PROVINCE OF EUROPE
A WESTERN [LATIN RITE] EXPRESSION OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH

 The Old Roman Catholic Church

Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe

Ministry

Ministry

Our Clergy are involved in a variety of ministries as well as parochial; chaplains to industry, academic institutions, care homes and charitable hostels and other organisations as well as extensions of common pastoral ministry such as bereavement counselling and other specialist ministries in music, liturgy, retreat leading and missionary work.

The Church does not charge money for any services whether private individuals or corporations. Clergy may accept donations for the benefit of a local ministry e.g. to help with the costs of running a Mass Centre but will not accept any monetary renumeration for their pastoral ministry. Customary Mass Stipends and Stole Fees are, however, gratefully received.

Sacramental ministrations such as anointing with holy oil, Confession, the Eucharist or Viaticum will only be administered to Confirmed persons of the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Orthodox Catholic or Anglo-Catholic traditions and then only when a priest of an individual's own church is unavailable or for some reason is expressly not preferred.

Emergency Baptism, and Viaticum (last confession, anointing and Eucharist for the dying) and Confirmation may be administered in extremis (i.e. in an absolute emergency, or in case of imminent death). As a matter of courtesy, any such sacrament so administered will be communicated to the person's regular parish priest of the tradition of their birth and place of residence.

All clergy are CRB checked for regular ministry to vulnerable groups and will be happy to undergo CRB checking if required by an external agency i.e. youth organisation, school or nursing home etc for the purposes of ministering to people in that institution.

WORKER PRIESTS

Some of the clergy are engaged in secular employment to sustain their lives and their ministry. Our clergy are non-stipendiary (unpaid) and therefore need to work just as any other person does for economic survival! All clergy so employed do not however "turn off" their clerical status when at work. Many are recognised as "unofficial" chaplains in their working environment, colleagues naturally turning to someone they know will listen or give advice in times of need.

Exactly because some of our clergy are themselves employed they more fully appreciate the stresses and strains of daily life for most people. The constant weighing up of priorities, home and work life balance and the constant struggle to "find time" for oneself or family or friends. However, despite this our clergy employ their spare time to facilitate their first vocation in life, the service of Christ and of His Church and to serve the servants of God.

ORC clergy by virtue of their being or having been "worker priests," possess various professional qualifications and experience gained in the world of work. Some are trained health professionals, others social workers, some teachers and others small business owners, some have even been publicans, military service personnel or funeral directors! An individual priest may then be just as comfortable discussing the spiritual as the material problems of life providing a unique perspective on ministry that other mainstream clergy don't always possess.

Again because some of our clergy work full time, their ministry to local congregations and the work of the Church locally is assisted by Lay Ministers. These may themselves be employed or retired but give of their time to assist the pastoral ministry of the church. Lay Ministry within the diocese is Licensed or Certificated depending on the extent of its support of the priest's ministry and the nature of the work.

Chaplaincy

Clergy are also engaged in a wide variety of chaplainry work employing various skills acquired either professionally, in industry or from proven experience. All our clergy carry ID cards with contact details for verification.

Chaplainry ranges from hospitals and academic institutions through to industrial or pastoral ministries...

HOSPITAL: some of our clergy are trained healthcare professionals, trained counsellors and experienced pastoral ministers and regularly employ their skills in visiting not just members of our own congregations but others in local hospitals. 

Our clergy do not discriminate between believers and non-believers and will gladly visit anyone who is in hospital either for spiritual conversation or to be prayed with.  The following ministrations are, however, only available to Confirmed Catholics who would appreciate the particular ministrations of a priest; to hear a Confession, for anointing with the oil of the sick (Oleum Infirmorum) or to receive the Eucharist.

A clergyman will only visit at the express wish of the patient concerned we ask that to avoid any embarrassment people ensure that the patient is expecting to see a cleric and that they and relevant hospital staff are notified.

In extremis (in an emergency) our clergy will Baptise (infant/adult), Confirm (anointing with holy oil signifying conscious acceptance of the Catholic Faith), or administer Viaticum (last Confession and Absolution, anointing with holy oil, reception of the Blessed Sacrament). If any of the above are administered to Catholic Christians, the parish priest of the person's tradition will be notified accordingly.  


EDUCATIONAL: the ORC at present, unlike some other mainstream churches does not have any church schools or academic institutions of its own yet some of our clergy are engaged as Chaplains to educational establishments.

Our clergy are particularly happy to offer their services to further and higher education establishments in order to assist young adults in their spiritual development acting as either spiritual counsellors or members of a student social and welfare delivery team.

Young people are especially vulnerable to new ideas and concepts as they develop their own sense of self and place in society.  ORC clergy, sensitive to the background or culture of a student, seek to assist young people as they discern what belief and spirituality is about and seek to give advice on the ethical and moral dilemmas that many young people face.

The regular presence of a Christian minister in a school can be a positive and mutually reciprocal experience for all involved providing an opportunity not just for the students but for staff members too to talk to someone objectively or indeed spiritually about problems or issues affecting them.    

Industrial

Industrial chaplaincy can be a wide and varied ministry in its application from manufacturing establishments through to retail stores! In whatever environment he ministers, an ORC Cleric is there for the spiritual welfare of the employees; independently and objectively from any internal hierarchical structure. A Chaplain cannot be called to take part in any industrial disciplinary matter or advocacy role whatsoever, he is neutral.

The benefits to a business of having a Chaplain are numerous and most are unquantifiable! Just the presence of an objective listener will help to relieve staff stress levels and therefore perhaps attendance issues. The opportunity for some employees to unburden themselves of petty work quarrels means that their energies are not wasted and their concentration is focused on work. Social concerns i.e. the interaction between personalities at work has a big impact on the atmosphere of a working environment. Whether in an office or on a factory floor, people's foibles can be exaggerated disproportionately? Like any other social interaction, workplaces have to deal with the "personality" dynamic and this is not something to be ignored. A Chaplain can help to diffuse those situations.

A Chaplain can also help with personal problems that might be affecting the productivity of an employee, just a few minutes being able to talk about a problem at home away from the home environment confidentially can also help an employee's potential to put aside their problems at work. Our chaplains are trained to deal and refer people especially in areas not within their expertise. Just one or two words of reference or advice might make all the difference to an employee's concentration at work.

Spiritual

There are of course many occasions and groups of people who require a "chaplain" to support their group spiritually or provide a spiritual or welfare component to their group activities. Youth groups and youth organisations for example might require a Chaplain, "another" adult to help facilitate their group meetings e.g. leading prayers or even as a neutral listener to the internal dynamics and personalities within a group.

Pilgrims may require a Chaplain to facilitate spiritually their visit to a shrine, a prayer group for a priest to offer Mass or facilitate theological discussion or lead them in worship. Devotional or social groups particularly those working for a cause "outside" the mission of the mainstream may require the ministrations of a priest e.g. a group for divorcees or single parent families etc. There are many kinds of groups existing "without" the Church who may require or desire the spiritual counsel or ministrations of a priest.

Pastoral

Clergy also minister to nursing homes and residential institutions for the elderly or those disenfranchised by society e.g. night shelters, hospices, women's refuge's etc with the simple purpose in mind of being able to manifest the love of Christ to these people too.

Our clergy are open to receive invitations from groups whose members are brought together for some cause or other commonality that ordinarily might prevent them from receiving pastoral care from other mainstream churches. The ORCCE is non-judgemental with regard to it's clergy ministering to such groups and has an Equal Opportunities policy which encapsulates all manner of people in all walks of life; as long as the group does not condone or promote illegal activity or holds/advocates ideaology at odds with the principles of the Gospel. The participation of an ORCCE cleric in this way by no means implies that the Church advocates the particular cause or purpose of the group. But the ORCCE also believes that such ministries may enable group members to realise and feel the love of Christ and His Church for them.

Other Ministries

ORCCE clergy are also engaged in ministries that are sometimes forgotten or overlooked by other churches.

House blessings are no longer common place, but our clergy will accept requests to bless the new home of a family or individual - not just at Epiphany but also throughout the year including if required a "consecration to the Sacred Heart" of the home and family. Not just homes but other objects, particularly for devotional purposes may also be blessed. The ORCCE encourages those practices and customs that are not idolatrous, sacreligious or blasphemous but which contribute to and aid the sanctification of a Christian's everyday life.

The ORCCE does not believe in Christian burial rites for pets, however we do recognise that the loss of a pet can be comparable to that of a loved one for some people, especially those for whom the pet was their only companion. Our clergy will, for the comfort of bereaved owners, conduct burial services for pets or animals, or bless animals in thanksgiving for the companionship and comfort they bring to their owners. An appropriate service of thanksgiving for the life of such a pet can be a source of great comfort to some people.

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