Sunday, April 29, 2012

Principles of Anglo-Catholic worship

From page 2 of the 66-page booklet “The Order for Low Mass and Solemn High Mass,” St. Mary of the Angels:
Worship at St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s is a parish church with her roots set firmly in the Catholic tradition of Anglicanism. Our worship is centered around the Holy Eucharist (the Mass), continuing in the Tradition we have received from the Apostles, to whom the Lord JESU was “known in the Breaking of the Bread.” Our worship is that of traditional Western Catholicism, with a uniquely Anglican flavor. The ancient chant, the medieval vestments and the Elizabeth language may make our worship seems a bit strange to those unfamiliar with it, but these things are not irrelevant or old-fashioned. For 2000 years the solemn ceremonial of the Mass, the veil of incense which fills the church during the liturgy, and the stately cadences of the Book of Common Prayer speak to us (as they have spoken to many generations of our ancestors in the Faith) of the glory and majesty of God. It is to God the Holy Trinity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, that our worship is directed. The purpose of worship is not to entertain or inform us, but to turn “ourselves our souls and bodies” to God. So if the Mass seems a bit strange to you, relax. Sit through it if you’re curious. You may catch a glimpse, even if just for a moment, of heaven.

-- Fr. Gregory Wilcox, rector

This statement by Fr. Wilcox, fourth rector of St. Mary’s (1986-2006), articulates both a general philosophy of Anglo-Catholicism and the particular Catholic-leaning interpretation that predates the Vatican’s 2009 announcement of the Ordinariate and St. Mary’s recent efforts to become Anglican rite Catholics.

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