|Shane leading prayer in altar server|
vestments for an ordinariate group.
You see, I am a Roman Catholic Christian, but I happen to reside in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri, which is a region of the U.S. heavily populated by Protestant Christians (mainly Baptists and Pentecostals), commonly known as the Bible Belt. The Bible Belt stretches from Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and the eastern half of Texas, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The Ozark Mountains of this region are part of the Greater Appalachia, having been heavily populated by settlers from the Appalachian Mountains who descended primarily from Scottish immigrants during the 19th century. Culturally speaking, this area is hardcore Baptist and Pentecostal. Most people in this region are simply oblivious to Catholic faith and culture, while some have been heavily influenced by anti-Catholicism.
My blog is primarily about Catholicism, and my experiences as a Catholic in the Ozarks. However, I've been known to engage in some random musings too, which may have nothing to do with religion.
My wife and I are converts to the Roman Catholic Church from Protestantism. Before coming home to Rome, as is common among Protestants, we went through many different churches and denominations. My wife was baptised and raised in the United Methodist Church, and then became Evangelical when she met me. I was baptised in the Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod, but I was raised in the American Baptist Church, sometimes called the "Northern Baptist Church." As an adult I began attending Calvary Chapel, an Evangelical affiliation where I met my wife. Years later, after discovering the catholic and sacramental nature of of the Christian faith, we became Anglicans in The Episcopal Church. We didn't stay very long however, seeing the 'writing on the wall' with some liberal modernist trends developing in that denomination, we looked elsewhere. There were no traditional Anglican options in Springfield Missouri at the time, so both my wife and I entered the Catholic Church together on the Easter Vigil, In the Year of Our Lord 2000. We are now members of the 'Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter,' which is one of three major jurisdictions within the Catholic Church that promotes the Anglican Patrimony (traditional English Catholicism). I am a layman and have chosen not to pursue holy orders. As I believe I am called to be a lay minister -- a catechist, apologist and evangelist.
My blog is dedicated to the patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham. This Marian devotion originated back in AD 1061, almost a thousand years ago, in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England. At that time England was a profoundly Catholic country, commonly known as 'Mary's Dowry,' and considered the most devoutly religious country in all of Europe. At that time, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches, and English noblewoman. She instructed her to build a holy house in Walsingham, containing a simple wooden structure, based on the house where Mary lived in Nazareth during the time of the Annunciation. This Nazareth replica, and the holy house which contained it, became a shrine and place of pilgrimage. The land eventually became a priory, and was entrusted to the care of the Canons Regular -- an order of priests who followed the Rule of Saint Augustine. Central to both the ancient and modern devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham is the statue, which is filled with medieval symbolism...
The statue in the national shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham was actually crowned in the name of the pope. The crowning was during a Marian Year, on August 15, 1954, by Archbishop O’Hara, who was to later become Apostolic Delegate to Great Britain. The statue was taken from the Slipper Chapel in Walsingham to Wembley Stadium and occupied a place of honour on the altar while Saint John Paul II celebrated mass during his 1982 papal visit to the U.K. The devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham is popular among both English Catholics and Anglicans (English Protestants). She has become a symbol of reconciliation between the two. She is England's Madonna, and Our Lady to all English-speaking people around the world. To learn more about the Catholic devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham, you can visit the website for the Catholic shrine in England by clicking here.
I am a believer in The Walsingham Project for the re-conversion of England to the Catholic Christian faith. I am convinced that the reconversion of England to Catholicism will be critical to the reconversion of of the entire UK, as well as the USA, Canada, Australia, and the entire Anglosphere.
You'll notice the spelling on this blog, and in my books, is U.K. English. That's because I am an Anglophile -- a lover of all things English. I am a big believer in strengthening American cultural ties with English-speaking people around the world (Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.). In general, I think America has become too Amero-centric, and we need to remember that there are other English-speaking people around the world, that we have a lot in common with, and we could learn a lot from them too. Since Americans have the most unusual spelling in the world, creating an unnecessary linguistic separation, I encourage people to scrap Webster's American dictionary and trade it in for Oxford's English dictionary. I also encourage my readers, friends and family, especially my own children, to learn about, and appreciate, our English cultural heritage, especially our common medieval religious heritage. Besides language itself, it is the one thing that ties us all together with our English-speaking (Anglophone) neighbours around the world. I just believe that if you speak English, than you should BE English, and be proud of your English cultural heritage.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy my little place on the worldwide web. It's not meant to be anything more than a personal opinion blog, but I do hope some of you can use it as a tool. Feel free to explore the page tabs above, and especially the apologetics page, where you will find dozens of articles related to various topics about Catholic Christianity.