St. Timothy’s, Fort Worth, without a pastor until January 2017

Following the appointment of Fr. Christopher Stainbrook to St. John Vianney, Cleburne, Texas, this summer, his previous Ordinariate community of St. Timothy’s in Fort Worth will be without a pastor for the rest of this year.

St. Timothy’s website notes:

As of September 4, 2016, St. Timothy’s Sunday Masses will be conducted by supply priests. This will be the case until January 2017 when a new pastor will be assigned. Our masses will continue at our current location (host parish: St. Mary of the Assumption, Fort Worth) at 2:00 PM.

In the interim, any desired contact for St. Timothy’s should be referred to St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church, Arlington, Texas. The pastor at St. Mary’s, Arlington, is Father Prentice Dean.

St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church will be the contact point for all St. Timothy’s parish matters, pastoral or liturgical; however, masses will continue in Fort Worth.

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8 Responses to St. Timothy’s, Fort Worth, without a pastor until January 2017

  1. Ben Sirach says:

    It looks as though Bishop Lopes is doing some much-needed rationalisation. This is needed in the Ordinariate of OLW. ‘Groups’ of only a handful of people are a waste of resources and only serve to pretend that things are in a better state than they really are.

  2. EPMS says:

    The fact that two of the “supply priests” are relatively local OCSP clergy, neither of retirement age, does suggest that Bp Lopes’ long term plan is to reconfigure arrangements in the area. Actually I think that the fragility of small groups, dependant on the presence of a priest to whose support they can contribute little, gives a sense that things are worse, rather than better. Closures are inevitable and, I am sure, painful. Larger parishes grow and renew themselves.

  3. Rev22:17 says:

    Ben and EPMS,

    One of the difficulties of doing any sort of meaningful assessment of this sort of situation is that we don’t have reliable information as to the size of the ordinariate communities. Some of the ordinariate communities seem to be growing at a very healthy rate — both St. Thomas More in Toronto, Ontario, and St. John the Baptist in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, started out quite small but have grown themselves into parish status. IIRC, the former started out as a gathered community of about twenty people that included a former pastor of the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC), who is now the pastor, and the latter started out as two groups with a total of less than fifty people, yet both have grown to over a hundred ordinariate members in a relatively short time — perhaps, at least in part, by drawing former Anglicans who had previously come into the full communion of the Catholic Church into their ranks. Other ordinariate congregations have not grown as quickly, but the ordinariate’s guide for parish development, Architects of Communion, which provides metrics of stability that a community must attain to become a “mission” (canonically, a “quasi-parish”) and then a parish, does not set any deadlines or time limits for a community to meet those metrics. It does seem very likely that some “communities in formation” will fail to grow and ultimately will disband for one reason or another.

    The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter does face some challenges with respect to reassignment of its clergy that would not arise in a normal Roman Catholic diocese. Reassignment must consider the impact on their families and allow ample time for the family to find new housing, to find new employment or to arrange transfers for other working family members affected by the move, and to coordinate the move of furniture and other household goods, and long distance complicates all of this. In an emergency reassignment (I once assisted in a Sunday mass at a parish where the pastor, who was on leave for cancer treatment, died on Friday evening, the administrator died suddenly of a heart attack on Saturday of that weekend, and there was no other priest in the parish, so this sort of thing really does happen!), a diocesan priest typically can arrive at a parish with a suitcase containing enough clothes to get by for a few days, carry out a weekend or holy day mass schedule, and return to his former parish during the following week to retrieve the rest of his belongings since two parishes of any diocese typically are, at most, a few hours apart. An ordinariate priest, moving hundreds or even thousands of miles across North America, does not have that option. Thus, it’s inevitable that an ordinariate congregation may be without a pastor for some period of time, and will have to get by with some other arrangement, when a pastor retires — especially if it is in a remote location with respect to other ordinariate congregations like St. Alban’s Fellowship in Rochester, New York, and St. Gregory the Great in Stoneham, Massachusetts. By comparison, St. Timothy’s Parish in Fort Worth actually is in a pretty good circumstance, with enough nearby ordinariate clergy to supply its sacramental ministry and an administrator at another ordinariate parish that’s only a few miles away.

    This actually begs the question of what will happen when an ordinariate congregation attains all of the numbers to become a “mission” or a parish, but does not have ordinariate clergy assigned — and it probably will happen sooner or later — since Architects of Communion states that an ordinariate congregation must have its own clergy in residence in order to become a mission or a parish. A community’s ability to pay a stipend to its pastor might solve this problem, but I doubt that any of us are certain of that possibility.

    The “rationalization” of ordinariate communities is nothing new — two small communities in close proximity will get to the “critical mass” of sustainability much more quickly by joining together, where it is practicable for them to do so. There was a community in Arlington, Virginia, that merged into the St. Luke’s community when St. Luke’s moved into Washington, DC., and the merger that took place in the Philadelphia area to form St. John the Baptist in Bridgeport occurred very soon after the reception of the former Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman. Of course, there are various circumstances — geographical barriers, cultural or linguistic differences, etc. — that can make it impracticable or that may require resolution before two congregations can unite.

    Norm.

  4. EPMS says:

    St Thomas More, Toronto is not an official parish of the OCSP, as far as I know, although it unofficially styles itself a parish. I would be interested to know where you have seen the figure of a hundred members. The last published number I have seen was 45 “identified donors” in 2015, although of course two adults in one family might be combining their donations. St John the Baptist, Bridgeport has announced that it will be named an official parish, perhaps at the annual clergy gathering (next month) which has been the occasion for such announcements in the past. The initial combined lay membership of its two constituent groups was actually 55, according to reports posted here at the time. Three of the four communities without OCSP clergy: St Benedict, Edmonton; St Alban, Rochester; and St Gregory, Mobile have a long way to go before they attain the numbers necessary for mission status, so the clergy requirement is not a pressing issue. St Timothy”s, Catonsville is under the nominal leadership of Fr Scharbach of Mt Calvary, Baltimore although masses are generally celebrated by diocesan clergy.
    The big issue regarding clergy mobility in the OCSP, it seems to me, is not distance. Fr Catania moved from Baltimore to Kitchener to Rochester to Omaha, all within less than two years. Fr Treco relocated from Virginia to Minnesota to be ordained, and Fr Sellers left North Dakota to come to Houston. But for the most part, OCSP clergy have not been under the discipline expected of Catholic clergy. That awaits a new generation of younger, celibate clergy.

  5. EPMS says:

    Has a new appointment been made? Fr Perkins visited St Timothy’s on January 15 to make an announcement but I have seen nothing further about it on the website, which still says that a new pastor will be assigned in January 2017.

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