On Sunday evening at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, Virginia. I was present with 140 other attendees for Solemn Evensong and Rite of Benediction (for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi), sponsored by the St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia (STCS).
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - There have always been Anglicans "on the journey" to the Catholic Church and many have come into full communion over the years. With the exception of a handful of parishes that entered through the Pastoral Provision, most had to come in through a solitary journey and those who were clergy wondered if there might ever be another opportunity to offer the sacraments.
The Anglican Ordinariate, however, through to the terms of the apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, has given pilgrims a real sense "welcome" and expectation while they are on their way." Catholic parishes are opening their doors to Anglican Use liturgies and inviting Episcopalians and other Anglicans to come and see.
One such example took place on Sunday evening at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, Virginia. I was present with 140 other attendees for Solemn Evensong and Rite of Benediction (for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi), sponsored by the St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia (STCS).
The liturgy was celebrated by Father Terry Specht, Pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, the hosting parish. He was joined by the STCS schola (a liturgical choir), which comes together for these Anglican Use liturgies.
Congregants were a mixture of Catholics from Holy Spirit and other parishes along with Episcopalians and some from the newer Anglican jurisdictions in America.
In chatting with the people at a reception that followed, I was thrilled to experience the enthusiasm and excitement present concerning the anticipated Ordinariate. For many of the Episcopalians/Anglicans present, it was clear that their hearts were already formed or being formed as Catholics; the distinct liturgies notwithstanding, they were excited to become one with the Church.
Jim Farr, president of the STCS, is an Episcopalian who is eagerly anticipating the forthcoming Ordinariate. "I'm still in awe of the opportunity given us through the Ordinariate," he told me. "We are able to come into full communion with the Church and the Holy Father, while bringing our liturgies and devotional practices with us."
We shared some of the ways in which the Anglican Use might encourage and even influence the Church through the English patrimony. "Our parishes are traditionally smaller," he added. "We're used to having an education hour followed by a principal Mass. Then we enjoy hanging around together afterward for coffee!"
Father Specht has graciously offered the facilities of Holy Spirit parish to the Society for further events, so they will now have a stable location in the Northern Virginia area for meetings, offices of prayer and Mass.
The STCS held its inaugural meeting at St. Anselm's Abbey in Washington, DC just over one year ago, on June 12, 2010 with five people present. Since that time interest in the society has grown steadily. Anglican Use Evening Prayer has been held once a month at St. Anselm's since that time and a group of 80 people attended the Society's first Anglican Use Mass there on March 19, 2011.
The Society exists to promote establishment of an Anglican Use Catholic parish under the future Ordinariate.
As Heide Seward, Secretary for the Society, told me the next day, "It seems that the Holy Spirit is on the move here, thanks to the Pope of Christian Unity."
This is just one example of the activity taking place prior to the formation of the Anglican Ordinariate in the United States. We will bring more about the STCS and other groups who are beginning to form.
To learn more about the STCS, links to other Ordinariate sites and a schedule of upcoming events, visit their website at http://www.stthomascanterbury.org/index.html.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
By Atarah Haely (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
In life we set goals. Sometimes we're heading straight toward them and sometimes we fall prey to negative thoughts that can cause us to give up. Discouraging thoughts, doubting our abilities and negative mindsets often lead us nowhere but you want in on a little ... continue reading
By Tony Magliano
For the sake of our salvation, we need to pay serious attention, and act with purpose, to what Jesus teaches here in Matthew's Gospel: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will ... continue reading
By Catholic News Agency
Global efforts to fight poverty protect the environment and the common thread of promoting human dignity must connect all make decisions about the economy, a Holy See representative told a United Nations body this week. New York City (CNA) - "In our efforts to ... continue reading
By Linky C. (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Pope Francis delivered a homily on one of his favorite topics Friday morning during a mass at the Saint Martha residence. The homily focused on how the devil's temptations never wane. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis' recent homily in the chapel at the ... continue reading
By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News
After Pope Francis' visit as a "missionary of mercy," Cuba is now in a prime moment to move forward in its relationship with the Church and work for the common good, said a representative of an aid group that works in the country. Havana, Cuba (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Pope Francis, speaking at Mass Friday morning, warned the faithful about the ways of Satan. "The evil one conceals himself, and comes with his very polite friends, knocking at the door, asking permission, but then moves in and spends time with the man and, ... continue reading
By Hannah Marfil (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Life struggles are inevitable but to look at them more than just a bump in the road is like putting rocks in your backpack before a hike. God doesn't want that - our journey to Him is meant to shape us in a way He planned for us. Little by little, we achieve victories ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
Family rescues us from indifference and loneliness and teaches us the essentials of life, Pope Francis said - adding that as the family of God, the Church has the same role and must evaluate how to live this out. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "Like Saint ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
12-year-old Julia Bruzzese, who has been experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, suffered from sudden paralysis that doctors are still unable to explain. However, following a blessing from Pope Francis, the young girl seems to be healing. NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
Pope Francis formally opened the synod of bishops Sunday, telling participants that the union between a man and woman is the foundation of God's plan for the family, and a solution to the many forms of loneliness in today's world. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading