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!