Monday, March 11, 2013

The Anglican Use in Sydney

As mentioned, I was all set to go to Low Mass at St Mary's Cathedral when a chance remark by my host alerted me to the proximity of the local Ordinariate group – so I ended up attending their Anglican Use Mass at the chapel of Lady Davidson Private Hospital, just near the entrance to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park (where I'd been for a short bushwalk the day before).

The Ordinariate Mass is held there at 9:30 am, which has been their time slot for some years, well before their group came into full communion late last year (they had been members of the Traditional Anglican Communion); the local Anglicans who belong to the Sydney Diocese (notoriously low, more Puritan than anything else, and quite anti-Catholic) hold services there also, before and after, and having to share use of the premises has been less than ideal, since all has to be carefully set up and then packed away every week.

The altar, readied for the Sacred Mysteries (note server on the right). 

My friend (who's been there before), myself, and another cradle Catholic (he tells me he now always goes there) joined the Ordinariate group for the liturgy; Fr Warren Wade (ordained as an Anglican in 1961, and as a Catholic in 2012) kindly introduced himself to Mike and me before the service, while the altar was being readied by the server and members of the congregation, with crucifix, six candles, an altar stone, and all other needful items.

Mass was celebrated ad orientem, with incense, kneeling for Communion (under both kinds), and "the playing of the merry organ"; however, their lack of a choir that can assemble and practise beforehand – they travel from all across greater Sydney to come to this Mass – precluded more than the singing of four hymns. (I recalled that the Capuchins had the immemorial custom of using incense at their conventual Low Mass.) 

For the record, they used the New English Hymnal, from which they sang:
  1. Introit Hymn "And now, O Father, mindful of the love" (NEH 273);
  2. Offertory Hymn "Shall we not love thee, Mother dear" (NEH 184);
  3. Communion Hymn "Wherefore, O Father, we thy humble servants" (NEH 313);
  4. Last Hymn "Love Divine, all loves excelling" (NEH 408, to the tune Blaenwern).
I would have liked to join in in good voice, but I had never sung the first three, and knew a different tune to the fourth! Ah well.

The readings were those of the modern Roman Rite for this Sunday; the homily was very good, the highlight for me being Father's retelling of his visiting a dying parishioner, who was fearful as to whether his sins had really been forgiven him by the Lord: raising a crucifix before his dying eyes, the good priest had reminded that man not to think on sins past, but on the power of Christ Crucified.

Within their Mass booklet, as part of its adaptation for Catholic use, a copy of the Roman Canon as given in traditional language in the Catholic Church's Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship was inserted, and this was prayed.  Earlier, drawing on their own heritage, they had used the prayers of the faithful as drawn up for use in the Anglican Catholic Church of Australia, with suitable adaptations, such as special prayers for the Pope emeritus (how strange that still sounds), the Cardinals, and the new Pope soon to be elected.

As in my earlier experiences of Anglican Use worship, it was most fitting and right to pray the Collect for Purity and the Prayer of Humble Access: Fr Wade told me afterward that several Catholics have asked him for copies of the latter, that they might use it privately in preparation for Holy Communion – that indeed is the sort of cross-fertilization that Holy Church rejoices in, now that the long-sundered Anglican Patrimony is brought back into the fold, reunited to the Western Church from which it sprang.

One amusing detail: given the following of the Order of Mass in the Book of Divine Worship, the offertory prayers, the Orate fratres, the Prayer over the Gifts (Oblations) and the words of consecration were still in their old ICEL version, since the BDW is currently in process of being updated to match the new translation.

Mass concluded, several devotional prayers were appended: the Last Gospel, the Ordinariate Prayers drawn up by Bp Elliott, the Angelus, the Salve Regina with Collect, and then the recessional hymn. I rather too cheekily joked later – forgive me – that Catholics might be put off by the fact that the service ran for just over an hour!

After Mass, while enjoying a cuppa and a biscuit (by ill chance the simnel cake ordered for "Mothering Sunday" had gone astray), I remarked how – given my long acquaintance with the Latin Mass – the service felt quite familiar to me (for instance, before Mass proper began, as a sort of preparatory devotion, the priest and server said Psalm 42(43) alternately in a low voice, etc.); one of them explained how they had long used the English Missal (a translation of the Missale Romanum by Anglo-Papalists), and hence their manner of celebrating Mass is influenced by the older Catholic forms. Fr Wade remarked that he still has to get used to various changes in the wording, and apologized for an innocent mistake he'd made because of this.

I am very glad to have joined these good people to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" and hope to do so again, when next I am in Sydney. May they continue to share their Patrimony, including the dignified and reverent celebration of Holy Mass, with the wider Church, and may their ongoing efforts to grow and evangelize bear much fruit.


Matthias said...

Interestingcomment about the Anglican diocese of sydney being " low,more Puritan than anything else, and quite anti-Catholic)". You could add to that the few Anglo Cathlolic parishes are battling this influence ,and i believe that the traditional prayer books-both BCP and APBA- are rarely used.
Here in Melbounre i was reading the local anglican parish newsletter and their sunday prayers included God's Blessing on the Conclave!!

AndrewWS said...

What actually are the (post-mass) "Ordinariate Prayers drawn up by Bp Elliott"? Here in England, we in the Ordinariate simply sing the Marian anthem of the day.

Glad to see that old custom of simnel cake has made its way to the other hemisphere.

Joshua said...

Personally, I've heard of simnel cake but never tasted it, so I was a bit disappointed this item of Patrimony went astray!

Joshua said...

The Ordinariate Prayers drawn up by Bp Elliott are as follows (from the website of the Australian Ordinariate):


Eternal Father, we place before you the project of forming the Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. We thank you for this initiative of Pope Benedict XVI, and we ask that, through the Holy Spirit, the Ordinariates may become families of charity, peace, and the service of the poor, centres for Christian unity and reconciliation, communities that welcome and evangelize, teaching the Faith in all its fullness, celebrating the liturgy and sacraments with prayerful reverence and maintaining a distinctive patrimony of Christian faith and culture.

Drawing on that heritage we pray:

Go before us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy name, and finally by thy mercy obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

V. Our Lady of the Southern Cross.
R. Pray for us as we claim your motherly care.

V. St Augustine of Canterbury.
R. Pray for us as we place this work under your patronage.

V. Saint Mary of the Cross McKillop.
R. Pray that we may share your abandonment to Divine Providence.

V. Blessed John Henry Newman.
R. Pray that Christ’s Heart may speak unto our hearts.

V. Saints & Martyrs of England, Wales, Scotland & Ireland.
R. Pray for us and accompany us on our pilgrim way.

AndrewWS said...

Fascinating, thank you. I wish these prayers could be adapted and used in England.

God save our new Pope and bless you in your blogging and other labours!