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: I was referring, however, to the necessary publicity around forming the group of aspirants to reception in the first place. No one is going to attend the preparation sessions if they do not know they are being held.

        Yes, and herein lies the difference between the Sodality of St. Thomas More in Toronto, nee Toronto Ordinariate Group (TOG), and a couple other ordinariate congregations and overwhelming majority of congregations of the various ordinariates. Most of the ordinariates’ communities were in fact intact communities that came from another denomination — either the respective province of the Anglican Communion or a “continuing Anglican” body. When one forms an entity like the TOG, publicity about the formation of the entity most assuredly is not a problem. When one is dealing with an intact community, OTOH, it is usually best to wait until the community has come into full communion and established itself — partly to avoid the “poke in the eye” to the denomination that the community is leaving, and partly to sustain the cohesion of the group as they discern their way forward to full communion. Publicity that draws a lot of new members to the group during the transition likely would disrupt the established dynamics of the group, possibly causing the original group to fragment.

        Norm.

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