On the weekend of November 13-14, five people gathered at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota for what became the founding of the Anglican Use Society of St. Bede the Venerable.
St. John’s oblates, Marty and Colleen Sieve, who had been watching developments related to Anglicanorum coetibus, contacted Br. John-Bede Pauley, assistant professor of music at St. John’s to see if there might be a possibility of having a regional Anglican Use celebration at the Abbey. Br. John-Bede obtained permission from Abbot John Klassen to have occasional celebrations from the Book of Divine Worship at the Abbey and Fr. Nathanael Hauser, art historian and iconographer, agreed to act as chaplain.
Br. John-Bede contacted me in late October, because of my involvement with The Anglo-Catholic. I was a bit surprised to be getting an inquiry about the Anglican Use from Collegeville, but was immediately taken with the project. In the Lutheran Belt of the upper Midwest, Anglicans are a bit thin on the ground. The possibility of having regular celebrations at a location that could host those traveling from a distance seemed eminently sensible and I received permission from our prior to attend the exploratory meeting on the weekend of November 13-14.
On the evening of the 13th, we met in the St. Francis Chapel at St. John’s for Evening Prayer from the Book of Divine worship, followed by supper and a period of getting to know one another at the St. John’s guesthouse. Marty and Colleen told me the story of how they had found their way back to the Catholic Church via their experience of Anglican Worship on visits to the UK. Br. John-Bede is currently completing a Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Durham, examining the English cathedral tradition and the interplay of music and silence in the liturgy. Fr. Nathanael is a noted iconographer and has been instrumental in the production of the St. John’s Bible. The Sieves had brought along some very good Belgian beer, which helped the discussion along considerably.
On Sunday morning, we returned to St. Francis for Mass from the BDW celebrated by Fr. Nathanael. I think that we were all deeply moved as we knelt for the canon and heard the familiar words. The Mass ended with the singing of “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation.” Afterwards, we adjourned for lunch and an organizational meeting at the Abbey guesthouse. We were so encouraged by the weekend’s experience that we unanimously voted to move ahead with the formation of an Anglican Use Society under the patronage of St. Bede the Venerable, English monastic and Doctor of the Church. Br. John-Bede was elected as the President of the new society. At present, we envision meeting over a weekend every two months to allow those from more distant areas to participate.
After the initial meeting, Abbot John approved the group’s plans and the Bishop of St. Cloud was informed of the group’s existence. Bishop Kinney wrote a gracious reply to the announcement and promised to refer any Anglicans expressing an interest in Anglicanorum Coetibus to the newly formed group.
The next weekend Evensong and Mass will be the weekend of January 1-2. You will find more information at the Society's new blog, StBedetheVenerable.blogspot.com.
Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog!