Saturday, December 11, 2010

Advent Lessons & Carols

Catholic Faith                                                                    Anglican Patrimony

The Anglican Use Society
Washington, DC and Northern Virginia
invites you to a
Service of Advent Lessons and Carols
on Saturday, December 18, 2010
at four o’clock
St. Anselm’s Abbey
4501 South Dakota Avenue, NE
Washington, DC  20017-2753
and afterwards for
Coffee Hour

For More Information:
Contact: James W. Farr, Jr.                                                  

Click here for a Mapquest map of St. Anselm's Abbey.
For more on St. Anselm's:

The Anglican Use Society of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia invites you to join with them in building an Anglican Use Catholic parish for the Washington, DC area. Regular services of Evening Prayer according to the Book of Divine Worship are held on the third Saturday of each month at 4:45 p.m. at St. Anselm’s Abbey in Washington.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fr. Catania to Appear on "The World Over"

Mt. Calvary Church, Baltimore
From a story posted yesterday on The Anglo-Catholic:

The Rev. Jason Catania of Mount Calvary, Baltimore, which recently voted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and apply to become a parish of the Anglican Use, will be interviewed this week by Raymond Arroyo for the EWTN program, "The World Over."

For those in the U.S., the program will air at 8:00 p.m. Eastern with encore runs Friday at 1:00 a.m., Sunday 4:00 p.m., and Monday at both 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Those in other countries can check the listings on The World Over website.

I posted a blog entry on Oct. 25 about Fr. Catania and Mt. Calvary, whose congregation voted overwhelmingly at a congregational meeting on Oct. 24 to leave the Episcopal Church and seek reception into the Catholic Church.

Read the entire article on The Anglo-Catholic.>>>

Monday, November 8, 2010

Breaking News from England

It looks as if the prayers of Blessed John Henry, Cardinal Newman (and many others) are continuing to bear fruit.

Five Church of England Bishops have formally tendered their resignation from the CofE and announced their intention to join the English Ordinariate once it is formed.  The Bishops--three active, two retired--are among the most prominent of the so-called "Flying Bishops," who serve traditionalist Anglican congregations and are affiliated with the organization, Forward in Faith (FIF).  One of the five, John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham & Chairman of FIF International, has already announced his intention to take up the Holy Father's offer, formalized almost exactly one year ago in the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus.

While this does not come as a complete surprise to most of us who keep track of such developments, it is a great joy to those of us who have been praying hard for our Catholic-minded brothers still on the other side of the Tiber.  Let us continue to pray that more of our separated brethren will come to be reconciled with Holy Mother Church.

For more on this story, see:

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Baltimore Parish Declares for the Ordinariate

Wonderful news from Mt. Calvary Episcopal Church in Baltimore, which comes as a great encouragement to our Anglican Use group in the nearby Washington, D.C. area.  The parish voted overwhelmingly yesterday to separate itself from the Episcopal Church and to seek reconciliation with the Catholic Church as an Anglican Use parish.  According to a report from one of the parishioners, posted yesterday on Stand Firm:

Mount Calvary voted on two resolutions today at a special meeting following 10:00 Mass:

1) That Mt. Calvary Church separate itself from The Episcopal Church, and

2) That Mt. Calvary Church seek admission to the Roman Catholic Church as an Anglican Use parish.

Both resolutions passed by majorities of almost 85%.

The ballots were counted by two disinterested outsiders: Dr. Daniel Page (a friend of many parishioners who lives nearby) and Sister Mary Joan of the All Saints' Sisters of the Poor.

The ballots were counted in the presence of the Rev. Scott Slater, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Maryland. 

Please keep Fr. Jason Catania and the members of Mt. Calvary in your prayers, especially during the coming transition.

More on this at the Anglo-Catholic blog:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Anglican Use Evening Prayer in Washington, DC

Anyone interested in attending regular gatherings of Catholics, Anglicans, and those somewhere in-between in the Washington, DC area, will welcome the following announcement:

The Anglican Use Community of Washington, DC is pleased to announce the beginning of regularly scheduled services. Beginning October 16th, Evening Prayer according to the Book of Divine Worship will be held on the third Saturday of each month at 4:45 p.m., St. Anselm's Abbey, 4501 South Dakota Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20017. Coffee hour will follow the service.

Please join us!

If you would like more information, feel free to post a comment or send me an email at the address on my profile.

Click here for a Mapquest map of St. Anselm's Abbey.
For more on St. Anselm's:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One of my favorite prayers

This is from a Mass booklet for the TLM published by Ignatius Press a couple of years back.  It is one of the "Prayers of Thanksgiving after Mass."  The source is the 16th-century Benedictional of John Longdale, about which I have discovered nothing more as yet.  It helps me to remember to "keep alive [my] spirit of charity in every situation."  Enjoy.
May our Lord, the Father of all mercies, sustain us by his own strength and keep alive our spirit of charity in every situation.  May he give us the desire of that most valuable gift: a wide-hearted sympathy and a broad-shouldered endurance.  Then shall we have experience of that wisdom which is part of the liberty of the children of God.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fr. Junipero Serra

Today is the Memorial of Blessed Fr. Junipero Serra, the Franciscan missionary friar who founded many of the major missions in California, then a province of New Spain, in the 18th century, including San Luis Obispo, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Clara and San Carlos Boromeo in Carmel, CA, where he died and was laid to rest. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988. Although not in the best of health throughout much of his adult life, he traveled many thousands of miles, many of them on foot, in an effort to establish the Catholic faith in Mexico and what is now the Southwestern U.S.

Fr. Serra is the one for whom Serra International, whose mission is "to foster, affirm and promote vocations to ministry in the Catholic Church," is named. Most Catholics know this organization as their local "Serra Club" (not to be confused with the Sierra Club--please!)

One of the recent selections of my local book club was Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop, a novel based on the life of Bishop Jean-Baptiste L'Amy, a native of France who was sent from Ohio in 1850 to accept his appointment as Bishop of the newly-created Vicariate of New Mexico, after the territory was annexed by the United States from Mexico.  (Well worth a read, by the way.)  In the following excerpt from the book Fr. Latour (the fictional Archbishop) recalls the some of the miraculous stories he has heard about Fr. Serra from priests of the western missions, including this famous one.  Perhaps it is merely apocryphal, but at the very least its survival tells us something about Fr. Serra's enduring reputation for holiness:

Father Junipero, he said, with a single companion, had once arrived at his monastery on foot, without provisions.  The Brothers had welcomed the two in astonishment, believing it impossible that men could have crossed so great a stretch of desert in this naked fashion.  The Superior questioned them as to whence they had come, and said the mission should not have allowed them to set off without a guide and without food.  He marveled how they could have got through alive.  But Father Junipero replied that they had fared very well, and had been most agreeably entertained by a poor Mexican family on the way.  At this a muleteer, who was bringing in wood for the Brothers, began to laugh, and said there was no house for twelve leagues, nor anyone at all living in the sandy waste through which they had come; and the Brothers confirmed him in this.

Then Father Junipero and his companion related fully their adventure.  They had set out with bread and water for one day.  But on the second day they had been travelling since dawn across a cactus desert and had begun to lose heart when, near sunset, they espied in the distance three great cottonwood trees, very tall in the declining light.  Toward these they hastened.  As they approached the trees, which were large and green and were shedding cotton freely, they observed an ass tied to a dead trunk which stuck up out of the sand.  Looking about for the owner of the ass, they came upon a little Mexican house with an oven by the door and strings of red peppers hanging on the wall.  When they called aloud, a venerable Mexican, clad in sheepskins, came out and greeted them kindly, asking them to stay the night.  Going in with him, they observed that all was neat and comely, and the wife, a young woman of beautiful countenance, was stirring porridge by the fire.  Her child, scarcely more than an infant and with no garment but his little shirt, was on the floor beside her, playing with a pet lamb.

They found these people gentle, pious, and well-spoken.  The husband said they were shepherds.  The priests sat at their table and shared their supper, and afterward read the evening prayers. They had wished to question the host about the country, and about his mode of life and where he found pasture for his flock, but they were overcome by a great and sweet weariness, and taking each a sheepskin provided him, they lay down upon the floor and sank into deep sleep.  When they awoke in the morning they found all as before, and food set upon the table, but the family were absent, even to the pet lamb,--having gone, the Fathers supposed, to care for their flock.

When the Brothers at the monastery heard this account they were amazed, declaring that there were indeed three cottonwood trees growing together in the desert, a well-known landmark; but that if a settler had come, he must have come very lately.  So Father Junipero and Father Andrea, his companion, with some of the Brothers and the scoffing muleteer, went back into the wilderness to prove the matter.  The three tall trees they found, shedding their cotton, and the dead trunk to which the ass had been tied.

But the ass was not there, nor any house, nor the oven by the door. Then the two Fathers sank down upon their knees in that blessed spot and kissed the earth, for they perceived what Family it was that had entertained them there.

Father Junipero confessed to the Brothers how from the moment he entered the house he had been strangely drawn to the child, and desired to take him in his arms, but that he kept near his mother. When the priest was reading the evening prayers the child sat upon the floor against his mother's knee, with the lamb in his lap, and the Father found it hard to keep his eyes upon his breviary.  After prayers, when he bade his hosts good-night, he did indeed stoop over the little boy in blessing; and the child had lifted his hand, and with his tiny finger made the cross upon Father Junipero's forehead.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Speaking of St. Thomas More...

Hat tip to Taylor Marshall (Canterbury Tales blog) for alerting us to this new website for the Center for Thomas More Studies (CTMS) at the University of Dallas.  It looks like a great source of all things related to the man whom his friend, Erasmus, (and also Robert Whittington, according to the CTMS website) called "a man for all seasons."  Regular readers of this blog know that St. Ths. More is my patron saint, so I am especially pleased to have this new resource at my fingertips.  Check them out at

Friday, June 25, 2010

Anglican Use Conference 2010 - Part II: The Servant of the Servant

I have attended four successive Anglican Use conferences, and at each of the previous three there has been a point at which someone in authority has had to stand up and remind us that we are not in Canterbury anymore. That is, in the midst of a discussion about what the Pastoral Provision might look like in the future--possible revisions to the Book of Divine Worship, the training of future priests for Anglican Use parishes, etc.--we have tended to slip into a "strategizing" attitude. Put another way, the discussion turns to what we might negotiate with the Holy See in order to preserve our Anglican patrimony. Not that negotiation itself is bad; it is indeed necessary to work out the nuts-and-bolts of what the new Ordinariate will look like. But ultimately, the decisions will not be the result of a mere consensus between Anglicans and the Holy See. They will have the weight of the Magesterium behind them, because the buck stops at the desk of the Holy Father.

Last year in Houston it was Father John Lipscomb (at the time he was merely "John Lipscomb," the former Episcopal Bishop of Southwest Florida) who reminded us of our true position when we came into the Catholic Church--that of supplicants asking to be allowed in. He recalled the story of the Prodigal Son, who returned to his father with nothing, asking only to be allowed a place with the servants. As Protestants we were in an analogous position, although in our case the sin of apostasy was inherited from previous generations. Nevertheless, at some point every Catholic convert realizes he has been participating in the sin of schism, whether or not he articulates it exactly in those terms. For me, that is exactly how I described my position as a Protestant. At that point, the only appropriate attitude is humble supplication, which doesn't come naturally for the average Anglican. Hence the need for this yearly reminder.

This year, things were a bit different. Anglicanorum coetibus has of course changed everything, and I think that most participants at this year's conference are well aware what a great gift Pope Benedict has given those who, in the words of William Oddie, have been "shivering at the gates" of the Church. In that spirit of humble gratitude the president of the Anglican Use Society, Joe Blake, opened our annual meeting on just the right note, reiterating his own position by declaring, "this is not Voice of the Faithful." That is, we are not a group of dissidents attempting to bend the Church to our way of thinking. (The motto on the VOTF website is, "Keep the faith, change the Church." Ugh.) Mr. Blake assured us that he accepted this position to serve--to serve the Church and the Holy Father. And his words reminded us why he was chosen for this post in the first place. Last year he indicated his intention to step down and offer someone else a chance to lead, but in light of recent developments he has graciously agreed to stay on for the sake of continuity during this time of transition.

But to get back to the Prodigal Son analogy: Thanks be to God that in Pope Benedict we have a Holy Father like the father in the parable. One who has been watching for us for decades and who has now done more than we would have dared imagine even a year ago. Like the father in the story, he saw us coming and ran to meet us, and, to carry the analogy further, with Anglicanorum coetibus he has killed the fatted calf and invited our separated brethren in. This is not a question of mere toleration, either. The document refers to our Anglican disciplines as "a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and... a treasure to be shared." And I am persuaded that the ultimate purpose of the Holy Father is not merely to reconcile Anglicans but all of our separated brethren. Ut unum sint.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The King's Good Servant

Today is the Feastday of St. Thomas More, my patron saint, and of his companion in martyrdom, St. John Fisher. Thomas More, of course, resigned his post as Chancellor of England rather than go along with Henry VIII's attempt to make himself Supreme Head of the Church in England. John Fisher was Bishop of Rochester at the time and the only one in the House of Bishops who challenged Henry head on, and he lost his head for it on this date in 1535. Thomas More followed him on July 6.

Considering the upheaval that King Henry precipitated in subsequent years and which was continued by his daughter, Elizabeth I, I wonder that there is anyone today willing to make excuses for either of them. And yet, even my own actions (or inaction, to be more precise) served as an apology for the English schism.

John Henry, Cardinal Newman spoke the truth when he said that "to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." One of the first things that pricked my own conscience regarding the roots of Anglicanism was my study of English History as an undergraduate. I was a mediocre student in those days, but I did read and pay close attention to the part about the dissolution of the monasteries. It made me uneasy, and it planted seeds of doubt in my mind about the Anglican experiment. That is, I wondered whether any project which began with what amounted to a giant government land grab was doomed to failure in the end. Yet it would be another 25 years before I concluded that I had to return to the Church of my pre-Reformation ancestors, the Catholic Church.

In 2004, two years before we sought reception into the Catholic Church, my husband and I visited the ruins of Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. Seeing that empty shell brought home to me the real consequences of Henry's ambitions, and it increased my uneasiness with their historical fruits. It also saddened me, not only because of the wanton destruction of the beautiful Abbey Church, but also because of the social upheaval that followed, since the wealth of the Abbey functioned as an important social "safety net" for the poor in the region. My husband and I both count that trip as a significant stage of our journey from Canterbury to Rome.

Of course, the persistent prayers of St. Thomas More--and St. John Fisher, and (soon-to-be) Blessed John Henry Newman--had a great deal to do with getting us here, too. No doubt the promulgation by Pope Benedict last November of Anglicanorum coetibus is also a result of their prayers.

We would do well to join with them in praying for the Holy Father's upcoming visit to the UK in September, that it might help further our Lord's desire that we might all be one.
Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, even as thou and he are one: Grant that thy Church, being bound together in love and obedience to thee, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom thou didst send, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who livest and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Collect For the Unity of the Church
Book of Divine Worship

Monday, June 14, 2010

Anglican Use Conference 2010 - Part I

My husband and I returned yesterday (Sunday), from the Anglican Use Conference, an annual gathering of former Anglican Catholics, Anglicans and those somewhere in-between. This year's conference was hosted by Archbishop John Myers of Newark, NJ, the Apostolic Delegate for the Pastoral Provision in the US. Hence the location in Newark.

Thanks to the promulgation last October by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI of the apostolic constitution for Anglicans, Anglicanorum coetibus, the atmosphere of this year's conference was rather different from that of last year's--needless to say. Last year we knew something was imminent from the Holy See, but we didn't know exactly what it would look like or what the response would be from effected groups of Anglicans. This year, of course, we know much more of both, although there are many details still to be worked out.

I will write more on the conference later, once I've had a chance to reflect on the event and to see what others have written already (see list of links below). But I will offer one or two comments:

First, I was struck this year by the presence of a number of newcomers to the conference, especially the three people pictured above. The man at the lecturn is Archbishop John Hepworth of Australia, primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), the group of Anglicans whose formal petition to the Holy Father in 2007 got this ball rolling in the first place. For which, by the way, I and many others are exceedingly grateful. To the right of him is Bishop David Moyer of the Anglican Church in America (ACA--the US branch of the TAC) and finally, Bishop Carl Reid of Canada. Bishop Falk, first primate of the TAC and current President of the House of Bishops of the ACA, had been present earlier in the conference but was not there on Saturday, when Abp. Hepworth spoke to the participants. I was enormously encouraged by Abp. Hepworth's remarks and by the presence of all of these men. Their journey to this point has been more circuitous than mine was, certainly, and it has not been an easy one for them. But they are ready, I think, to cross the river. They have a number of pastoral and other details to work out with the Holy See in the future, but it appears that they have put their hand to the plow and are determined to be reconciled with Holy Mother Church. Please join me in praying for them and those under their pastoral care as they continue this process.

One other note regarding the Mass on Friday, a Solemn High Mass according to the Anglican Use. Since Friday was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it was fitting that it was held at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Photos of the Mass and from the rest of the conference are available at the website of Our Lady of Walsingham Parish in Houston (link below). Fr. Jeffrey Steenson, former (Episcopal) Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, was the celebrant. Video clips of his excellent homily can be found on the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite blog (link below). I learned afterward that this was the first Solemn High Mass OF ANY KIND held at this Cathedral in some 40 years!

Our Lady of Walsingham (conference photos):

Anglican Use of the Roman Rite blog (Fr. Steenson's homily):

The Anglo-Catholic blog (more details of the conference):

Sunday, January 31, 2010

March for Life 2010

Last Friday (Jan. 22) I participated in my very first March for Life. Although I have been involved in the pro-life movement for some 25 years, for one reason or another I had not yet made it to The March. Since I have served since last fall as coordinator of the Alexandria, VA 40 Days for Life prayer campaign, I was determined to be there this time. I wouldn't have missed it for the world! What a joy to be among hundreds of thousands of people (best estimates put the number at over 300,000), many of whom traveled across the country and spent all night on a bus to stand up for the Culture of Life.

As a rule I am not one to see the glass half full. Those of you who have read C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia may remember the character, Puddleglum, in the book, The Silver Chair. He was determined to do the right thing even while he was pretty thoroughly convinced that it would all come to nought in the end. During the past couple of decades I have often felt that I understood how Puddleglum felt, at least when it comes to my side of the so-called "culture war." But now even I am inclined to think that perhaps, after all, the pro-life movement really is winning--at least on this particular issue. Why? I can think of at least three reasons.

1. For the first time since the Gallup organization began asking the question in 1995, more than half of American adults identify themselves as pro-life, and this is a dramatic shift compared to last year, when only 44 percent of Americans called themselves pro-life.

2. The relative youth of the marchers. Several people I talked to at the march took note of the presence of so many young people. This fact was not lost even on Robert McCartney, a pro-choice columnist who covered the event and whose column appeared in next day's Washington Post. He estimated that about half of the marchers were under the age of 30. (Read the entire article here):
I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.
Indeed. These young people (especially those younger than about 35) are, after all, the "Roe v. Wade generation." About a quarter of their cohorts have been lost to abortion in the 37 years since the Supreme Court's tragic decision in 1973 that made abortion on demand the law of the land. This is one of the reasons that the younger generation is generally more pro-life than their parents' and grandparents' generations. The youth rally at the downtown Verizon Center on Friday morning drew so many to the 17,000-seat arena that many had to be turned away.

3. The women of my generation (and ten or twenty years on either side of me), the ones carrying signs proclaiming, "I Regret My Abortion." And the men who carried "I Regret Lost Fatherhood" signs. The "Silent No More" campaign, which first appeared at the March for Life in 2003, has given these brave people an opportunity to come forward and expose the false notion that abortion is sometimes a "preferable alternative," as someone close to me once put it.

Of course, as events of the past few decades have taught a majority of Americans, this is not true. The destruction of human life is never, in the final analysis, preferable to the preservation of life. The Silent No More campaign participants have paid an enormous price for believing that falsehood, and now they are helping others like them to find the healing that, tragically, the hard-liners in the pro-choice movement still refuse to admit they need. Many of them spoke at the rally in front of the Supreme Court building, and you can see a video montage of their remarks on the website. I commend it to you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Evening Prayer & Anglicanorum Coetibus Discussion

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Anglicanorum coetibus, the recently-promulgated Apostolic Constitution for Anglicans, or if you know someone who might be, here is an opportunity. On Friday, Jan. 22 (the day of the March for Life), at 6:30pm, Fr. Eric Bergman, a Pastoral Provision priest from Scranton, PA and Chaplain of the Anglican Use Society, will officiate at an Evening Prayer service at Old St. Mary's in downtown Washington, D.C. (near Chinatown) and then speak afterwards.

All who are interested are welcome to attend and participate, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. (This is not a Mass; Evening Prayer is a component of the Daily Office.)

For more information, check out this posting at the blog, "The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite."

Pertinent details:

Friday, January 22, 6:30pm

Old St. Mary's Catholic Church
727 5th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

Evening Prayer according to the Book of Divine Worship
Reverend Father Eric Bergman, Officiant

Followed by a talk on Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, which provides for the creation of personal ordinariates for Anglicans.

Fr. Bergman is a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton. He was ordained according to the Pastoral Provision of Pope John Paul II and is the Chaplain of the St. Thomas More Society in Scranton. He appeared recently on EWTN's The Journey Home.

The church has a small parking lot, but public transportation is recommended. St. Mary's is two blocks from both the Gallery Place/Chinatown & Judiciary Square Metro stations.

Please RSVP to Eric Wilson at or 202-642-5359.