21 November 2010

Another article on "Becoming One"

This article appeared on VirtueOnline:

SAN ANTONIO, TX: Ordinariate-bound Anglicans meet in Texas
Mary Ann Mueller in San Antonio
Special Correspondent
November 20, 2010

A year ago Pope Benedict XVI unveiled Anglicanorum Coetibus opening wide the doors of the Catholic Church to allow Anglicans, world wide, to freely enter and embrace the fullness of their Catholicity while maintaining cherished elements of their own Anglican heritage and spirituality in unique Anglican ordinariates scattered around the world.

Little by little, isolated pockets of Anglicans started to communicate with the Vatican. They became headline news as they sought come into full communion with Rome. When Anglicanorum Coetibus was promulgated, the Anglican Use parishes were the first to line up seeking entry into the Pope's promised Anglican Ordinariate. They were followed by the bishops of the Anglican Church in America –the US branch of the Traditional Anglican Communion. Religious communities, such as the Episcopal All Saints Sisters of the Poor, and individual Anglo-Catholic congregations, such as Mount Calvary in Baltimore, and St. Barnabas in Omaha also inched their way toward Rome and the Ordinariate.

Seeing all these various Episcopal and Anglican groups being identified, the Rev. Christopher Phillips, the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Anglican Use Catholic Church in San Antonio, wondered if he invited everyone who was eventually headed into the US Anglican Ordinariate to a special gathering ... would anyone come? He thought perhaps 20 to 25 and maybe even 30.

So an invitation was issued to all groups and individuals to come to Texas and get to know each other because, eventually, they would become one Roman Catholic family with Benedict XVI as their Holy Father.

And they came ... bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, abbots, monks, nuns, hermits, vestry members and the faithful. Inside their breasts beats an Anglican heart, but for their soul's sake they find themselves swimming the Tiber to live out their catholicity within the Bark of Peter.

And they came ... from Texas, California, Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia, Nevada, Kentucky, Arkansas, the Carolinas, Tennessee, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Arizona, and Nova Scotia.

They came to pray and to have fellowship, to break bread together, to listen and to learn, to ask questions and be encouraged, to hear words of wisdom from the trailblazers, to find like-mindedness and a commonality in faith and practice, to come together as one in Christ and to begin to become one spiritual family within the Roman Catholic Church.

More than 125 responded to Fr. Phillips' invitation to come to the "Becoming One" gathering.

Nearly 100 clergy - deacons, priests and bishops - filled the various rooms at Atonement Academy and spilled into the halls. Most priests were wearing their black clerical suits: some priests were comfortable in their cassocks, which is Fr. Phillips' normal attire. He made his commanding presence known as he mingled among his honored guests and visitors, many of whom he had never met before.

Telltale flashes of purple identified the bishops in the group. All deacons, priests and bishops were male. The women in ministry were represented by fully-habited Poor Claire nuns, other Religious Sisters, and veiled hermitesses. Several male Religious, also in their long flowing habits, were part of the Becoming One gathering.

Unified prayer was ultimately the central focus of the three-day event. Several times throughout each day the Opus Dei - the work of God - called all to prayer. Simultaneous services of Holy Communion were held in the church and chapel to accommodate the students and guests, whose numbers were greater than could be seated at one time in the main sanctuary. Morning Prayer, Evensong and Compline were also prayerfully celebrated as a unified corporate voice was lifted in joint prayer and praise to God.

They found hope when they realized theirs is not a unique story and that they are not alone in their struggle to remain committed to the uncompromising faith once delivered unto the Saints. They found that as their prayer was unified, their struggle to remain faithful was also unified.

---Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline
 You can read the original here.