Married Anglican priest ordained for special ministry

| May 1, 2015 | 5 Comments
Archbishop John Nienstedt offers the greeting of peace to Deacon Vaughn Treco May 2 at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. The Archbishop ordained Treco a deacon one day before the former Anglican priest became Father Treco, when ordained a Catholic priest by Bishop Andrew Cozzens at Holy Family Church in St. Louis Park. Photo by Dianne Towalski / For The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop John Nienstedt offers the greeting of peace to Deacon Vaughn Treco May 2 at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. The Archbishop ordained Treco a deacon one day before the former Anglican priest became Father Treco, when ordained a Catholic priest by Bishop Andrew Cozzens at Holy Family Church in St. Louis Park. Photo by Dianne Towalski / For The Catholic Spirit

Vaughn Treco, a married man, grandfather of two and former Anglican priest, was ordained to the Catholic diaconate and priesthood over the weekend with the approval of Pope Francis.

His ordination as a Catholic priest who is married is allowed as an exception to the normal requirement for celibacy.

Father Treco will serve within the geographic boundaries of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as a member of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter as the priest for a community of former Anglicans.

The small community of 10 people worships on Sundays at Holy Family Church in St. Louis Park. Called the Society of St. Bede the Venerable, they have been under the care of Benedictine Brother John-Bede Pauley of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville.

“They’ve been functioning as a society,” Father Treco told The Catholic Spirit, “and my task is to grow it into a parish.

“I love church planting,” he added. “I’ve done this work before.”

Father Treco, 52, was ordained to the transitional diaconate with other transitional deacons from the St. Paul Seminary by Archbishop John Nienstedt May 2 at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Bishop Andrew Cozzens ordained him to the Catholic priesthood May 3,at Holy Family.

Rich church background

Once a priest of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, Vaughn Treco will be ordained to the Catholic diaconate May 2 and the Catholic priesthood May 3 for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Courtesy Vaughn Treco.

Once a priest of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, Vaughn Treco was ordained to the Catholic diaconate May 2 and the Catholic priesthood May 3 for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Courtesy Lisa Julia Photography.

In a letter to priests of the archdiocese that invited them to attend the priesthood ordination, Bishop Cozzens explained the circumstances that have brought Father Treco to the Catholic priesthood.

Father Treco “comes to us with a rich theological background as a former director of formation for his Anglican diocese,” Bishop Cozzens noted. “He finished all the requirements for ordination to the priesthood in the Catholic Church some years ago, and has been awaiting the right place for his service to the Church.”

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in the United States, approached Treco in 2014 about the need for a priest to serve the small Ordinariate community in Minnesota.

“Since the community existed within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Msgr. Steenson and I opened a conversation about Mr. Treco’s ordination for service to that community,” Bishop Cozzens wrote. “With the archbishop’s permission, I have been working with Msgr. Steenson on this for the past year, and now the final hurdle has been crossed.”

Now that he has been ordained, Father Treco may, at the archbishop’s discretion and with the permission of his ordinary, also serve other in capacities within the archdiocese, Bishop Cozzens explained. “For example, he could be a parochial vicar at one of our parishes as well. This is all yet to be determined by the archbishop.”

Ground-breaking pastor

Father Treco became a Catholic in 2000.

“The more closely I read Scripture, the more it seemed that Catholic Church teaching cohered to Scripture,” he explained.

Born in Nassau in the Bahamas and raised in a deeply religious Plymouth Brethren family, Treco attended an Evangelical seminary in Illinois and graduated with a masters in divinity.

In 1991 he and another young pastor, Clint Kemp, launched and developed the New Providence Community Church in the Bahamas, an Evangelical church with a mission focused on reaching young, college-educated people for Christ. After discovering what he described as inadequacies in Evangelical teaching, Vaughn and his wife, Norma, joined the Charismatic Episcopal Church.

He served on the staff of the Cathedral Church of the King in Olathe, Kansas, where he was ordained in 1997. He was the Charismatic Episcopal Church archbishop’s theologian and director of the seminary until he listened to audio tapes by Scott Hahn, “Answers to Common Objections.”

In an interview on EWTN, he said that after listening to the tapes over a weekend, he asked himself, “If I believe all of these things, why am I not Roman Catholic?”

Fifteen months later, in 1999, he began the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and became a Catholic in 2000.

Since then he has served in Catholic pastoral ministry as program director for marriage preparation and enrichment in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia; as a parish youth minister, and established “parishREACH,” an apostolate that trains and equips Catholic parishes to more effectively evangelize men, women and families within their local communities, Father Treco said.

For three years he did Catholic graduate theological studies in Arlington and completed another six-month program in Catholic theology through the Ordinariate in Houston, Texas, in 2013.

Lyrical, poetic worship

The Divine Worship of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter — what was formerly called the “Anglican-use” Mass — “harkens back to a Tridentine kind of complexity,” Father Treco explained.

“The chief difference is that the liturgy takes its linguistic cues and traditions from the Anglican Communion,” he said.

Catholics used to the Roman Rite that is regularly celebrated at parishes across the archdiocese would find the Ordinariate’s Divine Worship lyrical, he said, and would sense a poetic character to the prayer that Father Treco described as “more penetrating.”


What is the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter?

On Jan. 1, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI established the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter for groups of Anglicans in the United States who seek to enter into full  communion with the Catholic Church.

Later extended to Canada, the ordinariate was the second the pope created in light of the apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus.” The first was created for England and Wales on Jan. 15, 2011.

Norms set by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explain that an ordinariate is comparable to a diocese.

While priests of the ordinariate may celebrate Mass according to the Roman Rite, they are allowed to celebrate the Eucharist and the other sacraments, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and offer other liturgical celebrations according to liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition approved by the Holy See.

This worship maintains the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church,“as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared,” according to the apostolic constitution which Pope Benedict XVI approved in 2009.

Priests of the ordinariate provide pastoral care for former Anglicans who enter into full communion with the Catholic through the ordinariate.

Former Anglican deacons, priests and bishops — including married priests — may be accepted as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church, and serve the ordinariate. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy. Married clergy cannot become Catholic bishops, but they may be an “ordinary,” or leader of an ordinariate.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that under normal circumstances, Latin Rite priests —including those in the widespread Roman Rite — and unmarried deacons promise to remain celibate “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

The catechism states: “Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to ‘the affairs of the Lord,’ they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church’s minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God” (CCC 1579).

Exceptions to the discipline of priestly celibacy have been made for clergy of other traditions who have sought to be ordained into the Catholic Church.

While Father Vaughn Treco is the first priest to be ordained in the archdiocese for the ordinariate, at least one other former Protestant minister — Father Lawrence Blake, a former Lutheran minister — was ordained in 1999 a priest for the archdiocese and has served at several parishes, as a U.S. Air Force chaplain and as a hospital chaplain. Father Blake is married with children.

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, head of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, has said that “ordinariates for former Anglicans must be a bridge to Christian unity and a force for true ecumenism” and the members must “build and rebuild our relationships with confreres who have stayed behind in the Anglican Church.”


Q & A with newly ordained Father Vaughn Treco


 

Learn more about Father Vaughn Treco’s story in this 2006 interview on the EWTN program “The Journey Home.”

YouTube Preview Image

Tags: , , ,

Category: Featured, Local News