The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Monday, April 14, 2014

St. Edmund's Update: In praise of Benedict

The excellent Update from the Sodality of St. Edmund has just been published. While I commend all the content to you, I call your attention to this wonderful paen to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI by Monsginor Mercer:

 There are many Benedicts. The name means "blest" or "blessed" (by God of course). There is St Benedict of Nursia (480 - 550), the patrician Italian who is considered to be the patriarch of Western monasticism. He wrote his famous Rule for men and women who wished to withdraw from secular society and live communal lives of prayer, study and manual labour. In the Dark Ages of Europe which followed upon the collapse of the Roman empire, monasteries became a civilizing influence, centres of peace in a violent world, places of agriculture, education, hospitality and medical care.
There is St Benedict Biscop (628 - 689), a patrician Brit who became a Benedictine monk in France and then founded monasteries back home in county Durham. He was famous for his learning and patronage of music and art. There is St Benedict Aniane of France (750 - 821) about whom similar things could be said.
There is St Benedict Labre (1748 - 1783), a holy tramp of no fixed abode who wandered about the famous shrines of Europe. It takes all sorts to build the communion of saints. There was a not dissimilar man in modern times, John Bradburne, who finally ended up in Zimbabwe living among lepers where he was martyred by Mugabe's freedom fighters. He too will be canonized one day ("Strange Vagabond of God" by John Dove SJ published by Gracewing).
Sixteen popes have been called Benedict. Number XV tried hard to be a peacemaker (Matthew 6,9). He attempted to stop the First World War before it began, he tried to end it sooner than it did, and afterwards he attempted to ensure there'd be no future wars. He might now be thought of as a "son of God" (Beatitude no. 6) but what can a mere clergyman do against bellicose politicians? So far as I know, Joseph Ratzinger has not told us why he adopted the name Benedict when he was elected pope. Perhaps he was thinking both of the civilizing and pacifying effect of St Benedict the Great, and of the eirenic attempts of Benedict XV? However, because he is orthodox and Biblical he came to be nicknamed the panzer cardinal or the rottweiler. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is courteous, gentle, modest, an excellent listener who can explain your own point of view better than you can yourself. If you are looking for somebody to tell your sins to, he's just the chap. He has written, "The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary, the Pope's ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and His Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the church to obedience to Christ and to His Word".
He has had a powerful effect upon evangelical Protestants, Lutherans and Anglicans. He is responsible for an agreement with the Lutheran World Federation which says that whatever else might separate the two churches, the doctrine of justification by faith does not. He is responsible for an agreement with the Coptic Church of Egypt and its sister churches like the Armenian, which says that whatever else might separate their churches, the doctrines of Christ's divinity and humanity do not. He has tried hard for rapprochement with the Eastern Orthodox churches.
There is a lot of Thomist philosophy knocking about the RC church and the Vatican and many of us from the Anglican tradition are all at sea with it. Benedict once told a theologian at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "I am not a Thomist". But he is a Biblical scholar, and this is why so many Anglicans feel at home with him. Benedict knows and often quotes St Jerome who translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ". Benedict has written, "The normative theologians are the authors of Holy Scripture. This statement is valid not only with regard to the objective written statements which they left behind but also with regard to their manner of speaking in which it is God Himself Who speaks". Benedict has written, "Leading men and women to God, to the God Who speaks in the Bible, is the supreme and fundamental priority of the church". There are three introductions to Benedict's thought:
The Thought of Benedict XVI  by Aidan Nichols OP published in 1988 by Burns Oates. (I have written about this author in a previous "Update").
Ratzinger's Faith by Tracy Rowland published in 2008 by Oxford University Press. (She mentions the TAC and our desire for unity.)
Covenant and Communion: the Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI  by Scott Hahn published in 2009 by Brazos Press. (This author is a former Presbyterian minister whose rapprochement with the Catholic church was presumably by way of Benedict's writings.)
There is a special place in the heart of the Ordinariate for Benedict. He welcomed us to communion while at the same time allowing us to be ourselves. When we hang up his photographs we do so with personal affection and deep gratitude. Benedict himself would say that Catholicism is not about Popes but about Christ. He might therefore prefer us to read his three slim volumes about his dear Lord and ours, "Jesus of Nazareth".
To Whom with His Father in the unity of Their Spirit be thanks for evermore.
Monsignor Robert Mercer CR

Tenebrae on Spy Wednesday at Mount Calvary

Please join Mount Calvary, Baltimore's Ordinariate parish, on the evening of Spy Wednesday for one of the only Catholic Holy Week Tenebrae services in the mid-Atlantic region. The Matins and Lauds of Maundy Thursday in the Anglican Use will be chanted by candlelight in the main church. Please join us at 7:00pm for this most moving and ancient of Holy Week liturgies. "And from the daughter of Syon all her beauty is departed : her princes are become like harts that find no pasture : and they are gone without strength before the pursuer." (First Nocturne of Matins)

Mount Calvary is located at 816 N. Eutaw Street in down Baltimore, at the corner of Madison and N. Eutaw. Ample parking space is available next to the church. For more information, see our website at or call us at 410-728-6140. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Anglican minister becomes Catholic priest

Father Shier joins Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter set up by Pope Benedict
By Agnieszka Krawczynski

25 March 2014

The fruits of Pope Benedict's efforts to welcome Anglicans to the Catholic faith were manifest at Holy Rosary Cathedral as Deacon Michael Shier was ordained a priest for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

"It's amazing that the ordinariate has actually happened," Father Shier said after his ordination March 15.

The Rev. Shier, a pastor for the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and 11 members of his former parish converted to Catholicism in June 2012.

"It started when Anglicanorum Coetibus was given by Pope Benedict," explained Barbara Shier, his wife.

The apostolic constitution, written in 2009, describes the possibility of creating ordinariates, which function like dioceses, for Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church while keeping some liturgical and spiritual traditions.

"He invited us to make the transition and to bring the best of Anglicanism with us," Father Shier explained. "We sent our prayer books and missals to Rome and received back a liturgy that surpasses all our hopes and dreams."

The Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, created in January 2012, spans all of North America. Its ordinary, or head, is Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, who arrived from Texas and concelebrated along with about 20 other priests of the ordinariate or the Vancouver diocese.

"It is our brothers and sisters in the whole Catholic Church who have strengthened us and given us a joy in our lives. We are so pleased and so happy to be with you in full communion," he said.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, celebrated the ordination Mass. "(The priesthood) is both a gift and a mystery," he pointed out in his homily...

Father Bruce McAllister, archdiocesan chancellor, prepared the congregation of converts to join the Catholic Church through a series of retreats while Msgr. Steenson trained their pastor.

Father Shier "is a very scholarly person," said Father McAllister, also a former Anglican.

"He is a man of deep prayer. You'll often see him at prayer in church prior to the liturgy. And I know that he prays for many people, including those who are his former parishioners who have not come into full communion" with the Catholic Church.

Father McAllister guessed 20-25 priests in Canada are former Anglican clergymen, including those incardinated in the ordinariate and those incardinated in dioceses...

Father Shier and his congregation will use the chapel at St. Patrick's Parish in Maple Ridge.

Read the rest at The B.C. Catholic

Hat tip to Mary Ann Mueller

Quad Cities man to enter Davenport Diocese as its first married priest

By Deirdre Baker
March 22, 2014

The 29-year marriage of Chris and Jody Young will continue, even after he is ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport this summer.

"I get to keep my wife, and I am keeping my wedding band on," Chris Young says.

Although the Catholic Church historically has prohibited priests from marrying, the 53-year-old Davenport man is joining the clergy thanks to a special 1980 dispensation from Pope John Paul II called The Pastoral Provision, which applies only to former clergy of the Episcopal -- or Anglican -- church.

This will make Young a rarity. It's estimated that about 100 Catholic priests in the U.S. have made the same conversion that he has.

Young, a lifelong Episcopalian until eight years ago, previously served as the priest at Christ Episcopal Church in Moline.

His entry to the Catholic faith brings a different dimension to the priesthood, Bishop Martin Amos of the Davenport Diocese said.

Amos, who has led the diocese since 2006, agreed with Young's quest for the priesthood and sponsored him in a 26-step process that has taken six years.

Young will be made a transitional deacon — one who intends to become a priest — in a ceremony Tuesday at Davenport Assumption High School, where he has taught religion classes for two years.

Then, on June 7, Young will be ordained by the bishop at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. Two other men also will be ordained as priests at that time, but both are following the more traditional path...

Read the rest of this article at the web site of The Quad Cities Times.

Hat tip to Mary Ann Mueller

Blogger's Note: We posted about the ordination of Rev. Young a few days ago, but this is a new story, and worth your while. While the frequently reported "fact" that there are about "100 Catholic priests" with wives is routinely reported in stories like this, given the many ordinations for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, along with continued Pastoral Provision ordinations such as this one, the number should clearly be bumped up to at least 150. Still a tiny percentage of the more than 45,000 priests serving the Catholic Church in the US, but a large increase all the same.

Lenten Friday series continues at Mt. Calvary Baltimore

Friday, March 28: Fridays in Lent Series Continues with Barry Sullivan.  Please join us at 7:00pm, on Friday night tomorrow, March 28, for Stations of the Cross, Benediction in the Anglican Use, and a simple Lenten supper and reflection by Barry Sullivan of Defend Life, nuclear engineer, Project Manager for the Department of Energy, father of two adopted children, and a former candidate for Congress in Southern Maryland. Barry will reflect on the many times that he has been involved in various charitable causes, pro-life activities, politics, everyday situations with the various moral challenges one runs up against, in a talk entitled, "Sowing the Seeds of Life, and Reaping a Lifetime of Joy." This is a popular talk that Barry has given in a number of Maryland parishes. All are welcome! 

2) Friday, April 4: Fridays in Lent Series Continues with Fr. Jacob Straub. Please join us at 6:30 pm, on Friday, April 4, for Stations of the Cross, Benediction in the Anglican Use, and a simple Lenten supper and reflection by Fr. Jacob Straub. Fr. Straub is a priest of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, and is currently studying for his Licentiate in Systematic Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Fr. Straub will reflect on "Lent and The Four Last Things" – death, judgment, heaven and hell – and how meditating on them in Lent can serve to remind us of our purpose in life, to receive the gift of grace necessary to save our souls. Note that Friday, April 4th, and Friday April 11th, the start time has been moved back to 6:30 pm, thanks to a broad consensus in the parish that an earlier time works better with most people's schedules. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Liturgical Book for the Personal Ordinariates

The first official liturgical book for the Personal Ordinariates to be provided under the auspices of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, will be published in the UK next week. Divine Worship Occasional Services will be available from 25 March from the Catholic Truth Society, priced at £40. The book contains the Order for the Celebration of Holy Matrimony, the Order of Funerals, the Rite of Infant Baptism, as well as Holy Baptism and Confirmation for Adults and Older children. It will be leather-bound and gilt-edged. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship have decided on the generic title, Divine Worship for the entire liturgical provision for the Personal Ordinariates, though the term "Ordinariate Use" may still be used as shorthand. The Order of Mass is likely to be published within the year.
The CTS website, where the book will be available from 25 March can be accessed by clicking here.

from the web site of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Ordination as Catholic priest for Iowa diocese brings man's vocation full circle

By Barb Arland-Fye
DAVENPORT, IOWA  -- Chris Young will become a pioneer in the Diocese of Davenport this summer when he is ordained to the Catholic priesthood by Bishop Martin J. Amos.
Young, 53, is a married, former Episcopal priest, and Pope Francis has given Bishop Amos permission to ordain for the diocese him under a 1980 pastoral provision admitting former Episcopal priests who have become Catholic into the Catholic priesthood.
Under the provision, more than 100 men have been ordained to the Catholic priesthood in U.S. dioceses since 1983.
For Young, it's been a long, arduous process prolonged by the historic resignation of one pope and election of another.
On Feb. 3, while teaching his fifth-period religious class at Assumption High School in Davenport, he took a phone call from Father Thom Hennen, diocesan vocations director, with the good news about ordination.
Bishop Amos anticipates ordaining Young as transitional deacon before Easter and as a Catholic priest June 7, along with two other men studying to be priests for Davenport.
When Young called his wife, Jody, "she was ecstatic. ... She's so grateful to Pope Francis and to Bishop Amos that I have this opportunity," Young told The Catholic Messenger, Davenport's diocesan newspaper.
The pastoral provision requires she agree with her husband's ordination as a Catholic priest.
"It's like I'm giving him away to my Church, which gives me joy," said Jody Young, a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation nurse. "It's a sacrifice; there's a lot of sacrifice in this role (as a priest's wife). But it's a beautiful sacrifice."


Read the rest of the article in the St. Louis Review at:

Hat tip to Mary Ann Mueller.

Sung High Mass for Lady Day at Mount Calvary, Baltimore

Mount Calvary, Baltimore's Ordinariate parish, will celebrate a special High Mass according to the new Ordinariate missal in honor of Our Lady for the Feast of the Annunciation (Lady Day) at 7:00pm on Tuesday, March 25. Choral accompaniment will feature motets by Hassler and Biebl. Confessions will be heard starting at 6:30pm. The Lord said, as he entered the world: Behold, I come to do your will, O God. (Introit: Heb 10:5,7)

Mount Calvary, a parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, was founded in 1842 as a Anglican parish, and has a long and rich reputation for its Anglo-Catholic heritage and traditional chant and polyphonic sacred music. It was the first Anglican parish to vote to join the Roman Catholic Church as part of the Ordinariate structure established by Pope Benedict XVI in the United States. Mount Calvary is located at the corner of Madison and N. Eutaw St., just of MLL Boulevard  in downtown Baltimore, less than an hour from Washington, D.C. See our website for more details, at, or call 410-728-6140.