"They were excited to become one with the Church"

That’s one man’s reflection on a recent experience of Anglican liturgy, involving Evensong and Benediction for Corpus Christi.

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There have always been Anglicans “on the journey” to the Catholic Church and many have come into full communion over the years. With the exception of a handful of parishes that entered through the Pastoral Provision, most had to come in through a solitary journey and those who were clergy wondered if there might ever be another opportunity to offer the sacraments.

The Anglican Ordinariate, however, through to the terms of the apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, has given pilgrims a real sense “welcome” and expectation while they are on their way.” Catholic parishes are opening their doors to Anglican Use liturgies and inviting Episcopalians and other Anglicans to come and see.

One such example took place on Sunday evening at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, Virginia. I was present with 140 other attendees for Solemn Evensong and Rite of Benediction (for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi), sponsored by the St. Thomas of Canterbury Anglican Use Society of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia (STCS).

The liturgy was celebrated by Father Terry Specht, Pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church, the hosting parish. He was joined by the STCS schola (a liturgical choir), which comes together for these Anglican Use liturgies.

Congregants were a mixture of Catholics from Holy Spirit and other parishes along with Episcopalians and some from the newer Anglican jurisdictions in America.

In chatting with the people at a reception that followed, I was thrilled to experience the enthusiasm and excitement present concerning the anticipated Ordinariate. For many of the Episcopalians/Anglicans present, it was clear that their hearts were already formed or being formed as Catholics; the distinct liturgies notwithstanding, they were excited to become one with the Church.

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