By John Paul Shimek

The Holy See has ordered publication the first missal to be used by parishes and communities in the Roman Catholic Church’s Ordinariate. The liturgical book, which will be used as of the First Sunday of Advent, represents the work of six years.

More than half a decade ago on the memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, celebrated annually on Nov. 4, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated his Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus. That document established “Personal Ordinariates for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner.” There are now ordinariates in in England and Wales, Australia and Japan, and the United States and Canada.

The United States’ body was established in January 2012 and named the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. At the end of that year in December, the nation’s ordinariate was extended into Canada, incorporating its Deanery of Saint John the Baptist. The Rev. Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steeson became the first ordinary, assisted by the Rev. Lee Kenyon as dean.

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Shortly after the ordinariate’s formation, the Holy See appointed a ten-member body to prepare a missal. The Anglicanae Traditiones Commission body included representatives from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome, as well as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The commission’s work resulted in Divine Worship: The Missal, and the Catholic Truth Society announced its scheduled publication in September. Now, published hardbound copies of that volume have been dispatched to Anglican-use parishes and communities of the Ordinariate.

Divine Worship: The Missal contains all the necessary ritual texts for celebrating the Eucharist and the other sacraments. According to an official communique [PDF] from the U.S. Ordinariate, it “gives expression to and preserves for Catholic worship the worthy Anglican liturgical patrimony, understood as that which has nourished the Catholic faith throughout the history of the Anglican tradition and prompted aspirations towards ecclesial unity.”

As a liturgical text, it expresses a eucharistic celebration that is “at once distinctively and traditionally Anglican in character, linguistic register, and structure, while also being clearly and recognizably an expression of the Roman Rite.” It has the stated purpose of situating itself “firmly within the shape and context of the Roman Rite so that it might be approached in a manner which respects its own integrity and authority.” As such, the text uses what is called “Prayer Book English,” making allowances for “a certain adaptability to local custom.”

Technically, the liturgical provision for the Ordinariate does not constitute its own proper rite. Any validly ordained Roman Catholic priest can concelebrate at a Mass according to Divine Worship, but such liturgies can be celebrated publicly only at parishes or communities of the Ordinariate. Catholics can licitly fulfill the Sunday obligation to attend Mass by hearing a liturgy celebrated according to the new missal.

Divine Worship uses the scriptural readings of the lectionary in the Revised Standard Version (Second Catholic Edition), which divides Sunday readings into a three-year cycle and weekday readings into a two-year cycle. The text provides two different forms of the offertory, one taken from the Anglican Missal tradition. And it offers two eucharistic prayers, the normative one being the Roman Canon. An alternative prayer is included for use during the week. The communion rite incorporates certain features from the Anglican tradition, including the intonation of the anthem during the rite of fraction.

Unlike Roman Catholic missals, Divine Worship does not have a liturgical season called Ordinary Time. Rather, “Time After Epiphany” (“Epiphanytide”) or “Pre-Lent” and “Trinitytide” fill out the year. Both Ember Days and Rogation Days are included. Christmas and Easter are celebrated on the same day universally throughout the Catholic Church. And, the cult of the saints is observed according to the General Roman Calendar. Some provisions have been made for the calendars of local or particular churches.

Monsignor Steenson and the Rev. Timothy Perkins, Director of Liturgy and Worship, presented the new missal to clergy of the Ordinariate at a conference held at Mundelein Seminary and University in Illinois on Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

Image: The Divine Missal in its pre-publication form, as posted on Ordinariate News.

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