53 men are in Houston to become Instituted Acolytes


53 men from all over the United States and Canada have already arrived in Houston for the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, secondary patron of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. These men are candidates for the Ministry of Acolyte in the Ordinariate. They are in Houston for a weekend of prayer, study and reflection from 23rd to 25th September. Their Institution as Acolytes will take place on Sunday at the 11.15 am Solemn Mass in the Cathedral.


Following the Second Vatican Council the Major Order of Subdeacon and the Minor Orders were abolished. Instead the lay Ministries of Acolyte and Reader (or Lector) were introduced,  and in his Motu Proprio Ministeria Quaedam of 15th August 1972 Blessed Pope Paul VI decreed that:

4. Two ministries, adapted to present-day needs, are to be preserved in the whole Latin Church, namely, those of reader and acolyte. The functions heretofore assigned to the subdeacon are entrusted to the reader and the acolyte; consequently, the major order of subdiaconate no longer exists in the Latin Church. There is, however, no reason why the acolyte cannot be called a subdeacon in some places, at the discretion of the conference of bishops. …

6. The acolyte is appointed in order to aid the deacon and to minister to the priest. It is his duty therefore to attend to the service of the altar and to assist the deacon and the priest in liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of Mass; he is also to distribute communion as a special minister when the ministers spoken of in the Codex Iuris Canonici can. 845 are not available or are prevented by ill health, age, or another pastoral ministry from performing this function, or when the number of communicants is so great that the celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. In the same extraordinary circumstances an acolyte may be entrusted with publicly exposing the blessed sacrament for adoration by the faithful and afterward replacing it, but not with blessing the people. He may also, to the extent needed, take care of instructing other faithful who on a temporary basis are appointed to assist the priest or deacon in liturgical celebrations by carrying the missal, cross, candles, etc., or by performing other such duties. He will perform these functions more worthily if he participates in the holy eucharist with increasingly fervent devotion, receives nourishment from it, and deepens his knowledge about it.

As one set aside in a special way for the service of the altar, the acolyte should learn all matters concerning public divine worship and strive to grasp their inner spiritual meaning: in that way he will be able each day to offer himself entirely to God, be an example to all by his gravity and reverence in church, and have a sincere love for the Mystical Body of Christ, the people of God, especially for the weak and the sick.

Since one of the ways of celebrating the Divine Worship Mass foresees the office previously reserved to the Subdeacon, Bishop Lopes has decided to institute these new Acolytes to fulfil this role in the communities and parishes of the Ordinariate.

Let us pray for the new Acolytes and commend them to the intercession of Our Lady of Walsingham.

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Mgr Edwin Barnes – Liturgy: the work of the People

“We do not come to the Church to celebrate what we have done or who we are. Rather, we come to celebrate and give thanks for all that Almighty God has done, and continues in His love and mercy to do, for us. What He does in the liturgy is what is essential; what we do is to present our ‘first fruits’—the best that we can—in worship and adoration. When the modern liturgy is celebrated in the vernacular with the priest ‘facing the people’ there is a danger of man, even of the priest himself and of his personality, becoming too central.”

cardinal-sarahOf course Cardinal Sarah is right. There are these dangers in vernacular liturgy celebrated facing the people. I could wish though that the good Cardinal had also pointed up some of the dangers in a liturgy not “understanded of the people” (Cranmer, I believe) and also in ‘ad orientem’ celebrations.

It is possible for a mass to become so liturgically correct, so observant of every foot-note in Fortescue and O’Connell, that those celebrating (not least, but not only, the Servers) can lose sight of what they are about. I have witnessed ‘North end’ celebrations in the Church of England which were deeply devout and prayerful. Equally I have seen priests celebrating Mass facing the apse who have been quite switched off – and certainly inattentive to the needs of the worshippers as they gabbled the Latin and dropped into supposedly pious inaudibility, while self-important servers fussed about the altar.

When we began to adopt the westward facing Eucharist in my CofE days I tried, with my curates, to recognise some of the pitfalls of that change. We spent time together with members of the congregation working out how best to introduce liturgical change. Yes, one could become too informal, more a ringmaster than a celebrant. It was more important than ever to focus on the sacred elements rather than on one’s fellow worshippers. Those dangers are still present now that I am a Catholic. Attentiveness, attention to the text, clarity of speaking, refusal to rush, all these and more are needed to give the Mass its proper dignity. There is no place for idiosyncratic modes of speech, or elaborate gestures.

The Ordinariate, I hope, brings with it as part of its patrimony a reverence for “the beauty of holiness”. But this does not depend on choreography of Byzantine complexity, Latin vestments more suited to the Knave in a pack of cards than to the reality of the human body, or language from fourth century Rome or sixteenth century England. Repeatedly through history there have needed to be reforms, usually of over-elaboration and clericalism in worship which have treated the laity as mere pew-fodder. We should be grateful to Cardinal Sarah for reminding us that all our worship ought to be focus on the Almighty. Perhaps, though, his particular remedies are only suitable for relatively few Cathedrals and greater churches. More important by far is to get the music sorted out. Drop the meaningless ditties of the 20th Century or the maudlin attention to death of the 19th. Restore to the Catholic Church some of the treasures of hymnody and psalmody from previous generations [and our own], and there is a chance that the people will discover something of God in the Church’s worship. For where two or three are gathered together in his name (and no advice in scripture on which way they should be facing) there is the Lord in the midst of them. (Matt.xviii 20)

(This is reposted from the blog “Antique Richborough” at the specific request of Monsignor Barnes, hoping that it might encourage comment.)

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New additional URL for the evensong broadcast from Houston

We have just received the following info from the States:

Choral Evensong for the Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham from the Cathedral in Houston will be streamed live on Facebook this Sunday at 4PM Central (that’s  5PM Eastern, 10PM UK, 11PM Central Europe, 5AM Monday Australian Western and 7AM Monday Australian Eastern). To follow on a laptop or desktop computer, go to facebook.com/CSPOrdinariate/posts (apparently some glitch in Facebook’s system is keeping posts from populating on the main page). To follow on a smartphone or tablet, go to facebook.com/CSPOrdinariate

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24th September – Feast (and Titular Solemnity) of Our Lady of Walsingham

Today the Church remembers Our Lady of Walsingham, titular patron of the Personal Ordinariate of the same name in the United Kingdom, secondary patron of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter in North America and titular patron of the Cathedral in Houston, Texas. Congratulations to all those celebrating today.

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Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us !!!!

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Ordinariate Clergy Residential in Australia

clergy-meeting-australia-2016Clergy of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross met for their annual Residential Week at Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre in Ormiston, Qld from 22 to 26 August.

During the Week, Fr Paul Chandler OCarm led the clergy in a Day of Reflection and Archbishop Mark Coleridge spoke about The Pilgrim Church in the light of the recent Synods on the Family. The second half of the Residential focused on working groups planning how the Ordinariate might build on the foundations laid down since its commencement and what practical steps can be taken to implement the recommendations of the groups.

The groups worked on the issues of Vocations, Communications, Finance and Planning for the Residential in 2017 which will be combined with the annual gathering of the Ordinaries of the UK, USA and Australia.

During this week the Ordinary, Msgr Harry Entwistle, appointed Fr Richard Waddell as Vicar General and Episcopal Vicar for Mission; Fr Stephen Hill as Episcopal Vicar for Mission alongside his role as Director of Vocations and Fr Kenneth Clark as Episcopal Vicar for Clergy alongside his role in matters of Finance.

Fr Stephen Hill, Mgr Harry Entwistle, Fr Richard Waddell and Fr Kenneth Clark

Fr Stephen Hill, Mgr Harry Entwistle, Fr Richard Waddell and Fr Kenneth Clark

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Mgr. Barnes reflects during a visit to Dublin

Mgr. Edwin Barnes writes on his blog “Antique Richborough”:

Bridges & the Ordinariate in Dublin’s Fair City

bridge-in-dublinA first visit to Dublin has set me wondering. Bridges – Pope Benedict as Pontiff – Pontifex Maximus – the Bridge-builder – and the Ordinariate as a Bridge. In Dublin, where the population is predominantly Roman Catholic, there is a Catholic pro-Cathedral (below). It is a fine neo-Classical building. But why only a Pro-Cathedral?

st-marys-pro-cathedral-dublinOne explanation I heard was that when the Irish Free State was set up a century ago it was supposed that the Church of Ireland, the Anglicans that is, would happily hand over one of the two ancient Cathedrals which had been in their possession since the Reformation. They could hardly need two such buildings within half a mile of each other. Today, a century after the 1916 Rising, Christ Church and St Patrick’s are both in the hands of the Church of Ireland. The former seems to do a great tourist trade, though it is largely a Victorian rebuild. St Patrick’s, too, had a make-over thanks to a Guinness.


Statue of Sir B. Guinness at St. Patrick's

Statue of Sir Benjamin Guinness at St. Patrick’s

There seems to be a very generous spirit among the Irish. In the Castle State Apartments, which are used for grand events (such as the visit of the Queen to Ireland) the reception dublin-castle-balcony-with-armsHall still has on its walls portraits of Victoria and Albert, and of most of the Viceroys. The Chapel within the Castle also has the names of former Viceroys (together with St Patrick) carved along its balconies. Yet none of this has been vandalised. Other places which were once under Colonial rule have generally been less merciful towards their former overlords.

Best of all, outside the City Hall stands a postbox proudly bearing the cipher of Edward VII.

postbox-in-dublinIs it possible that in England we could improve relations between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches? Not with another endless round of ARCIC conversations but with a more generous attitude to sharing. Perhaps the best thing I did in fifty years of ministry as an Anglican priest (perhaps the only really good thing) was to start the experiment of the shared use of St John’s (Anglican) parish Church. That was forty years ago, and both Bishops were determined it would just be an experiment. The experiment seems to be working, and still between the early Communion service and the later Parish Eucharist there is a Roman Catholic Mass in St John’s. I know there are other instances of such sharing – but it ought to be commonplace. In many Anglican parishes a small congregation struggles to find the money to keep the building standing; yet often (and this is mostly true in our larger Cities) a neighbouring Catholic Church is bursting at the seams and has to have a succession of Masses throughout the day to accommodate everyone.

popebenedictxvipopebenedictximeetsarchbishopdbzlzb45777lThere are so many other things we could and should share. Within the Ordinariate I think particularly of our friendships. Can we not engineer meetings when Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics might meet socially and talk freely about our concerns, instead of sniping and point-scoring at a distance? I think I am still a life member of Forward in Faith – yet I do not even receive New Directions any longer, nor am I invited to the annual Assembly or any of its meetings. What are we afraid of? So many Anglican clergy have remained in the Church of England for good and honourable reasons, and we Roman Catholics should honour this instead of implying that they are just cowardly. It is good that Fr Paul Benfield writes about Anglican matters in our Ordinariate magazine. Perhaps there could be a reciprocal arrangement for New Directions? [And since writing this I find that such an arrangement already exists; Simon Cotton has a column. Sorry, I did not know this before I wrote – just hope we can increase and build on all the contacts we have]

newman-memorial-dublinWhen Newman left the Church of England, he described it as The Parting of Friends; yet I have a copy of Pusey’s University sermons, a copy he had given to his daughter Mary. In it he has written a footnote in his own spidery hand telling of a very kind correspondence between him and Newman forty years after Newman had left the University Church in Oxford. (His memorial, right, in the Dublin Catholic University Church). We really should be keeping all our friendships in better order, if we are to make the Ordinariate a bridge rather than an obstacle between our two communions.

(P.S. I apologise for slightly editing the photos. – Ed.)

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St. Timothy’s, Fort Worth, without a pastor until January 2017

Following the appointment of Fr. Christopher Stainbrook to St. John Vianney, Cleburne, Texas, this summer, his previous Ordinariate community of St. Timothy’s in Fort Worth will be without a pastor for the rest of this year.

St. Timothy’s website notes:

As of September 4, 2016, St. Timothy’s Sunday Masses will be conducted by supply priests. This will be the case until January 2017 when a new pastor will be assigned. Our masses will continue at our current location (host parish: St. Mary of the Assumption, Fort Worth) at 2:00 PM.

In the interim, any desired contact for St. Timothy’s should be referred to St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church, Arlington, Texas. The pastor at St. Mary’s, Arlington, is Father Prentice Dean.

St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church will be the contact point for all St. Timothy’s parish matters, pastoral or liturgical; however, masses will continue in Fort Worth.

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