30 June 2011

The New Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in the USA

A blessing came in the post recently. It was the occasional newsletter of Father James T. Moore, PhD, the founding pastor and pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church (Anglican Use) in Houston, Texas.  I asked Father Moore for permission to reprint his major article and collected prayers from the recent issue of The Vision, and Father Moore kindly agreed.  Immediately below you will see the handsome masthead of his newsletter with an image from the Houston statue of Our Lady of Walsingham as situated in her new niche above the Altar in the shrine.  One should be able to click on the masthead image to see a larger version of it.  I express my heartfelt thanks to Father Moore not only for this but for innumerable kindnesses to me which contributed to my entry into the Catholic Church.

New American Shrine
of Our Lady of Walsingham

By Father James Talmadge Moore, M.Div, Ph.D

This small pamphlet is sent out from time to time as an act of thanksgiving for several recent events: the issuance of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus in 2009, the establishment of the first Ordinariate under that constitution, and the May dedication of the new American Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston. These events are part of the historic Catholic Vision reaching beyond time into eternity.

The new Shrine was dedicated on May 28 by his Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, in the presence of a large gathering of clergy, laity, and religious on the grounds of Houston's Our Lady of Walsingham Church. Along with the present pastor, Father James Ramsey, and others, former pastors Father Bruce Noble and I were very blessed to be con-celebrants with Cardinal DiNardo of the dedicatory Mass. It was a moving occasion, truly a "great day". In the days since, my conviction increases that as part of the Catholic Vision, this new outdoor Shrine, along with the Holy House within a transcept of the church, stands to become a center of devotion not only for Texas but for the whole nation.
Even before the Shrine was dedicated, this view appeared in the blog, Anglican Patrimony, by Father Andrew Bartus, an Anglican priest in Los Angeles planning to enter the Catholic Church through the U.S. Ordinariate when it forms later this year. Upon seeing the virtually completed Shrine during a visit to Houston in mid-May, Father Bartus later wrote on his blog (May 20): I … was instantly struck with an idea: an annual National Pilgrimage to their new Shrine! Similar practices have been started with different degrees of success in the US before, but never have they had the unity that the forthcoming Ordinariate will have. Neither has there been a shrine quite like the one currently being finished in Houston.
...What better way to bring Anglican Ordinariate parishes, clergy, and people together on an annual basis like a National Pilgrimage to a Shrine here in our own country! Not to replace pilgrimages to Norfolk, of course, but it would be wonderful to have a shrine (which) more of our own people could reasonably travel to and one we can call our own! … I can foresee parish trips to Houston as being an amazingly beneficial time of spiritual edification, of worshipping God through our patrimony, and for edifying each other as connections and relationships are made and sustained throughout the US Ordinariate! Father Bartus is right on target. The new Shrine can be beneficial to many people from all walks of life. To a significant extent, this is so because there is a definite "Walsingham message."
Some have difficulty understanding the Catholic view of Mary. The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham is able to help with this. This year marks the 950 anniversary of the events of 1061, when Blessed Mary came to Walsingham, to the Lady Richeldis in Norfolk, England. There, she expressed her wish that a shrine should be built which would emphasize the Annunciation and her motherhood of Jesus in the life of the Holy Family, hence a "holy house" was to be built, about the size of a village house in Nazareth, centuries earlier. This same emphasis of the Annunciation and Jesus' family life with Mary and Joseph, his foster-father and guardian, remains today intrinsic to the purpose of this new American shrine.

Shrines are places of devotion and pilgrimage, but they also teach. To teach the mystery of the Annunciation is to proclaim the central truth about Jesus as the Incarnate God, and to clearly present what the gospel says about the identity and role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in this pivotal event in human history. The Annunciation presents Mary as a faithful daughter of Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. In the Old Testament, Abraham fulfills his role by responding to God in faith and trust. When Mary receives the message of the angel, she, like her ancestor, makes a response in faith and trust: "I am the handmaid of the Lord: let what he wills for me happen." On this response at that moment in human history, the salvation of the world depends. Mary gives her ascent to become the mother of Jesus, "Let it happen." With these words, Mary becomes the meeting point of heaven and earth, the mother of the New Covenant; the mother of salvation; the mother of God; and the mother of the church her Son will found. By her assent, God is made flesh and comes into the world for the salvation of mankind.

Linked with the Annunciation is that event Christians call the Visitation, when according to the Gospel of St. Luke, Mary, following the Annunciation, visits her cousin, Elizabeth, the wife of the Jewish priest, Zechariah, and herself the expectant mother of a child later to be known as "John the Baptist." On this occasion, like a prophet herself, Elizabeth proclaims Mary’s identity as the mother of God. Luke tells us that at Mary’s approach, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and cries out, "Blessed are you Mary among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? When I first heard your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And, blessed is she who heard the word spoken to her from the Lord and believed it would be fulfilled."

Through Mary’s faith and trust in God, the Incarnation becomes fact. And she, as the gateway of the Incarnation’s entrance into history, becomes the first Christian, and mother of all Christians.

Mary’s words to Richeldis in 1061, also contain the request that pilgrims to her shrine be especially reminded of the joy she experienced as the mother of the Holy Family, hence her direction that a small house be constructed. Now, 950 years later, this emphasis is especially crucial. In an age when Satan’s minions are intent on destroying the very concept of family life, the Houston Walsingham Shrine can provide a vision of that loving family where Mary is faithful mother in spite of difficulties, either realized already or, as she was told at the Presentation, are yet to come, a family led by Joseph, who also responded to God in faith by becoming the husband, the protector of Mary and the father-figure and guardian of Jesus. Showing himself to be truly a son of Abraham, when the child’s life is threatened, Joseph takes his family, leaves not only his village, but his very homeland itself for the sake of Jesus’ safety.

Walsingham provides a vision of a family built on love, faith and trust, that which our needs cry out for in this age, an era which seems to declare the very gift of human life itself detrimental to the environment.

Mary’s Walsingham vision will draw our families together and make us stronger even as her prayers move us ever closer to Jesus.
Father James Talmadge Moore

Prayers from the Patrimony
”A precious gift… a treasure to be shared.”
H.H. Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Constitution:
Anglicanorum coetibus, Nov. 4, 2009 anno Domini

A Prayer for Protection Against the Heathen
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, in whose hand is the dominion of all kings and the governance of all kingdoms, look down in mercy and deliver all Christian peoples: that the nations of the heathen, which put their trust in the might of their violence, may be confounded by the strength of thy right hand. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Anglican Missal, 1943; 1961.

A Prayer to the Holy Ghost for the Emerging Ordinariate
O GOD, Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful, visit, we pray thee, all members of this Ordinariate with thy love and favour; enlighten our minds more and more with the light of the everlasting Gospel; graft in our hearts a love of the truth; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and of thy great mercy keep us in the same, O blessed Spirit, whom, with the Father and the Son together, we worship and glorify as one God, world without end. Amen. 
Adapted from the Book of Common Prayer, 1928

Prayer to Our Lord for a Parish Priest
O HOLY Jesus, who hast purchased to thyself an universal Church, and hast promised to be with the Ministers of Apostolic Succession to the end of the world; Be graciously pleased to bless the ministry and service of him who is now appointed to offer the sacrifices of prayer and praise to thee in this house, which is called by thy Name. May the words of his mouth, and the meditation of his heart, be alway acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. Amen. 
The Book of Common Prayer, 1928

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary
O HOLY Mary, help thou the suffering, strengthen the faint-hearted, comfort the sorrowful; pray for the people, plead for the clergy, entreat for all women dedicated to God. 
The Anglican Breviary, 1955

Petition for our Souls
WE sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God; … That it may please thee to grant that, by the intercession of Blessed Mary ever virgin; Saint John Fisher; Blessed John Henry Newman; and of all thy Saints, we may finally attain to thy heavenly kingdom,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. 
The Book of Divine Worship, 2003

Invocation of St Michael the Archangel
O THOU Prince most glorious, Michael the Archangel, remember us; here and everywhere entreat the Son of God for us. 
The Anglican Breviary, 1955

Father James Talmadge Moore, M.Div., Ph.D
Post Office Box 242
Iola, Texas 77861
+Laus Deo!

28 June 2011

Abortion -- A Physical & Spiritual Battle for Human Identity

An Interview with Fr. Robert Gahl 

When reprinting the interview, Zenit.org offered this brief insightful introduction:
Fr. Robert Gahl
Abortion is a warning of something pervasive and deeply rooted in our society -- the loss of human identity, so that men and women no longer see themselves as called to participate in God's creative power.

This is the observation made by Father Robert Gahl, an associate professor of ethics at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross.  Father Gahl spoke with the television program "Where God Weeps" of the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN) in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need, about the history of abortion and what it means for the future.

Q: Abortion is a universal suffering: More than 53 million abortions are carried out every year worldwide. In some countries, more than 70% of women have had an abortion. Why are these questions suddenly so prevalent today: abortion, euthanasia?
Father Gahl: Well, it is a sad paradox, which is evocative ultimately of Original Sin. With Original Sin, Adam and Eve really tried to supplant God by being gods in his place. When humans today try to take divine power -- the power over the origin of life -- and supplant him so that they can control the beginning of life in a way that is contrary to God's design and therefore contrary to the design of love, they feel powerful for a moment. They may even see themselves as successful in the product they have achieved. Yet shortly thereafter, they experience frustration and even a denial of their own identity because their identity is one of love, because we are made for love.

Our hearts are made for love. So, rather than people who are in love, instead of our family bonds, we become simply makers -- people who are in control of products. It becomes a denial of our own dignity because if our power to give life is simply that of producing elements that entail that "I've been produced" and "I'm simply the end line of a mechanized production system," this will be a denial of my own dignity as a child of God -- as the son of my parents.

Q: If we were to look back in history, what was the moment, the trigger if you will, that allowed us to take a step where, for example, abortion and stem cell research has become accepted and euthanasia is on the horizon? 
Father Gahl: Abortion is sadly all over the place to the extent that many today, and documents of the U.N. even, see it as a reproductive right. The origin of this is the sexual revolution, which was not a revolution of liberation but a revolution of narcissism, of demise, of cutting bonds, affection, friendship, and of love with others. And central to the sexual revolution, which acted as a kind of a catalyst -- like pouring gasoline onto a wild fire -- was the development of chemical contraceptives, which allowed people to have sex without having babies so people could enjoy sexuality as simply a selfish pursuit. They were able to disconnect that intrinsic ordering toward the gift of life, and in doing so, they disconnected sexuality from serious commitments of love, from forming a family, and of course from becoming a father and a mother -- a diminishing of human dignity really.

I think the problem of abortion is like a warning light. It is a very severe warning light in which lives are being taken, but it's indicative of something even more pervasive and deeply rooted in our society which is deeper that one might think.

Q: And what is that? 
Father Gahl: That is this loss of the identity of one's self as participating in God's creative power and being called to being Mother and Father.

Q: Abortion has often been justified as the right to choose but it has also been justified as an appeal to love. For example, I would prefer to abort my child than to raise it unloved. How is it that we have come to this inverse situation where death is justified by love?
Father Gahl: True human love is unconditional. It is when you love someone no matter what. No matter what happens to them you will take care of them. If they get sick, even if they are in a car accident and paralyzed, you take care of them the rest of their lives. Another kind of love -- maybe a selfish kind of love -- is where you give yourself to someone only for as long as you like it. Abortion becomes this instrumentalized kind of love -- as a means for a way out. We need to turn the whole issue around and say that we need to accept everyone, all human life, the way Mother Teresa said, there are no unwanted children. If there is a child that someone said is unwanted, bring that child to me and I will take care of that child because I love that child.
And this is the truth of the matter. So if one were to make a claim that abortion allows us to act out some kind of altruistic care for other people by avoiding hardship, that logic leads tragically, I'd say murderously, to claiming that handicapped people shouldn't exist. Once you do that, it's the denial of all human dignity.

Q: We have moved from life as inherently important to an emphasis on a quality of life. The shift to a quality of life then begs the question: What is my quality of life? Am I enjoying my quality of life? This then points to the handicapped: Are they enjoying the quality of life they should be enjoying, which in fact places their very life in question?
Father Gahl: Exactly. Part of the abhorrent logic that is inherent in what you just described also leads to judgments of each of us according to our performance; my worth is based on what I can do in society. If, at some point, my results would disappoint due to sickness, mistake, or being in a sector of the industrial economy that is no longer desired by the consumer, I would feel no longer desired and therefore I am no longer important. This structure of judgment also comes up with mothers who give birth to babies who, for instance, have Down's syndrome. These mothers are judged severely and negatively; this is horrible, as though it was a bad choice to bring into this world their baby, which is a beautiful human being. This is eugenics, which has been substantiated in Western societies where nearly 90% of Down syndrome babies are aborted before they are born because of this perverse logic.

Q: God's greatest gift to humanity has been this gift to co-create life with him. What is abortion doing in the breaking down of this relationship between man and God?
Father Gahl: Sometimes we forget because of "scientism" -- which reduces everything to scientific fact -- that a beginning of new human life doesn't just come from man or woman, it also comes from God. It requires three people to be involved because the human soul is immaterial. It is a spiritual soul that is created directly and immediately by God. So when a man and women come together to have a child it's also -- and as much or even more -- God's child. Therefore, if we can recover this respect for life it will be on account of our being aware anew of God's role in the giving of life and therefore this power that we have within us, which is actually a divine power and is transcended. It is a creative power whereby we almost have God in the palm of our hands because we can, in a sense, tell him when to create a new human soul. So if we renew that respect for God's intervention it will also help us to respect one another as images of God, even as another Christ.

Q: In countries like Russia, more than 70% of women have had an abortion. Abortion rates in some of the Russian provinces can be as high as eight or 10 per woman because it is used as a means of birth control. In China the one-child policy has obliged women to abort. What spiritual and psychological impact does this have on a society?
Father Gahl: In Eastern Europe where we see these high rates of abortion, which is often associated with high rates of suicide, alcoholism and severe depression, there is a sense of nihilism, of total loss as to what life is all about. That occurs in a society that is not built upon love for their children. That needs to be renewed. Thank God that some of these countries have, in fact indicated a tendency in a positive direction. In the Russian Federation, in particular, there has been a recent increase in their birth rate. The abortion rate is still very high but let's hope that this increase in the birth rate will continue in such a way that the abortion rate will be reduced.

Q: What more can and should the Church do with these issues?
Father Gahl: First of all, when we think of "The Church" we tend to think of the hierarchy -- we priests, bishops, the Pope -- but really, the Church is the whole of baptized Christians. The Church is a family, so we need everyone -- all baptized Christians -- to accept life with love. We also need to help in crisis pregnancy centers. Of course the magisterial Church, the hierarchical Church also needs to be coherent with the principles of Catholic moral theology in this matter.

The Church needs to continue in following the example of Karol Wojtyła, who as the archbishop of Krakow, opened centers to help women in situations of crises. But what it really comes down to is this: God is love. I'm a child of God. I'm made in the image of God, so I too need to make present among other human beings the face of God, which is the face of love. If we do that in all of our human interaction, if we really show respect for human dignity, if we show respect and love for people who are suffering then we can begin to recover these principles that are needed so that all of human life will be accepted. Life will then never be seen just as a product, like designer babies to be made in a test tube according to the desires of some manufacturer.
If I can just step back, I'd like to also add that our own sexuality needs to be recovered as well as our awareness that sexuality is sacred and therefore our patterns of modesty and respect regarding our sexuality and sexual desires need to be lived with chastity and fortitude in a way that is preparing to give life within a structure of the family.

* * *
This interview was conducted by Mark Riedemann for "Where God Weeps," a weekly television and radio show produced by Catholic Radio and Television Network in conjunction with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

+Kyrie eleison imas.

26 June 2011

Of Liturgy & Priesthood: Archbishop Vincent Nichols

The Diocese of Westminster in England held its annual Celebration of the Priesthood, and on the Seventh of June, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of the Diocese of Westminster preached the following homily:

Archbishop Vincent Nichols

The Gospel of our Mass today takes us into the heart of the relationship of Father and Son.   This is the wonder of our calling, the wonder of the mystery we minister: that we human beings are welcomed into the intimacy and love of Father and Son, which is the life of the Holy Spirit.

This mystery we enter most powerfully through our celebration of the Mass.  Here all is the gift of the Father.  Here all is to the glory of the Father and the Son.  Here is our sharing in that glory, conscious that it is expressed in and through the self-sacrificing love of the cross.

In the light and depth of this great mystery I would like to reflect on our priestly part in the celebration of the Mass.  I want to do so with a directness and immediacy for, when it comes to Liturgy, we are living in a sensitive and creative time. This is a time in which the Church is asking us to recover some of the richness and depth of our liturgical heritage and, at the same time, always to ensure that the Liturgy is the sign and good at that.  Among us priests Liturgy easily becomes a point of contention.  It should not be so.

Today we use the text of the new English translation.  It symbolises so much.  We are sharply aware of the newness of the words we are using.  We need to concentrate on them.  We need a fresh approach in contrast to long-formed habits and familiarity.

I would like to reflect on our part in all this and offer you my convictions. Thereby I hope I might help to shape your responses.  I can but try.

There are four key points that shape my reflection, all in the context of the Gospel truth we have heard. They are, fundamentally, matters of the heart, of our disposition. As such they can shape what we do. We do well to examine what lies in our hearts.

1.    My first conviction is this: Liturgy is never my own possession, or my creation.  It is something we are given,  from the Father.  Therefore my own tastes, my own preferences, my own personality, my own view of ecclesiology, are marginal, of little importance, when it comes to the celebration of the Mass.  We don vestments to minimise our personal preferences, not to express or emphasise them.  Liturgy is not ours. It is never to be used as a form of self-expression.  Indeed the opposite is the truth. Within the diocese, when the priests of a parish change there should be clear continuity in the manner in which Mass is celebrated. The Mass is the action of the Church.  That’s what matters, not my opinion.  I once heard that Blessed Pope John Paul never commented on a Mass he had celebrated.  It’s the Mass.  My task is to be faithful.

2.    My second point flows from this: the Liturgy forms us, not us the Liturgy.  The words of the Mass form our faith and our prayer.  They are better than my spontaneous creativity.  At Mass my place is very clear: I am an instrument in the hand of the Lord.  I am not a conductor, still less a composer.  Ordained into the person of Christ the Head, I am just an instrumental cause of this great mystery.  This is so important.  My celebration of the Mass each morning shapes my heart for the day ahead.  At Mass I am the Lord’s instrument just as I hope to be in the day that follows.  In all the events of the day, in the decisions I make, the words I speak, my greatest, safest hope is that the Lord will use me and that I, personally, will not get in His way.  We are servants of the Liturgy through which God opens to us His saving life.

3.      My third conviction is this: our part is to offer the Mass as a service to the people. In doing so we make choices and judgements about how aspects of the Mass are to be done. In doing this we must always have upper most in our minds that the heart of Liturgy is the people’s encounter with the Lord. Everything about the Liturgy is to serve this purpose. So in the choices we make, which give a particular tone to the Liturgy, our positive criterion should be: will this serve the encounter of the people with the Lord? Of course, things old and new can serve. Our choices though are shaped both by the instruction of the Church in its norms and guidance and by our duty to serve our people.

It seems to me that one thing above all is needed for this precious, transforming encounter with the Lord to take place in: space, space which allows for the movement of the heart to the Lord and of Him to us. At Mass we need space – spaces of silence, spaces for the quiet recollection of the people, both before and during Mass. So, the fashion of our celebration of the Mass should never be dominating or overpowering of those taking part. It should be well judged, respectful of its congregation, sensitive to their spiritual needs.  

In my view one quality enhances this sense of divinely filled space in which we worship God: it is the beauty of the Liturgy and its reverence.  A beautiful, cared for church is the best preparation we can provide. I was recently reminded of the words of Cardinal Hume: that our churches are not simply buildings in which we worship the Lord, but buildings with which we worship Him. I thank you for all your efforts in this important regard.  The church as an arena of beauty for the Lord is, it seems to me, always a springboard of a vibrant parish.

4.    My fourth and final point follows: whenever the Liturgy of the Church, the celebration of the Mass, truly enters our heart and soul, then the result is a vibrant sense of mission. When we meet the Lord in all His love for us, then we are ready to respond, especially in the care we give to the poorest and those most in need, those closest to the Heart of our Saviour.  Our Diocesan ‘Conversation in Caritas’, about the social outreach of our parishes, has a Eucharistic centre. I thank you for your participation in it.  A profound celebration of the Mass inexorably gives rise to a practical expression of compassion and willing service.  It just is so.

My brothers, I am conscious of the length of these words and their strained character as a homily.  But these are important matters, now, in the months ahead, in our hearts.

In the Mass all that we receive is a gift of the Father.  It is never ours to use or shape as we please.  In the Mass all is to the glory of the Son.  In this we are no more than instruments, humble and delighted to play our part.  In the Mass all is for the sake of our people: that they may encounter the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.  In the Mass we who know Him also know that we are in this world to serve its humanity in His name, until He comes again. These are the hallmarks of our Liturgy, the measures against which we can test our hearts, our intentions and our actions.

Among us let there be a humble, joyful service of the Lord.  Let us accept with joy the search for a renewal in our celebration of the Mass guided solely by the Church and let our own faith and prayer be tutored daily by what is asked of us.  Amen.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols
+Laus Deo!

20 June 2011

Pray for the Ordinariates

Borrowed from the website http://ordinariate.org.uk/

Eternal Father, we place before you the project of forming the Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church.
We thank you for this initiative of Pope Benedict XVI, and we ask that, through the Holy Spirit, the Ordinariates may become: families of charity, peace and the service of the poor, centres for Christian unity and reconciliation, communities that welcome and evangelize, teaching the Faith in all its fullness, celebrating the liturgy and sacraments with prayerful reverence and maintaining a distinctive patrimony of Christian faith and culture.
Drawing on that heritage we pray:
Go before us, O Lord,
in all our doings
with thy most gracious favour,
and further us
with thy continual help;
that in all our works, begun,
continued and ended in thee,
we may glorify thy holy name,
and finally by thy mercy
obtain everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our Lady of Walsingham:
Pray for us as we claim
your motherly care.
Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus:
Pray for us as we place this
work under your patronage.
Blessed John Henry Newman:
Pray that Christ’s Heart
may speak unto our hearts.
Saints & Martyrs of England,
Wales, Scotland & Ireland:
Pray for us and accompany
us on our pilgrim way.

+Laus Deo!

Mons. Keith Newton: Ordination Homily in Birmingham

The Holy Father greets Monsignor Newton
The sermon of Monsignor Keith Newton, ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England and Wales, strikes me as one that needs to be reposted here as part of the body of early important statements made by those in the new Ordinariates envisaged by the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Benedict XVI Anglicanorum coetibus.  

My opinion is that those Anglican and Episcopalian priests who are trying to discern whether or not to take advantage of the Pope's generous offer should read these sermons.  Some may here the very words they have been longing to hear about the nature of the Sacred Priesthood.  Others may realise they need to read and study in order to comprehend the fullness of the Catholic ministerial priesthood in Holy Church.  Such sermons may direct a reader for the first time to take up and read Prebyterorum ordinis from the Second Vatican Council and find that what was hoped for in another communion or denomination is already written and established in the Catholic Church.  

I find I am filled with an overwhelming sense of joy with regard to the Church  and the future of the Ordinariates, and I pray that you, gentle reader, will likewise experience the same.  What follows now is the text of Mons. Newton's Ordination Homily from the ordinations in Birmingham, England, the text of which may be found on the Ordinariate Portal dated the Seventeenth of June, 2011:

In the South Choir Aisle of Canterbury Cathedral is the tomb of 15th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry Chichele. It is an example of what is rather pleasantly called a Cadaver Tomb.  It was made in his lifetime and shows the Archbishop on the tomb dressed rather like Archbishop Bernard today, in the robes of a bishop, but underneath in a sort of bunk bed arrangement is the Archbishop in death, his body rotting. It was, of course, intended as an allegory about how we are all going to end up and a reminder of how transient earthly glory is.

St Augustine of Hippo was perhaps mediating on the same truth; the fact he was a bishop did not make him any better or any nearer God than other Christian when he wrote:

The Lord as he thought fit and not according to my own merits, appointed me to this position….and I exhibit two distinct features; firstly that I am a Christian and secondly that I am a bishop for others.  The fact that I am a Christian is for my benefit, that I am appointed bishop is for yours.  With you I am a Christian and for you I am a bishop’.

We all began our Christian lives at the same place, the baptismal font. Our baptism is the most important date in our Christian life; it is our spiritual birthday, a new birth bringing us into contact with Christ’s redeeming love.  Through baptism we are caught up in the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection and become his disciples, entering a new way of life in company with Jesus.  Every baptized person has a contribution to make to the building up of the body of Christ as St Paul makes clear in our second reading (1Cor 12:3-7; 12-13).  Through baptism and confirmation the Spirit has been given to each person for a good purpose.

But within the baptized people of God some are called to further ministry and service through ordination.  To take up St Augustine’s words, indeed with you we are Christians but for you we are bishops, priests and deacons.

Ordination can never be simply for ourselves, we are ordained for the Church, for service to God and our brothers and sisters in the faith. For that reason we cannot speak of ‘our priesthood’.  It is the priesthood of Christ that matters in which those who are ordained have a particular share.  Indeed it is Christ who calls and it is a calling to share in and continue his mission in the world. The words of Jesus on the first Easter evening in today’s gospel make that clear: As the Father has sent me so am I sending you (John 20: 19-23)

This afternoon the eight of you will be ordained to the priesthood in the Catholic Church.  You have been called by Christ – a truth you must never forget – and that calling has been ratified by the Church. There is for you all both a sense of continuity and of change. There is continuity because that call to Christian ministry first came to you some years ago, in some cases many years ago.  You have many years of faithful service and experience to bring with you but you will also be aware that your ministry in the future will be set in a totally new context as priest of the Catholic Church.  Your ordination today will be a fulfillment and completion of all that has gone before but it will also be radically different as you will exercise that ministry of word and sacrament from the heart of the Church in communion with the successor of Peter, whom Pope Benedict reminded us in his homily at Westminster Abbey ‘is charged with a particular care for the Unity of Christ’s flock’.

First and foremost then you are to be ordained a priest of the Catholic Church. What happens to you today will give you a new authentic authority to your ministry. You will discover in the words of Lumen Gentium that ‘There can be no genuine priestly ministry except in communion with the Supreme Pontiff’ and you will share that priestly ministry with every other priest of the Catholic Church.  One of the most moving parts of the Ordination Rite is the giving of the Kiss of peace by your brother priests which profoundly expresses the unity of the priesthood in the Catholic Church.

Though you are ordained for the whole Church, you will also be priests within the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.  You have all been involved in a spiritual journey, certainly over the last year and probably for much longer than that.  It has been a journey not without its difficulties.  Archbishop Bernard will remind you in a short time to ‘model your life on the mystery of the cross’. These are profound and penetrating words, particularly significant for those of us who in our Anglican days were members of the Society of the Holy Cross. As you look back over the years I am sure you will see the providence of God at work in your lives and that he has brought you now to this joyful moment.

As some of the first priests of Our Lady’s Ordinariate you have that special responsibility to help bring to fruition that vision which the Holy Father sets out in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and which he described at Oscott College last September:

As a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.’

However, we will do that with humility knowing how much we will be receiving.

You will be only too well aware that you are frail earthen vessels entrusted with this ministry by Christ and his Church.  ‘A priest’, wrote the late Cardinal Hume in his book Light in the Lord, ‘is an ordinary man called to an extraordinary ministry. Like everyone else he is himself in search for God and in need of redemption’.

You know all ministry is service and when you kneel down and follow the example of the Saviour in washing feet on Maundy Thursday, you will be aware that simple act seems to sum up what our priesthood should look like, and yet reminds us how far from Jesus’ example we fall short. Indeed how far we fall short of our own expectations, never mind those of other people.

But St Paul has words of encouragement for us when he writes to Timothy and reminds us that it is God ‘who has saved us and called us to be holy- not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and his own grace.’ (Tim 1)

In today’s gospel, Jesus gives the Apostles a task; a task which is being passed on to you: as the father sent me so am I sending you.  But he does not leave them unaided; he breathes on them and says ‘receive the Holy Spirit’.

There is the mistake we all so often make, in relying on ourselves instead of reminding ourselves that God has called us and only his grace alone is sufficient.  Or, as St Paul says in his second Epistle to the Corinthians, ‘We are only the earthenware jars that hold this treasure, to make it clear that such overwhelming power comes from God and not from us’. (2 Cor 4:7)

May God bless you as you serve him as priests of the Catholic Church.

Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary

+Laus Deo!

18 June 2011

Father's Day

A prayer of Fr. Benedict Groeschel:
O Lord in your goodness and mercy, look upon us all and help us to serve Christ as best we can, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I commend to all  Taylor Marshall's splendid post for Father's Day not to be missed on his blog Canterbury Tales.

For myself, when it comes to Father's Day my thoughts turn to St. Joseph, the man Our Lord Jesus knew as 'Abba'.  For all who are in Christ, St. Joseph remains the father par excellence chosen by God Himself to raise God the Son in the flesh.  Many will remember with great affection Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. who was a spiritual father to thousands.  I shall now quote at some length from an essay Fr. Hardon wrote entitled "The Role and Responsibility of Fatherhood - St. Joseph as Model" which stands as one of the best reflexions on St. Joseph I have read:

St. Joseph, Model of Fathers

In the litany of St. Joseph, we say, “St. Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.” There is more hidden behind this invocation than meets the eye.
We know, of course, that Mary is the Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ. We know that the Savior was not conceived of a human father. Yet the Church has never tired insisting on the fatherhood of St. Joseph in the Holy Family.
It is crucially important to understand that there are two levels to fatherhood. There is the physical level of providing for the conception of a human body. In this sense, Christ did not have a human father.
But a father is not only to cooperate with his wife in generating a child. He is also to cooperate with her in rearing the offspring which his spouse brings into the world.
From all eternity, Joseph was destined to be the spouse of the Blessed Virgin. They were truly married. Joseph was Mary’s husband, and she was his wife.
Marriage is the most intimate of all unions between two human beings. It imparts a community of gifts between those joined together in matrimony. Consequently, in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as his spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life’s companion, but also the witness of her virginity, the protector of her honor. No, by reason of his conjugal tie to Mary, he participated in her sublime dignity.
We cannot exaggerate the importance of seeing St. Joseph as the true spouse of Mary. Under God, he was to share in her unique role as Mother of the Word made flesh who dwelt among us.
St. Luke tells us that, on returning to Nazareth after Mary and Joseph found the young Christ in the temple, “Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and grace before God and men (Luke 2:52)”.
What are we being told? We are being told that the Christ Child constantly manifested greater wisdom as he grew in age. In God’s mysterious providence, both Mary and Joseph contributed to this manifestation of greater wisdom in Jesus.
We return to our main theme:  St. Joseph is the divinely revealed model of human fatherhood. We know only too well that a man can father a child in body without even being married to the mother of his offspring.
  • True fatherhood begins with a lifetime commitment of the husband to his wife.
  • True fatherhood builds on the selfless love of the husband for his wife.
  • True fatherhood depends on the generous love of the husband for the offspring of his wife.
  • True fatherhood means that the husband cooperates with his wife in the spiritual upbringing of the children.
  • True fatherhood therefore, is not only or even mainly generating a human body in this world. It is also and mainly collaborating with the mother in developing the human soul for everlasting life in eternity.
How, then, is St. Joseph the exemplar of fatherhood? He is the prototype of what all human fathers should be. They should reflect, in their families the seven virtues which the Church specially honors in St. Joseph’s relationship to Jesus and Mary.
Like Joseph, fathers should be:
  • most just, without partiality or human respect.
  • most chaste, according to their married state of life.
  • most prudent, in knowing God’s will through constant prayer.
  • most valiant in courageously accepting the cross every moment of the day.
  • most obedient in seeing every event as part of divine Providence and responding with, “Here I am Lord. I am ready to do Your will.”
  • most faithful in loving their wives with perfect fidelity, and their children with tireless generosity.
  • the strength of the home by their exercise of manly courage. They are to protect their wives and children from the plots of the modern Herods who are inspired by the evil spirit to destroy the Christian family in the modern world.
Fr. Hardon concluded  with the following prayer:
“St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of the Son of God, obtain from Jesus the grace we fathers need to raise our families according to the will of God. We need light to recognize our grave responsibility as husbands and fathers. Above all we need the courage to persevere in the fatherly care of our families through time into the endless reaches of eternity. Amen.”

Let me thank my dear friend Irma More', foundress of Our Lady of Walsingham Institutes of Catholic Culture Studies, for recommending the following prayers for Father's Day:

Let us pray.
Most gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for our earthly fathers, those to whom you have entrusted the responsibility to provide loving protection of their families and guidance of their children. We thank you, also, for our priests and bishops, whose spiritual fatherhood is so vital to the faith of your people. May our earthly fathers imitate the manly courage of Abraham, Jesse and Joseph, and all the holy fathers of the past in providing wise counsel to the children you have given to their care. And may our spiritual fathers be guided by the examples of Saints Peter and Paul, all the Apostles and their saintly successors. Give them valiant faith in the face of confusion and conflict, hope in time of trouble and sorrow, and steadfast love for you, for their families, and for all your people throughout the world. Assist all fathers of families, all spiritual fathers, and all Christian men, that through your Grace they may steadily grow in holiness and in knowledge and understanding of your Truth. May they generously impart this knowledge to those who rely on them. As you, our Heavenly Father, so loved the world, sending your only Son to be our Saviour and Redeemer, we ask you to help all men to imitate His fatherly gentleness and mercy toward those who are weak; His humility, perfect obedience to your Will, and fearless witness to your Truth. May their lives be examples to all of heroic faithfulness to you. We ask your blessing on all those to whom you have entrusted fatherhood. May your Holy Spirit constantly inspire them with justice and mercy, wisdom and strength, fidelity and self-giving love. May they receive your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in your presence in the life to come. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the soul of a deceased father:
It was You, O God, Who commanded us to honour our father and mother. In Your kindness have mercy on the soul of my father, and forgive him his sins. Grant that I may see him again in the brightness of Your everlasting glory, through Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

May the Divine Assistance remain always with us and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Finally, I wish my father V.W. Uher, Jr. a most happy Father's Day and look forward  to showering him with love as we gather together this Sunday.
 +Laus Deo!

17 June 2011

Brother Lawrence Lew, OP on the Blackfriars Evensong

I encourage my gentle readers to read in full  Brother Lawrence Lew's brief article at The New Liturgical Movement on the Evensong with Benediction which was the first public liturgy from the Anglican patrimony celebrated by the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.  You will also be treated to some of the glorious photographs of Brother Lawrence Lew, OP, whose visual chronicle of events in the Catholic Church in England and Wales is a treasure unto itself.  Of special interest to me were the following two paragraphs:

The Anglican Use liturgy alluded to by Anglicanorum coetibus is still in a state of flux, it seems, and approval for a final redaction of the Use is still awaited from Rome. However, there is The Book of Divine Worship, authorized by the Holy See in 1983 for the Pastoral Use Parishes in North America. This book, it seems, is to be revised, but remains in force as a legitimate liturgical text, and until the Anglican Use liturgy is approved by Rome and published, the Ordinariate in England and Wales may have recourse to The Book of Divine Worship.

As such, what we experienced in Oxford yesterday included elements from this book while respecting the shape and rubrical demands of the General Instruction of the Roman Rite Divine Office, published in 1974. As Mgr Burnham observed in his Foreword to the service booklet: "We have come as close as we can, we feel, to what is encouraged and permitted by the Roman Rite." The resulting liturgy was what Mgr Burnham called "a votive Office of the Holy Spirit in Week 11 of Ordinary time", which was appropriate given the dedication of the priory church. This votive Office, he wrote, "has distinct affinity with what the office on the Wednesday of the Pentecost Octave might feel like - and that particular configuration is one which might yet be made possible by an Anglican Use Calendar". Mgr Burnham also mentioned the "liturgical genius of Thomas Cranmer" in combining the Offices of Vespers and Compline, and so, Evensong, which he said "is a celebration of the Office which has long been envied by Catholics... is now, we think, thanks to the Ordinariate, available within the Catholic Church".

Our Lady of the Atonement, San Antonio
This tells a great deal about the thinking and methodology going into the drafting of the new Ordinariate liturgies.  One hopes that representatives from the Anglican Use parishes in the States -- who truly know The Book of Divine Worship (and its need for reform) after twenty-seven or twenty-eight years of use -- have been invited to be a part of the committee drafting these new liturgies and resources.  Sadly, to date, I have heard that no one from the Anglican Use parishes has been included in this work of liturgical reform.

So... if any of my readers are involved with the international liturgical committee and are interested in who those representatives from the Anglican Use parishes ought to be, I am happy to provide a short list:  C. David Burt from St. Athanasius, Boston; Clint Allen Brand, PhD from Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston; and the well respected deacon from Our Lady of the Atonement, San Antonio, Deacon James Orr.  Of course, resisting the temptation to false humility, I would volunteer myself -- Vincent Uher -- for such a committee.  

Once all of the Ordinariates are up and running, I pray and hope that our future will lead to a broad provision of liturgical resources that all of the Ordinariates would share in common.  One of our gifts is our wide and varied Anglican contribution to liturgy and liturgical theology.  And we can bring that knowledge and wisdom to bear on such things as the Kalendar and the Saints whose feasts would  be celebrated.  Also, there remains the question of how we will honour the Anglican worthies of our Patrimony and Heritage such as the Martyred Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda and the company of Anglican martyrs throughout the world.  Surely Archbishop Ramsey of blessed memory deserves to be remembered by us.  What then shall we do?  I have an excellent idea... but that will appear on another posting.

For all the wonders that the Lord has done in making a way for us former Anglicans to return to Holy Church, may Jesus Christ be praised!  And for those matters still to be worked out, may Our Lady of Walsingham pray for us.
+Laus Deo!

Cardinal Wuerl's Speech in Video with Questions & Answers

The following video shows Cardinal Wuerl giving his report to the USCCB.  The question and answer  period that follows his report is especially interesting.  A factual error is made with regard to the Pastoral Provision of Blessed John Paul II.  Cardinal Wuerl frames the Pastoral Provision as being for single priests who enter the Catholic Church one at a time.  This is correct only in part.  The Pastoral Provision from Day One spoke of the "common identity" group and its needs.  The reception into the Church of the Episcopalians would be as individuals since there was no statute for corporate reunion of a group or of an entire denomination.  The great gift of Anglicanorum coetibus is that Pope Benedict XVI has made explicit provision for the reunion of groups of Anglicans/Episcopalians with Holy Mother Church.

+Laus Deo!

Hymn for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord


I am most happy to share with you my hymn for the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6th) set to a beautiful new tune by Noel Jones.  The tune 'GALVESTON ISLAND' was named for the island I called 'home' for many years and where I wrote the words to this hymn.  This hymn and several more of mine are included in The Catholic Choirbook Anthology I which may be purchased via this Link.  A collection of 62 Motets and Anthems from The Catholic Choirbooks 1-5 plus 57 hymns old and new in one book for use by choirs, this Anthology is a genuine treasury of magnificent music for directors of music, organists, and choirs in the Catholic Church.  Certainly the choral music and hymns would prove valuable for Episcopalian and Anglican choirs as well as some Lutheran and Methodist ones.

The image below is linked to a PDF of the hymn located on the CMAA's MusicaSacra.com website.  As with all of my hymns, I pray that this hymn will be used by many congregations and parishes.  The text was written in Thanksgiving for the Revd Fr James Moore, PhD and his priesthood.  Father Moore is the founding pastor of Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church - Anglican Use, Houston, Texas.  Now in his retirement Father Moore remains dearly loved by his former congregation.  I remain deeply grateful to him for being the one who first welcomed me and then received me into Holy Mother Church.
+Laus Deo!

16 June 2011

Cardinal Wuerl's USCCB Presentation on the Implementation of 'Anglicanorum coetibus'

Cardinal Di Nardo
Although His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl's speech has appeared on a number of blogs, I think it wise to post it here so it is more widely published abroad..  I am thrilled with the news of Father Jeffrey Steenson's involvement and the future role of St. Mary's Seminary, Houston both with regard to the formation of the new priests.  Many thanks go to His Eminence Daniel Cardinal Di Nardo for offering St. Mary's Seminary as it is situated in the Pastoral Provision / Anglican Use motherland of Texas (and a few blocks from my home parish Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church, Houston).  

It was good to hear Cardinal Di Nardo use the phrase "Anglican Rite Usage" when referring to the liturgical rites and patrimony as it makes the salient point that Anglicans have their own full rite yet within the Catholic Church what can be brought in from that source can only be seen as an Usage or use within the Latin rite.   All in all Cardinal Wuerl's speech was sober, factual, and without any great surprises for those who had followed the developments closely.  I think many of us were hoping to learn at least the name for the Ordinariate in the USA, but that was not to be nor did we learn who would be Ordinary.

The Question and Answer period provided some of the most helpful information, and if one were to admit a criticism it is that His Eminence though superb in presenting the facts clouded some of his presentation with the offering of personal opinion rather than the facts as they stand.  The Cardinal also announced that The United States Catholic Catechism generated by the USCCB would be the course of study for laity and others entering the Church in this fashion.  This local catechism will serve well enough as a base text, and as it is  The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium are already the texts being studied by many who are  interested in being reconciled with Holy Church through Anglicanorum coetibus.  I am not alone in wishing that the excellent Evangelium catechetical series from the Catholic Church in England and Wales had been chosen for use as it has been for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK.  I hope it will be considered as an additional recommended resource.

Nevertheless, I should think even those concerned about Cardinal Wuerl's appointment as delegate (since His Eminence had been seen by some as less than enthusiastic in his support of the Pastoral Provision's implementation in his previous diocese) will come to thank His Eminence right heartily for all of the tremendous work he and Fr Scott Hurd have done in moving forward the cause of the Personal Ordinariate in the USA for groups of Anglicans seeking reconciliation with Holy Church.  Such work is often thankless, and we should make the point of writing Cardinal Wuerl and Fr Hurd to express our heartfelt thanks.

His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl:
Consultation on Implementation
Anglicanorum coetibus
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

15 June A.D. 2011

Cardinal Wuerl
Anglicanorum coetibus, an Apostolic Constitution which provides for groups of Anglicans to enter into corporate union with the Catholic Church, was issued by our Holy Father in November 2009. Specifically, Anglicanorum coetibus allows for the erection of Personal Ordinariates, juridically similar to dioceses, in which elements of the Anglican heritage may be maintained.

In early 2010, Cardinal Francis George, then President of our Conference, established the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for the Implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States. Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and myself are members of this Committee which I Chair.

On March 23, 2010, I gave a report to the USCCB Administrative Committee. In the context of that report, I attempted to answer questions and also solicited the observations of the bishops on establishing an Ordinariate in the United States. Subsequent to the meeting, the bishops’ responses were compiled in a report, which also included observations by USCCB Senior Staff. This report was most helpful in conveying the mind of the USCCB at meetings in Rome on Anglicanorum coetibus, directed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from April 26 through April 28, 2010.

Father Scott Hurd
The Ad Hoc Committee met in Florida during the USCCB’s June meeting. We were joined by Father Scott Hurd, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington who was ordained through the Pastoral Provision. At this meeting, it was decided that the responsibilities of the Committee are two-fold: 1) assess the level of interest in such an Ordinariate in the United States and thus provide appropriate information for both our Conference and the Holy See; and 2) facilitate the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States.
On August 22, 2010, Father Hurd was appointed as liaison with the USCCB for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus. In this capacity, he serves as staff to the Ad Hoc Committee.

The USCCB made a public announcement in September 2010 of my appointment as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States. In the official press release, Anglicans wishing to be received into the Catholic Church were invited to express their intentions to me in writing by December 31, 2010.

Since that time, every Anglican group and individual who has written has received an acknowledgement of their statement of intention. Anglican groups were sent a “Community Profile” questionnaire, based upon established criteria for assessing Anglican communities. Anglican clergy not associated with a larger group were sent a “Clergy Profile” questionnaire. Finally, Anglican laity not associated with a larger group were sent an acknowledgement to their letter, instructing them to await further instructions, should an Ordinariate be established.

Personal contacts were also made with interested Anglicans during this time, both by members of the Ad Hoc Committee and by Father Hurd, who is in frequent contact with interested Anglicans by telephone, e-mail, and Facebook.

In January 2011, an overview and summary of the responses received from interested Anglicans was sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A modified version of this report was submitted to the USCCB President, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who in turn shared it with all members of the Conference. Both reports concluded with the assessment that it appears feasible to establish an Ordinariate in the United States at this time.

Shortly thereafter, an extensive assessment of those Anglican communities intending to enter an Ordinariate was compiled and sent to the CDF. This assessment was referenced in my report on Anglicanorum coetibus to the USCCB Administrative Committee on March 22, 2011. In this report, I explained that all bishops with an Anglican group in their jurisdiction requesting to be received into an Ordinariate would be invited to submit by May 1 any information they wished to share with the Ad Hoc Committee. Many bishops accepted this invitation and provided helpful information.

An analysis of the academic and ministerial formation history of all petitioning Anglican clergy was submitted to the CDF at the beginning of April. This was done to evaluate their formation needs for Catholic ordination. This analysis proposed that petitioning Anglican clergy be placed into one of three categories: those eligible for an intense period of formation; those eligible for the intense period plus an additional period of mandated continuing formation after ordination; and those whose formation histories would not recommend them for either of these options.

In planning for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus, a program of priestly formation was developed that would allow for a concentration of study in the areas of historic theological divergence in anticipation of ordination to the priesthood. The CDF approved the modified program of priestly formation and authorized its use.

With the encouragement of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the leadership of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Major Seminary, Saint Mary’s, agreed to implement the priestly formation program. A Saint Mary’s faculty member, Father Jeffrey Steenson, has been instrumental in designing the specific elements of this program, in collaboration with Cardinal DiNardo and myself. Father Steenson is the former Episcopal Bishop of the Rio Grande, who was received into the Church in 2007. The formation program will be available on site at the seminary and also through distance learning facilities.

In mid-April, Anglican clergy seeking ordination in an Ordinariate were directed as part of the process to submit dossiers to me by May 16 for eventual review by the CDF. Since that time, completed dossiers have been sent to Rome for evaluation.

Those Anglican clergy whose dossiers are granted a Nulla Osta by the CDF, indicating that they are eligible to proceed with the approved priestly formation process, will be directed to provide additional information to the CDF. This information will include the results of criminal background checks, a psychological evaluation, a letter of resignation from their Anglican entity, a Votum from the Delegate or Ordinary, and a Votum from the Catholic bishop where the candidate resides, who will have been invited to interview him, either personally or through a delegate. If possible, a Votum from the candidate’s former Anglican authority will also be included.
During this time, those candidates responsible for a congregation will be guiding the catechetical formation of their people, utilizing the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, as has been approved by the CDF. Candidates will be encouraged to invite speakers from the local Catholic community.

Once the second set of documentation has been sent to the CDF, a candidate will cease celebrating the Anglican Eucharist. When a rescript has been issued and received, he may be ordained to the diaconate immediately, with the intention that his subsequent priestly ordination would coincide with the reception of his parish group into full communion.

Since the Holy See has indicated its wish to establish an Ordinariate in the United States this Fall, I am grateful for this opportunity to conduct this consultation with the members of our Conference, to receive any additional observations you might have and to indicate a few areas where we as bishops can be of assistance to a newly-appointed ordinary as he attempts to implement an Ordinariate in the United States.

Before inviting your observations and, I hope, support for this effort, I would like to touch on a number of areas where individually we as bishops can be of assistance to a newly formed Ordinariate and its efforts to review possible candidates for priestly ordination.

Since each candidate will be required to have a criminal background check and a psychological evaluation, I would hope that each of us would be able to provide these services for a candidate for the Ordinariate just as we do for those who are seeking admission in our priestly formation programs or to minister in a diocesan program.

A second area where we can perhaps be of some assistance is to offer worship space to a small community that would be a part of the new Ordinariate. Most of them will not have property such as a church and meeting facilities. Our hospitality in providing them worship space would be a sign of generosity on our part and, I am sure, greatly welcomed by them.

An additional way we can facilitate the work of the Ordinariate would be to assign priests who would function as a bishop’s delegate. These delegates would meet and interview candidates for priesthood ordination and, perhaps, serve as a mentor to assist with any issues that arise in the formation process.

Fourth, I suggest that we make available the resources of our Tribunals to those Anglicans, both clergy and lay, who will need to secure an annulment before being received into an Ordinariate.

Another area where collaboration at the local level could be helpful is in the catechetical preparation of the lay faithful of the former Anglican congregation. While this is the responsibility of the Ordinariate, and specifically the head of the congregation seeking membership in the Ordinariate, perhaps someone involved in catechesis in the neighboring Catholic parish (Director of Religious Education, Coordinator of Religious Education or a senior catechist) might be willing to assist in the catechetical process for those lay faithful coming into the Ordinariate and making their profession of faith as a Catholic.

It might also be helpful to note that the establishment of an Ordinariate and the process for the Pastoral Provision are two distinct responses. The Ordinariate deals with those seeking to come into the Catholic Church as a group. The Pastoral Provision is intended for an individual seeking ordination as a Catholic priest.
Finally, as this consultation unfolds, I welcome your input, observations and comments.

Thank you.
  + + +

The Complimentary Norms given by the Vatican to accompany Anglicanorum coetibus may be found at this Vatican website link.
+Laus Deo!