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Our Lady of Walsingham in Saint Bede's, Williamsburg, VA

Our Lady of Walsingham in Saint Bede’s, Williamsburg, VA

Following several years of work, it is a joy to learn today that Divine Worship: The Missal is to be published in time for Advent this year. This missal represents the definitive expression of the Anglican liturgical patrimony within the Catholic Church, primarily for the use of the communities and parishes of the personal ordinariates in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia. It is accompanied by Divine Worship: Occasional Services, which contains the rites for baptism, confirmation (including the reception of converts), marriage, and funerals.

Divine Worship: The Missal is long awaited for two reasons. First, because the effort that has gone into producing this text, particularly on the part of the Holy See, shows a genuine desire to preserve in the Catholic Church the worthy Anglican liturgical patrimony which has nourished the Catholic faith throughout the history of the Anglican tradition and prompted aspirations towards ecclesial unity. It is an expression of the solicitude of the Roman Pontiff to care for all Christians and to promote the unity of Christians with the visible communion of the Apostolic See. At the start of his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI expressed what, in a certain sense, is here fulfilled: “Peter’s current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers. This is his ambition, his impelling duty. He is aware that good intentions do not suffice for this. Concrete gestures that enter hearts and stir consciences are essential, inspiring in everyone that inner conversion that is the prerequisite for all ecumenical progress.” This is a “concrete gesture”, which shows that a true desire for communion with the Apostolic See will be met with the authentic charity of Christ, which is itself an essential component of the Petrine ministry.

Secondly, the promulgation of Divine Worship: The Missal concludes, in a certain sense, the formal erection of the personal ordinariates. The permission to celebrate the sacred liturgy according to liturgical rites drawn from the Anglican tradition and approved by the Apostolic See, granted to the personal ordinariates by a faculty in Anglicanorum cœtibus, is one of the central purposes of the provision of the canonical structure of the personal ordinariates. The promulgation of a codified Eucharistic liturgy gives particular expression to this precious gift, intended both to nourish the faith of the members of the personal ordinariates, and as a treasure to be shared with the entire Church (AC III). Almost every other aspect of the life of the personal ordinariates is possible without the provision of such a circumscription. In a very particular way, the liturgy provided here makes sense of the juridic structure.

On this feast of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, who first sent Saint Augustine to evangelize the peoples of England, please join me in giving thanks for those who have worked tirelessly to achieve this end. Please pray also for the ordinaries, clergy, and lay faithful of the personal ordinariates, that this may be a moment of grace for us, bringing us into a closer union with Christ that, in the words of Cardinal Newman, others may “look up and see no longer me but only Thee, O Lord!”

If you are interested in assisting a priest or community of one of the personal ordinariates in purchasing Divine Worship: The Missal, please contact me by email: frjamesbradley[at]gmail.com.