This morning I have been busy collating booklets to enable us to celebrate Mass according to the new Ordinariate Use, a rite officially launched to coincide with the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham which falls today.
How exciting for the Ordinariate to have its own beautiful liturgy enabling us to offer something truly distinct in our life as former Anglicans residing with joy within and alongside the wider Catholic Church. For this is a Mass steeped in the treasury of English spirituality which we hope and pray might enable us to speak powerfully to the people of this nation, in their own language and culture, as we seek to end the scandal of reformation divide and call people home to unity and sacramental assurance with Peter.
This liturgy has been carefully put together by the Vatican to ensure it is thoroughly sound in its expression of the faith. It is not only for former Anglicans, therefore, but for the benefit of ALL Catholics. A fully valid Mass which fulfils our obligation following as it does the Roman Canon of the Mass. It just happens to contain prayers and devotions drawn from the Book of Common Prayer which sprang from the ancient Sarum Rite trampled underfoot during those painful years of division. A thoroughly English Catholic Mass then and written in the stunning language of the prayer book.
Here at Saint Anselm’s we will not replace the Novus Ordo Mass with the Ordinariate Use but put the two celebrations alongside one another. A fitting expression of our dual nature being a community that breathes with two lungs, one diocesan and one Ordinariate.
At first, and beginning today, Low Mass on a Tuesday will be offered according to the Ordinariate Use. Over the coming weeks and months the servers and clergy will then meet to rehearse Solemn Mass together to ensure we can offer it with the appropriate amount of dignity and reverence. When we feel confident and ready we will then host a special evening Mass, to which we will invite all comers from the deanery and beyond.
Then, if it seems appropriate, it is possible that we will use the Ordinariate Use Mass for our 9.15am Sunday Mass leaving the 11am Mass as a Novus Ordo celebration. In short we need to experiment a little with open minds to help everyone get used to what is new without losing what we also love. Here is the official blurb on the launch of this new liturgy:
History will be made in the Catholic Church on 10 October when a new text for the Mass which includes traditional Anglican words is officially introduced in London.
The text has been devised for use by the Personal Ordinariates – the structures established by Pope Benedict XVI which allow former Anglicans who wish to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church to do so whilst retaining aspects of their spiritual and liturgical traditions. Benedict XVI described these as “precious gifts” and “treasures to be shared”.
The liturgy – the work of a special commission established by Rome and now approved by the Holy See – includes material from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as well as the Roman Rite. It will be unveiled with a Mass, to be followed by a media launch organised by the Friends of the Ordinariate charity, at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, Soho.
The Mass will be celebrated by the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Monsignor Keith Newton, and the preacher will be Monsignor Andrew Burnham, Assistant to the Ordinary and a member of the commission which devised the liturgy, known as the Ordinariate Use. Music, drawn from the English tradition, will include Howells’ Collegium Regale.
Mgr Burnham said: “For some time, the Ordinariate has had its own liturgy, approved by the Holy See, for marriages and funerals and the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham already provides a daily office in the Anglican tradition. But the introduction of this new Ordinariate Use is very important because it means that we now have our own distinctive liturgy for the Mass which brings to the Roman rite beautiful Anglican words which have been hallowed for generations. It gives the Ordinariate unity and a corporate identity.”
The Roman Rite in both its ordinary and extraordinary forms remains available for use by Ordinariate priests and there will be no requirement for them to adopt the Ordinariate Use. However, all Ordinariate clergy will be expected to familiarise themselves with it. Some priests are expected to use it regularly, while others – especially in parishes with a large concentration of “cradle” Catholics in the congregation – may only wish to use it from time to time.
The Mass will be celebrated in the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory’s at 6.30pm on Thursday 10 October. All welcome.