Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome Mt. Calvary Church

Four priests and about 50 lay people were received into full commuion with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church today in Baltimore as part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. This is part of the fruits of Anglicanorum coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution from Pope Benedict XVI, which allowed parishes or groups of Anglicans to enter into full communion with the church, but to keep parts of their patrimony or spiritual heritage. Mt. Calvary was the first church in the U.S. to vote to enter into full communion with the church, but is the second to actually enter as it took time to resolve property issues with the Episcopal diocese. We now have 2 ordinariate parish's here in Maryland.

I was not able to attend the reception mass for Mt. Calvary Church (choir for our 1:30pm TLM), but I did attend the solemn high vespers and benediction. It was wonderful and the church is lovely. Simple and clean lines with a stunning crucifix and high altar. I had never attended an Anglican rite vespers before and the music was simply beautiful. Anglicans are known for their singing- psalms as well as hymns and everyone was singing the congregational parts. The psalms were sung in beautiful and straight-forward polyphony. That means yes, the congregation did not sing everything, but we were no less involved. The program had the psalms and it was meditative to read along and it was English chant.

I had always read and heard that one of the hallmarks of Anglican worship was their love of the prayers of the hours- a hold over from England before the break- when lay people actively participated in some form of the office. In fact, I recall, from my time attending Episcopal churches, that the Book of Common prayer we used (which was the late 70's or early 80 included lauds and vespers if I recall. One irony is that if you look at many older versions of TLM breviaries and prayer books, you will see Sunday vespers simplified offices. Many parishes used to have vespers and benediction on Sunday but this, along with so much else, has been lost.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker gave the the sermon which was excellent. Afterwards, there was a reception, and I was able to speak with several people I knew and I was able to see our pastor from St. Pat's back when we joined. I also met several women and men who had come down from an ordinariate parish in Scranton, PA to celebrate and to attend the March for Life tomorrow.

I did not get any pictures as we were in the front row, per request of the little one, and I don't know how to disable the flash. I will see if I can find some posts to link to later.

This parish, and the ordinariate, needs our prayers and also our financial support. Swimming the Tiber can cause difficulties and it is worth every one of them. It is especially means a willingness to depend on God's providence for clergy. There is a donate button at the ordinariate web site...I'm just saying....

1 comment:

  1. Mary,

    I attended both the reception Mass and Vespers later in the day, and you should know that Fr. Steenson, the soon to be installed Ordinary, stated clearly that Mt. Calvary is the first to be brought into the Ordinariate. Every article I've read has made the same statement.

    You state it is the second one in MD. I've seen no other announcement although I am aware of one other church with an application pending.

    Would you please identify the other church in MD who has entered the Ordinariate, and clarify when they did so?

    I agree with you that everything was quite beautiful. I wish you had been there in the morning, but I suppose you do too.

    I plan to attend as often as possible in the future. Perhaps I'll run into you and your family.

    Thanks and blessings to you.