The beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery; it is a sublime expression of God’s glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth.—Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis #35
The mission of the Ordinariate is particularly experienced in the reverence and beauty of our liturgy, [emphasis added] which features Anglican traditions of worship while conforming to Catholic doctrinal, sacramental and liturgical standards. [emphasis added] Through Divine Worship: The Missal — the liturgy that unites the Ordinariates throughout the English-speaking world — we share our distinctive commitment to praising God in the eloquence of the Anglican liturgical patrimony and Prayer Book English. —Ordinariate Questions and Answers
“Be Positive!” is one of my Lenten resolutions, and in that spirit I offer this post. My wife and I watched a DVD of the installation of Bishop Steven Lopes; Bishop Lopes presides over the Ordinariate of The Chair of St. Peter, which is a diocese for those Episcopalians and Anglicans in Canada and the US who have swum the Tiber and now follow the Anglican Usage of the Latin Rite.
Perhaps the greatest blessing Pope Benedict XVI bestowed on his Church was instituting The Ordinariate by the ordinance of Anglicorum Coetibus. The Personal Ordinariate of Anglican Usage offers to our Church a renewal of beauty in the liturgy, a return to what is established, holy and worshipful. This was evident in Bishop Lopes’s Ordination Mass, displayed in elements carried over from Anglican and Episcopal liturgy–Thee’s and Thou’s, and other parts of the Mass derived from the Anglican “Book of Common Prayer” (see here for more specifics). What was missing in the ordination Mass (possibly because of Church architecture and congregation size) was ad orientem worship by the priests and Holy Communion received kneeling at an altar, with an intincted host.
Perhaps most welcome in the Anglican Usage liturgy is the absence of those hymns which cater to the “Catholics can’t sing” axiom. The Anglican Usage hymns, taken from the Anglican Hymn Book, have both melody and message. Here’s an example, a YouTube video of the Recessional Hymn at the Ordination of Bishop Lopes:
One other point is of interest: the congregation was dressed to show respect for the occasion; as my wife remarked, “They must all be former Anglicans, or maybe somebody told the Catholics what they should wear.”
And here, for those who would like to see a full Anglican Usage Mass, is a link to a YouTube video of Bishop Lopes celebrating Mass for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity. I’ve also written on this here and here.
And let’s all pray that our Liturgy can be restored and revitalized, such that we can focus on the beauty of receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion.