Dear Friend in Christ,
Quite often we get inquiries from people who are seeking a path towards the ordained ministry or join with the Catholic Church in America as an ordained minister from another jurisdiction. We appreciate all inquiries and will gladly communicate with each person. While we recognize the intrinsic value of women, we are admitting women only to minor orders and the diaconate.
- What is the process for incardination as a cleric in the CCIA?
The first step is to read about us on our websites, ask questions, and then if you would like to be considered for incardination, request and complete the application. (see: CCIA Pledge of Commitment, CCIA Constitution)
- Incardination is open only to clerics in Minor Orders and Deacons, Priests, and Bishops ordained in the Catholic tradition by a church with valid lines of Apostolic Succession. While our College of Bishops makes the final determination on each applicant, generally speaking, we welcome clerics from most conservative mainline (Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran) and independent Catholic (too numerable to list) churches. Obviously, conformity to reception of the sacraments of Baptism and Ordination administered in the traditional Catholic Faith manner, and faith compatibility to our Statements of Beliefs are significant criteria for acceptance into our clergy.
The application, which we will forward to you upon request, should be thoroughly and thoughtfully completed. That application and the requested documentation will need to be submitted before the incardination decision is made. It is acceptable to send the application first and then supply the documentation as it is gathered.
- What training (education) do I need to be incardinated into the CCIA?
Our review of your education as related to ministry should show a strong correlation to our ordination requirements as presented in our Seminary Catalog available on our website. The Incardination Committee will identify significant deficits and the Administrative Coadjutor bishop will develop a plan for making up the deficits. This may be done through seminary coursework or through directed reading. The amount and depth of ministry experience is also factored into this decision and can substitute for specific course content.
Clerics from mainline churches enjoy the presumption of having appropriate and sufficient education and experiences related to ministry. However, since the educational background for independent Catholic churches is so varied, we review transcripts and ministry experience carefully. The CCIA is strongly committed to having ministers who are well prepared to present and live the message of Jesus.
- Is there full time paid ministry available in the CCIA?
Yes and No. When a congregation or ministry is able to provide financial support for a clergyperson, it is expected to do so. However, at present most of our clergy (deacons, priests and bishops) support themselves through their secular employment and give without monetary compensation their time and talents to the development of their ministry. Most ministries begin as a tent-maker ministry in the spirit of the apostle Paul and the early Christian disciples. Most of our clergy perform their priestly ministry in the manner of the French worker-priest movement of the mid-1940s. Finally, as described in our Church Law, clergypersons are not hired by the CCIA, but rather are selected and function in operational matters as agents of the local parish board or church corporation.
- Are there expenses involved in being incardinated in your church?
No fee or charge is ever paid for incardination or for ordination! There are, however, some expenses that are passed on to the applicant. This is the current total list:
- There is an application fee of $150.00. That covers criminal background check, printing, mailing, CCIA ID and follow-up telephone conversation. It is non-refundable.
- As part of the application process, the applicant is required to visit in person with the Presiding Bishop or other clergy more proximate to the applicant’s home city. Travel expenses related to that visit are the responsibility of the applicant.
- If deficits in education need to be made up through seminary coursework, the candidate pays for all coursework directly to the seminary program provider (either our own seminary program or a mutually agreed upon program). See our current St. Jude Thaddeus School o Theology Catalog on our website so that you know in advance the cost of coursework through our program. We award coursework credit toward ordination for ministry related coursework in other institutions and for ministry related job and life experiences. There is no charge for transfer and experiential credit.
- For ordination: There is never a charge for incardination or ordination. Our Church Law does require that Reception (Incardination) of Clergy and Ordinations ordinarily take place at our annual Synod/Retreat.
- Deacons, priests, and bishops are expected to purchase their own vestments and altar appointments needed in their ministry. The offerings of the congregation are used by the pastor for the operational expenses of the parish or ministry.
- Our Church Law requires that all clerics attend and participate every year in our Church Synod/Retreat wherever it is held. The travel costs and registration fee are the annual responsibility of the cleric.
- How long does it take to be incardinated as a deacon, priest, or bishop in the CCIA?
That is not an easy question because each candidate is led through the process in an individualized and personal manner. When the application process is complete, the Presiding Bishop presents the application with his/her recommendation to the College of Bishops. So, the “how long?” timeline varies. However, in general, the incardination process can be completed in a couple of months.
I hope this information helps you as you look at the possibility of serving in the CCIA as a clergyperson. I want to be totally upfront with you as you look at us and I promise I will be. E-mail me if you have any questions or would just like to talk with me to see if we can be partners in the ministry of the Lord.
Peace and blessings,
The Catholic Church in America