Friday, May 27, 2011

AU Mass Celebrating First Anniversary of the St. Thomas of Canterbury Society

The Ordinariate-bound group here in the Washington area, the St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society (STCS), began on June 12, 2010 with a meeting in a local library attended by a grand total of five people.  The purpose was simply to gauge interest in forming a local "Group of Anglicans" to accept the Holy Father's offer to Anglicans set forth in Anglicanorum coetibus. Attendance doubled to ten for the second meeting, and since then by God's grace we have seen steady growth.  We are now looking forward to initiating regular services in Northern Virginia with Evensong and Benediction on June 26th--the Feast of Corpus Christi--at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, VA (map).  This is in addition to monthly Evening Prayer services we have been holding at St. Anselm's Abbey in Washington, DC since September 2010.  More information is available on the website of the STCS.

On Saturday, June 11, 2011--the Vigil of Pentecost--we will celebrate the first anniversary of what turned out to be our founding meeting with a Mass according to the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite at 4:00 p.m. at St. Anselm's Abbey.  The celebrant for this Mass will be Fr. Eric Bergman, Chaplain of the St. Thomas More Society, the Anglican Use congregation in Scranton, PA.  He also served as celebrant for the Society's first official Mass on March 19, 2011, which drew a standing-room-only crowd of 80.  Fr. Bergman will speak at a reception after the Mass on the practical aspects of forming an Anglican Use parish, a process with which he has personal experience.

Anyone who lives in the Washington area or plans to be here on either of those dates, please join us.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Book from Ignatius Press: Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church

The quest for a path to corporate reunion between Anglicans and the Catholic Church is a relatively obscure topic for most modern observers.  It is probably fair to say that most Catholics and Anglicans are unaware of or have only a vague understanding of the history of that quest, one that stretches back until at least the 17th century.  Even now, a year and a half after the promulgation by Pope Benedict of Anglicanorum coetibus in November of 2009, the very existence of this ground-breaking document is still unknown to most Catholics and Anglicans, let alone it's enormous progress to date.  Still more obscure is the history of the Pastoral Provision.

With the publication of Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church: Reflections on Recent Developments (Ignatius Press, 2011), a collection of essays on the subject, those of us who have been laboring to explain the origins of Anglicanorum coetibus to whomever is willing to listen have a valuable resource at their fingertips.  Many of the contributors are former Anglican priests who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood through the Pastoral Provision.  One of them, Bishop Peter Elliott, was not married and so was able to become a Catholic bishop.  Another is a woman who relinquished holy orders in the Episcopal Church to enter the Catholic Church. The essays are grouped into four categories, explaining the historical, canonical, theological and liturgical aspects of the relationship between Anglicans and the Catholic Church.  Most were written before the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus, and they provide a telling picture of just how precarious was the future of the Anglican Use before November 4, 2009.

Most of the essays were first published in Anglican Embers, a quarterly journal of the Anglican Use Society (AUS), whose purpose is to support existing Anglican Use Parishes and to promote the Pastoral Provision. I first heard several of the essays as talks delivered at the Society's annual Anglican Use conferences.  The editor of the book is also the editor of Anglican Embers, Stephen Cavanaugh, who worships with the Anglican Use congregation of St. Athanasius in Boston and moderates the blog, The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite.