FAQ's about Ordinations
Who can receive ordination in Christ Communion?
Any confirmed* and practicing member of Christ Communion over the age of 25, regardless of sexual orientation, gender/gender identification, or marital status, who believes that the sacraments should be open to all people regardless of their own gender, sexual orientation, or marital status may be considered for ordination to the priesthood (21 years old for the diaconate).
If you are not currently part of Christ Communion, but feel called to serve as a priest, contact us. It is required that you attend a local, sacramental Church (Anglican, Roman or Old Catholic) for three months before you make an application for ordination. If you feel called to the priesthood, it is imperative that you understand your primary ministry: to offer the sacraments to God’s people.
*Those called who are not yet confirmed in one of the Apostolic Churches (Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Orthodox, or Anglican) can apply for the ordination process before they receive confirmation. We will provide confirmation during your studies.
I know I want to apply. What is my first step?
On the "Pursuing Ordination" page of our website, click the "Apply Now" button at the bottom of the page. Look it over and fill it out thoughtfully, taking as much time as you feel you need. There is a packet included in the application with a checklist of paperwork and assessments that must also be provided to us. Use the checklist as a guide. We will inform you if you’ve left anything out of your application.
Email the completed form and all paperwork listed on the application checklist to: info@ChristCommunion.org
I’ve turned in my application. What happens from here?
In general, the application process moves in the following order (variations for individuals may occur):
Application submitted, including all paperwork and required donation for background
check ($25, the only expense for applying)
Background Check Performed by office
Online meeting with the Vocations Director or their representative
Await decision of the Vocations Council
Online seminary entry exam (for placement in theology courses)
Enrollment in seminary classes via our official seminary, St. Thomas Aquinas University (more information below)
A spiritual director is assigned to you and spiritual direction begins and continues through to ordination.
Adequate performance in and attendance of classes, continuing training, conference calls, spiritual retreats, etc.(all long distance)
During the process, regular attendance at mass and confession at a local Catholic, Old Catholic, Orthodox or Anglican is parish required.
Once you’ve met the required expectations, the ordination process will begin. The timing of your ordination(s) is dependent upon your satisfactory advancement in formation and education, your spiritual preparedness, and your liturgical practicum evaluations. The Bishops are presented with reports from St. Thomas Aquinas University, your Spiritual Director, and your Liturgy Instructors. At this point, a decision is made as to whether you are ready to be received into Holy Orders, first as a deacon and then as a priest, or if you are in need of additional formation.
How much does the seminary cost? Are there any other expenses in applying?
There is a non-refundable $25 application fee to cover the costs of the required background checks.
Tuition costs for seminary will depend on the amount of courses taken. That number will vary depending on a candidates previous studies. This can be discussed with the vocations director as part of the acceptance process. More detailed information can be found on the St. Thomas Aquinas University website.
Can my training be done entirely online or will I have to travel?
The educational component of the seminary and other spiritual training is entirely online/long distance. All classes are offered online and assignments are turned in digitally. Some classes are taught live via Skype or Zoom while others are done via online discussion. You will also be given independent reading assignments.
All of that can be completed long-distance from anywhere in the world.
However, the ordination process requires at least two trips to one of our Bishops to receive Holy Orders.
What are Holy Orders and what is involved in ordination?
Your journey to the priesthood includes 3 steps: reception as a seminarian, ordination to the Diaconate, and ordination to the Presbyterate.
The first step is reception as a seminarian. Upon formal acceptance as a candidate for formation, one officially begins their training. You will be appointed a spiritual advisor who will guide you through the process of spiritual formation. You will begin your educational studies through our seminary.
The second step is ordination to the Diaconate. This is an actual ordination. You will receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders and will be ordained a deacon in the church. It is at this point that you become Catholic Clergy and receive a special portion of the Holy Spirit.
The ministry of Deacon is vital to the church. A Deacon may confer two of the 7 scriptural sacraments: Marriage and Baptism. The deacon may also participate in the mass by assisting the priest, leading the people in prayer, proclaiming the Gospel and giving the homily.
The deacon wears a stole, the sign of Holy Orders, and wears the clerical collar, a public sign of the ministry of the church. Some may decide to remain a deacon permanently and not proceed to the priesthood. Others will serve as a transitional deacon as they are pursuing ordination to the presbyterate.
For transitional deacons, a candidate continues their studies until they have been fully trained in all of the functions of the priesthood. Ordination to the Presbyterate, or becoming a priest, is also the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It is during your ordination to the priesthood that you receive valid Apostolic Succession and can confect the Eucharist during mass. You will also be empowered to administer the sacraments of Reconciliation (Confession/Absolution), and Holy Unction (Annointing of the sick).
How long does the ordination process take?
It depends on the individual.
Every person comes to us at a different point in their theological education and liturgical training.
Because we receive so many candidates from different backgrounds, some may move towards their ordination to the diaconate more swiftly than others. Candidates already in possession of a Master of Divinity may only need some specific instruction in the theology and polity of Christ Communion, spiritual formation, and liturgical training.
However, as a rough guide, the seminary is structured into monthly courses and takes 2 years to complete from start to finish. That means a candidate with no formal theological background can expect to study for the priesthood for a couple years. Should they complete their work and formation satisfactorily, they will be ordained to the diaconate at about the 9 month to 1 year mark.
The length of time your training takes is also dependent on the church’s determination of your spiritual preparedness and maturity.
Will I receive a degree from the seminary?
Yes. Upon completion of your studies and your presbyterate ordination, St. Thomas Aquinas University (STAU) will confer upon you the degree of Master of Divinity. STAU operates as a religious university according to Florida statute 1005.06. This degree is a religious degree not accredited by an independent accrediting institution. Religious degrees are not required to be accredited and it does not affect the validity of its use in ministry.
As we grow and obtain physical offices and central locations, we may look into outside accreditation. This requires a great deal of staff, time and money which can be put to better use at this time.
I’m not Catholic, but I really feel pulled towards the Catholic priesthood. What do I have to do to enter the seminary?
If you have never attended mass or have not completed the Sacraments of initiation in the Catholic Church (Baptism, Confirmation, and/or Communion), you can still apply for entry into the vocations program and the seminary to study for the priesthood. You will, however, have some added steps in the process.
You will first have to go through catechism (the classes offered to those who wish to become Catholic) and receive all of the sacraments of the church that you are missing up to that point. If you have been baptized in another Christian tradition, you will only need to receive confirmation from us. The timing of this will be discussed with the bishop and your ability to travel will be taken into account.
While you progress in catechism, we ask that you attend Mass, either at a local Old Catholic Church or, if none is available nearby, at a Roman Catholic Church or Anglican. You must attend Sunday mass for three months before applying for seminary. This will coincide with your catechism classes.
It is vital that you feel called to serve at the altar and offer mass regularly. A priest must be totally in love with the Eucharist, which is his source of strength and the center of his spiritual life.
At the end of catechism, if you still feel called to the priesthood, you may formally apply to the seminary.
I was ordained in another Independent Catholic/Anglican/Orthodox jurisdiction as a deacon/priest. However, I feel called to serve within Christ Communion. How do I proceed?
Let the Director of Vocations know that you have already received Holy Orders and the name of the church/jurisdiction from which you received them. Then fill out the seminary application as described above and send it to the vocations director. There are questions on the application that pertain directly to incardination.
At that point, you will proceed through the application process in the same manner as any other candidate. A background check will be performed, etc.
If you are accepted for incardination and we find that your Holy Orders are valid because they were conferred by a Bishop with valid apostolic lines, we will contact you and work towards your incardination. You will only be formally ordained if we find your original ordination was not performed by a valid bishop.
If you require additional training for the priesthood, it will be offered to you through the seminary.
In the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, a priest is assigned to a parish once they are ordained. However, Christ Communion has no parishes in my area. What will I be doing once I’m ordained?
Christ Communion is not as large as the Roman Catholic Church. However, what might seem as a detriment is actually a huge blessing.
All bishops lead their jurisdictions the way the Apostles each took a section of the ancient church and appointed successors. The council of bishops leads in union with each other, no one bishop having more of a say than any other. We do not acknowledge the preeminence of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) nor his infallibility. We govern and shepherd just as it was in the ancient church.
Christ Communion, as part of this tradition, is very much a First Century Church in a 21st Century world. We are a church on an evangelical mission to bring the Good News of God’s unconditional love and acceptance to ALL people, regardless of race, culture, gender identification, sexual orientation, or marital status. We offer all sacraments to all people because God is “no respecter of persons.”
This missionary spirit gives each newly ordained priest a divine opportunity to forge a ministry in their area, in consultation with their bishop. One may feel called to chaplaincy or to an online outreach or to youth ministry or to the life of a parish priest. In every instance, a priest may speak to the bishops and gain permission to begin a new church ministry or mission in their area.
Just like the first century, our communion is exploding with activity and potential through its missionary efforts. It is a time of tremendous creativity and spirit-filled zeal. Essentially, your greatest passion and the church’s greatest need will meet and it is that place where God will want you most. Your ministry will be an ongoing conversation between you, the bishop, and the Holy Spirit.
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU WILL SERVE THE CHURCH FROM WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE WORLD. CHRIST COMMUNION DOES NOT RELOCATE PEOPLE FOR EITHER SEMINARY OR TO SERVE IN A PARISH!
Will I be required to perform Same-Sex weddings? What about other sacraments for gay or divorced people?
We reject all doctrines of exclusion and so must you in order to become a priest with Christ Communion. You may refuse a request to perform a sacrament only if:
You cannot physically perform the rite (travel, scheduling, illness, work load, lack of resources, cost, etc.);
Those requesting the sacrament are not able to receive it (such as a couple where one spouse is legally married); are making inappropriate demands you are uncomfortable with (such as material changes to the Rites of the Sacrament itself); or if you have misgivings about the intent of those making the request.
Those seeking the sacrament are not properly disposed to receive the sacrament and its grace (age, lack of a pre-requisite sacrament, mental impairment, etc.)
If you find 2 and/or 3 to be the case, discuss it with your bishop.
HOWEVER, you may NOT refuse any sacrament to ANYONE who requests it simply because of their gender identification, the gender identification of their partner or spouse, their sexual orientation, their marital status, their race, their culture, or their family if the only obstacle to offering the sacrament is your opinion of the same.
So if you believe that marrying a transgender couple would trouble your conscience, PLEASE do not apply to Christ Communion.
There are other jurisdictions that do not offer sacraments to those traditionally excluded from them by Rome and we wish you well in seeking out such jurisdictions. However, no Christ Communion clergy may discriminate or withhold a sacrament from a properly disposed person who requests it for any of the reasons listed above.