It’s difficult to communicate important information by way of email – there’s an understandable tendency for recipients to forward them all over the place, and there is always the strong possibility of someone misinterpreting them. However, I do want to reiterate some of the points I made in yesterday’s email about my meeting with Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Bishop Oscar Cantu.
1. The archbishop is NOT preventing the parish from seeking entrance into the Ordinariate at this time, or at some future time. He was clear about that, and is very respectful of our right to make that request any time.
2. It is important to all of us that we preserve the integrity and unity of our parish – church and school, clergy and people, buildings and patrimony – and at the present time the only way we can insure this is by remaining as we are; namely, a Personal Parish of the Pastoral Provision, rather than a parish of the Ordinariate. We all want the parish to be able to continue as it is, with our clergy and people intact, and with our church and school serving those who want to be here. At some point we may be able to have that in the Ordinariate — but this is not the time.
3. Our way of worship – our liturgy, our devotional life, our music…everything we treasure and maintain – will be able to continue uninterrupted, and the archbishop and his auxiliary bishop have stated their support and admiration for what is done here.
I know the decision to withdraw our parish request to enter the Ordinariate is unexpected, and some of you might be perplexed. As you know, I have been very excited about the prospect of being in the Ordinariate, but I had to weigh every aspect of this, and decide what would be truly best for us. The stability of our parish is something I know you would not want to discard lightly, and this decision provides us with the best and safest way to continue to “preserve, nurture and share” our Anglican patrimony, as we have done for the past twenty-nine years.
As we have opportunities to deepen our communion with our Father-in-God, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, let’s make the most of them. He was genuinely moved to learn that we will be remaining in his jurisdiction for now, and he looks forward (as do we) to strengthening our ties with the archdiocese which has been our home for so long.
The time may come when we are prepared to enter the Ordinariate, and when the Ordinariate will be in a better position to receive us as we are. We can be grateful that God has used our parish, in some small way, to prepare the ground for the establishment of the Ordinariate in this country. As strange as it seems for us not to be part of it from the very beginning, the time is not yet right.
Let’s all pray for the success of the Ordinariate, and especially for the men who are preparing for ordination over the next few months. No matter what jurisdiction we’re in, we’re all working for the same end – the building up of God’s Kingdom!
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Christopher G. Phillips