Toronto Conference Liturgies

All of the liturgies and three of the four talks from the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Tradition Conference last November 15-16 in Toronto are available online at our Anglicanorum Coetibus Society YouTube channel. Please go on over and subscribe!

You can find out more information about the conference at our website. And while you’re over there, why not considering joining us and becoming a supporter of our mission to promote Anglican tradition in the Catholic Church to help form disciples of Jesus Christ for the glory of God.

Here is the Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for Anglicanorum Coetibus:

Choral Mattins in the Anglican Tradition

Choral Evensong and Benediction

Three of the four talks are also available at our YouTube channel:

Bishop Steven Lopes

David Warren

Fr. Jack Barker

and soon to come, Fr. Derek Cross

More on The Cloud of Unknowing

Lisa Nicholas looks at Chapter Three of The Cloud of Unknowing, a classic work of English Catholic Mysticism at her Learning God: Readings in the Contemplative English Tradition blog:

She writes:

The subtitle of this chapter promises that it will explain two things: how to put in practice what the book will teach, and why the reason doing so is the most worthy thing one can do.

So first the how: Lift your heart to God, our author says, thinking only of Him, but not of His benefits (“goods”) or any part of His Creation. Think on Him as He is, but not of what He does. This will be difficult, but we must persist in the effort, no matter how difficult it seems, until it is no longer difficult. At first, and for a long time, we will face a great “cloud of unknowing,” but if we persist eventually the cloud will disperse and we will see/know Him as He is, to the extent that this is possible in this mortal life.

Why persist in something so difficult and frustrating? Our teacher encourages his pupil to make the effort, not only for one’s own sake (the benefit of experiencing God as He is), but also because doing so will frustrate the fiends of Hell and benefit the souls in purgatory.


The method of prayer introduced in this chapter (to be explained in detail later) sounds a little like that old gag, “Don’t think about elephants.” As soon as someone says that, you find yourself thinking about elephants. So, how do we fix our minds and hearts on God without thinking of all the good things He does for us or all the wonderful things He has created that bear witness to Him? How can we make it our naked intent simply to adore Him as He is, when it is impossible for us to know Him except through the created order, His interventions in the created order, including His becoming Man for our sake?

It sounds impossible, rather like trying to know what we don’t know. Our teacher acknowledges this difficulty — we must not try to think of God with our intellect (we’re not engaging in theology) nor to feel Him with our affections (we can’t conjure Him up with our emotions). But, if not thinking or feeling, what? Our “naked intent” — our will. Our desire itself to know Him.

This, he says, is what the Angels and Saints do: they desire God with a pure and unflagging desire, and their reward is to know Him as He is. This is the encouragement that will help us persevere in what will seem, at first and for a long time thereafter, a most impossible and frustrating task.

Part one of this series is here. Part two is here. Please not only read all three but also read The Cloud of Unknowing for yourself.

Please listen to the two-part podcast with David Torkington on Christian mystical prayer and the role he believes the Ordinariates can play in reviving it. You can find the podcasts at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society website here.

Diaconal Ordinations on Ascension will be live-streamed from Houston

From the website of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter:

May 18, 2020
by Ordinariate Communications
With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God
the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
joyfully announces and invites you to attend
the Ordination of

David H. Delaney
Stephen A. Hilgendorf
Samuel N. Keyes
Scott R. Wooten

to the Sacred Order of Deacon
through the Imposition of Hands
and the Invocation of the Holy Spirit by

Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes, S.T.D.

Thursday, the Twenty-first of May
Two Thousand and Twenty
at Six Thirty in the Evening

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham
7809 Shadyvilla Lane, Houston, Texas 77055

I will embed the link to the live-stream when I have it.  Meanwhile, keep an eye on the PCSP website and the website of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham at 6:30 pm CDT or 7:30 pm EDT.


David Torkington podcasts now available

David Torkington Width 597 pixelsThe two part interview I did with David Torkington, an author and expert on Christian mystical prayer, is now available on the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society website at  

I am so blessed to have been able to have this conversation with him!  I hope it whets your appetite to read his works.   He asked me to give you the link to an entire course on prayer online that will soon be published as a book.  You can find it at Dan Burke’s website at this link.

Lisa Nicholas [Please see podcast with Lisa Nicholas on the podcasts page!] had introduced me to David Torkinton late last year.  I found reading his book  Wisdom from the Christian Mystics: How to pray the Christian way and other writings on the web revitalized my prayer life.   His writings prompted me to muse whether a key to evangelization in the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican tradition was to make our parishes Schools of Prayer.

Over Lent, a group of us from our parish held a Lenten School of Prayer during which we read Wisdom from the Christian Mystics together.  The school migrated online once the pandemic shutdown began.

Thank you to Tim Motte for the beautiful production of this video.  The music is the Sanctus by Herbert Howells in the Collegium Regale that was sung at the Mass of Thanksgiving that opened the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Churchconference in Toronto Nov. 15-16.

You can find the Mass here:



Evensong & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

Our worship at the 2019 Anglican Tradition Conference culminated with Choral Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, which can now be viewed online on Facebook and YouTube in full, and what an Anglican Catholic celebration it was!

sm-DSC_6208This particular service really shows in a most potent and beautiful way how the Anglican tradition and the wider Western Catholic tradition are in perfect harmony.

Our famous Anglican service of Evensong is of course a favourite of many, a popular manifestation of liturgical worship that draws worshippers and tourists to Anglican cathedrals across the English-speaking world. Now it can draw them to Catholic cathedrals as well, thanks to Pope Benedict’s ordinariates!

sm-DSC_4717Combining the Latin services of Vespers and Compline from the Daily Office, Evensong is formed principally of psalms, preces & responses, canticles, an anthem, and a hymn. On this occasion, we sang a number of Anglican choral classics. The Mag & Nunc canticles were from the Gloucester Service by Herbert Howells. The anthem was Bring Us O Lord, a setting by William Harris of a prayer by John Donne. The versicles and responses were by Bernard Rose, former Choirmaster at Magdalen College, Oxford. The music of each composer is widely sung in Anglican cathedral and collegiate churches.

In more Anglo-Catholic churches, the liturgical form of adoration found in Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament has long been appended as the conclusion of Evensong either regularly or on special occasions. For this service, we sang Healey Willan’s solid hymn Lord Enthroned with Heavenly Splendour (St Osmund), along with a climactic descant by Matthew Larkin, our organist at all three conference liturgies. The choir, directed by Peter Mahon, also sang Willan’s beautiful motet Ave Verum, which more than gives William Byrd’s version a run for its money! It was nice to do music by Dr Willan at each service for a conference held in Toronto, his adopted hometown.

While the particular form of Benediction has taken shape over the past 800 years, in the Anglican community its adoption was an expression of Anglicanism’s recovery of its own Latin Christian identity. Including most centrally a time of adoration and a blessing of the congregation by the priest with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance, the ancient hymns O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo, both by St Thomas Aquinas, were sung in a patrimonial chant setting, as was the Laudate Dominum (psalm 117) with the Adoremus in Aeternum antiphon. These plainsong chants are derived of course from the Latin originals and deserve to be much better known. They can be incredibly stirring, as can be heard in the video, and effectively raise one’s heart and mind to the solemn act of worship being conducted.

To celebrate this very Anglican and very Catholic service at the end of our conference marking ten years of Anglicanorum Coetibus was both fitting and deeply moving. It was a beautiful way to end our time of thanksgiving and was duly followed by a patrimonial drinks reception!

Watch the video here:

The Brown Scapular and the Ordinariates

simonstockThe Personal Ordinariates love Mary, the Mother of God. A much beloved part of the Patrimony of the Personal Ordinariates is Our Lady of Walsingham: one of the earliest Marian apparitions that took place in England (1061).

Better known to the wider Catholic Church is the second Marian apparition in England (Cambridge, 1251) to St Simon Stock: an Englishman and Superior General of the Carmelite Order. Traditionally Mary gave St Simon Stock the Brown Scapular, which has gone on to become the second biggest
devotion in the Catholic Church. But what role might the Brown Scapular play in the Personal Ordinariates? Continue reading

Archbishop Di Noia on the pandemic in light of the Paschal mystery


Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, has an important piece in First Things Magazine about the pandemic in light of both Lent and Eastertide entitled In God’s Time.

What is the properly Christian meaning of the providential concurrence of the pandemic with Lent and Eastertide? What light can our faith shed on the darkness that otherwise prevails during these days? The paschal experience of our crucified and risen Lord shows us the path of grace that turns our own experience of suffering into an opportunity for conversion and transformation, a passage from death to life with our Redeemer who suffered and died for our sake.

This fundamental pattern of the liturgical year, with its specific grace in this season, seems all the more significant for us during this crisis. It may seem that the pandemic has taken Lent and Easter captive, but in liturgical time—in God’s time, that is—the reverse is true. The invitatory antiphon at the start of the Liturgy of the Hours every day in Lent was “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” During Easter it becomes “The Lord is risen, alleluia.” The divine judgment we experience during Lent as a call to repentance yields during Eastertide to the hope and promise of a share in the victory of our Risen Lord over sin and death. This deeply distressing crisis has sharpened our sense of the paschal mystery.

Please read the whole thing.  Here’s my summary: God is calling us to repentance.  He is also reminding us that outside of Him there is no true safety, real peace or lasting security.

It has been difficult to think of blog posts to write because much of my focus during the pandemic—aside from a rather monastic level of prayer in my quasi-hermitage— is on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its role not only in hiding the origins of the  novel coronavirus but also in allowing it to spread throughout the world.  Now as I learn that we no longer manufacture the ingredients to make our antibiotics, our insulin and other essential pharmaceuticals, I see how wholly unprepared we were for this pandemic.  In the interests of globalization and making money,  we hollowed out our manufacturing sector to slave labor in China so we could have cheaper phones, drugs, computers and so on.

It is becoming more and more clear to me that China under this evil regime is an existential threat to the West. It concerns me people remain so asleep to this threat.  However, I have not found a way to get at this in a way that’s on topic for this blog.  But maybe Archbishop Di Noia helps bring its relevance into focus.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, we will confront the worst economic crisis in history—with millions of people unemployed and massive government spending needed to bail out industries and banks and keep families afloat. The number of people in the world facing food shortages could double to 265 million. If millions of people either cannot get food because the supply chains have broken down, or cannot pay for it because they have run out of money, then there is the danger of massive social disorder. The U.N. estimates that $2.5 trillion will be needed to respond to the pandemic in the developing world. The fragility of institutions that only a few months ago appeared almost indestructible is now exposed for all the world to see. We have seen it, and it terrifies us.

Archbishop Di Noia doesn’t mention China, but this looming economic crisis is brought to you by the CCP.   That’s not all: some suspect the pandemic may have originated in experimentation with coronaviruses as part of a biological weapons program,  and the CCP’s People’s Liberation Army has been doing research partially funded by the West(!)    Whether the virus was manipulated in the lab, or merely studied there and leaked out because of careless safety measures,the CCP covered up the human to human transmission of the virus for weeks, allowing it to spread throughout the world.

Everyday I listen to War Room Pandemic that has been covering the pandemic since late January, when almost everyone else in the United States was distracted by the impeachment of President Trump.  The hosts of the program have brought in experts on China, on the economic and financial crisis, on the outsourcing of our drugs to China, and how China is engaging in an information and economic war with the United States.

But at the basis it’s a war over a vision of human dignity, of men and women being made in the image of God vs. men and women as meaningless products of evolution.  In the latter vision, anything goes, from CCP harvesting of organs from live political prisoners to feed their lucrative transplant industry to the placing of a million Uighurs in concentration camps, to widespread surveillance and control of every aspect of a person’s life.  Is it about human flourishing or is it about power and control.

Our problem here in North America is that we had hoped to make China more like us through opening trade with her, but instead we have become more like China.   It’s our high tech industry that helped China build its surveillance network and the great electronic fire wall that keeps citizens of China from finding out any information contrary to the CCP Party line.

Look at us though with our abortion, our pornography, our addiction rates, our obesity, our lack of serious Christian faith and observance.   We are getting swallowed up in darkness.

My prayer is that it is not too late for repentance and conversion to sweep the land so that we may be delivered from the looming tyranny that awaits us and our grandchildren if we do not wake up.

Archbishop Di Noia again:

Christians cannot be silent. If we do not declare what our faith tells us, the scroll will remain sealed, with its divine meanings locked within. Only if the scroll is opened and read to us will we know in faith that precisely because God loves us so much, we are experiencing his wrath—the wrath of the Lamb himself (Rev. 6:16–17). As  [Anglican theologian Joseph] Mangina explains, “[T]he divine wrath is the form that God’s love assumes when it encounters resistance on the part of the creature, it is the divine ‘no’ to the plight of humanity in this ‘present evil age’; and so Christ appears on the same side as the Father, equally the agent of God’s love and his judgment.” Christ enacts God’s decisive turning toward the world in grace, mercy, and peace. But some turn away, “misunderstanding God’s righteous judgment as an expression of his hatred.” It is providential that the pandemic of 2020 has coincided with Lent and Easter. There is still time to turn to him and live, for barely concealed in God’s judgment are his upwelling grace and mercy in the Lamb slain for our sake and risen now in glory.



Fr Barker on how Anglicans got an ordinariate

The remarks by Fr Jack Barker at our recent Anglican Tradition Conference this past November can now be viewed online on both Facebook and YouTube.

img_0156One of the pioneers of the Pastoral Provision and the Anglican Use and a participant in the discussions between Anglicans and the Holy See as far as as the 1970s, Fr Barker’s talk was the third at our Toronto conference this past November. Society VP Clara Chung read the remarks on behalf of Father Barker, who for health reasons was unable to attend in person.

Entitled Behind the Petition: A Brief Account of How Anglicans Received Ordinariate Status, the talk surveyed the dialogue that sought “to help complete our hopes for a special status for groups of Anglicans in the Catholic Church, to wit: the Ordinariate.” The discussions and prayers met with success, and “An Anglican Use Liturgy was also approved for use in Anglican Use Parishes that were established in various parts of the country.” Later on, they achieved “the creation of a jurisdictional entity that would allow them to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining… the common elements of their Anglican identity that they sought to preserve…”

claraNoting that “the “continuing” church movement was to be used by God later to help complete our hopes,” Father Barker recounts numerous informative, insightful, and even humorous anecdotes. On a visit to Rome, one Cardinal remarked “Ah, the sweet English tongue…I often said to my brethren why translate the liturgy into English when the Anglicans have already done such an excellent job with their beautiful Prayer Book.”

Ultimately the many years of dialogue and prayer yielded the fruit we celebrate and for which we had all assembled in thanksgiving. “It took thirty years but thanks to the influx of many new persons to this Anglican-Catholic reunion we now have Ordinariate jurisdictions in England, Australia and the US and more perhaps to come. Deo Gratias.”


Here is the YouTube video:

If you haven’t already seen them, you’ll also want to watch the videos previously posted of the talks by Bishop Lopes and David Warren, as well as of our Solemn High Mass and Choral Mattins. In the near future we will be posting the talk by Fr Derek Cross of the Oratory and our service of Choral Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Stay tuned!

Podcast with Catalina Brand of The Holy House Academy in Houston

catalinaA number of weeks ago, I interviewed Catalina Brand, the director of The Holy House Academy, a home school enrichment program of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham.  I’m pleased to announce the podcast is now up at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society website under podcasts.

The music accompanying the podcast is provided by one of the children’s choirs.

This was the second of two podcasts  (the first was with Sr. Thomas Aquinas, director of the cathedral’s high school project) that I did looking at Catholic education as a means of evangelization.

Here are some pictures from The Holy House Academy that Catalina provided from the pre-pandemic days, showing one of the children’s choirs, a dance recital, a Christmas pageant and a session with Fr. Charles Hough, the cathedral’s rector.


imageholyhousechristmaspageantimageholyhousepriestimage (0000000B)While the pandemic’s social distancing measures have forced The Holy House Academy to change some of its methods—-with classes online, more assignments sent to children’s homes—the program remains up and running.

The Holy House is only one of several educational projects ongoing in communities of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.  St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Omaha, Nebraska, offers a classical liberal arts high school at  St. Barnabas Classical Academy that continues to operate though under pandemic restrictions.

St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Scranton, Pennsylvania, offers a home education enrichment program through the Maria Kaupas Academy.    St. John the Evangelist in Calgary, Alberta, also offers a home education enrichment program through The Holy House of Our Lady and St. John.

Catalina Brand describes the origins of The Holy House  that take us back to the beginnings of the parish of Our Lady of Walsingham. It’s a story of encouragement and hope.  Catalina also has some advice for communities that might wish to embark on their own educational projects.

Podcast on evangelization through education with Sr. Thomas Aquinas


Sr. Thomas Aquinas is a Dominican sister who serves in the chancery of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston Texas.   She is director of a project to develop a Catholic high school near the cathedral.

Earlier this year, I interviewed her for a podcast on education as a tool for evangelization.  In our discussion, she highlights Bishop Steven Lopes’ vision regarding Catholic education, a vision that is inspiring several parishes in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter to offer Catholic education of some form to their local communities.

You can find the podcast here.   Enjoy!    Soon, we will also have a podcast up with Catalina Brand, director of the cathedral’s The Holy House Academy, a home education enrichment program that she tells me was still operating, though online, through the pandemic.    Many other parishes in North America are also running home school enrichment programs, though they have had to adapt under pandemic restrictions.  It’s exciting what is being done to evangelize a new generation into the Catholic faith and at the same time impart the beauties of our liturgical tradition.

St. Barnabas Catholic Church in Omaha, Nebraska already runs a high school, and I’m told St. Barnabas Academy has continued to offer courses.   At their site, they have posted Bishop Lopes four pillars of Catholic education. Have a look!