Episcopalian converts to the Catholic Church celebrate Evensong in East Falmouth

EAST FALMOUTH, Mass. — Choral Evensong according to the Anglican Use was held at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, East Falmouth at 5 p.m. on August 2. This service was open to everyone and was well attended. The Schola Cantorum of Falmouth under the direction of Pat Harcourt sang the “Magnificat” and Nunc dimittis and two motets a capella. The Schola of The Congregation of St. Athanasius in Boston and the congregation sang the psalm and the hymns accompanied by organist James S. Reedy who also played a prelude and a postlude for the service.

The officiant and preacher at the service was the Rev. Richard S. Bradford, Anglican Use Chaplain of the Archdiocese of Boston and Pastor of the Congregation of St. Athanasius in Brookline. Father Bradford was joined in the Sanctuary by Msgr. Stephen J. Avila, Deacon Patrick Mahoney and some visiting priests of the diocese. Oliver Muldoon, of Falmouth, a member of the Schola Cantorum of Falmouth, was instrumental in organizing this service. Also helping organize it was C. David Burt, also a former Episcopal priest and a Falmouth resident. He has been active in Father Bradford’s congregation in Boston and is Secretary of the Anglican Use Society.

Ever since the Oxford Movement in England the Catholic Church has received a trickle of converts from Anglicanism. More recently since Anglicans started ordaining women to the ministry, numerous clergy and laity have followed in the footsteps of such lights as Newman, Knox, and Chesterton to make the transition to the Catholic Church. Now, due to the serious problems in the Anglican Communion concerning homosexuality, what was once a trickle has the potential to become a steady flow. Along with some of his parishioners from All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Ashmont, Father Bradford, formed the Congregation of St. Athanasius and was received into the Catholic Church in 1998.

The Second Vatican Council envisioned a way whereby Christian groups could return to full communion with Rome while retaining the positive elements of their Liturgical and cultural patrimony. Since 1980, nearly 100 married Episcopalian clergymen have been ordained to the Catholic priesthood in the United States, and some Episcopal congregations have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining their “Anglican” style of worship. “The Book of Divine Worship,” first published in 2003, contains those Liturgical elements approved for use in such congregations, drawing from the 1928 and 1979 versions of “The Book of Common Prayer” and from the English translation of the Roman Missal. This is what is known as ‘The Anglican Use.’ The Pastoral Provision for Anglicans at http://www.pastoralprovision.org/  under the Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter at http://usordinariate.org/ under the direction of the Rev. Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson,  and the Anglican Use Society at http://anglicanuse.org/ under the direction of Stephen Cavanaugh, who was also at the service, coordinate and support the Anglican Use in the Catholic Church in this country.

For more information, and to express interest in future Anglican Use services in the Falmouth area, please contact David Burt at 774-255-1906.

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