Greetings and blessings to all of you during this holy season of Christmas. Yes Christmas, because the season continues until the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ that is celebrated on January 13, 2013. It is my prayer that your Christmas festivities is full of hope as we seek the true light in our darkness, and true peace in the midst of violence and war.

In October 2012, I made solemn profession as a Benedictine monastic at Grace Episcopal Church in Brunswick, Maryland. Mother Anjel Scarborough, the priest-in-charge and the entire community welcomed us and hosted the celebration. Bishop Carl Purvenas-Smith, OSB, Abbot of New Creation Abbey affiliated with the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA) presided over the celebration. The Ecumencial Catholic Communion and CACINA are in a full communion relationship nd seek to collaborate with each other on various levels.

With the blessings of our Presiding Bishop, Most Reverend Peter Hickman and Bishop Steve of the Diocese of Florida, I became the founder of the Benedictine Companions of Sts. Patrick and Brigid. It is a Celtic monastic community that integrates much of Celtic spirituality into our benedicitne life. We are a small community of two. Br. Martin Zerbe, OSB is the other solemnly professed member of the community. We accept into our community married and single, divorced and remarried, women and men, straight and gay, or anyone with a specific ethnic background. In other words, all are welcome. There is a process that is followed in order to become a monastic in the community. Our local community is Anamchara in Christ Priory.

In November 2012, I moved from Charles Town, WV to Brunswick, Maryland. It was a sudden move due to some major issues with the house that I was renting. The members of Grace Episcopal Church offered to rent the rectory to me. The house is fabulous and sits next to the church. It was an offer that I could not pass up. I'm still settling in and hope to have the house in order by the first of the new year. Afterwards, I will be focusing on growing the benedictine community, and moving toward establishing the faith community that I have been wanting to do for several years. The obstacles that prevented me from doing it are now gone. Praise be God!

I pray that your new year will be filled with wonder and blessings. I know for certain that it will be for me. The Spirit is moving, and it is moving here in the mountains of Western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Fr. Michael-Kieran Seger, OSB
 
 
Who are you? Are you married with children, loving them and worrying for them in a culture of mixed messages and conflicting values? Are you divorced, remarried a second, third or more times? Are you a single parent, struggling to make ends meet? Are you gay, lesbian or transgender looking for an accepting community of faith? Are you a teenager, a young adult, looking for peers who share your faith and values?

If you are any of these, you belong to us because you belong to Christ.

Are you single, a person who lost a spouse or life partner, lonely or alone? Has your life and your faith gone flat or stale? Are you struggling financially because of lay offs, downsizing, discrimination or disability? Are you struggling with family planning questions? Have you been a victim of abuse or other forms of personal violence? Are you in a hopeless situation and see no way out?

If you are any of these, you belong to us because you belong to Christ.

Are you new in the area, from another Christian Tradition? Are you disillusioned with the Roman Catholic Church, their lack of accountability and transparency, or disaffected by the changes in the liturgy due to the new Roman Missal? Are you white, Hispanic, a person of color, a seasonal worker, an immigrant, a person without a home or a place to live? Have you been away from the Church for a while and are wondering if you will be welcomed back?

If you are any of these, you belong to us because you belong to Christ.

Are you a woman seeking a community that believes in the equality of both genders, and who has discerned a calling to the ordained ministry of Deacon or Priest? Are you looking to find a community that welcomes all baptized Christians to the Table of the Lord for Communion, regardless of life situation, way of life or sexual orientation? Are you what to be part of a community that truly values people as the Church, instead of investing in multi-million dollar buildings?

If you are any of these, you belong to us because you belong to Christ.

The good news is that Christ is the head of the Church, and Christ would accept all of you into his body without question. Christ welcomes you and so do we.

ALL ARE WELCOME IN THIS PLACE. THAT’S THE GOD’S HONEST TRUTH. MAKE PLANS TO COME WHEN WE START THE COMMUNITY. IN THE MEANTIME, CONTACT ME WHEN YOU ARE READY.

 
 
I'm a Hospice Chaplain in Hagerstown, MD, which is a 32 mile drive from my home in Charles Town, WV. I travel the two lane roads to work and past by farmlands, pastures, a civil war battlefield and new housing developments. During the past several weeks, this one cow was standing on the road side grazing and oblivious to the passing cars, and the potential danger if she strayed into the roadway. The other cows were behaving themselves, staying within the fenced-in pasture for grazing. As always, I hoped and prayed that the cow would not get injuried or killed.
Just last week, I was startled to see the cow had somehow gotten out beyond the fenced-in pasture, had crossed the roadway and was grazing in a field on the other side of the road. I thought, "Whoa, what has this cow done?" She risked her own life to venture beyond her comfort zone and sought something completely different, yet at the same time, something very familar. After all, it was still grass, but perhaps better tasting, more digestable, more enriching to the milk product that the cow will eventually produce.
Then I began to ponder the situation on the way to work. The cow didn't want to be confined in the fenced-in pasture. She ventured out and sought something completely new and different, even though it was very familar to her. "Yeah!", I thought.  That cow and what she did is a metaphor of what I have done and what I hope many will do with me as a priest. You may ask, "What do you mean padre?"
Well how many of us are tired of being fenced-in and being fed the say old stuff? It may taste okay, but does it really nourish us on a deeper level? Does it truly reach the depths of our spirit? When do we reach the point that we grow tired of being told that our first marriage still stands and that we can't get remarried in the Church, because of a church ruling? How wearied do we become when we hear alot about sin and damnation, and the bloody rapture, and the evil that is lurking everywhere, and wonder to ourselves where is God's grace in all of this muck? And, rarely is there someone to help us see God's grace, to recognize it, or even to celebrate that we are all Children of God made in God's uniques image, and loved by God regardless of what we are and who we are, and what we have or have not done? How often do we have the spiritually "higher ups" tell us that our formed and informed conscience does not count, and we must still abide by Church teachings anyways, even if it makes us miserable, or question that maybe we are less than a Child of God? And where in the Bible does it say that a certain part of the male anatomy makes you more qualified to be a priest? After all, St. paul once wrote that we are all equal in Christ, and the early Celtic Catholic had great regard for women in pastoral leadership roles.
Like that cow, many of us are seeking a new pasture to graze in. Yes, it may include some of the many rich Traditions of the Church like the weekly celebration of the Eucharist (Communion) that should be open to all baptized Christians, which by the way, is presented in fresh and new ways that is inclusive, non-judgmental, and is truly the action of and by the community.
As we journey together as a fresh and new Catholic community that subscribes to the beautiful Christian Celtic spirituality, fokelore, love for creation, and emphasis on community where all God's people are equal to one another regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, faith background, or past histories, we will be a renewed church that expresses itself in the manner that Christ intended. Come join the journey. Like the cow, I invite you to step out into new pastrues and see what's waiting for you. Email me, contact me, facebook me ... I'm here, and together we'll be the light that the world so desperately needs to shatter the gloom and doom darkness around us. How about it? Are you in?
God's gracious love be with all of you as we companion together on this journey.
Fr. Michael Seger,
Founding Pastor of Sts. Patrick and Brigid Ecumenical Catholic Community  
Charles Town, WV   
 
 
Welcome to Sts. Patrick and Brigid Ecumenical Catholic Community! We are a Catholic worshiping community in formation in the Panhandle of West Virginia. We are in the process of setting up an informational meeting where those who are seeking a progressive Catholic church can join us in conversation and prayer to build God's Church.

We believe in the radical hospitality of Jesus Christ and we welcome you to join us for the journey. Please sign up for our email list to learn more.
 

    Author

    Fr. Michael is currently a Hospice Chaplain. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in May 1978 after attending seminary at St. Meinrad College and School of Theology in southern Indiana. He received a Master of Divinity. Later he attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC to study liturgical and sacramental theology. In 1988, he took an extended leave of absence from his diocese and pursued a profession in human resources. After 20 years of working in human resources for various public, private, non-profit and educational organizations, he pursued professional coaching, which led him back to his passion, which is ministry. In October of 2010, he was formally received into the Ecumenical Catholic Communion as a priest.
    In October 2012, Fr. Michael took solemn vows as a Benedictine monasitic. His religious name is Kieran, a revered Celtic monk.
    The time has come. He is moving ahead with his vocation and begin with all of God's grace and energy to develop a parish community between Brunswick and Frederick, MD along the Route 340 corridor. This is undoubtedly a definite calling from God considering he has never started a parish community from ground up. It will be exciting, challenging, and hopefully fun.  

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