March 21, 2017
HOUSTON — The first Pastoral Provision parish in the U.S. is coming into the Ordinariate.
Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church and its school, the Atonement Academy, have been transferred to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, effective March 21. At the direction of the Holy See, all parishes of the Pastoral Provision are to be incorporated into the Ordinariate: a special diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition or whose faith has been renewed by the liturgy and evangelizing mission of the Ordinariate.
Founded in 1983 in San Antonio, Our Lady of the Atonement was a parish of a “Pastoral Provision” established by Pope John Paul II to allow for former Anglicans to form Catholic parishes within existing U.S. dioceses. With the establishment of the North American Ordinariate in 2012 and the ordination of its first bishop in 2016, the Holy See now expects all Pastoral Provision parishes in the U.S. to be integrated into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.
The Ordinariate expresses its deepest gratitude to the Archdiocese of San Antonio for welcoming and caring for Our Lady of the Atonement since its inception, and for the Archdiocese’s ongoing commitment to the Church’s care for the unity of Christians. Through continued collaboration in the coming months, the Archdiocese and the Ordinariate will remain dedicated to supporting the natural evolution of this Pastoral Provision parish into the Ordinariate.
Our Lady of the Atonement and its school join more than 40 Ordinariate parishes and parochial communities in North America. Ordinariate parishes celebrate Mass according to a special form of the Roman Rite, using Vatican-approved texts which for centuries nourished the faith in Anglican contexts and prompted members’ desire to join the Catholic Church.
In 2009, the apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, authorized the creation of global “Ordinariates”: a type of diocese which could receive groups of former Anglicans directly into the Catholic Church. (There are three Ordinariates in the world: Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom; the Chair of Saint Peter in the United States and Canada; and Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.)
Dear Fellow Parishioners and Friends of Our Lady of the Atonement.
Our Hopedale office has advised me that they have received close to 600 signed mandates. This is 60% rate of return and more continue to arrive, although at a reduced pace. In other cases where mandates were used, the best we have done is about 25% of the affected group.
Over the past week there has been a spate of rumors concerning a possible decision about the future status of the parish. Even if such a decision has been made, I would urge you to avoid speculation about the details and await the official notification. Within the past few days, there have also been rumors about possible further adverse actions by the archdiocese. Again, I would caution about speculation until we see what actually happens.
I have received several questions and comments about the possibility of obtaining the repair of harm done to the parishioners or patrimony of the parish. In theory, this is possible; but it is not always prudent. Such a petition is called a denunciation and it should not be submitted without professional assistance. At this point, I cannot say if we should do this. Following are the texts of two canons that might apply and I would welcome your comments.
Can. 128 Whoever illegitimately inflicts damage upon someone by a juridic act or by any other act placed with malice or negligence is obliged to repair the damage inflicted.
Can. 1389 §1. A person who abuses an ecclesiastical power or function is to be punished according to the gravity of the act or omission, not excluding privation of office, unless a law or precept has already established the penalty for this abuse.
§2. A person who through culpable negligence illegitimately places or omits an act of ecclesiastical power, ministry, or function with harm to another is to be punished with a just penalty.
I’ve spent most of the last two weeks trying to recover from the nasty bug that is going around. Finally, I seem to be coming out of the woods.
So far, the campaign to collect procurator’s mandates is going very well. Philip took about 160 that were collected at the Embassy Suites meeting on January 26th and about 25 more were delivered to my home. On February 5, packets were distributed after all the parish Masses and our Hopedale office reports that some 300 to 400 have been received there. An exact count is not available because our staff has been too busy to do much more than open the incoming envelopes. My guesstimate is that some 1,000 mandates were distributed and I think that the rate of return will soon reach 60% if it has not already done so. It is not unreasonable to hope that the final rate will be close to 75%.
One time when I had jury duty the judge told us that our mere presence in the jury room prompted settlement of many cases that would otherwise remained unresolved. The same is true of the mandates. We may never have to use them; but the fact that we have them could influence the outcome. Once again, I thank those good parishioners who participated in assembling and distributing the packets.
It comes as no surprise that there is no news about the status of the parish and the Ordinariate. I am shopping around for quantity discounts on prayer rugs. If you should hear of any, please let me know.
Mary has updated the news page at www.saveatonement.org. The latest is a story that appeared yesterday in the National Catholic Register.
Following are a couple of links that you might find helpful. The first is a profile of our parish that was posted five years ago by Fr. Phillips. The parish has grown a good bit since, although I imagine that the 67% convert rate is still accurate. http://atonementparishprofile.blogspot.com/
The second is an excellent commentary by Philip Gray on the removal of pastors.
The procurator’s mandate and instructions are now available for download in a pdf format. This is the mandate that was discussed and distributed in the meeting on Thursday, January 26. Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule to attend this informative information session.
Sorry for the ever-changing website. It’s been too long since I’ve done any website building (not that I did a whole lot before) so I am very rusty. I am trying to make this a one-stop place for information concerning the effort to save Our Lady of the Atonement Parish. I will be updating this throughout the day, in addition to doing all the admin functions involved in preparing for the upcoming meeting this Thursday, and managing the email list.