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, 2017

Evening Prayer for Candlemas

There will be an Evening Prayer on Feb 2, Candlemas Day. Please keep posted for more details

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ordinariate Use Evening Prayer -- Tues., Oct. 28, Feast of Sts Simon and Jude -- UP Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila

This quarter's Evening Prayer according to the Ordinariate Use will be at 7:30 P.M. on October 28, 2014, at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice on the University of the Philippines Diliman campus, Quezon City, Metro Manila.

Any and all are welcome to attend whether you are Catholic, Anglican, of another Christian denomination or of no Christian denomination. This is just the latest in our irregular but steady schedule of Evening Prayer.  We endeavor to meet about once a quarter.

We have created on our Facebook Page a Facebook Event.  You can RSVP there.

Being a small group, we will gather in the Campus Ministry Office not in the main sanctuary.  The office is located in the main office building in the back on the lowest floor (on OpenStreetMap or on Google Maps).  Ask when you get there.  Or you can contact us directly and we can provide better directions.

Here is a map of the location:

View Larger Map

Ordinariate Use is the liturgy of the personal ordinariates for former Anglicans within the Catholic Church, which are also know as Anglican Ordinariates.  It is what replaced Anglican Use.  Ordinariate Use is a liturgical use of the Roman Rite of the Latin Church (or Rite) of the Catholic Church heading by the Pope.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quarterly Evening Prayer postponed to around All Saints Day

Life, as is its wont, has gotten in the way of our tentatively planned September evening prayer.  We are a small group.  Meeting without one or two of us is not as enjoyable as waiting for our full complement.  Therefore we have decided that we will hold the next Evening Prayer when we can all be together in Metro Manila at the end of October, near the All Saints Day holiday. Stayed tuned for updates.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Regular quarterly Evening Prayer

Just last week, we had our second regular quarterly Evening Prayer, this time at the Cubao Cathedral. Previously we have said Evening Prayer at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, the Catholic parish on the University of the Philippines Diliman's campus.  Going forward and until further notice we will be holding an Evening Prayer service roughly around each quarterly embertide (Advent, Lent, Pentacost, Holy Cross).  If there is enough interest, we will increase the frequency.  

The exact date and place will vary depending upon availability and upon the university's vacation schedule.  Typically we will expect to hold the service at UP Diliman's parish, most likely in one of the chapels or offices, not in the main sanctuary.  Watch our Facebook Page or our Facebook Group for details and updates.  Best would be to give your cell number (or email address) to either Bruce Hall or Ben Vallejo so that we can send you a personal invitation.

Each Evening Prayer will follow the pattern that we have established: a brief greeting and explanation of the service, the service itself possibly including a short sermon, and a post-service gathering either there at the location or at some nearby restaurant or coffee shop where we will discuss current developments with our small group, the Anglican Ordinariates, and related topics.

See you in September!

For those who are unfamiliar with embertides, an ancient practice of the universal church, some links:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Harrowing of Hell updated

"He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead"

Filipino Christians call it Black Saturday by tradition since their understanding is that "God is dead" between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The term probably came from the Americans when they introduced the English language.But the God made Man isn't really dead. In other Christian societies, these days of the Easter Triduum is called Easter Saturday or Easter Even. The Spanish-Filipino term "Sabado de Gloria" is more in line with the ancient understanding. Black Saturday isn't black but the Saturday of the promised eternal glory! Christ descended into Hell but what did he do there? The ancient icons of the Eastern Church show him liberating Adam and Eve, who brought the downfall of the human race, out of hell. He snatched all the sinners from there. And there is more to this snatching than meets the eye.

The title of this post is not to scare the your wits but to recall an ancient understanding on what Easter really means. Easter has much to do with being snatched from certain death. Filipino Christians mainly recall their own mortality on All Saints Day but at Easter we have to recall our death and the way we can get out of it. This idea was conserved by the English Church from its very foundation by Saint Augustine of Canterbury and is now part of the Anglican understanding. The mystical tradition of reflecting on this harrowing became developed in the medieval English Church and survived in part the Reformation. However in the recent decades especially after the Second Vatican Council, this understanding has been downplayed in the Roman Church and also in the Anglican Church. Fortunately it still is central to Eastern Christianity's belief about Easter as seen most clearly in its icons.   The term "harrowing of hell" comes from the Old English word "hergian" which means to despoil or to snatch. Thus before Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, he descended into hell ("the dead" in modern usage). I am old enough to recall the use of "Hell" in the Apostles' Creed and I always asked why did Jesus have to go to Hell. He didn't commit any sin, did he?

The English Abbot <a>Aelfric of Eynsham</a> (955-1010) used the term "harrowing of hell"in his homilies. Since then a rich tradition has developed about the concept even as it was taught by the early Church fathers. The Eastern Church believes that Jesus snatched Adam and Eve, now forgiven and brought them to Paradise once more. The icon above shows risen Jesus Christ snatching Adam and Eve from the tomb.  This is what the Eastern Church understands about the Resurrection. It is the real snatching of us sinners from Death! The Roman Catholic Church understands this in a slightly different way as said in the Catechism. Christ released the just who preceded him from death and perpetual exclusion from heaven. Many Protestants believe that in Jesus descending to Hell, he broke Satan's power forever.

As for my earlier question about what "hell" means, the meaning has changed in the last 1000 years. The word came from the Norse "hel" which means underneath. Now it means a place for the damned. But whatever the meaning is, Jesus Christ the Risen Lord has triumphed over hell and death.

The pre-Reformation English Church celebrated the "harrowing of hell" in many mystery plays and in the iconography of parish churches. Even the Rood Screen may have a picture of what this means and that is very close to the understanding of the Eastern Church. Sadly the Reformation almost did away with these and in the resulting Calvinist inspired iconoclasm, many representations were lost.

Nonetheless, the 1928 Book of Common Prayer collect for Easter Even or Holy Saturday echoes what the ancient tradition from the East means. In the collect it is prayed that in order to be saved we have to be buried with Him, pass through the grave and the gate of death and rise in our glorious resurrection, because Jesus rose from the dead!

This understanding is now largely lost to us. We live in a secular world where hell is no longer real since we have lost the meaning of what sin is. And the hells we have made by our works (wars, environmental destruction, injustice, corruption, abortion, disrespect for human life and dignity etc have numbed us. Now will the Risen Jesus snatch as from all of these? How can our Christian faith harrow these hells and release us? The Anglican tradition is a gentle reminder of what is really at stake for our souls. The English Church before and after the Reformation and through the Catholic revival has nurtured many mystics who have dwelt on this reality. The Personal Ordinariates in one sense will restore this understanding to the Roman Catholic Church, as the Eastern Church restores it to the West.

The message of Easter is that Jesus has risen from the dead, destroyed sin and death and shows us the way to eternal life. So death where is thy sting?

Salvation is literally the snatching of the sinner and the fallen from death and thus from Satan. A very old understanding (dating back to earliest days of the Church) of the Paternoster is that the English "deliver us from evil" which is a literal translation of the Latin "libera nos malo" really means "snatch us from the clutches of Satan". Satan as traditionally believed, has us in a tight grip that only Christ can snatch us away. This snatching is forceful as if Christ was wresting the sinner which belongs to Him from the robber that is Satan.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mass of the Ordinariate Use

The Mass according to the Use of the Ordinariate was first publicly celebrated in London last October 10 by the Rt Rev Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Mass which substantially incorporates the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and the Roman Rite, was the result of more than 30 years of efforts to include Anglican use within the Roman Rite first in the Catholic Church in the US and with Anglicanorum coetibus, through the Vatican's Anglicanae Traditiones commission.  The Book of Divine Worship (BDW) which includes much of the American Book of Common Prayer, provided the example of how Anglican liturgy can be successfully incorporated into Roman Catholic life.

However unlike the US Anglican Use, the Ordinariate Use includes options from the Tridentine Mass. The Ordinariate Use also has several differences from the US Anglican Use since the latter drew much from the Episcopal Church's 1979 Book of Common Prayer. In fact the BDW can be considered as a successful effort to incorporate the Episcopal Church's liturgy to Roman Catholic parish life in the United States. The Ordinariate Use draws more from the earlier Anglican Books of Common Prayer and restores much of the usages (some derived from the pre Tridentine Roman Rites) of classical Anglicanism. As a result of the liturgical movement beginning in the late 19th Century, Anglican liturgies incorporated prayers from the Eastern Church. The Ordinariate Use, removes many of these usages proper to the Eastern Church and restores the older Latin usages in the Mass.

Ordinariate clergy are not required to exclusively use the Ordinariate Mass but will have the option to use the Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. However, Ordinariate clergy will be expected to be familiar with the Ordinariate Use.

How the Ordinariate Use will be accepted in the US Ordinariate will have to be seen. Many parishes in the US Ordinariate and the diocesan Anglican Use have been accustomed to the BDW which has been used for 30 years.  Another question is whether the US Anglican Use will remain a legitimate option in the territory of the US Catholic Church.

Photos of the inaugural mass can be seen at the UK Ordinariate's Flickr site.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rev Dr Joseph Palmer Frary (1939-2013)

The Rev Dr Joseph Frary (right) photo courtesy of Skep CSMV Sagada
Fr Joseph Frary passed away last July 12, 2013 at the age of 74, in Cathedral Heights, Quezon City after a serious illness. He supported the Anglican Use and provided hospitality for our meetings at his residence at St Andrew's Theological Seminary in Quezon City. He believed in a Catholicism but one that was more than its Roman expression. He never wavered from his commitment to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, although he was much saddened at the divisions that has happened in the Anglican churches. Towards the end of his life, he wanted to gather all that was good and holy in Anglicanism and spread them around, the "Anglican Virus" he called it. Anglicanism for him is like a dandelion flower going to seed, the seeds are blown with the wind, land on suitable ground and germinate, while the dandelion flower will be no more. This suitable ground may be the other churches. It is in this way that he viewed Pope Benedict XVI's "Anglicanorum coetibus" and the Ordinariates or even a Pentecostal congregation rediscovering liturgical worship through Anglican traditions (He showed me a book he was reading about that). While he said that  he doesn't expect the majority of Anglicans to swim the Tiber, it was just a matter of time that things Anglican will be reincorporated in the Catholic Church and grow, like the Anglican dandelion seed or virus that will infect Roman Catholics. He was prophetic since the new translation of the Mass in English has some "Anglican ways". In fact one of the lectors in our university Catholic parish told me that they were told that in the new translation "we have to say the Lord's Prayer, the Anglican way"! The Catholics he had faith will end up as better Catholics in general, Roman Catholics in the particular.

In his meetings with his former students, many of whom are now Episcopal priests in mission territories, he told them to be appreciative of the Ordinariate and to pray and support Pope Benedict's idea. Not that it will be a kind of "poaching" (which Fr Frary understood is not)  but that it will spread the grace of holiness through the beauty of Anglican liturgy which Catholics should be enriched with and Anglicans will have to rediscover. One of the Episcopal priests told me this during the wake.  And this priest wished us to continue with what we are doing now in memory of Fr Frary.

Fr Frary was born August 26, 1939 in Farmington, Maine, USA. He studied philosophy in Bowdoin College and graduated in 1963, cum laude with a thesis on the Ontological argument. He was ordained in 1966 after studies in Bachelor of Theology from the General Theological Seminary in New York. He then served several Episcopal parishes in New York and New Jersey. He earned an MA from Fordham University and a PhD on the "Ontological Argument and Modern Debate" from the same university.  He then joined the Society of St John the Evangelist. He also served as a missionary and educator in the Church of Melanesia in the Solomon Islands. He arrived in PH in 1979 to serve as a professor in systematic theology at St Andrew's Theological Seminary and teaching philosophy in Trinity College and theology at Maryhill School of Theology.

In 1986 he accepted an appointment to teach in St Michael's Theological Seminary in Korea. in 1991,he moved to Japan to teach English in a women's college. In 1998 returned to PH to resume teaching at SATS which he did until illness overtook him. He authored many papers in philosophy and theology. A dedicated teacher in seminary and outside, he never turned away any student who wanted to learn (and that included me, in my case about monasticism). I was surprised to see him tutoring a high school student in Shakespeare one day. The student was from a public school that catered for the poor students.

For that reason, Fr Frary is well remembered by his students, "not a bad public" as St Thomas More once said. A great teacher is known best by his students and God. Not a bad public really. The wake proves Thomas More was right and always will be!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pope Francis and the Anglican ordinariates

According to Archbishop Gregory Venables, the  former Primiate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, then Cardinal Bergoglio and now Pope Francis told him over lunch that the Ordinariate "is unnecessary" and that Cardinal Bergoglio "valued Anglicans in the Church Universal"

We agree with the Pope.  The Ordinariate is unnecessary if only had Anglicans stuck to Scripture and Tradition. Unfortunately the Anglican Communion introduced many innovations to its life as a church that are not consistent with the Apostolic tradition preserved by the Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental churches. That many distressed Anglicans petitioned Rome to be let in as whole communities while preserving their Anglican heritage, was the main reason why Pope Benedict XVI decided to promulgate Anglicanorum coetibus.

We also agree with the Pope that we value Anglicans in the Universal Church. The Catholic Church has valued and continues to value the Anglican Communion that the Second Vatican Council declared that it "occupies a special place" even if separated, in the life of the Church.

The troubles facing the Anglican Communion are of great concern to the Church and to the popes.

We have to place the then Cardinal Bergoglio's statements in their proper context. The Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of South America is one of the traditionalist provinces of the Anglican Communion.  It shares many theological positions with the Catholic Church and has worked closely on pro life and human rights issues in Argentina and most recently against the Argentine government's decision to legalize same sex unions.

In contrast some Anglican churches in Europe and North America have given the green light to bless same sex unions in church.

If Cardinal Bergoglio had been an archbishop in North America then he would have had a different point of view.

Now as Pope Francis, we are confident that he will support the three Anglican ordinariates in their evangelical witness.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pope Francis changes Holy Thursday plans to celebrate Mass in prison | National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis is bringing changes to the Maundy Thursday mass.  Here is a story in the American National Catholic Reporter: Pope Francis changes Holy Thursday plans to celebrate Mass in prison.  In says in part:

Pope Francis has decided to celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper in a Rome juvenile detention facility and wash the feet of some of the young detainees.
It marks a change in venue of the previously scheduled March 28 Holy Week event from St. Peter's Basilica to Rome's Casal del Marmo prison for minors.
While the practice of his predecessors has included washing the feet of priests or laypeople, the ceremony was normally held in either St. Peter's Basilica or the Basilica of St. John Lateran.
The Vatican said that, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis used to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper -- which reflects on the call to imitate Christ by serving one another -- in prisons, hospitals or shelters for the poor and marginalized.

This is good and humble. It is important on Maundy Thursday for the highest in the church to reach down to the lowest and wash their feet.  It is a reminder of both lessons of Holy Week: (1) we are called to serve everyone including the low with our whole body and soul, and (2) everyone is guilty of the crucifiction.

Christ wasn't crucified by a small, conspiratorial cabal, but by the crowd and even his own apostles.  Peter, that rock upon whom the church is built, abandoned and denied Christ.  No matter how good we think we are, we are not good enough.  No matter how much status we have in society, we are not good enough.  We killed Christ.  Our goodness, our status, our ordination will not save us.  Only His mercy will save us.  Will we recognize our utter unworthiness in time to submit with utter abandonment of status to His will?  Pope Francis's decision reminds us that only utter abandonment of status followed by submission will save us.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A dry martyrdom

The Pope got old and tired and thus he wanted to retire. That is in essence what Pope Benedict XVI did  this week to the utter surprise of the cardinals and to the shock of the rest of the world.

The Pope has no military force to speak of, only a tiny corps of Swiss Guards who offer protection for him. The Swiss Guards are more known for their Michelangelo designed dress that is a big Vatican tourist attraction than for anything else. The Pope doesn't wield real political power outside the walls of the Vatican but he has spiritual power by virtue of the commission he received from Christ and even more immense moral authority and power, again by virtue of the Divine. For his is not a secular office, but a spiritual one. And yet he is tired.

The secular world thinks of retirement as a time when one gets to enjoy life, play golf, island hop etc. This is especially if one got a good deal in superannuation and one had the luck that these retirement contributions didn't fade with usual financial crash. Benedict had none of that. He doesn't have a salary and so no pension fund. He has no condo investment to spend the remaining days but a monk's cell in the Vatican.

And so Benedict has hinted that he will go into seclusion as a monk. This is how it used to be. In the earliest times of Christianity, bishops who retired (and escaped martyrdom) went to the desert to be contemplatives.

The secular world doesn't understand what contemplatives do and what contemplation means. And yet secular people yearn for the contemplative life. They think it will make them get nearer to the Divine. That is true and so they seek all sorts of spiritualities and even come up with new ones. The Jedi spirituality inspired of Lucas' films is an example of seeking contemplation, of course in the Bright Side of the Force whilst trying to understand the Dark Side which is always with you.

Contemplation means leaving all that rat race behind and yet having the rat race within the monastic cell. I am not a monk but I come from a Christian tradition that has a monastic quality that laypeople live whilst in the world. Oh how I value those quiet times which at the end of the day is a must. But quiet means not disturbed. For it is during these quiet contemplation, that we face the magnitude of our unworthiness due to sin.

Anglicanism's spirituality has this contemplative nature and in the Mass of the Anglican Use, the Prayer of Humble Access which is always said in a contemplative manner before receiving the Sacrament, says it best. We are not worthy that even the dogs have more right to the crumbs!

"We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen."

Benedict as a tired man felt he wasn't worthy. Indeed he is like the rest of us. However he took his office like Christ took his cross while we are just exhorted just to do so. Many of us will shirk at the cost of bearing the Cross choosing instead to bear the very light cross of our imaginings.

The Pope got worn down by the battle against a secularism that is based on relativism that eventually kills what makes as human. But the Pope is just but human and it is time that a much younger bishop takes the Cross.

But taking the Cross means eventual crucifixion and the hope of rising again. And there won't be Simon of Cyrenes on our via dolorosa. A Baptist minister the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King understood it very well as he was moved by the Spirit. "The Cross is something you bear and eventually die on." He was right. There is no other way.

And so Benedict retires to a monk's cell, with his Cross and as the Mystics all have experienced (we know since they wrote about it) that the Devil is within the same cell also.  Benedict will need our prayers even more, more so than when he held the papal office.

This is not the retirement we secular creatures look forward to.

But the Cloud of Witnesses will be there to intercede. England has produced so many, Europe, Africa, Asia also and in our dear Philippines we have many too.

Yes the Church militant will get tired in the battle but cannot rest. I am not really a fan of Marian private revelations but it appears that the messages of the Lady of All Nations focus on this and the prophecy has passed. But the seer, a woman in Amsterdam who received the messages say of the Pope, a bishop, Westminster Abbey and the wearying struggle and the need to fight. Perhaps the seer saw Benedict and Rowan Williams in the Abbey. The messages have been approved by the local bishop as of supernatural origin. The Lady of All Nations mentions the role of the Anglican Church in this struggle several times.

Even then, the battle is on us.

Prayers will be said where God has called us in our state of life.

Benedict is living a dry martyrdom in his mission to spread the Faith and the Reason needed to live it according to God's will. And this in all meekness and charity. He was ridiculed, misunderstood and became tired.

Let us pray for like the Pope we are not worthy of all these grace.