Slightly adapted from the article by Bill Wheatley on Virtue Online:
On Sunday, 02 November 2014, the Fellowship of the Blessed John Henry Newman was received as a group into the Anglican Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Strafford, PA.
David L. Moyer, formerly the rector of the Episcopalian parish, The Church of The Good Shepherd, and pastor to the Fellowship during its period of discernment, presented the parishioners to the Rev. David Ousley, who received the group on behalf of Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the Ordinary. Mgr. Steenson had been a Rector of The Church of The Good Shepherd before David Moyer was installed as Rector there. The formal reception into communion took place during a Solemn High Mass celebrated by Fr. Ousley using the Anglican form of worship approved by the Holy See for use in the Ordinariate. The service was followed by a reception hosted in the Assumption Parish Building by the congregation of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, for which Fr. Ousley is Administrator.
Approximately forty families left The Church of The Good Shepherd to follow Moyer when the Episcopal Church deposed him as Rector and evicted him and the Vestry from the parish properties. Thirty of these have now entered communion with the See of St. Peter through the Ordinariate. Some families were already Catholic, and others have entered communion with the See of St. Peter through their local Roman Catholic parishes.
Father Ousley is interim Administrator for the Newman Fellowship, as well as for the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, the two Communities of the Ordinariate in the Philadelphia area. The Newman Fellowship has its temporary home at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, and is in the process of conforming its corporate documents to become an official community of the Ordinariate.
(Hattip to Professor William Tighe)
Father Ousley himself wrote the following:
It was a joyous and glorious occasion on the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity, when 113 people gathered at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption to celebrate the beginning of the Blessed John Henry Newman Fellowship as a congregation within the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. Nineteen were received and confirmed (see photo), which brings the Ordinariate membership of the Fellowship to 31.
It is the end of an unexpectedly long road for the members of the Fellowship, who have been seeking the Ordinariate since Anglicanorum coetibus came out on November 4th, 2009. Yet it is not so much the end of the road as the beginning of a new life, life in full communion with the Catholic Church. Those who have gone before (including the Blessed Cardinal Newman) have found unexpected blessings, and unexpected trials.
Fr Carbonaro and a large number of his parishioners from Our Lady of the Assumption joined us for the Mass and reception afterward, and were unfailingly welcoming and supportive. Fr Carbonaro assisted at the Mass (Monsignor Malone, a retired priest who lives at OLA, also attended), and he and many of his folk commented on the beauty of the liturgy. A significant number of St Michael’s people also attended (things were a little sparse at St Michael’s that morning), and put on the reception. Special thanks goes to Bell Anderson, who organized the food and drink, and provided much of it herself, including her famous meatballs. One of the new Catholics remarked, “It is worth coming into the Catholic Church just to get Bell’s meatballs.” Bill Gatens and the choir surpassed their usual high standard with the music.
At the risk of repeating myself, I also want to thank Fr Carbonaro for taking us in, and welcoming us so graciously. This made it possible for those entering the Catholic Church to do so in an actual Catholic Church – certainly the way it should be done. I want to share this photo, which shows what we found when we came to OLA for our first Mass: someone had taken the trouble to create this poster for us, welcoming us to our new home.
While it is right and proper to enjoy the moment, we will also be turning to the next steps in the way. I would invite all the members of the Newman Fellowship to a congregational meeting after Mass on November 9th, the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (see below). We will discuss a number of things related to what happens next. We will need to get the legal structure of the Fellowship in order, so that we can become a recognized community in the Ordinariate. We need to focus on our outreach and mission, so we will be talking about the mission of an Ordinariate community and how we can pursue it. We will talk about publicity – getting the word out – and evangelization. We’ll be talking about future Sunday evening classes.
The Sunday Masses continue at 6 at OLA for the foreseeable future. Invite your friends! Enemies are also welcome. Regular confession is good for all of us. To make that easier, I will be in the confessional at OLA on Sunday from 5:30-5:45. I am available at other times by appointment (and at St Michael’s 8:30-8:45 on Sunday).