The ministry of a priest--to serve people in their relationship to
God--is a very sensitive and important one, and it must be exercised
with all kinds of people, from the uneducated to the highly
educated, and in a world that presents all kinds of problems.
Because of that, formation in view of the priesthood is an extremely
important activity, and one that demands serious and dedicated
work. The following program of formation is comprehensive enough
and serious enough to give candidates a solid preparation for their
There are three essential aspects to the preparation of a candidate
for ordained ministry. These are spiritual formation, pastoral
formation, and academic formation. Each one, along with its
specific requirements, will be described below.
Acceptance into this program as a candidate for Holy Orders is not a
promise of ordination, and it does not guarantee that a candidate
will be ordained. Rather it is an admission to a period of
discernment and training. Selection of a candidate for ordination
is solely at the discretion of the candidate’s Bishop, is not
subject to appeal, and may include criteria not expressly stated or
A person must be a committed member of the Celtic Christian Church
for at least six months before applying for admission into the
In this program the word “candidate,” unless otherwise specified,
applies both to persons seeking ordination and to already ordained
persons seeking incardination. In the case of the latter the
requirements will be adapted as needed.
I. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
1. Clergy Application. As the first step, a candidate
must answer a basic questionnaire and submit the documents requested
in the application. Of particular importance here are the
transcripts of any academic work done, since this will be necessary
to determine the specific course of study to be followed by any
2. Criminal-History and Child-Abuse Clearances. Small
independent churches, of which the Celtic Christian Church is one,
can be havens for persons with criminal or child-abuse histories.
In order to exercise due diligence in the admission of candidates to
Holy Orders and in the incardination of ordained clergy persons, the
Celtic Christian Church requires these two clearances (unless they
are illegal in the candidate’s home state). The specifics are given
in the Clergy Application.
3. Psychological Screening. Each candidate will take a
battery of psychological tests to provide his or her Bishop with
information on, first, the candidate’s personality, abilities, weak
points, and so on, and, second, on real or potential pathology. The
specifics are given in the Clergy Application.
4. Yearly Evaluation. The candidate’s Bishop, with the
input of other persons working with the candidate, will evaluate him
or her at the end of each year in the formation program. The
decision on the advancement or the dismissal of the candidate is the
responsibility of his or her Bishop. If the candidate is dismissed
from the program, he or she will be informed of the reasons for this
action and will be given full opportunity to discuss it with his or
her Bishop. If the candidate is advanced in the program, the
results of the evaluation, including areas in which it is judged
that greater effort is needed, will be communicated to the
5. Mass and Sacraments. Toward the end of the course of
formation, the candidate will receive practical training in
celebrating Mass and administering the Sacraments. This training
will be the responsibility of the candidate’s Bishop.
II. SPIRITUAL FORMATION
The priests of the Celtic Christian Church are to be available to
people to serve them in their relationship to God, in all the varied
and unpredictable circumstances of that relationship. To be
competent to serve in that way, they must themselves be persons of
spiritual depth and maturity and growing in their own relationship
with God, persons marked by solid emotional maturity and by personal
In order to foster as much as it can this eminently personal
spiritual formation, the Celtic Christian Church has established the
1. Spiritual Director. Guidance in the spiritual life is
essential, if we are to progress in our relationship with God and if
we are both to discern his will in our regard and to avoid pitfalls
in our spiritual journey. Hence all of our candidates for
ordination are required to have a spiritual director. This is
particularly important for a person actually preparing for
It will be the responsibility of the candidate to find a spiritual
director. The candidate will then make that director known to his
or her Bishop. The Bishop will contact the director to establish a
personal relationship with him or her. While the matter of
spiritual direction itself is confidential, the director will be
responsible to the candidate's Bishop for advising the Bishop on the
advisability of continuing that candidate in the formation program
for Holy Orders or of dismissing him or her from the program.
2. Yearly Retreat. Each candidate for ordination will make
a yearly directed retreat of some five days duration. It is the
responsibility of the candidate’s spiritual director to assist the
candidate in organizing this retreat and in integrating its benefits
into his or her spiritual life.
3. Daily Prayer. Each candidate will make time each day for
personal prayer and for “lectio divina,” the prayerful reading of
4. Celtic Spirituality. This is a beautiful and holistic
view of our world and all of God’s creation. It is joyful and
inspiring in its approach to the world, while not at all denying the
evil to be found in it. It is a distinctive mark of the
spirituality of the Celtic Christian Church. Learning about this
spirituality and integrating it into one’s spiritual life is a very
important part of the spiritual formation of our candidates for
ordination. Further on in this text, the section on academic
formation will list a large number of books and other studies that
will enable the candidate to learn about Celtic spirituality.
III. PASTORAL FORMATION
As mentioned previously, the priests of the Celtic Christian Church
are called to minister in very varied situations and to persons who
vary greatly in personality, education and individual
circumstances. As much as it can, the Church’s formation program
seeks to prepare its candidates for ministry in this very concrete
world. In view of this objective the following requirements have
1. Clinical Pastoral Education. CPE provides hands-on
pastoral work and discussion/criticism of that actual ministry. It
has proven to be an effective means of helping its students to
better understand their own selves and their particular difficulties
in ministering effectively, and in providing help in resolving such
personal issues. All of our candidates for ordination are required
to take one unit of CPE, and they are encouraged to take further
units if they are inclined and able to do so.
2. Ministry. During the entire course of formation the
candidate will be involved in an appropriate pastoral ministry. The
choice of the ministry will the candidate’s, with the approval of
his or her Bishop. The supervision of the candidate’s work in this
ministry will be the responsibility of the candidate’s Bishop.
IV. ACADEMIC FORMATION
It is essential for the priests of the Celtic Christian Church to
have a solid academic formation in the various disciplines proper to
their ministry. This is necessary if they are to serve and guide
others correctly in their relationship to God, and if they are to be
able to work with persons of all levels of education.
In order to provide that solid academic formation for its candidates
for ordination, the Celtic Christian Church has determined the
following thorough, and at the same time flexible, program of
study. All of its candidates are required to pursue this program.
The candidate’s Bishop is responsible for overseeing his or her
compliance with the program and determining at what point the
candidate can be accepted for ordination, first to the diaconate and
later to the priesthood.
A. STRUCTURE OF THE PROGRAM OF STUDY
1. Individual Program. In very large part the Church’s
candidates will be adults with family and work responsibilities and
very often with limited financial means. The Church, which does not
have a seminary of its own, does not oblige its candidates to enroll
in a seminary program of another church or in a university or
divinity-school program. In addition, a certain number of
candidates will have already done some of the required studies.
Consequently the program of study will be tailored to each
individual candidate. The candidate’s Bishop will determine what
needs to be done, using the documents, particularly the transcripts,
sent to him or her with the Clergy Application. The following
paragraphs will indicate the numerous and varied means at the
disposal of the Bishop and the candidate to assure a solid academic
2. Mentor. To implement such an individual program of
study, the Celtic Christian Church employs the mentor system. The
mentor, a person with the necessary training and experience, advises
and guides the candidate in his or her study in view of ordination.
If advisable, other persons may serve as mentors in the specific
areas of their expertise. The mentor is appointed by the
candidate’s Bishop. The mentor’s input is requested by the Bishop
in view of the candidate’s advancement in the program, or dismissal
from it, and in view of the candidate’s ordination.
3. College or Equivalent. Ideally, a candidate beginning
the program of formation will possess a college degree. Barring
that, an associate’s degree will be considered sufficient. If going
back to college to finish such a degree would be a real hardship,
the candidate will work with his or her Bishop to determine what
must still be done. In many cases this remaining work can be
completed by means of correspondence or online courses offered by
reputable institutions. A candidate finishing college in this way
will be considered enrolled in the formation program.
4. Seminary or University Courses. When possible,
candidates are very strongly encouraged to enroll in a seminary
program or in a university theology program, or to take at least
some of their courses in such a setting. This will provide them
with structured study, with professional teachers, and also with
peer interaction. The comprehensive nature and the difficulty of
theological studies militate very much in favor of such study.
Because of the importance of the orientation of the seminary or
university (the Celtic Christian Church is a sacramental church,
close in doctrine to the Roman, Anglican and Orthodox Churches, but
different from the Protestant Churches), the choice of a seminary or
university must be approved by the Candidate’s Bishop.
5. Internet Based Courses. Candidates who have access to
the Internet have the possibility of taking courses via that
medium. A very large number of such courses are available, many
from excellent universities, and many of them are free of charge.
Care must be taken to choose courses that are of excellent quality
and that are offered by reputable institutions. All Internet-based
courses or degree programs chosen by a candidate must be approved by
the candidate’s Bishop.
B. SCHOOLS AND PROGRAMS OF OTHER CHURCHES OR INSTITUTIONS
Many programs in theology, most of them leading to graduate degrees,
are available. As noted above, any candidate who is able to pursue
such a program is strongly encouraged to do so. Within the Roman
Catholic Church, Fordham University, Boston College, Notre Dame
University, the University of San Francisco, among others, offer
excellent programs in theology. In association with other churches,
Harvard Divinity School, Yale Divinity School, Washington
Theological Union also offer excellent programs.
Other seminaries and theology schools are also available. Following
are short notes on three of them.
AGAPE SEMINARY (located in Florida). Within the Old
Catholic/Independent Catholic movement. Offers training in theology
and ministry. Offers degree programs (bachelor, master, licentiate,
doctor). Stresses that these are not academic degrees but are
strictly for church and religious purposes. All courses are offered
through distance learning.
GLOBAL MINISTRIES UNIVERSITY (located in California). Within
the Roman Catholic tradition. Offers several degree programs
(bachelor, master, doctor). As in the case of Agape Seminary, these
are not academic degrees. All courses are distance learning.
LINDISFARNE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY AND CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP
(located in Ithaca, NY). Broadly within the Protestant tradition,
with Roman Catholic elements. Lindisfarne is a modern, non-live-in
monastic community under the direction of +Andrew Fitz-Gibbon and
+Jane Hall Fitz-Gibbon. It offers a thorough program of preparation
for ordination that is quite similar to the program of the Celtic
Christian Church. This is also distance learning.
C. OPEN ONLINE COURSES
A large and growing number of online course exist, many of them free
of charge, and very many of them offered by excellent schools and
professors. Following are notes on a few of them.
University of Notre Dame Open Courses.
Through its STEP (Satellite Theological Education Program) offering,
part of its Institute for Church Life, Notre Dame offers a good
number of online courses in theology. A Certificate of Catholic
Theology can be obtained through this program.
Yale University Open Courses.
A good number of courses are offered online at no charge. These are
lectures that were recorded in the classroom, and they are available
in video, audio and text transcript format. Registration is not
required, and no course credit is given.
HARVARD UNIVERSITY OPEN COURSES. Through its Extension
School, Harvard offers over 200 online classes. These are either
videos of taped classroom lectures, or scheduled live web-conference
courses. Credit can be earned under certain conditions.
OPEN COURSEWARE CONSORTIUM. This is a grouping of over 250
universities and associated organizations worldwide offering
thousands of courses form leading universities. These courses are
free of charge.
edX. This is an online initiative created by Harvard
University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It offers
numerous courses from excellent universities, among them MIT,
Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley.
Some edX courses now offer ID verified Certificates of Achievement.
THE GREAT COURSES. This is a series of hundreds of audio
and video courses produced by top professors and experts in various
fields. They are relatively inexpensive, and are often on sale.
D. PROGRAM OF STUDY
1. Outline. Following are the areas in which study is
Part I. The Western Church
Philosophy (a basic introduction)
Psychology (a basic introduction)
1. Introductory and General
2. Doctrinal Theology
a. God, the Trinity
2) Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope, Charity)
e. Consummation (Eschatology)
3. Moral Theology
a. Sin, Original Sin
b. Christian Moral Doctrine
C. Sacred Scripture
D. History of the Christian Church
F. Spiritual Life, Prayer, Spiritual Direction
G. Pastoral Care, Counseling, Religious Education
Part II. The Eastern Church
Part III. The Celtic Church
2. List of Required and Recommended Books
The list of required books given below may well seem overwhelming at
first sight. It is therefore very important to keep two points in
First, a seminary program for the priesthood in a sacramental church
would take some three years and include over a thousand hours of
classroom lectures. The program below, while not pretending in any
way to duplicate seminary training, must provide the substance of
such training, without the lectures and the interaction between
students and professors.
Second, the intent of any candidate's Bishop is to be as flexible as
possible in the application of the program. Schoolwork already done
will count in the program if at all possible. What is to be
required of each individual candidate will depend on what has
already been done and what still needs to be done. As already
noted, the transcripts requested in the Clergy Application will be
particularly important in making this determination.
It should also be noted here that the division of the following
material into "The Western Church," "The Eastern Church" and "The
Celtic Church" is somewhat artificial. In fact all of the material
could easily have been included in a single series of sub-topics,
with each Eastern or Celtic book placed within its proper topic.
However, the present division, in addition to bringing a greater
degree of clarity to the organization of the material, accentuates
the intent of the formation program. Since we live in the Western
world and the very large majority, if not the totality, of our
priests will work within that world, the basic theological formation
provided by this program is in the Western ambit. Then, since we
live our faith in the spirit of the ancient Celtic church and since
this spirit is closer to the more mystical spirit of the Orthodox
church than to the more rational outlook of the Western church, that
basic formation is completed by a study of the theological outlook
and especially the spirituality of the Orthodox church and by a
study of the history and spirituality of the Celtic church.
All of the books indicated below are required unless
otherwise noted. In some cases a reference to a possible online
course is given; many others are available.
Part I. The Western Church
A general introduction to philosophy, which is usually done in
college, is required. The following two books are examples; another
may be substituted.
Jenny Teichman and Catherine C. Evans, PHILOSOPHY: A BEGINNER'S
GUIDE, 2nd ed., Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1995.
C. E. M. Joad, GUIDE TO PHILOSOPHY, New York, NY: Dover, 1957
(originally 1936). (More thorough than the first book, accentuating
major themes in philosophy.)
Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness:
A general introduction to psychology, which is also usually done in
college, is required, as is a book on human sexuality. The
following books are examples; others may be substituted.
Ronald Kotesky, GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY FOR CHRISTIAN COUNSELORS,
Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1983.
James Bruce Nelson, BETWEEN TWO GARDENS: REFLECTIONS ON SEXUALITY
AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, Pilgrim Press, 1983.
Introduction to Psychology:
3. Comparative religions
Smith, THE WORLD'S RELIGIONS,
1991. (Revised and updated edition of his "The Religions of
B. CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
1. COMPENDIUM OF THEOLOGY
The vast area of Christian theology can best be addressed by means
of a compendium of theology or a book of systematic theology. This
will give a well integrated overview of the material. This will
then be completed by other works in those areas where a more
developed treatment is needed.
Richard P. McBrien, CATHOLICISM, New Edition, New York, NY:
HarperSan Francisco/HarperCollins, 1994. (A thorough presentation
of Christian doctrine by a priest who was for many years a professor
of theology at Notre Dame University. Includes a section on
Christian moral doctrine.)
The following online course, "Foundations of Theology: Biblical and
recommended, but does not replace McBrien's book,
2. TOPICS REQUIRING FURTHER STUDY
Matthew Fox, ORIGINAL BLESSING: A PRIMER IN CREATION SPIRITUALITY,
Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1983. (A study of creation which,
while not ignoring sin, sees our world as good and uplifting.
Reflects the Celtic spirit on which it draws.)
b. SCIENCE AND FAITH
The developments of modern science (concerning human origins, for
example) raise serious questions for the Christian faith. The
following books address various aspects of this issue.
John Polkinghorne, SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION,
Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1998. (An excellent treatment by
a particle physicist and Anglican priest and theologian.)
Ian G. Barbour, WHEN SCIENCE MEETS RELIGION, New York, NY: HarperSan
Francisco, 2000. (A treatment of the subject through the four
views of their possible relationship: conflict, independence,
dialogue, integration. (Barbour is an eminent figure in the field
of science and religion.)
John F. Haught, SCIENCE AND FAITH: A NEW INTRODUCTION, New York, NY:
Paulist Press, 2012. (Haught is Senior Fellow in Science and
Religion at Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University.)
The following books in this area are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:
Jerry D. Korsmeyer, EVOLUTION AND EDEN: BALANCING ORIGINAL SIN AND
CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1998.
(Korsmeyer is a nuclear physicist and theologian.)
Dennis Edwards, THE GOD OF EVOLUTION: A TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY, New
York, NY: Paulist Press, 1999. (Edwards is a Roman Catholic priest
and a professor of theology in Australia.)
Arthur Peacocke, PATHS FROM SCIENCE TOWARDS GOD: THE END OF ALL OUR
EXPLORING, Oxford, England: One World Publications, 2001.
(Peacocke is a biochemist and Anglican priest and theologian.)
Daniel Donovan, WHAT ARE THEY SAYING ABOUT THE MINISTERIAL
PRIESTHOOD? New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1992. (Describes
different emphases on the priesthood as developed by several modern
theologians. Provides an excellent view of the complex nature of
Avery Dulles, SJ, THE PRIESTLY OFFICE: A THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION, New
York, NY: Paulist Press, 1997. (A traditional treatment of the
priesthood by a renowned theologian, now deceased.)
Alexander Schmemann, THE EUCHARIST: SACRAMENT OF THE KINGDOM,
Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1998. (A beautiful
and deeply spiritual treatment of the Eucharistic celebration and
what it means in our daily life. Schmemann is an outstanding
e. FEMINIST THEOLOGY
Rosemary Radford Ruether, WOMEN AND REDEMPTION: A THEOLOGICAL
HISTORY, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999. (The author is a
respected theologian known for her work in feminist theology.)
C. SACRED SCRIPTURE
THE HOLY BIBLE. Recommended: THE NEW OXFORD ANNOTATED BIBLE, WITH
THE APOCRYPHAL/DEUTEROCANONICAL BOOKS (New Revised Standard
Version), New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Margaret Nutting Ralph, AND GOD SAID WHAT? AN INTRODUCTION TO
BIBLICAL LITERARY FORMS (Revised Edition), New York, NY: Paulist
Press. (Explains the literary forms used in the Bible [myth,
parable, letter, etc.] and shows the importance of this in
interpreting the Bible correctly.)
Lawrence Boadt, CSP, READING THE OLD TESTAMENT: AN INTRODUCTION,
Second Edition, Revised and Updated by Richard Clifford and Daniel
Harrington, SJ, New York, NY: Paulist Press. (An up-to-date and
Pheme Perkins, READING THE NEW TESTAMENT: AN INTRODUCTION, Third
Edition, Revised and Updated, New York, NY: Paulist Press.
(Includes material on the individual books of the New Testament, and
recent material from archeology and social history that helps the
reader better understand the New Testament.)
Available online courses, not required:
---Introduction to the Old Testament:
---Introduction to the New Testament:
Very highly RECOMMENDED: Raymond E. Brown, SS, AN
INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT, New York, NY: Doubleday, 1997.
(An excellent, scholarly and thorough introduction to all aspects of
the New Testament and its books. A very useful resource book.)
2. THE EVANGELISTS AND PAUL
George T. Montague, SM, COMPANION GOD: A CROSS-CULTURAL COMMENTARY
ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, Revised Edition, New York, NY: Paulist
Press. (Up-to-date exegesis on Matthew, with the author's notes on
his experiences in South Asia, where many cultural practices are
similar to those of biblical times.)
Patrick J. Flanagan, THE GOSPEL OF MARK MADE EASY, New York, NY:
Paulist Press. (Places Mark's gospel in the context of its
original audience, the early church in Rome.)
Mark Alan Powell, WHAT ARE THEY SAYING ABOUT LUKE? New York, NY:
Paulist Press. (A presentation of the most important current
studies on Luke.)
Mark Alan Powell, WHAT ARE THEY SAYING ABOUT ACTS? New York, NY:
Paulist Press. (An overview of present-day scholarship on Acts.)
Anthony J. Kelly, CSSR, and Francis J. Moloney, SDB, EXPERIENCING
GOD IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, New York, NY: Paulist Press. (A
theological study of John, based on contemporary biblical
Stanley B. Marrow, SJ, PAUL, HIS LETTERS AND HIS THEOLOGY: AN
INTRODUCTION TO PAUL'S EPISTLES, New York, NY: Paulist Press.
(Interprets Paul's theology by his letters and his life, against the
background of his times.)
D. HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Following are three books that present a good treatment of the
history of the Christian Church. The candidate will choose ONE of
---John C. Dwyer, CHURCH HISTORY: TWENTY CENTURIES OF CATHOLIC
CHRISTIANITY, Revised and Updated Edition, New York, NY: Paulist
Press. (Good, objective summary treatment.)
---David L. Edwards, CHRISTIANITY: THE FIRST TWO THOUSAND YEARS,
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997. (Broad in scope, blends
institutional history with theological developments.)
---Justo L. Gonzalez, THE STORY OF CHRISTIANITY: THE EARLY CHURCH TO
THE PRESENT DAY, Peabody, MA: Prince Press, 1999 (two volumes in
one, originally 1984 ("The Early Church to the Dawn of the
Reformation") and 1985 ("The Reformation to the Present Day").
(Sheds light on the major cultural and theological currents shaping
the church's outlook, while highlighting essential events, persons
The following books are all highly RECOMMENDED:
For a thorough study of the history of the Christian Church that is
organized in a different way (by means of paradigms: Jewish
apocalyptic paradigm, Hellenistic paradigm, etc.) and that is not
afraid to examine the negative aspects of the church, see Hans
Kung, CHRISTIANITY: ESSENCE, HISTORY AND FUTURE, New York, NY:
The faith of the Celtic Christian Church is that of the first seven
ecumenical councils, which were those of the undivided Christian
Church. For a study of those seven councils, see Leo Donald Davis,
SJ, THE FIRT SEVEN ECUMENICAL COUNCILS (325-787): THEIR HISTORY AND
THEOLOGY, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1983/1990.
The thought of St. Augustine had incalculable influence on the
theology of the Christian Church, and for the Celtic Christian
Church his thought is also important in understanding Pelagius (see
below, Part III, The Celtic Church). For a basic understanding of
Augustine's thinking, see T. Kermit Scott, AUGUSTINE: HIS THOUGHT
IN CONTEXT, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1995.
For those interested in tracing how the church's doctrine evolved
over the centuries, the following lengthy study is ideal: Jaroslav
Pelikan, THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION: A HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF
DOCTRINE, 5 volumes, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press,
Vol. 1: THE EMERGENCE OF CATHOLIC TRADITION (100-600).
Vol. 2: THE SPIRIT OF EASTERN CHRISTENDOM (600-1700).
Vol. 3: THE GROWTH OF MEDIEVAL THEOLOGY (600-1300).
Vol. 4: REFORMATION OF CHURCH AND DOGMA (1300-1700).
Vol. 5: CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE AND MODERN CULTURE (Since 1700).
Dennis C. Smolarski, SJ, SACRED MYSTERIES: SACRAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
AND LITURGICAL PRACTICE, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1995. (A
practical and sound guide for the celebration of the sacraments,
with notes on their historical and theological roots.)
Owen E. Cummings, LITURGICAL SNAPSHOTS: REFLECTIONS ON TH RICHNESS
OF OUR WORSHIP TRADITION, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 2012. (An
in-depth approach to liturgical theology.)
The following books are RECOMMENDED:
---Edward J. Kilmartin, SJ, CHRISTIAN LITURGY I: THEOLOGY, Kansas
City, MO: Sheed & Ward.
---Aidan Cavanagh, ON LITURGICAL THEOLOGY, New York, NY: Pueblo,
---Dom Gregory Dix, THE SHAPE OF THE LITURGY, London: A. C. Block,
---David Power, WORSHIP: CULTURE AND THEOLOGY, Washington, DC:
Pastoral Press, 1990.
---Herbert Vorgrimler, SACRAMENTAL THEOLOGY, Collegeville, MN:
Liturgical Press, 1992.
---Regis A. Duffy, REAL PRESENCE, WORSHIP, SACRAMENTS, AND
COMMITMENT, San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1982.
---Dennis C. Smolarski, SJ, HOW NOT TO SAY MASS: A GUIDEBOOK
ON LITURGICAL PRINCIPLES AND THE ROMAN MISSAL, Revised Edition, New
York, NY: Paulist Press.
The candidate must be familiar with the following:
THE ROMAN SACRAMENTARY (the Mass).
THE ROMAN RITUAL (the Sacraments).
ORDER OF CHRISTIAN FUNERALS.
F. SPIRITUAL LIFE, PRAYER, SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
1. SPIRITUAL LIFE AND PRAYER
Henri J. M. Nouwen, REACHING OUT: THE THREE MOVEMENTS OF THE
SPIRITUAL LIFE, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975. (The successive
stages of our approach to God, as explained in simple terms by a
modern master of the spiritual life.)
Henri J. M. Nouwen, WITH BURNING HEARTS: A MEDITATION ON THE
EUCHARISTIC LIFE, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1994. (A profound
and beautiful reflection on the meaning of the Eucharist for
ourselves and for our communities.)
M. Basil Pennington, OCSO, DAILY WE TOUCH HIM: PRACTICAL RELIGIOUS
EXPERIENCES, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977. (Simple practical
exercises to help us pray more deeply, by another modern master of
the spiritual life.)
Thomas Keating, OCSO, OPEN MIND, OPEN HEART: THE CONTEMPLATIVE
DIMENSION OF THE GOSPEL, New York, NY: Continuum, 1986/1992. (An
initiation into a deep loving relationship with God, by, once again,
a modern spiritual master.)
Stephen Hough, THE BIBLE AS PRAYER: A HANDBOOK FOR LECTIO DIVINA,
New York, NY: Paulist Press. (Practical help for simple
contemplative prayer based on texts of the Bible.)
The following books are RECOMMENDED:
Lawrence S. Cunningham and Keith J. Egan, CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY:
THEMES FROM THE TRADITION, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1996. (A
concise overview of the ways in which Christians over the centuries
have approached God in prayer and practice.)
Louis Dupre and James Wiseman, OSB, LIGHT FROM LIGHT: AN ANTHOLOGY
OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM, Second Revised Edition, New York, NY:
Paulist Press. (Presents the key spiritual texts from the most
important mystical writers in the Christian tradition, with
introductions and bibliographies.)
THE ESSENTIAL WRITINGS OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM, Edited and with an
Introduction by Bernard McGinn, New York, NY: Modern Library,
2006. (The great writings of the Christian mystics, presented and
introduced according to themes, by a recognized expert in the
2. SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
Jean Laplace, SJ, PREPARING FOR SPIRITUAL DIRECTION, Chicago, IL:
Franciscan Herald Press, 1975. (An excellent guide by an
experienced and highly competent director.)
Chester P. Michael, AN INTRODUCTION TO SPIRITUAL DIRECTION: A
PSYCHOLOGICAL APPROACH FOR DIRECTORS AND DIRECTEES, New York, NY:
Paulist Press, 2004. (A solid and thorough introduction.)
Kenneth Leech, SOUL FRIEND: SPIRITUAL DIRECTION IN THE MODERN WORLD,
New Revised Edition, Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 2001.
(Presents spiritual direction as coming from a life of prayer and
discipleship, as a ministry and not a profession, and as an
important part of the ministry of a priest.)
Benedict J. Groeschel, SPIRITUAL PASSAGES: FOR THOSE WHO SEEK, THE
PSYCHOLOGY OF SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT, New York, NY: Crossroad,
1990. (Guides the reader through the interrelationships between
one's spiritual life and one's psychological make-up.)
Kathleen Fischer, WOMEN AT THE WELL: FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES ON
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1988. (An
approach to spiritual direction that reflects women's experience and
The following books are RECOMMENDED:
Wilfrid Stinissen, THE GIFT OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION: ON SPIRITUAL
GUIDANCE AND CARE OF THR SOUL, Liguori, MO: Liguori Publications,
1999. (Excellent, well balanced and expressed in simple language.)
Tilden Edwards, SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR, SPIRITUAL COMPANION: GUIDE TO
TENDING THE SOUL, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 2001. (A very
practical guide by the widely known founder of the Shalem Institute
for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, MD.)
Janet K, Ruffing, RSM, SPIRITUAL DIRECTION: BEYOND THE BEGINNINGS,
New York, NY: Paulist Press, 2000. (A lucid treatment of advanced
issues, themes and dynamics that arise in spiritual direction.)
STILL LISTENING: NEW HORIZONS IN SPIRITUAL DIRECTION, Edited by
Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 2000. (Essays by experienced
spiritual directors on working with abused persons, the poor, church
drop-outs, gays and lesbians, the addicted, the dying.)
G. PASTORAL CARE, COUNSELING, RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
One unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is required, as noted
above in Section III, Pastoral Formation.
Henri J. M. Nouwen, THE WOUNDED HEALER: MINISTRY IN CONTEMPORARY
SOCIETY, Garden City, NY: Doubleday/Image, 1972. (The author
argues that ministers must be willing to go beyond their
professional role and as wounded and suffering fellow human beings
leave themselves open to those they serve, if they are to
collaborate in Christ's ministry of healing.)
Henri J. M. Nouwen, CREATIVE MINISTRY, Garden City, NY: Doubleday,
1971. (In his or her several roles, the minister must, again, go
beyond the professional role to "lay down his life for his friends"
in order to mediate new life in Christ.)
Eugene Kennedy, ON BECOMING A COUNSELOR: A BASIC GUIDE FOR THE
NON-PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR, New York, NY: Crossroad, 1977/1989.
(An excellent resource for the many counseling situations a priest
encounters, by a married priest, professional psychologist and
Thomas N. Hart, THE ART OF CHRITIAN LISTENING, New York, NY: Paulist
Press, 1980. (The author, a marriage and family counselor, uses
the insights of Scripture, contemporary spiritual theology and
modern psychology to guide the Christian helper in various pastoral
Robert J. Wicks and Thomas E. Rodgerson, COMPANIONS IN HOPE: THE ART
OF CHRISTIAN CARING, New York, NY: Paulist Press. (Written by two
counselors, this book provides practical information on interacting
with others in a caring way, again in various pastoral situations.
This book and the previous one are complementary, and both are
complementary to Kennedy's book, which is slightly more clinical in
Richard M. Gula, JUST MINISTRY: PROFESSIONAL ETHICS FOR PASTORAL
MINISTERS, New York, NY: Paulist Press. (A theological-ethical
framework for reflecting on the moral responsibilities of the
BIOETHICS, Fourth Edition, Revised and Updated, Edited by Thomas A.
Shannon, New York, NY: Paulist Press. (Drawing on the major
scholars in the field, presents an overview of the key issues facing
health care professionals and ministers.)
Maureen Gallagher, THE ART OF CATECHESIS: WHAT YOU NEED TO BE, KNOW
AND DO, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1998. (Combines theology,
liturgy, psychology and catechetics in showing catechists how to
help others grow in faith.)
The following online course, "Introduction to Bioethics," is
available but not required:
The following book, concerned with ministry in the church, is very
highly RECOMMENDED: Edward Schillebeeckx, THE CHURCH WITH A
HUMAN FACE: A NEW AND EXPANDED THEOLOGY OF MINISTRY, New York, NY:
Crossroad, 1988. (A thorough and carefully researched study of
ministry in the successive periods of the Christian Church's
history. Provides valuable insights for ministry today.)
The following three-volume study, concerned with pastoral
counseling, is RECOMMENDED: CLINICAL HANDBOOK OF PASTORAL
COUNSELING (Volume 1: Expanded Edition), Edited by Robert J. Wicks
and Richard D. Parsons, and for Volumes 1 and 3 Donald E. Capps, New
York, NY: Paulist Press. (Provides thorough and professional
treatments of various aspects of pastoral counseling itself and of
specific populations served by pastoral counselors, such as
minorities, the devalued and abused, the addicted, the bereaved, the
depressed, and so on. The three volumes constitute an excellent
resource in this broad area.)
For those who are, or intend to be, engaged in specific or
specialized ministries, the following books are RECOMMENDED:
---Maxine Glaz and Jeanne Stevenson Moessner, eds., WOMEN IN
TRAVAIL AND TRANSITION: A NEW PASTORAL APPROACH, Minneapolis, MN:
Fortress Press, 1991.
---Rev. Steven Waterhouse, STRENGTH FOR HIS PEOPLE: A MINISTRY FOR
FAMILIES OF THE MENTALLY ILL, Amarillo, TX: Westcliff Bible Church.
---Fernando Poyatos, I WAS SICK AND YOU VISITED ME: A SPIRITUAL
GUIDE FOR CATHOLICS IN HOSPITAL MINISTRY, New York, NY: Paulist
---Mary Elizabeth O'Brien, THE NURSE'S CALLING: A CHRITIAN
SPIRITUALITY OF CARING FOR THE SICK, New York, NY: Paulist Press.
---Henry C. Simmons and Mark Peters, WITH GOD'S OLDEST FRIENDS:
PASTORAL VISITING IN THE NURSING HOME, New York, NY: Paulist Press.
---Alan D. Wolfelt, DEATH AND GRIEF: A GUIDE FOR CLERGY, Muncie, IN:
Accelerated Development, 1988.
Walter J. Burghardt, SJ, PREACHING: THE ART AND THE CRAFT, New York,
NY: Paulist Press. (Practical advice by a recognized master
Part II, The Eastern Church
As noted previously, the approach of the Eastern Church is generally
more mystical than the basically more rational approach of the
Western Church. And the ancient Celtic Church has a great deal in
common with the outlook of the Eastern Church. Since the Celtic
Christian Church lives its Christian life in the spirit of the
ancient Celtic Church, it draws heavily on the theology and
spirituality of the Orthodox Church. It is important, therefore,
for the priests of the Celtic Christian Church to have a good
grounding in Eastern theology and spirituality.
Timothy Ware, THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, Revised Edition, New York, NY:
Penguin, 1993. Part I, History; Part II, Faith and Worship. (An
excellent and clear introduction to the Orthodox Church, by a
Westerner who is a bishop in the Orthodox Church under the name of
George A. Maloney, SJ, GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH: AN
INTRODUCTION TO EASTERN CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY, New York, NY:
Crossroad, 1997. (The author is an American Jesuit priest, a
member of the Eastern Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, and the
author of many excellent books on the spiritual life.)
For those interested in pursuing their study of Orthodox theology
and spirituality, the following books are highly RECOMMENDED.
All are by renowned contemporary Orthodox theologians, and all are
published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY:
---Vladimir Lossky, ORTHODOX THEOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION.
---Vladimir Lossky, THE MYSTICAL THEOLOGY OF THE EASTERN CHURCH.
---Vladimir Lossky, IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD.
---John Meyendorff, THE ORTHODOX CHURCH: ITS PAST AND ITS ROLE IN
THE WORLD TODAY.
---John Meyendorff, LIVING TRADITIION: ORTHODOX WITNESS IN THE
---John Meyendorff, CHRIST IN EASTERN CHRISTIAN THOUGHT.
---Alexander Schmemann, FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD: SACRAMENTS AND
---Nicholas Arseniev, REVELATION OF LIFE ETERNAL: AN INTRODUCTION TO
THE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE.
PART III. THE CELTIC CHURCH
The spirit of the ancient Celtic Church, which flourished for the
greater part of the first Christian millennium in the northwestern
part of Europe, is a simple and beautiful one, seeing God in nature
and believing in the basic goodness of men and women and in personal
relationships. It is in this spirit, as noted above, that the
Celtic Christian Church tries to live its Christian life. This is a
distinctive mark of the Church, and understanding that spirit is
therefore essential for its ministers. Since a great deal of
material called "Celtic" is available today, a careful choice must
be made. The following books, all excellent, provide a basic
introduction to the rich heritage of Celtic Christianity.
Timothy J. Joyce, OSB, CELTIC CHRISTIANITY: A SACRED TRADITION, A
VISION OF HOPE, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1998. (An excellent
short presentation of the basic history of Celtic Christianity.)
Ian Bradley, THE CELTIC WAY, London, UK: Darton, Longman and Todd,
1993. (A very readable short presentation of the essentials of
Celtic Christian spirituality.)
Thomas O'Loughlin, JOURNEYS ON THE EDGES: A CELTIC TRADITION,
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000. (A careful presentation of
Celtic spirituality, based on the original sources.)
Philip Sheldrake, LIVING BETWEEN WORLDS: PLACE AND JOURNEY IN CELTIC
SPIRITUALITY, Boston, MA: Cowley Publications, c. 1995. (A
discussion of place and journey, both important concepts to the
Celtic mind, as keys to understanding Celtic spirituality.)
Esther de Waal, EVERY EARTHLY BLESSING: REDISCOVERING THE CELTIC
TRADITION, Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publications, 1999
[Originally: A WORLD MADE WHOLE, 1991]. (A beautiful and sensitive
presentation of the key aspects of Celtic spirituality.)
Esther de Waal, THE CELTIC WAY OF PRAYER, New York, NY: Doubleday,
1997. (A simple presentation, based on wide scholarship, of the
Celtic Christian approach to prayer.)
J. Philip Newell, LISTENING FOR THE HEARTBEAT OF GOD: A CELTIC
SPIRITUALITY, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1997. (An examination of
Celtic spirituality through the medium of important figures in its
J. Philip Newell, ONE FOOT IN EDEN: A CELTIC VIEW OF THE STAGES OF
LIFE, New York, NY: Paulist Press, 1999. (A prayerful reflection on
the stages of human life, from birth to death, seen through the
prism of Celtic spirituality.)
J. Philip Newell, CHRIST OF THE CELTS: THE HEALING OF CREATION, San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2008. (How Christ was envisioned in
the ancient Celtic tradition, and what this can mean for us today.)
For those desiring to pursue their study of Celtic Christian history
and spirituality, the following books are highly RECOMMENDED:
Oliver Davies and Fiona Bowie, CELTIC CHRITIAN SPIRITUALITY: AN
ANTHOLOGY OF MEDIEVAL AND MODERN SOURCES, New York, NY: Continuum,
1995. (Texts set in their own time and context. Includes an
excellent introduction to Celtic Christianity.)
CELTIC SPIRITUALITY, Translated and Introduced by Oliver Davies, The
Classics of Western Spirituality, New York, NY: Paulist Press,
1999. (Varied texts described and placed in context. Also includes
an introduction to Celtic spirituality.)
Alexander Carmichael, CARMINA GADELICA: HYMNS AND INCANTATIONS
COLLECTED IN THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND IN THE LAST
CENTURY, Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press, 1992. (Contains numerous
prayers in the Celtic spirit, asking God's blessing on all aspects
of life including the most mundane activities.)
THE CELTIC VISION, Selected and Edited by Esther de Wall from the
Carmina Gadelica, Petersham, MA: St. Bede's Publications, 1988.
(Selections presented by themes, with an introduction to each
B. R. Rees, PELAGIUS: LIFE AND LETTERS, Two Volumes in One, Volume
2, THE LETTERS OF PELAGIUS AND HIS FOLLOWERS (1991), Woodbridge,
Suffolk, UK, and Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1998. (Pelagius,
active in the fifth century, though much maligned and condemned by
the Church, has much worthwhile teaching in the Celtic spirit.)
John Scotus Eriugena, THE VOICE OF THE EAGLE: HOMILY ON THE PROLOGUE
OF SAINT JOHN, Christopher Bamford, translator, with introduction
and reflections, Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press, 1990. (Eriugena,
born in the early ninth century, is an outstanding Celtic mystic and
THE IRISH PENITENTIALS, Edited by Ludwig Bieler, with an Appendix by
D. A. Binchy, Dublin: The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies,
1963/1975. (The Irish Penitentials go beyond the conception of the
Sacrament of Penance as inflicting punishment on a sinner for a
crime committed, to seeing the Sacrament as medicinal and the
penance as a means of helping the sinner heal from what led him or
her to sin. To grasp this meaning in the text itself, this book is
to be read in conjunction with Chapter 3, "The Penitentials: The
Human Dilemma," pages 48-67, in Thomas O'Loughlin, CELTIC THEOLOGY
(see below, 2. Studies.)
Peter Beresford Ellis, CELTIC INHERITANCE, London, UK: Constable,
1992. (A scholarly study of Celtic Christianity and of its history
in each of the Celtic lands of northwestern Europe.)
Thomas O'Loughlin, CELTIC THEOLOGY: HUMANITY, WORLD AND GOD IN EARLY
IRISH WRITINGS, London, UK, and New York, NY: Continuum, 2000. (A
scholarly presentation of theology as seen through the lens of
B. R. Rees, PELAGIUS: LIFE AND LETTERS, Two Volumes in One, Volume
1, PELAGIUS: A RELUCTANT HERETIC (1988), Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK,
and Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1998. (A judicious and scholarly
presentation of Pelagius' life.)
James P. Mackey, ed., AN INTRODUCTION TO CELTIC CHRISTIANITY,
Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1995. (Chapters on various aspects of Celtic
Christianity. Includes M. Forthomme Nicholson, "Celtic
Theology: Pelagius," on pages 386-413.)
Thomas Cahill, HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION, New York, NY:
Doubleday/ Anchor, 1995. (Both scholarly and written in a lighter
vein, describes the work of the Irish monks and scribes in
preserving the heritage of Western civilization during the Dark
Revised February 2014.