December 10, 2021

Indianapolis ordinariate parish seeks to build up Church unity

Father Jeffrey Moore celebrates Mass for St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne Parish of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which worships at Good Shepherd Church in Indianapolis. Assisting him at left is Lee Ashton, a deacon candidate for the ordinariate. (Submitted photo)

Father Jeffrey Moore celebrates Mass for St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne Parish of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which worships at Good Shepherd Church in Indianapolis. Assisting him at left is Lee Ashton, a deacon candidate for the ordinariate. (Submitted photo)

By Sean Gallagher

After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, many of the Apostles went forth from Jerusalem to lands far and wide to carry out Jesus’ parting command to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15).

Father Jeffrey Moore finds himself in Indianapolis in a similar position to the Apostles.

A priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Father Moore had ministered for many years at Our Lady of the Atonement Parish in San Antonio, Texas. It is a large, well-established faith community, now a part of the ordinariate, made up of former Anglicans, Episcopalians and Methodists who have been received into the full communion of the Church.

The ordinariate was established in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI as a diocese-like structure for such Catholics in the U.S. and Canada. It features a form of the Mass that draws from the spiritual and liturgical heritage of the Church of England.

In 2020, Bishop Steven J. Lopes, who leads the ordinariate, sent Father Moore to what might seem like a far corner of the ordinariate world—to Indianapolis to minister to and grow a fledgling ordinariate community that is now St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne Parish.

“It’s certainly a completely new experience for me, going from a parish that was established, one of the largest in the ordinariate, to come here to try to start something from scratch,” said Father Moore in an interview with The Criterion.

The parish meets for worship and other community activities at Good Shepherd Parish in Indianapolis, where Father Moore also serves as sacramental minister for archdiocesan Catholics.

Additionally, he ministers as a chaplain at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis. The salary that this ministry provides helps Father Moore support his family; he is married and is a father of four children.

Since 1982, former married ministers in the Anglican, Episcopalian, Methodist and Lutheran traditions who have been received into the Church have been able to be ordained as priests.

Father Moore was ordained an Episcopalian priest in 2004, was later received into the Church and was ordained a Catholic priest in 2010 for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. He became a priest of the ordinariate in 2017.

Though very different from his experience in San Antonio, Father Moore sees his ministry in Indiana as an expression of the mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel to every creature.

“It’s what we’re about,” he said. “The whole Church is missionary. It’s especially so with the Ordinariate.”

Father Moore’s arrival in Indianapolis was “an answered prayer” for Ordinariate members in the area, said Lee Ashton, a member of St. Cuthbert and a deacon candidate for the Ordinariate.

“We’d been praying for this for years,” said Ashton. “We prayed and prayed that something would break loose and we’d actually be able to be our own entity. And it did.”

A few dozen members of St. Cuthbert gather for Sunday Mass at 11:30 a.m. at Good Shepherd. They gather for Evening Prayer and eucharistic adoration weekly at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Bible studies, inquiry classes and marriage preparation programs are all also being started at St. Cuthbert. And they gather for fellowship and pitch-in meals after their liturgies.

“Since we’re a missionary [community] and want to encourage other people to join the Catholic Church,” said Ashton, “we’ve got to be able to be attractive and approachable to them and not feel like a cliquey place where they’re not welcome.”

Matt Nelson has enjoyed the welcome he’s experienced at St. Cuthbert since making the faith community his spiritual home in January.

He was drawn to the parish by its distinctive, traditional liturgy and sacred music. But the math teacher at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis also values the “sense of fellowship” he’s experienced at St. Cuthbert.

“The members introduced themselves to me,” Nelson said. “We have fellowship after Mass. It means a lot to me. … I hope that we continue to grow and continue to bring souls to Christ. That’s really what it’s all about in the Ordinariate.”

Other young adults have been drawn to St. Cuthbert and are helping to build up its community. Nelson helps lead some of them and other parishioners in a choir.

To help build up St. Cuthbert even more, Father Moore, Ashton and other parish leaders are exploring various opportunities to let the broader community learn about it—from distributing leaflets in neighborhoods to using Catholic radio.

“Getting the word out is the biggest thing that I’m focusing on,” Ashton said. “Once the word gets out, people will come. We’ve seen it with young people.”

“Any Catholic is welcome to attend our Mass,” said Nelson. “I’ve gotten a lot out of it and invite anyone who is curious to check us out on Sunday. Join us for fellowship afterward.”

The effort to build up St. Cuthbert, said Father Moore, is ultimately directed at strengthening the unity of the Church for which Christ prayed at the Last Supper.

“That’s what we’re called to,” he said. “And that’s why we’re here. It’s to make that unity real and make it happen.”
 

(For more information about St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne Parish, visit https://stcuthbertindy.org.)

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