Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A prayer for the Ordinariates

From the Ordinariateportal.wordpress.com blog.

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 Walsingham.
R/ Pray for us as we claim your motherly care.
V/ Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus.
R/ Pray for us as we place this work under your patronage.
V/ Blessed John Henry Newman
R/ Pray that Christ’s Heart may speak unto our hearts.
V/ Saints and Martyrs of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
R/ Pray for us and accompany us on our pilgrim way.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Anglican Use begins!

Those who prayed from left to right, Mr Bruce Hall, Mr Noel Lumbre, Mrs Chie Lumbre, Mr Ren Aguila and Fr Joe Frary
In what may be considered as an important ecumenical milestone in the history of the Church in the Philippines, the first Anglican Use liturgy was prayed in a Philippine Catholic church. The Anglican Use may be said like the English Ordinariate slipped unnoticed into the water, but this like Christ's command to "put into deep water" begins an important mission. The Anglican Use Society Philippines recently said the Evening Prayer according to the Anglican Use of the Catholic Church at the pastoral center of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. Participating at the prayer are Ren Aguila, Bruce Hall, Fr Joe Frary of the Central Diocese of the Episcopal Church of the Philippines and St Andrews Theological Seminary, Mr Noel and Chie Lumbre of the parish ministry for families and yours truly. While we were a bit late, we came from the office to say the Office. Thanks be to God!

For the prayers, the intention was about the Octave of Christian Unity which is most apt. We brought the image of Our Lady of Walsingham to the church. Mr Ren Aguila officiated the prayer splendidly. We prayed for our country, Our Holy Father Benedict XVI and all pastors, for missions and for the University of the Philippines so that the university receives the grace to seek the truth in learning. We thank the intercession of Our Lady of Walsingham for making this event a success. After the prayer we reflected on what Evening Prayer is and discussed the ecumenical importance of Our Lady of Walsingham, who is honored in the first Anglican Ordinariate in England and has worked miracles and continues to do so. We also thank the Parish priest Father Raymond Arre for graciously hosting us and the parish community for being supportive.

That we were able to say this prayer is a miracle in itself! It isn't the big miracle that most people expect but a miracle nonetheless. The intercession of Our Lady of Walsingham is indeed powerful. Despite the difficulties, she has helped us in bearing them. And when we said the Magnificat, this was on our minds.

The Evening Prayer we hope will be regularly said on the last Friday of each month at 7:30 PM. Later on we hope to have a more public liturgical celebration of the Prayer. Please keep logging into this blog for announcements.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Join us for Evening Prayer

From Wikipedia
Beginning this week, on Friday evening, we will begin to meet privately, quietly, and regularly for Evening Prayer according to Anglican Use and for fellowship. We will probably meet monthly, towards the end of each month, on the UP Diliman campus. This is not a large public event but is rather a time for us to pray together and to get to know each other better.  If you would like to join us, please drop us a note.  You can send us email at AnglicanUsePhilippines@gmail.com  You are more than welcome to join our prayer group.

In the near future, we hope to hold some larger, public Evening Prayer services, and sometime down the line maybe even other services.  We will keep you all informed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We call them Anglican Roman Catholics

In an earlier blog post, the question was asked "What do we do with the Anglicans?". With the Ordinariate up and running, what then do we call these Anglicans who have taken the papal offer and now are with the Catholic Church?

It is grossly inaccurate to call them former Anglicans. They aren't and Anglicanorum coetibus does not intend them to be such. They are accurately called former members of the Church of England (CoE) or the Anglican Communion. But the word "Anglican" is larger than the CoE or the Anglican Communion itself.

They are definitely cannot be described as Anglo-Catholics anymore. That hyphenated word is now too small to describe them.

These people can be best called Anglican Roman Catholics. They are Anglican in particular tradition, Roman in the essentials that are shared by all and Catholic, in unity as God willed them to be.

The Rorate Caeli blog tags articles about the Ordinariate as Anglicans IN the Church. This is right!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Three momentous years

Here are three important years in the story of Anglicanism

1534 - The King of England in Parliament, Henry VIII passes the following acts 1) Restraints in Appeals, 2) Absolute Restraint in Annates and 3) Supremacy. These are the three legal foundations of the Break from Rome. The Reformation in England begins. The Church of England is born and thus happened the destruction of everything that is "much of beauty" in England, which includes the destruction of the Holy Shrines and chantries. The statue of the Virgin of Walsingham is burned. Henry's heirs Edward VI consolidates the Reformation, Elizabeth I "settles" the Reformation.

2009 - The Pope, Benedict XVI promulgates the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus which paves the way for Anglicans to reconcile with the Catholic Church whilst retaining their Anglican character and traditions as long as this does not counter Catholic doctrine. The constitution establishes a particular church called an Ordinariate which for all practical purposes is a diocese.

2011 - January 15, The First Ordinariate in England in honour of the Virgin of Walsingham is established. The Rev Keith Newton, a former Anglican bishop is named as Ordinary by the Pope. Ordinariates will soon be established in many other countries starting with the USA, Australia and Canada.

The Catholic Church is over 2000 years old. The Reformation in England lasted for 477 years. The Reformation has ended and we are seeing what St Edmund Campion told Elizabeth I about the "enterprise that cannot be withstood". The Virgin of Walsingham is still venerated in her shrine in Norfolk. To all of this we praise God!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Walsingham, Pray for us to God!
The first Anglican Ordinariate in England is named in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham and is under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. But what does the title of Walsingham mean?

Visions are the origin of most shrines to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary has appeared to people who never expected her. In 1061, the Virgin appeared three time to the Lady Richeldis (a noblewoman in the town of Walsingham). Mary showed to Richeldis a vision of her house in Nazareth and requested that Richeldis build a replica of this house. Mary told Richeldis

"Do all this unto my special praise and honor. And all who are in any way distressed or in need, let them seek me here in that little house you have made at Walsingham. To all that seek me there shall be given succor. And there at Walsingham in this little house shall be held in remembrance the great joy of my salutation when Saint Gabriel told me I should through humility become the Mother of God's Son."

Richeldis fulfilled Mary's request and this became the Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham. Soon thousands of pilgrims went to Walsingham, Many of them were healed. Medieval Walsingham became one of Europe's major pilgrimage sites together with Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Jerusalem. The English people had a strong devotion to the Virgin Mary and for that the country was known as the "Dowry of Mary"

When Henry VIII separated the English Church from Rome in 1534 by assuming the title Supreme Head of the Church in England, he initiated the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which transferred the monastery properties to the Crown. The Walsingham shrine was dissolved, the Holy House burned, the treasures confiscated and the statue of the Virgin burned in London.  For more than 300 years, a Protestant England forgot what the Shrine was all about. Of the places of worship associated with the medieval shrine, only the Slipper Chapel survived and that was used as a cowshed, until an English lady named Charlotte Boyd who converted to Catholicism bought it in 1896. She donated the property to the Downside Fathers. The chapel was restored and in 1897 Pope Leo XIII refounded the shrine and the first Catholic Mass was celebrated there. The image of the Virgin was copied from a depiction on a pilgrim's badge. The pilgrimage was then revived

Inside the Holy House at Walsingham

Anglicans were also drawn to Walsingham and in 1922 revived the Procession of the Virgin. Thereafter the Church of England revived the Shrine in 1931.  Today Walsingham has two Shrines. The Anglican one and the Catholic Slipper chapel. There is a strong ecumenical dimension to Walsingham. Pilgrims begin their pilgrimage at the Catholic shrine and end it at the Anglican shrine. Thousands still make the journey.

 Very few Filipinos know of Our Lady the Annunciation of Walsingham. Her appearance to the Lady Richeldis is one of the first recorded apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Walsingham commemorates the Fiat of Mary. If she had said "No", then we wouldn't have been ransomed.

Our Lady of Walsingham has healed many in the physical sense and many more in the spiritual sense. Many have been reconciled with their families and with God, through her intercession. I hope that this  short blog post will introduce Filipinos to Our Lady under in this title.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A prayer for rain

The Anglican Church has always prayed for the seasons of nature for these are vital to our physical existence and well being. This prayer from the American 1928 Book of Common Prayer is most apt for these days.

A Prayer for Rain

"O God, heavenly Father, who by thy Son Jesus Christ hast promised to all those who seek thy kingdom and the righteousness thereof, all things necessary to their bodily sustenance; Send us, we beseech thee, in our necessity such moderate rain and showers, that we may receive the fruits of the earth to our comfort, and to thy honour; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Feast of the Santo Niño

The Santo Niño of Cebu, the oldest Christian icon in the Philippines
The Feast of the Santo Niño is celebrated in the Philippine Church on the 3rd Sunday of January.  The Philippine Church got a papal indult to celebrate the feast on this day. On this day, even overseas parishes with a significant Filipino membership celebrate the Mass of the Santo Niño .

For many Filipinos Christmas really "ends" on this day. It is not only the Catholics who have a devotion to the Holy Child. The Iglesia Filipina Independiente which traces its roots from Roman Catholicism has a strong devotion to the Santo Niño. The IFI national cathedral is dedicated to the Holy Child. The IFI's charism is to identify the Holy Child in the struggle for national liberation and dignity of the Filipino people.

The Holy Child devotion dates back to the earliest introduction of Christianity in the Philippines. The evangelization of the Philippines began when Magellan presented the statue of the Santo Niño to Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521. After Magellan was killed by Lapulapu and the Spanish left, the image was kept by the natives. When the conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi landed in Cebu in 1565, he found the image in a native hut where it was venerated. The natives seem to have lost memory of its origin and claimed it was of ancient provenance. Thus the image survives to this very day and venerated in the Basilica of Santo Niño in Cebu where it have been enshrined since 1565. The Basilica stands on the exact spot where the image was rediscovered.

The Feast of Santo Niño is memorable to me. On this day I was confirmed as a Catholic in the Church. The Military Bishop, the Most Rev Severino Pelayo DD asked my confirmation sponsor if I had a Protestant background. When the bishop learned that I had an Anglican/Episcopal background. He immediately told my sponsor that "he is not a convert" and he need not undergo an RCIA program. The bishop just required me to study the catechism he gave, spend the night in prayer, have confession early in the morning and be confirmed during the 09:00 AM Mass of the Santo Niño. And so I was confirmed. The Gospel reading on the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, remains memorable for me. The Gospel's "I must be in my Father's house" is etched in my heart.

And that is where the Santo Niño comes into my Anglican story. I have always believed Anglicans never convert to become Catholics. They just go back to their old rooms at the big house after a time of being away. My father once told me that when I am away, I will always have a room in the old house. In the same way Anglicans will always have a room at the Catholic house. Pope Paul VI told the Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome that by coming to "our house, you enter your own house". Anglicans are always welcome and they have a place to stay.

The Ordinariate now up in England can be likened to a newly refurbished room in the old house. The Father has taken care to make everything good in this room. It is now up to Anglicans to enter and they are doing so.

And what could we call these "ex"-Anglicans. They are Anglicans still but now they can be called best as Anglican Roman Catholics. Anglican in their particular heritage, Roman in their essentials and Catholic as the Lord has willed them to be.

This is no longer the "separate branch" of yore, but a living branch united with the life giving source.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A important date in Church history: The first Ordinariate is erected

The Rev Keith Newton, First Ordinary of the English Ordinariate
Today, at the Mass of ordination of three former senior Anglican bishops as Catholic priests, the English Personal Ordinariate also known as the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was erected. The worship service was held at London's Westminster Cathedral.  The three new Catholic priests are the former Anglican Bishops of Richborough Rev Keith Newton,  formerly of Ebbsfleet Rev Andrew Burnham and formerly of Fulham John Broadhurst.  The Archbishop of Westminster the Most Rev Vincent Nichols read the Papal bull erecting the Ordinariate before the Mass.  Abp Nichols homily drew on the Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman's faith journey and thanked the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England for the ministry of the three men. Abp Nichols' homily can be read here.

The Pope appointed the Rev Keith Newton as the first Ordinary of the English Ordinariate. Rev Newton's message upon being appointed is here. Rev Newton thanked the Church of England for his previous ministry and the Archbishop of Canterbury for being gracious.

It is expected that 50 Church of England priests and at least 35 lay congregations will join the Ordinariate. Their reception is expected by Pentecost Sunday. Two retired Church of England bishops, Edwin Barnes and David Silk are expected to be priested before then.

This momentous event marks a significant date in Church history. For the first time a part of the Anglican Communion has been reattached back to the Rock from which it was split almost 500 years ago. And for the first time Anglicans will be united but not absorbed into the Roman Church. In the past Anglicans had to leave their treasures when they went home to Rome. I have known Anglicans who have become Catholic to have left everything except the Prayerbook which they used privately as Catholics. However the Prayerbook was no longer authorized for them . But with the Ordinariate, the Prayerbook will become truly a treasure restored to the Catholic Church.

The establishment of the first Ordinariate is expected to herald the erection of Ordinariates in other countries. The American and Australian Ordinariates are expected to be organized soon. This will be followed by Ordinariates in Canada, Oceania, Asia and Africa.

Also as significantly, the Ordinariate is expected to provide a similar model for other Protestant communities to return to the Catholic Church. A group of Lutherans have asked Rome in the wake of Anglicanorum Coetibus. Since the other Protestant communities have a far more differing view of church polity and governance than Anglicans from the Catholics, it is more likely that a different scheme may be devised by Rome and this will take longer. But the Ordinariates do provide a precedent on how to proceed.

The Orthodox churches are looking with great interest on how the Ordinariates will work. While Rome has guaranteed the Orthodox that their different way of being church will be respected and preserved once they reconcile with Rome, the Orthodox like many Anglicans are suspicious of how this can be practically implemented. The Ordinariates provide a new way of bridging the separation of almost a thousand years.

We are seeing start the End of the Reformation. And the end of the Great Schism of 1054 is now on the horizon. Who would think this would happen as recently as five years ago?

Our Lady of Walsingham, we thank thee for thy intercession to thy Son, Jesus the Christ!
All ye Holy Men and Women, Martyrs of England and Wales, pray for us to God!
Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, pray for us!
Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!
Blessed Pope John XXIII, pray for us! 

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Formal announcement of the English Ordinariate

Readers can find the formal announcement on the English Ordinariate from the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales here. The announcement has a lot of information on what and what not to expect from the Ordinariate.  It is a sort of FAQ. But one thing is really notable.

The English and Welsh bishops do not use the phrase "Anglican Ordinariate" to describe the new ecclesial structure. The bishops use "Personal Ordinariate" and in the future it will be simply just referred to as "The Ordinariate".

Perhaps this is to take into consideration Anglican sensibilities and to avoid confusion. And this is what is called in American English "the 64 thousand dollar question"

Will members of the Ordinariate still be Anglicans?

The bishops conference answers with a "No". Members of the Ordinariate are Catholics.

The English Ordinariate will be the trial balloon. Other Ordinariates will be established in other countries. In these countries where there is no religious establishment, the Ordinariates may be known as the Anglican Ordinariate (Roman Catholic).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What do we do with the Anglicans?

I came about this interesting and faith nurturing episode in Father James Reuter SJ's essay entitled "Vatican City" in the University of the Philippines Los Banos centennial coffee table book. This episode of wartime internment tells us what Anglicanism is all about. This episode should be noted by Catholics and Episcopalians in the Philippines.

When the Americans surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, Allied nationals were interned in several camps. The largest of these was the one at the University of Santo Tomas. The clergy, religious and seminarians of different Christian denominations were interned at the UP Los Banos camp. The Catholic clergy (the largest group among them) were billeted in a separate barracks from the Protestants.  The nuns were billeted separately from all the men. The Japanese jailers asked "What do we do with the Anglicans?"

According to Fr Reuter the small group of Anglicans protested to the Japanese about being sent with the rest of the Protestants. The Japanese had no idea what these Anglicans meant and they sought the opinion of the Jesuit superior who said they were Protestants. And yet the Anglicans insisted they were Catholic and for that they stood 3 hours under the burning sun.

In the end, the Japanese arrived at an ingenious solution. They asked the Anglican clergy if they had wives and they admitted they had. The Japanese said "Catholic no wife, Protestant wife" " You Protestant"!

To me the episode demonstrates the faithful witness of the Catholic identity by the Anglicans. The Japanese could have had them shot or beheaded right there and then! This was war. If I were in their place, I could just told the Japanese I was plainly "Protestant"!

Fr Reuter writes that "The Anglicans were close to the Catholics. If you saw the Anglican ministers say Mass, you would think it was a Catholic Mass. The only difference was the language. The Roman Catholics said Mass in Latin and the Anglicans said Mass in English. Aside from that there was nothing that separated us. We were children of God." [Emphasis mine]

More than 70 years separate this small group of Anglicans from us, the Ordinariates and  Anglicanorum Coetibus. Under the Apostolic Constitution, the Ordinariates can have married priests not just at the start but forever. And in the Ordinariates the Anglicans will have the Mass in English (but this is not news really. Catholics have the Mass now in English!). But we can expect the Anglican Ordinariates to have the Mass in an English that is from an earlier use and provides a refreshing difference from the more Modern English of the Mass.

Father Reuter at 95, frail but young at heart still, is the last surviving cleric who was incarcerated. In the essay and other essays on the Los Banos camp he writes about the conversion of the most sadistic Japanese jailer a "Lt Konishi" who was eventually captured by the Americans, tried for war crimes and hanged. Before he was hanged, Konishi received the Sacraments and as Father Reuter notes "went straight to heaven" Such is the mysteries of the Divine workings even in the hell of a concentration camp.

I also found a link on a Roman Catholic site which posts once more the Easter homily of an Episcopal priest whose father was one of the Anglican clerics Fr Reuter wrote about. You can read the reflection on the "Undamaged Chausuble" here.

"What do we do with the Anglicans?" was a question that the Popes have faced. Of course the Popes did not mean to incarcerate them. Benedict XVI gave the now historic answer!

And if this small group of Anglicans were still with us. They would likely have accepted the Papal offer.

TheTraining of Filipino clergy in the Episcopal Church: A History of SATS

The main altar of St Andrews Seminary Chapel from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Saint_Andrew%27s_Seminary_Chapel_%28altar%29.jpg
The Rt Rev Edward P Malecdan, Prime Bishop of the Philippines has an interesting essay on the history of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines on the history of St Andrew's Theological Seminary (SATS). You can read it in the 3rd quarter of the ECP online newsletter the "Episcopalian" The question in a missionary endevour is when do we train an indigenous clergy?

This is the same question that faced the Roman Catholic friar missionaries at the onset of Spanish colonization in 1571. The King of Spain wanted native clergy but the friars were hesitant citing their experience in Mexico. So it took more than a hundred years before Filipino priests were ordained. The first priests were ordained in the early 1700s. The PECUSA mission considered training Filipino clergy as early as 1909 buts as Bp Malecdan writes "this was not one of the district missions and goals". ebven Bp Brent was not enthusiastic to the idea noting that Filipinos will have to learn much in governance. Brent also thought that resistance to American rule was latent and that the training of Filipino clergy held in abeyance.

As such the first deacons were ordained only in 1938. This proved a blessing for the church since with the Japanese occupation, all American clergy were interned. One of the deacons became the first Filipino bishop Rt Rev Edward Longid, who is the granddad of my dear friend Conyap Longid.
Rev Longid kept the faith alive by regularly conducting services at St Mary in Sagada. SATS seminary program of formation was monastic.

The rest of the postwar story is interesting to read especially when the ECP main seminary also trained seminarians of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). There are more IFI clergy trained in the ECP seminary than ECP clergy.

Today, SATS faces the same problems faced by the Catholic seminaries. Vocations are decreasing as the Philippines becomes more secular. Also for those who have the vocation, they don't have the money to pay for the fees. There is a need for contributions, especially for scholarships.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Update on Anglican Use in Japan

This is an update to my previous post Rome-leaning Anglicans in Japan

Over on the Groups of Anglicans forum at The Anglo Catholic, Russ of the Nippon Kirisuto Sei Ko Kai, the Traditional Anglican Communion affiliate in Japan, has been updating me about things there.  He writes:
[Archbishop John Hepworth, primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC)] will be here for our Eucharist in Yokohama on February 11, which is a Friday and Japanese national holiday. There will probably be a meeting after the service. I don't know details, but I'm sure he will share information since we are all dying for news. Anything he says at the meeting will probably be in English followed by Japanese interpreter (so I will have the advantage of hearing everything twice). That's all I know, but anyone living in Japan who wants to know more can contact the folks on our web site.
This is indeed good news.  I urge anyone in Japan to get in touch with Russ either directly through the Groups of Anglicans Forum or through his church's website (in Japanese only but Google Translate will translate it for you). I am sure that anyone interested is welcome to attend the eucharist.

Strictly speaking under Anglicanorum Coetibus, Anglican Ordinariates will only be set up by country in countries with a critical mass of members, and will only extend to the borders of those countries.  It is unclear what the relationship will be between the Ordinariates and communities like us in the Philippines or like Russ's in Japan where such a critical mass is unlikely to be reached.  I am sure arrangements are being made and TAC members in Japan and similar countries will find out in due course.  Perhaps Russ will have more to report after Archbishop Hepworth's visit. Whatever arrangements are made there might or might not affect the Philippines.  We of course be following events.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fiesta sa Quiapo: The Feast of the Black Nazarene

January 9 is the most famous patronal feast in the Philippines. On this day, the Manila commercial district of Quiapo celebrates the Feast of the Black Nazarene. The image of the Christ as the Black Nazarene was carved in Mexico and brought to Manila on a galleon from Acapulco. Popular tradition says that the black colour of the icon was a result of a shipboard fire that singed the image.

The image arrived on May 31, 1606 and was enshrined in the Recollect church in Manila. It was later transferred to the Church of San Tolentino in Intramuros (this church no longer exists). The Archbishop of Manila in 1790 ordered the transfer of the image to Quiapo Parish church (now known as the Basilica Minore of the Black Nazarene) where it remains to this day.

The Black Nazarene image is brought in procession around the district, where hundreds of thousands devotees walking barefoot in a sign of humility, follow it. The January 9 procession commemorates the transfer of the image from the Recollect church in Intramuros to Quiapo, across the Pasig River. Because of the passage of time and that many generations of devotees over the centuries have touched it, a replica of the image is processed through Manila's streets rather than the original Mexican image. Thousands of people many wearing the image's maroon dress, throw white handkerchiefs or towels, which people on the 'carroza" of the icon, wipe on the image. Devotees claim that by able to touch the image, they will be healed. Many claim that they were physically healed, but much more have claimed they were spiritually healed.

Traditionally, only men were allowed to process with the image. But in recent years, women have been allowed.

In 2010 the police estimated 5-7 million people attended the procession and religious services of the feast. The Quiapo fiesta has become notorious for devotees being trampled to death. Police and health services in recent years have made precautions to prevent a stampede but still a few people die each year.

An observer to this religious devotion may note that it is fanaticism, and that it may be un Biblical and contrary to the Gospel. Several Catholic theologians have reflected on this devotion and write that it reflects on an understanding of Christ's incarnation and suffering by a vast majority of inarticulate people (people who weren't formally catechized). To this day a majority of devotees come from the working classes.

And so the Archdiocese of Manila has initiated a catechetical program that accompanies the Black Nazarene feast. Church authorities worked closely with laypeople organizations organizing the celebrations, reminding the Gospel basis of their devotion, proper religious behaviour to fellow devotees and the importance of interior reflection during the vigil. This was so successful that no one was trampled to death in 2010.

Foreign observers have noted that the Black Nazarene fiesta is the closest Catholicism gets to having a pilgrimage that is like to Muslims going to Mecca. They still ask the question, why are there so many pilgrims and devotees?

For me the name "Nazarene" is enough explanation. Jesus was first rejected in Nazareth by his own townsfolk. This immediately caught on with millions of poor and disadvantaged Filipinos over the centuries. They were in a real sense 'rejected" by the rest of Filipino society especially the rich. Also in a deeper sense, the need to PHYSICALLY touch the Christ really has a basis in the Gospel. In St Mark 5:24-34, we read about the woman with a flow of blood, and as such was made ritually unclean and rejected by her own people. She believed that if she just were able to touch Jesus clothes, she will be healed. She did and Jesus sensed the power drain out of him and asked "Who touched me?"

The woman touched not just the Jesus the Man but the God that is Jesus. And trembling,  the woman told Jesus the truth. The woman was healed. Christianity is really an incarnational faith. There is really a need to touch another human being. The need to physically touch another human being is the first step in how we love!

If we are not afflicted, all our reason will tell us how unnecessary processing the Black Nazarene is. In the same way how it was not necessary for the woman to touch Jesus' clothes (she could have seen a doctor, which she really did!). But all this goes beyond reason.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said it best in his homily at Lourdes on Saint Bernadette. He preached that Bernadette, who like the millions of Black Nazarene devotees was inarticulate and very poor, recognised that with the Blessed Virgin appearing "Here was life, here was healing, here was joy"

Rowan also writes what very well describes the faith of the millions of Black Nazarene devotees, where a devotion really is "heralding some future with Christ that we can't yet get our minds around."

The poor have a future with Christ which most of us can't get!

A blessed feast of the Black Nazarene to our readers!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Updates on Australia and England & Wales

This month events are fast moving and will probably remain that way until Pentacost, at least. Things will look very different six months from now. Here are three updates about Australia and about England and Wales.

First from the English Catholic blog, a blog from France by a TAC
clergyman who is intending to enter an Ordinariate, comes this update about Australia (formatting mine):

Learn about the Ordinariates! Celebrate the Anglican heritage! Meet those from all parts of Australia interested in the Australian Ordinariate!

Hosted by:
Bishop Peter Elliott, Delegate of the Holy See for the Australian Ordinariate
Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion

Venue: Saint Stephen’s College, Reserve Road, Coomera (Gold Coast) Queensland

Dates: Noon 1st February until 2.00PM 3rd February 2011
The post then gives all the details including the hour-by-hour schedule, costs and registration form. If you are at all interested, check out the post and attend the conference. Even if you are not sure that the Ordinariate is for you, even if you are leaning against joining, I am sure that your participation would be welcome. Use it as part of your discernment process.

Will there be a Papal decree setting up the England and Wales ordinariate this month? The National Catholic Registers (US-based) reports so in its article, "In London, three Anglican bishops received into church", on the recent reception held at Westminster Cathedral:

They will be ordained as Catholic deacons at Allen Hall seminary, London, Jan. 13, then as priests at a ceremony in the cathedral Jan. 15. They will be incardinated into the English ordinariate, which is expected to be formed by papal decree the second week of January, when Pope Benedict XVI is also expected to appoint an ordinary.
Finally, former retired Church of England Bishop Edwin Barnes has announced on his blog Ancient Richborough his and his wife's reception into the Roman Catholic Church and his ordination as a priest:

So it is good to be able to announce that the intention is that Jane and I should be received here in Lymington, at the Church of Our Lady and St Joseph, at the 9.30am Mass on January 21st. Bishop Crispian says he will ordain me Deacon in his private chapel on the morning of February 11th, and my ordination to the Priesthood will follow three weeks later at 2.30pm on Saturday March 5th in Portsmouth Catholic Cathedral.
Stay tuned for more updates during these exciting, history-making months.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In the Philippines, we celebrate Epiphany but Christmas never ends!

The Magi in Manila from http://www.seasite.niu.edu/Tagalog/Cynthia/festivals/three_kings.htm
Today is the traditional celebration of the Epiphany which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. The Magi gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Prior to the reform of the Roman Calendar in 1970, the feast was celebrated on January 6, which is the 12th Day of Christmas and marked the end of the season. After the 1970 reform, Epiphany is celebrated on the first Sunday after New Year in places where Epiphany is not a Holy Day of Obligation. In the Philippines it fell on January 2 this year.

The Anglican churches and the Philippine Independent Church still celebrate it on January 6. It is expected that the Anglican Ordinariates will celebrate it too on January 6. In Spanish Philippines, this holiday was known more as the feast of the Three Kings. Before American practice was adopted, children received presents on this day. When I was very young, I received my presents from grandparents on January 6 (which also happened to be my grandmother's birthday). Children left their shoes by the window expecting the Magi to put in gold coins (not frankincense or myrrh mind you!). But when I was a kid, the old folks put Gold Goya brand chocolate coins.

In rural Philippines three men dressed as the Magi would ride into town on ponies and distribute trinkets and goodies to children. The custom survives in Ermita, Manila, where the Casino Espanol sponsors the Magi who distribute goodies to street children.

It was customary to put away Christmas decorations on this day and when I was small, it really meant the end of Christmas. But nowadays, Christmas has become too commercialized and Filipinos (since they really are children by heart even if they are old and grey) want to extend Christmas as long as possible. Catholic churches are not exempt. I know not of any Catholic parish church that really puts away their Christmas decorations at Epiphany. Many hold on to them until the Feast of the Santo Nino (the Sunday after Epiphany). This is really when the Filipino Christmas "ends" (It "began" on December 16).  The Feast of the Santo Nino is close to the Filipino people because Christianity in the Philippines really started when Magellan presented the Queen of Cebu with an image of the Holy Child in 1521. The image still is venerated in Cebu's Basilica. It is the oldest Christian icon in the Philippines

But of course, Filipinos are so fond of children and for that single reason alone, Christmas never ends! Well it almost never ends, since come Good Friday, all thoughts of merry making is put away at least for a day. And come July, you may hear Christmas carols sung ( and this really shocks the foreign visitor)!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"It's Actually Happening!"...English Anglican Bishops join Catholic Church, soon the priesthood

"It's Actually Happening!" is how Fr. Christopher Phillips, Our Lady of Atonement Anglican Use parish, titled his blog post on The Anglo-Catholic about the reception into the Catholic Church of three former Church of England bishops, two of their wives, and three Anglican nuns. You can read about it here, here, here, and here. The lede from The Telegraph of London was: "Priests and worshippers from around 20 Church of England parishes converted to Catholicism on Saturday at a ceremony in Westminster Cathedral."

A Reluctant Sinner was there (the photograph above is his): "As ever, my photographic skills let me down today, but I did manage to take these three discreet images of the event. They show the rite of reception and the sacrament of Confirmation being administered by Bishop Alan Hopes - himself a former Anglican priest, and de facto spiritual guide for those wishing to join the Ordinariate." Another eyewitness account, by Fr. Seán Finnegan, can be found on The Anglo-Catholic.

This is the first step towards creating an Ordinariate in England and Wales (Scotland is in a different Catholic Bishops Conference). The second step happens January 13th and 15th when the former bishops will be ordained to the deaconate and then to the priesthood respectively. The latter will be at Westminster Cathedral in London and is open to anyone to attend. Go, if you are in London. See Friends of the Ordinariate for more information (h/t The Anglo Catholic).

Succeeding steps will happen in rapid order before Easter and Pentacost. The BBC reports, "Catholic Bishop Alan Hopes said up to 50 Anglican clergy could convert before Easter."

The photograph is from a personal report on A Reluctant Sinner blog which can be found here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Looking forward into 2011

Anglican Use in the Philippines wishes readers a blessed and prosperous New Year ahead. This year promises to be a historical milestone in Church history and changes western Catholicism forever. The first Anglican ordinariates will set up in England, Australia and the United States. In England, the senior clergy and Bishops from the Anglican Church will be received first in January, ordained as Catholic priests and are expected to head the English ordinariate. The rest of the clergy and laity will be received before Pentecost. A similar schedule is expected for the Australian and American ordinariates.

In the Philippines, we expect to celebrate the first public Anglican Use liturgy (Evening Prayer)  in time for the Annunciation. We expect to get the local Catholic ordinary's formal nod this month. Our host parish, the Holy Sacrifice at the University of the Philippines will likely be the venue. Our Anglican Use group will start saying the prayers as a group before then. Updates and information will be posted on this blog.

The Annunciation is the most appropriate time, we believe since Our Lady of Walsingham is known under this title and she is the patron of Anglo-Catholics and her importance has taken on an ecumenical dimension. Also we would take this as an opportunity to make known Our Lady of Walsingham to Filipinos.

Because Anglicanism in the Philippines has historical connections with the American church, it is very likely that Anglican Use Philippines will be in close touch with the American Ordinariate.