An Ordinariate parish

St John Vianney is an Ordinariate parish, what does that look like?

In many ways, St John Vianney (SJV) looks like any other Catholic Church, but in a few ways, it does not. SJV has a parochial administrator, which is an official name for a pastor of a small church. This position is filled by the bishop of the Ordinariate, much as any position in a Catholic diocese is filled by the bishop of that diocese. The pastor is placed by the bishop to tend to the flock of that parish, he has complete control of all things spiritual and temporal. There is nothing sacramental (ie, baptism, confirmation, marriage) that can happen without the pastor, or his written approval. There is also nothing that can happen outside of the sacraments (ie funerals, meetings, gatherings) that can happen within the parish without the pastors approval. The finances of the church are also the responsibility of the pastor. As you can imagine, this makes the pastor a very busy person! This fact causes most pastors to appreciate the act of delegation. How is this done?

First, there is the pastoral council. Most Catholic churches have these. The pastoral council is just that, council to the pastor. To be a member of this council is to meet monthly or bi-monthly, and to go over all the affairs of the church. The council does not vote, nor does it have authority, but a wise pastor will listen to those on the council and delegate many of the tasks to it’s members. The parish will also have a financial council. This is a council that takes care of the financial needs of the parish. This council will annually vote on the budget, and throughout the year will meet to advise the pastor on the financial issues of the parish. There can be other committees though-out the parish, these are appointed by the pastor.

Sacramentally, the parish is run at the direction of the bishop through his priest. The Ordinariate has very precise rules and regulations concerning the celebration of all the sacraments, the running of it’s facilities, even down to what the priest may wear. Of course there are too many rules to list here, but suffice it to say, when these rules come into play, the priest must obey the bishop, regardless of what the parish may think of the matter. These rules are to keep the Catholic faith as it was passed down through the apostles; not simply to be “rulsey”. All marriages, baptisms, confirmations, and funerals must be cleared through the pastor, and in cases such as marriage it may take up to 8 months or longer, so please allow for time in planning these sacraments.

The last part of SJV that I will talk about, is likely the biggest difference one will see when attending; the liturgy. Instead of the mass of Pope Paul VI, the Ordinariate is allowed the use of Divine Worship. This liturgy was written and approved expressly for the use of Ordinariate churches. I will write more in another article, but this liturgy is based on the Roman canon, which is found in the Sacramentary of Ordinary Rite churches, it is prayer one, though it is rarely used. The language of Divine Worship is the old english, part of the patrimony of the Ordinariate. There are also a few “extra” prayers which were brought from the Anglican church only after study was done to make certain they were patrimony. The liturgy is formal, but can become a beloved rite if you give it a chance; as it is a change. The music is also from the Anglican church, specifically the 1940 and 1982 hymnal. It is also traditional, to match the liturgy. Are we able to use the Ordinary Rite that many are used to in the Catholic Church? Not for vigils or Sunday. We are allowed to use Ordinary Rite for weekday services.

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask me.

God Bless

Fr Scott

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