Thursday, July 5, 2018

Why I Chose the Ordinariate Community to be My Parish

Zdzislaw Piotr Jasinski, Niedziela Palmowa, 1891.

I recently became a member of the Ordinariate parish in my community, and I am here to put in a good word for the good they are doing for the Catholic Church in their living of the three pillars of Catholic living: lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi; that is, how we pray affects what we believe, both of which in turn have a direct influence how we live. The faltering of one leads to the faltering of the others. Vise versa, the equal upholding of these three pillars results in the thriving of the Church, and such is the case with my Ordinariate Community. 

Edit: For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, the Ordinariate are former Episcopalians and Anglicans who have returned to full communion within the Roman Catholic Church, but who have been given permission to retain the liturgical traditions of the Anglican church, such as the celebration of Evensong.

Community -- Living

As a church organist, I have worked for several Protestant churches, and one thing that Protestants do particularly well is this: hospitality and fellowship. The people of the Ordinariate have brought their knack for these things along with them. They are warm, welcoming, honest, and boisterous, with beautiful, loud, adorable children, and they all look out for one another. They opens their hearts and their homes to one and all, for all persons are loved, welcomed, and respected in their midst.

Speaking from my own experience, from Day One they invited me to their coffee hours and to dinner get-togethers. And since my own family lives several hours away, my holidays are usually spent visiting and carousing with these good people! In many ways, they have become my extended family.

Formation -- Believing

One of the greatest problems in the Roman Catholic Church is the lack of catechesis in children and even more so in adults. The Ordinariate community addresses this through formation for both age groups every Sunday after mass throughout the year! For our community, formation topics have varied from Scripture to the writings of Benedict XVI to the lives of holy men and women like Chesterton and Edmund Campion. These formation sessions have been edifying for myself and those around me as young and old participate in insightful and sometimes lively discussions.

Liturgy – Worship

As a church organist, I am a bit of a liturgy geek, and I love the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The incense, the bells, the chant, the Latin – it all speaks to me in a way that Evensong speaks to many Anglicans and Episcopalians, like an “old familiar cloak passed through the generations. It is … [like] a rambling old house where everyone can find some corner to sit and think, trailing a few absent-minded of faith or doubt in its passing stream,” to quote Stephen Hough. It helps me to obtain a unique level of quiet, peace, and contemplation in prayer, and I will always reserve a special place in my heart for the Extraordinary Form for this reason.

However, the Ordinariate Form brings many of the elements of the Extraordinary form into the post-Vatican II era, as a great deal of the Ordinariate liturgy comprises a literal translation of the Extraordinary form from Latin into the vernacular. This translation is infused with prayers from the Anglican rite. The liturgy is transcendent and beautiful, a far cry from the anthropocentric worship which has overrun so many parishes.

In addition, the liturgical year perfuses the Ordinariate’s daily life from the treats at coffee hour (e.g. blackberries for Michaelmas) to the extra liturgical events like the blessing of candles for Candlemas. The result is a Catholic community infused with friendship, food, customs and traditions and a true sense of belonging (not unlike the wonderful world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry for those of you who are Harry Potter fans).

If you are fortunate enough to live near an Ordinariate Community, I hope you will visit and get to know them! They are doing good things for the Catholic Church.

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