Those studying to become clergy in our church undertake formation training with a mentor and take part in distance study. We call our educational and training programs ‘St Catherine’s Seminary’. The study is thorough yet manageable and provides a strong basis for sacramental ministry in a mission setting.

It is tailored to part-time and non-stipendiary serving, and there is no cost to our candidates. OCAC makes no claim to connection with any other seminary or education institute and training under this program is internal for OCAC clergy only. It is university quality, and is contributed to by a well renowned professor of theology who lectures at Wroclaw University (Poland) and is a member of OCAC.

Candidates with existing recognised qualifications can be given credits for existing work or experience leading to exemptions where relevant for certain candidates.

Potential candidates, including those not yet part of OCAC, please enquire here:

Application form for Incardination (joining as clergy) or for candidacy for ordination, click here.

Articulating Studies & Holy Orders

A unique system focusing on Pastoral Mission

The Old Catholic Apostolic Church (OCAC) has adopted for many years and remains committed to a unique system which in effect reverses the priority in how seminarians link their individual studies’ progress and their progress through Orders. Many seminaries subordinate ordination of their seminarians to the completion of certain studies grades and whilst this is a choice as valid as any, it carries practical results in that the Pastoral Mission is subject to the academic grade, whatever that might be.

In the OCAC system, we allocate priority to the Pastoral Mission relevant to the area and region where the seminarian will one day carry out his/her pastoral work. Traditionally, the OCAC ordains into most grades of Minor Orders and then into the usual grades of Major Holy Orders. But because the pastoral added value naturally inhabiting the heart and mind of each seminarian differs from ordinand to ordinand, progress through each Order depends more upon past pastoral experience – if any – and the experience gained whilst studying.

Thus, each individual seminarian’s progress through Orders is independent and grows autonomously in relation to the studies stage each seminarian is at any point in time. The Orders are:

Clerical Orders at the Old Catholic Apostolic Church.
Orders at the Old Catholic Apostolic Church

As seen in the above illustration, the point of entry to the Seminary is subject to an initial Assessment. Your overall experience and life counts at least as much as your education, but it is the former the one that is prioritised as a key criterium when deciding your entry point, because whatever education you already have prior to your vocational discernment, your Church life and experience is the most important factor, in deciding where you will feel most at home, at the OCAC.

Thus, an applicant with a University degree but no experience whatsoever in Church ministry is unlikely to feel at ease entering Seminary as a Sub-Deacon. Entering as a Reader might be a good idea.

Another applicant may only have completed secondary school, or 6th Form but has significant experience as, say, an Altar Server and perhaps experienced as a Minister of the Eucharist, visiting the sick and delivering Holy Communion; here it may be advisable and sensible that (s)he enters seminary as an Acolyte or even Sub-Deacon.

Old Catholic Apostolic Church

Churches have hierarchies, so the illustration above gives a brief insight into the hierarchical structure. However, please note this is not a matter of Power. It is fundamentally a matter of teamwork and collaborative liaison between the various Orders; but also offers an excellent overview into the interactions between members of Orders in close proximity.

There is no “upstairs vs. downstairs” spirit at the OCAC, so interpreting the pyramid in that way would be rather inaccurate. The OCAC is above all a Christian Community, a Family as it were. The pyramid helps you understand the pathway to the Priesthood, and how your involvement and added responsibilities may grow as you move up.

Moving up does not mean you are getting closer to Power; it just means your pastoral preparedness is increasing. Focus is on Pastoral Mission.

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