Following The Canterbury Trail To The Roman Road

The Anglican Use liturgy as filmed in San Antonio Texas.

Some have asked me about the Canterbury cross featured in the upper right-hand corner of this blog. Why would a Catholic blog have one? It is after all, a Protestant symbol, is it not? Does it not come from the Church of England?

Well, I'll give you a brief explanation. My wife and I started out as Evangelicals and I was studying to become an Evangelical pastor. Well, my studies led me into some Church history, which led me to read the writings of some Church Fathers, and when comparing those to some other things I was learning about the Jewish origins of the Christian faith, the result was a realisation that we were in the wrong church. Judaism is a highly liturgical religion. It always has been. Thus, early Christianity was a highly liturgical religion too. So Penny and I began looking for a Church that was more liturgical in nature. We visited some Lutheran churches and some Methodist churches, but in the end, we settled on a moderately conservative Episcopal Church in Springfield. It was here that we gained our love for liturgy. There was another liturgical church in town at the time, it was an ultra-conservative Anglican church. It was very small, but I had the opportunity to attend a few times and learned to love the Anglican liturgy even more so.

In the end, Penny and I chose to become Roman Catholics for very practical reasons, but that Anglican experience, the "Canterbury Trail" so to speak, left a mark on me. It is a recognition that our conversion to the Catholic Church simply would not be possible were it not for the bridge provided to us by our Anglican experience in that Episcopal Church. It was nothing less than the vehicle the Lord used to turn us from Evangelicals into Catholics. For this reason, my Catholic experience remains forever shaded by Anglican coloured glasses. I can't shake it, even if I try. It is very much a part of me.  This is part of the reason for the Canterbury cross in the upper left-hand corner of this blog. However, there is another reason.

I have always had a particular attachment to the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite within the Catholic Church. I became aware of it almost immediately upon entering the Catholic Church. Naturally, had such a parish been available in Springfield Missouri back in 2000, Penny and I would have entered the Catholic Church through it. That would have been the most natural progression for us. However, no such parish existed back then. So for years I kept tabs on the Anglican Use movement within the United States; hoping, praying and wondering if ever such a parish might start in my neck of the woods. Then in November of 2009, Pope Benedict XVI announced the upcoming creation of Anglican ordinariates within the Catholic Church, provided for by the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.  Such ordinariates would be a larger-scale version of the Anglican Use Pastoral Provision in the United States, and would provide a mechanism through which a larger number of Anglicans could easily enter the Catholic Church.  It also provided a mechanism through which the Catholic Church itself could be blessed with the liturgy and patrimony of anglo-catholicism -- a patrimony so richly "catholic" that many Roman Catholics are left pleasantly surprised.  It was at this point I knew it was now or never.  With a few friends, we formed an Anglican Use Society in Springfield Missouri under the episcopal oversight of Bishop James V. Johnston.  The group's webpage can be found HERE: Anglican Use Society of Springfield Missouri.

As you can see in the video above, the liturgy of the Anglican Use has some similarities to both forms (ordinary and extraordinary) of the Roman Rite.  It is a healthy blend that all Catholics can grow accustomed to very quickly.  In my opinion; it is the most natural rite of liturgy for all native English-speaking people. Now that's just my opinion, but there it is.  Currently our Anglican Use Society in Springfield does not have a priest, so we are simply celebrating Evening Prayer, according to the Anglican Use, once a month until our circumstances change.  If you know any Anglicans/Episcopalians in the Springfield Missouri area, please let them know about this group.

So there you have it.  Now you know why the Canterbury cross is in the upper left-hand corner of this blog.  Hope that clears matters up a bit.


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