By Scott McKellar
Something very new and exciting is happening in Kansas City. In 2009, as a pastoral response to repeated and persistent inquiries made by Anglican individuals and groups around the world, Pope Benedict XVI created a new pathway for Anglicans to join the Catholic Church though the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus (AC).
As a result of this constitution, the Church established the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: the equivalent of a diocese — fully and completely Catholic in every way — which allows our sisters and brothers from the Anglican tradition to enter the fullness of Catholic Communion and, from there, to evangelize others. This diocese is a unique structure which allows rich liturgical and other traditions that for centuries nourished faith in Anglican contexts to be reintegrated into Catholic worship.
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter serves Roman Catholics in the United States and Canada. Pope Benedict also established two other Ordinariates: the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England and Wales and Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.
In November 2015, Pope Francis named the Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes as the first bishop of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which now has more than 40 Roman Catholic parishes and communities across North America. In Kansas City, the local Ordinariate parish is Our Lady of Hope Catholic Community, which meets at 9:15 a.m. Sundays at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church. The pastor is an Ordinariate priest, the Rev. Randolph Sly.
Beginning with Advent of 2015, the Vatican also gave the Ordinariates a new English language missal to foster their unique style of worship. One of the astounding features of the pathway created by Pope Benedict was the provision that Ordinariates would be granted “faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments . . . according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See” (AC).
A Vatican committee was tasked with reviewing centuries of Anglican texts and assembling the best of them together, in accordance with the Roman Rite. The resulting new book of liturgical texts for the celebration of Mass in the Ordinariates is called Divine Worship: The Missal. The Missal provides a way for the Ordinariates to celebrate the sacred liturgy of the Catholic Church with an “Anglican inflection.”
This new missal uses Prayer Book English — language derived from the classic prayer books of the Anglican liturgical tradition — that is fully Catholic in expression and content. What is truly astounding is the fact that the production of the Divine Worship missal marks the first time that the Catholic Church has sanctioned liturgical texts deriving from the Protestant Reformation. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, O.P., who was a member of the committee, notes “this is the first time the Catholic Church has acknowledged the value of liturgical forms arising from a Reformation community and has undertaken to incorporate them.”
Divine Worship revives for Catholics some expanded and very beautiful prayers of penance, and special prayers of thanksgiving for the lay faithful. On Sundays and other solemn occasions, Divine Worship also encourages the use of chants in English (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Tract, Offertory, and Communion) which are found in the musical patrimony of the Anglican tradition.
The result is a solemn and inspiring Mass which points us upward to the mystery of God, as revealed to us through his Son. St. Augustine asks “What kind of beauty does God’s wisdom have?” He notes that through beauty,
…all those things that appeal to our eyes are beautiful, and to see it, to embrace it, our hearts need to be cleansed. We profess ourselves its lovers, [beauty] sets us to rights, so that we may not fail to please it (Exp 2 of Ps 2.7).
In the words of this revived liturgy, “It is meet and right so to do.” The Swiss theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar complained that our modern world has tried to quietly jettison “beauty.” In a world where we can no longer see or reckon with beauty, “the good also loses its attractiveness” and “the self-evidence of why it must be carried out” (Glory of the Lord, I:19).
Divine Worship can inspire us to fulfill the desire of the Second Vatican Council that sacred art be joined with the sacred liturgy and sacred music in “redounding to God’s praise and glory” with the “aim of turning men’s minds devoutly toward God” (SC 122).
Words are truly limited when describing a Divine Worship Mass, so we invite you to “come and see.” Please feel free to join Our Lady of Hope Catholic Community at 9:15 a.m. on Sundays for Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Church (2552 Gillham Rd., Kansas City, MO), followed by a coffee hour in the parish hall. (Since Ordinariate parishes and communities are part of the Roman Catholic Church, any Catholic may licitly attend Mass in an Ordinariate parish.)