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Tuesday 21 February 2017

A Visit to Christ the King Ordinariate community at the Chapel Royal, Tyendinaga Mohawk Reservation

Murray O'Coin, our friend and 
candidate to become an 
Instituted Acolyte 
for sub-diaconal ministry 
in the Ordinariate and soon, 
we pray, a Deacon, 
was our host this week 
on the Tyendinaga Reservation. 
Murray took us to the beautifully restored Chapel Royal of Christ Church where he worships every Sunday with a growing Ordinariate community. Mass according to Divine Worship: The Missal is currently celebrated monthly in the Chapel, thus preserving the Mohawk Anglican patrimony within the full communion of the Catholic Church.

The Ordinariate Catholic community of Christ the King has its home in one of the very few Chapels Royal outside of the U.K., marking, in a dramatic way, the unity which is the hope and promise of the Ordinariates around the world.

The community dates to the arrival in Canada of the Mohawk people who were loyal to the Crown during the  Revolutionary War in the USA.  Mohawks at the time were both Anglican and Catholic and sided with the British against the rebellion in 1776.  
Royal Arms over the west door of the Chapel Royal
By the 1800s they had built Her Majesty's Chapel Royal of the Mohawk and brought the Queen Anne silver which had been given to the Mohawk nation as a gift from Queen Anne when they still lived and worshipped along the Mohawk River in what is today New York State. 
The chancel and sanctuary of the Chapel Royal, Tyendinaga

The NY territory is near the site of the birth of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Today the original Mohawk homeland is marked with  the U.S. Shrine commemorating St. Kateri who is the first aboriginal woman and Mohawk to be declared a saint.

Christ the King Ordinariate community  has been welcomed to use the Chapel on Sundays and Feast Days by the Chief and Council of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Reserve.  The current Chief is a Catholic convert and member of the Ordinariate community. Note the corpus of Christ added to the top of the rood screen.
Jane Hodgins looks at the beautifully restored Chapel Royal with
Murray O'Coin who oversees the growing Ordinariate community 

at Tyendinaga
Fr. John Hodgins with Murray O'Coin at Christ Church, Chapel Royal of the Mohawks
The Flags of Canada, the Mohawk First Nation and the Union Jack fly in front of the Chapel Royal and the cemetery of the Mohawk community.

Note the cross in the bottom
left panel. This replacement
glass depicts the
Queen Anne Silver
with the Ordinariate Cross
in the Chapel which is legally
the property of
the Mohawk community.
Our Lady of Guadaloupe, patroness of
the Americas, has a special place in
the hearts of her sister aboriginal people
in the north of the Americas. 

The beautiful altar cross given to
the Chapel Royal by the King in
the Georgian period features depictions
of the Our Lady as well as
the four Gospel writers. Notice the
Ten Commandments written in the
Mohawk language forms
part of the reredos.

Saturday 11 February 2017

Fr. H. speaks of Our Lady

Some wise words on our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, from the inimitable Fr. Hunwicke and Blessed JHN.

I remember once sharing a mutual concern with that erudite liturgist and beloved bishop (now, of course, Mgr) David Silk (oh dear, that's not a common combination nowadays). We both, at some time or other, had felt awkward about the custom of the Latin Church of using the 'Sapiential' literature of the Old Testament to apply to Our Lady. 
It provides some lovely liturgical passages; better men that I am have felt totally easy about it: such as nearly-­blessed John Henry Newman, who employs it in the purple passage at the end of his sermon on the Assumption. But, for me at least, there is the nagging memory at the back of my mind of S Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians (chapter 1). He there regards Christ as the Wisdom of God Incarnate; just as S John sees him as the Word Incarnate. Since, for a Jew, Wisdom is Torah, S Paul is also saying that our Lord is the Incarnate Torah. How can it therefore be right to say that our Lady, a mere creature, is God's Wisdom? Is that not the title of the Incarnate First Person of the Holy and Coequal Trinity - and therefore a title which not even his Mother may steal from him?

But then I recalled that in the Arian controversy, Orthodoxy had a bit of a problem with these 'Wisdom' passages. If they apply to the Divine Son, does this not mean that passages like He created me from the beginning before the world point to the createdness of the Word; to the Arian formula en pote ote ouk en [there was a time when He was not]? And then I remembered Newman's superb passage:

"Arius did all but confess that Christ was the Almighty; he said much more than S Bernard or S Alfonso have since said of the Blessed Mary; yet he left him a creature and was found wanting. Thus there was a 'wonder in heaven'; a throne was seen, far above all created powers, mediatorial, intercessory; a title archetypal; a crown bright as the morning star; a glory issuing from the eternal throne; robes pure as the heavens; and a sceptre over all; and who was the predestined heir of that Majesty? Since it was not high enough for the Highest, who was that wisdom, and what was her name, 'the Mother of Fair Love, and fear, and holy hope', 'exalted like a palm tree in Engaddi, and a rose plant in Jericho', 'created from the beginning before the world' in God's counsels ... the Church of Rome is not idolatrous unless Arianism is orthodoxy."

The Arians discerned the idea of an exalted mediatorial - yet created - being; the Church discerned that this was not adequate to the full uncreated Divinity of the Divine Son; the Church discerned that what Arius erroneously predicated of Christ is truly said of his Mother, She is the human wisdom, the created wisdom who is eternal in the sense that she was always in the creative mind and will of the Father, the wisdom appropriated by faithful Virgin Israel when her bridegroom God bestowed his covenantal Law from far above Mount Sinai, the responsive wisdom which in the Daughter of Sion was found worthy to give birth to the Divine Wisdom, the human graced endeavour which accepts and contemplates that Wisdom which is God himself, Second Person of the Trinity, our only Redeemer.

Monday 6 February 2017

Fr. Philip Cleevely, O.C. - Preacher for the Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter

Fr. Philip Cleevely is to celebrate and preach at the Sung Mass (Divine Worship) at the Catholic Parish of St. Thomas More, Sunday, February 19 at 12:30 noon for the Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter - the Feast of title for the Ordinariate in North America.

Father is originally from the Birmingham Oratory and now with Fathers of the Oratory in Toronto. He is a noted teacher and lecturer.

A poster from a 2014 debate sponsored by
the Archdiocese of Toronto and OCY

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany - A Homily

February 5, 2017  St. Thomas More, Toronto

“I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will have the light of life.”

Have you noticed how the tiniest ray of light can allow us to see in the darkness? Physical light is a necessity. We cannot move in safety without it. The same is true of spiritual light. A soul in darkness cannot survive no matter how bright the sun is. In God that we live and move and have our being, St. Paul affirms, and through God’s wisdom we become a “demonstration of Spirit and power” as St. Paul goes on to assure us in the second reading.

Jesus declares to our world of darkness: “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will have the light of life.”  Through him the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled.  Like Isaiah, Jesus shows us that in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless and oppressed, clothing the naked, and helping the afflicted we allow God’s light to shine. It is through such corporal works of mercy that his followers become prisms of light to the world. A prism refracts light so that we may see the many colours and splendor of light.

Last week we heard the great summary of the Gospel, the beatitudes proclaimed at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. The beatitudes constitute the inner spiritual logic of God’s life at work in the human soul, orienting our hearts toward the kingdom of heaven instead of the empire of self. We travel towards God’s kingdom in poverty of spirit and meekness, trusting in God’s love and justice for all, accomplished in mercy. This grace, the light of God, produces a purity of heart and vison –  peace so that even in the midst of persecution, we can offer a blessing instead of a curse to our persecutors. This path of beatitude is our participation in divine light, by which the darkness of sin, self and death in our world can be conquered by the light of love.

Having offered the apostles the beatitudes, Jesus instructs them concerning how the principles, grounded in Judeo-Christian culture can be lived.  We hear much talk of rights these days, but there are no rights that are not grounded in the principles built upon a culture of  light and love, a culture of responsibility and choice for the other rather than the self.  We will hear more about that in coming weeks, but in today’s Gospel Jesus uses two metaphors—salt and light—to describe what his teaching means for his disciples.

In the ancient world salt was a critical preservative: dressed with salt, meat was less susceptible to corruption. It gives flavour to foods, it is an essential electrolyte that keeps our hearts beating regularly. The Christian is like salt to the world because by our witness charity is preserved, life is expressed in joy and the energy of God’s grace flows to the heart of a fallen world, breaching the walls of the empire of self.

Each Christian is called to let the “light of the world” shine, dispelling darkness, living in charity even with our persecutors. This source of this light is divine grace that becomes visible to others in our words, in gracious acts, in our personal refusal to resort to “oppression, false accusation or malicious speech.” And so, as Isaiah promised, the gloom of sin and death shall be overcome; justice and mercy will be a light shining through the darkness, a gleaming city on a hill.

“I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will have the light of life.”

IS 58:7-10;    PS 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9;1    COR 2:1-5;    MT 5:13-16.