Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
26 August 2012
Dear Friends in Christ,
Have you been to our Sunday evening Mass yet? Each Sunday at 6 pm the community of St. Anselm’s, a mission congregation of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, celebrates an Anglican Use Mass here at St. Mary’s. This liturgy is celebrated in a Rite approved by the Holy See that is a blend of the Roman Missal and the Book of Common Prayer, and all Catholics are welcome to attend. For lifelong Catholics of the Latin Rite, there will be several unfamiliar parts to the liturgy because of the incorporation of many elements of Anglican worship, but a booklet is available that provides the texts you need to participate, along with indications about when to stand, sit, and kneel — things in the Anglican Use liturgy that differ quite a bit from the customs of the Latin Rite.
Do you remember the several years that St. Mary’s was home to the people of St. Rafka Maronite Church and their weekly celebration of the Divine Liturgy? This new association is very similar. Although St. Mary’s is their home, St. Anselm’s is a community distinct from St. Mary’s, and we are most fortunate to have this opportunity of mutual enrichment for Catholics of both Rites. In an arrangement such as this, people often wonder how financial matters are handled by two congregations sharing the same space. If a parishioner of St. Mary’s attends the 6 pm Mass and uses our parish envelope at the offertory, that gift will find its way to St. Mary’s. Likewise if a member of St. Anselm’s attends one of our regular parish Masses, their gift will find its way to St. Anselm’s. Both communities will make every effort to cooperate and collaborate in the years ahead.
Because the existence of these Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans is a new thing in the Church, there is much about their common life and worship that is provisional and subject to change. For example, a committee in Rome is presently working towards the goal of having a single set of liturgical books for use in England, Australia, and the United States, but the conclusion of that work is many months or even several years away. In the meantime, the sacred liturgy must be celebrated, and authorities in Rome and all three Ordinariates are providing provisional texts for use in communities like St. Anselm’s. That is why you will find locally produced and photocopied booklets rather than printed and bound books for use at the 6 pm Anglican Use Mass, and from time to time, you may notice changes in the texts being used. We are blessed to have here among us a living laboratory of Christian unity amidst liturgical diversity, and I encourage you to attend the Anglican Use Mass some Sunday at 6 pm to see for yourself. Remember that it is a work in progress, some of which will be unfamiliar to you, but if you give yourself to the experience without hesitation, you will see some of the richness of the Anglican patrimony so treasured by the Church.