“Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter”: Being a Happy Catholic

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. It’s a cool name – and, I think, a wise one. To have chosen a Marian name would have sent all the wrong signals to American non-Catholic Christians – whereas “Our Lady of Walsingham” pressed all the right buttons in the UK. It emphasises the purpose of the Ordinariate, which is, in the statement of the new Ordinary, Fr Steenson:

The parishes and communities of the Ordinariate have been called, not to live in relative isolation, but to be fully engaged in the life of the local diocese; not to be assimilated, but to be integrated into the rich life of the Catholic Church. This Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter must be, above all else, an effective instrument for evangelization. But Jesus taught us that the unity of Christian people is the essential condition for evangelization (John 17:21). So this must be our hallmark:to build bridges, to be an instrument of peace and reconciliation, to be a sign of what Christian unity might look like. And gaudete in Domino semper (Philippians 4:4) to be joyful and happy Catholics!

I love that little bit at the end, where sobriety seems to give way to joyous levity! When I first told my friend (and now boss), Fr Denis Stanley that I wanted to become Catholic, I was most encouraged by his own description of himself as a “happy Catholic”. I wanted to be just such, and by the grace of God, I think that today I can say that I am.

Happiness and joy should characterise our lives as Catholics. This will make our task of evangelisation and Christian Unity so much simpler, because others will see and be attracted to that which gives us such joy. So:

New Year’s Resolution No. 1: To be a happy Catholic in 2012.

So, all sourpusses and grumblebums be warned: this is not your blog! My intention is not to turn a blind eye to our failings as Catholics; it is rather to emphasise the joy and beauty and truth of the Faith which we have received from the apostles, to seek the twin goals of Evangelisation and Christian Unity, and always, always, always to propose (not impose!) as the path of true happiness the dictum: “Sentire Cum Ecclesia”!

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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3 Responses to “Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter”: Being a Happy Catholic

  1. matthias says:

    A Happy Catholic New year to you David and all commentators and readers on this ‘ere blog.

  2. Joshua says:

    Amen! Joy is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit: if it be true that God sent His Son to take our nature upon Him, and died and rose again, and gifts us with His grace, and calls us to follow Him, our Way, Truth and Life, to eternal life with Him in heaven, then, whatever trials we must endure and sufferings bear, as Christians we should be ever joyful, in the truest sense, deep down in our hearts. Alleluia!

  3. Christine says:

    A Happy Catholic New year to you David and all commentators and readers on this ‘ere blog.

    Matthias, Joshua, David and all, and also with you (sorry, a little slip from the old liturgy!)

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