Friday, January 28, 2011

March for Life & Mid-Atlantic Gathering (Introducing the St. Thomas of Canterbury Society)

Beginning of Recessional at St. Alphonsus
As announced on this blog and elsewhere, the recent March for Life, commemorating the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, was the occasion for a gathering of Ordinariate-bound Catholics and Anglicans from the mid-Atlantic area and elsewhere.  It was also the occasion for the debut of our new Ordinariate-bound group here in the Washington/Northern Virgina area, the St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society (STCS).  Click here to visit our website, which is still under construction at this writing.

On Sunday, January 23, Fr. Eric Bergman of the St. Thomas More Society in Scranton, PA, celebrated an Anglican Use Mass at the beautiful St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Baltimore, Md.  Turnout was very respectable, over 100 people, among whom about 25 percent were young children.  It is always a great joy to see so many children at such events, since it affirms the strong commitment of these groups of Anglicans to the Gospel of Life.  We were assisted by an all-male schola, who sang the propers for the day from the Anglican Use Gradual.  The ordinary parts of the Mass were the standard--and lovely--Healey Willan compositions straight out of the 1940 Hymnal.  The Offertory hymn was one of my particular favorites, "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind":
Here's Verse 1:
Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives Thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise, in deeper reverence, praise.

My husband, Bernie, and Fr. Scott Hurd at St. Alphonsus after Mass
Fr. Bergman's homily was, as usual, spot on, recalling our Lord's first recorded sermon, as recorded in the Gospel reading (Mt. 4:12-23), "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  He reminded us of the great gift we have in the Catholic Church--the unequivocal naming of sin as sin, and the call to repentance and forgiveness.  It is the Catholic Church which has remained steadfast in naming the sin of abortion and the underlying sin of the refusal to embrace the gift of new life; in a word, contraception.

Mt. Calvary

Following the Mass, the group reconvened a few blocks north at Mt. Calvary Church.  Mt. Calvary is the Episcopal Church whose congregation (all but a small fraction of them) voted last October to leave ECUSA and seek reception into the Catholic Church.  Their rector, Fr. Jason Catania, hosted a gathering in the church's undercroft that featured elegant wine and food that was a welcome sight on a rather frigid night.

Fr. Catania welcomed us, then Fr. Bergman spoke.  He announced the creation of the St. Thomas of Canterbury Society and mentioned our ongoing Evening Prayer services (the third Saturday of each month) and other upcoming events.  Fr. Hurd, Cardinal Wuerl's assistant for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the US, also spoke.  He had previously slipped into St. Alphonsus after the beginning of Mass.  (He is pictured above with my husband.)  Obviously, he is not at liberty to divulge any state secrets at this stage, but what he did say was encouraging.  He confirmed that questionnaires from groups around the country (including our local group) were submitted to Cardinal Wuerl at the end of 2010 and have been submitted to the CDF.  The enthusiasm among the people gathered there was palpable, among those anticipating reception into the Catholic Church as well as those of us who have already made the journey and are eager to welcome them "home."

A number of St. Thomas of Canterbury Society members were also in attendance, and our Vice President Patrick Rothwell spoke briefly to the assembled group about us.  I passed my camera to someone who took the photo below (which has been posted already on the Anglo-Catholic!).  I'm the one in front in the green sweater.

Several members of the St. Thomas of Canterbury Society (w/Fr. Bergman & Paul Campbell)
March for Life

On the following day (Monday), a large group of us met near the National Mall in Washington to participate in the March for Life.  We marched under a large red banner proclaiming, "Thank you, Holy Father, for Anglicanorum coetibus!"  Along with hundreds of thousands of others we braved temperatures that topped out in the low 30's to bear witness to the Gospel of Life.  Most of the group was from the St. Thomas More Society; a number were from Maryland; two of us were from the St. Thomas of Canterbury Society; and one of our number came all the way from Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston.  I snapped the photo below before we joined the main March.

Anglican Ordinariate group at the 2011 National March for Life in Washington, DC
As always, the March was a solemn occasion, marking the anniversary of a grave injustice done in the name of a false notion of "freedom," but it is also a sign of hope that things are changing.  As I noted in my post on last year's March, the presence of so many young people, a third of whose peers have been lost to abortion in the nearly four decades since Roe, is a great encouragement.  As is the presence of the Silent No More Awareness campaign, which works to bring hope and healing to women and men wounded by abortion and to help create a culture in which abortion is unthinkable.  In fact, that is the reason all of us do this year after year.  It was a great joy to be in the company of these folks, and to demonstrate to the wider pro-life movement our commitment to the Culture of Life.

Georgette Fourney of Silent No More Awareness (& Anglicans for Life)
On Constitution Avenue (Old P.O. Tower in background)


Dolores Flessner said...

Hello, Heidi,

Thank you for sending me your blog! What a fine blog site you have. I'm going to share it with my husband, who I know will appreciate it. As I told you, we have become gradually convinced of the need for restoration of liturgical tradition and beauty to the Church. It is wonderful that converts like you and your husband bring those traditions with you from your Anglican roots. All for the Glory of God, that all may be one in Him! Thank you also for your great devotion to defense of human life. I was very inspired by your witness during 40 Days for Life. It was great to get to know you there!
Yours in Christ,

Anonymous said...

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