29 January 2010

Open House at the Academy...

On Sunday, 31 January, there will be an Open House at The Atonement Academy.  After the 11:00 a.m. Mass, and until 1:30 p.m., all our school families, prospective school families, and parishioners are invited to visit this very special place of learning, which offers Pre-K through 12th grade.  Stop by the Pope John Paul II Library for some light refreshments, have a look in the classrooms, talk with the staff, and see what makes this a great school!

28 January 2010

Not such a dumb ox after all...


Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.

26 January 2010

Anglicans becoming Catholics...

Here's an interesting article from the National Catholic Register:
ORLANDO, Fla. — As 2010 gets under way, many in the Church are anxious to see how last year’s apostolic constitution inviting disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic Church will play out.

While the expectation is that more significant numbers of Anglicans in Britain, Africa and India will accept the offer outlined in Anglicanorum Coetibus, observers say that the decree will impact traditional Anglicans in the United States, as well.

The Traditional Anglican Communion includes approximately 400,000 Anglicans worldwide. The American province, known as the Anglican Church in America, includes approximately 5,200 communicants in four dioceses. Over the next few months, all of the provinces will be holding synods to put forward the question of how they will be responding to the apostolic constitution....
Read the whole article here. 

25 January 2010

Last Day of the Octave

That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 25: That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

24 January 2010

Seventh Day in the Octave


That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 24: That the Jewish people will be converted to the Catholic Faith.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

23 January 2010

Sixth Day of the Octave


That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 23: That lapsed Catholics will return to the Sacraments of the Church.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

22 January 2010

Fifth Day of the Octave


That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 22: That Christians in America may be one, in union with the Chair of Saint Peter.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

21 January 2010

Fourth Day of the Octave


That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 21: For the return of all Protestants throughout the world to the unity of the Catholic Church.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

20 January 2010

Third Day of the Octave


That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 20: For the return of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

19 January 2010

Second Day of the Octave


That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 19: For the return of the Eastern Orthodox Christians to communion with the Apostolic See.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

18 January 2010

Another posting on The Anglo-Catholic


Here's a link to my post on The Anglo-Catholic, A Good Experience with a Bishop.

First Day of the Octave


That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 18: For the return of the "other sheep" to the One Fold of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first day's intention is for all those not in full communion with the Successor of St. Peter, and is a "general intention" which will be made more specific in the successive days of the Octave.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

16 January 2010

New posting on The Anglo-Catholic...


Here's a link to my latest blog post, "Train up a child in the way he should go..." on The Anglo-Catholic.

Letters from far and wide...


I just received an email I wanted to share.  It's a simple message from a simple working man - a London taxi driver - but it shows the interest there is what we're doing, and the good wishes people have for its success.

Here's the email, just as I received it, completely unedited:
dear sir,i am a london taxi driver and a practising roman catholic.--i have been following with great interest the invitation to the anglican communion from the holy father.--i never realised that there were catholics following the anglican liturgy.---i browsed through the book of divine worship,what a beautiful liturgy.---just surfed in and would like to wish you all,every blessing in Christ----a catholic brother in Christ,---danny-london-england
Thanks very much, Danny!

15 January 2010

Father Paul, Mother Lurana, and Graymoor...

St. Francis Chapel, Graymoor, New York

Here's an excellent article about our spiritual patrons, Father Paul and Mother Lurana, founders of the Society of the Atonement and source of our own title, Our Lady of the Atonement.  This is a rather good history, although near the end it veers a bit towards the usual weak understanding of ecumenism, but I urge you to read the whole thing.  You'll learn a lot about our own spiritual roots. This article appears in The Living Church, an Anglican publication.

Father Paul Wattson and the Quest for Church Unity

by Patrick J. Hayes

Early one morning last summer, I walked out to the precipice of a “holy mountain.” I looked out and saw the fog lifting from an immense and undulating forest below, like incense from a thurible. I knew I was walking on holy ground and I soaked up the silence, interrupted only by the stray bird on the wing. In this sweet-smelling, bounteous setting I was a pilgrim. There at the ledge was the grave of Father Paul James Francis Wattson, founder of the Society of the Atonement, a group of friars that established themselves for the strict purpose of uniting the branches of the Christian family.

Fr. Wattson’s life is less well known than his legacy and it is deliberate that his grave should rest in a somewhat remote corner of the property at Graymoor, the Atonement friars’ headquarters in Garrison, N.Y. The career of Fr. Wattson is subordinate to his singular ambition to fulfill the Lord’s command that “all may be one” (John 17:21) — words that today emblazon the friars’ coat of arms (ut omnes unum sint) and motivate their ministry. From their outpost on this holy mountain and in centers around the globe, the Atonement friars are responsible for inserting the “Church Unity Octave” into the liturgical calendar.

It began first in the United States at Graymoor in 1908 and was later called the “Chair of Unity Octave” to emphasize its Petrine dimension. It has now given way to theWeek of Prayer for Christian Unity, which since 1966 has been a joint project of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The Week of Prayer is marked in churches around the world each January 18–25.

The role of the Church Unity Octave was not merely to repair relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, but was an active and prayerful attempt at returning the Anglican world to pre-Reformation bonds with Rome. The idea for this festival of unity emerged in the simple exchange of words between friends. It is easy to pinpoint the exact date, too. On Nov. 30, 1907, Fr. Wattson was writing out replies to letters he had received the previous day. Among his correspondents was his friend and fellow priest, the Rev. Spencer John Jones, the Anglican rector of St. David’s Church, Moreton-in-Marsh, England. Fr. Jones suggested that a special sermon be given on Christian unity in every church in the Anglican Communion on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, to restore unity in the one Church of Christ. Fr. Wattson agreed and asked his correspondent what he thought of “inaugurating a Church Unity Week beginning with S. Peter’s Chair at Rome, January 18, and ending with S. Paul’s Day.” Fr. Jones picked up this idea and helped promote it throughout Europe; Fr. Wattson reached the multitudes everywhere else.

Behind this expression of Fr. Wattson’s thinking lay a longstanding commitment which was in gestation since his boyhood. Born Lewis ThomasWattson in Millington, Md., in 1863, he was the son of the Episcopal rector of the little parish of St. Clement’s, whose only notable feature was the white Communion table, a gift from Queen Anne. Fr. Wattson’s father, Joseph, had been expelled from General Theological Seminary, and sometimes labeled a “Jesuit in disguise,” but was brought into the ministry through the graciousness of Bishop William R. Whittingham of Baltimore.

The elder Fr. Wattson was never able to escape the whispers of his leanings toward Rome. Many at the time considered any rapprochement toward Roman Catholicism a blasphemy, and such openness was roundly condemned by people like the Rev. A. Cleveland Coxe, rector of Grace Church, Baltimore. Writing in an introduction to Frederick Meyrick’s Moral Theology of the Church of Rome (Baltimore, 1856), Fr. Coxe made no bones about his stance: “Papal Rome, like Rome Imperial, has but one instinct, and that is—Empire. Its undying part is the iron will, by which all humanity must be crushed into subjection.”

We know that young Fr. Wattson read this kind of literature, just as he observed the whispers surrounding his father, whom he revered. Lewis would go on for schooling out of state at St. Mary’s Hall in New Jersey and then to St. Stephen’s College (now Bard College) before entering General Seminary. He was ordained in 1885 and, after a brief parish assignment in Maryland, he became the rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kingston, N.Y. He remained there for the next ten years.

Biographers later would describe the young priest as a “High Churchman” and one endowed with an “extraordinary preaching ability.” But they also noted how he seemed somewhat reclusive, almost given to a monastic lifestyle. His early spirituality, deeply imbued with biblical literalism, is seen as giving way to his growing interest in religious life, especially Franciscanism, which prized personal poverty as given in a common rule even while working to eradicate poverty in the society. In his sermons, he spoke from the heart, almost never reading from notes, and balanced his words with his deep knowledge of Scripture. Invitations soon began to pour in for Fr. Wattson to come and preach beyond his own congregation. As a way of spreading his thought, in May 1894 he began to publish The Pulpit and the Cross.

These two-fold venues—the pulpit and the press—allowed Fr. Wattson to communicate his ideas of engagement with the Roman Catholic Church. In 1895, he understood the doctrine of papal supremacy — delineated in the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Aeternus at Vatican I (1870) — as both a test of American democracy and itself a religious problem. All Roman Catholic bishops in the United States were agents of a foreign bishop, he contended, and so had “no lawful jurisdiction” on these shores. He often wrote on sacramental questions and papal authority, always respectfully critiquing the position held by Rome. Why couldn’t Roman Catholics see their errors? Or was it Fr. Wattson and his tribe that were somehow misunderstanding?

A combination of questioning and a search for a deeper interior life came to a head in 1895. That summer he was approached by a group of unmarried Episcopal men living a semi-monastic life in Omaha. They wondered whether Fr.Wattson would agree to be their superior. He gave it three years before returning to New York, even more confused than before.

Fr. Wattson’s reputation caught the attention of Lurana Mary White, who first contacted him in 1896. She was then living in a diocesan community of Episcopal women in Albany — the Sisters of the Holy Child—and had also been hoping to form a sisterhood that would embrace corporately and individually the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Searching for a community of this sort proved difficult in the United States and so she joined the Sisters of Bethany in London.

After a year’s novitiate, and having accepted the brown habit and cord of the Franciscans, she entered a new phase of her spiritual life. Before returning to America in 1898, she made a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi where, she later wrote, she became “guilty of a pious act of duplicity.” While touring St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, she left her party long enough to kiss the foot of the statue of St. Peter.

She brought Fr. Wattson to her family home in upstate New York, where a kind of mutual epiphany occurred. Forming a spiritual alliance that would last all of their lives, in December 1898 Mother Lurana took possession of a piece of property to begin a new religious community. In the spring of 1899, the two would launch their new venture—the Society of the Atonement — from an abandoned farmhouse and chapel on a hilltop in Garrison.

Over the course of the next ten years, a steady creep toward Rome was in evidence. His study of religious life was augmented by a year’s trial in the Fathers of the Holy Cross at Westminster, Md., and in 1900 he also accepted the habit of a Franciscan friar, taking the name Paul James. Fr. Wattson soon found himself back in New York, building up Graymoor and touring nearby churches. In 1901, he was invited to preach before an Episcopal congregation in Long Island and chose as his topic “The Reunion of Christendom and the Chair of Peter.” It was difficult to hear him over the noise of those vacating the church. Undeterred, in 1903 he began to publish The Lamp, a magazine advocating greater ties with Rome through the acceptance of papal infallibility. Another publication, The Antidote, specifically set an apologetic tone to counteract the anti-Roman vitriol of The Menace, a Midwestern publication that had nearly 1.5 million subscribers.

In his work to allay suspicions over foreign encroachments in the United States, Fr. Wattson also defended those Anglicans who were scorned for trying to close the breach with Rome. Fr. Wattson looked upon the squabbles within Anglicanism less as an opportunity to grouse and more as a chance to show pastoral solicitude. Fr. Paul had a strict policy never to utter a word against Anglicanism, but chose instead to highlight the Anglican Communion’s values, the eloquence of its members, and the beauty of its sacramental life. He carried this policy throughout his life, teaching not mere tolerance but love.

This is all the more remarkable given that both Fr. Paul and Mother Lurana, along with 17 other members—sisters, friars, and laymen—were received corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on Oct. 30, 1909. In 1910, after a year’s work at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, Fr. Wattson was ordained by Archbishop John Farley of New York. “Coming over” had not been easy, but it was not a decision made in haste. Archbishop Farley communicated his own misgivings to Rome—he did not like the manner of the foundation, let alone its message. Though the corporate conversion of Fr. Paul and his companions was done through the formal rite, including an abjuration of their Anglicanism, the founder of the Society of the Atonement had made it clear that the renunciation would not be negative. There would be no curse, but a solemn recognition of the truth of personally held convictions. Fr. Wattson had written in The Lamp in 1907 that “I could not bear those people who say that the Anglican Church is a mockery.”

Even after becoming a Roman Catholic priest, he never publicly repudiated his Anglican orders. Only after dialogue with officials in the Roman hierarchy, including the prefect of the Congregation for Religious, Genarro Cardinal Falconio, and the Secretary of State to the Holy See, Cardinal Merry del Val, was the way paved for his reception.

This high-level contact proved fortuitous, because through their assistance Fr. Wattson was able in turn to present his hope for the Church Unity Octave directly to Pope Pius X, who blessed the initiative, and later Pope Benedict XV, who extended the observance to the universal Church in February 1916. In 1921, Dennis Cardinal Dougherty of Philadelphia proposed to the hierarchy that the octave be observed throughout the United States—a resolution that, for the first time in the history of American Roman Catholicism, received unanimous consent.

Roman Catholics in the United States were catching up with their Anglican brethren. The Lambeth Conference had by the late 1870s proposed a season of prayer for Christian unification and in the 1890s the Archbishop of Canterbury ordered that fitting prayers be spoken on Whit Sunday. In the United States in 1913, the Faith and Order Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church published a pamphlet of prayers commending church unity on Whit Sunday. By 1915, a full-scale manual of prayers was drawn up. Fr. Wattson’s own ecclesiastical superior, now Cardinal Farley, was reluctant to entertain his proposal for fear of confusion among the faithful or, worse still, communio in sacris.

By contrast, Farley’s successor, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Patrick Hayes, was among the first prelates in the United States to advocate for the Unity Octave. Archbishop Hayes, it might be noted, was notoriously scrupulous in avoiding any engagements with Protestants, but he saw in this movement an opening that was ecclesiastically legal, satisfying of Jesus’ own command, and productive of good will. His instinct in approving the work of Fr. Wattson proved important for the future of the Week of Prayer, for without the archbishop’s approbation, the friar could not have continued in as successful a fashion as he did. Throughout his tenure, the archbishop’s relation to the Church Unity Octave was as a “participant observer” — frequently allowing Fr. Wattson the use of the pulpit at the Cathedral of St. Patrick to promote the cause of unity.

Not everything was so sunny, however, for Fr. Wattson. He experienced several difficulties with members of his new fraternity, and this would prove a mild distraction compared to his legal woes. As the superior of the convent of sisters, he had charge of their welfare. The convent’s property was owned by three women — all good Episcopal ladies of Garrison — who had permitted the sisters’ growth but never signed over a deed. Trustees of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had stood as a ramshackle chapel on the property before the arrival of Mother Lurana, evicted the sisters in 1910, one year after they had become Roman Catholics.

Mother Lurana chose to follow the longstanding Franciscan principle of offering no resistance, thinking it better to be homeless than to be the source of conflict. Fr. Wattson saw the matter differently and vowed to pursue it in court—a decision that carried on for the next seven years. An agreement was struck, however, when Fr. Wattson met Hamilton Fish II on Election Day in 1917. Fish was not only a well known politician in the state of New York; he was also the senior warden of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Garrison. When Fr. Wattson explained his legal troubles, Fish offered to broker a settlement, which was finally won in March 1918, by an act of the New York legislature. As a side note, all of the original owners of the property became Roman Catholic and two are buried in the sisters’ cemetery at Graymoor. But the lesson of the story is simple: cooperation in the Christian household always brings a greater yield and is one more visible token in praise of God’s glory.

—————————————

The 1920s and ’30s were building years for the order, which constructed a seminary, a printery, shrine chapels and St. Christopher’s Inn, a treatment center. The numbers of sisters and friars burgeoned. Always the message was the same: unity is the hallmark and sustenance of the work. But as Fr. Wattson began to slow (he died in 1940), his allies in the nascent ecumenical movement picked up the charge. In Belgium, Dom Lambert Beaudoin founded in 1925 a Benedictine community that took shape at Chevetogne for the express purpose of praying for unity—originally with the Orthodox, but now with all Christians.

From the Archdiocese of Lyons, France, Father Paul Couturier (1881–1953) spread the message of prayer for unity “as God wills it and by the means that he wills.” Fr. Couturier changed the tenor of the prayer, however, away from reunion of all others with Rome by reflection on a once-shared past to a more concerted effort on the part of all Christians to work toward future unity par cum pari—literally, on equal footing. This, he said, could only be done together; it could not be expected that non-Romans would simply see the light. This plea was heard by Trappistines in Grottaferrata, Italy, and some began, in the late 1930s, to devote their prayer lives to building religious bridges. When temporal unity finally occurs, it will rest on the storehouse of supernatural graces stocked by so much fervent prayer.

Fr. Wattson’s Spirit and Ordinariates

The theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “You Are Witnesses of These Things” (Luke 24:48). Coinciding with the Scottish centennial celebration of the World Mission Conference at Edinburgh, widely acknowledged as an ecumenical milestone, the theme strikes at the soul of collaboration between churches: what we memorialize together, what we work on, what we anticipate through God’s grace. Whether we speak in a prophetic voice, like the Paul Wattsons of a prior generation, there is always a call to set aside a passive stance and move.

Action of some sort never negates a stillness of mind and heart, but flows from it. Achieving that quietude comes from asking ourselves sometimes difficult questions: What do I believe? To whom shall I turn? Who am I? What is impressive about the path Fr. Wattson took is not so much his rather spectacular conversion or the issues attendant upon it, as much as the authenticity of its genesis, together with its manifold fruits. Roman Catholics cannot ignore the abiding fealty Fr. Wattson had toward the purest elements of the Anglican spirit, since part of that is its desire toward the vocation of unity. In an era of ordinariates, Roman Catholics will do well to observe how a new injection of Anglican culture into their midst will serve to heal and make whole again a body broken for too long.

In speaking of ordinariates today, canon lawyers refer to “extra-territorial” sees or “non-territorial particular churches,” which serve as instruments for service to the people of God that have, for purposes of identification, no visible boundaries but a clear governance structure that is necessarily flexible to meet extraordinary circumstances. One reason for the recent Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution of Pope Benedict XVI establishing personal ordinariates for those Anglicans entering a new relation with the Roman Catholic Church, is to supply a flexible response to legalistic questions. Both communions will do well to study whether the ecclesiological principles articulated in the constitution will be in service to the great challenge of ecumenism in our time, particularly as it conforms or departs from the legacy of visionaries like Fr.Wattson.

Among these principles is a recognition of the action of the Holy Spirit working as “a principle of unity” to establish the singular “Church as a communion.” What appears to some to be a wayward cluster of Anglican congregations may actually hold promise as a vehicle for tutelage and mutual understanding, on all sides, in rendering a new vista for ecclesial unity.

Patrick J. Hayes has a doctorate in theology from the Catholic University of America and has taught at Fordham University and St. John’s University in New York. He is at work on a study of Roman Catholics in the New York Archdiocese between 1865 and 1938.

14 January 2010

Our help is needed...


This message went to all of our Academy families today:
Dear Atonement Family:

By now, all of us are aware of the devastating earthquake which leveled the capital of our Caribbean neighbors in Haiti. Among the many thousands who died under the rubble of collapsing buildings were young seminarians and priests, as well as Archbishop Joseph Miot. Port-au-Prince’s Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady – a beautiful domed church – was totally destroyed, as were all major churches in the city.

Archbishop Gomez has asked that the parishes take up a collection for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) – a charitable organization which is already on the ground in Port-au-Prince with hundreds of aid workers. This collection will take place on Sunday, Jan. 17, and Sunday, Jan. 24 at Our Lady of the Atonement. If you wish to include your donation in this collection, and do not attend Mass here, please drop your offering at the school office, or send it to us by mail at 15415 Red Robin, 78255.

Additionally, there will be a container in the academy lobby for the donations of our students. This container will be there, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19 through Friday, Jan. 22.

We will combine all these contributions into one check and send that directly to CRS for Haitian relief efforts. At this time, clean water and food are badly needed.

Pope Benedict said “I appeal to the generosity of everyone, so that our brothers and sisters receive our concrete solidarity and effective support in this moment of need and suffering.”

While the gargantuan effort to rebuild this city will take years, if not decades, let us pray for these people now that they remain close to God, and know the consolation of His love for each of them.
As is mentioned in the letter, we'll be collecting donations through Sunday, 24th January, and we'll send the total amount to Catholic Relief Services.

For those in the Washington, D.C. area...


On Friday, January 22 at 6:30 p.m. you are invited to attend Evening Prayer according to the Book of Divine Worship, at Old St. Mary's Catholic Church, 727 5th Street NW, Washington, D.C.  Fr. Eric Bergman will officiate, and he will be speaking afterwards about the Holy Father's Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to eric.james.wilson@gmail.com or 202-642-5359.

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity

This Octave was first conceived by Father Paul of Graymoor on 30 November 1907, before his entrance into the Catholic Church. The initial success in 1908 was so encouraging that he decided to promote it annually, and he regarded the Octave as one of the special means which brought his Society of the Atonement into the Church on 30 October 1909. It was given papal blessing by Pope St. Pius X on 27 December 1909, just two months after the Society of the Atonement had entered the Catholic Church. Other popes have given it their blessings over the years, including Pope John XXIII (who urged its observance more widely throughout the world) and Pope Paul VI (who had promoted it in his archdiocese when he was the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan). Father Paul considered the Octave as the greatest project which came from Graymoor, and even though it was overshadowed by the less-specific "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" during his own lifetime, he rejoiced that those separated from the Catholic Church felt called to observe the January period as a time of prayer for unity. Even though their concept of unity differs from that of the Catholic Church, it is significant that so many pray for that unity which God desires for His people.

The Octave, as originally conceived by Father Paul, reflects the unchanging truth that there can be no real unity apart from union with that Rock, established by Christ Himself, which is Peter and his successors. For that reason, St. Peter is considered the special Patron of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The Octave Prayers

ANTIPHON: That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.

V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

[Here is brought to mind the intention for the day's prayer.]

January 18: For the return of the "other sheep" to the One Fold of our Lord Jesus Christ.
January 19: For the return of the Eastern Orthodox Christians to communion with the Apostolic See.
January 20: For the return of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
January 21: For the return of all Protestants throughout the world to the unity of the Catholic Church.
January 22: That Christians in America may be one, in union with the Chair of Saint Peter.
January 23: That lapsed Catholics will return to the Sacraments of the Church.
January 24: That the Jewish people will be converted to the Catholic Faith.
January 25: That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

11 January 2010

Pray for vocations to Holy Orders...


O God, who didst lead thy holy apostles to ordain ministers in every place: Grant that thy Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work for the extension of thy kingdom; through him who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

How did it come to this...?


h/t Lucianne.com

Lux Mundi


Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that thy people, illumined by thy Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

08 January 2010

New article on The Anglo-Catholic


Here's the link to my latest post, A Grand Little Chapel, on The Anglo-Catholic.

Brrrr...!

I don't know what hell's like when it freezes over, but this is what it's like in south Texas...






It's supposed to get down to 16 degrees tonight, something we're not used to.

And the blogging expands...


For those who might be interested, I'm now a contributor to The Anglo-Catholic, the blog which is a voice for the Traditional Anglican Communion.  TAC (as it's known) is one of the "groups of Anglicans" for which the Ordinariates are intended.

Here's the link for The Anglo-Catholic, if you want to browse through it.

07 January 2010

"And the Word was made flesh..."

From the archives, Mass at the High Altar during Christmastide.


Almighty God, who hast poured upon us the new light of thine incarnate Word; Grant that the same light enkindled in our hearts may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

05 January 2010

Anglican Patrimony...


How might "Anglican Patrimony" be defined? There seems to be consensus that patrimony would include the liturgy, and not just the Eucharist, but the Offices and everything else that's associated with the Book of Common Prayer.  Hymnody has been mentioned, as well as the Psalter and Anglican chant.  Things like architecture, our choral tradition, a particular pastoral style - all these things and more come into the mix when there's a discussion of Anglican patrimony.

I'm wondering if these things really aren't our patrimony, but instead are things that simply allow our patrimony to be expressed.

Perhaps we could think of it this way.  Imagine a family living in a comfortable home, surrounded by all that's been accumulated over the years.  Some of the things are treasures from previous generations.  Other things are the serviceable items that contribute to an agreeable life.  But they're all things that have been chosen to express what the members of the family enjoy, what they value, what they find to be beautiful.   If those things were to be destroyed in a fire, would the family's values be destroyed?  Would they change their sense of what is beautiful?  No.  Those sensibilities are within the people themselves, not within the things.  The articles simply serve as a means of expression.  What can be replaced will be replaced.  Other things that express the family's sense of beauty and comfort will be accumulated over time.  But that which is being expressed comes from within the members of the family.

This, I believe, says something about the Anglican patrimony.  It's something within the people themselves.  This is how it's possible for the patrimony to be preserved even when it's a small group meeting in a rented storefront.  Yes, majestic gothic buildings are helpful.  Antique vestments and fine pipe organs are marvellous.  Few things are more beautiful than sunlight filtered through stained glass.  But are those things the actual patrimony?

No, a handful people who know and love Christ, who pray the familiar words of the Prayer Book together, who have a sense of things done "decently and in order," and who know what it is to offer one's best in worship and then take the grace received out into the world - this handful of people embodies the Anglican patrimony.

This is part of the genius of Anglicanorum coetibus.  It carves out a place for people to make this patrimony a living reality under the protection of the Catholic Church.  This is why it's going to work.  It's already been successful within the terms of the Pastoral Provision.  Our Anglican Use parishes, few though they may be, are incarnations of the Anglican patrimony.  And the beauty of it all is that it didn't take thousands of people, and it didn't require gorgeous buildings to start.  All it needed was a small community of faithful people who had this "Anglican sense" of things, and from that it grew.  Our parish is filled with people who've never set foot in an Episcopal church, but they certainly demonstrate the Anglican patrimony in a wonderful way.

Anglicanorum coetibus has plenty of naysayers, people who are certain that the numbers will be few.  Maybe they're right, but so what?  I hope hundreds of thousands will flock to the Ordinariates, but if they don't, that doesn't mean it hasn't worked.  Let's face it, our Lord's little band of apostles didn't look exactly overwhelming at first.

From whatever beginning God grants to the Ordinariates, this marvellous patrimony will expand and be strengthened.  With every conversion, with the birth of every child, with the slow but steady growth of every parish, the patrimony will continue to flourish.

Maybe that's one of the reasons the Apostolic Constitution calls them "Personal Ordinariates."  They have to do with persons, not things.

A true Father in God...


O God, our heavenly Father, who didst raise up thy faithful servant St. John Neumann to be a bishop in thy Church and to feed thy flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of thy Holy Spirit, that they may minister in thy household as true servants of Christ and stewards of thy divine mysteries; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

04 January 2010

A correction...

I didn't know so many people looked at the program schedule for EWTN.  Because they do, I've had calls today asking me if I knew that I was supposed to be in Alabama to be on the "Coming Home" program. 

Actually, Marcus Grodi had invited me to take part in his program on Anglicanorum coetibus, and I would have like to have been there, but my schedule just didn't allow me to participate.  Unfortunately, the information didn't find its way to the publicity department, so they went with the weeks-old information.

So to clarify - I won't be a guest with Marcus tonight.  Fortunately, I don't have a huge adoring public, so there probably won't be wailing in the streets.

03 January 2010

The Most Holy Name


At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Eternal Father, who didst give to thine incarnate Son the holy name of JESUS to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we beseech thee, the love of him who is the Savior of the world, even our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

01 January 2010

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

...apparently it's Epiphany.


When, oh when will the bishops give Epiphany back to us?  Don't they have any sense of the importance of traditional times and seasons?  For heaven's sake, didn't they learn to sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" when they were kids?  Honestly, it's one of the biggest tests of my obedience not to keep Epiphany on January 6th.  And I won't even mention my problem with Ascension Thursday.

But obedient we shall be, so we'll celebrate Epiphany on January 3rd this year.
O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy onlybegotten Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know thee now by faith, to thy presence, where we may behold thy glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.