Kelly from Australia visits St Gregory the Great in Stoneham

Verger Kevin McDermott has written the following on the website of Saint Gregory the Great Church, Stoneham, Massachusetts:

Those who have attended Mass at Saint Gregory the Great or the first sessions of our Bible Study/Catechesis/Fellowship FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST over the last two weeks have had the opportunity to meet Kelly Clark, a visitor from the youngest and (to us) most distant of the Ordinariates, Our Lady of the Southern Cross. Arriving unexpectedly, she participated fully in the life of our community during her time among us; she now leaves to experience other aspects of the Church Stateside before returning to Australia in early December. She was kind enough to write something about her stay for our website; after you read it I’d like to offer some of my own thoughts raised or brought into focus by the visit of this devout, intelligent and quite remarkable young woman. Here’s Kelly:

As I prepare to leave Massachusetts, I cannot help recalling the many passages in Scripture where Paul leaves a community of Christians. I am no apostle, merely a pilgrim in the Universal Church; but to the community of Saint Gregory the Great I can say with the Apostle I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel thus about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace… [Phil 1:3-7a, RSVCE]

From the first day I was in contact with this parish until now I have been welcomed with generosity and openness. To use Kevin McDermott’s phraseology, “I carried no Epistle with me,” as in the days of the early Church; but I can hope I have at least brought some news of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross and, in particular, the Parish of St Ninian and St Chad. Perhaps this and the exchange of bulletins (I have forwarded the latest copy of Australia Wide and Musings of the Ordinary) will contribute to closer visible ties between the Ordinariates of the Chair of Saint Peter and of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. Under any circumstances as we all await promulgation of Divine Worship: The Missal it has been good for me — a “Roaming Catholic” who supports, loves, and worships with the Ordinariate of OLSC — to see and hear; to learn about the Anglican Patrimonial expression in America. Thank you for the McDermotts and the Coverts for their hospitality; and to Father Liias and the entire community of Saint Gregory for your loving welcome: I am thankful for you each and all. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. [Phil 1:9-10, RSVCE]

To quote a personal Patron, Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe: “Nos cum Prole pia benedicat Virgo Maria.” [May the Virgin Mary bless us with Her loving Child] Maneo servus vester, per Eos. [I remain your servant, through Them.]

Kelly Clark”

KellyClarkKevinMcDermottThose of us who did not have the opportunity to meet Kelly personally during her stay will surely be able to form a picture of her from this short message; those who were present at the catecheses and able to profit by her thorough understanding of the Faith (and deep — and ready — knowledge of the Fathers and documents which support it) are unlikely to soon forget her. Hopefully we will not have an opportunity to do so as I very much hope she will stay in touch and — should she return to the States — visit us again.

Kelly refers to a conversation (one of many) the first evening she stayed at our home. I told her of another visit we had had, even more unexpectedly than hers, shortly after our community moved to Stoneham: we were seeing new faces every Sunday…but it was a shock when a young woman revealed herself as another Ordinariate member…from a parish in British Columbia (about as far away as you can get without going to Australia…)! There was much excitement; many, many questions; and the sharing of news. It struck me immediately that this must have been very much what it was like during those first few hundred years of the Church’s history, with communities scattered around the mediterranean: a Christian gets off a ship…makes a few discrete enquiries as to which house the local community gathers…and, on the Lord’s day (after passing the Deacon’s scrutiny) meets the Brethren: everyone wants to know how the other Brethren are getting on? Everyone is joyful and uplifted, having physical evidence — and news — proving their community is indeed part of something larger than itself…not only in hope, but here on earth, as well. All of that felt so real and true it made my hairs stand on end…but something — and something important — was missing; as I considered it, it left a rueful aftertaste: where were the epistles from the other communities that first-century visitor would probably have had in their baggage? Our first visitor brought news of her parish in BC; Kelly brings news of hers in Perth. But — with the communications technology of the ancient world — those early travelers were carrying news between all the communities (and doing it so well we’re still reading the best of them, every Sunday, two millennia later). And us?

The Ordinariates have many similarities to the early Church: perhaps most tellingly in being composed of widely-distributed, mostly small, communities of limited means. When I had the opportunity to visit the Principal Church of the English Ordinariate last year I heard much the same comment from the Faithful after Mass: each community felt itself fairly isolated; it was difficult to form a sense of being part of a larger whole. This is certainly not a good thing…and, given the possibilities available to us through the internet, it is difficult to imagine why things are as they are.

The youngest of the Ordinariates — Our Lady of the Southern Cross — seems to have stolen a march on her older sisters in this regard: Monsignor Entwistle writes a newsletter sent to his communities every two weeks. Kelly’s visit — bringing copies of these “Musings” — is perhaps the concluding touch of a series of events which might suggest the Holy Spirit is interested in forging a link between our community and our brothers and sisters of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross: the first was our own Greg Rodway’s trip back to his native Australia last month, where he visited a number of communities and came back with many ideas; I have been in touch with Father Ramsay Williams (one of the individuals with whom Greg met) and shortly will be posting some of his work. With Monsignor Entwistle’s permission, we will be posting Australia Wide and his Musings. In short — in a very brief time there seems to be a great deal of activity across the hemispheres; we will see by the fruits if the Holy Spirit is indeed behind it! Please remember Kelly, Monsignor Entwistle, and all our brothers and sisters of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in your prayers.

Kevin McDermott
Verger
Saint Gregory the Great Church
A Catholic Community of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter

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6 Responses to Kelly from Australia visits St Gregory the Great in Stoneham

  1. EPMS says:

    Yes, it remains a mystery how the OOLSC, with its few hundred members spread over 3 million sq miles, can manage to maintain a bi-weekly communique and a monthly newsletter, while what is discreetly referred to as her “older sister” cannot seem to produce a quarterly magazine more than three times a year. I gather that the current priority of the latter is “branding” ; nothing wrong with that, but not a substitute for communicating.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Yes, it remains a mystery how the OOLSC, with its few hundred members spread over 3 million sq miles, can manage to maintain a bi-weekly communique and a monthly newsletter, while what is discreetly referred to as her “older sister” cannot seem to produce a quarterly magazine more than three times a year. I gather that the current priority of the latter is “branding” ; nothing wrong with that, but not a substitute for communicating.

      There are some very major differences between these ordinariates and the circumstances in which they find themselves.

      >> 1. Most of the present congregations of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (OOLSC) came from the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia (ACCA), which is, or at least was, the Australian province of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), and thus had established working relationships and processes of communication. The congregations of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (OCSP) are much more diverse — several from The Episcopal Church (TEC), the U. S. province of the Anglican Communion, one from the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC), the Canadian province of the Anglican Communion, several from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC), the Canadian province of the TAC, a few from the Anglican Church in America (ACA), the U. S. province of the TAC, and several communities formed anew of those who joined or sought to join the OCSP individually in various geographical locations. Among these communities, working relationships and lines of communication had to be formed from scratch.

      >> 2. The OOLSC has a full time ordinary. The ordinary of the OCSP is concurrently serving as a member of the faculty of a Catholic seminary, and thus cannot devote full time to the ordinariate.

      >> 3. The OOLSC has a lot fewer communities than the OCSP, so the problems of communication are much simpler because there are a lot fewer sources of input.

      In view of these circumstances, it’s not really surprising that it’s taking the OCSP a lot longer to sort out these issues.

      Norm.

  2. EPMS says:

    By this reasoning, we should expect the EU to function at a less sophisticated level than Lesotho, because the citizens of Lesotho share a common ethnic identity and are ruled by a hereditary king, while the EU is diverse and has only had a full-time president since 2009. Surely the issue is resources. The OCSP has a multi-million dollar Chancery and a staff, apart from the Ordinary, of twelve according to the newly-updated list on the website. As for multiple “sources of input”, again you seem to imply that we should expect to find less news in USA Today than in the Hogansville Home News owing to this “problem”.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      The point was that communication mechanisms were already in place in one group and not in the other.

      I agree with your point that communication should have received much higher priority than it did in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. However, what has (or has not) happened in the past is water over the dam now. We hope, with recent appointments, that change is in the works going forward.

      Norm.

  3. Kelly Clark says:

    I very much look forward to seeing Holy Church flourish in the Ordinariate. Just as She needs Her “Eastern Lung” in order to breathe properly, Her “Western Lung” needs to be working properly. I’m increasingly convinced that each and every community in the Ordinariate are integral to helping the Church’s “Western Lung” to do its part.

  4. EPMS says:

    The new Communications Director was appointed four months ago. What significant differences have you noticed?

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