Earlier today I was looking for something in the archives room here at the parish, and I came across a parish newsletter from July, 1983. What made it especially interesting – and what might make it interesting to the readers of this blog – is an article I wrote titled “The Long Awaited Day Is Upon Us.” It gives the time-line of what would be taking place leading up to my ordination and the establishment of the first Anglican Use parish.
My own memory of things had blurred a bit (it’s been over twenty-seven years, after all!), and when I've recounted what had happened with us all that time ago, I haven't always remembered each and every detail, which is why I'm glad to have found this old article.
Quite a few people have expressed their concern and interest about what the process might be for those groups coming into an Ordinariate. Depending on who’s talking, there are all sorts of speculations. What this article does is give a picture of the way the Church has done it in the past, in similar circumstances. Of course, that’s not to say this is what will happen now – but here’s a precedent that we might reasonably expect to see, and it’s the process that was approved by Cardinal Ratzinger himself.
This is what I wrote, and this is how it happened in 1983:
His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Faith, has conveyed to the Most Reverend Patrick F. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, the necessary permission from the Holy See to proceed with the ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of Christopher G. Phillips, and the canonical erection of a Personal Parish for the Anglican Use in the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
This will take place on 15th August 1983 (the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) at 7:00 p.m. in the Cathedral of San Fernando, San Antonio, Texas. The process of our full reception into the Catholic Church will take approximately one month, and consists of various steps outlined by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. These steps are as follows:
July 17: After our Sunday Mass at Saint Anthony’s, the Pastor will make his Profession of Faith at a private ceremony with the Archbishop, thereby being received into the full communion of the Church. His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, has stipulated that the period of approximately one month should elapse between the Profession of Faith and ordination to the Sacred Priesthood. This time period is a considerable reduction from the normal waiting period of one year, and it applies only to those former Episcopal priests who are pastors of Anglican Common Identity parishes.
July 24: This will be the first of four Sundays during which we will be in a strangely unique situation. Because the Pastor will be a Catholic layman for this period of four weeks, he will be unable to celebrate the Mass or exercise any other priestly functions. The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has asked that no Mass be celebrated in the parish, and that the laity not receive Holy Communion from any priest during this time, as an intense preparation for the step we will be taking. This is a difficult request, but it comes from the Holy See. Therefore, beginning on July 24th we will have Matins and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Father Charles Neumann, S.M., will be with us on the 24th when he will preach and take part in Matins.
July 31: Matins and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 11:15 a.m.
August 7: Matins and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 11:15 a.m. At 6:00 p.m., in a private ceremony, the Archbishop will ordain the Pastor to the Diaconate.
August 14: Matins and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 11:15 a.m.
August 15: At 7:00 p.m., in San Fernando Cathedral, the Archbishop will ordain the Pastor to the Sacred Priesthood. At the Mass of ordination the laity will be received into the full communion of the Church, the Archbishop will declare the canonical erection of the Personal Parish under the title of Our Lady of the Atonement, and Father Phillips will be appointed Pastor of the Parish.
Obviously we can’t know if this is exactly the same pattern that will be followed for those clergy and communities entering the Ordinariate, but it certainly was the decision of then-Cardinal Ratzinger. Since he is now the Pope, and the chances are that he thinks similarly to the way he did then, this might shed some light on what he expects from the bishops who have been appointed as liaisons and who have the particular task of preparing for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus.
At least it’s interesting, I think.
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