Bishop Lopes visits Ottawa


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Why I am called to the Anglican Ordinariate

_MG_895076Elizabeth Scalia invited me to write a personal account for a series Aleteia is doing on differing liturgical expressions in the Catholic Church.  Above is a picture of me taken by Jake Wright on the day our parish was received into the Catholic Church.


You can find it here.

What a joy to be invited to write on our beautiful Divine Worship: the Missal!

Of course, what I submitted was too long and had to be substantially trimmed.  However, since I have a more specialized audience here that might be interested in more details, I will post my original here.

Why I feel called to the Anglican Ordinariate

By Deborah Gyapong

I am called to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, one of three Ordinariates set up for former Anglicans who believe the Catholic faith, and out of a passionate desire for Christian unity wished to be in communion with the Pope. At the same time, I am grateful Pope Benedict XVI made provisions for us to retain distinctive elements of our Anglican patrimony—including our liturgical traditions.  We are fully Roman Catholics with an Anglican accent and ethos.


Our liturgy is called Divine Worship. It’s a Catholic Mass in the language of Shakespeare. We pray using sacral language such as the formal “thee” and “thou” when addressing God.   Though fully approved by the relevant Vatican congregations, our Mass is touched by the Reformation through the use of some of Archbishop Cranmer’s gorgeous English translations of Latin collects, the inclusion of the Comfortable Words of Scripture following our Penitential Rite and the beautiful Prayer of Humble Access before Holy Communion. Our liturgy also incorporates elements of pre-Reformation English Catholicism in its use of Sarum collects and chants.


The rubrics are similar to those of the Traditional Latin Mass—it is a ballet of genuflection usually prayed ad orientem — facing God, not the people—but it has many of the hallmarks of the reform of the liturgy called for in the Second Vatican Council: it’s in the vernacular; our people actively participate in the Mass; and in addition to traditional chanted introits and graduals we sing hymns, and it is Anglican patrimony to sing robustly often in four-part harmony!  Of course someday we hope to have the grand choirs to bring the treasures of our musical heritage to life in the Catholic Church—and some of our larger parishes already do– in the meantime, our congregations are the choir.


Many people might ask ‘Why not become a normal Roman Catholic? Why cling to these old-fashioned forms of worship that even most Anglicans of the Canterbury Common don’t celebrate anymore?’ It’s a long story.

Continue reading

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This was my experience, too

A most interesting post by a Catholic convert who first experienced beauty and reverence in the liturgy through attending Anglo-Catholic services.  It’s entitled Masculinity and the Liturgy by Sam Guzman over at The Catholic Gentleman:

On the final stages of my road to Rome, I spent a good deal of time with high church Anglo-Catholics, regularly attending liturgies at a seminary and church near my home. These Anglicans took the liturgy seriously, and their services were conducted reverently and beautifully.

In fact, their services looked so Catholic that experiencing them led me to study further exactly why Anglicans weren’t Catholic anymore. The rest of the story is beyond the scope of this post, but the point is, I came into Catholicism with an experience of very reverent and dignified liturgy, kneeling to receive communion, and an atmosphere of sacredness.

Eventually, after months of studying Catholic teaching, I worked up the courage to attend a Catholic mass. I had no idea what a mass looked like, but at the very least, I expected it to be more beautiful and reverent than the Anglican liturgy. After all, the Catholics had the body, blood, soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, while Anglicans did not have the real thing.

Interestingly, the other day I picked up our Canadian 1962 Book of Common Prayer (which largely are no longer in use in Anglican Church of Canada parishes which embrace the Book of Alternative Services) and looked at the Communion rite.  So interesting to see how much the Mass is a sacrifice in the BCP, not a meal.

That said, I am delighted with Divine Worship: The Missal.  It is everything we could have hoped for in a Mass that is fully Catholic yet respects the beauty of our Anglican patrimony.



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New Liturgical Movement article on Anglican offices

David Clayton has a great article over at The New Liturgical Movement on The Power of the Divine Office to Transform a Church and Society.

He writes:

This reinforces my belief that that if we want to transform the culture and revive the Church, we can do this through the Domestic Church and the family centered on liturgical piety, including the chanting of the Liturgy of the Hours at home. Furthermore, this means that we need to encourage this in the vernacular, so that people who are not fluent in Latin (i.e. most people) can genuinely pray it. I suggest that the Anglican Use Divine Office is a way to do this, as I described in a review of the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham. And it is the prayer of the family in the domestic church, centered on a liturgical piety, that can drive such societal change today as well as transform the Church. We need to form people as contemplatives as a matter of course, not as the exception.

I am not familiar with the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham, but I do try to pray Mattins and Evensong at home daily using the Ordo our Deanery sends out once a month and the Canadian 1960 Book of Common Prayer.

I have a Psalter so some days I sing the Psalms and the Canticles.  It’s a great way to steep in Scripture, to renew one’s mind everyday in the faith, and the think with the Church.





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Fr Ed Tomlinson writes more about Ordinariate Catholics and the Latin Rite

He writes:

What becomes clear is that there is a careful balancing act for every Ordinariate priest and group to consider. We must remain distinctive and yet also a functioning part of that which we joined. Lean too far into diocesan inculturation and we fail to build the Ordinariate as the Holy See requires. Lean too far into the Ordinariate and we end up in a ghetto. Between these two pitfalls lies our true goal.

And the hard work isn’t only for those of us in the Ordinariate. The Catholic church called all Catholics to welcome the Ordinariate, to support it and be generous. It is hard to fulfil our mandate if begrudging cold shoulders are offered or meanness or nastiness is exhibited. There just isn’t any room for the sulking elder brother from the prodigal son! But where people have proved open and generous and accepting- there something beautiful has occurred. So at the end of the day it really does take two to tango! Stubborn refusal to dance- from either side of the relationship- must be resisted for it can only bring sorrow to God’s heart and a thwarting to the vision of Pope Benedict.

I am pleased to say we have been most warmly welcomed here in Ottawa.  When we came into the Catholic Church on Divine Mercy Sunday 2012, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast had St. Patrick Basilica’s altar set up for the Anglican Use Mass, which he then celebrated ad orientem.  What a beautiful gesture of welcome to us!  Hundreds of Roman Catholics came to witness this historic moment, with joy and thanksgiving.

Then, during the year we waited for the first of our former clergy to become ordained, Archbishop Prendergast asked a Companion of the Cross priest Fr. Francis Donnelly to be our mentor priest.  Fr. Francis came in the early afternoon, after he had already celebrated Mass at least once, probably more, at his own parish.  He attended all our catechism sessions, available for questions on any matter.  When he couldn’t come, he would get a brother Companion to celebrate the Anglican Use Mass for us.  So we had many come to our parish, including the former General Superior, now Bishop Scott McCaig.  This is a charismatic order of priests, that just celebrated its 30th anniversary and is used to contemporary worship, but they loved our liturgy and prayed it reverently.  Bishop McCaig, I understand, ordered a Divine Worship: the Missal when it came available!

Our priests, Fr. Doug Hayman and Fr. Kipling Cooper are associate members of the Companions of the Cross because of the love and friendship formed between our parish and this order.

There are many more examples of our close relationship with the Archdiocese of Ottawa that I could give that would make this a very long post indeed!

Archbishop Prendergast even came several times to our little parish to celebrate Mass.  He came to celebrate on Ascension one year.  And then, one Christmas Eve, when all the priests who had come to celebrate Mass for us were too busy, the Archbishop himself came.  What a gift to us!   He then went on to his own cathedral for Midnight Mass.


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Marvelous interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke

Carl Olson over at Catholic World Report has posted an article on a recent interview Cardinal Raymond Burke gave to promote his new book.   So much good material in it I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Hard to choose what best to excerpt since there is so much excellent material in it.  I love his simplicity and directness.  It astonishes me that this Cardinal is so despised, but then, maybe it doesn’t, because he is not afraid to be a sign of contradiction.

Asked about the positive remarks made about Islam in Vatican II’s Nostra aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, Cardinal Burke distinguished between saying Christians and Muslims acknowledge the same Creator and saying we worship the same God. “How can the God we know, who is fundamentally a God of love as St. John says, be the same God that commands and demands of Muslims to slaughter infidels and to establish their rule by violence?”

One of the most interesting answers from Cardinal Burke came in response to a question about liturgy and the recent remarks by Cardinal Sarah about the need to worship “ad orientem” (facing liturgical East). Celebrating liturgy and worshiping properly is necessary, said Cardinal Burke, to fully appreciate the order of reality and to grasp the truth given to us through Christ. After the Council there was a “tremendously man-centered approach to the sacred liturgy”—not sanctioned by the Council—”to the extent that the idea that this worship offered to God according to God’s commandments was completely lost, and the liturgy became something that we created” and people claimed there was a need to “experiment” and to make liturgy “interesting”. This blurred the “essential encounter between heaven and earth which is the liturgy, between eternity and time”. One unfortunate result of this, said Cardinal Burke, is that many Catholics stopped coming to Mass, and those who did continue to come were “not being nourished with the truth and were not seeing the sacred liturgy this wonderful mystery of faith, God’s plan of salvation”.

Asked about Cardinal Sarah’s statements, Cardinal Burke flatly stated, “I agree with him completely, and I believe that many of the comments made afterwards are not well-informed and are not fair.” The fundamental point made by Cardinal Sarah about the position of the priest during Mass is that the priest is the head of the congregation; he is acting in persona Christi in offering worship to God—”and so all of us are facing the Lord”. Rather than the priest “turning his back to the people”, he is actually “leading us in worship” to help us lift our minds and hearts to God. He emphasized that nothing in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “would demand or even suggest that Mass should suddenly be now celebrated with the priest facing the people”. This change, he said, is something that was “introduced afterwards and I think was part of the false liturgical reforms”. Echoing some of the points made by Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Burke pointed that when the priest faces the people “there is a great temptation … to see him as some kind of a performer, and now instead of the priest together with the people relating to God, somehow it becomes an interaction between the priest and the people.”

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Fr. Ed Tomlinson illustrates various Ordinariate scenarios

Fr. Ed Tomlinson, a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, has a follow up blog post to Damian Thompson’s recent article.

He writes about various scenarios for Anglican Ordinariate clergy.  I think some of these have been replicated in North America, such as this one:

Father Chaplain

Father Chaplain entered the Ordinariate with a small group who couldn’t hope to support him financially. He was therefore employed as a chaplain to a giant hospital which takes up the lion’s share of his time. His group is drawn from a large geographic area but most are committed to meeting regularly. They use a local church every week but at an unpopular hour.

Five years on and Father Chaplain is exhausted. He would love to do more for the Ordinariate but he lives 40 miles away from his people and is on call most days of the week. He struggles to attend meetings with other Ordinariate clergy due to his working hours. Yet he remains a good friend to them. Because of his enthusiasm his group have held together well and there are reasons for optimism about future development. But people cannot see how this will happen unless he is freed to be their priest.

We are blessed to have two priests in Ottawa.  One of them is a hospital chaplain for the Ottawa archdiocese.  He also celebrates Mass or gives the homily every Sunday, and at least one evening during the week.   Thankfully, he loves being a hospital chaplain and is not burnt out, at least not that we can tell!

Our other priest, our rector, either celebrates Mass or gives the homily every Sunday  (they alternate, so usually the homilist is not also celebrating the Mass).   He celebrates most of the weekday public offices and Masses.   He is also chaplain of Augustine College and teaches there.

We had a stable group coming into the Ordinariate; we own our own building and came into the Catholic Church with some money in the bank.



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Damian Thompson writes on the state of the Ordinariate in England and Wales

Things are not looking good for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham says Damian Thompson, unless it embraces our Divine Worship.  Former Anglo-Catholics from England and Wales had shown their loyalty to Rome by celebrating the Novus Ordo long before they came into the Catholic Church.  Sadly, many do not bother with our new missal and Thompson says that is a problem for the survival of the Ordinariate.

He has some suggestions on how to save it that we in North America should also take to heart.

Go on over and read the whole piece over at The Catholic Herald.   Here is an excerpt:

Having noisily championed the Ordinariate from day one, I wasn’t keen to hear – yet again – its own faithful tell me that, well, it was a nice idea, but everyone hates us and even some of our own priests aren’t really on board.

Sure enough, that is exactly what I’ve been told and I’m now convinced that the Ordinariate in its present form will wither away.

But note the qualification: in its present form. Those 80 priests include visionaries who believe that the Ordinariate can reinvent itself.

By that, they mean that the fantasy of group conversions needs to be ditched. Also, Ordinariate priests and laity who never liked their unique Missal, Divine Worship, should slip quietly into the Catholic mainstream.

Only then will a smaller Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham enrich the whole Church with the radiant Divine Worship, revive moribund parishes and evangelise with the vigour of its Anglo-Catholic forebears. That sounds like wishful thinking – but the people who believe in it make a stronger practical case for this Ordinariate Mark II than anyone ever did for the launch model.

Here in Ottawa, even before we came into the Catholic Church, I would wonder why we didn’t have people lining up around the corner to squeeze into our Sunday services.

What beauty!  What reverence!   What preaching!  What community!   And now that we’re Catholic, the fulness of the faith and obedience to Christ’s call to unity.

Last Sunday, a family of evangelicals came to visit.  We have a preacher in Fr. Doug Hayman who ranks with any evangelical preacher I have ever heard for meaty, profound sermons spoken not read but conveying a prodigious knowledge of Scripture.

We have to watch the Eeyore’s and Chicken Littles in our midst who sow discouragement and frustration and keep the vision.  It’s this that will attract.




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More on the priest-shortage in Germany

Over at Crux, there’s a Catholic News Agency report by Anian Christoph Wimmer on the priest-shortage in Germany and whether it is a deliberate strategy or a response to conditions.

Wimmer writes:

As one foreign priest currently serving in a South German “pastoral unit” who wished to remain anonymous told CNA, contact with the parishioners is diminished and fragmented. He rotates between several parish churches in the unit to say Mass, while other “pastoral workers” teach, engage in youth activities, or perform other apostolates.

Furthermore, making contact is not always easy in the first place, he said.

“People want to be private,” he told CNA, and seem reluctant to interact with the priest outside of his “sacramental function.” Unlike in his homeland, where parishioners ask him to mediate in family conflicts, seek his advice on personal matters, and invite him over for dinner, he notes that German people prefer not to have him take an interest in their private lives.

That reminded me of something I noticed from the  times I went to Mass in Italy last spring.  Unlike here in Canada, I never saw the priest stand at the doors of the church to greet people individually after Mass.  Instead, after Mass, they all retreated to the sacristry.  I was told it is much harder to have individual contact with a priest there than in Canada.  Imagine what it must be like in Germany then, or France!

But this reminded me of a conversation I had the other day with a diocesan priest here in Ottawa.  He wears his clericals when he is out and about, even to hockey games but he said even few Catholics will acknowledge his presence and say  “Hello, Father.”   Mostly, they avoid eye contact, he said.

Back to Wimmer’s article:

In several German dioceses today, it is not uncommon to have a female pastoral specialist, dressed in a white alb, conducting a Catholic funeral, and even giving the homily during Mass in diocesan Churches, even if that may be frowned upon officially.

Given this reality on the ground in German dioceses, demands for women to be ordained as deacons are not just common-place, but considered reasonable among Catholics in the Church’s employ; not to mention for theologians – with tacit or open support of many a German bishop – to demand further changes along the lines that both Drobinski and Kissler describe, albeit from different points of view.





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Cardinal Sarah gives yet another speech on liturgy

Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, gave a talk on Liturgical Life and the Priesthood Aug. 23 in Colombo that is a delight to read and something I hope is read and shared widely.   New Liturgical Movement has published the talk in full.

For if the Sacred Liturgy is no longer a joy to us, a source of spiritual refreshment, and if it becomes simply one of the duties that we have to be performed, we priests of the Lord may merit the condemnation announced by the prophet Isaiah: “this people draw near with their mouth and honour me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men learned by rote” (Is. 29:13). We must guard against this temptation my brothers. If we have succumbed to it, we must exorcise ourselves of this vice and recapture the spirit and power of the liturgy in our priestly life and ministry without delay, for the good of our own souls and for the good of Christ’s faithful whom we serve.

How can we pursue such a renewal, a renewal that so many of us need? It would be wonderful for the priests of any diocese to have annual retreats in which the preachers would address this need and where the liturgical celebrations of the Holy Mass and the Divine Office were themselves exemplary, indeed refreshing, for our priestly souls. That is a matter for your Father, the diocesan bishop to consider! Nevertheless, whilst His Eminence considers this (!) each of us can make a start individually, or perhaps with the support of a small number of brother priests.

Firstly, let us ask ourselves: how do we pray the Divine Office? Is it something that we have to ‘get done’ as soon as possible each day so as to be ‘free’ to get on with other tasks? Do I even neglect to pray it sometimes? Certainly, pastoral life is busy, but if I do not pray the Prayer of the Church as I have solemnly promised to do, or if I do not pray it with fervour, with devotion, and indeed liturgically, then I am failing to nourish my soul and I am endangering my vocation.

Practically speaking I would suggest this: as often as is possible pray the Divine Office liturgically, together with others, most especially with your people, for the Office is not a text to be read but a rite to be celebrated, with its own rituals, postures, chant, etc. And if circumstances dictate that you must pray the Office by yourself, do as much as you can to make it a liturgical rite—pray it in an oratory if possible, standing and sitting and so on at the appropriate times. Sing the Office if it is possible—it is not a book to be read in an armchair; rather it is the loving song of the Church, of the Bride, to Him Who has redeemed us.

There’s a lot more like this: limpid, refreshing, beautiful.

It’s also good to know he is not bowed after  his talk to the Sacra Liturgia Conference in England earlier this year that prompted a response from the Vatican Press Office clarifying there was no new directive about worshipping ad orientem  and news the Pope summoned him to his office for a “slap down”.

What Cardinal Sarah had done was encourage priests to begin to celebrate Mass facing East perhaps the First Sunday of Advent after a period of catechesis about the reasons for facing  God during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.   Cardinal Sarah was not calling for anything that is not already licit in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal or GIRM for the Ordinary form of the Mass.

Cardinal Sarah mentions the Sacra Liturgica talk in Colombo:

There are many other elements of our liturgical lives as priests we could talk about. Last month, in London, I gave a presentation “Towards an authentic implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium in which I spoke of others. This talk received a lot of attention—some of it not always very accurate! In any case, I recommend that you read the text of this address (it is available on the Internet). Perhaps we can talk about some different questions together later.


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