Father Andrew Bartus is a member of the expanding ordinariate of pastors in Southern California and Orange County. But there is nothing ordinary about the 36-year-old priest. 

He is married, has four children and a day job as a history teacher at St. Michael’s Preparatory School in Silverado. And he is a full-fledged Catholic priest. 

Fr. Bartus is part of a unique group of former Anglican and Protestant priests that are in The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. 

Father Bartus prays during Sunday Mass at Blessed John Henry Newman Church in Irvine (image: Challenge Roddie)

The ordinariate is a jurisdiction within the Catholic Church, much like a diocese, and created by the Vatican in 2012 for people in the Anglican tradition, who wish to become Catholics. Parishes and communities in the ordinariate are fully Roman Catholic, but retain elements of Anglican traditions and liturgy. 

Fr. Bartus, who previously had been an Anglican priest at St. Mary of the Angels in Los Feliz, said after the creation of the ordinariate, “I was the first priest in California ordained.” 

In his conversion, Fr. Bartus, who had graduated from Anglican seminary, was allowed to retain his priesthood and received dispensation from Rome to remain married and an exemption from clerical celibacy. 

Fr. Bartus said the education he received in seminary was about “90 percent” similar to Catholic teachings, but with more English history and liturgy. The Anglican priests who joined the ordinariate spent about a year learning Roman Catholic canon law. 

The journey from the Anglican Communion to Catholicism was a long, soul-searching journey that thousands have taken over the years. Fr. Bartus also brought over about 54 converts from his parish and others in Orange County. 

Fr. Bartus said he was guided by the spiritual journey of John Henry Newman, a 19th-century theologian and poet in England, who was an Anglican priest that left the Church of England and became a Catholic priest and cardinal. 

Full story at Orange County Catholic.