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Introduction of new missal a 'moment in history' for former Anglicans

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The new Mass book will unify the liturgy in all three ordinariates
By Deborah Gyapong

Caption: Father Kipling Cooper, Father Doug Hayman, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Father Jim Tilley, and Father John Hodgins at the priests' ordination in Ottawa Dec. 14, 2013. Deborah Gyapong (CCN).

On the first Sunday of Advent, former Anglicans who are now Catholics belonging to the three personal ordinariates will celebrate according to their own new liturgical book, "Divine Worship: The Missal."

"It is a new moment in history," said Father Timothy Perkins, the liturgy director for North America's Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (POCSP) in an interview from Arlington, Tex. "Never before has there been a document from the Vatican that allowed for inclusion of elements from separated ecclesial communities, incorporated into the Eucharistic celebration of the Church."

"It really is unique, and it clarifies in some sense the seriousness of the desire of Holy Church to welcome those who've been in separation into the fullness of communion within the Catholic Church," he said.

The missal will unify the liturgy in all three ordinariates, including the POCSP, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom, and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.

"This missal is now recognized by the Church as standing side by side with the Roman Missal," said POCSP Ordinary Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson in a Q&A posted on the ordinariate's website. Msgr. Steenson, a former Episcopalian bishop, stressed the missal "fits firmly and squarely in the Latin rite."

"It is not a Protestant service dressed up as a Catholic Mass," Msgr. Steenson said. "It is the Catholic Mass of the western rite, filtered through the Anglican experience, corrected and expressed in an Anglican voice."

"Beyond the very gift of full communion itself, the publication of 'Divine Worship: The Missal' personifies and incarnates the Catholic Church's highest pastoral solicitude for those who have entered her fold through the provision of the personal ordinariates," said Father Lee Kenyon, the dean of the POCSP's Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist and rector of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Calgary, Alta.

"The new missal reveals and sets forth, in a codified manner, the liturgical patrimony of the Anglican tradition, as discerned and given by Holy Mother Church, and will be for us at St. John's and, it is hoped, in every ordinariate community worldwide, a gift and an opportunity."

For Steve Cavanaugh, president of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, a lay-run organization supporting the ordinariates and Anglican patrimony, the new missal is a symbol the ordinariates are a permanent feature.

"This is something substantial," he said in an interview from Boston, "that the Church would take the time to put together something this complete. It is just as complete as the Roman Missal, with everything in it for every conceivable feast day, memorial, or circumstance."

"It's also a unifying thing because all the ordinariates will have it," Cavanaugh said.

Father Perkins, an Episcopalian minister for over 20 years before he entered the Catholic Church, sees both unifying and catechetical opportunities for the ordinariates. "A unified celebration of the Eucharist is formative for all the faithful, so with the ability of 'Divine Worship: The Missal,' we can expand deeper formation, not only of our liturgical life but also of our spirituality and even the culture of ordinariates worldwide.

Father Perkins also sees a missionary dimension. "I think one of the aspects of the mission that we've been given by Mother Church is to be a beacon for others of our separated brothers and sisters," he said. That mission includes being "able to reach out to them in a way that says, 'Yes, I understand the values of your practice of Christianity. I look upon you as beloved in the Lord and Holy Mother Church desires that all her children dwell in unity."

Cavanaugh pointed out how much Scripture is used in the new missal, noting the writings of the Second Vatican Council and of Pope Benedict XVI stressed "theology needs to find its source in the Scripture and not get too far away from that," he said. If the liturgy is meant to heal divisions and to help reach out to Protestants, "their language is the Bible."

"You cannot underestimate the missionary dimension of the liturgy in general and especially of this beautiful liturgy of the ordinariate," said Professor Hans-Jurgen Feulner, an author and professor of liturgics at the University of Vienna in Austria.

Feulner was a member of the Anglicanae Traditiones Commission, an international group of experts, including Catholic bishops, scholars, representatives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and former Anglican clergy who, over the past five years, advised CDF and the Congregation for Divine Worship on the development of the missal.

Feulner's interest in Anglican liturgy happened by accident while he was studying in Munich in the late 1980s, he said. He was late to a seminar on ordination rites and all the topics had been handed out except for the Anglican one. "I was very unhappy," he said. "I had no clue." But he found the subject fascinating, and turned in a paper of 80 pages.

Before being asked to serve on the commission, Feulner had travelled to the United States and attended an Anglican Use liturgy in Houston, Tex., in 2009. This was the liturgy based on the 1979 Prayer Book used by Anglican parishes that had come into the Catholic Church under the pastoral provision of Pope John Paul II.

Then Feulner met with some traditionalist Anglican groups that used various English or Anglican Missal traditions based on translations of the Tridentine Mass into Shakespearean English. Other Anglican groups had older versions of the Book of Common Prayer, such as the Canadian 1962 version that had been replaced in the Anglican Church with the Book of Alternative Services, an updated contemporary language version.

The Anglicans who came from the Church of England, however, were already using the contemporary language of the ordinary form of the Roman Missal, so the commission had its work cut out for it in developing one liturgy that respected the liturgical books of the Anglican tradition, in all its variety, while not alienating those who used contemporary language.

Feulner said the commission decided the Anglican Use liturgy already approved by Rome would be its starting point for building the new liturgy. The missal includes appendices so Anglicans of a more traditional bent can use options such as the prayers at the foot of the altar "to give more flexibility," he said. The commission also decided to use the high sacral language of the Book of Common Prayer instead of contemporary English.

"It was not easy," he said. "It involved a lot of meetings, a lot of travelling around. I met a lot of parishes and clergy, asked people in person, what would you like to have? What are your liturgical needs?"

The basic form of the Mass has been in use in North America for two years, so those in the pews will not experience much that is new on the First Sunday of Advent. What the missal does is gather all the propers, the parts of the Mass that change according to the day and the season.

As a professor of liturgy, Feulner said, he has also voluntarily sought feedback from people. So many have told him, "We are so thankful and grateful for this beautiful liturgy," he said. They see how "wonderful" it is "to have a space with the Catholic Church" where they keep their own traditions and the sense of Pope Benedict's XVI's view of the liturgy as a "mirror of the beauty of heaven here on earth."

Liturgy was a big concern for Norm Freeman, a member of the ordinariate's Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Ottawa. "To me, and I know many others, patrimony is, in large part, defined by the Book of Common Prayer."

Freeman said he is pleased with the Mass they have been celebrating, and hopes "the new missal continues to include a great deal of the Prayer Book liturgy and language."

He said he recalled Pope Benedict saying something along the lines of, "We don't need a group who simply sing better than their Catholic brethren, and who stay in Church for the entire service, we want the reverence that was imparted in traditional Anglican liturgy."

Father Doug Hayman, rector of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, said he is happy with the ordinariate form of the Mass. "It has taken some growing into, but it is full and rich: fully Catholic, yet certainly bearing the Anglican flavour."

"Years ago in the Anglican context, someone had remarked that, the Book of Alternative Services was easy to access, but then there really wasn't anything more to grow into; whereas the Book of Common Prayer took a little more work to enter into, but thereafter one might spend a lifetime seeking to exhaust its riches," Father Hayman said. "Divine Worship feels like the latter: something into which one may spend a fruitful lifetime growing."

Last Updated on Monday, 16 November 2015 09:04  

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