Two months ago we reported on the foundation of a new Chapter of Benedictine Oblates at St John’s Abbey, Collegeville, MN. The chapter, under the patronage of St. Benet Biscop, was established for those who value the Anglican patrimony and especially the ecclesiology and ecumenism of Anglicanorum coetibus.
The facebook page of St Benet Biscop Chapter is now pleased to announce that the first oblate candidates have been enrolled in three separate ceremonies across North America on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 10th January 2016.
In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Ordinariate priest Father Don Malins of the Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman was enrolled by Fr. Carl Reid.
In Minnesota, Bishop Michael Smith, the Episcopal bishop of North Dakota (!); Father Stephen Hilgendorf, Anglican Rector of the Church of St. Dunstan, St. Louis Park, MN; Father William Brenna, Associate priest at the Catholic parish of St. Patrick, Hudson, MN; Colleen Shannon and Marty Shieve were enrolled at St. John’s Abbey. Don Wortham, who was unable to be present, will so0n be enrolled himself.
And then in California, Father Jack Barker, well known from the Pastoral Provision, now Assistant priest at the Ordinariate Church of Blessed John Henry Newman, Irvine, was enrolled at Queen of Life Chapel along with Froilan Diaz, Greg Herr, Michael Carter, Karen Lee-Thorp, Sandy Fryling. Christopher Kinsman, who had to be away, will soon be joining them.
Congratulations to these first fourteen Oblate candidates as they embark on their way of Benedictine life!
Regarding Oblate candidates, the website of St. John’s Abbey explains:
“Deciding that you want to be an oblate, you participate in an initial brief ceremony and become an oblate candidate. During the ceremony, you receive a blessed medal of St. Benedict along with the Rule of St. Benedict, and you commit yourself to the oblate life.
During the next year or more, you continue to be formed in the practices of living a life inspired by the Rule of St. Benedict, i.e., praying the Divine Office, attending the monthly oblate meetings as you are able, participating in one or more oblate retreats, and studying Benedictine spirituality.
In a brief ceremony similar to the candidate ceremony, you make a final oblation (promise) to serve God and be guided by the Rule of St. Benedict. You sign the final oblation form as a witness to your promise.”
Anyone who is inspired by this story and would like to explore the possibilities of becoming a Benedictione oblate of the Anglican patrimony, wherever they may be in the world, should contact Brother John-Bede Pauley OSB at firstname.lastname@example.org .
P.S. Brother John-Bede has just sent us the following eMail, which gives a little more information:
On the feast of St. Benet Biscop, I write to let you know that members of the inaugural St. Benet Biscop Chapter of the Benedictine Oblates of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, were enrolled as oblate candidates this past weekend. … This Anglican-patrimonial group includes members of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. In keeping with the ecumenical mission of Anglicanorum coetibus, the chapter’s members also include members of the Anglican communion who wish to deepen ecumenical dialogue (especially given the place of the Anglican patrimony in the Catholic Church thanks to Anglicanorum coetibus) and to grow in the wisdom of the Rule of St. Benedict. In addition to receiving the enrollment certificates from members in Minnesota and North Dakota, I’ve received certificates from seven members of Blessed John Henry Newman Church in Irvine, California and one from the Fellowship of Bl. John Henry Newman in British Columbia. I expect more certificates to arrive soon from New Jersey, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas.
Here at St. John’s Abbey, we celebrated, on Sunday, Mass according to the Divine Worship Missal (for the first time, for most of us) and Evensong, which included the Enrollment Ceremony directly before singing the Magnificat. I concede that the number of firsts we juggled (first celebration according to the new missal; first time to sing a new setting of the ordinary of the Mass; etc.) made things a bit precarious at moments. But the mysterium tremendum of it all shone through.
May God who has begun this good work in us bring it to completion.