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

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blessing of St. Columba Church, Victoria, British Columbia

Blessing the Christus Rex
Blessing the Christus Rex
It was a lovely and quite mild evening in Victoria B.C. on April 11 2013 when the congregation and friends of the Ordiariate gathered in little St. Columba’s for the blessing of the Church by The Most Rev. Richard Gagnon, Roman Catholic Bishop of Victoria. There were about forty present for the Service, which included the blessing of the Church, Solemn Evensong, Sermon and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The Church is a former Anglican church (also St. Columba’s) which opened about 100 years ago, and was closed by the Anglican Diocese about four or five years ago. The present congregation rents the Church from the Anglican Diocese. Our small choir of four people did a marvelous job of provid- ing the music (plainchant psalms and responses), and leading in the hymns (The Church’s One Foundation, We love the place, O God, and the evening Office hymn before the Magnificat.) Bishop Richard did the blessing of the Church, Altar, shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the very fine new Christus Rex which hangs over the entrance to the Sanctuary. Monsignor Peter Wilkinson sang the Office, the Bishop then preached and officiated at Benediction.

Following the Service, refreshments were served (in the Church, as we have no hall) and a very pleasant time of visiting with friends and visitors ensued. People were struck by the beauty of the worship and of the Church. A former parishioner of Anglican times attended the Service, a retired gentleman who began attending St. Columba’s as a child, and he said that he had never seen the inside of the Church look as nice as it does now. Now, that’s a compliment!

In his sermon, the Bishop reflected on the words of the prophet Haggai read as the first lesson. He spoke of the ruin of Israel, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in Haggai’s time, and his prophecy from God that “the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former.” He left it to our own reflection to see what of this applied to ourselves, but he said he sympathized very much with our own losses and struggles which had brought us to this point of beginning again in faith in our entrance into the Ordinariate. He spoke also of the life and work of St. Columba, and the monastery which he established on Iona, a heap of rocks of the west coast of Scotland, St. Columba prophesied of the destruction of his monastery, but said that before the end Iona’s glory would be as it was at the first.
Michael, Fr Peter, and Don
Monsignor Peter sings the Office

The Bishop has been very supportive of us in our journey into the Catholic Church, as has Fr John Laszczyk, Rector of the Cathedral and Vicar General, and we were exceedingly happy to be able to have both of them with us for this very joyful occasion.

And now to work; for if this house is to surpass it’s former glory, we must all put our hand to the task, that God may be praised out here in Strawberry Vale.

Visit the Fellowship's web site for more news and photos.


  1. Wonderful news but if the church remains the property of the Anglican Church then is it proper for a Roman Bishop to Bless it?

    1. Any church building can be blessed, wich is a simple sacramental using holy water. Another issue is the consecration of a church, which is the definite setting apart of a temple as God's dwelling place, and needs the building to be built of stone or brick, and the free of debt property of the local community.

      + pax et bonum