Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Saint George Catholic Church?
A. Saint George is a Catholic Church, in Republic, Missouri, under the canonical jurisdiction of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. Unlike most other Catholic churches in the area, we are not under the local Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. However, we are listed on the diocesan website (here), and we do work in close cooperation with the diocese, serving the Catholic faithful together in a complementary way. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter is a canonical jurisdiction within the Catholic Church that covers the United States and Canada. It is one of three similar ordinariates in the English-speaking (Anglophone) world, and operates directly under the Pope, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Each ordinariate has many local churches within its canonical jurisdiction. Saint George Catholic Church is one of those churches.
Q. Is Saint George a Catholic Church?
A. YES! Saint George is a fully Roman Catholic Church (100%), which is part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. This Ordinariate operates directly under the Pope of Rome and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). All members of Saint George are fully Roman Catholic (100%). We are not an Anglican Church, and we have no connection to the Archbishop of Canterbury. We are listed as a Catholic Church in full-communion with the Diocese of Springfield - Cape Girardeau.
Q. Who may attend liturgies at Saint George Catholic Church?
A. Anyone may attend our liturgies and all are welcome. All of our sacraments are valid and legal Roman Catholic sacraments, and all of our priests are validly and legally ordained Roman Catholic priests. Any Catholic may receive the sacraments offered by our clergy. Non-Catholics are welcome to attend and pray with us as well, but should not receive communion. One does not need to be a member of Saint George Catholic Church to attend our liturgies.
Q. What is the Ordinariate?
A. The Ordinariate is a special canonical jurisdiction (like a super-diocese) within the Roman Catholic Church. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter spans the entire United States and Canada, overlapping regular territorial dioceses, but applying only to certain persons and parishes, and is governed by our own bishop in Houston, Texas, who is familiar with our English Patrimony. This is sort of like a personal prelature or religious order. Saint George is established and formed as part of this jurisdiction. If we likened the Ordinariate as a religious order, then think of Saint George as a monastery within that order.
Q. How large is the Ordinariate?
A. There are three ordinariates in total. The first is called the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and it has jurisdiction in the United Kingdom with about 3,500 members as of 2016. The second is the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, and it has jurisdiction in the United States and Canada with about 6,700 members as of 2017. The third is the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, and it has jurisdiction in Australia and Oceania with about 2,000 members as of 2014. Saint George is under the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, and our ordinariate is growing rapidly. To see the number of parishes in our ordinariate directory, you may visit the Ordinariate parish finder.
Q. Does one need to be a member of the Ordinariate to be a member of Saint George Catholic Church?
A. No. One does not need to be a member of the Ordinariate to become a member of Saint George Catholic Church. Church membership is entirely different from Ordinariate membership. Many Ordinariate communities have "mixed membership," meaning some members who are part of the local diocese, and some are part of the Ordinariate. St. George is no different.
Q. How does one become a member of Saint George Catholic Church?
A. If you would like to become a member of Saint George, just fill out our online membership form. If you're not yet Catholic, and would like to join the Catholic Church through Saint George, just fill out our online membership form.
Q. What form of liturgy does Saint George Catholic Church use?
A. We use Divine Worship, which is a third form of the Roman Rite. The Roman Rite of the Catholic Church has three forms. The first is the Ordinary Form. This is the usual Mass, that is celebrated in the local vernacular languages (including modern English), and is typically seen in most Catholic churches around the world. The second is the Extraordinary Form. This is the the form of the Mass that is celebrated exclusively in Latin, and was celebrated in all Catholic churches until 1970. This form of the Roman Rite is still celebrated in various parishes throughout the Catholic Church worldwide. The third is Divine Worship. This is a newer liturgy based on Sacred English (or "Prayer Book English") and traditions brought back into the Catholic Church from Anglican converts to Catholicism. It has many similarities to how Catholics worshiped in England during the Middle Ages, before the Protestant Reformation.
Q. Are the liturgies at Saint George Catholic Church a separate rite?
A. No. This is a very common question. Many people are under the impression that we have our own rite apart from the Roman Rite. This is not the case. Saint George Catholic Church uses Divine Worship. It is part of the Roman Rite, a third form of the Roman Rite, but it is a special form that was brought back into the Catholic Church by Anglican converts to Catholicism. Even though our liturgy comes from English heritage, that was preserved by Anglicans for centuries, it has now returned to the Catholic Church and is 100% fully Roman Catholic. Just as the general Roman Rite has two common forms (Ordinary and Extraordinary), so it also has a special third form (Divine Worship) that comes directly from the English Patrimony, and is of special value to English-speaking Catholics. Like all other Catholics, we use the same Catechism of the Catholic Church, issued by Rome and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Because we are part of the Roman Rite, we fall under the same Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law for Latin Rite Churches. Our bishop is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). His cathedral is located in Houston, Texas.
Q. Who may receive communion at Saint George Catholic Church?
A. Any Catholic, who is properly disposed, and in a state of grace, may receive the sacrament of Holy Eucharist during our Divine Worship Mass. We encourage reception of the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) before Mass if there is any doubt or question about a state of grace. Non-Catholics should not receive communion. If you believe there is a special circumstance, that would make an exception to this, please discuss this with our priest privately before attempting to receive communion. Those who will not be receiving communion may still approach the altar rail for a blessing. This is done by placing one's hands on opposite shoulders, arms crossed, to signal to the priest that one will be receiving a blessing in place of the Holy Eucharist. The priest will always understand what this means.
Q. How is communion received at Saint George Catholic Church?
A. For those Catholics, who are properly disposed and in a state of grace, communion is received on the tongue while kneeling. This will always be the case, unless one has a physical disability that makes this impossible, in which another accommodation will be made. We typically use the method of intinction for communion; wherein the Eucharistic host is dipped into the precious blood by the priest immediately before it is placed on the communicant's tongue. We find that this method of receiving communion puts emphasis on the sacred act itself, drawing attention to what is happening. God Almighty, hidden under the mere appearance of bread and wine, is coming into physical communion with human beings. Many Catholics, who have received communion this way, often report to us that they experience a heightened sense of reverence and solemnity. It should also be noted that according to Rome, reception of communion on the tongue, while kneeling, is the default way (the normal way) of receiving communion throughout the Catholic Church worldwide. Communion given in the hand, while standing, is a practice that is allowed in the United States, only by special permission from Rome, on the condition that communicants may still receive on the tongue while kneeling, if they so choose. While many Catholic churches in the United States distribute communion in the hand, we at Saint George do not use this practice. All communion will be distributed on the tongue, while bodily position (kneeling, standing or sitting) is accommodated according to medical needs.
Q. Why do many women at Saint George Catholic Church wear hats or veils?
A. The tradition is Biblical in origin. It comes from St. Paul's instruction in 1st Corinthians 11:1-16, and it has always been the tradition of all Catholic churches in antiquity -- both East and West. Wearing a veil is not mandatory for women, but many women do it anyway as a sign of Mary-like humility, especially when in prayer, in keeping with the Biblical instruction. Some women prefer hats, as is consistent with English custom. Christian head-covering is different from head-covering in other religions. In Christianity, women primarily cover their heads in the presence of God during prayer and worship exclusively, and usually for no other reason. While head-coverings (veils and hats) are not required, we at Saint George fully support women who choose to keep this Biblical custom. We are a "head-covering friendly" community. We ask, however, that all head-coverings (veils or hats) be modest and not distracting. Furthermore, we request that all women be respected in their personal choice on this matter. Some women choose to cover their heads, others do not. Both choices are to be respected at Saint George.
Q. Why does the priest turn his back to the people during Mass?
A. During the Mass, the priest never "turns his back to the people," but rather he faces the Lord together with the people, leading them into worship. This position is called ad orientem which in Latin means "facing toward the east." The term "east" is not always meant to be interpreted literally, nor does the priest always face literal east. It comes rather from a passage of Scripture which reads; "For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be." (Matthew 24:27) In Latin the term versus Dominum is also used to describe this, which means "facing the Lord." The idea is the priest always leads the people into the worship of God. This position is the usual position for Eastern Catholics, and had been the normal position for Western Catholics up until the 1970s when the position of versus populum ("facing the people") was introduced. Many High Church Anglicans preserved the ad orientem, or versus Dominum, tradition in their churches, and in keeping with that English Patrimony, we do the same at Saint George Catholic Church.
Q: Why are some Ordinariate priests married?
A: The Catholic Church, in general, has always allowed married men to become priests but not bishops. This is especially noticeable in the Eastern Catholic churches of oriental rites. In the West however, celibacy became the norm for candidates to the priesthood nearly 900 years ago. This is why most Western Catholic priests are celibate. That being said, however, Rome still allows married men to become Catholic priests in the Western Church, in special circumstances with special permission from the pope. Some Ordinariate priests are celibate and some are married. All of the married priests within the Ordinariate were once married Catholic laymen, usually converts from Anglican ministry, who were given special permission by the pope to be ordained as Catholic priests. Ordinariate bishops, however, are always celibate, as is the norm for all bishops throughout the entire Catholic Church -- East and West.
Q. Do Catholics in the Ordinariate honor Mary?
A. Yes, Catholics in the Ordinariate are regular Catholics. Honor of Mary is part of both our Catholic Faith and our English Patrimony. To be clear, no Catholic worships Mary. The worship of Mary is forbidden in the Catholic Church. Rather, Catholics honor Mary, and show her great love, even asking for her prayers and intercessions, much like we would ask our friends and family for their prayers and intercessions. Catholics in the Ordinariate are no different. The honor of Mary is well known in the English Patrimony, as for nearly a thousand years, Mary has been honored under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham, recognized by both Catholics and Anglicans alike. In AD 1061, Our Lady appeared to Richeldis de Faverches, a pious English noblewoman in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England. Lady Richeldis built a small structure named "The Holy House" in Walsingham which later became a shrine and place of pilgrimage. On December 27, 2015, Pope Francis raised her sanctuary to the status of a minor basilica through an Apostolic decree. Catholics in the Ordinariate are very fond of Marian devotion, and many frequently pray the rosary, wear the brown scapular, and visit approved holy sites of Marian apparition.