TERM I – PERIOD II… A new phase approaches fast!

Dean’s Office

Dear Students and Seminarians, first allow me to wish a very Happy New Year to you as a new Period (II) in Term I approaches. This is the right time to share with you all a few words. This new Period is dominated by two foundational subjects in the Old Catholic Apostolic Church’s Syllabus here at St. Catherine’s. The first one, Canon Law is required to attain a more thorough knowledge of our Law. As an autonomous Old Catholic Church, the OCAC does not carry the legal complexities of a significant Body of Law, as is the case with very large Churches. A visit to the Seminary’s Canon Law Resources Page may prove beneficial as a starting point.

Notwithstanding, OCAC Canon Law regulates a considerable number of points and those of you who study here as Ordinands, need to be fully familiar with our Law. Canon Law regulates a wide array of activities and answers many questions regarding what is expected of you as future OCAC Clergy and has provisions which cover many areas of Clerical Life.

Each one of you will have a personal study method, your comfort zone as it were… Nonetheless, I would like to recommend a thorough study and perhaps some brief note-taking on what chapters and articles within actually cover, as an aid, a support tool for your Canon Law Exam. The exam allows material consultation, but I would advise everyone not to rely too heavily on the ability to consult alone. This is because the OCAC Canon Law Exam is “Competency-based”. This means the exam will give you a circumstantial, situational scenario set of questions and therefore, there is no YES or NO answer, or at least not necessarily, as each scenario may entail an answer involving a variable number of different provisions in OCAC Canon Law.

Another point worth noting is the legal context in which OCAC Canon Law operates. The OCAC operates within an English Law context, this is important to understand. By comparison, Roman Catholic Canon Law operates within Vatican and International Law, because the Holy See is a Sovereign Nation-State. The OCAC is subject to English Law, because it operates as a non-profit religious organisation lawfully incorporated in England. Whilst it is true that your studies will only cover OCAC Canon Law, it is nonetheless crucial you understand that as future OCAC Clergy, your activities, behaviours and general conduct fall well and truly under the remit of OCAC Canon Law and several Acts of English Statutory Law, such as the DPA-Data Protection Act, GDPR, as well as Legislation covering sexual behaviour, abuse and other provisions in Law, which although they do not form part of OCAC Canon Law, still have a statutory effect on the activities of OCAC Clergy.

Pay close attention to time and manage your study wisely, as the timeframe for Law studies is limited to January only. The Exam booking falls on Saturday 30th January 2021. This exam has a mandatory PASS RATE OF 70 / 100!

Note: Papers at St. Catherine’s often have a so-called Pass Rate, a certain minimal percentual point rate out of 100% maximum; for example a Pass Rate of 50 / 100 means you would need to achieve at least 50% in order to pass the paper/assignment.

Your Period II continues from the 1st of February 2021 to 26th of February 2021 with Christian Philosophy. We have a relatively short time window to cover a subject which in reality could very well keep everyone busy for at least two years, but sadly we must cut here, to prioritise Theology later and still keep Term I to just one academic term. St. Catherine’s Seminary website has a short page dedicated to Christian Philosophy (click HERE). I would recommend a quick visit to this page, as it sets the tone in terms of what you should expect.

The page also contains advice on the bibliographical references, with two excellent books recommended and their respective links to Amazon UK. As previously stated, Kindle editions are cheaper. The Kindle App for Desktop PC or Laptop PC is very stable and reliable; and it is free of charge. To download, click Kindle-for-PC Software. Save the installer and then run it to install the application.

The assignment – a short/medium Essay – on Christian Philosophy is booked for Saturday, 27th February, 7:00am – 11:30pm. The assignment paper offers 3 subjects, of which you only need to pick ONE. This format aims to make it easier for you to pick which one of the three questions on offer is the one you prefer to discuss. There is NO PASS RATE set for the essay on Christian Philosophy. The idea is to prioritise free-thinking and creative flair, rather than constrain you.

Note: Papers at St. Catherine’s often have a so-called Pass Rate, a certain minimal percentual point rate out of 100% maximum; for example a Pass Rate of 50 / 100 means you would need to achieve at least 50% in order to pass the paper/assignment.

St. catherine’s seminary why reform now?

“The only difference between your local college
and a Christian seminary is that the latter is more honest”
Dennis Prager

How the need to reform the curricula at St. Catherine’s Seminary came about is a bit of a blur to me, even though I have been involved in the project since its inception. I honestly cannot remember how it came about. But that is a good thing. A very good thing! It simply means it was most certainly God’s idea, and somehow we found ourselves driven by a Divine Hand, doing things, deciding here and there, building brick by brick a structure suitable for purpose.

We had just a few building blocks to start with. An enthusiastic and committed Bishop, some years of experience and knowledge in DTP publishing, some spare time and Faith that somehow it would work out. See, the best things in Life are often those we did not plan, but those God planned somehow. Being a tool in God’s shed suits me perfectly. For I often do not have a clue whether I am trailing the right path or beginning the right journey, so I say to Him “You know… I really do not feel sure what’s best, I hope You do, just guide my hand, please”… I know He listens. Just a couple of weeks ago, whilst reading the notes of a Benedictine Monk who has the privilege of receiving locutions from Jesus (in a similar fashion to Sister Faustina Kowalska), I found a note where the Lord reportedly said precisely that… “I always listen, and have a keen interest in listening to anything you have to say to Me”.

Trusting God pays off, I find. It is not always clear what on Earth He wants to do, sometimes, quite often actually. It may take a while, even years to understand why. It is not the case that we do not have a choice. We do! We can say “YES”. And we can say “NO”. But saying “YES” pays off, because no matter how complicated things might get, Our Father is in the habit of being usually right. I have no idea how it works, but it does seem to work. Since November last year, when this whole Seminary Project began to take a hint of a shape, all sorts of things happened. We had an accident in the house leaving my other half with an immobilised leg until January. Then in January a pulmonary embolism (which started in the broken leg) came along to make things that little bit harder. Then in March Covid-19 came to join the former and create chaos. Oh… And in December my former employer decided to fold and fail to pay wages, crashing down into insolvency, so I also had to find a new job.

I didn’t find a job. It literally dropped on my lap, close to home, less than 3 miles away from home, and despite all my fears of a lengthy process, I was back in-shape in less than a week. I have no merit in this Miracle. Our Lord does and all I can do is to humbly say thank You.

I am humbled, I feel smaller than a house mouse in this. In all of this. For despite everything that’s happened since November last year, St. Catherine’s Seminary project continued to grow. How?!… Your guess is as good as mine. I have no idea! It just happened! Whenever I had time to sit at my desk and write content, it simply flowed freely and without much of a struggle. Even graphical content that had to be built from scratch worked first time, fitted first time and any changes were just small things, so no time was wasted. I look at this and I am baffled. Nothing usually runs so smoothly in DTP Publishing or Web page design. No way! But somehow it did, with St Catherine’s Seminary Project.

I was interrupted often, someone immobilised in bed with a broken Achilles tendon needs lots of things, frequently. That is normal. But on my way back to my desk, I can only say I had not lost my line of thinking and so it just flowed again, fairly easily. That is a Miracle too, because typically I do get lost if my focus is stopped for whatever reason.

I am happy that it worked out. I don’t know the reasons why, I don’t think I am supposed to know. I am simply thankful and humbled to be a tool in Our Father’s shed. The Old Catholic Apostolic Church has a new Seminary up and running, thanks to God’s help and His skillful handling of the tools in His shed.

May it all be for His greater Glory.

Good night and God bless.

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