Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Church
Conference Nov. 15-16, 2019 Toronto
The Anglicanorum Coetibus Society, named after Pope Benedict XVI’s historic 2009 Apostolic Constitution, celebrated this anniversary last year with some significant accomplishments that impel us into 2020, a new year and a new decade.
These accomplishments fill us with fresh enthusiasm for our mission to promote the Anglican tradition and common identity in order to share the Gospel, educate men and women in the beauty of the Catholic faith, and form disciples of Jesus Christ for the glory of God.
Chief among our accomplishments in 2019 was the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Church Conference in Toronto Nov. 15–16, 2019, the Society’s ninth conference since 2005.
Organized by Society board members Christopher Mahon and Clara Chung, Society member Catharine Kavanagh, and a team of volunteers, the Toronto conference offered thought-provoking talks, beautiful liturgies featuring patrimonial music, and a chance for fellowship.
The approximately seventy conference attendees came from as far away as Southern California, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, British Columbia, and cities in Ontario, in addition to Toronto and surrounding area. Many stayed through Sunday, Nov. 17, to attend Mass at St. Thomas More, the Ordinariate parish in Toronto.
The conference’s three liturgies took place in the heart of the Archdiocese of Toronto, at beautifully-restored St. Michael’s Cathedral. Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, who had been the episcopal delegate for Anglicanorum coetibus in Canada, joined us for the Friday evening Votive Mass of Thanksgiving to the Holy Ghost, November 15.
“The ordinariates created by Anglicanorum Coetibus are a great blessing for the Church and for her ecumenical relationship with the ecclesial communities brought about by the Reformation,” the Cardinal said in a welcome letter to conference participants. “The ‘elements of sanctification and truth’ found in the Anglican tradition were recognized by Pope Benedict as ‘forces impelling towards Catholic unity’ and as ‘gifts belonging to the Church of Christ.’ This was a prophetic gesture of welcome to our separated brethren.”
The Cardinal described the development of an Anglican form of Catholic liturgy first under Pope John Paul II and then under Pope Benedict XVI as “truly historic.”
“Your preservation of your community’s distinctiveness in the Catholic Church,” he said, “expressed so beautifully in the ‘liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See,’ is also a witness to those who remain separated from us, a witness that in becoming fully Catholic they need not lose anything of their patrimony that is true, good, or beautiful.”
Fr. Lee Kenyon
Fr. Lee Kenyon, the former Dean of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist, was the chief celebrant at the Mass Friday evening and at Saturday’s Choral Mattins and Evensong with Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Kenyon, now pastor of St. John Henry Newman parish in Victoria, B.C., gave the homily at the Mass. Bishop Steven Lopes of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter attended the Mass in choir. The following day, the bishop kicked off the conference with a keynote address.
The Mystery Worshipper at the Ship of Fools website rated the Mass ten points out of ten. Here’s his description of Fr. Kenyon’s sermon in a nutshell: “One Church, One Faith, One Lord.” Ten years ago, the pastor was sitting in the rectory of St. John’s Anglican Church in Calgary when the news of the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus was announced. He leapt up and shouted at the top of his lungs to his wife upstairs, ‘He’s done it! He’s finally done it!’ The Monty Python movie Life of Brian asks the question, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ They have given us Anglicanorum coetibus, inviting us to enter into the full communion of Holy Mother Church, bringing our liturgical and pastoral traditions with us–and, in the case of St. John’s in Calgary, bringing an entire former parish and building of the Anglican Church of Canada. They have given us ‘realized ecumenism.’
Christopher Mahon described the music as “representative of the very best of the Anglican musical tradition.” The liturgy included music by Healey Willan, Thomas Tallis, Herbert Howells, William Byrd and Ralph Vaughn Williams. The professional ensemble included renowned Canadian organist Matthew Larkin and professional choirmaster and singer Peter Mahon of Toronto who led a choir of professional singers.
That our liturgies were hosted by the Cathedral of the Latin diocese was a powerful sign of how the Anglican tradition has been fully welcomed into the Catholic Church,” Mahon said. “The experience of a Solemn Mass and Te Deum, Choral Mattins, and Evensong & Benediction, all done in accordance with the best of our Anglican tradition and in such a preeminent Catholic setting was deeply moving for everyone.”
The Mystery Worshipper described the music as “heavenly” and noted no one had time to look lost because “within seconds of the final chord of the organ postlude, Jean Langlais’s glorious Te Deum, the lights were dimmed and everyone was heading to the reception hall next door.”
The worshipper described the reception as including wine, sherry, gin and tonic, soft drinks, mixed nuts, chips and dip “and an hour or more of chatting with the bishop, the cardinal, and the members of the Ordinariate and other guests assembled from far and wide.”
At the reception, the Society’s president Deborah Gyapong presented Cardinal Collins with a study edition of Divine Worship: The Missal to honor his role as episcopal delegate, a role she compared to that of an obstetrician overseeing a potentially difficult pregnancy and bringing the child to birth.
Bishop Lopes offered some welcoming remarks, as did Father John Hodgins, pastor of St. Thomas More, the Ordinariate parish in Toronto. Fr. Hodgins led the toast to “Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, and our gracious Sovereign, Queen of Canada.”
On Saturday morning, Nov. 16, attendees gathered across the street from the cathedral at St. Michael’s Choir School for four talks. Bishop Lopes kicked off the day with a talk on identity and mission, urging Ordinariate communities to stop “navel gazing” but to focus on evangelizing and mission. He spoke of the fragility of Ordinariate communities but explained that fragility can be a blessing if it forces the pastor and his flock to focus more closely on God and His provision.
David Warren, a Catholic columnist, most recently with The Catholic Thing, spoke about the Catholic thread running throughout the Anglican patrimony and Anglican history. He spoke of his own background as an Anglican before he became a Catholic.
Father Jack Barker, who unfortunately was unable to join us because of poor health, sent a prepared text that Clara Chung presented to the assembly. It recounted in significant detail the history of the discussions between Anglican priests and the Holy See in the 1970s, which led to the establishment of the Pastoral Provision, the precursor in the United States to the Ordinariates established under Anglicanorum coetibus in England and Wales, in North America, and in Australia.
Fr Derek Cross, an Oratorian priest with an Anglican background, gave a prepared talk entitled “St. John Henry Newman on the Liturgical Act: A Patrimonial Reflection.” This treatise on prayer was good preparation for Choral Evensong and Solemn Benediction at the end of the day’s talks, which was followed by another reception.
In addition to frequent coffee breaks, the conference featured a sit-down hot lunch, offering ample opportunities for fellowship. “In spending time with each other, in studying and discussing the traditions we hold dear, and most of all in prayer— the worship of God in the beauty of holiness—you give witness to the vitality of the Church and new expression to the diversity that is possible when we find a deeper unity in faith,” said Bishop Lopes in a welcoming letter issued Nov. 4, 2019, the day of the tenth anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution’s publication. This time for fellowship proved to be a highlight of the conference.
Canada’s Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi sent greetings to the conference on behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis. “When Pope Benedict XVI issued Anglicanorum Coetibus,” the Nuncio wrote, “he was showing his pastoral heart as a father not only for the Catholic Church but for all those who longed for unity. The Second Vatican Council’s Lumen Gentium speaks of those who, ‘moved by the Holy Spirit, seek with explicit intention to be incorporated into the Church’ and ‘are by that very intention joined with her. With love and solicitude Mother Church already embraces them as her own.’” (LG 14) “Indeed,” Archbishop Bonazzi wrote, “the union of faithful belonging to the Anglican Communion with the See of Peter brings to a happy fulfillment that mutual desire on the part of the Apostolic See and the many groups of Anglicans who have entered into full communion, bringing with them the riches of their theological, liturgical and spiritual patrimony.” We hope to present video recordings of the talks and of the Mass on the ACS website in the future, and to publish the talks in an upcoming special conference edition of Shared Treasure in the near future.
Previous conference announcements
The Anglicanorum Coetibus Society presents our 2019 Conference on the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Church, in Toronto, Canada
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, creating personal ordinariates for Catholics of the Anglican patrimony, the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society is pleased to present our 2019 Conference on the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Church, taking place in Toronto, Canada.
Sessions will be hosted at St. Michael's Choir School, and will feature multiple speakers on the Anglican patrimonial tradition and community in the Catholic Church, including Bishop Steven Lopes of the ordinariate, writer and former Anglican David Warren, Fr Jack Barker, and Fr Derek Cross of the Oratory. These talks will focus on the history of our community, what Pope Benedict XVI did for us a decade ago, and what the future holds in store for us.
The conference will be anchored by three solemn choral liturgies, taking place at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica of the Archdiocese of Toronto: a Solemn Mass & Te Deum, Choral Mattins, and Evensong & Benediction. At the close of the weekend, we will join Toronto's Ordinariate parish, St. Thomas More, for their 12:30pm Sunday Mass. (Those who need to leave earlier to make it back home by Sunday morning will want to do so after the conclusion of Evensong & Benediction at 5 pm on Saturday.)
This is a historic occasion to meet and reconnect with fellow Catholics and Anglicans and to celebrate what God has given us through Anglicanorum Coetibus. Register now at
Announcement of the 2019 Conference
The Anglican Use Society held eight annual conferences between the years 2005–2012 in Scranton (2005 & 2006), Washington DC (2007), San Antonio (2008), Houston (2009), Newark (2010), Arlington, Texas (2011), & Kansas City, Missouri (2012). These Anglican Use Conferences were of great importance for the Anglican tradition movement in the Catholic Church, attracting some very high profile speakers, contributing to a shared sense of community and identity amongst Catholics of the Anglican tradition, and encouraging numerous Anglicans along their path to becoming Catholic.
The first, held in Scranton on April 29th, 2005, attracted about fifty clergy and laity from multiple states and three countries. About this successful first conference, Anglican Embers later reported “The society recently held an Anglican Use Conference in Scranton, PA. The conference took place at St. Clare Church which is where the Society of St. Thomas More holds services. This is the most recent Anglican congregation to seek union with the Holy See together with their Rector, The Revd. Eric Bergman. Two principal speakers made presentations at Scranton. Father Aidan Nichols, O.P. spoke on the possibility of an Anglican Use Rite in the Catholic Church, and Dr. Alexander J. Burke spoke on John Henry Cardinal Newman.” Both papers were published in subsequent issues of our journal, and some of the non-Catholic attendees were encouraged towards their receptions into the Catholic Church by the conference.
These Anglican Use Conferences were an important occasion in the life of the Church. They were a key occasion for fellowship for Catholics of the Anglican tradition (belonging first to the Pastoral Provision parishes and later the ordinariate), as well as Anglicans who were interested in the Catholic faith or in learning more about the Catholic aspect of their own tradition. Of course, they always featured patrimonial worship. Praising our liturgy at the 2009 conference, Cardinal DiNardo said “The Anglican Use Mass is an intense liturgy of beauty, with the beauty of the Eternal Liturgy.” He added, “Anglican Use is not just the icing on the cake, it is part of the batter. It is of substance.” Finally, the conferences also helped build up the Catholic Church. Fr Eric Bergman has said “Through these conferences we won many vocations for the Church and even helped some communities like ours to be formed.” A full rundown of the eight Anglican Use Conferences held between 2005 and 2012 can be found in Anglican Embers Vol. IV No. 2.
In 2013, however, because of various factors, the Anglican Use Society decided to indefinitely postpone plans for forthcoming conferences, and since November 2012, members of the Society have met principally on occasions brought about by external events.
Now, after a hiatus of a few years, as we approach the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution that created the Personal Ordinariates for Catholics of the Anglican patrimony, it is time to gather once again, both to carry on the tradition of worshipping together and to mark in a particular way this occasion for thanksgiving. The ordinariates have been an answer to generations of prayer, and it would be remiss were we to let this anniversary pass us by without a proper celebration.
Therefore, we are delighted to announce that our ninth conference, focussing on the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Church, will be held in Toronto, Ontario on November 15th and 16th, 2019. It will feature choral liturgies in the best tradition of the Anglican patrimony, including Mass, Mattins, and Choral Evensong and Benediction. Further details will be announced in due course, but please mark the dates on your calendars now and we look forward to seeing everyone in Toronto this fall.