Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Eastbourne and Southbourne




Fr Neil gets us underway
It is months since Fr Neil Chatfield first invited me to address members of his Eastbourne Mission. I usually accept invitations for months ahead believing they will never happen. But they do, and today was the day, and I had been rather dreading it. Fr Neil had brought twenty of his people to the New Forest, to a self-catering converted barn in Lyndhurst. He said he wanted something about The Peace at Mass for one session, and about Liturgy generally and its connection with Mission for the second. Now liturgy has never been my speciality – at St Stephen’s House I was always able to employ experts in the field (so now you know how Mgr Burnham has come to be the Ordinariate’s liturgist in chief). Indeed I always liked Bishop Douglas Feaver’s response when asked “Father, are you interested in liturgy?” ‘No’, he replied; ‘and neither do I collect match boxes’.

Fortunately the group from Eastbourne was very welcoming and forgiving, and between us we managed a very happy morning. They even fed me afterwards; most hospitable.
 
Making a ;point

Probably it is because Fr Chatfield is young himself (as priests go) and has a young family, but certainly his Mission is notable for its younger members, who contributed a great deal to our discussions. We began by looking at the history of The Peace (and Fr Hunwicke’s recent posts on this matter were hugely helpful). We spoke of our experience as Anglicans, when that moment in the Holy Communion could descend into a group hug-in. One of the ‘cradle-catholics’ in the group told us that after Vatican II there were similar outbursts in some Catholic parishes, too. Yet at that moment, at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, The Peace seals the action, and enables the whole worshipping community to signify that at Mass we are more than just a number of individuals.
 
They worship on Sunday afternoon so Cake is part of their patrimony
After coffee we went on to speak about Mission, and how although the Liturgy does not often become itself evangelistic, it prepares us for mission, and reminds us that our Christian life extends beyond the church door. It commands us to “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord” or to “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”. People openly and very movingly of their own journey to faith, and we reminded ourselves that the one who calls is not us, but the Lord. He is the evangelist; our job is not to become obstacles to his calling.
 
The multitude was fed
Eastbourne and Southbourne are some separated by some 90 miles of what is laughingly called the A 27 South Coast Trunk Road. Often it seems rather a succession of roundabouts loosely connected by cart tracks. It was very good for me today to meet other members of the far-flung Ordinariate and discover that the obstacles and joys which they face may be different from ours, but we are all part of the same great experiment, under the banner of Our Lady of Walsingham and Anglicanorum Coetibus.


3 comments:

  1. Reading this makes one wonder if membership of the Ordinariate would preclude membership of the Latin Mass Society. Does Summorum Pontificum apply to priests of the Ordinariate?

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  3. It does. But the revised Article 5.1 says "In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition..." and although an Ordinariate group may be a stable group of faithful, they are so new as not to have participated in the pre-1968 tradition. That doesn't stop members of the Ordinariate joining LMS and attending Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form. But this seems rather to be straying from the point of this post, which illustrates a group in formation following their own tradition and patrimony as allowed by Anglicanorum Coetibus, in much the same way as Summorum Pontificum allows other groups to follow *their* own traditions.

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