Last week, the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa buried Stan Horrall, one of the founding members of the original parish that began in the late 1970s. The building was so packed with relatives and friends that many of us either sat in the parish hall downstairs, or on the landing. I stood behind the organist so that I could sing and participate even if from a side room.
Our first Anglican Use Requiem Mass was thrilling. What a beautiful send-off for Stan. What a witness to those who came from far and wide to experience it. And what reverence and joy our priest, Fr. Francis Donnelly, of the Companions of the Cross, brought to the celebration.
I am loving the fact that Archbishop Prendergast assigned us Fr. Francis, in effect knitting us even closer with this charismatic order of priests founded by the beloved Fr. Bob Bedard, who was a leader in the charismatic renewal of the 1970s and 80s.
On Friday night, Fr. Bob, who died last October, was entombed in a beautiful mausoleum that served as the altar for the outdoor Mass.
Our former bishop Carl Reid was there, as was our former deacon, Michael Trolly and his wife Rebecca. Archbishop Prendergast celebrated. At the end of the Mass, the people gathered began singing in tongues. Beautiful, lovely spontaneous harmonies. I knew Fr. Bob a little, having interviewed him a few times, and after every conversation I would be buoyed for a couple of weeks by the life-giving power behind his simple words. As musician, song-writer and Catholic apologist David MacDonald wrote on his blog, along with pictures of the event, this was the first of many pilgrimages to Fr. Bob's burying place. And I trust there will be miracles through Fr. Bob's intercession.
Today, Fr. Francis celebrated the Anglican Use Mass for us. For anyone who says Anglican Patrimony will not be celebrated in the Ordinariates, please come and see! Last week, Fr. Francis asked the Moderator of the Companions, Fr. Scott McCaig, to celebrate the Mass for us as he was needed at his home parish for Baptisms or something like that.
And in a few weeks, another Companion priest will come and learn our liturgy. I spoke with him Friday night and he said he is looking forward to it. I'm loving what the Companion priests bring us — this freshness of the Spirit, a confidence in the supernatural gifts and the palpable presence of the fruits of the Spirit in their lives. And I love the fact that they love our liturgy and love us.
We have had some changes to the liturgy since we became Catholic. Among them, we now have three readings on Sunday, not two. But I don't hear any complaining, and most I would say are like me, thinking, wow! This is so rich! So beautiful. And to be also Catholic! Allelulia!
Just before Fr. Francis delivered his homily, he asked for the bulletin, which has the RSV readings for today. He preached off the cuff, tying together the readings, exhorting us in such a way that I heard several people say afterwards, he was preaching just to me.
We had three visitors today, all Roman Catholics; one a consecrated hermit from a neighboring diocese who is a former Anglican. They loved being with us and loved the way our parish is so small, the bun fight so impressive with sandwiches and all kinds of goodies, and, our fellowship is, well, like the bar Cheers, where everyone knows your name.
When I looked out during Stan's funeral last week — no eulogies, just a focus on the Resurrection, and saw the standing room only crowd, with people jamming the pews, and sitting on the staircase to the attic office in the back, I believed I saw a harbinger of what is to come.
Today, there was a little discussion of the situation regarding the Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement, and while none of us in Canada knows any more than what Fr. Phillips posted on Facebook and I reposted here, the view is that this withdrawal of its application to join the Ordinariate is temporary. We hope so, anyway.
And our experience of the Catholic bishops in Canada has been one of generosity and welcome as they free up priests to minister to our tiny flocks, whether in Oshawa, Toronto (they celebrated their first sung Anglican Use Mass today), Tyendinaga, Ottawa, Calgary, Victoria and more to come.
So I would caution against jumping to conclusions and undue speculation in the comments. Let's pray for our Ordinary, Msgr. Steenson and all those who are helping him put the Ordinariate on a firm footing. If God is for us, who can be against us? Let's pray as well for Fr. Christopher Phillips and his wonderful parish that has been a beacon of hope to us Ordinariate bound Anglicans.
Msgr. Steenson was in Beverly, Massachusetts today speaking to a potentially Ordinariate bound group there. I look forward to news of that.