The Latest from Mount Calvary, Baltimore

This is posted on The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite, reporting what Fr. Jason Catania writes in the October issue of Crux Fidelis:

On several occasions, I have suggested that the day when we would begin our new life as a Catholic congregation was in sight, only for there to be another delay. And no doubt many of you share my frustration in seeing other groups board the Barque of Peter ahead of us. But I can assure you that at this point, every indication suggests we do not have much longer to wait. As I announced from the pulpit recently, Mount Calvary is about to enter into mediation with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland under the guidance of Judge Joseph Kaplan. This very positive development promises to result in a final property settlement in short order.

Another encouraging sign of progress is that those who attend the Episcopalian service in our All Souls Chapel at 9 o’clock Sunday mornings have been informed that this service will be coming to an end this month. They will need to find another church home should they wish to remain Episcopalians. Mount Calvary has permitted this service as a gesture of goodwill, but the Diocese of Maryland has determined that it can no longer be justified for the very small number of people who attend. This, I believe, is a tacit acknowledgement that in the near future, only the Catholic Mass will be celebrated at Mount Calvary…

In June, the Holy Father’s delegate for establishing an Ordinariate in this country, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, informed the American Catholic bishops that Rome desires it to be established this fall. To that end, throughout the summer, dossiers for Anglican clergy applying for ordination as Catholic priests within the Ordinariate have been sent to Rome for review. I am pleased to share with you that mine was among the first batch of dossiers delivered to Rome, and that it has been granted a nulla osta, which means there is no canonical impediment to my ordination. I have now submitted further documentation needed for final approval of my ordination as a Catholic deacon and priest. Fr. David and the other clergy associated with Mount Calvary expect to be informed of their own status very soon.

The speed with which this has all been done suggests that an announcement regarding the formal establishment of the American Ordinariate and the naming of its Ordinary is not far off. Once the Ordinariate is established, Mount Calvary will be able to go about the process of becoming a canonical parish within it, assuming of course that a final settlement regarding our property has been agreed to.

A Brief Report from the Anglican Use Gathering in Baltimore

Anglican Use Mass at St. Alphonsus Church, Baltimore.

More than 100 people attended this week’s Anglican Use Mass at St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore on the night before the March for Life.  Fr. Eric Bergman of the St. Thomas More Society in Scranton, Pennsylvania celebrated the Mass and preached.  The Mass was followed by a gathering at Mount Calvary Church for fellowship and to hear more about the Anglican Use and Anglicanorum coetibus.  At the gathering at Mount Calvary, Fr. Scott Hurd, assistant to Cardinal Wuerl for the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus, did much in his remarks to make those present feel positively about the future.  God bless Fr. Bergman and Fr. Hurd for their work on behalf of the Ordinariate.

Fr. Scott, foreground, with Fr. Eric Bergman

Fr. Jason Catania and the members of Mount Calvary continue their own journey toward the Catholic Church with the assistance of Fr. Carleton Jones, OP, formerly of the Society of St. John the Evangelist.  Instruction continues as they move toward reception as a group at Easter and at they continue to work to find an amicable way forward with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

Father Eric Bergman and Paul Campbell are standing in the midst of ten members of the St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia.

Rector of Mount Calvary to Be Interviewed by EWTN's Raymond Arroyo

Fr. Catania shows Cardinal Keeler the newly-renovated Mount Calvary in December of 2008.

The Rev. Jason Catania of Mount Calvary, Baltimore, which recently voted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and apply to become a parish of the Anglican Use, will be interviewed this week by Raymond Arroyo for the EWTN program, "The World Over."

For those in the U.S., the program will air on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern with encore runs Friday at 1:00 a.m., Sunday 4:00 p.m., and Monday at both 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Those in other countries can check the listings on The World Over website.

A native of New Jersey, Father Catania grew up in West Milford Township and graduated from West Milford High School in 1989. As an undergraduate, he attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana where he majored in music history and participated in a number of musical activities, including the Notre Dame Band. He graduated in 1993 and entered the Ph.D program in musicology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Although raised a Lutheran, it was at this time that Fr. Catania discovered the Anglican tradition and rapidly became an “extreme” Anglo-Catholic, a label he wears proudly to this day. Having discerned a call to the priesthood, he opted to conclude his musical studies with a thesis on musical settings of the Burial Office from the Book of Common Prayer and was awarded an M.A. in musicology in 1995. Father Catania began theological studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. in the fall of 1996. While in Washington, he attended the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes and became acquainted with the All Saints Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville, Maryland, where he is now a priest associate.

Having become a postulant for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Quincy, Illinois under the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, SSC, Fr. Catania completed his M.Div. at Catholic University before spending a year at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin beginning in August, 1999. He was ordained deacon by Bishop Ackerman at St. Paul's Cathedral in Peoria on May 27, 2000 and began his curacy at St. George's Church, Schenectady, New York on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption. He was awarded the S.T.M. cum laude by Nashotah House before being ordained to the priesthood on December 21, 2000 at St. George's by the Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, Bishop of Albany. In November of 2001, Fr. Catania left Schenectady to become priest-in-charge of St. James Church, Lake Delaware in rural Delhi, New York, where he served until being elected the 15th Rector of Mount Calvary in December 2005. He took up his duties at Mount Calvary in April 2006.

Mount Calvary Heading Home

Mount Calvary, Baltimore

Here's the story.  Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore has voted overwhelmingly!

UPDATE: The Bovina Bloviator, who broke the original story on Mount Calvary, has a few additional details:

Three weeks ago I broke the news the vestry of Mount Calvary Episcopal Church in Baltimore had voted unanimously to approve two motions severing the church's ties to the Episcopal Church and requesting full communion with the Holy Catholic Church via Angliconrum Coetibus. The rector of Mount Calvary, the Rev'd Jason Catania, announced a special meeting at which the parishioners would vote on the vestry's two motions. That meeting was held today and both motions have passed by a substantial margin, nearly 85 percent. Now begins the rather involved matter of making Fr. Catania, his staff and parishioners Catholics; it will not happen overnight.

Now also, I suppose, begins the waiting game with the Episcopal Church, how it will react to this "Dear John letter" from one of its flocks. Will it cut a deal with Mount Calvary to allow the parish to retain its property or will Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, through her consigliore David Booth Beers, pour out her fury upon them as she has done to so many other departing Episcopal parishes? This time, of course, the mighty forces of the Catholic Church might possibly come into play but my guess is Holy Church is loath to get into a legal brawl with the Episcopalians and vice versa.

One thing is certain, however: the parishioners, the heart of any church (the blessed company of all faithful people), of Mount Calvary are leaving the Episcopal Church, with or without the property. Both sides will need our prayers.

Mount Calvary Church, Baltimore

The vestry of the small Anglo-Catholic parish of Mount Calvary in Baltimore has voted to leave The Episcopal Church and seek admission into the Catholic Church under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.  A special meeting of the congregation has been called to approve these actions.  May the people of Mount Calvary be in our prayers as they approach this solemn assembly!

H/t to The Bovina Bloviator.

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September 21, 2010

Dear Friends in Christ,

I write today to inform you of a special meeting of the Congregation of Mount Calvary Church which has been called by the Vestry for Sunday, October 24, following the 10:00 am Solemn Mass. The purpose of this meeting is to vote on two resolutions which have been unanimously approved by the Vestry. They are as follows:

Resolved: In accordance with Article 12 of the amendment to the Charter of Mount Calvary Church, Baltimore, adopted April 10, 1967, the Vestry of Mount Calvary Church hereby determines that The Episcopal Church (formerly known as the “Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America”) has clearly, substantially, and fundamentally changed its doctrine, discipline and worship, and that Mount Calvary Church should become separate from and independent of The Episcopal Church. The Vestry therefore calls for a special meeting of the Congregation of Mount Calvary Church to be held on Sunday, October 24, 2010, following the 10:00 AM Mass, to affirm and enact this resolution.

Resolved: That Mount Calvary Church, upon separation from The Episcopal Church, seek to become an Anglican Use parish of the Roman Catholic Church.

Most of you are fully aware of the history which has brought us to this point. That history extends all the way back to the 19th century, when Mount Calvary became well-known, throughout Maryland and throughout the Episcopal Church, for its adherence to Catholic faith and practice. Indeed, to some it was notorious for its “popish” ways, and in fact for many clergy and people over the years (including two of my predecessors as rector), Mount Calvary has been their last stop before “crossing the Tiber”. The immediate process which brings us to this historic moment began with a Vestry retreat in October 2007, where it was decided unanimously that Mount Calvary should explore the possibility of becoming part of the Roman Catholic Church. Since then, two crucial events have occurred. The first was the reception of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, our own parish sisters, into the Catholic Church in September 2009. The second was the announcement the following month of Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution calling for the creation of “personal ordinariates” (essentially non-geographical dioceses) for groups of Anglicans entering the Roman Catholic Church while retaining elements of their tradition. The result of these developments is that the Archdiocese of Baltimore now stands ready to welcome Mount Calvary as a body into full communion with the successor of St. Peter, and the process of establishing ordinariates in various countries, including the United States, has begun.

While I know that the vast majority of you are enthusiastic about making this transition, I realize that some may still have questions and concerns about the prospect of entering the Roman Catholic Church. In the weeks ahead, prior to the congregational meeting, I will invite a series of guests to speak about their experience of life in the Catholic Church and to answer questions. Some of these guests will be well-known to you; indeed they will include former parishioners and clergy of Mount Calvary. I think all of them will be helpful in allaying any fears there may be.

Let me conclude by saying how truly grateful I am to be leading Mount Calvary Church at this moment in time. When I became your rector over four years ago, I had not the faintest idea that this would be the journey we would take together. Nonetheless, there is not a doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Holy Spirit and truly the will of God, not simply for me, but for Mount Calvary. This is not about rejecting our past and our heritage, but rather fulfilling it. We have before us the opportunity to carry with us the richness of the Anglican tradition into full communion with the wider Catholic Church. I therefore ask that each of you pray that God’s will be done in this place which we all love so dearly as we approach this momentous decision.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev’d Jason Catania, SSC