Great News from Scranton!

Here's the story from the website of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter:

The new U.S. ordinariate for Anglican groups entering the Catholic Church achieved a milestone on May 8, 2012 when Reverend Eric Bergman became its first priest. The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established by Pope Benedict XVI on January 1 in response to repeated requests by Anglican groups and clergy who were seeking to become Catholic. It is similar to a diocese, though national in scope.

Fr. Bergman, 41, is a former Episcopal priest who was ordained a Catholic priest five years ago for the Diocese of Scranton. Since that time, he has been chaplain to the 150-member St. Thomas More Anglican Use Society.

The group will become St. Thomas More Parish at St. Joseph Church and will be located at the former St. Joseph property in Scranton’s Providence neighborhood starting in late August. The ordinariate purchased the property from the Diocese of Scranton for $254,000, with $200,000 of that amount raised by the St. Thomas More community during a three-week period this spring.

“This is a significant moment in the young history of the ordinariate. I am grateful to Bishop Joseph Bambera and to the Diocese of Scranton for their support,” said Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson, the Ordinary. “The incardination of Fr. Bergman, and the reception of several Anglican communities across the United States and Canada over the past few months, are tangible signs of Christ at work in this new undertaking.”

Approximately 60 current or former Anglican priests are preparing to be ordained Catholic priests for the ordinariate, with 30 ordinations expected in the next few months. Ordinariate parishes will be fully Catholic while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and traditions, including liturgical traditions.

Fr. Bergman noted, “I am particularly grateful to Bishop Bambera, and to Msgr. William Feldcamp, pastor of St. Paul’s Parish and St. Clare’s Church, who has been instrumental in the maintenance of our ministry over the years. St. Thomas More has thrived, and we look forward to our future as an ordinariate parish.”

Underscoring the historic nature of this announcement, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, commented, “I was pleased to be able to cooperate with Monsignor Steenson in order to help facilitate Father Bergman’s incardination process. For the past five years, Father Bergman has faithfully supported the Diocese of Scranton. We are grateful for his service and wish him continued blessings in his ministry.”

Fr. Bergman, a native of Bethlehem, PA, graduated from James Madison University before obtaining a Master of Divinity degree from Yale. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1997, and served in Scranton as curate at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and as rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd. He became Catholic in 2005 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 2007. In addition to serving as chaplain to the Anglican Use Society, he has been chaplain at Holy Cross High School in Dunmore, PA and at Mercy Hospital in Scranton. He and his wife, Kristina, have seven children ages 6 months to 10 years.

St. Joseph was established as a Lithuanian-language parish in 1895 and is a former home of Venerable Maria Kaupas, foundress of the Sisters of St. Casimir, who was a housekeeper at the parish in the late 19th century. A miracle attributed to her intercession is before the Congregation for the Causes of Saints that, if approved, will lead to her beatification. The parish property includes a church, parish hall, rectory, convent, school, parking lot and four garages.

Congratulations to Fr. Bergman and the wonderful people of St. Thomas More!

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

6 thoughts on “Great News from Scranton!”

  1. This is glorious news! Deo Gratias!

    I remember meeting Fr. Bergman and his family when I attended my first Anglican Use Conference in Washington in 2007.

    I remember thinking to myself that I envisioned him as becoming a prominent leader in the U.S. movement in a short period of time. Nice to see this "vision" becoming reality.

    God Bless all of you!

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!

  2. As I posted on FaceBook, "Scranton, PA. Who wou;d have thunk it!" Many Years to Father Eric and St. Thomas More congregation. PLUS! They are purchasing old SAINT JOSEPH'S CHURCH. They did a great job of raising the majority of money in such a short period of time. MANY BLESSINGS to them all!

    1. I suppose it was too much to hope that the Church might have donated a surplus property to the Ordinariate? I know there has been some discussion as to how in England, they might not want an old Church building that was too large and in need of maintenance given to them, but in this case it seems there was a considerable price paid for it. Hopefully that was at least less than what someone would have been required to pay who was not going to put it to use as a Catholic Church.

  3. Fr. Bergman,

    You've come a long way from YDS: Congratulations and accolades! The Lord has blessed you, your family and your parish bountifully.



  4. This is great news! Congratulations, Fr. Eric!

    Fr. Eric attended the March 2010 Anglicanorum coetibus Conference hosted by now
    Cardinal Collins in Mississauga, Ontario.

  5. Father Eric Bergman and friends at S.Thomas More,
    We rejoiced in reading the great news today. May our Lord always give many blessings to the great family which has nourished us so on our journey.

    Marty & Karen

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