I was ordained a priest on the 24th June 1998 by Bishop Raymond Terrasson, an independent bishop consecrated in the Ngô-Dinh-Thuc succession. Fourteen years have elapsed since that day at which clergy and friends were present.
My ordination took place near the Bishop’s home, at an abandoned chapel near the village of Coussac-Bonneval near Limoges. This chapel was built in 1946 in thanksgiving for the village having spared Nazi atrocities in 1944 like the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glâne. It is a simple stone and concrete building, dedicated to Our Lady of Biaugeas. Two Roman Catholic parish priests were present and participated in the ordination: Fr Jacques Pecha (1920-2002) of the parish of Bouloire (Diocese of Le Mans) and Fr Noël Tibur (1918-2010) of the parish of Clermont (Diocese of Dax). Another priest was present, previously ordained by Bishop Terrasson. Fr Pecha, a priest who had a tremendous influence in my life, had the role of Archdeacon and Assistant Priest.
My ordination was conferred using the pre-Vatican II Roman Pontifical. Here are some photos – scanned from prints as I had no digital camera in those days! The comments are under each photo.
Bishop Terrasson accompanied by Fr Pecha, Fr Tibur behind in surplice and pastoral stole
Litany of the Saints, a subdeacon was ordained in the same ceremony.
Close-up of well-worn town shoes!
Imposition of hands by the Bishop.
Imposition of hands by the Archdeacon.
The deacon’s stole becomes a priest’s stole.
Anointing of the hands.
Bound hands (I still have the cloth) and the porrection of the instruments. That is the chalice I use each day for Mass.
A shot outside the chapel after the ceremony. Only one person other than myself in this photo is still alive!
I will remember you at Mass this Sunday, Father.
Thank you, my dear Archbishop Jerome. Most appreciated.
MANY YEARS! The pictures are very nice. So, you are a true Catholic priest in a legitimate line of succession and you were not ordained an Anglican, correct?
In a slightly related subject I finally receive an answer from someone who is aware of the Nordic Catholic Church. They sent me a video of a Holy Mass. He said the liturgy is a Catholicised Lutheran liturgy. It’s very nice. I noticed some of the chant was Russian Byzantine style as well as Gregorian. They received standing in both kinds (even though they had altar rails).
I hope they catch on in the northern countries.
Many Blessings to you Father Anthony!
Thank you for the kind comment. Whether Rome would call me a Catholic priest is another matter. At the time, Fathers Pecha and Tibur were acquired to a “soft sedevacantism” and some of my friends from England who were there were of a “harder” disposition. This is why we approached Bishop Terrasson who had been consecrated on the 18th March 1976 at Palmar de Troya, Spain, before the leader of the sect Bishop Clemente Dominguez y Gomez began to claim the Papacy – it looked like a traditionalist group, enough to convince a Vietnamese archbishop at the time. Bishop Terrasson disassociated himself from Palmar de Troya at the same time as Archbishop Ngô-Dinh-Thuc himself, when the “apparitionists” really took leave of their senses. Archbishop Thuc reconciled with Rome and Bishop Terrasson returned to France, near Limoges, to live with his sister.
What is of interest is that, with this small group of a bishop, a few priests and laity, there was something of an ecclesial context to this ordination, however imperfect and however wrong we were to say that John Paul II was not truly the Pope. The problem with sedevacantism is that it depends on a theology of the Papacy and the Church to which I was never fully acquired, being too Anglican all along. Indeed, put the nineteenth-century Papal dogmas and present day reality together – and you have to be sedevacantist or turn your back on Ultramontanist ecclesiology! Fr Pecha was very discreet and just continued his parish ministry until he died in 2002. Fr Tibur associated increasingly with the Fraternity of St Peter until he died in 2010, having found that sedevacantism lacked long-term credibility. I lost contact with Bishop Terrasson, who himself died in around 2003.
Rome would never take a priest ordained in such circumstances, so I never entertained the idea. Eventually, in 2005, I approached Archbishop Hepworth and had the privilege of his visit in the company of Ms Cheryl Woodman in France. We spent the day in Senlis, a small town near Chantilly to the North of Paris. I was accepted into the TAC on the feast of St Jean-Marie Vianney, the Curé d’Ars – 9th August 2005. Then, I was something like “regularised” as a priest – given canonical status, since there was no need for any re-ordination. Belonging to the Church has always been of paramount importance to me.
For the future, I keep quiet and wait. Technically and according to a letter from Archbishop Prakash, given the extinction of Archbishop Hepworth’s jurisdiction, I belong to the Traditional Anglican Church in England. Is this the right thing? Now is not the time to decide. I let the summer pass, and I have confidence that God will reveal his will through a number of events whose resolution I await.
Ad multos annos!
Congratulations Father Anthony I shall keep you in my prayers at Mass this Sunday. May God continue to bless you as you live out the Gospel of Christ.
Congratulations and sincere blessings, Father. The account of your ordination and the photos brought nostalgic teaars to my eyes as I remembered the ordinations of my friends and confreres at seminary those many years ago. To me you are a Catholic priest; may your ministry flourish and last.
Many congratulations on your annivesary! I had not realised Bp. Dowling (as he is now) was present at your ordination.
Thanks. I didn’t mention his name because I thought he would object if he reads this site. I have lost contact with him and his two deacons (perhaps priests now). I won’t say any more in public.
Congratulations! Many Years to you in your ministry!
I saw that Bishop Raymond Terrasson was ordained by Jean Laborie as a priest. I assume he was subconditionally ordained, given what people say about Laborie. However, this is all hearsay. Do you have any opinions on the man?
What do “people” say about Bishop Laborie? He was a simple fellow and very pastoral with his large congregation in Toulouse. Perhaps he was a homosexual, nothing unusual among celibate clergy of any institutional church. I once met him (summer 1990) and found him very kind. Bishop Dominguez y Gomez re-ordained just about everybody. Whether that made things “more valid” is anyone’s guess.
I have been around for a long time, and know that every deviancy and drift one can find with “vagante” clergy is matched by clergy in “mainstream” churches – at least until they get caught.
Indeed. I was thinking another. It is good to hear positive things. That can be very rare, especially on the internet!
A very Happy Anniversary to you, Fr Anthony! I know times have been tough and ministry is not always easy, but I am absolutely confident that you will reap a great reward for your hard labouring.
I’ll remember you in my prayers, certainly and wish you as many more happy and fruitful years as you would wish.
Axios! Many years!
Ad multos annos!
Rdr. James Morgan
PS Whatever happened to that lovely yellow cope with all the flowers? The vestments were beautiful. I hope you have some of them in your closet!
The vestments used for my ordination, apart from the vestments I wore, were the property of Fr Pecha’s parish. The Fraternity of St Peter took over the parish when Fr Pecha died, so they are still there and certainly lovingly used. The chasuble I used is mine, and I still have it.
Ad multos annos!