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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is Saint George Catholic Church?

A. Saint George is a Roman Catholic Church, in Republic, Missouri, under the 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 in full communion with the diocese, 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 world, and operates directly under the Pope, and the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF). 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 Roman Catholic Church, which is part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. This Ordinariate operates directly under the Pope of Rome and the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF). All members of Saint George are Roman Catholics.
 We are listed as a Catholic Church in full-communion with the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau (see the Diocese Listing here). We are also listed as a Catholic Church in full-communion with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, or USCCB (see the USCCB listing here). If you have any questions or concerns about this, feel free to contact the local Diocese or the USCCB.

 

Q. Who may attend Holy Mass at Saint George Catholic Church?

A. Anyone may attend Holy Mass at Saint George and all are welcome. One does not need to be a member of Saint George Catholic Church to attend Mass here. 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.

Q. How should I dress at Saint George?

A. At Saint George we do not have a strict dress code. Some enjoy putting on their “Sunday best,” while others (for various reasons) do not. Your attire does not necessarily need to be formal, but overly casual attire is not truly respectful towards the Lord when we are in the Mass. It’s important to maintain a non-judgmental atmosphere when it comes to clothing. We only ask that, in all things, personal modesty is kept as a top priority. This applies to both men and women. We ask that worshipers cover their full torso, including shoulders and avoid deep necklines that expose too much of the chest or back. We also ask that legs be covered at least down to the knee. We ask that regular shoes or proper sandals be worn: please no flip-flops. We ask that worshipers please try to wear clothing that is clean, modest and suitable for worship of Almighty God.


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 or hat 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 lace veils or regular shawls. Others 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. If you have any concerns about this, please bring it up with our priest privately. 


Q. Why does the priest turn his back to the people during Mass?
A. During the Holy 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 Medieval English Patrimony, we do the same at Saint George Catholic Church. 

Q. What form of liturgy does Saint George Catholic Church use?
A. There is only one Holy Mass in the Catholic Church, but that same Holy Mass can take on different liturgical rites and forms. We use Divine Worship, which is a third form of the Roman Rite, sometimes called the Medieval "English Form of the Roman Rite" or Medieval "English Use of the Roman Rite." (The terms "form" and "use" mean basically the same thing.) The Roman Rite of the Catholic Church has three main forms. The first is the Ordinary Form, also known as the 1970 Roman Missal. This is the usual Mass that is celebrated in the local vernacular languages everywhere (including Common English), and is typically seen in most Catholic churches around the world. The Ordinary Form (1970 Roman Missal) is what is usually celebrated at most parishes here in the Ozarks. The second is the Extraordinary Form, also known as the 1962 Roman Missal. This is the form of the Mass that is celebrated exclusively in Latin, and was the norm in all Roman Catholic churches up until 1970. This form of the Roman Rite is still celebrated in some parishes throughout the Catholic Church. The third form is Divine Worship. This is a unique liturgy based on Sacral 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, or Medieval period, before the Protestant Reformation, and is designed to appeal particularly to the English-speaking people. Sacral English is part of the tradition and custom of all English-speaking people, and Rome recognized that when it translated the Ordinary Form (1970 Missal) into English. This is why the Lord's Prayer (or the "Our Father" prayer) is recited in Sacral English during the Ordinary Form Mass. You may have noticed that the Lord's Prayer (Our Father) is exactly the same in the Ordinary Form Mass as it is in our Divine Worship Mass. If you would like more information of Sacral English, you can read more about it here.

 

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. It's 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. It is sometimes called the Medieval "English Form of the Roman Rite" or Medieval "English Use of the Roman Rite" (the terms "form" and "use" meaning basically the same thing). The specific form of the mass that was used in Medieval England, prior to the Reformation, was called the Sarum Use. This is what Divine Worship is based on. Even though our liturgy comes from Medieval 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 Medieval English Patrimony, and is of special value to English-speaking Catholics. We believe all the same doctrines that Roman Catholics have always believed, and we keep the same traditions that Roman Catholics have always kept. Because we are part of the Roman Rite, we fall under the same Code of Canon Law. Our bishop is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). His cathedral is located in Houston, Texas, and he answers directly to the pope and the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF).

 

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 receiving 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. All communion will be distributed on the tongue, while bodily position (kneeling, standing or sitting) is accommodated according to medical needs. 


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 Medieval 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 to 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, founded in 2011, and it has jurisdiction in the United Kingdom with about 1,850 members, in 93 churches, as of 2019. The second is the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, founded in 2012, and it has jurisdiction in the United States and Canada with about 8,000 members, in 38 churches, as of 2021. Saint George Catholic Church, in Republic, is under the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, and our ordinariate is growing rapidly. To see our parishes in our ordinariate directory, you may visit the Ordinariate parish finder. The third is the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, founded in 2012, and it has jurisdiction in Australia and Oceania with about 1,200 members, in 17 churches, as of 2021.

 

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. Church membership is entirely different from Ordinariate membership. Many Ordinariate communities have "mixed membership," meaning some members are part of the local Diocese, while others are part of the Ordinariate. St. George is like this too. We have mixed membership. Becoming a member of the Ordinariate is not required for membership at St. George. However, many of our members at St. George are also members of the Ordinariate. Basically, Ordinariate membership fully unites Catholics to the Medieval English Patrimony we use at St. George and places one under the canonical jurisdiction of the bishop of the Ordinariate, who is located in Houston, Texas. This has some advantages for those who wish to receive other sacraments using our liturgy (Divine Worship), such as confirmation and matrimony for example. If you think you might be eligible for Ordinariate membership, or are unsure, simply talk to our priest about it privately.

 

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. This same form will initiate the process for both Catholics and Non-Catholics.

 

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 Medieval 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 Medieval English Patrimony. 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. 

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