15 November 2009

From the National Catholic Register...

While I was on pilgrimage I was contacted by Edward Pentin, the Rome Correspondent for the National Catholic Register.  His whole article can be read here.  Below is the section referring to my conversation with him:
Speaking to the Register Nov. 10, Father Christopher Phillips, pastor of the first Pastoral Provision parish, Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, said he is waiting to see what might happen when the Church establishes the first ordinariate. “It seems as though the Pastoral Provision has done its job,” he said, adding that it “wouldn’t seem logical for the Pastoral Provision to continue” within these new international structures.

He said everyone in his parish was “very excited” about the papal decree, and that they had been “working for this and waiting for this for an awfully long time.” But he stressed his parish has had a very good relationship with the diocesan bishop and that relationship will go on once his parish becomes part of an ordinariate. “We want to make sure it goes on,” he said. “It’s written into the constitution that there has to be constant cooperation.”

Our Lady of the Atonement has grown rapidly since its humble beginnings in the early 1980s. Starting with just 18 worshippers, it now has 500 families and a thriving school.

Father Phillips sees even more promise with the ordinariates because they won’t be left to the whim of a local bishop, as Anglican-use parishes are currently.

“The reason there are so few [Anglican-use parishes] is because so many bishops didn’t want the Pastoral Provision in their diocese,” he said. “An ordinary has the powers of a bishop to establish personal parishes wherever they’re needed, so I think we’ll see a real flowering of this.”

And although his parish is fortunate to have a good relationship with its bishop, Father Phillips said it still felt somewhat “on its own” because the bishop had other priorities to attend to. The only job of the new ordinary, he said, will be “to think of ways for this to grow.”

He added that he didn’t think there would initially be “a huge wave of converts” because of the new ordinariates, “but if it grows slowly, it’ll grow in a more healthy way.”

Said Father Phillips: “It’ll strengthen the whole movement and bring lots of people home.”