The Vigil of All Saints last night at the Mission Basilica of San Juan Capistrano was breathtaking. It was sung (except for the Divine Praises at Benediction) entirely in Latin. I'm told there are photos and possibly even video clips floating around online, so if anyone knows links to those, please put them in the comment box.
This month's prayer list is out for all the groups coming into the forthcoming American Ordinariate. Please keep this list at hand and pray for one another.
All signs point to this month being the month when the Ordinariate could be announced here in our country. Please pray that this is so!
I've heard from many of the groups via email and phone, and heard many stories about how difficult this time of waiting has been on the laity. It certainly has been difficult on the clergy, I know, with trying to keep faith and hope alive and morale up during this period of "hurry up and wait" uncertainty. But I know how difficult it is for the laity as well, making sacrifices for the greater good of your parish home (often in the wake of major disputes and battles about the Catholic faith and the Ordinariate within the parish itself) and being told that "soon" something will happen, but then "soon" becomes interpreted more in eschatological sense than a literal one. Many groups do not have pastors and are awaiting an appointment of one by a future ordinary; many groups have seen pastors come and go during these times for various reasons; many groups have limited resources and desperately need financial help from the Ordinariate and any wider Catholic dioceses and parishes but are not technically Catholic yet so aid isn't yet coming; many groups feel isolated and alone, having battled their old ecclesial jurisdictions to make it to the Church's doorsteps and awaiting the day when their Ordinariate door is opened to them.
This is arguably one of the darker times of Anglo-Catholicism here in this country, but it is preceding one of the brightest for sure. So many Anglo-Catholics who were formally separated by years of schism and heresy within the Anglican world are coming back together for the first time in decades, not only as our own family again, but connected for the first time in five hundred years to the wider Catholic family in full visible communion!
We must keep our faith and hope alive and must not loose morale. I encourage those of you - especially clergy and leaders of ordinariate groups whose morale is dwindling - to seek out ways to help celebrate your future life in the Ordinariate. For example, both St. Mary's and Bl. John's are coming together to do a joint evensong. The idea started with St. Mary's new choir director, Dr. Kathleen Moon, to simply have an opening event of a concert series, and I suggested not only doing that but have the theme be about celebrating our common life in the Ordinariate and we could invite the choir of Bl. John's. We have tried to invite as many in the area who'd even remotely be interested, and the two facets of great choral music and the Ordinariate have attracted many more people than we originally anticipated. (Now how many actually show up on the day of, one never knows!)
But even small groups can do things to celebrate our common life together in the Ordinariate. Say you're a group of ten and don't have any musicians or even a pastor yet. You could create a wine and cheese event using the parish hall of your local Catholic Church where you and your members tell not only the story of your own group, but also of Anglo-Catholicism in this country and the wider world. You could talk about Abp. Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI, ARCIC, the following decline of the Anglican Communion. You could even talk about the old glory days of the Anglo-Catholic Congresses and show the old photos (I've got some if you want scans!) as a visual aid to Anglican patrimony the Holy Father wants preserved! Then you go around town, handing out fliers, make online and newspaper announcements, etc.
Things like this would be great to renew the vision and purpose of who we are and what we're doing and to edify others. And by edifying others, hope and vitality can be restored in us. After all, we are Anglo-Catholics, and survival among the fiercest odds is one of the things we do best!
And for the Feast of All Saints and in the spirit of hoping beyond hope (and expecting great things even when it doesn't seem like it at first):