A new home and new prospects for “CCCCC”

Corpus Christi Catholic Community in Charleston, an Ordinariate community in South Carolina, has announced new developments, which will involve their pastor, Father Patrick Allen, taking over priestly responsibility for St. Mary of the Annunciation Church in downtown Charleston, taking the Ordinariate community with him and thus opening up a wide range of liturgical, outreach and other possibilities.

Fr. Allen has written the following:

Dear friends,

I have important and exciting news to share with you regarding the life of our community!

Effective July 1st, our home will once again be at St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church in downtown Charleston. I – and all of us! – will be working together with new pastor of St. Mary’s, Fr Gregory West, in shared Catholic witness for the growth and mutual benefit in the Gospel of both communities. Fr. West is and will remain the pastor of St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church on Daniel Island. St. Clare, which just celebrated the 3rd anniversary of its establishment, is already a large and rapidly growing parish meeting at Bishop England High School, and is soon to break ground on church buildings of its own. Fr West will continue to spend the bulk of his time at St. Clare, and I will be his parochial vicar and the primary priestly presence on a daily basis at St Mary’s.

I’m very excited about and grateful for this new step in our life together. Fr. West has been encouraging to me and supportive of the Ordinariate project from the beginning, and he is eager to see us grow and fulfill our mission of inviting all, and especially our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal/Anglican churches and other Protestant communities, into the joy and peace of full communion with the Catholic Church, “that they all may be one” (Jn 17.21). This move will allow me to be less “scattered” in my duties and to give more of my attention, time, and energy to Corpus Christi. Both Bishop Lopes and Bishop Gugleilmone of the Diocese of Charleston are agreed that this arrangement will be a help to both communities and, please God, an excellent and empowering next step in our journey to self-supporting independence.

This partnership will allow us to work together with St. Mary’s in Christian formation and programs for all ages, boost our music program, nurture common prayer, increase opportunities for Confession as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and other devotions, and grow new ministries in service to the Gospel. In September we will begin daily Masses (which have been suspended for some time at St. Mary’s due to lack of clergy), and two of those Masses each week will be in our Ordinariate form. Our Sunday Mass will be at 11.00AM, and we will begin a regular Sunday choral evensong with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

There are of course still details to be worked out, and no doubt there will be difficulties to overcome, and so I ask your prayers for me, for Fr. West, and also for the people of St Mary and St Clare as we take this new step together. I will continue to keep you informed – and ask for your help! – as the transition approaches. In the mean time, if you have any questions, please do let me know.

Finally, though we will do so more formally at the appropriate time, please do join me in expressing our gratitude to Fr Miles and the people of Sacred Heart who have been so kind and generous in their hospitality.

God bless you,
Fr Allen

St. Mary of the Annunciation, Charleston, SC

9 thoughts on “A new home and new prospects for “CCCCC”

  1. About a third of OCSP clergy who have an Ordinariate congregation also minister to a diocesan congregation. As we can see from Fr Allen’s description of his planned schedule, this arrangement offers opportunities but also places great demands on his time and energy. The shared model has been the one used almost exclusively in the OOLW and it has not been a recipe for the growth of Ordinariate membership. The arrival of younger former Anglican clergy, replacing the many pensioned former clergy who constituted the first wave in the OCSP, is of course an encouraging step, but the need to provide them with stipends and rectories is a challenge.


    • I forgot to mention that the CCCCC worshiped at St Mary of the Assumption from 2013-15 under Fr Allen’s leadership. I am unclear as to why returning there represents a new opportunity.


    • That’s a very common style of seating in older church buildings here in the East. In the colonial era, each family would rent a pew box that was large enough to accommodate its members. The pew box became the family’s seating in that church for as long as the family continued to rent it — typically through several generations.

      As a practical matter, this arrangement is not without its shortcomings. In particular, the usual form of a communion procession, where those seated in a pew go out one end to go to communion and return via the other end, utterly impossible.



      • Thanks. It looks impossible to navigate. I remember seeing this in old movies.


  2. The “weird” pews are similar, but not identical to, those in almost all American churches built more than 175 years ago. It was common for churches to be financed by “pew rents” — you rented your own pew which often had a door to which you had a key. Those who could not afford to pay rent sat in the balcony. The first churches without pew rents were founded around 1845, such as The Church of the Advent in Boston, the first in Boston to have no doors on the pews.


  3. Meanwhile, the property deal is being closed at St John’s (Philadelphia) on quite viable terms.
    Fr. Ousley writes: “We anticipate closing the purchase of the parish property near the end of May. The necessary approvals from the Archdiocese and the Ordinariate have been received. We will continue our monthly payments at the same level as the rent. At that rate, the mortgage will be paid off in 13 years. The Building Fund is then available for improvements and capital expenses.”


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