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.

Monday, January 9, 2012

AU Philippines meets with the Roman Catholic bishop of Cubao

L to R, Fr Raymond Aree, Bp Ongtioco, Fr Joe Frary, me and Bruce Hall
After quite some time of getting all our schedules right, the Anglican Use Society of the Philippines finally met with the the Most Rev. Honesto Ongtioco DD, the bishop of Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines. Bishop Ongtioco earlier gave permission for the Anglican Use Society of the Philippines to hold evening prayer meetings at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in UP Diliman under Fr Raymond Arre. We updated the bishop on the slowly growing membership of AU Philippines and the great help that social media has been in giving AU Philippines stronger legs.

We also told the bishop on how Bruce, Fr Frary and I unexpectedly came together. It is probably of God since it is quite a long shot to for all of us to come together. But it did happen. After all how many Anglican Use Catholics are in the Philippines?

Fr Frary told the bishop that with the fragmentation of the Anglican Communion, it makes good pastoral sense to spread the Anglican "virus" to the wider Church, not only in the Roman Church but to other churches as well. This is especially in the West where Fr Frary noted that the near collapse of Christian heritage and culture is not solely attributable to secularism but to something else, perhaps more sinister.

We also discussed at great length what the Ordinariates are and how this will change the way Roman Catholics as a church, a more Catholic Church than it was in the past, a church that will bring all people (Protestants, Anglicans, Orthodox, non-believers etc and of course lapsed Catholics) who wish to do so, be part of her once more.

To all of these Bishop Ongtioco said "We can't prevent the Holy Spirit in doing these things!" He also said he was very glad that there is an Anglican Use Society in the Philippines. Bishop Ongtioco struck me as a down to earth bishop, with wit and humor and good cheer as well as great pastoral sense. It is no wonder the diocese has made strides in catechesis and strengthening its parishes.

The bishop supports our plan to have quarterly evening prayer meetings with the next one scheduled for Mar 21. The bishop also required us to use the Book of Divine Worship since it is a Vatican approved liturgy.

We also made it clear that the identity of the Society is Roman Catholic. As Bruce emphatically said "We are Anglicans in communion with the Pope in Rome"

After merienda "morning snack" we toured the Romanesque Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. I haven't been to this church in years and I was awestruck by the artwork by the diocese's artists. It as if we entered the gate of heaven (medieval cathedrals gave that impression) with that starry vault of the nave. The cathedral's stained glass windows are not yet complete. But once they are, this church will reflect how the 21st century Catholic Church has recovered what was lost without  being dated! Anglican traditions definitely will help the wider Church do the same.

Cubao Cathedral's nave

The Immaculate Conception window

St Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila

soon to be canonized Blessed Pedro Calungsod

The Four Evangelists at the transept.
Truly the Diocese of Cubao is "the light on top of a hill"

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