St. Francis Seminary

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Lay Pastoral Chaplaincy - Frequently Asked Questions

1. I love my church. Must I leave that denomination?

No. The Community Catholic Church is pleased to extend communion to all Christians and Christian denominations. The Community Catholic Church recognizes the ministry of Lay Pastoral Chaplains regardless of denomination.


2. I am a baptized Christian, but I no longer attend a church. Am I a candidate for chaplaincy?

Lay Pastoral Chaplaincy is a personal ministry, independent of denomination. Therefore, active participation in a denomination is not necessary for chaplains. However, they must be in agreement with the teachings and concepts of the Community Catholic Church, explained here.


3. What about same-sex weddings? I am against them.

The Community Catholic Church is committed to marriage equality. Many wedding businesses are not, which is why this program was instituted. If you are against marriage equality, you are not a candidate for Lay Pastoral Chaplaincy. We suggest you investigate wedding license businesses for your license.


3. How much will this cost me? I've checked other ordination businesses and they cost thousands of dollars.

The fee for the Lay Chaplaincy Program is $750, along with a tithe (10%) of wedding income earned.


4. What if my spouse wishes to become a chaplain with me? Is there a price break?

Yes, there is. When a married couple takes the class together, the cost for both is $1200.


4. What about annual fees? I've looked into other ordination licensing businesses or "churches" and they charge an annual fee.

There is no annual fee. Chaplains tithe (offer 10%) of the income earned on weddings they perform, up to $1000, less than $100 per month, to support the growth, development, and services of the Community Catholic Church. If chaplains offer a high number of weddings, any tithes over the initial $1000 may be offered to the charities they choose.


5. Will the service component take a lot of my time?

Most chaplains find they are already fulfilling the service commitment in their daily lives; it just has not been recognized as a charitable ministry. Service or charity may be as simple as dropping canned goods in the food bank container at the grocery store.


6. How do I fulfill the spiritual component?

Again, most chaplains will find that they are already fulfilling their spiritual commitment through prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, worship within their denomination, etc.


7. What makes chaplaincy with you different from those other wedding licensing businesses?

We are not a wedding business that registered as a church; we are a church. There will be oversight of our chaplains in the form of reports, there will be fellowship opportunities, there will be opportunities for spiritual growth as well as for service days. Weddings are, for us, not the focus of our work; they are a part of church ministry, as sacraments. They are also part of our commitment to justice and equality, hence the restriction of chaplaincy only to those who are in agreement with our belief that the benefits of  marriage must be available to all people legally able to wed.


8. What does chaplaincy offer me?

Lay Pastoral Chaplains are recognized as part of the body of Christian ministers, although they are appointed rather than ordained. Chaplains are able to celebrate weddings and minister to those in need in the name of Christ.


9. How intensive is the training?

The training begins with an onsite day (Ontarians at a distance should contact us if this poses an obstacle) followed by several trainings via teleseminar. Optional opportunities for further development are also available. Training covers spirituality, service, and wedding ministry.


10. Why wouldn't I just get an online, automatic ordination?

Some organizations offer an online, automatic ordination. These are not valid in Canada. Regardless, it is not our belief that clicking a button on the computer can confer ordination. Those who have been so 'ordained' have told us they received no training whatsoever, which to us is inappropriate. For those in the states who have been so ordained – or who have been licensed through license businesses which offered little, if any, actual instruction in officiating at weddings and other celebrations – we are happy to offer our training.


11. What if I do a hundred weddings a year? It would be cheaper to go with a license 'church' business and pay their annual fees.

That is probably the best course of action for anyone who regards marriage celebration as strictly a money-making opportunity. Our chaplains are true chaplains, with oversight by the church, monthly accountability, and recognition as genuine lay ministers.


If, however, you do chose a wedding license business, you may find that the number of weddings you do is far less than the annual fee you will be asked to pay along with a percentage of your wedding charges. You may find that you are expected to generate a certain amount of business in order to satisfy the licensing business. You may find that the company acts as a middle-man between you and your couples, charging the couples and paying you a fraction of the charges. This is business.


We are a church. If you do three weddings, three thousand, or none...that is your choice and we have no expectation or demand that you do more or fewer weddings. We require only that you to uphold the rules of the Marriage Act and the policies and practices of our church which relate to Lay Pastoral Chaplains. Your tithe is a thank-offering to the church that has recognized your ministry and authorized you to perform weddings. In any event, for officiants who do many weddings, the tithe caps at $1000 per chaplain, less than $100 a month, which is a reasonable support of the church, we feel.


12. What if I want to become ordained?

The sacrament of Holy Orders as a transitional or permanent deacon is available only to members of the Community Catholic Church. To become a deacon, candidates must go through an application process and participate in the six-month Diploma in Pastoral Ministry course offered by St Francis Seminary.  More information can be found here.

13.  What do I get as a Chaplain?

As a Lay Pastoral Chaplain, you receive the training and ongoing support that is necessary to carry out your ministry in the larger community.  You receive a Certificate, an ID card, a wedding manual, and official documents appointing you as a Lay Pastoral Chaplain in the Community Catholic Church of Canada.