Letter from Fr. Allen: The Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 28, 2019



Dear Friends,

Greetings, felicitations, and happy Opening Day of baseball season! Although for some reason not considered to be a Solemnity in the Church's calendar, my own pastoral advice is that this is one of those days on which one might consider a small relaxation of one's personal Lenten disciplines, at least to include a hot dog or three, peanuts, Cracker Jack, maybe even a cold barley pop.

One of the things that makes Opening Day so special is the sense that anything can happen. It's a day that is brimming with possibility, when every team, every player, every fan can think, "this is it; this is the year we win it all!" It is a fresh start. 

In Christ, every day is Opening Day. The mercies of the Lord are new every morning (Lam 3.22-23). All that is required is that we accept that mercy - which means, of course, accepting our own sinfulness, confessing it, and then leaving it behind for ever. Every time we confess, we are made new, our sins are removed "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps 103.12), and then, anything is possible: we may love; we may lives as God's own children; we may be free.

[Here] you will see the announcement that my friend Father - now Monsignor - Carl Reid has been appointed by Pope Francis to be the Ordinary of our sister Ordinariate in Australia, The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. An "ordinary" is not a diocesan bishop, but has the juridical authority of a Diocesan bishop though not the sacramental powers (so, for instance, he can not ordain priests). 

Monsignor Reid has been a great encouragement and support in many ways, not least by lending his musical expertise. He is responsible for producing the St. Peter Gradual, which compiles the proper chants from our Missal, and which our choir uses every Sunday. So join me in praying for Msgr Reid and the clergy and faithful of the Australian Ordinariate, that this new ministry will bring greater glory to God and build up the Church.

God bless you,
Fr. Allen

Priest of the North American Ordinariate chosen to lead Australian Ordinariate

To the Clergy and Faithful of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter
HOUSTON, TEXAS, March 26, 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is my privilege and joy to share with you the happy news that our Holy Father, Pope Francis and has appointed our own Father Carl Reid as Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia. This comes as the Holy Father has accepted the retirement of Monsignor Harry Entwistle, who headed the Ordinariate there since its founding in 2013. [...]

Father Carl will be installed as Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross on Tuesday, August 27, at 7pm at the Cathedral of St. Mary’s in the Archdiocese of Sydney by the Archbishop, Most Rev. Anthony Fisher, O.P. Archbishop Fisher will be joined by Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Adjunct Secretary of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Monsignor Keith Newton from the UK Ordinariate and I will be representing our respective Ordinariates at the Installation celebrations. All of our clergy and faithful are welcome, though admittedly it’s a long way to go for Mass! [...]

With prayerful best wishes, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes

Read Bishop Lopes' entire message here.

Letter from Fr. Allen: The Third Sunday in Lent & the Annunciation of the Lord, March 21, 2019



Dear Friends,

I feel like each of these little weekly epistles could begin with "Time flies!" Or, as Ferris Beuller said, "Life comes at you fast." And indeed it does. Below you will see notices for our Lent, Holy Week, and Sacred Triduum liturgies, as well as for this month's Evensong and Benediction, and also a Penance service.

Another exciting day I ask you to place on your calendars is Sunday, May 19th, when Bishop Lopes will join us for First Communions and Confirmations. I will have more information soon regarding the Bishop's visit and attendant celebrations, but for now I want simply to ask you in your charity to pray for those who are to receive the Sacraments at his hands:

First Communion: Henry A.; Ian C.; Juliana J.; Poppy M.

Confirmation: Lucy A.; William C.; Sean G.; Nathaniel H.; Beckham H.; Joshua J.; Elizabeth J.

Reception into Full Communion, Confirmation, and First Communion: Betsy S.

This is an exciting time in the life of our community as each of these dear ones moves "further up and further in" in his or her life in Christ. And it is a time for us to renew within ourselves the graces of these Sacraments, by giving ourselves to prayer, penance, and the practice of charity, sharing in their joy.

God bless you,
Fr. Allen
A prayer for those being prepared to receive First Holy Communion: 
O JESUS, who hast loved us with such exceeding great love as to give us the ineffable gift of the Holy Eucharist, inflame us with a burning zeal to promote Thy glory by preparing worthily the little children who are to approach Thy holy table for the first time. Protect, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, these young souls from the assaults of evil, strengthen their faith, increase their love and endow them with all the virtues that will make them worthy to receive Thee. Amen.

A prayer for those being prepared for Confirmation:
O GOD, who through the teaching of thy Son Jesus Christ didst prepare the disciples for the coming of the Comforter: Make ready, we beseech thee, the hearts and minds of thy servants who at this time are seeking the gifts of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands and anointing, that, drawing near with penitent and faithful hearts, they may be filled with his power; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ordinariate Community in the News

image by Jeff Witherow for  Catholic Courier

image by Jeff Witherow for Catholic Courier

Bishop Lopes recently visited the Fellowship of St Alban, an Ordinariate community in the Rochester, NY, area. The Catholic Courier covered the visit:

Among the distinct liturgical elements in the Aug. 26 Mass were Bishop Lopes facing ad orientem(liturgical east) rather than toward the congregation for most of the prayers; a large portion of the Mass being sung; worshipers kneeling in the first row of pews to receive Holy Communion; and prayers featuring the words “thee,” and “thy” in place of “you” and “your.” For instance, “The Lord be with you” was followed by the response “And with thy spirit.”

Father Simington said the Fellowship of St. Alban comprises approximately 10 families, and that an average of 30 people attend the fellowship’s weekly 11:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Cecilia. However, he said many lifelong Roman Catholics “who have sort of found an attraction to what we do” also have become connected with the fellowship. The Aug. 26 Mass attracted more than 100 people, and the Meet the Ordinariate event drew about 80.

Read the full article here.


Bishop Lopes Addresses Scandal

Dear Faithful of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter,
This has been a difficult few weeks for the Catholic Church in North America.  We have seen reports of episcopal negligence and malfeasance in the face of clerical sexual abuse, coupled with some reports of bishops themselves guilty of sexual predation.  The report of the Grand Jury in Pennsylvania has reopened old wounds and inflicted new ones on victims, their families, the Catholic faithful at large, and indeed, the larger society. 

There have been many statements and commentary about all of this, and I do not wish just to add to the multiplicity of words.  I would simply echo the words of the great Saint John Paul II: there is no room in the priesthood for a man who abuses a child.  In our particular context of the Ordinariate with both celibate and married clergy, I would add that there is no room in the priesthood for a man who commits an act of violence—physical, psychological, or sexual—against his own wife or children.  And there is no room among those who call themselves Shepherds and Pastors for a man who would cover-up an instance of abuse. 

I am confident in the policies and procedures in place ensuring that our Ordinariate is a safe environment for all of our children.  All of these are publicly available on our website and they will be followed and enforced at every level.  But policies do not bring about holiness, and isn’t that what we all so deeply desire?  A Church that lives the faith once delivered to the Saints in integrity and in good conscience?  Holiness is something that ultimately comes from God, so it is something for which we should pray and labor:

  • Pray for the victims of sexual abuse by clergy, so that the peace of God beyond all understanding may heal their hearts and minds in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
  • Pray for priests, that they may live their lives in integrity of heart, faithful to the vows of their ordination.  Pray the Prayer of St. Michael daily, especially for priests! The Devil is never happier then when he corrupts a servant of God. 
  • Join with me in setting aside 30 minutes of prayer before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to pray in reparation for the sins committed by clergy and faithful alike, sins which have disfigured the Body of Christ and caused many to turn away. 
  • Find some way to express Christian charity to your neighbor.  Sin repels, but authentic love attracts and transforms. 

September 21 is Ember Friday after Holy Cross Day.  As your Bishop, I will offer that day in particular penance for the sins of bishops.  I invite you to pray with me and offer some act of penance that day for the renewal of the Church.

The sins we have read about in these weeks have filled us with shame and with righteous anger.  But one thing we should not feel is afraid.  The Evil One thrives in darkness, so the bright light of truth, through painful in this moment, is purifying.  

Our Ordinariate exists because men and women of great faith placed everything on the line for the adventure of truth and Catholic communion.  Even in the midst of these trials, I see that the joy of fidelity still draws people to Christ.  I continue to receive letters from Anglican clergy seeking to join us.  I have heard from three new communities this summer trying to form Ordinariate parishes. We have admitted 3 new seminarians, young men of faith and integrity who desire to leave all to follow in the way of the Lord.  May our fidelity then be our most eloquent response to the current crisis in the Church.  For the one in whom we trust is the Lord!  And he is risen from the dead! 

Your servant in Christ,

+Steven J. Lopes