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US Ordinariate: Promising Beginning

On January 1, 2012 the new Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established in the United States — in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus (Anglican groups) by which he established the “Personal Ordinariates” as an outreach to people of Anglican heritage who want to become Catholics. (Exactly one year earlier, January 1, 2011, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham had been established in England.)

In his January 27 address to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which supervises the Ordinariates, Pope Benedict spoke about the groups of faithful coming from Anglicanism “who wish to join the full communion of the Church, in the unity of the common and essentially divine Tradition, preserving their own distinctive traditions, spiritual, liturgical and pastoral, that are in keeping with the Catholic faith”.

On February 12, in a ceremony in Houston, The Reverend Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson was formally invested as Ordinary — the title of the leader of the new Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Vatican’s delegate for the Ordinariate in the United States, and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston inaugurated the new Ordinariate with a Mass at the co-cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston. The ceremony was attended by ten other bishops.

Monsignor Steenson was the Episcopalian bishop of the diocese of the Rio Grande from 2005-2007, when he entered the Catholic Church. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2009. Though the responsibilities of the Ordinary are comparable to that of a diocesan bishop, and he will be a full voting member of the US bishops’ conference, Monsignor Steenson cannot be ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church because he is married. (Monsignor Steenson, 60, and his wife, Debra, have three grown children. He has been teaching at the University of St. Thomas and St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston.)

A few days before his investiture as Ordinary, Monsignor Steenson wrote: “I have been overwhelmed with the prayers and good wishes of so many in the Catholic Church who have opened their arms and their hearts to us. And very touching too have been the words of encouragement from other Christians as well who rejoice to see God’s people listening to and following their consciences.”

The Ordinariate’s canonical and civil foundations are now being developed, and after this is completed it will be able to receive groups and congregations. Cardinal Wuerl, in his report to the US bishops last November, said that the Ordinariate currently will have the option of using either the Roman Missal or the Anglican Book of Divine Worship. Meanwhile, Cardinal Wuerl said that a committee in Rome is working on future liturgical texts for the ordinariates.

For information about the Ordinariate, visit the web site usordinariate.org, or mail: Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, 7809 Shadyvilla Lane, Houston, TX 77055.

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ICEL — New Officers, More Translations in the Works

Bishop Arthur Serratelli, of Paterson, is the new chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), according to an ICEL news release of February 16. Bishop Serratelli was chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship 2007-2010.

ICEL’s news release follows:

The ICEL Bishops having completed their annual meeting in Morristown, New Jersey, are happy to report on the continued work of the Commission and the election of its officers:

Bishop Arthur Serratelli, Bishop of Paterson [New Jersey], Chairman
Archbishop Denis Hart, Archbishop of Melbourne [Australia], Vice-chairman
Archbishop Albert LeGatt, Archbishop of St. Boniface [Manitoba, Canada], Treasurer
Archbishop Dominic Jala, Archbishop of Shillong [India], Secretary

The Commission expressed its deep and profound gratitude to Bishop Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds [England], who has guided the work of ICEL as its chairman since 2002. Two members of the Commission are passing their responsibilities on to other bishops following this meeting. They are: Bishop John McAreavey, of Dromore, Ireland, whose successor was able to join the present meeting, and Bishop Denis Browne, of Hamilton, New Zealand, whose successor will be named in the coming months. The ICEL Bishops are grateful for their devoted service over many years.

In accord with the Statutes of ICEL, received by the Conferences of Bishops from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Commission will offer two draft translations in the coming weeks for the consideration of the English-speaking Conferences. These texts, the English translation of Ordo celebrandi Matrimonium and Ordo Confirmationis, have been prepared to conform to the style and form of the new Roman Missal, recently implemented in most member conferences.

The ICEL Bishops at their present meeting have also completed the complex process of re-incorporating the agency based in Canada to comply with the civil requirements of the Canadian Government and in accord with the provisions contained in the ICEL Statutes, which govern the ecclesiastical body. The Bishop members of ICEL (www.icelweb.org) were assisted in their deliberations by Bishop Douglas Crosby [Hamilton, Ontario, Canada], who has guided the incorporation process over the course of the past several years.

In accordance with the Statutes, the Delegate of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Msgr. James Moroney, was also present at the ICEL meeting.

ICEL countries: The Antilles, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, CEPAC (Pacific Islands), England and Wales, Gambia-Liberia-Sierra Leone, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malaysia-Singapore, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and The Solomons, The Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, The United States of America, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

ICEL’s office is in Washington, DC. Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth is executive director.

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Cardinal Koch: Liturgy Renewal a Priority

“Since the crisis of the Church today is above all a crisis of the liturgy, it is necessary to begin the renewal of the Church today with a renewal of the Liturgy”, said Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, in an address at the University of Freiburg on the theology of Joseph Ratzinger. According to the January 29 Vatican Radio report of the cardinal’s talk, he pointed out that liturgical questions are overshadowed by ideology especially in Germany, and said that Rome will only be able to act further when Catholics show more readiness to think about a new liturgical reform “for the good of the Church”.

The conference also considered Ratzinger’s pontificate as Pope Benedict XVI. In July 2007 Pope Benedict decreed in Summorum Pontificum that the Missal of 1962 may again be celebrated worldwide, though the Missal of 1970 is still the “ordinary form” of the eucharistic celebration in the Roman Church.

Allowing the old form of the Mass is just “a first step”, Cardinal Koch reportedly said; also that Pope Benedict XVI’s primary intention is to implement the Second Vatican Council’s teachings on the liturgy that have been ignored. Present-day liturgical practice does not always have any real basis in the Council, he said, citing as an example the celebration of Mass with the priest facing the people, which was not mentioned by the Council. Cardinal Koch stressed that a renewal of the form of divine worship is necessary for the interior renewal of the Church.

Source: Radio Vaticana (German) www.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/ted/Articolo.asp?c=558608

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Catholic U Students Embrace New Missal

The Catholic University of America’s student newspaper, The Tower, ran an informal poll asking students about their thoughts and feelings about the new Missal. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

In fact, according to The Tower, those students who attended Mass regularly seemed to support the new translation more than those students who didn’t attend Mass regularly. Through interviews conducted throughout January, The Tower found that regular Mass attendees were more likely to support the new translation than those who attended Mass less than once a week.

“It’s a really beautiful way to celebrate Mass”, said Catholic University sophomore Shannon Ballou, who said her Mass attendance is “pretty regular”. She described the new translation as “more authentic”.

Such responses seem typical of the university’s students. Of the recorded responses (of which about 65 percent were from past or present Catholic University students) more than half were positive, while 26 percent were negative and the remaining 15 percent were indifferent.

“I think we’re all settling into hearing things for the first time”, says David Pennington, Associate Campus Minister for Liturgy and Worship at the University’s Office of Campus Ministry. “[The responses] haven’t become part of our DNA yet. We’ll get there.”

In the months leading up to the change, CUA’s Campus Ministry attempted to educate university students on the changes and the reasoning behind them.

Most of the students quoted in the piece were positive, including these:

“It’s going to the heart of what the Mass is as the pinnacle of the Catholic faith”, says university student Christina Heifferon.

“I love it”, adds James Clement, a sophomore. “It gives us a fuller understanding of what is going on in the biggest celebration.”

In addition, proponents argue that a translation that brings the English text closer to the original Latin brings it more in line with all of the other translations, furthering the Church’s intention of unity.

“If we no longer know the mother tongue of our Church, then a translation is very valuable for putting us in touch with the mind of our Church and of the whole Church”, says the Reverend Bernard Mulcahy, OP, a theologian and contributor to the widespread Catholic publication Magnificat.

University graduate Nedjée Saint-Fleur seems to agree. “My first language is French, so the new translation actually is closer to what we say [in France]”, she says.

(CUA Tower online: cuatower.com)

— Matthew Archbold of the Cardinal Newman Society [blog.cardinalnewmansociety. org/author/matthewarchbold]. Reprinted with permission.

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