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, February 18, 2013

Note on the Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter

In his statement on February 11, 2013, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Msgr. Steenson, reminded us that “members of the Ordinariate are in a particular way the spiritual children of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,” and Msgr. Steenson exhorts us, despite some feelings of sadness and a sense of shock, to deeper joy and special gratitude to the Holy Father “for giving us this beautiful gift of communion.”

On Friday, February 22, the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter will celebrate its Solemnity of Title, and the Ordinary commends all Ordinariate communities in North America to express their gratitude to Pope Benedict with the singing of a Solemn Te Deum of Thanksgiving (at the conclusion of Mass or Evensong, or as a separate service). After the Te Deum and its versicles, this special rite of thanksgiving may conclude with the following prayer:

Let us pray.
O God, whose mercies are without number, and the treasure of whose goodness is infinite: we render thanks unto thy most gracious majesty for the gifts which thou hast bestowed upon us (and especially for the pontificate of our Holy Father Benedict XVI, and for the gift of communion with the Chair of Peter); evermore beseeching thy mercy that, as thou dost grant the prayers of them that call upon thee, so thou wouldst not forsake them, but rather dispose their way towards the attainment of thy heavenly reward. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. Amen.

The Ordinary and the Ordinariate community is aware that the Te Deum is not usually heard during Lent. However, February 22 is the Ordinariate’s Titular Solemnity and should be kept as such according to the Particular Calendar approved by the Holy See. The Te Deum is rightly proclaimed; Friday abstinence may be dispensed; the liturgical color is white; and the Gloria and Creed are said or sung at Mass (the Alleluia is omitted, as throughout the season).

With thankful joy, let us then pray and work that Pope Benedict’s “labors in the vineyard might continue to bring forth a fruitful harvest.”

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