Friday, September 22, 2006

Lutheran Bishop Becomes a Priest

H/T to Curt Jester on this one....

Ex-Lutheran bishop found Catholic rock
Joseph Jacobson will be ordained a Catholic priest by Christmas

WCR Staff Writer

Forty years after he was ordained a Lutheran minister, Joseph Jacobson is looking forward to becoming a Catholic priest.

Jacobson, the former bishop of the Alberta Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, was to be ordained a deacon for the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese at St. Albert Church Sept. 21.

The 66-year-old father of two and grandfather of five expects to be ordained a priest before Christmas and to be appointed chancellor of the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese and interim pastor of St. John Baptist Cathedral in McLennan immediately after his ordination.

God's path
"I'm very excited," he said. "After 12 years of retirement and wondering where God was leading us, it is good to have a direction. And the job couldn't fit me better as I see it. As chancellor I'll be able to draw on my own experience as a Lutheran bishop. It's amazing."

Jacobson and his wife Carolyne, who live on a farm near Bashaw, joined the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Bashaw in 1999 and became Catholics at the Easter Vigil of 2000. Their two adult children are also in the process of joining the Church.

Jacobson's journey to Catholicism began many years ago, but took a decisive turn in the late 1990s.

"There was a long process leading up to it and a long process that followed after it. But the key moment was in Ireland in 1997 when I realized that the teaching authority of the Church is something Jesus gave to Peter and the bishops and no other Church really can duplicate what Jesus gave," he explained in a recent interview in Camrose.

"You can't substitute for it. You can't find something better. You can't do without it. The Church needs a rock and the rock is the one Jesus gave us and it's the holy father with the bishops and without that there is no rock.

"Any Church that tries to live without that is subject to the shifting sands. Most churches function by a majority vote of members and that means they are very vulnerable to the popular culture. In fact they are exposed to all kinds of extremes with the result that there is no safeguards that we are going to stay on the rock, stay on the foundation of Christ."

Clarity in Ireland
That realization hit him like a ton of bricks while sitting on a rock in Ireland looking at the Atlantic Ocean. "I said, 'Oh, good Lord. I have been trying to reinvent something Jesus made right the first time."

continue reading at Western Catholic Reporter...

Welcome home (soon to be) Fr. Joseph Jacobson!


Stephen M. Collins said...

Having had some years of experience with the Anglican Use (Pastoral Provision) in the USA, my heart is glad for this news. I do have one question about the Fr. Jacobson's RC experience - isn't the RCIA designed for those who are becoming Christian for the first time? This has been discussed in various circles with former Episcopalians coming back to Rome, that they already understande and accept all that Rome teaches - so why make them start at the very beginning? Or has the whole concept of RCIA simply mushroomed to cover any and all conversions to Rome?

Diane said...

I'm not too familiar with the RCIA program details. I know my parish has a rather extensive catechism which is carried out from October until spring, weekly, just to make sure all bases are covered and understood. This is for people wanting to enhance their understanding, as well as for people converting.

I will say this much though....

Many people I know that have converted or are in the process of converting are better catechized than many cradle Catholics these days. The decision to convert is a most serious one and I find that some of these folks have already picked apart and gotten enough answers for themselves that they could pass as pretty good apologists for the Catholic faith.

I for one, deeply regret my lukewarm approach to my faith and am only in the past year working to enrich my understanding of it.

Perhaps someone else reading can better answer the question of RCIA and its target audience.

To my mind, a some kind of exam dealing with the most critical aspects of the Catholic faith would be something the Church might consider for those who at least appear to have already done their homework. Then again, it's like marriage - in the end, love makes it worth the extra work, and the wait.

Anonymous said...

Hi Diane,

I love your site, it's beautiful! As a convert from the Lutheran tradition I share the former Lutheran Bishop's joy at being received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

To address the question posed by Stephen Collins, the RCIA program is a revival of the ancient catechumenate in which adult converts were received into the faith. In our day and age that has been expanded into those Christians who have been validly baptized entering into full communion with the Church. Converts, properly speaking, are those who are not baptized and are in actuality new Christians.

RCIA is also a wonderful way for "cradle" Catholics to deepen their own knowledge of what it means to be Catholic.