Letter from Fr. Allen: July 12, 2018

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Dear friends,

In the image [below], our Infant Lord, seated in the lap of our Lady, holds an orb surmounted with a cross. This is not, as has been suggested by one or two of our parishioners, the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch." Rather, it is properly known as a globus cruciger, which simply means "cross-bearing orb." From the middle ages, it has represented Christ's lordship over the orb of the world. Iconography in which Jesus is depicted holding the globus cruciger is called a Salvator mundi ("Savior of the World"). Last year an idiot (I use the term advisedly) paid $450 million dollars for a Salvator mundi that may, or may not, be the work of Leonardo DaVinci. In fact much of the argument among art historians centers on the orb in that picture, which some experts feel is not up to Leonardo's usual standard.

In any case, images of Christ as Salvator mundi depict an important truth, which we need always before our eyes, straining as we sometimes do to see God's kind providence in this dark and fallen world. Christ is Redeemer of the world and reigns over the world, and he is bringing all things to their perfect consummation. Christ is, as St Paul writes to the Ephesians, "head over all things for the Church" (Eph 1.22).

In other words: he's got the whole world in his hands.

God bless you, 
Fr Allen

 Our Lady of the Atonement 

Our Lady of the Atonement 

Letter from Fr. Allen: July 5, 2018

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Dear friends,

As you will see, there are lots of ordination-related items in this week's newsletter. This past Friday, on the Solemnity of Saints Peter & Paul (6/29), Bishop Lopes ordained three priests for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (two of whom are establishing a revived form of religious life). Friday, 6 July, is the 27th anniversary of Fr West's priestly ordination, and this Saturday is the 5th anniversary of my own ordination as a Catholic priest. 

I serve on the "Vocations Team" for the Ordinariate, and it has been a great privilege and an encouragement to talk and pray with so many men seeking to discern God's call on their lives. We currently have five men in seminary (including of course our own Robb Lester), a dozen or so former Anglican clergy in formation, and a lovely backlog of applications and inquiries to work through. As of this month, the Ordinariate has a new Director of Vocations and Clergy Formation, Fr. Rick Kramer. Fr. Kramer's wife, Kathi, is also a former Episcopal priest who has embraced the Catholic faith, and she will be taking up a post as Assistant Director of Pastoral Formation at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston.

All of this ordination and vocations related news is simply the opportunity to ask you again to pray daily for vocations to the priesthood and religious life,  for our seminarians and those in formation for the priesthood, and for all bishops, priests, and deacons, "that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth [God's] true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer [his] holy Sacraments."
 

God bless you, 
Fr Allen

Letter from Fr. Allen: June 22, 2018

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Dear friends,

This Sunday the regular progression of Sundays after Trinity is interrupted by the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, which takes precedence over the Sunday. In the Gospel we will hear again how John's father, Zechariah, who had lost the power of speech when he expressed his incredulity at the angel Gabriel's announcement that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son (for Elizabeth was "barren, and both were advanced in years"), regains his voice upon naming the child John, as Gabriel had instructed him. 

So, for nine months, Zechariah was silent. It was a punishment, of course, for his unbelief. A punishment, to be sure, but also a gift - at least I would think so. Certainly it would be frustrating not to be able to make yourself understood, your wishes known. But at the same time, that enforced silence must have given opportunity to reflect on the angel's visit, on the miracle (surely a miracle, and at least the great surprise) of his unborn child's conception, the visitation of his kinswoman Mary, bearing her own miracle Child, and then to give thanks, to turn his heart in praise to God, perhaps even to compose in his mind that great hymn of praise which came pouring out of him when his tongue was finally loosed: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people; And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us, in the house of his servant David..."

Zechariah was granted (whether he wanted it or not) the gift of silence. But ordinarily for us, silence is a discipline we must undertake and develop: to let another speak and to attend to his or her words; not to respond to every internet provocation; to really think through a concern; and especially in prayer, not to fill the minutes with words but to be quiet and listen for God's still, small voice.

And of course, with Zechariah, after the silence comes praise. [Here] you may listen to a song my children and I love by Rain for Roots, a band that specializes in Bible story-songs for children (of all ages). It captures the building tension in Zechariah's heart as the day of John's birth approaches, and the wonderful release that comes when, in obedience, he names the child "John."

May God grant us, as he did Zechariah, the twin gifts of silence and song.

God bless you, 
Fr Allen

Letter from Fr. Allen: June 15, 2018

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Dear friends,

How do we treat things that are precious? With care, of course. I recently read a fascinating (to me, anyway) book with the quirky title, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, by Christopher de Hamel, in which the author takes the reader, as it were, on trips to libraries across Europe and North America where he examines twelve of the most precious medieval manuscripts in existence, and relates those experiences to the reader, telling not only the history and significance of the manuscript (for instance, a Book of Gospels produced in Rome in the 6th century and which is almost certainly the same volume sent by Pope St. Gregory the Great to St. Augustine of Canterbury, the great missionary to England), but also the actual process and more tactile sensations of handling the book - what the manuscript feels like, what it smells like, and so on. 

But of course these are rare, fragile books and may only be viewed under careful conditions. So de Hamel describes his encounter with the famous 8th century Book of Kells, Ireland's most precious cultural artifact, which resides in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. The book was brought from its vault to a specially secured room. A humidifier had been brought in earlier in the day to make sure that the atmosphere was at the optimum condition for preservations of the vulnerable parchment. There was a special table, "prepared in advance with foam pads, a digital thermometer, and white gloves." But even the white gloves were not for de Hamel, who was to keep his hands to himself. Instead, the library's chief keeper of manuscripts carefully turned the pages "with the extreme tips of his fingers, usually from top and bottom simultaneously."

I know that medieval manuscripts are not likely so fascinating to you as to me. But what should be common to us all is the careful, thoughtful handling of a rare and precious things. No doubt we all have our own personal objects which we treat with comparable care: children may look, perhaps, but certainly not touch.

And if we are so about an object, a thing, how much more so must we be careful in handling, in touching, a person - not just with thought and care but also with, if I can put it this way, "charity aforethought." I thought of this last Sunday as I held little Westy Miller and conferred upon him the sacrament of Baptism - what a gift to hold in my arms this little child, so tiny, so vulnerable, but willed and intended and redeemed by God, infinitely precious.

All of which is to say each time we make our Holy Communion, we are receiving not just something, but Someone, our Divine Redeemer, and so it is important that we do so with thought, with care, with love.

Below you will see a short video which is helpful for thinking about this - not only in what the Church requires, but also how those objective requirements serve and enhance our own devotion in faithfully receiving our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. So watch, and then at Mass "taste and see that the Lord is good."

God bless you, 
Fr Allen

P.S.  Several of you have asked about the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States not to hear the appeal in the dispute within (between?) the local Episcopal/Anglican diocese(s). I will indeed have a little something to say about that soon, but for now, please do pray for these brothers and sisters and Christ, for many of whom this is a very painful and uncertain time, and let us resolve again to be a community always of joyful and peaceful Catholics, whose life together is a sign of the unity Christ desires for his Church.

“How to Receive the Eucharist” from the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon

Letter from Fr. Allen: June 7, 2018

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Dear friends,

I read some time ago that when Pope St John Paul made an apostolic journey to his native Poland, a Mass was planned for the parish in which he grew up, in the town of Wadowice. As Mass began, there was some confusion as the people and clergy realized the Pope was not in the procession! It turned out that as everyone moved forward down the aisle, John Paul took a hard left, and was to be seen in the small baptistry, where he knelt, embraced, and kissed the font where he on 20 June 1920 had died with Christ and been raised with him in the waters of Baptism.

This Sunday we will baptize our community's newest and youngest member, Logan West Miller. It will be an opportunity for all of us, even as we rejoice for Westy, to recall our own baptisms, and, as we are sprinkled with the baptismal water and the Asperges me is chanted, to give thanks (even if we may not embrace and kiss the fonts in which we were reborn) for the union with Christ effected there, and for the "glorious freedom of the children of God" which is ours.

I thank all of you who attended last Saturday's parish meeting. You will be hearing more soon about our discussions that day, and especially about next steps and opportunities to lend a hand as we move forward together in faith.

And thanks also for the lovely reception and your many generous gifts on the occasion of my fiftieth(!?) birthday! It was very much appreciated, and your friendship will help me ward off the ever-encroaching senescence and decrepitude!

See you Sunday, and God bless you, 
Fr Allen

 Pope Saint John Paul II at his baptismal font   image via  @ChurchinPoland

Pope Saint John Paul II at his baptismal font 

image via @ChurchinPoland

Letter from Fr. Allen: June 1, 2018

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Dear friends,

As you know - I hope! - this Sunday is our "Feast of Title," the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, more commonly known as "Corpus Christi." Further, it will be the fifth anniversary of our community's foundation. It was on this great feast when our original band of pilgrims was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church at the hands of Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, our first ordinary. 

As I recall that day five years ago, I recall that I had some ideas, even some confident ideas, about how things would unfold for our community from there. I was wrong in every respect! Just last week at Mass we heard St James warn us against being too certain in our future plans: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain'; whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that' (James 4.12-15).

Well, God's plans are better than ours! His plans are for our sanctification, for our maturity, for our salvation. And while we may not know God's plans, we may be sure that he does. As he said by his prophet Jeremiah to Israel in their exile: "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer 29.11,12). 

None of that means that we are to be passive or not to make plans. Not at all. Rather, it frees us to be faithful and bold, knowing that God cares for us, watches over us, and will lead us finally home to himself. This Saturday's parish meeting is precisely about being faithful and bold as we speak and pray together about next steps for our community and even make practical, concrete plans so that we may grow and this project to preserve and nourish the Anglican patrimony in the Catholic Church may be a means for many to discover the peace and joy of the Church's full communion. So please come! And if you cannot come, please pray!

And on Sunday afternoon, do not miss the Choral Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in celebration of our Fifth Anniversary! We will have a wonderful choir and the sacred music will be "Spoleto-worthy." A festive reception in the courtyard will follow. This will be the last of our monthly evensongs until September, so if you haven't yet attended, this your chance. Do come - and invite your friends!

See you Sunday, and God bless you, 
Fr Allen

Letter from Fr. Allen: May 24, 2018

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Dear friends,

Last Sunday's Solemnity of Pentecost brought to a close the great feasts of our redemption - those mighty acts of God whereby we are redeemed. They are summed up starkly for us in the Great Litany: 

By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity and Circumcision; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation....By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion; by thy precious Death and Burial; by thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension; and by the Coming of the Holy Spirit, Good Lord, deliver us. 

And with the mystery of our redemption in Christ laid before us, the Church invites us to meditate on that redemption in a smaller cycle of feasts beginning this Sunday with Trinity Sunday, then Corpus Christi (our Feast of Title!) next Sunday, and then the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart on the following Friday. Of this sequence of feasts, Pope Benedict once said,
 
Each one of these liturgical events highlights a perspective by which the whole mystery of the Christian faith is embraced: and that is, respectively the reality of the Triune God, the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the divine and human centre of the Person of Christ. These are truly aspects of the one mystery of salvation which, in a certain sense, sum up the whole itinerary of the revelation of Jesus, from his Incarnation to his death and Resurrection and, finally, to his Ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And so I urge you to be in Mass and give yourself over to this annual pattern of devotion, that the Holy Spirit may lead you "further up and further in" to the joy and freedom of our salvation in Christ.

As you know, Corpus Christi is a special celebration for us, and also an occasion to think and pray together about God's call to us as a community. Please do participate in the parish meeting on Saturday, June 2nd, and also do not neglect to give thanks, pray, and adore at Evensong & Benediction on Sunday the 3rd (festive wine and cheese reception to follow!). Also, your RSVP for the parish meeting would be a big help in our planning.

See you Sunday, and God bless you, 
Fr Allen

A Short Introduction to Corpus Christi & the Ordinariate

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Here is a brief note Fr Allen wrote for the people of St Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church, our "host parish," explaining what the Ordinariate is, who are people are, and a little of what to expect at an Ordinariate Mass.

Dear friends -

This week daily Mass is restored to St Mary’s for the first time in a couple of years - wonderful news, indeed! Holy Mass will be celebrated Monday through Thursday at 8AM, and on first Fridays at noon, when Mass will be followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with Benediction given at 1PM.

As a further note, you should know that Mass on Monday and Tuesday will be celebrated according to the “Ordinary Form” — that is, the “normal” form of Mass you are used to. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, Mass will be celebrated according to “Divine Worship” — that is, the form of Mass provided for the Personal Ordinariates created for those communities of former Anglicans/Episcopalians (and others!) who have come into full communion with the Catholic Church. Which gives me the opportunity to say something briefly about the Ordinariate and Corpus Christi Catholic Community and our partnership with St Mary’s and the Diocese of Charleston.

Pope Benedict XVI laid the groundwork for the Ordinariates (there are also Ordinariates in England and in Australia) with the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus (“Groups of Anglicans”) in 2009 in response to requests going back decades from Anglican/Episcopalian clergy and faithful who shared the Catholic faith and wished to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. The Ordinariates are equivalent to a normal diocese, except they are “personal” — bound by particular relationships and conditions — rather than geographic. We have a bishop, the Most Reverend Steven J. Lopes, and a Cathedral, the beautiful Our Lady of Walsingham, in Houston, Texas (high and dry after [Hurricane] Harvey, thank you for asking!). At present, we have 43 parishes and communities scattered across the United States and Canada, and 67 priests. Pope Francis has confirmed and extended this work.

Further, the Vatican has provided liturgical forms (collectively known as Divine Worship) that are fully Catholic but incorporate elements of the Anglican liturgical patrimony (mainly, of course, from The Book of Common Prayer). This is a great gift to those of us who were formed in that tradition — it is as if the Holy Father not only welcomed us into the gracious home that is the Catholic Church, but also built on a room so that we could bring some of our familiar and beloved furniture with us.

So, I am a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, and Corpus Christi is an Ordinariate community. As I think most of you know, I was a priest of the Episcopal Church for 12 years before I entered the Catholic Church and was ordained a Catholic priest right here at St Mary’s. Most, but not all, of the people of our community are former Anglicans/Episcopalians, though some are “cradle Catholics” attracted to our form of the liturgy or the life of our community or, perhaps, dragged along by a spouse! And this is important to note: we are fully Catholic! We are fully Catholic, but we bring with us all that the Church has discerned is good and true and beautiful in the Anglican tradition, and the particular spiritual habits and dispositions formed in us by that tradition. But, even had the Ordinariates never been created, we had to become Catholic, because, as we promised when we were received into the Church, “[We] believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” So, the Ordinariate communities are not “half-way houses” between the Catholic Church and Protestantism, though they are intended to be places of invitation and warm welcome to all our brothers and sisters in Christ who are called to full communion with the Church. Any Catholic, and only a Catholic, properly disposed, may receive Holy Communion and meet his or her Sunday and Holy Day obligations at an Ordinariate Mass.

You will immediately recognize the Ordinariate Mass as the one Catholic Mass, but it will, at first, be just different enough to really confuse you! Texts and translations of the ordinary parts of the Mass are slightly different, rendered in a more poetic, “sacral” kind of English — so, it is “And with thy spirit,” rather than “your spirit,” and “Glory be to God on high,” rather than “Glory to God in the highest.” And there are also old Anglican prayers that will be new to you. As an example, I particularly love the “Collect for Purity” prayed at the beginning of Mass, and which comes from the old Sarum Missal, the form of Mass most common in England prior to the 16th century Reformation:

“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

But perhaps the most immediately noticeable, and even strange, difference is that an Ordinariate Mass is normatively prayed ad orientem - that is, with the priest standing on the same side of the altar and facing the same direction (“East” toward the coming Lord) as the people. This of course is how Mass was celebrated anciently and for long centuries, and is still in many “normal” parishes. You can read a helpful set of Ordinariate “FAQ’s” here, and more about our liturgy and spirituality here.

All of these things and more, as Pope Benedict said in Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Church gives to us as “a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.” And we hope you will share this treasure with us, just as we are so grateful to share with you in the treasure that is St. Mary’s!

Corpus Christi’s goal in this partnership with St Mary’s is to grow and flourish so that we may, in God’s good time, acquire a home of our own, for the work of the Gospel and the building up of the Church here in Charleston, and to do so in a way that works also for the benefit of St Mary’s — a mutually enriching, mutually beneficial partnership in the Gospel, and a particular sign and instrument of the unity Christ wills for his Church (Jn 17.21). To this end, Bishop Guglielmone (in close cooperation with Bishop Lopes) has appointed me Parochial Vicar for St Mary’s to assist Fr West in ministry.

That is a little of how I and Corpus Christi come to be here and just what it is we are up to. We are grateful for your support and hospitality, and hope that our presence and prayer will give you cause for gratitude as well. And I especially hope you will mention to your Anglican and Episcopal friends that all that is best in their tradition has a true and abiding home in the Catholic Church!

Faithfully,

Fr. Allen

WE'RE MOVING!

NEW LOCATION BEGINNING 2 JULY 2017!

ST MARY OF THE ANNUNCIATION CATHOLIC CHURCH: 89 HASELL STREET, CHARLESTON

SUNDAY MASS: 11AM


Dear friends,

I have important and exciting news to share with you regarding the life of our community!

Effective July 1st, our home will once again be at St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church in downtown Charleston. I - and all of us! - will be working together with new pastor of St. Mary's, Fr Gregory West, in shared Catholic witness for the growth and mutual benefit in the Gospel of both communities. Fr. West is and will remain the pastor of St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church on Daniel Island. St. Clare, which just celebrated the 3rd anniversary of its establishment, is already a large and rapidly growing parish meeting at Bishop England High School, and is soon to break ground on church buildings of its own. Fr West will continue to spend the bulk of his time at St. Clare, and I will  be his parochial vicar and the primary priestly presence on a daily basis at St Mary's. 

I'm very excited about and grateful for this new step in our life together. Fr. West has been encouraging to me and supportive of the Ordinariate project from the beginning, and he is eager to see us grow and fulfill our mission of inviting all, and especially our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal/Anglican churches and other Protestant communities, into the joy and peace of full communion with the Catholic Church, "that they all may be one" (Jn 17.21). This move will allow me to be less "scattered" in my duties and to give more of my attention, time, and energy to Corpus Christi. Both Bishop Lopes and Bishop Gugleilmone of the Diocese of Charleston are agreed that this arrangement will be a help to both communities and, please God, an excellent and empowering next step in our journey to self-supporting independence. 

This partnership will  allow us to work together with St. Mary's in Christian formation and programs for all ages, boost our music program, nurture common prayer, increase opportunities for Confession as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and other devotions, and grow new ministries in service to the Gospel. In September we will begin daily Masses (which have been suspended for some time at St. Mary's due to lack of clergy), and two of those Masses each week will be in our Ordinariate form. Our Sunday Mass will be at 11.00AM, and we will begin a regular Sunday choral evensong with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. 

There are of course still details to be worked out, and no doubt there will be difficulties to overcome, and so I ask your prayers for me, for Fr. West, and also for the people of St Mary and St Clare as we take this new step together. I will continue to keep you informed - and ask for your help! - as the transition approaches. In the mean time, if you have any questions, please do let me know.

Finally, though we will do so more formally at the appropriate time, please do join me in expressing our gratitude to Fr Miles and the people of Sacred Heart who have been so kind and generous in their hospitality.

God bless you,
Fr Allen

The First Sunday of Advent, Last Things, Bambinelli Sunday

Jesus said to his disciples, “As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming."

Click here for the Collect & Lesson for this Sunday.

Dear friends - 

I hope you each had a happy, festive, and well-provisioned Thanksgiving. I certainly did!

This Sunday (unbelievably to me) is the First Sunday of Advent. If you are one of those who are annually put out by the encroachment, to the point of an almost complete obliteration, of secular, consumerist winter holiday (one can hardly call it "Christmas") upon a quiet, reflective, and watchful Advent, have I got just the thing for you! On the four Sundays of Advent, I will be preaching on the traditional "Four Last Things": Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell.

I know, it sounds brutal, but please keep in mind a few things:

  • I intend these homilies to be brief (i.e., short) meditations provoking reflection, not intense catechetical dissertations
  • It was for centuries the tradition of the Church to meditate, and for preachers to preach, on the Four Last Things is Advent; indeed, medieval churches were dominated by art depicting the Last Things for the meditations fo the faithful
  • St. Philip Neri, who had a reputation for cheerfulness and fun, said, "Beginners in religion ought to exercise themselves principally in meditation on the Four Last Things."

In Advent we are preparing to meet our Lord, who came to us once in great humility, and who will come again in great majesty, "to judge the quick and the dead." By pondering the Last Things, we prepare our ousrselves to greet him with joy and hope, who comes to us in love and glory.

Also in Advent, we will continue the tradition we have begun of keeping "Bambinelli Sunday" on the Third Sunday of Advent ("Gaudate Sunday," 12/11), when families are invited to bring the Christ Child from their family crèche to be blessed at the conclusion of Mass. This year our tradition will be enhanced with the opportunity for children to make their own Bambinelli after Mass on the Second Sunday of Advent (12/4). The children of Sacred Heart Church will be joining us, and there will be refreshments - so please plan on joining us for this time of fellowship and joy! More details below.
 

God bless you,
Fr Allen


“BAMBINELLI SUNDAY”

Make your own Bambinelli: Advent II, 4 December
Gaudate Sunday (Advent III), 11 December
 

Each year on the 3rd Sunday of Advent (“Gau­date Sunday”), children in Rome gather with their families in St. Peter’s Square for “Bene­dizione del Bamninelli.” The children bring with them the “Bambinello” – the Christ Child figu­rine – from their family’s home crèche, and at the noon Angelus, the Pope blesses the children, their families, and the figurines they have brought. On Gaudate Sunday, we will unite our hearts to the Holy Father’s and the children and families gathered with him and bless our own “Bambinelli.”

This year, on the second Sunday of Advent (12/11), we will have the opportunity for families to craft their own Bambinelli. After Mass we gather in the parish hall at Sacred Heart for refreshments and Bambinelli-making. The children of Sacred Heart will be joining us - so please come for the fun and fellowship!

“Advent and Christmas are about welcoming the Word of God into our lives – which means our homes. The blessing of the Bambinelli – which we bring from our homes and return there – is an embodiment of this.”— Amy Welborn

Learn more!

A Bishop for the Ordinariate & Advent News!

Dear friends - 
To paraphrase the Holy Angels, I bring you good news of two great joys! And some important liturgical notes, as well, so please read below!
I wish each of you a happy and blessed (and well-fed!) Thanksgiving - enjoy!
Faithfully in Christ,
Fr. Allen


Great Joy #1

Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Steven Lopes as the first Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter! Bishop-elect Lopes, a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has served for more than ten years as an official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, and has worked on the Ordinariate "project" since its inception, including guiding the commission tasked with incorporating classically Anglican liturgies into Catholic worship. I've had the pleasure of meeting Bishop-elect Lopes and hearing him speak on two occasions, including when he led the Ordinariate's clergy retreat two years ago. I could not be more pleased and encouraged by the appointment. Bishop-elect Lopes will be ordained in Houston on Candlemas (2/2). I will be sending you more news soon, but in the meantime, you can read all about Bishop-elect Lopes and the significance of his appointment here:

With this appointment, Pope Francis affirms and amplifies Pope Benedict’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church. By naming Bishop-elect Lopes, the Pope has confirmed that the Ordinariate is a permanent, enduring part of the Catholic Church, like any other diocese — one that is now given a bishop so that it may deepen its contribution to the life of the Church and the world.
— http://ordinariate.net/press-release

Great Joy #2

Our second bit of good news is that this Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, the Missal created for the use of the Ordinariates goes into use (finally!). Divine Worship: The Missal is a beautifully produced work, truly "a treasure to be shared" with the whole Church. (Our friend Fr James Bradley has some beautiful photographs of the Missal - take a look!)

The arrival of our Missal heralds some changes to the celebration of our liturgy, and Advent itself brings a few changes. So that you may enter fully and actively into worship, please read though these notes:

  • Divine Worship allows Ordinariate communities to say either "Holy Spirit" or "Holy Ghost." In keeping with the language of the Book of Common Prayer tradition, we will say "Holy Ghost" in nearly all instances.
  • The temporary Missal we have been using directed that the response "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed" be repeated three times. Beginning this Sunday, and as allowed by the new Missal, we will say that formula one time only. 
  • Rather than the "Pew Missals" we have been using, we will have a simple Mass Card which will provide all the responses and texts required by the congregation. Due to the short time allowed for the production of these cards, a temporary version will be used this Sunday, with a more sturdy edition soon to follow. (Hand missals with complete texts of the Mass and other devotions will be produced and made available for purchase.)
  • We will begin singing from a hymnal (The Hymnal 1982, commonly used in Episcopal/Anglican parishes), rather than printing hymns in a bulletin.
  • On the first Sunday of Advent, Mass will begin with The Great Litany.
  • As last year, during Advent we will sing the simple Greek/Latin chants of the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Sanctus & Benedictus, Agnus Dei). You can see and hear those chants here. Please do take a look, listen, and practice!

My goal is to make entering in to our particular form of the Mass as simple as possible for visitors and “regulars” alike, and to produce a minimum of paper to be thrown away each week. Of course, “simple” will have to wait till after this Sunday, due to the Litany and temporary cards.
 
This is an exciting time for the Ordinariate, and I believe that in God’s Providence, the advent of our Missal and the appointment of a Bishop will mark a maturation in our life and turning point in our joyful work of evangelism. Bishop-elect Lopes has taken as his episcopal motto Magna Opera Domini – “Great are the works of the Lord.” Great indeed is God’s goodness to us in Jesus Christ and in drawing us into the fullness of faith in Christ within the Catholic Church. The true “good news of a great joy” is God’s gift of himself to us Jesus Christ. Let us go with gladness and gratitude to the Altar of the Lord and share our good news in all the world!

-PSA

A New Season for Corpus Christi!

Dear friends,

As you know by now, we will begin celebrating Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Sunday, 4 October, at 9AM. Please join me this coming Wednesday evening, 16 September, at 6.30PM, at Sacred Heart for an opportunity to get to know our beautiful new home and hear a little from me about the opportunities and challenges before us. We will also pray Compline together before dismissing.

Sacred Heart is located at 888 King Street, on the corner of King and Huger. There is parking available along Benson Street behind the church, and at the International Longshoreman's Association (727 King) and at Trojan Labor (735 King) across King Street from the church. There is additional parking on Sundays, which I will detail for you on Wednesday evening.

This transition in our common life marks a new stage in our "growing up" into a self-sustaining Catholic community. And to that end, it is time for us to acquire some more of those things necessary to the life of a Eucharistic community, especially sacred vessels and vestments. Our community, like the entirety of the Ordinariate, was founded in apostolic poverty, and I hope that we will always understand ourselves, in the words of Pope Francis, as "a church that is poor and for the poor." At the same time, it would be a mistake to pit the beauty proper to the liturgy and Christian humility against one another. The beauty of the liturgy and its ornaments lifts up all the poor in spirit to contemplate and participate in the transcendent mystery of Divine Love. In this way, no less than in the corporal works of mercy, we may be a Church that is "for the poor." So, if you are able to make a gift beyond your usual giving to Corpus Christi towards the purchase of these items, please prayerfully consider doing so and be in touch with me.

Additionally, the actual Missal for the the Ordinariate's form of the Mass (called "Divine Worship") is soon to be available and is to go in to use on the first Sunday of Advent. It is a beautifully produced volume, and built to last, but expensive. Purchase of the Missal will cost about $450.00. Again, if you would like to make a gift of the Missal to Corpus Christi, let me know!

Finally (for now!), we have a need for labor. One of the many blessings of our time at St. Mary's is that they have taken care of our bookkeeping needs. With this move we will begin complying with a mandate from the Ordinariate to track our offerings and keep our financial books and sacramental records using the software required by the Ordinariate. Scarlett Crawford has graciously agreed to take on bookkeeping duties, but we need some volunteers to count and record the offerings after each Sunday Mass - this will require a little time learning to enter the data in the software. Again, if you are willing and able to help, please let me know.

This is an exciting time for us! Please keep me in your prayers as we move forward together.

Faithfully,
Fr. Allen