In Connecticut, a new work of Catholics is in motion: that of the Pre-Ordinariate Fellowship of Connecticut, a group of people seeking to establish a mission of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in this state. The POCUS is one of three ordinariates (an “ordinariate” being a type of ecclesiastical structure) established under Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, which was erected for former Anglicans entering the Catholic Church who wish to retain certain elements of the Anglican tradition.
These ordinariates were constructed in order to preserve and promote numerous elements of Anglican literary, liturgical, cultural, and spiritual patrimony within the Catholic Church, and this is the goal of OrdinariateCT. Distinguished liturgical and musical markers of Anglicanism include hieratic (“heightened”), “prayer book” English (in the tradition of the King James Bible) and the work of English master composers such as William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, and Orlando Gibbons. Another very noteworthy element of Anglican patrimony includes a real culture of hospitality and fellowship, manifested in close parish community ties and frequent events like post–Sunday morning service coffee hour and parish dinners.
In order to promote these major liturgical and cultural gifts of the Anglican tradition, OrdinariateCT puts on monthly, fully sung Evensongs (an example of a programme for which can be found here) at St. Francis Catholic in New Britain, Connecticut, followed by potluck. Evensong is the Anglican combination of the traditional Roman Offices (daily, non-Eucharistic prayer services) of Vespers and Compline, the Evening and nighttime Offices, respectively. In the tradition of Sunday evening Vespers held at Catholic churches, OrdinariateCT Evensongs are held after the parish’s regular 5:00 p.m. Sunday Mass.
OrdinariateCT seeks to both promote Anglican patrimonial elements among current diocesan Catholics and establish relationships with current Anglicans, with the eventual goal of helping Anglicans enter the Catholic Church. The Fellowship’s community currently consists of Catholics and Protestants of all different ages and demographics, especially young families and young adults.
If you live within driving distance of Connecticut and are interested in any element of the OrdinariateCT project, please feel free to get in touch at OrdinariateCT@gmail.com.