A Visit to the Anglican Use Sodality in Toronto

On Sunday, I drove down to Toronto, planning to attend a funeral on Monday morning.  I decided to come early and attend Mass at the Toronto Anglican Use Sodality, which now holds services every Sunday at 1:45 p.m. in Sacre-Coeur Parish, conveniently located downtown.

Getting there was far more stressful and time-consuming than I had anticipated, so I arrived just as the homily was about to begin.  I had forgotten to take our GPS and instead had printed off directions via Google Maps or something like that.  Well, the Don Valley Parkway exit going south was closed.  I ended up going north, had to get off ASP and navigate through the stoplights and busy city streets to the church.  Needless to say, going by memory, I did manage to find the right location, but only after some wrong turns.

But once I arrived in in the cool, dark interior, my stress level dropped.  Though the sodality is small, among them are members of the Mahon family, a former Anglo-Catholic family of musicians and singers.  Ah, to sing the Creed the Mahon way!  I tried my best.

Great to talk with several of the folks there.  Peregrinus Toronto and his lovely wife invited several of us over for drinks and snacks in their apartment.  Among the guests, a young Jesuit scholastic, a young man studying to be a hospital chaplain and who had acted as subdeacon in the Mass, a young Mahon family member and singer, and my blogger and writing friend Denyse O'Leary.  After three glasses of white wine, and all the corn chips and hummus I could eat, the young Mahon drove Denyse and me to our next rendez-vous, a blogmeet at a Thai Restaurant with two of Canada's most pre-emiment and politically-incorrect bloggers.

Pray for the Toronto group.  It has a good solid core that includes several committed young people and their families.  Fr. Eric Rodrigues, Cardinal Collins' secretary, has been their principal priest, but he has lined up several others to fill in for him when he can't make it.  Someone else celebrated the Mass on Sunday and I did not get his name — but Fr. Eric came by to join us for coffee, a sign of his care and concern for this fledgling group.

It was good to see the bulletin they have created for the Mass, with inserts for special music.  The bulletin included the music for the Creed and the Gloria.  The plan is to make the bulletin a seasonal affair, so when the music changes, there will be a new bulletin.  I think that's a good idea.  We do not have the music for the Gloria or Creed in ours, even though we change the musical settings with the seasons.


Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (www.annunciationofthebvm.org) in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

16 thoughts on “A Visit to the Anglican Use Sodality in Toronto”

  1. From the angle the photo is shot, it almost seems that North-end celebration is practiced at the Toronto Ordinariate Sodality! 😉

    + PAX et BONUM

  2. I was pleased to be at this mass. I found it uplifting and after meeting with my brothers and sisters there, have managed to get myself back on track as far as the Ordinariate is concerned. The celebrant was Father Derek Cross. There were 19 people at the mass. Numbers have been as high as 60 in the past. This was my first Anglican Use mass with this particular group, but it won't be the last.

    With Deborah there and myself a cross section of three Sodalities were represented considering the fact that I am from the Oshawa Sodaity and she is from the Ottawa Sodality.

    I think it's a good idea for people to visit each others' groups to build up a sense of community and a sense of cohesiveness.

    Hopefully, once the Deanery of St, John the Baptist is set up in the Ordinariate here in Canada, there will be opportunities for us to get together, perhaps not a Synod, but some form of Deanery meeting or annual gathering and retreat, with various guest speakers, would be a good idea. Perhaps, something similar to the annual Anglican Use Society's annual meeting.

  3. Nineteen people, including at least two out of town visitors, seems a bit of a falling-off from sixty. Is anyone concerned about this?

  4. EPMS, there has been no falling off whatsoever. Regular attendance for the last seven Sundays has been very consistent at around at least a couple dozen. That particular Sunday was an exception, since it was advertised and was our first big choral Mass with a professional choir.

  5. Sorry about the inaccuracy of my count at mass. I think attendance will be better this coming Sunday with the planned "Choral Eucharist" with a full choir. I will do what I can to spread the word. I hope to attend since the prospect of a mass this Sunday in Oshawa seems to be in doubt at the Sodality of the Good Shepherd.

  6. Having read Deborah G's blog and the two mentioned above, I can't figure out why right wing views of a more extrreme nature (the Sun seems to be highly favoured, as well as pro-Birther Obama bashing) seem to be a part of the Ordinariate movement. How can it not be seen as a Church of choice for people who take those positions? As an Anglo Catholic, I always thought that we were more than less open on many issues, given that Anglo-Catholicism was most opposed by very conservative Protestant-minded Anglicans, for whom being WASP had an emphasis on the "P". Anglo-Catholics were more creative, accepting, and, to a point, fun-loving. Anglo-Catholic parishes were a refuge from the surrounding culture, which was basically repressive and Calvinist. People of a more searching and questioning type found a refuge in Anglo-Catholic parishes where one was basically out of step. To be honest, these parishes were places of beauty, where liturgy was taken seriously and music mattered. Women and gay people found ways to participate and to be accepted in ways that patriarchal Protestantism would never allow, outside the Women's Auxiliary. I am not drawn to the social views that seem to be espoused by many on this board. It seems that the Ordinariate has become a haven for people who crave the sharp edges of Romanism, even when they don't seem to be de rigeur among the Romans. How could I join such a group and be free to express my views or feel at home when I know those around me would not accept my ways of thinking? You have drawn a line that I would not cross without facing hostility. What does this have to do with the Catholic Faith or with Jesus?

  7. Richard Grand, we don't discuss politics on this blog. If you want to contest my views from another blog of mine, please make your comments over there. But for the record, to call any of my posts "birther" is to seriously misrepresent me.

    If you are not drawn to the social views expressed on this blog, which I hope are in line with what the Catholic Church teaches, then you probably do not belong in an Ordinariate parish. As for women and gay people participating— obviously I am a woman and I participate but I am not clamoring to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion or to get ordained as a sign that my participation and the full use of my spiritual gifts is recognized. Our parish has always welcomed people who have same-sex attraction. But we teach what the Church has always taught on human sexuality, marriage and the dignity of human life.

    If you want to be a Catholic, or are already Catholic, I hope you accept what the Church teaches on these issues. That these teachings are not de rigeur among Roman Catholics is very sad. But if you want a happy, free, joyful life, experience the abundant life Jesus promised, you must choose to believe the truths the Church hands down faithfully from one generation to another.

    1. Oh, Deborah, my first movement was to search for the "like" button, but as we are not on Facebook here I'm posting a comment to show my appreciation of what you are writing, and also the way you are expressing it. No wonders you are an acclaimed journalist, and a successful novelist.

      + PAX et BONUM

    2. I appreciate the willingness of Deborah Gyapong to respond to my post. I recognize that this is not a political Blog, but I would point out that I was led to two very political Blogs by clicking on the buttons in the above artcile, both of which had references to the issues I mentioned above.

      As a person who encountered Anglicanism through the Traditional Anglican Communion and the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, your view of Anglicanism may not be that of most mainstream Anglicans and many Anglo Catholics, who have had to compromise for generations within the context of Anglicanism and its various expressions at the local level. You have commented that your background is in fundamentalist Protestantism, so the fundamentalism of the Anglican Catholic Church, albeit in a different direction, did not seem unusual to you. Obviously you approach the Roman Church in the same way.

      Because Anglo Catholics lived for generations among other Anglicans who did not share or even support their views, they learned to make compromises so as to be a part of a Diocese and wider Church. These were not compromises of faith and practice, but they did require a certain suspension of judgement of others. This is an ethos not commonly found among conservative Roman Catholics who still call non-Romans heretics.

      The issue of the ordination of women is beyond the scope of this posting. However, that was the catalyst for the formation of the TAC, although it may have only been the presenting issue when others lay beneath. The fact of the ordination of women and the many gifts they have brought to the Church and its ministry speaks for itself.

      The issue of the participation of gay people in Church life was less important at the time, probably a good thing when one considers that gay people have almost always felt more comfortable in Anglo Catholic parishes and social circles. Keeping a low profile was less important and many of the gifts gay people brought to the Church, especially in liturgy and music, were valued. Unfortunately, it was a "don't ask, don't tell" life for them as well as knowing their place. However, without Anglo Catholic parishes, such people and their gifts would have been lost to the Church, let alone lost to society, since the Church actually saved them and gave them dignity. It would seem now that the real sin of Anglo Catholics and Anglicanism is simply being honest.

      I am quite aware that these are not views you share. However, I do ask at least that you respect them as a Roman Catholic. I am a Catholic Anglican, therefore we have no quarrel, since we belong to different Churches. I am grateful for people of faith, above all those who are compassionate and see Christ in others.

      1. My background is not fundamentalist Protestant, it is evangelical. I was a member of a small "b" Baptist church, a seeker friendly parish. There are distinctions and while I have nothing against fundamentalists, i.e. those who might call themselves that for the specific reasons they once decided being a fundamentalist was a good thing. Since those days, however, it has become a pejorative term for someone who takes even metaphors literally. Uh, frankly, I haven't met any of the Christians who fit the model, even those who are more conservative than I am. I think you seem to be very concerned about being stereotyped or of gays or women being stereotyped, when you are crashing into the comments section of this blog stereotyping right and left.

  8. “You cannot claim to worship Jesus in the Tabernacle, if you do not pity Jesus in the slums. . . It is folly, it is madness, to suppose that you can worship Jesus in the Sacraments and Jesus on the throne of glory, when you are sweating him in the souls and bodies of his children.”

    – Bishop Frank Weston, Anglo-Catholic Congress of 1923

    However, I wonder whether Bishop Frank Weston would be a statist and think all charity was something delivered by the state through government programs?

    Sadly, much of what is touted today as Catholic Social Teaching is default statism or socialism that ignores key principles of subsidiarity and obliterates the true nature of charity—which is voluntary—and opts for coercive redistribution of wealth schemes. (which have the effect of increasing the size and power of government and making everyone poorer by destroying the private sector).

    I am for smaller, modest government, and for people to have more of their tax dollars to give to charity of their choice rather than to the salaries and benefits of unionized bureaucrats who think they are smarter than I am and better able to determine where my money should go.

  9. Oh, and do you think Bishop Weston would have had anything to do with our abortion-on-demand system?

    Pitying Jesus in the slums is not destroying the family by removing incentives for marriage and then paying babies to give birth to more babies.

    Pitying Jesus in the slums does not mean throwing tax dollars or borrowed money from China at problems that have a spiritual origin — today people on welfare have more material gadgets than my middle-class parents did growing up, but but have a huge spiritual poverty that no government pay cheque will ever erase.

    Yet your government programs, Obamacare type things, will forbid the professional bureaucrat you are paying to take care of your charitable obligations for you, to even mention Jesus Christ on pain of firing or a human rights offence.

    1. Hmm, perhaps you hang around a higher class of welfare recipients than I do. Those I know who are not cheats live a pretty miserable material existence. I would go with your first instinct and leave politics out of this blog.

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