Almost There

Lately on The Anglo-Catholic there have been more and more accounts of groups being received into full communion with the Catholic Church, and there are lots more to come. Many of them are folks that I’ve come to know pretty well, ever since the original Becoming One gathering we had in November, 2010. Some great friendships were established at that time, and those relationships have been strengthened as more gatherings were organized, along with regular contact by email and telephone. Now, seeing the reports of so many being received into full communion, and sensing the excitement of the clergy preparing to enter the formation program, I’ve got to admit that it’s downright inspiring!

We’re on the eve of the formal beginning of the Ordinariate in the United States. It’s been “in the future” for so long…and now, here it is. I want to express my gratitude to so many of you who have allowed me – in a very informal way – to accompany you on the way. After more than twenty-eight years as a Catholic priest, my contact with real live Anglicans had been pretty limited, other than with those who were coming into the Church through our parish. But having met so many of you who are on the journey into the Ordinariate, I must say that my circle of friends is much richer than it has ever been.

It has been a privilege to have been able to give some encouragement, or to share a bit of practical advice, with so many of you. I’ve lost count of the conversations we’ve had in which I’d say, “When we have an Ordinary appointed, he’ll be able to answer that.” Well, in less than two weeks there will be an Ordinary, and it will be a great pleasure to be able to say, “Let’s contact the Ordinary about that!”

January 1st will be a watershed date for us in the United States. It’s been a wonderful trip so far, with very agreeable travelling companions. When permission is finally given for the parish of Our Lady of the Atonement and its clergy to transfer into the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate, our journey together will continue…and quite honestly, I can hardly wait!

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 “Almost There”

  1. Your journey is inspiring to us too. This eve of the formal beginning of the ordinariate in the United States comes with great expectation. Your steadfast support has been a blessing to the future of Christian unity. God bless you Father.

  2. "When permission is finally given for the parish of Our Lady of the Atonement and its clergy to transfer into the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate, our journey together will continue."
    Well, perhaps in some way you won't have to wait the incardination of your parish in the ordinariate to be a part of it…

    + PAX et BONUM

  3. Advent is so full of expectation! It is wondrous that the Personal Ordinariate will be formally established on January 1st, 2012 during the Epiphany season. It will be memorable to experience the U.S. Ordinariate's unveiling as a gift of the Holy Spirit working through the Holy Father's vision of unity and mission of Holy Mother Church. May God bless the Ordinariate, the Ordinary-elect, and each that have worked to make it a reality.

    A Catholic in Brooklyn

  4. Fr Phillips,

    It would be impossible to express how much we've all relied on you, even though many of us do not know you well or personally. You have made this journey remarkable and given encouragement without ceasing. Pointing us constantly to Christ and toward unity has enthused us with great joy and anticipation. With God's help, and uniting in the prayer of His Son Jesus, we will continue to strive so that "the world may believe."

    A very Merry Christmas to you Father, and thank you.

  5. Extraordinary! "The present is all lit up with Eternal Rays." Thank you, Father Phillips and to our Holy Father Benedict guided by the Holy Spirit to make the Church ONE.

  6. For me this Dec 31st will be a, 'more anticipated than usual', countdown of the last seconds of an old year. I shall be awaiting the ringing in of the New Year; the anniversary of my wedding day (may my wife Mercedes RIP); and the birth of the Ordinariate. Wow. Perhaps three drinks and a heartfelt, "!Gracias, Padre celestial!"

  7. Aw, come 1 January we shall no longer have the delight of asking, "Are we there yet, Father Hurd? Are we there yet, Cardinal Wuerl? Are we there yet, Fr. Steenson? Are we there yet, CDF. Are we there yet, Holy Father? Are we there yet, Lord God?"
    1 Jan 2012: "Yes, my children, we are here at last. Now, let's get to work."

  8. I want to echo Greg above. It would be impossible for me to express how much your encouragement has meant to me. I pray you continue to receive many blessings for you and your ministry.

    1. Just my opinion, but I think that speculation, while tempting, is most unhelpful at this point in the game. We do not want to raise false expectations, or ruin the new ordinary's chances of getting his own good start on the job without preconceptions. Let's wait a couple of weeks, and then it will be time for congratulations and pulling ourselves together behind the new ordinary and getting to work. We will have a LOT to do then.

      1. Well, he is a Catholic priest of Anglican extraction, so I'd say his chances of being the Ordinary are reasonably high. Looking from the outside, I'd say the chances are good, but there are a few other candidates whose chances are equally good. Many are speculated about, but few are chosen.

  9. My Dear Brother in Christ,

    I just need to add my comment concerning your pastoral guidance to >so< many of us. Thank you, is just not enough for all you have done for us on this journey, but, I will add to my "Thank You"... a prayer that our awesome Lord will continue to bless your ministry and give you the wisdom and strength to continue to offer us your pastoral guidance. PAX+

  10. Dear Fr. Phillips,

    Let me add my voice to the grateful chorus. You have been a good friend and a wonderful pastor from the very beginning to those of us seeking unity with the Church. Your continual strong encouragement to me personally through this process has been a pure blessing. I continue to be buoyed and inspired by your wisdom, your insight, and above all by your example. As I continue to wait for word from the CDF, I'm grateful for your ongoing prayers.

    Fr. Ed Meeks
    Christ the King Church
    Towson, MD

Leave a Reply