Mary and the Patrimony

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of the Rosary at St Anne's Brockenhurst — what could former Anglicans add to that from our Patrimony?  A church dedicated to the Mother of the Lord, and a Mass of Our Lady.  Well, at the end of this morning's Mass I began singing the Angelus and found I was operating solo.  It was a great surprise to me that the tone I supposed everyone knew was unfamiliar to a Catholic congregation.  They were very kind, though, and even said they would like to learn it!  This just confirmed a conversation I'd had a few days ago.  'We thought', said this cradle Catholic, 'that the Church of England disliked such Roman things as "praying to the Virgin Mary" — yet we find you are far more Marian than we are!'  The truth is, Anglo-Catholics have had to fight for a proper place to be given to the Mother of Our Lord — and in doing so we have probably become 'more Catholic than the Pope'.  Now that we are in Communion with the Holy Father, we no longer have to fight in that way.

But it is still surprising to find that part of the Patrimony we are bringing with us is devotion to Our Lady.  At our Ordinariate Mass on Sundays in Southbourne, we end by singing the Angelus — and again, those who join us from the Parish congregation seem delighted that we are using something which once was so familiar to them, but has largely been neglected in recent years.

I believe Our Lady has a great concern for the Ordinariate.  The first of them here in England is dedicated to her under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham.  For me, the process began years back, when we started the Ecumenical Friends of Fatima (EFFA), and I was asked to lead Pilgrimages there.  At the end of the Procession on May 13th, the Bishop of Leiria/Fatima generally calls four or five bishops forward.  The crown is removed from the Image of Our Lady, and these bishops are invited to touch the Spina, the bullet set in the top of the crown.  On our first visit it was intensely moving that Bishop Seraphim included me, an Anglican bishop, in that little group.  The bullet was the one which had so nearly killed the Holy Father; that attack had happened on May 13th, the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady in Fatima.  In thanksgiving, the Pope gave the bullet to the shrine.  It might seem a curious gift, but Mary's protection was something John Paul II valued hugely.

In all her conversations with the Little Shepherds, Our Lady emphasised the importance of praying the Rosary.  Our Anglican Group, EFFA, has taken this call to prayer very seriously, and each day our seventy or so members pray one of the Mysteries in turn, asking Our Lady's prayers for others in the Association.  Those prayers are still being answered.  So far, thirty of us have come into Communion with the See of Rome.  Perhaps part of our Patrimony involves reminding our fellow Catholics that Mary is Mother of us all, and calls us all to prayer with her.

Author: Fr. Edwin Barnes

Bishop Barnes read theology for three years at Oxford before finishing his studies at Cuddesdon College (at the time a theological college with a rather monastic character). He subsequently served two urban curacies in Portsmouth and Woking. During his first curacy, and after the statutory three years of celibacy, he married his wife Jane (with whom he has two children, Nicola and Matthew). In 1967, Bishop Barnes received his first incumbency as Rector of Farncombe in the Diocese of Guildford. After eleven years, the family moved to Hessle, in the Diocese of York, for another nine years as vicar. In 1987, he became Principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford. In 1995, he was asked by then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to become the second PEV for the Province. He was based in St. Alban’s and charged with ministering to faithful Anglo-Catholics spread over the length of Southern England, from the Humber Estuary to the Channel Islands. After six years of service as a PEV, Bishop Barnes retired to Lymington on the south coast where he holds the Bishop of Winchester’s license as an honorary assistant bishop. On the retirement of the late and much lamented Bishop Eric Kemp, he was honored to be asked to succeed him as President of the Church Union. Both these appointments he resigned on becoming a Catholic in 2010. Fr. Barnes is now a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, caring for an Ordinariate Group in Southbourne, Bournemouth.

31 thoughts on “Mary and the Patrimony”

  1. Dear Fr. Barnes,

    Presumably you were using the tone that we can see Bishop Mercer using in the TAC recording of the Angelus, and, like the "other" Catholics there, I, too would like to learn it. It is a whole lot more elegant than the tone one has been used to over on the "regular" Roman side. Which is to be expected, of course.

    All the best.

    1. "It is a whole lot more elegant than the tone one has been used to over on the "regular" Roman side. Which is to be expected, of course."
      Why of course? Are you so arrogant that everything coming over from the Anglican side is so superior to what we poor cradle Catholics have been used to? Give us a break.

  2. I am fascinated. Well, it is to be expected I guess as Anglican music, chant and polyphony grew separate from the Catholic.
    Is there a recording available that we could purchase to learn this version of the Angelus?

  3. Is Marian devotion authentically Anglican? I can't find an Anglican figure, before the mid-nineteenth century who ever prayed to Mary.

    This was a Roman Catholic practice (deprecated in the 39 Articles and not in the BCP), copied by a tiny number of Anglo Catholics and now is offered back as the Anglican Patrimony. Incredible!

    1. Marian devotion was briefly introduced into the Church of England during the period of the Caroline Divines. But it had a short life and disappeared after the Commonwealth until it was re-introduced during the Oxford Movement and its aftermath.

  4. Fr Edwin, last weekend you were at St Agatha's Landport for an Ordinariate mass starting at 12.15. This was preceeded by a TAC mass starting at 11.00. (Some people attended both, but obviously made their communion only at one). Between the two services there would seem to be a gap where a joint Angelus could be sung. Can this be considered for the next occasion?

  5. I, too, as a Catholic have never heard the Angelus sung – was this an Anglo-Catholic development, or based on a Belgian custom? (I recall reading that Ritualists used to pop across the Channel, carefully observe Catholic practice, and then implement it back home, mutatis mutandis.)

    1. The majority of Anglo-Catholic customs were introduced after clerical holidays on the Continent. Belgium and France were the most influential sources. As for the former, some Anglo-Catholics argued that if Queen Mary I had had a male heir, England would have become, like Flanders, part of the Spanish Empire. Therefore it is likely that it would have developed in the same way as Belgium. Hence the veneration for Bruges and all that could be found it its churches. This resulted in churches like St Mary's, Bourne Street, and St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, and the aesthetic of the Society of SS Peter & Paul, all of which are suggestive of the Low Countries.

    1. This version originated at St Alban's, Holborn, in the 1890s. In the last forty years or so it largely fell out of use as services at 11am were replaced by others at an earlier hour, making the Angelus said at noon redundent.

    1. This is the Angelus of my childhood. I'm 62, and I've been Catholic for nearly 35 years. There are two things from my Anglican childhood and youth which I still miss, and this setting of the Angelus is one of them. The other is Choral Evensong in a country parish: a dozen people and, if one was lucky, maybe the same number of people in the sanctuary and the choir. The psalm sung to Anglican chant. The anthem. The solemn censing at the Magnificat. Simple, beautiful prayer. Transcendent.

      1. Forgot to add… I believe that a simpler variation of this setting is used in the Manchester Oratory. I don't know whether the other English Oratories also use it.

          1. Isn't it? I haven't been there for a few years, but I know someone who works at the university who goes to Mass there quite often. I thought it was all official now.

            1. Things are done very well at the Holy Name but I understand that the London Oratory is opposed to Manchester becoming a formal Oratory. As far as I gather, it concerns personalities rather than principles. One of the problems is that few aspiranrs stay the course because of difficulties in the community.

            2. Ah. I've heard tale of that, I think. Sadly, I've heard the same allegations levelled at Birmingham, and occasionally London. The Oratories (the world over) do so much for the life of the church and the world, not "merely" excellent liturgy. I suppose it's not surprising that they are singled out for special diabolical attention.

  6. This is a beautiful example of the type of cross fertilization that enriches all those involved individually, and beyond that also collectively, by building up the culture that grows out of our worship.

  7. Most Anglo-Catholics are familiar with but a few manifestations of the Blessed Virgin—Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, Walsingham. In common knowledge, few others. I have an affection for Our Lady of Mariazell, in Austria, Magna Mater Austriae, Magna Domina Hungarorum, Mater Gentium Slavorum. I commend all to visit the Shrine in Washington to learn of these many other manifestations. There are many, and they were the ones known and beloved by our ancestors. Too many are now forgotten, alas. Also, there are the manifestations reflected in the ikons of the Eastern Churches. I remind us all that the one devotion that should be written in our hearts is the Magnificat, which has never ceased to be the devotion of most Christioans.

    1. Our Lady of Egmanton, Our Lady of Willesden, Our Lady of the Pew, Our Lady of Haddington, Our Lady of Ipswich, and Our Lady of Evesham are only some of the shrines venerated by Anglican Catholics. Rocamadour, Banneux, Boulogne, La Salette, Nettuno, Loretto, Częstochowa, and the Rue Bac amongst many others are all familiar pilgrimages and devotions.

  8. I think (without listening to the proffered link) the tone for the Angelus, though often printed out in plainsong notation, has actually the melodic form of a typical Anglican chant [1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4-5-6 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4-5-6] Anglo-catholics know it and love it because they don't realise it is Anglican chant (which some of them won't use on principle) and Roman Catholics don't know it, by and large, because Anglican chant has not been part of their musical tradition.

    1. Monsignor is right – I'm certain it's from an Anglican single chant too and have been trying to locate it. I have trawled through the Exeter Cathedral chant book to find it to no avail yet.

  9. I first heard the Sung Angelus at St Peter's Folkstone in the early 60's, and many times thereafter. The organist of St Agatha's Portsmouth in 2007 wrote me out the version sung there –with a rather lush organ accompaniment. Another version I have, with rather more elaborate versicles and responses, may have been the one sung at St Mary's Bourne Street, London.

    Anyone who doubts Anglican devotion to Mary should read A.M. Allchin's 'The Joy of All Creation'. Here is Thomas Traherne, a mid-17th century Anglican priest, whose words bear out what Pope Benedict says is the content of the feast of the Assumption — praise of Mary in heavenly glory.
    O Lord, I praise and magnify Thy Name
    For the Most Holy Virgin-Mother of God,
    Who is the highest of Thy Saints,
    The most Glorious of Thy Creatures,
    The most Perfect of all Thy Works,
    The nearest unto Thee in the Throne of God,
    Whom Thou didst please to make
    Daughter of the Eternal Father,
    Mother of the Eternal Son,
    Spouse of the Eternal Spirit,
    Tabernacle of the most Glorious Trinity.

  10. Mr Williams needs to consider that the BCP is not the sole repository of things Anglican. The 39 articles also need to considered in their context and with intepretation – things aren't always what they might appear.

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