The Old Catholic Vocation

Posted on 11th August, 2020

Being an Old Catholic in Great Britain is not a vocation for those who are very outgoing with their faith. In many ways, it is a solitary vocation, with perhaps one or two dozen clergy spread across the whole country, all living their own lives. Yet, on the other side of this coin, it is a very unencumbered vocation, free of all the usual accretions of church life - buildings, arguments, personality clashes. It's yours to build from the ground up.

 

In many ways, this makes it a very varied vocation. There is something of the monk, the hermit and the priest in every Old Catholic - there's no crowd to be lost in, to be sure. Most of us are like the chantry priests of pre-Reformation England where, liturgical duties apart, we have a generous stock of time not usually available to parish or pastoral clergy. Back then, many chantry priests would be engaged in works of education or administration for which their education suited them. This is the case with many Old Catholic clergy of working-age today, who often pursue their pastoral instinct in their secular, self-supporting work. Not all priests need to be parish priests - there are very few Old Catholic parishes anyway.

 

For those with the right temperament and opportunities, this can be a blessed vocation. There's freedom to pray according to one's preference or bent - you can experiment or even omit the Divine Office when necessary. If there's no reassuring crowd around you, there's no mob and (usually) no gossips either. You can develop a very personal apostolate that can be very fulfilling, bearing in mind always that one's welfare and well-being is of central importance - pray well, eat well and live in accordance with the virtues.

 

Perhaps the greatest gift of an Old Catholic vocation is time. If you can live modestly and work less-than-full-time, you can live a prayerful and rewarding life as the world rushes by, full of anxieties and anguish. You can be one prayerful witness to life's true heart and worth amid all the noise as you make your way through it purposefully and peacefully.

 

May our Lady, St. Joseph and all the saints, by the mercy of God, guide us and support us with their prayers, for Christ's sake. Amen.

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