This morning Josh and I were present for the first service of the Melbourne parish of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross at Holy Cross Church (707 Glenhuntly Road, South Caufield).
Josh has already made a few comments about the service in the combox to the previous post, but here’s a quick run down.
First one needs to appreciate that effectively this was a new parish of a very new diocese in action. The members of the new parish come from different Anglican parishes around Melbourne. Furthermore, this was the first time that these priests – Ordinary Fr Harry Entwistle, Pastor Fr Chris Seton, Frs Grant, Williams and Fryer, and Fr Ross McKenney (PP of the archdiocesan parish that includes Holy Cross) – had celebrated mass together. So there it was a new situation for everyone, and naturally it will take more than one service for local custom to develop. Today was just a start – but a very good start it was.
I counted about 60-70 people in the pews. Not only were the members of the Ordinariate Parish present, but a goodly number of well wishers (a previous parishioner of Fr Ramsay came all the way from Hamiton), and others who are still on the journey into full communion with the Catholic Church. Fr Entwistle had made the point before his homily that communion could only be received by those who were in full communion with the Church, and there were a fair number of folk who received blessings at communion.
The music was provided by an organist who doubled as cantor, singing, as Josh points out, the proper chants for the day. These were in line with the 23rd Sunday of Ordinary time in the Roman missal, although the Collect of the day was from the 14th Sunday after Trinity. We were all given brand new word editions of the New English Hymnal from which to sing our hymns, and the order of service was printed in a separate booklet. Although the booklet said that the order was from the “Book of Divine Worship”, I am informed by Josh that it was pretty well the order of mass from the “English Missal”. The Canon was the Roman Canon according to the latter translation, although there were other things that were pure BCP, as for instance, the rather odd translation of the Gloria in Excelsis that has an extra line in it (thanks to Cranmar). The readings were those set down in the Roman lectionary for the day, from the RSV. Josh commented on the use of a hymn between the second reading and the Gospel – what is known as a “gradual hymn” in the Lutheran Church. I didn’t know this was an Anglican custom also.
The setting of the mass parts was unfamiliar to me, and we didn’t have the music to follow. It seems (from the singing of the congregation) that it was largely unfamiliar to many of them too. Making it difficult for those of us who are Latin rite Catholics was that several of the chants – for the Creed and for the Our Father – were familiar from our own rite, but the words of both and the musical notation were just slightly different, which threw me. Still, I was a visitor, and you expect, when worshipping with brothers and sisters of another tradition, for there to be some unfamiliarity. In any case, given that music is one of those things which most people would say is central to the Anglican patrimony, we will pray that some people of talent and musical insight will come forward within the parish to offer their assistance to the lone organist/cantor in the future (doing both tasks at the same time is a bit difficult).
Fr Entwistle’s homily was very good. He spoke about the natural tendancy to want to “party” at this point of the journey – a feeling of having “arrived” – but that while there would be plenty of that, now is when the hard work has to begin. He saluted his four brother priests and all the lay members of the Ordinariate who have realised that this “isn’t about me” but have submitted themselves for the sake of unity and communion to the Catholic Church and to one another.
I very much enjoyed, for the first time since I last communed in the Lutheran Church, being able to kneel and receive communion in both kinds (from Fr Chris with the host and Fr James with the chalice) in the old Anglican/Lutheran manner of kneeling at the (yet to be constructed) “altar rail” while they moved along the line to administer the sacrament. This is truly a very devotional manner for reception, as it means the communicant does not have to rush away from the kneeling posture immediately to make room for the person behind.
The Church of the Holy Cross is a very dignified building, as you can see from the photos below. One thing that is a bit of a pity is that the altar (a marble construction) has been moved forward to the very edge of the front step, so that it is not possible to celebrate ad orientam as I am sure they are used to. The altar paraments and furniture were, however, very dignified.
Afterwards was an opportunity for a small luncheon served wiith a glass of wine in the parish room. As Josh noted in his comment, he and I both received blessings from Fr James. I was able to meet and talk with Fr Entwistle and his wife Jean, and also to Fr Ramsay (who has visited this site and is a member of the commentator’s table), and Fr Neil, whom I had not met before. Fr Chris clarified for me the question about “first masses” as he announced that he would preside at his “first mass” tomorrow night at 7pm. They plan to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross this Friday night with solemn mass at 7pm also, but otherwise daily mass will usually be at 10am on all weekdays except Monday (7pm) and Saturday.
Please pray for this new parish, for the Ordinariate, its ordinary, pastor and the other priests, and for all those still on the journey to entering the Catholic Church in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.