Beginning the first Sunday of Advent, former Anglicans welcomed into the Catholic Church will have their own missal.

Missal a ‘new moment in history’ for former Anglicans

  • November 22, 2015

OTTAWA - Former Anglicans in the Ordinariates will celebrate according to their new missal, Divine Worship: The Missal, beginning the First Sunday of Advent.

“It is a new moment in history,” said Fr. Timothy Perkins, liturgy director for North America’s Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (POCSP), in an interview from Arlington, Texas. “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 Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI established the Ordinariates, a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage.

“This missal is now recognized by the Church as standing side by side with the Roman Missal,” said POSCP Ordinary Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson in a Q&A posted on the Ordinariate’s web site. 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,” 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 Fr. Lee Kenyon, the dean of the POSCP’s Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist and rector of St. John the Evangelist parish in Calgary. “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 of the Catholic Church.

“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.”

Perkins, who served more than 20 years as an Episcopalian minister before entering 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.”

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.’ ”

“You cannot underestimate the missionary dimension of the liturgy in general and especially of this beautiful liturgy of the Ordinariate,” said Professor Hans- Jürgen 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.

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

Norm Freeman, a member of the Ordinariate’s Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Ottawa, 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.”

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