To Those Preparing

Things have been pretty quiet on the blog of late. It’s not because nothing is happening. In fact, quite the opposite – at least here in the United States, where it appears that an Ordinariate will be established next.

Things are fairly calm because everything seems to be falling in place. Cardinal Wuerl has delivered his final report to the Bishops’ Conference. The priestly formation program is ready to go. The dossiers are being examined. The Curial officials will be returning soon from their summer break. Liturgical considerations are in hand. Things are stirring.

We might consider this time to be rather like those hushed moments before the dawn.

I know we’re at the stage when every day seems like a month. It was like that a generation ago, when we were waiting for the implementation of the Pastoral Provision in this country. The very same pattern prevailed: daily calls to someone – anyone – who might have information; scanning the newspapers (those were pre-internet days) for any word. And then… a period of quiet and calm, just before we realized that it was actually happening.

We continue to rejoice with those in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, as they build upon the foundation of what has been accomplished there. At this moment, I have no further word about developments in Canada, Australia, or anyplace else where Ordinariates might be formed. But here, in the United States, we’re getting close.

So… courage, brethren! Enjoy the stillness of the moment, and know that unseen work is being done. Continue to deepen your knowledge of the faith. Persist in prayer, for that is a great source of strength for you. I know you’re growing impatient with being told to be patient, but… be patient, too. The wait is getting shorter. There will be lots of work to do when the Ordinariate is up and running, and now’s the time to get yourself in shape spiritually for the demanding time ahead of us.

Every morning when I unlock the church, I stop by our shrine to Blessed John Henry Newman, where I pray for all who are preparing to enter the Ordinariate. May the Light he knew and loved – and even now in which he rejoices – lead you on.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

19 thoughts on “To Those Preparing”

  1. As JRR Tolkien wrote in The Lord of the Rings, “The deep breath before the plunge.”

    Please know that all Anglicans, Episcopalians, and Anglo-Lutherans considering their call to the impending ordinariates are in my daily prayers. May God continue to guide you through the final steps of your journey and strengthen you for the great work ahead.


  2. Best be getting in shape physically as well! Some groups are going to be ready to move, pack, unpack, saw, hammer and nail in new locations if they have no worship space. It's not going to be easy but is will be exciting and when it's done you will have the satisfaction of knowing that a part of all of you will be in it.

  3. Fr. Phillips,

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. They are a real boost.

    Fr. Bill Ledbetter,
    St. Thomas the Apostle, Hollywood
    St. Mary of the Angels, Hollywood

  4. Thanks, Father, for your always timely, always solid encouragement. While the waiting and the uncertainty are difficult, it's helpful to be cheered on by one who has "been there, done that."

    Fr. Ed Meeks
    Christ the King Church, Towson, MD

  5. We are keeping the Faith in Orange County. Evensong each week, going through Evangelium afterwards, and very much enjoying new friendships.

    It is such a wonderful experience to be working on this with the Lord, the Pope, the Magisterium, and new friends considering the Ordinariate. What a privilege, what an honor. We look forward to God's leading.

    Blessings to all seeking unity in Christ, Greg

  6. God bless all of you making the journey, from this cradle Catholic Brit. We are waiting for you on the other side, just like we did for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
    Waiting is always hard but please remember the exhortation of Blessed JPII: "Be not afraid!"

  7. Here in England, there are those of us who have learned to wait, pray and give thanks, leaving everything to God in the fullness of his hour. We pray that, we too will be graced with a 'welcome' in the Ordinariate, and that our Ordinary will find time to be gracious in his leadership, actioned by the Holy Father in leading us home.
    My prayers are with you all in the United States as you look forward to setting up your own Ordinariate. Soon it will be the turn of Australia, Canada and the rest of the World, for those who are waiting patiently.

  8. Thanks, Father, we wait and pray for the Lord's will and His timing. Even our Catholic brothers whose small church we are using are anxiously awaiting the developments. They, too, wish the wait were over and that we were one in unity.
    Fr. Dennis Hewitt
    Sacred Heart of Jesus – Anglican

  9. Dear Brother in Christ,

    Thank you for your wisdom and counsel. I read somewhere about "waiting upon the Lord" — It seems it is not the waiting that is the difficult thing to do; it is the persistant attacks on our people, clergy and lay, by the evil one, and those who are constantly spreading negative rumors or in some cases calling our people, to unnerve them and try to lead them astray. In this time of "waiting on the Lord," I must say that it is a time "not" to sit on our hands and wait, but to be putting our hands to the plow, and to keep doing our best to bring folks closer to Our Lord and to our goal of Unity. Let us conduct ourselves, as if we are together today, in the "Ordinariate," and plan and pray for tomorrow. In my opinion, some waiting is wasting time. We have plenty to do, so let us get on with it. Just my opinion.

  10. [Removed by Moderator]

    Herb, you are banned from this blog under the screen name "Herb," "Reeb," or any other. I have only left this comment in place because our Fr. Phillips was so kind as to reply. Go away Herb!

    1. Herb, after thirty years in "safe harbor," and experiencing life in the full communion of the Catholic Church, I'd say I've done due diligence. I haven't had a day of regret…

      …but thanks for your concern for those who are coming home.

  11. Warmest thanks to Fr. Phillips for his beautiful message of encouragement — just what so many have been looking for. We hope and pray that he will be the new Ordinary. No one more richly deserves it than he.

  12. Thank you, Fr. Phillips. This is a most timely and encouraging post from one who has travelled the road we are on. God bless you.

  13. Man, this is a spirit lifter! God bless you, Father. I second what good Fr. Hughes (how cool is it that he is following events here!) has suggested. From his lips to God's ear.

  14. My dear Father Phillips,
    Thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement. As we wait our parish is getting much information on the up and coming Ordinariate and more of the teachings of the Catholic faith as we wait. Bless you and all those working so hard to make this happen. Fr. Lowell E. Andrews

  15. Fr. Phillips:

    Thank you again for your consoling words. It seems that you always know the right thing to say and the correct time when to say it. For this “old” military type patience has not been one of my cardinal virtues, however this period of protracted reflection and prayer has been most gratifying. Like so many of my brother priests we continue to pray that our petitions to be received home will be favorably looked upon.

    To all of our well wishers, please continue to look over your shoulder; God willing we are coming home just behind you.

    Fr. Bob Hall,
    St. George’s Anglican Church

Leave a Reply