Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bulletin News for Christ the King

St. Thomas More Catholic Church
A Quasi (mission) Parish of
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

Fr. John Hodgins, Parish Administrator
Peter Mahon, Music Director

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
King of the Universe

November 23, 2014

*  VISIT   Msgr. Steenson was pleased to join us on Nov. 9 as we celebrated the erection of the Quasi (mission) Parish of St. Thomas More, Toronto. He gave us his pontifical blessing and at the reception complimented our choir as one of the best in North America. He later met with those who are considering vocations in the Ordinariate.

*  MEETINGS   Later, Msgr. Steenson along with Cardinal Collins, other Catholic bishops and Fr. Hodgins attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the Vatican II Declaration on Ecumenism at St. James’ Anglican Cathedral. On Monday he attended meetings of ARC, the Anglican – Catholic dialogue and the CCCB in Mississauga.

WHO ARE WE?   A working group of the Ordinariate is developing a Proto-Catechesis to assist people who are exploring our part of the Catholic Church, its history and patrimony. This will be published online in an exciting format early in the new year. We will offer a Lenten study programme based on the Proto-Catechesis.

Advent/ Christmas/ Epiphany Liturgies 

Tuesday, December 23           
7:00 p.m.   
Lessons and Carols with
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

Wednesday, December  24 
4:00 p.m.  
(Note the earlier time.)
Sung Mass of the Nativity of Our Lord

Wednesday  December 31   
5:00 p.m.
   Sung Mass of Mary, Mother of God

Monday, November 17, 2014

Some photos from the Solemn Pontifical High Mass at STM for the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica with the Act of Remembrance.

Fr. (Lt. Colonel) Paul Acton of CFB Borden led the Act of Remembrance at the end of Mass

Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, celebant; Fr. Paul, deacon of the Mass, Joseph Decaria, Subdeacon

Gospel Procession

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Recently, I had a letter from a young man considering the Ordinariate but very tied to his Anglican roots.  At the end of the letter he included a long quotation from BARCHESTER TOWERS by Anthony Trollope.  

My young friend said that it conveyed his feelings at the present moment. Following the quotation is my response to him (edited):

From Trollope, Barchester Towers, ch. 20 "Mr Arabin"

"And now came the moment of his great danger. After many mental struggles, and an agony of doubt which may be well surmised, the great prophet of the Tractarians [John Henry Newman] confessed himself a Roman Catholic. Mr. Newman left the Church of England and with him carried many a waverer. He did not carry off Mr. Arabin, but the escape which that gentleman had was a very narrow one. He left Oxford for awhile that he might meditate in complete peace on the step which appeared to him to be all but unavoidable, and shut himself up in a little village on the sea-shore of one of our remotest counties, that he might learn by communing with his own soul whether or no he could with a safe conscience remain within the pale of his mother church.

"Things would have 
gone badly with him there had he been left entirely to himself. Everything was against him: all his worldly interests required him to remain a Protestant, and he looked on his worldly interests as a legion of foes, to get the better of whom was a point of extremest honour. 

In his then state of ecstatic agony such a conquest would have cost him little; he could easily have thrown away all his livelihood; but it cost him much to get over the idea that by choosing the Church of England he should be open in his own mind to the charge that he had been led to such a choice by unworthy motives. Then his heart was against him: he loved with a strong and eager love the man who had hitherto been his guide, and yearned to follow his footsteps.

His tastes were against him: the ceremonies and pomps of the Church of Rome, their august feasts and solemn fasts,
invited his imagination and pleased his eye. 

His flesh was against him: how great an aid would it be to a poor, weak, wavering man to be constrained to high moral duties, self-denial, obedience, and chastity by laws which were certain in their enactments, and not to be broken without loud, palpable, unmistakable sin! 

Then his faith was against him: he required to believe so much; panted so eagerly to give signs of his belief; deemed it so insufficient to wash himself simply in the waters of Jordan; that some great deed, such as that of forsaking everything for a true Church, had for him allurements almost past withstanding.

"Mr. Arabin was at this time a very young man, and when he left Oxford for his far retreat was much too confident in his powers of fence, and too apt to look down on the ordinary sense of ordinary people, to expect aid in the battle that he had to fight from any chance inhabitants of the spot which he had selected. But Providence was good to him; there, in that all but desolate place, on the storm-beat shore of that distant sea, he met one who gradually calmed his mind, quieted his imagination, and taught him something of a Christian's duty. 

When Mr. Arabin left Oxford, he was inclined to look upon the rural clergymen of most English parishes almost with contempt. It was his ambition, should he remain within the fold of their church, to do somewhat towards redeeming and rectifying their inferiority and to assist in infusing energy and faith into the hearts of Christian ministers, who were, as he thought, too often satisfied to go through life without much show of either.

"And yet it was from such a one that Mr. Arabin in his extremest need received that aid which he so much required. It was from the poor curate of a small Cornish parish that he first learnt to know that the highest laws for the governance of a Christian's duty must act from within and not from without; that no man can become a serviceable servant solely by obedience to written edicts; and that the safety which he was about to seek within the gates of Rome was no other than the selfish freedom from personal danger which the bad soldier attempts to gain who counterfeits illness on the eve of battle.  

"Mr. Arabin returned to Oxford a humbler but a better and a happier man, and from that time forth he put his shoulder to the wheel as a clergyman of the Church for which he had been educated. The intercourse of those among whom he familiarly lived kept him staunch to the principles of that system of the Church to which he had always belonged."

My response:

Thank you for your sincere and very thoughtful message, Tom [not his real name]. I very much appreciate it.

You have given these matters a great deal of thought and prayer and for that we are all thankful. In our Lord's time all will be resolved and all will be well.

I was in something like your position for quite a time, practising what I understood to be the traditional Anglican expression of the Catholic faith, living as a country parson but always hoping for reconciliation and the healing of the Body of Christ in some way that would allow us, as Anglicans, to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church.

In fact, it is over 20 years ago that a group of us approached Archbishop Ambrozic about the Pastoral Provision. I recall hopeful Evensongs at St. Cecelia's here in Toronto and then the candle of unity sputtered and Abp. (later Cardinal) Ambrozic decided not to allow us to proceed.

At the time, Jane and I had to provide for two young girls and so we had little choice but to stay in the parish I had been serving, believing that we had done what we could to move into unity under the circumstances. Time moved on and our Lord's prayer that "they all may be one" began to work its grace in different ways. All the time I felt and believed that we would be able, somehow, to bring our Anglican patrimony into unity with the Holy See. How, I had no idea.

It had become clearer, over time, that the ARCIC dialogues would not be the vehicle for unity so many of us had hoped they would be. Anglicans continued to make doctrinal changes that could in no way be considered Catholic and there was a widening gap.

For me, Anglicanorum Coetibus (AC) in 2009 was nothing short of miraculous. It rang like a bell and I could not resist making the journey over the newly constructed bridge into the arms of Peter and the full embrace of the Catholic Church. I felt and continue to feel more completely Anglican than I ever had. It is as though the first 1000 years of the Church of the Anglo or English-speaking peoples has been restored to its proper relationship with the single universal Church of Christ and the last 450 years are now in proper perspective.

In terms of material well being our situation had changed and we now had our daughters through university with most of the bills paid. We could travel more lightly and Jane had supply teaching to pay the rent. My job ended but every sacrifice was met with a blessing.

The Rev. John Keble, Rector of Hursley
It becomes clearer with every month that the journey into full communion is different for each person and family. Your quotation from Trollope mirrors exactly my feelings when serving in a country parish with John Keble as a hero and model. 
Hursley Parish Church

I respect your integrity in that as much as I believe entirely that the Anglican Patrimony can, in the long run, only survive with the protection of the Magisterium. The corrosive liberalism that Newman identified at the heart of the establishment, sadly, continues to undermine the good faith and work of devout Anglicans. The centre of that system, which now includes fundamentally opposed groups and synods, as Newman saw, is fatally flawed and without magisterial direction and the Petrine Office cannot hold against the zeitgeist and its winds of relativism.

As we are both so well aware, our day is very far removed from the classical Anglicanism of Newman, Keble and Trollope. Gone is the orthodoxy of belief and practice with the advances of relativism, radical feminism and the juggernaut of gay political activism. Secular, Islamist and other currents make the waters exceedingly treacherous for those who, like you, sincerely hold to that "system of the Church" (Trollope) we have known as the Anglican Way.

I hesitate to compare myself in any way with Blessed John H. Newman, but his words about his own reception into full communion and having the sense of entering port after a storm express my feelings precisely now. This is not to say that we don't need to launch out again from port in a larger and sturdier barque and so I see the Ordinariate as one sail for the New Evangelization which the Catholic Church very much needs and as our beloved Benedict XVI saw so clearly.

I rejoice that we now have the whole patrimony of Anglicanism at the disposal of the Holy Spirit in the full communion of the Catholic Church that has so many resources but needs new impetus on many fronts.

The very good news, as one young man put it to me recently, is that AC, as an Apostolic Constitution, is part of the universal fabric of the Church. It will be there in twenty or a hundred years and Anglicans will always be welcome along with our many other fellow-travellers.

Blessed Pope Paul VI
So, we pray for you and all other faithful Anglicans who, as Unitatis Redintegratio from Vatican II puts it, are our baptized brothers and sisters in Christ. 

To rephrase Trollope, this is the one Church to which we all belong. Together, we continue to strive for a more perfect unity in the Church Militant because it is our Lord's will, knowing that the arms of Peter are always open.

Faithfully, in Christ


Fr. John L. Hodgins, Priest Administrator,
St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Toronto
A Quasi (Mission) Parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

Deanery of St. John the Baptist (Canada)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Excerpts from Fr. Longnecker's article reflecting upon the past five years since Pope Benedict allowed for the erection of Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans and other Protestants to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Extraordinary ordinariate

Anglicanorum Coetibus marks its fifth anniversary this month. To understand just what the personal ordinariate is, we have to remember that the Catholic Church includes many more groups and organizational systems than the typical Latin diocese. There are the ancient churches of the East like the Chaldeans, Maronites, Melkites, Copts and many others. These churches retain their ancient liturgies, cultural customs and their own hierarchy. Many of them permit married men to be ordained, and their traditions, vestments, art and architecture are unique to their particular cultures . . .
Once Anglicanorum Coetibus got the ball rolling, Anglicans and former Anglicans around the world began to make their plans for the formation of ordinariates in different parts of the world. Functioning in England, Wales and Scotland, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was the first to be established in January 2011. A year later, the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was established in the United States. Also open to former Methodists (because they are an offshoot of Anglicanism), the American ordinariate covers both the United States and Canada. In June 2012, the ordinariate for Australia was formed as the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.
The Anglican ordinariate is an extraordinary and unexpected creation. Never before has a pope established a new ecclesial structure like it. It is a brave experiment — an innovative move toward church unity and a controversial action on the part of Rome. By some accounts, its creation was greeted with dismay by the Anglican leadership. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was surprised by the move, while other Anglican leaders said it was insensitive, predatory and unnecessary. They could not help but perceive it as an attempt by the pope to steal sheep from their flock.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster prays as former Anglican bishops John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton lie prostrate during their ordination as Catholic priests at Westminster Cathedral in London in 2011. CNS photo

Why this, why now?

The Anglicans’ reaction was understandable. For some time now in England, the numbers of Catholics at Mass on a Sunday far surpass the number of Anglicans at church. Despite the fact that the Church of England owns all the ancient cathedrals, colleges and churches that were once Catholic, the number of English people who worship in the Church of England is far smaller than the number of Catholics. Pope Benedict’s move seemed threatening.
What the Anglicans did not understand is that Pope Benedict was not actively reaching out to convert Anglicans, but was responding to repeated requests from Anglicans around the world for a way to become Catholic while retaining their beloved traditions. These requests had been arriving in Rome with regularity since the late 1970s. 
When the Episcopal Church of the United States ordained women for the first time in 1977, a group of priests from the Episcopal Church petitioned Rome, asking to receive dispensations from the vow of celibacy, allowing them to be ordained as Catholic priests. In 1980, Pope St. John Paul II established the process called the pastoral provision, opening the door for married former Anglicans to be ordained. At that time, Rome also allowed Anglican Use parishes to be erected. These were parishes that used an Anglican style liturgy authorized by Rome. While they had their own liturgy, they remained part of established Catholic dioceses.
lighting candles
Marc Fisher watches his daughter, Mary Margaret, 5, light a candle at Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore in 2012. CNS photo
When women were ordained in 1994 in England and Wales, the Holy See extended the pastoral provision to that country. It was also quietly extended to bishops in other parts of the world who had married, former Anglican priests knocking on their door seeking Catholic ordination. Now there are about 500 married former Anglicans serving as Catholic priests around the world.
Despite these provisions, groups of Anglicans still came to the pope asking for another way to come into full communion. The most prominent voice was that of the Traditional Anglican Communion. The TAC is a confederation of the “continuing Anglican” churches that had broken away from the Anglican Communion under the Archbishop of Canterbury. In October 2007, the leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion, along with his college of bishops, voted to seek full communion with Rome. It was in response to this appeal by a global Anglican communion of churches that the Vatican began to explore the possibility of a personal ordinariate for Anglicans. Once it was established, however, the TAC split and most of them decided to reject the Vatican’s offer.
The Anglican ordinariate should be seen, therefore, as an attempt by the Catholic Church to offer a way forward for a particular group of Christians separated from full communion with the Catholic Church. 
The ordinariate now
The Anglican ordinariate is now five years old. Where is it now and what does the future hold? For many reasons, the ordinariate has not been as immediately popular or successful as first hoped. It must be admitted that a good number of the Anglicans who say they want formal communion with the Catholic Church too often want to retain not only their Anglican traditions, but their church buildings, their positions as bishops and clergy, and their independence. A good number who were on the shore of the Tiber decided not to cross over after all.
‘Quo Vadis’ Anglicans?
Quo Vadis?”—“Where are you going?” — was the question Peter was supposed to have asked Jesus. After five years, it is important for the members of the Anglican ordinariate to ask themselves where they are going.
The weakness of the Anglicans is the weakness of all Protestants: Lacking a central authority, they are too often a law unto themselves. Tending toward division and individualism, there are too many different strands of Anglicanism, and this same division can be an unfortunate part of the ordinariate movement. Members of the ordinariate may have an identity problem. They love the Anglican traditions, but just what are they exactly? Are they supposed to be traditional high-church Anglicans with “bells and smells,” or are they Evangelical “low-church” Anglicans? Are they supposed to embrace charismatic worship and spirituality, or are they more staid and conventional?
All the different streams can be strengths, but the different tendencies can also cause division.
The great strength of the Anglican tradition is to meld the different streams of Anglicanism together into a church which is Evangelical-Charismatic-Catholic.
If the leaders of the ordinariate can succeed in bringing together and holding in balance the best of the different Anglican streams of tradition, they will have a strong appeal not only to existing Anglicans, but also to other non-Catholic Christians and to members of the convergence movement: former Evangelicals who have founded Anglican-style churches.
If the ordinariate movement is to survive and thrive, it will need to develop its own strong identity — an identity that will help with the work of evangelization, and an identity that will draw many from the differing streams of non-Catholic Christianity into the full unity and communion of Christ’s one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.
- See more at:

Monsignor Steenson Visits Toronto and Celebrates STM as a new Quasi (Mission) Parish of the Ordinariate

Msgr Steenson celebrated a Solemn Pontifical High Mass on Sunday as we celebrated the erection of St. Thomas More as a Quasi (mission) parish of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.  So STM joins 9 other mission parishes and 5 full parishes erected in October.

Wonderful music followed by a sumptuous reception made us glad, as the music of Parry was still ringing in our ears.

Fr. (Lieutenant Colonel) Paul Acton of CFB Borden was Deacon of the Mass and led the Act of Remembrance.  Joseph Decaria's (subdeacon) mother baked and decorated the beautiful cake.

After dinner we attended a special liturgy at St. James (Anglican) Cathedral with Cardinal Collins in attendance as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II decree on Ecumenism.  If felt as though we were the living results of that wonderful initiative of the Holy Sprit.

Our Mother Wore Army Boots

The facts of the story are true, names have been changed to respect the privacy of a WW II veteran.

Lieutenant Mary Hogan (not her real name) served Canada during World War II. An officer in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) she served both in Canada and in England. Now at 98 years of age, Mary is waiting in a hospital ward for a place in the Colonel Belcher Veteran’s Retirement Residence, a care facility in Calgary built expressly for the needs of Canada’s aging veterans.

As the Belcher was designed for veterans, why then, as perhaps the last surviving Canadian woman veteran of WW II, has Mary been waiting for months to be given a room of her own? 

 Until last year she was in good health for her age and lived with her daughter in Calgary. After a stroke earlier this year, Mary was hospitalized but, with characteristic resiliency, she rebounded. Now she is allowed home only on weekends because she is without resources to have care at home while her daughter, who has her own health issues, works from Monday to Friday. In her late 90s, Mary has to make the best of the hospital ward which she shares with three others. Is this what Canada wants for one of her most senior veterans? Is this just treatment for one who answered the call to risk her life for her country?

After WW II Mary married another veteran, a Captain in the Canadian Dental Corps whom she had met in England, and together, they raised five children all born after the war and after she turned 35! She was the inspiration for the protagonist in a novel written by a CWAC veteran friend who has since died. 
Her five children live and work in different provinces around the country. Mary waits for phone calls and holds on to hope for a dignified place in which to live her final years. How is it that our country appears to be so cavalier about the needs of our most senior service personnel in the twilight of their years?

Mary does not complain. “Thanks so much for calling,” she says to me, her son, serving as a Catholic priest in Toronto. I wait and pray for a better place for our mother at the end of her life. She answered her country’s call to service when they needed her over 70 years ago. Will our country answer her need now?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Solemn Pontifical High Mass - Music for Msgr. Steenson's visit Nov. 9

November Music at STM
  1:45 pm Sundays

November 9 
Consecration of  The Lateran Basilica

Pontifical Solemn High Mass
Mass Setting:   Willan, Missa Brevis 11, St. John the Baptist                    
Introit:               Parry, I Was Glad
Offertory:          Harris, Behold The Tabernacle
Communion:     Howells, O Pray For The Peace of Jerusalem

November 16 

22 Sunday after Trinity
Mass Setting:         Victoria, Missa O Quam Gloriosum      Motet:                     
Harwood, O How Glorious Is The Kingdom

November 23 

Christ The King
Mass:                      Hassler, Missa Secunda                        
Motet:                     Willan, O King All Glorious

Saturday, November 1, 2014

5 New Ordinariate Parishes and 9 New Mission Parishes Established

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson erected five new Ordinariate parishes and raised nine other Public Associations of the Faithful (sodalities), including STM Toronto, to Quasi (mission) Parish status with the approval of the  Ordinariate Governing Council during the POCSP Conference at Our Lady of the Snows Retreat Centre, near St Louis, Missouri, October 27 - 31.
Fr Lee Kenyon was appointed the first Parish Pastor for Canada. 

Fr. Doug Hayman, Fr. Carl Reid and Fr. John Hodgins were confirmed as priest administrators for three Canadian mission parishes. They will serve Our Lady of the Annunciation in Ottawa, St. Columba in Victoria B.C., and St. Thomas More, Toronto, respectively.
Clergy of the West  (left to right):  Deacon Adrian Martens,  Fr. Jonathan Gibson and Fr. Lee Kenyon of St. John the Evangelist, Calgary. At far right, Fr. Michael Birch an associate priest at St. Columba, Victoria B.C.

Fr. John Hodgins at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, Illinois near St. Louis, OCTOBER 2014

Clergy wives from around North American joined in the sessions and discussion as well as having  their own meetings to develop approaches to Evangelism in conjunction with Catholics in various cities and communities.

Msgr. Steenson looks on as Msgr. Peter Wilkinson with Mrs Jane Hodgins ponder points raised during the presentation on Evangelism by Fr. Paul S. Manning from New Jersey.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I am transfixed by David B. Hart's book GOD: BEING, CONSCIOUSNESS, BLISS

This American scholar, intellectual and convert to Orthodox Christianity offers the thoughtful atheist, as well as Christians and others, a profound reflection upon the reality of God far removed from the Dawkins- style arguments which fluctuate between the petulant and the irrationally ferocious.

Hart has a turn of phrase and vocabulary that make Conrad Black look like a piker. Almost overly articulate, his razor-sharp logic is expressed along with a profound respect for revelation, properly understood. His deep erudition allows him to explore how, in his words, "Wisdom is the recovery of innocence at the far end of experience."

Hart readily admits that his audacious project in this book risks losing the sympathy of readers both rationalist and fideist because he is intent upon showing, as Pope Benedict would agree, that reason and revelation are, in the end, one and the same thing in the unity of God.

This is not a work of apologetics so much as a re-presentation of what the classical traditions of all major religions and philosophy have meant by "God" as opposed to the straw man that Dawkins and company have been raging against. In its place Hart presents the transcendent vision that is at the base of all cultures, art and achievement in history.

Or, in Hart's own words:
"What is certain is that, to this point, most of the unquestionably sublime achievements of the human intellect and imagination have arisen in worlds shaped by some vision of transcendent truth. Only a thoughtless person can possibly imagine that the vast majority of those responsible for such achievements have all clung pathetically to an understanding of the transcendent as barbarously absurd as the one casually presumed in the current texts of popular unbelief."

The reviewer, Damon Linker, in the online magazine THIS WEEK says to critics who question that people have or now do actually hold Hart's profound view of God:
"[This view of God] is found, in varying forms, in the work of Christian (Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, Thomas Aquinas), Jewish (Maimonides), and Muslim (Avicenna) theologians, as well as numerous Hindu and Sikh sages. All of these sundry thinkers, and many others, describe a God who is (in Hart's words) "the infinite fullness of being, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, from whom all things come and upon whom all things depend for every moment of their existence, without whom nothing at all would exist."

Essentially, Hart is saying to skeptics: Go ahead and burn the straw man but when you want to have an adult conversation - - come on in!