The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter’s first seminarian

Evan Simington, formally begins his studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston this week.

Please pray for him as he continues to discern the Lord’s will and prepares for a life of ministry. And look for a profile about Evan in the next edition of the Ordinariate’s magazine, The Ordinariate Observer, later this fall!

Evan Simington - first US sxeminarian(from the US Ordinariate’s facebook page)

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29 Responses to The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter’s first seminarian

  1. EPMS says:

    Mr Simington received an MDiv from Nashotah House in May 2014, as we see here http://blog.nashotah.edu/blog/2014/05/23/commencement-exercises-nashotah-house/ I am surprised that he has to undertake another full residential seminary program.

    • donhenri01 says:

      As for many seminarians having studied theology previously, I suppose his academical cursus will be specially devised to take it into account. What’s important at seminary is also (and maybe more) the spiritual and fraternal formation, and this causes the need for a residential program.

      • EPMS says:

        That’s true. But others with similar formation, Fr Andrew Bartus, say, seem to have been ordained with little more than some online study.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: That’s true. But others with similar formation, Fr Andrew Bartus, say, seem to have been ordained with little more than some online study.

        Yes, but most of these had several years, or even several decades, of experience in successful parish ministry. If Mr. Simington completed his MDiv in 2014, he has virtually no such experience. It also seems likely that he was never ordained in any other denomination, and thus is not under the umbrella of “former Anglican clergy.”

        Norm.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        donhenri01,

        You wrote: As for many seminarians having studied theology previously, I suppose his academical cursus will be specially devised to take it into account.

        Yes, he undoubtedly will receive credit for courses in which he has substantially equivalent coursework that will allow him to take additional electives or to devote additional time to practica and internships in various aspects of pastoral ministry.

        That said, there are a few “gotchas” in this discussion. In areas where theological divergence persists, he will need to study the Catholic viewpoint in one way or another — either through what might appear superficially to be repeated courses or via independent study.

    • duanemiller says:

      EPMS: Good point. How much more formation will he need?

  2. EPMS says:

    Mr Simington is also not technically the OCSP’s first seminarian. Mr Luke Reese, of the St Joseph of Arimathea group in Indianapolis, was reported in the bulletin of the host parish as having participated in a rite for those entering a seminary—St Meinrad, I believe. It was reported in the comment sectiom of this blog, so I will look for it at greater leisure. Perhaps the difference is that Mr Reece is married, and a former ACA clergyman. Mr Simington is a celibate layman—which is supposed to be the future pool for Ordinariate clergy.

    • EPMS says:

      Mr Reese underwent the “Rite of Candidacy” on February 8 of this year at Holy Rosary, Indianapolis and is enrolled at St Meinrad. He did not have a previous MDiv or equivalent.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Mr Simington is also not technically the OCSP’s first seminarian. Mr Luke Reese, of the St Joseph of Arimathea group in Indianapolis, was reported in the bulletin of the host parish as having participated in a rite for those entering a seminary—St Meinrad, I believe.

      Technically, all of the former Anglican clergy who have come into the ordinariate have, or did have, status as seminarians during the period of formation for their Catholic ordinations. Of course, few of these ever became full-time students in residence in a seminary. However, Mr. Simington seems to have entered the Catholic Church with no intention of studying for ordination and discerned that he should do so within the ordinariate — the first to do so.

      Also, the Rite of Candidacy for Holy Orders, in which Mr. Reese participated a while ago, does NOT mark entry into seminary. Rather, it normally occurs after 3-4 years of seminary training and several months to a year prior to ordination as a deacon.

      You wrote: Perhaps the difference is that Mr Reece is married, and a former ACA clergyman.

      There are at least a couple peculiarities in Mr. Reese’s situation. First, he is still listed as Music Director at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis, which is the parish where the ordinariate’s Society of St. Joseph of Arimathea meets. The parish is about 2 1/2 hours by motorcar — and there is no public transportation — from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology — so it seems unlikely that he is going back and forth on a daily basis or that he is a full time student in residence there. Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology does offer some courses at a satellite location in Indianapolis, but these courses would not constitute a normal programme of seminary formation.

      The other curiosity about Mr. Reese’s situation is that there was no indication of a representative of the ordinariate’s administration (ordinary, vicar general, vicar for clergy, dean, etc.) being present at the rite of candidacy, at which the diocesan bishop was the principal celebrant. Admission to candidacy for ordination does NOT require episcopal ordination, so it’s routinely done by major superiors of clerical religious orders for their members — and an ordinary who is not a bishop would be competent to do so. This does not exclude the possibility that it was deemed desirable for the admission to candidacy to take place in the presence of the Society of St. Joseph of Arimathea the bishop admitted Mr. Reese to candidacy for holy orders by written request of the ordinary, as a matter of mutual convenience, but the more normal practice would be for a representative of the ordinary to be present at the rite and to state the request orally at the beginning of the rite of admission.

      By way of additional background, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis does not operate a seminary. Rather, it historically has sent nearly all of its seminarians to St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology — the only seminary in the archdiocese, which is operated by the Benedictine monks of St. Meinrad Archabbey in the town of St. Meinrad, Indiana — and I presume that Archbishop Tobin continues to do so, as this seminary produces outstanding clergy. The area around the seminary quite rural, the jest being that St. Meinrad is midway between Siberia and Santa Claus — and it’s actually true: there is a town about ten miles to the northeast named Siberia and a town about ten miles to the southwest named Santa Claus. On a map, St. Meinrad is midway between Evansville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, just to the south of the highway designated as Interstate 64.

      Norm.

      • And I visited St Meinrad’s as long ago as 1988! As for Siberia and Santa Claus, I remember the temperature being 102°F at midnight!

        David Murphy

      • EPMS says:

        http://saintmeinrad.academia.edu/LukeReese
        Clearly Mr Reese is there, whatever the difficulties of his commute.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: And I visited St Meinrad’s as long ago as 1988! As for Siberia and Santa Claus, I remember the temperature being 102°F at midnight!

        When in the summer of 1988 were you there? I was on campus that summer, so I’m now wondering if our paths might have crossed.

        Yes, it’s a small world!

        Norm.

      • I was there in the second half of August 1988. I was staying with a professor at Indiana University in Bloomington and we visited St. Meinrad’s together.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: I was there in the second half of August 1988. I was staying with a professor at Indiana University in Bloomington and we visited St. Meinrad’s together.

        In that case, we missed each other by a couple weeks. I was there for the Summer Session of the School of Theology, which ended on the first weekend of August.

        Incidentally, the monks did another major renovation of the archabbey church after your visit — so extensive that, except for the professionally restored Christus Rex in the apse and the stained glass windows, you would not recognize it as the same place for worship. They took out the upper level, which was the original location of the originally used for the monks’ choir stalls (laity sat in pews on the lower level in the original configuration) and put in a level floor, which required replacing the columns that were originally on the upper level with longer columns that reach to the lowered floor. They also removed the balconies from the transepts and installed the organ pipes in a new divider, carefully kept low enough so as not to block the view of the Christus Rex, that separates the apse from the main body of the church, with the apse becoming the chapel of reservation for which new windows below the level of the divider in the apse wall provide natural light. The concrete pavement and carpet have given way to a marble and terrazzo floor. The new altar has gilded bronze insets depicting events from the life of Christ — and it’s right where the altar was at the time of your visit. The new ambo has larger bronze insets depicting doctors and prospective doctors of the church. The statue of Our Lady of Ensiedeln (literally, “Our Lady of the Hermitage”), the original black Madonna, is in a much more prominent location. There’s also a new font at the main entrance, a new reliquary, and a new triptych depicting the life of St. Meinrad. There’s a link to a slide show depicting and describing the new furnishings on the Arts and Architecture page of the archabbey’s web site.

        And through it all, their liturgy is still very interesting. Not Anglican, of course, but nevertheless very interesting. They still use a LOT of chant (most English Plainsong).

        Norm.

    • EPMS says:

      I see that my second thought on why Mr Simington is described as the “first” seminarian has been excised. I would note that on the OCSP website, in the Ordinariate Observer archive, the real #2 of volume 1 is listed but cannot be opened, unlike the other issues. Fortunately you preserved it here https://ordinariateexpats.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/the-ordinariate-observer-no-2-is-with-us/

  3. EPMS says:

    Regarding Fr Bartus, he was an ACA clergyman for less than two years before his reception into the Catholic church, the entire time as a curate at St Mary’s, Hollywood during a period of parish dysfunction. Mr Simington has been involved in parish work in an environment that I think probably also provided him with relevant experience. In any event, neither AC nor its complementary norms distinguishes between the seminary training required of the previously ordained and that required of laymen. Mr Reese appears to be in the “Philosophy” stage of the program despite having been an ACA clergyman for several years.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Regarding Fr Bartus, he was an ACA clergyman for less than two years before his reception into the Catholic church, the entire time as a curate at St Mary’s, Hollywood during a period of parish dysfunction.

      That’s certainly an allegation on another blog, and undoubtedly the opinion of its author — but where was he before his arrival at St. Mary’s? In any case, the evaluation of those in charge of the ordinariates apparently is somewhat different than the opinion of the other blog’s author.

      You wrote: In any event, neither AC nor its complementary norms distinguishes between the seminary training required of the previously ordained and that required of laymen.

      That’s true.

      You wrote: Mr Reese appears to be in the “Philosophy” stage of the program despite having been an ACA clergyman for several years.

      I don’t know where you are getting this.

      In Catholic seminaries, the normal pattern is for those who have little background in philosophy to take at least 18 credit hours of philosophy before beginning the study of theology. For former clergy of another denomination, however, the objective is to fill the deficiencies in their previous formation. This could mean a different sequence of coursework, depending upon the timing of various courses offered by a seminary.

      Norm.

  4. EPMS says:

    Regarding Mr Reese, I am getting “this” from the link I sent on August 29, above, where he is identified as a Philosophy student. As I said, he did not have any accredited seminary formation before his ordination in the ACA. Fr Bartus, a then recent graduate of Nashotah House, was ordained a deacon in the ACA on July 2, 2010, to serve at St Mary of the Angels, as we read here http://www.stfrancisportland.org/the_franciscan/the_franciscan_v3_n4_july_august_2010.pdf.
    He was received into the Catholic church in April , 2012 and ordained to the priesthoo July 3 of that year.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: As I said, he did not have any accredited seminary formation before his ordination in the ACA. Fr Bartus, a then recent graduate of Nashotah House, was ordained a deacon in the ACA on July 2, 2010, to serve at St Mary of the Angels…

      So therein lies the difference. At Nashotah House, Fr. Bartus completed a full programme of Anglican seminary formation and thus qualified for the “fast track” to Catholic ordination.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        As did Mr Simington. My point was twofold: 1 Why is he the “first” seminarian when Mr Reese is enrolled in a seminary? The point in that process at which one takes part in the Rite of Candidacy varies from diocese to diocese, BTW. 2 Why is Mr Simington a full-time seminarian at all, having completed an M.Div and worked in a parish/Catholic school for over a year? His level of preparation is similar to that of other men who proceded to ordination after a brief period of distance learning.

      • Attending a seminary is the NORMAL route to the priesthood. We are not aware of the number of years that Mr. Symington must attend the seminary. All Anglican priests or Protestant ministers preparing for the priesthood have/had to attend seminary (in the case of the Pastoral Provision for two years, in the case of Lutheran pastors in Germany three or four years). Anglicanorum Coetibus is an EXCEPTION. Since the pastors of the groups entering the Catholic Church should ideally remain with their groups and continue to pastor them, it was decided to ordain them early in the formation process. The formation then continues for about two years after ordination. In Britain this takes place at the seminary of the Westminster diocese. In the States the seminary in Houston has developed a distance learning programme because of the travelling distances involved in North America.

  5. EPMS says:

    It’s your blog, of course. I would point out that altering “commute” to “community” in my August 29 comment changed the meaning rather radically. As far as I know the St Joseph of Arimathea group has no problems. I was referring to Norm’s statement about the location of the seminary.

    • Sorry, EPMS, I thought you had made a mistake and so changed “commute” to “community”. I do apologise and now think I understand what you were trying to say, so I immediately changed the word back to “commute”.

      By the way, the personal comments about Mr Symington, Mr Reese and Fr Bartus are also borderline – I have been on the point of removing them several times.

      David Murphy

  6. EPMS says:

    I did not intend to make personal comments about these men; I intended only to state facts, easily documented, about their respective resumés. I voluntarily withdrew my original speculation about the differences in the formation requirements of the two Nashotah House graduates, because in reality I haven’t a clue. And the remark about St Mary of the Angels was mere opinion, I grant you. As for an ongoing formation program, I think we established in a previous comment string that this is not in place in the OCSP, unlike in the OOLW.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: As for an ongoing formation program, I think we established in a previous comment string that this is not in place in the OCSP, unlike in the OOLW.

      My impression is just the opposite: that those ordained on the “fast track” for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter complete a couple years of additional coursework via the Internet after their Catholic ordinations.

      Norm.

  7. EPMS says:

    No, we had a discussion about this and Mr Paul Nicholls of Good Shepherd, Oshawa (who now maintains a Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oshawa-Ordinariate-Page/1608127486137066 which is worth checking out) confirmed with his pastor, Fr Jim Tilley, that once he had completed the pre-ordination courses nothing further was required. I have been searching for the link to the discussion.

  8. EPMS says:

    Some of our questions answered here http://ordinariate.net/news/evan-simington

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