Tips for Ordinariate Growth

On the excellent Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog the webmaster, Shane Schaetzel, has shared 8 recommendations for Ordinariate growth. I applaud them and believe we should embrace them in the UK to the extent that each group make them part of the vision moving forwards.

1. Get away from established Catholic Parishes. You can’t build your own house in somebody else’s backyard. Embrace the missionary spirit. Move away from your host parish and set up shop in a populated area where no Catholic parishes are nearby. Even if you have to meet in somebody’s home, or in a storefront, its better than trying to build your own house in somebody else’s backyard. 

Pembury reflection: There is no doubt coming to a small mass centre, ranked low in terms of diocesan importance and presumably heading for closure, helped establish the Ordinariate in Pembury. As did splitting away from Paddock Wood which gave me pastoral control. Where colleagues have been tasked  with running large diocesan parishes, or serving under diocesan priests so that 90% of their time is given to diocesen work, Ordinariate progress has, unsurprisingly, suffered.

Caveat: in Pembury we have no plan to break free from the diocese-holding dual identity is healthy- but the need for ordinariate priests to have control/space to flourish is essential; without autonomy we could never have developed St. Anselm’s to reflect an English patrimony. Our beautification project would have stalled.

2. Get a good website and reliable contact info. Make sure people can easily find you.

Pembury reflection: The blog is widely read and has brought several people to worship in Pembury. This includes locals who joined the congregation and holidaying visitors from as far afield as the USA, Italy and  Australia!

3. Behave like a parish. Make sure you’re offering Mass and reconciliation regularly. 

Pembury reflection: This is true. The Ordinariate won’t thrive long term where it exists only in one Mass per week during a grave yard slot in a busy diocesan setting. In Pembury the liturgy of the Ordinariate is in regular use. Evensong is taken from the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham and we offer Saturday 9am Mass and 9:15am Solemn Mass on Sunday according to Divine Worship. We swap around a bit at other times -save for the 11am Sunday Mass which is always Novus Ordo. We favour Divine Worship for all occasional offices.

4. Make sure you have a parish name- patron saint- don’t go by “Ordinariate community” Nobody understands what that means.

Pembury reflection: Detractors of the Ordinariate love alluding to a fantasy- that we are not part of the Latin Rite. So certain Anglicans say  “were I to become Catholic I would to it properly“. It is nonsense and our clergy only differ from any other in England and Wales in the way a priest from one diocese differs from another. Hence St. Anselm’s is the only Catholic Parish in Pembury open to all. Schisms exist outside the body not within.

5. Accept everybody, even cradle Catholics looking for a new home. Remember, people don’t have to be Ordinariate eligible to become members of an Ordinariate parish. Also think outside the box when it comes to evangelism. If you’re only reaching out to Anglicans, you are doing something wrong. You need to reach out to all non-Catholics. Remember, any non-Catholic (regardless of religious background) who is received into the Catholic church through an Ordinariate parish is automatically eligible for membership.

Pembury reflection: Most people come to Pembury simply because it is the local parish or because we value tradition. Our being Ordinariate hasn’t been a barrier to growth hence we have attracted Keralan and Opus Dei members in recent years. We are a diverse parish like any other. Praise God!

6. Offer highly traditional liturgy. Youth are more attracted to tradition these days. Don’t fall for the hippy happy-clappy trap. Nothing is more dated than contemporary worship. If you want young people to join your community, you need to offer old traditional liturgy. The more “high-church” the better. So use that Divine Worship Missal regularly and vigorously.

Pembury reflection: Message received and understood. Mass is only ever celebrated Ad orientem and we use plainsong for the Sunday Novus Ordo. Our use of hymnody is wide ranging but we only embrace hymns with solid theology appropriate to the liturgy of the day. The Ordinariate must be distinctive to survive and we clearly have a mandate to be part of the much needed reform of the reform.

7. Offer challenging homilies. People today are sick and tired of watered-down, non-offensive homilies that don’t challenge them to live the faith. Don’t get me wrong. We need to show the love of God in all of our teaching, but at the same time we need to clearly define sin and challenge people to overcome it.

Pembury reflection: For others to judge. Though I assure you the clergy of this parish like nothing watered down in life, including whiskey!

8. Don’t over-explain yourself. There is a tendency to want to explain the whole thing when it comes to the Ordinariate, Anglican Patrimony, our history, etc. Don’t do that. Just answer people’s questions as they ask them, and only give them the information they ask for. Don’t over explain it. That confuses average visitors and makes them think something is “fishy.” Just tell people what they need to know, only when they ask. Then carry on as if what you’re doing is the most natural thing in the world.

Pembury reflection: I agree. It can be a challenge though because people remain woefully ignorant about the Ordinariate and its purpose. What I tend to do is give new comers a free copy of the CTS booklet Understanding the Ordinariate That way I can smile and they can read at home should they be interested. Must order more today….

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14 thoughts on “Tips for Ordinariate Growth

    1. I agree. And if they were then we would have been welcomed home, discovered an orthodox and confident English patrimony already flourishing in this place (as opposed to papal methodism) and would not have been needed, in quite the way we are, as part of Benedict’s desired “reform of the reform” I suspect…

      1. Aye. The seeds are planted (and not just for the Ordinariates). If the Lord wants them to flourisn, He will water and tend the crops and growth will follow.

  1. Good Evening Father,
    Father Maunder warmly invites you and the Minster congregation to the following Mass at St Agatha’s. Perhaps you’d be so kind as to advertise this on your blog?

    Thank you

    (Divine Worship Missal)

    The Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham

    11am, Saturday 30th September.

    St Agatha’s Church
    Market Way
    PO1 4RN

    Homilist: Fr John Saward.
    Music: Byrd’s Mass for 4 voices.

    Refreshments will be served after Mass.

    St Agatha’s- “rich in ceremonial and tradition”
    Regular Mass Times:

    Monday- 11am Low Mass. Intention: Vocations to the priesthood & religious life
    Friday- 11am Low Mass of Requiem
    Saturday- 11am Mass of Our Lady
    Sunday- 11am Solemn/High Mass

    Keep up to date:

  2. Couple of questions Fr.
    You always say traditional liturgy draws people in especially the young. Can you point me to full quantative analysis that demonstartes this. I don’t doubt that it may be true but it often seems like a line that’s thrown with no factual detail to follow it up.
    What are your views on that following and what I expect would be return to the 1968 Missal or something very similar in certainly the USA and England and Wales?

  3. You know me, a tedious pedant, but it strikes me that your manner of services is somewhat idiosyncratic. Why in the picture is the subdeacon wearing a chasuble? And if this is the censing of the altar at the introit, why are the deacon and subdeacon raising the tail of the celebrant’s chasuble in such an odd way rather than just holding onto its shoulders as prescribed by the rubrics?

    1. Yawn. What does Common Worship tell you to do as an obedient member of the Church of England?
      I was concelebrating a mass and performing duties of the sub-deacon as we didn’t have one. As faithful Catholics using the liturgy we have been granted by the Holy See. That will do me. Thanks.

      1. That is SUCH a silly question. Common Worship is not binding on anyone. The Book of Common Prayer is the official service of the Church of England. Why on earth would I bother with a fanciful Anglican interpretation of Pope Paul’s Novus Ordo?

        Anyway, more importantly, why do you feel the compulsion to ‘concelebrate’? Why not just act as subdeacon as the occasion requires?

          1. How does it make sense? Why does it not make more sense to deacon for your Ordinary? The only time concelebration ever makes any sense is when the newly ordained recite the canon with their ordaining bishop – and this they do kneeling behind him not standing at the altar.

            And, of course, if your Ordinary is celebrating he should have a seventh candle on the altar and be wearing a dalmatic under his chasuble – which clearly he is not.

          2. Other than the Chrism Mass I assume?
            I was always taught as an MC to keep concelebrants out of the way until The Canon. I’ve done this rather effectively over the years. My Parish Priest says with genuine warmth about my “cattle prod technique”.
            Concelebrants have no place being at the Altar until then. If they are then I’d go for the rather brutal assessment of sub-standard lay MC’s and clergy concelebrants playing at being an MC.
            The idea that in this photograph you’re “acting as the sub deacon” just made me ransack through my rather splendid collection of liturgical books from new to old and I can see no such reference or need.
            If the Deacon is being the Deacon of the Mass then the only other person who has any right to be standing there is the MC.

  4. I have always held the ideocyncratic view that only a deacon should be deaconing and should always wear a dalmatic. Apart from that why can’t everybody follow the liturgical norms and stop quibbling. It reminds me of the argument about how many angels can stand on a pin head. Any non-catholic reading this would take the view that we are obsessed with externals. It reduces the Mass to pure theatre.

      1. Yep!
        Some folk seem to place more importance on dress and ceremonial than on the Eucharist itself. That carries the risk of moving into the realms of magic.

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