“Tunc Iesus”: a pastoral epistle to the clergy

Beloved sons

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” St Matthew 16:24 These words, my sons, are an invitation. An invitation to embark on a transformative journey, to embrace a life of purpose and meaning. Jesus, the embodiment of love and truth, invites us to shed the shackles of our own self-interests and to rise above our own limitations. He beckons us to leave behind the superficial pursuits that consume our days, and to instead focus on nurturing our souls and serving a higher purpose.

It is no easy task, this call to discipleship. It requires us to confront our deepest fears and insecurities, to challenge the status quo, and to let go of the comfortable and familiar. But in doing so, we open ourselves up to a world of boundless possibilities. By denying ourselves, we discover our true potential – the capacity to love unconditionally, to forgive endlessly, and to bring about positive change in our own lives and the lives of those around us.

This week we remember with great fondness and affection those men who were raised within the sacred ministry a year ago to the priesthood within our apostolate for the Church and others whose anniversaries occur at this time. Their decision to accept the sacred ministry was not merely a choice to deepen their commitment to follow Jesus, but a resolute embrace of both their personal crosses and His. Their vocation is not just to be a disciple but to become “alter Christus” – another Christ. In accepting the sacred ministry, they willingly embraced not only the joys and rewards that come with this noble calling, but also the inevitable challenges and sacrifices that lie ahead.

True priesthood is the embodiment of a perpetual act of sacrifice. Just as Our Lord exemplified this selfless devotion, so too must those chosen to be “alter Christus” offer a continuous surrendering of oneself; echoing the kenosis described in Philippians 2:5-9. Just as Christ humbled Himself by divesting His divine nature for the sake of humanity, we too must tirelessly shed our own human desires to fully embrace and manifest His divine essence.

We are called to become “nothing,” just as Christ willingly emptied Himself, as beautifully articulated by St John the Baptist when he proclaimed his own need to decrease for Christ to increase within him, John 3:30. This is to become “in persona Christi” – to identify and understand ourselves in Him, and this means enduring all the pain and suffering that goes with surrendering oneself to the Will of God.

We have a tradition after ordaining new priests, to present them first to their mothers giving them a rose tied with the manutergium just used to bind their freshly consecrated hands, and then to a statue of Our Lady there to sing a Salve. This custom holds deep meaning and purpose – it signifies the presentation of these new priests as devoted sons to Our Lady. They willingly embrace the challenges and sacrifices that are part of their sacred calling, just as Jesus had foretold when He spoke of the “cup” Matthew 20:22 that His Apostles shared. Like Him, these new priests will offer themselves completely in service to God’s Will by participating in His ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s sins: offering not only Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross at every Mass but also surrendering their own lives in selfless service to others.

The priestly role, akin to the sacrificial nature of Our Lady’s call to the children of Fatima, requires a willingness to embrace suffering in service of God’s Will. Just as Sr Lucy, SS. Francisco, and Jacinta were asked to dedicate their lives to God’s purpose despite the hardships it entailed, priests within the Old Roman apostolate understand that a life of sacrifice is expected of them. This commitment to living a life of suffering is an integral part of their vocation, demonstrating their unwavering devotion and alignment with God’s divine plan.

The role of a priest is not just to believe in Christ, but also to embrace the concept of sacrifice and endure suffering for His sake. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29). Father Humbert Clérissac OP, a prominent figure during the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries, wrote, “that to be truly part of the church one did not only have to suffer for the Church but also at the hands of the church”. This perspective resonates with Old Roman priests and clerics who strive to faithfully serve the Church, yet often face ridicule and scorn despite their unwavering dedication.

The act of self-sacrifice we engage in is the very reason why the priesthood we uphold is legitimate, our calling is sincere, our practices are orthodox, and yet our ministry is often criticized and belittled. Through this enduring hardship, we align ourselves with Christ who was despised and rejected, a man burdened with sorrow and acquainted with grief. This reference to Isaiah 53:3 aptly captures the essence of our commitment to preserving the genuine Catholic priesthood. “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” John 15:20.

As members of the Old Roman apostolate, we do not enjoy the same automatic privileges granted to other members of the clergy. We can relate to the words of St. Paul when he said, “Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day” (I Corinthians 4:15). These powerful words encapsulate the challenges and hardships that we, as Old Romans, face in our daily lives. Despite the adversity we encounter, we persevere with unwavering determination and a steadfast commitment to our beliefs.

Our unique position as the “offscouring of all things” only strengthens our resolve to uphold our values and serve our communities with integrity and compassion. We recognize that our role may not be celebrated or revered by society at large, but we take pride in our unwavering dedication to our calling. It is through our struggles and sacrifices that we find solace in knowing that we are making a difference, even if it may go unnoticed by the world. As Old Romans, we embrace the challenges that come our way, knowing that our faith and resilience will guide us through any obstacle.

One of the prominent difficulties encountered by Old Romans revolves around the prospect of never attaining acknowledgement from the Church hierarchy. Regrettably, apart from a limited number of instances, most Old Roman ministries are not recognized by the Roman authorities. This underscores the depth of our dedication to the timeless faith and teachings of the Church, we suffer for her sake, but as well at her hands.

We understand the immense disappointment that arises from this matter, especially for the younger clergy who have a clear and undeniable recognition of God’s calling to the priesthood. They have struggled often to realise their vocations, impeded and prevented by those who, it may seem to us, have no understanding of their calling. It is disheartening to witness their dedication and commitment go unrecognized, and to see them not receive the same level of automatic respect and privilege as their fellow priests and counterparts within the institutional Church.

The ramifications of this disparity are far-reaching and often result in unfortunate consequences. One of the most distressing outcomes is the loss of friendships and even familial relationships. It is disheartening to witness the breakdown of these connections due to a lack of understanding regarding the beliefs and values held by those who adhere to traditional Roman practices, especially by those who are fellow Catholics and should have a better appreciation. Yet we do what we do for their benefit, for their salvation, offering the sacrifice of Calvary with our own lesser sacrifices for their sake.

For Old Roman clergy, the journey to priesthood is not merely a vocation; it is a deep and profound commitment to serving God and the community self-sacrificially. Our priests have answered a divine calling that compels them to dedicate their lives to the service of God and neighbour. Yet, despite their obvious unwavering dedication, the length to which they are prepared to sacrifice for the sake of the faith, they find themselves derided and ignored by the institutional Church.

Let us not be deterred by the weight of our crosses, for within that burden lies the strength and resilience we need to navigate the trials and tribulations of life. Jesus, our guiding light, assures us that we do not walk this path alone. With every step, he walks beside us, offering his unwavering support and guidance. Through his example, he shows us the way to live a life rooted in compassion, humility, and unwavering faith. We have great saints to emulate, those who in past times made similar sacrifices in difficult times for the Church. Let us implore their intercession.

My dear sons, I implore you to continue to grasp hold of this profound invitation with unyielding determination. Let us wholeheartedly deny ourselves the fleeting temptations and seeking the superficial adulation of this world and instead, courageously shoulder our individual crosses, as we embark on a path that mirrors the footsteps of Jesus. Through this spiritual journey, not only will we discover the boundless gift of salvation and the promise of eternal life, but we will also unearth the deepest and most authentic expression of our own humanity in union with the mystery of His Incarnation.

Know that I earnestly intercede in prayer for each and every one of you, every day, extending my supplications not only to those individuals upon whom I have personally conferred the grace of holy Orders through the laying on of hands, but to every member of our Old Roman presbyterate. The depth of my devotion and the sincerity of my prayers transcend any boundaries or limitations, encompassing all who are connected to our sacred endeavor.

As I bow my head in prayer, my heart is filled with a profound sense of responsibility to lift each of you up in prayer, seeking divine intervention and guidance for your well-being, prosperity, and fulfillment. With unwavering conviction, I beseech the Holy Trinity to bestow upon you strength, wisdom, and clarity in your endeavors, enabling you to navigate the intricate paths of life with grace and fortitude. Offering you to the sacred, immaculate and most chaste hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

In my fervent prayers, I implore the divine forces, your guardian angels to grant you solace during times of tribulation, offering you solace and comfort amidst the storms that may assail your lives. As at your ordination, I invoke the intercession of the saints to aid you by their supplications and example. May the knowledge of and power of these prayers serve as a beacon of hope, illuminating your path and providing you with the resilience to overcome any obstacles that may stand in your way. May you remember the strength of St Michael and his armies protect you.

It is with unwavering dedication and utmost humility that I commit myself to this sacred duty, interceding on your behalf with fervor and sincerity. May these prayers bring you solace, strength, and success, as you continue to tread upon the path of life with unwavering determination and grace. May these profound supplications bring you solace during moments of turmoil, instilling within you a renewed sense of strength and resilience. Know that we are together in our self-sacrificing and especially connected every time we share in offering the most holy and august sacrifice of the Mass, by Whom, with Whom and in the person of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Oremus pro invicem.


Quatuor Tempora Septembris MMXXIII A.D.

Michaelmas Ordinations 2022

On Saturday, September 24th, HE ✠Jerome of Selsey, ordained to the sacred priesthood in the Traditional Latin Rite broadcast live from the historic Clarissine Church of the Elevation of the Holy Cross in Bratislava, the Revd Dr Adam Sýkora PhD (Karlova) & the Revd Dr Robert Wilson PhD (Cantab).

Dr Sýkora will serve the Old Roman apostolate in Slovakia. A theology doctoral graduate of the Univerzita Karlova, Prague and a Masters degree graduate of the Roman Catholic Faculty of Theology of Cyril and Methodius of Comenius University where he received seminary formation. Dr Sýkora is also a trained psychologist.

Dr Wilson will serve the Old Roman apostolate in the United Kingdom. A theology doctoral graduate of Cambridge University, and a Masters degree graduate of Selwyn College, Dr Wilson is an archivist and librarian at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, one of the oldest libraries in Europe.

Likewise, in Detroit IL, USA, HE ✠Nioclas of Movilla, ordained to the sacred priesthood via letters dimissorial in the Traditional Latin Rite, the Revd Fr. Stanislaus Guadalupe Ybarra, FMCD (Esteban) of the Littlest Sons of the Sweetest Heart of The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, a religious order under the Congregation of Divine Charity. Fr Stanislaus is a Masters degree graduate of the Catholic University of America, Washington DC and received religious formation in the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary

YouTube player
YouTube player

Episcopal Visitations 2022

The following are confirmed visitations by the Archbishop of Selsey in 2022.

23.04.22 – 30.04.22Slovenská Republika
Republik Österreich
Wien / Haslau-Maria EllendPilgrimage
09.05.22 – 19.05.22Rzeczpospolita Polska
Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun
Էջմիածնի մայր տաճարConference
Երևան / Տաթևի վանքPilgrimage
06.06.22 – 13.06.22Ellinikí Dimokratía
22.06.22 – 29.06.22République Française
Bordèu / BrageiracPastoral
19.08.22 – 23.08.22República Portuguesa
21.09.22 – 30.09.22Slovenská Republika
Rzeczpospolita Polska
Warszawa / Gora KalwariaPilgrimage

The archbishop provides pastoral episcopal oversight for Old Roman communities throughout Europe, requiring him to travel regularly to provide sacraments reserved to the episcopal order, e.g. Confirmation and Ordination. Usually these trips include pilgrimages, retreats and conferences, and opportunities for disparate Old Romans within a region to gather together.

José Guadalupe Posada

Pentecost Ordinations 2019

On Saturday, June 8th while offering the Divine Liturgy for the Vigil of Pentecost at the Brighton Oratory, UK, ✠Jerome admitted by tonsure into the clerical state Bro. Juniper n/CDC and Dr Robert Wilson. The following day, Pentecost Sunday during Mass, His Grace ordained Bro Juniper and Dr Wilson to the minor orders of Porter and Lector. Both have been ordained to serve the new Oratory mission in formation in Bristol, UK. Bro Juniper is a novice in the Congregation of the Divine Charity, Dr Wilson has a PhD in theology from Cambridge University a librarian formerly of the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth and an assistant at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Ordinations: Chicago 2018

In October of 2018, Archbishop Jerome as Servant Superior of the Congregation of the Divine Charity, the umbrella congregation for religious and apostolic life in the Orthodox Old Roman Catholic Communion, visited Chicago and the Franciscan Friary of St Felix home to the Missionary Franciscans of Christ the King. The primary purpose of his visit was to ordain Friars James Alaniz and Thomas Gierke as priests.

The ordination Mass took place on Sunday, October 7th the feast of Our Lady of Victory, the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined fleet of the Holy League of 1571 over the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto. The Pontifical Solemn Mass was offered in the historic Church of the Atonement and was beautifully sung by a hand-picked schola under the direction of Mr Kevin Allen, an internationally acclaimed composer of polyphony and expert on chant. The resident organist at Atonement, Mr Charles Sega accompanied the hymns and improvised organ preludes as required to cover some of the liturgical action.

The serving team, though unfamiliar with the traditional Latin Rite of Ordination and having only received a few minutes of instruction before the liturgy from the MC, Monsignor Kelly, served beautifully. A large congregation of family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers witnessed the traditional and deeply moving Rite of Ordination, following in their bilingual missalettes Latin/English the liturgy and descriptive notes. All enjoyed the hospitality of the Friars afterward who laid on refreshments and wine to celebrate the occasion.

The following day, the newly ordained priests offered their first Masses, Missa Cantata and both were solemnly sung with the schola, organist and director that assisted the Pontifical liturgy the day before. One Mass at 0900 offered by Fr Thomas OSF and the other by Fr James OSF at 1100. Being a weekday it wasn’t possible to field a full team of servers so Monsignor Kelly and Archbishop Jerome assisted, the latter acting as MC for the new celebrants.

Following each First Mass by the new priests, a procession took place to the Shrine of Our Lady, pausing along the way all the clergy momentarily kneeling, to salute the mother of the new priest. Each priest’s mother was presented by her son with a red rose tied with the manutergium – the hand-towel that had soaked up the sacred Chrism used to consecrate the hands of the new priests at their ordination – the rose plucked from the midst of a bouquet of white roses that were afterward presented to Our Lady by the new priests, now her sons by adoption. Needless to say, both mothers and sons were deeply affected by this act of honour and humility and certainly Our Lady’s prayers will bless their ministry as they strive to act “in persona Christi”.

Cogitationes meas…

S. Mariae ad Nives


My thoughts are currently preoccupied with the upcoming ordinations fast approaching this Michaelmastide (actually, just prior, on St Matthew’s day) and the need to prepare particularly the deacons to be priested on this occasion. It happens to be a significant anniversary for me too, personally, and having just completed the first year of my episcopate last May, I have been somewhat distracted of late and in an almost paralysingly reflective mood.

Belmont Abbey

At the beginning of July I spent some time in quiet reflection at Belmont Abbey and just last week at Sarum College in the Cathedral Close at Salisbury. I was joined on both occasions and indeed was blessed to have the company of  friends, also to realise acquaintances and establish new relationships. I was also blessed to be able to share in the daily round of Office and Mass with Benedictines, at Belmont Abbey obviously, also at the recently founded Howton Grove Priory (a Convent and the home of digitalnun) and in Salisbury with another recently established Priory, the new home of the monks formerly of Elmore Abbey. Additionally in Salisbury there was the added delight (though if somewhat soporific after a long day of walking, talking and reflecting) of Cathedral Evensong, sung by a most proficient choir (in place of the Cathedral’s own who were away), enabling me to drift and pray in the midst of music by Richard Ayleward, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Herbert Howells and the master, Thomas Tallis (of whom David Starkey’s current series on the BBC provided an accurate and balanced portrayal).

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral

It was rather an auspicious time to have visited both houses of monks respectively, Belmont was just about to host the General Chapter of the English Benedictine Congregation and the Priory at Salisbury had just been visited by one of its more famous oblates, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby! It had also transpired that the Abbot of Belmont had trained in Rome with an episcopal colleague (my equivalent as Metropolitan in the USA) back in the 70’s. I was also able to celebrate American Independence Day with the newest member of the community at Howton Grove too, a postulant from America!

There were many highlights to my experiences during this time away, not least of course sharing in the faith journeys and experiences of those in whose company I was in, whether my particular companions for the duration or some of the people I met. Just like a pilgrimage, visiting holy places even on retreat always involves others, reminding us that we experience the spiritual life, just like the material life, not in isolation but in company with others. There were naturally times spent in solitary, important times for reflection and prayer, but at meal times, communal prayer times and in socialising there too the incarnational aspects of our relationship with God and each other were made plain and the Lord still seemed “to speak” to me. As is so often the case, there is “nothing new under the sun” and just as when we re-read a portion of Scripture and find hidden or deeper meaning, so too in the interaction with others discussing faith we can find different insights and perspectives on very similar experiences. Though we experience life very much subjectively and as individuals, yet often the scenarios and circumstances are not so unique.

It can be easy for anyone to feel that their particular experience of this life is completely unique, but one of the wonders of the Catholic Faith is the knowledge that numerous saints before have gone through something of whatever it is we think we are uniquely experiencing now. I have often found it a great comfort to know that somewhere a saint in light, one of the blessed who has gone before, knows something of what it is I am feeling. Particularly for me, those who also shared in the burden of the priestly office, and now after this “first year of our episcopate”, most especially those who were burdened as I am with the weight of the “summum sacerdotium” (fullness of the priesthood). I can honestly say, and I certainly don’t mean impiously, that I can still to this day feel the weight of the Book of the Gospels that rested upon my shoulders during the Rite of Consecration.

However, sharing in the faith stories of others and reflecting on my own, I was buoyed to recognise the presence of God in other’s lives and thus also in my own. True, my companions and I spoke much as if our conversations would put the very world “to rights” but even in our commiserating, there were definite signs of God’s presence and through our discourse we were able to awaken each other to His presence. Each conversation then resulted with a positive disposition to continue to strive and to hold one another in prayer to that end!

My time was spent with fellow Catholics – Roman and Anglican and despite some perceptible cultural differences, I was truly in the company of likeminded people. True, there was much variance perceptible between members even of the same denomination, reminding me that even among the people of God, our many and various individual perceptions and experiences can yet coalesce into a greater whole. This provided me with some comfort, for even though consecrated to one particular portion of the flock, I cannot help but feel my ministry as a contemporary Apostle is for the whole Church, for there is but “one Lord, one faith and one baptism” [Ephesians 4:5] and irrespective of our circumstances there is but “one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church”.

I am not making any claim to a “universal jurisdiction” here, but rather the knowledge that I was consecrated and set apart by God for His people, irrespective of jurisdiction. I thus can’t help but feel some responsibility, some concern for the spiritual welfare of other Christians irrespective of denomination. Clearly, the company I was with, despite our different circumstances, some appreciably difficult as well as different, yet our spiritual and doctrinal commonality in expression of the Faith proved under it all our unity. That I drew some comfort from, even if ironically it was proof that no matter which side of the fence, the grass is neither greener nor necessarily healthier!

I wrote at the beginning though that my thoughts have been primarily taken up with the upcoming ordinations, so more of that in part II…

S. Mariae ad Nives, ora pro nobis