For about a year now Father Jason Catania, formerly of Mount Calvary, Baltimore, has been priest-in-charge of St Edmund, King and Martyr, Ordinariate Sodality in Kitchener, ON, whilst driving to Rochester, NY, every month to celebrate Mass on a supply priest basis for the long-orphaned Ordinariate Fellowship of St. Alban, a round trip of about 350 miles.
It was evident that this was not intended as a permanent solution, and although movement was in the air, it was a surprise that on November 30th the St. Edmund’s website announced “Please be advised that the 5:00 p.m. Sunday Mass is ‘suspended’ until further notice.” without any further explanation. Here is a photo from Fr. Catania’s last Mass in Kitchener:
A partial explanation for this ‘suspension’ of Mass so close to Christmas came today, when Fr. Jason Catania announced by eMail:
“To the Fellowship of St. Alban:
At the request of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, I have accepted appointment as regular supply priest for the Fellowship of St. Alban. While this decision was initially made by our outgoing Ordinary, Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, it has been reaffirmed by Bishop-elect Steven Lopes. Once living accommodations in Rochester can be arranged, I plan start celebrating Mass weekly, at the very least, beginning Saturday, January 2.
In the time since I have been making monthly visits to St. Alban’s, I have come to believe that the community has considerable potential for growth. It is my hope that together we can work to build the fellowship, for the benefit of the Ordinariate as well as the wider Catholic community in Rochester. I hope to be able to report further developments soon, but in the meanwhile, please pray for the leadership of both the Ordinariate and the Diocese of Rochester, as well as for me as I make my transition back to ministry in the United States.
Wishing you a blessed celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity,
Fr. Jason Catania”
Thus it would seem that Father Jason will be celebrating Christmas in neither of the two communities and is to transfer to Rochester not as “priest-in-charge” but as “supply priest”, which would suggest that this move is also only of a temporary nature.
My personal comment:
I must admit to a certain dismay that in an Ordinariate with so many priests it is not possible to find permanent pastoring solutions for so many communities. As far as I know, apart from the two named communities, there is a large community of Hispanic Ordinarians in Flushing, NY, and a community of Mohawk Ordinarians in Tyendinaga Territory, Canada, without an Ordinariate pastor. In other groups the pastor is known to be in bad health.
The UK Ordinariate is also not without its problems of this kind. Hemel Hempstead was without a regular priest for well over a year, Birmingham has never had a priest as pastor.
One can only commend the stalwart laypeople, Gary Freeman in Kitchener, Andrew Jordan in Rochester, Ron Crane in Birmingham and others whose names are not known to me, who have kept these groups alive during difficult times.
In our Cycle of Prayer we continue to pray monthly for all Ordinariate communities without pastor.