Sunday 7th September – Fr. John Hodgins on Salt and Light TV

Just over a week from now an interview with Fr. John Hodgins of Toronto will be broadcast on Salt and Light Television, Canada. It can be followed on livestream at 8.00 pm Eastern Time ( 5.00 pm Pacific) and will be subsequently available in the video archive (click here).

witness-fr-john-hodgins The “Witness” programme website states the following:

For many years, groups of Anglicans repeatedly asked the Pope if it would be possible for them to become Catholics while at the same time being allowed to keep their liturgical, musical, spiritual, and pastoral traditions which had developed over the 500-year history of Anglicanism and which they greatly valued. In November of 2009, in response to these requests, the Holy See established a new structure within the Catholic Church through the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus (Groups of Anglicans) and its accompanying norms to allow Anglicans who become Catholics to do just that.

It is important to note that Anglicanorum Coetibus is not an initiative of the Holy See: it is a response by the Holy See to initiatives by groups of Anglicans over the course of many years. Rather than merely making it possible to establish Anglican Use parishes under local bishops, as the 1980 Pastoral Provision had done in the United States, this structure allows such parishes to exist under their own bishop, called an ordinary, in non-geographical personal ordinariates.

In this exclusive WITNESS interview, Fr. Thomas Rosica speaks with Fr. John L. Hodgins, Priest Administrator of St. Thomas More Catholic Church of the Personal (Anglican) Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in Toronto. Fr. Hodgins shares his journey from Anglicanism to the Catholic Church, and how Anglicanorum Coetibus is lived out in his life and faith community.

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Brooklyn’s Diocesan Newspaper on the Flushing Community

The website of “The Tablet”, the newspaper of the Diocese of Brooklyn (not the London-based magazine of the same name), yesterday published the following aricle about the prospective Ordinariate community in Flushing, New York, and the untimely death of their pastor, former Episcopal priest Dr. Antonio Contreras:

Journeying in Faith: Future Ordinariate Catholics Mourn Late Pastor, Consider Next Steps
Posted on 28 August 2014.
By Marie Elena Giossi

Antonio Contreras was a man who brought people closer to God – first as an Episcopal priest and most recently as a Catholic journeying toward ordination to the Catholic priesthood.

When he died earlier this month, his faith community lost its spiritual guide – but not its way.

Msgr Steenson in Flushing August 2014 - 1Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, who ministers to former Anglicans in the U.S. who seek to be Catholic, offers the sign of peace at St. Michael Church, Flushing, to family and former parishioners of the recently deceased Antonio Contreras, a former Episcopal priest who was journeying toward the Catholic priesthood. Photo © Marie Elena Giossi

Contreras had been teaching the Catholic catechism to nearly 50 Hispanic members of his former congregation, who left the Episcopalian Church with him and started on the path toward full communion with the Catholic Church.

They are now regulars at the 1:30 p.m. Spanish Mass on Sundays at St. Michael’s Church in Flushing.

Two Sundays ago, this community met to find out what its next steps would be following a Mass concelebrated by Father John Vesey, St. Michael’s pastor; Father James Massa, moderator of the diocesan curia and vicar for evangelization; and Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson of Houston.

A former Episcopal bishop, Msgr. Steenson heads the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, created two years ago by the Vatican for former Anglicans in the U.S. and Canada who seek to be Catholic. Thirty-five communities have been received into the ordinariate, and 15 are in formation.

Msgr. Steenson came to personally offer his condolences to the community. Following Mass, he took time to meet them, offer blessings and assure them of his support as they continue their journey in the Catholic faith.

“It’s not an easy journey because they have to really want to be a Catholic,” Msgr. Steenson explained. “For them to lose their pastor in mid-passage like this is very difficult.

“I wanted to be here to tell them that we love them and … to give them encouragement. Because they’re a Spanish-speaking congregation, we’ll work hard to find a Spanish-speaking leader to help them,” as Contreras had.

Padre Antonio

Dr Antonio Contreras RIPContreras was born and raised in the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico but left during his college years after having a positive encounter with an Episcopal priest. He was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 2005 and was known as Padre Antonio – a pastoral, community-minded and dynamic preacher in Brooklyn and Queens.

He later told Father Vesey that even while serving in the Episcopal Church he held onto many of his Catholic convictions, especially the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament – which is what eventually led him to resign his priesthood and leave the Episcopal Church.

Four months ago, he entered into full communion with the Catholic Church as a layman and began preparations for priestly ordination in the Catholic Church in 2015.

Shock and grief spread through his community when the 45-year-old died of a heart attack Aug. 9.

Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chapetto presided at his funeral Mass at St. Michael’s Church. Father Vesey was the main celebrant, and five other priests served as concelebrants. Contreras was buried in a Roman cassock holding a priestly stole.

Though he never realized his dream of being a Catholic priest, he was certainly a shepherd. “He was responsible for inviting his whole (Episcopalian) community to enter the Catholic Church,” Father Massa said. “He cleared a path back for these people.”

Contreras met weekly with the group to attend Mass at St. Michael’s followed by catechesis and fellowship in the church basement.

“They’re like Antonio, very enthusiastic and charismatic,” said Father Belen Gonzalez y Perez, who knows the community personally. “They’re very interested in … participating and contributing to the Catholic faith community.”

Father Gonzalez y Perez is the first former Anglican priest to be ordained a Catholic priest in the Brooklyn Diocese. Knowing the challenges of the journey firsthand, he helped guide Contreras on his path and assisted in catechizing his flock.

Alex Lopez is a member of that flock. “He (Contreras) created community,” recalled Lopez, a husband and father who followed Contreras to the Catholic Church with his wife and children. “He inspired everyone with the way he preached and interacted with the whole community.”

Jonathan Rodriguez, a young adult member of the community, said Contreras was not just a priest but more like a member of his family.

He shared that his late pastor was teaching him about God, the Bible and “the good and beautiful things one can find and understand through God.”

Contreras told him that there are different paths one could take, “but there is only one true path and he told me that’s to follow God and Jesus Christ.”

“He pretty much guided me here, and I came knowing it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

The next step for this faith community, Msgr. Steenson said, is to “finish what catechesis and preparation they need to be received into the Catholic Church” sometime next year.

Until someone is appointed to lead this community, Father Vesey has promised that he and St. Michael’s parish priests will minister to them and lead their religious instruction.

“We as a parish feel they are our people, and we want them to know that,” said Father Vesey, who trusts in the Holy Spirit’s guidance. “They have to continue to ask Jesus and come closer to Jesus, no matter the obstacles.”

Msgr Steenson in Flushing August 2014 - 2At St. Michael Church, Flushing, Msgr. Steenson greets and blesses former Episcopalians who are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. Photo © Marie Elena Giossi

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Fr. David Wagner ordained for the Ordinariate community in Boerne, Texas

The US Ordinariate website reports:


Father David Wagner blessing Mark CannadyNewly ordained priest Father David Wagner blesses fellow Ordinariate priest Father Mark Cannady moments after Fr. Wagner’s ordination to the priesthood on August 24.

His Excellency Gustavo Garcia-Siller, M.Sp.S., Archbishop of San Antonio, ordained Fr. Wagner to the priesthood in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 24, at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Boerne, Texas.

Fr. Wagner, a former priest in the Episcopal Church, served as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kewanee, IL, from 2005 to 2008. He and his wife Carol and their two children – Joseph, 13, and Natalie, 8 – converted to the Catholic Church in June of 2008 and moved to Boerne, Texas. He grew up in Northeast Ohio and graduated from Revere Senior High School in Richfield, Ohio, in 1976.

He currently serves at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, Boerne in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, where the Church of St Gilbert Ordinariate Community is hosted.

Ordinariate Boerne Texas

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Prospective Ordinariate priest, Dr. Antonio Contreras, dies tragically

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter has announced the tragic death of former Episcopal priest Antonio Contreras-Rodriguez, who was the pastor of a prospective Ordinariate community in Flushing, NY.

antonio contreras RIPIt is with great sadness that we report the death of our dear brother Dr. Antonio Contreras, 45, a candidate for ordination to the priesthood in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.  Dr. Contreras, who formerly served as an Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of Long Island, was on tour of India and Sri Lanka when he apparently suffered a fatal heart attack in early August.

This past spring, Dr. Contreras led a group of his former parishioners into the Catholic Church, and they were worshiping at St. Michael’s Parish in Flushing, NY.

Arrangements are pending.

He was born in Puerto Rico on August 21, 1968, and was ordained an Episcopal priest in 2005.  He served the San Jorge, Flushing, and La Santa Cruz, Brooklyn, neighborhoods.  He also worked as a school psychologist in Yonkers.

Please keep his family and parishioners in your prayers

Interestingly, his former Episcopal bishop is presiding at a Thanksgiving liturgy for the life of Fr. Contreras in his own cathedral this evening!

The website of the Episcopal Diocese of  Long Island announced:

August 9, 2014

It is with deep sadness that The Diocese of Long Island announces the death of the Rev. Dr. Antonio Contreras.

Padre Contreras died of a heart attack this morning, August 9,  while on pilgrimage in Sri Lanka.

Padre Antonio was born in Puerto Rico on August 21, 1968 and ordained priest in the Diocese of Long Island by the Rt. Rev. Orris Walker on April 24, 2005.

Most of his priesthood was spent serving the San Jorge, Flushing and La Santa Cruz, Brooklyn communities where he was known for his dynamic preaching and his generous pastoral heart.

In addition to his priestly duties, Padre Antonio worked as a school psychologist in Yonkers.

Please keep Padre Antonio and his family in your prayers.


Updated Posting August 22, 2014:

AUG 27, 6 pm – Invitation to Liturgy of Thanksgiving for Father Antonio Contreras-Rodriguez at the Cathedral of the Incarnation.

In honor of the life and ministry of Father Antonio Contreras-Rodriguez, who died on Saturday, August 9, Bishop Provenzano will preside at a Liturgy of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral of the Incarnation on Wednesday, August 27 at 6:00 pm.

Liturgical color: white

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Mount Calvary Book Club courageously tackles Dante’s Divine Comedy

Mike Byrd published the following on the Mount Calvary parish blog:

Mount Calvary book_club_small-300x225

Mount Calvary’s book club returns this fall! We will be meeting on the fourth Friday of the month. (Time yet to be determined.)

First up, we will  read Dante’s Divine Comedy… everybody brings the translation they like best.

Good times! Good talk! Good fellowship! Join us, and give your brain the gift of classic literature this fall!

Any thoughts on what other books we should tackle? Post ‘em on the blog!

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Is the Ordinariate called to be “Spikey”?

Father Albert Scharbach, priest administrator of Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore, posted the following on the parish’s blog:

Spikey Worship on the Assumption

assumptionThe Feast of the Assumption is the highest feast day of our Lady and a Holy Day of Obligation. It is also the day on which I was first ordained as an Anglican priest.

When I was ordained as an Anglican at Good Shepherd, Rosemont, that parish pushed the limits by celebrating the Feast Day and pulling out all the stops. “Spikey” was the word that Anglicans gave to parishes who unapologetically honored the Blessed Virgin Mary with pomp and praise. Marian devotion remains controversial in the Anglican world!

While it was good to push the limits as Anglo-Catholics, it is much better to be home in the Catholic Church, where the Assumption is a big feast day wherever you go.

Mount Calvary was always one of the most “spikey” parishes, always pushing the limits of what Catholic devotion and piety could be tolerated in the Episcopal Church. But now the parish is home and the Feast of the Assumption with its Marian hymns is par for course.

To an extent. Because it seems that nothing that Mount Calvary does is merely par for the course. The parish will celebrate this feast with characteristic ardor and devotion, in beauty and truth. May the tradition of being “spikey” continue to the extent that our worship goes all out, so that the faithful lift up their hearts with renewed enthusiasm and joy.

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New Ordinariate Chant Schola in Washington DC

As the Saint Luke Ordinariate community moves from Bladensburg, Maryland, to downtown Washington DC on 7 September, a new initiative is beginning, to build on an existing tradition of Sacred Music.

Named in honour of Saint Benedict and the Benedictine tradition of Gregorian chant, and with a nod of gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (who founded the Ordinariates), the women of The Saint Benet Schola will provide the chant at the 8.30 am Sunday Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 8th Street NW. The group will draw on the Anglican plainsong tradition, whilst at the same time emphasizing the universal, Catholic nature of our worship, by singing the ancient chants and texts of the Sacred Liturgy.

St Benet Schola Poster - st luke DC(Hattips to Dom Charles Gilman OSB, Steve Cavanaugh and Charles Cole)

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