Tribute to Isaac Scharbach

Isaac Scharbach, 21, the oldest son of Fr. Albert Scharbach, the pastor of Mount Calvary Catholic Church in Baltimore, passed away August. 1 after he was hit by a car while riding his bike.

Isaac Scharbach

It is hard to imagine any grief greater than the loss of a son or daughter. All of the members of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and beyond join in mourning this unspeakable loss.

Here is a tribute to Isaac in The Catholic Review, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, that reveals what an extraordinary young man he was.

George P. Matysek Jr. writes:

From the time Isaac Scharbach was a child, prayer was central to his life. Family members remember finding the boy asleep on the floor by his open prayer book late at night. Later, his teachers at Mount St. Joseph High School in Irvington recalled frequently seeing the young man alone in the school’s darkened chapel, taking time away from a jam-packed schedule to pray quietly by himself on late afternoons.

Isaac, from a family of nine brothers and sisters, joined the Catholic Church as a child during the 2009 Easter Vigil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore. Father Albert Scharbach, his father, had been a priest in the Anglican Church, but joined the Catholic Church with his family and was ordained a Catholic priest in 2013.

“As his priest, I gave him Communion daily,” said Father Scharbach, a former pastoral assistant to Bishop Denis J. Madden and the current pastor of Mount Calvary Catholic Church in Baltimore.

“He always received the Eucharist as if it was his first time receiving, his last time receiving, his only time receiving,” Father Scharbach said. “This was evident in his face and his entire bodily posture: peace, joy and an apparent interior ecstasy that communicated there is no place else he would rather be.”

Isaac Scharbach, 21, was killed Aug. 1 when an automobile struck him from behind in Upperco while he was riding his bicycle. The driver remained at the scene, and Baltimore County Police are investigating the crash.

Father Scharbach remembered his eldest son as a “pure soul” who treated everyone with kindness.

“Isaac was always kind, he always thought the best of others and he was always trying to help people,” his father said. “And I mean always, without exception. There are very few other people I can say that about, if anyone.”

There’s a lot more about Isaac here.

A funeral Mass will be offered Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. at St. Bartholomew in Manchester. It will be livestreamed here. Social distancing measures will be required.

Memorial contributions to build an adoration chapel at Davidson College may be made here.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Isaac’s family. Nearly $60,000 has been raised so far.

Ordinariate Newsletter: 8th Sunday after Trinity

In this fifth issue, in addition to briefer notes on different exciting events coming up in the next few weeks, we include a note from John Covert on his Cycle of Prayer, a description of the Minnesota Ordinariate’s latest event, a homily excerpt by Fr. Catania of St. Barnabas, and more. It’s been 5 issues! Have you donated? If you’ve benefited from this newsletter, please prayerfully consider donating $2 an issue to the Seminarian Fund. And please feel free to print and distribute this newsletter. Happy Sunday!

Has your parish not appeared? Is there a ministry or good event you think should have appeared but hasn’t? We haven’t heard from you! We are eager to highlight good work around the Ordinariate. Send an email to using the form below (and do the same if you’d like to receive the newsletter by email).

Note: The proper link to view or purchase the Catholic Cycle of Prayer, produced by John Covert, is simply (not the longer link, embedded in the newsletter).

The Ordinariate in Bethlehem

Bethlehem city in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania will soon be home to a renewed Ordinariate mission. In their recent newsletter St. Thomas More Parish of Scranton, PA announced:

Holy Ghost Parish Church, Bethlehem, PA

New Name, Location, & Priest for Mission Congregation

We are pleased to announce that Bishops Lopes and Schlert (of our Ordinariate and the Diocese of Allentown, respectively) have identified a new home for the congregation: the stunningly beautiful Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Bethlehem; moreover, worship will recommence with the Bishop’s visit at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 16, and will proceed thereafter every week at that time.

What’s more, by that time the group will have prayerfully selected a new name for itself, and will also be under the new leadership of the newly ordained Fr. Matthew Hummel. Fr. Hummel hails from our sister Parish to the south, St. John the Baptist, Bridgeport (PA), from which he will travel north to minister to the mission congregation in Bethlehem. All of these developments portend an exciting future for our outpost in the Lehigh Valley!

Ordinariate News: Seventh Sunday after Trinity

In this fourth issue, we include, in addition to excerpts, a homily, and parish profile, the first ministry profile, highlighting one that exemplifies the sort of impact an Ordinariate group can have in its larger community. Despite the sad events surrounding this week, happy Sunday! As Fr. Erdman remarks in his homily, God’s Holy Wisdom cannot remain covered or hidden.

Has your parish not appeared? Is there a ministry or good event you think should have appeared but hasn’t? We haven’t heard from you! We are eager to highlight good work around the Ordinariate. Send an email to using the form below (and do the same if you’d like to receive the newsletter by email).

Please feel free to print and distribute this newsletter. In addition, please consider donating $2 to the Seminarian fund if you’ve enjoyed reading it! Until next Sunday.

The Newsletter:

Contact Form:

Ordinariate News: 6th Sunday after Trinity

In this third issue, we cover Bishop Lopes’ visit to St. Barnabas, the commemoration of St. Bonosa at Our Lady and St. John’s, and more. In the coming weeks, we hope to have more on different initiatives from around the Ordinariate. Happy Sunday!

We need volunteers! Are you willing to write a brief profile of your community, or report on good news in your parish? Would you consider writing about your parish’s unique ministries or liturgical notes? Do you want to sign up to receive the newsletter by email? Send us an email at And please feel free to print and distribute this newsletter.

Please consider donating $2 to the Seminarian fund if you’ve enjoyed reading it! Until next Sunday.

The file was updated with some minor corrections Monday morning. And more Monday afternoon: a reader pointed out that Bishop Lopes’ reception was probably in the “Parish house”, not the “Pariah house”! Thank you for bearing with us as we get this off the ground, and thank you for all corrections.

Ordinariate News: 5th Sunday after Trinity

This is the second issue of the Ordinariate Newsletter, covering good news in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. This past week has been important in many communities, whose new pastors started last Sunday. In addition, there are many exciting things happening this weekend: Bp. Lopes is celebrating Pontifical Mass at St. Barnabas, OLSJ is celebrating the transferred feast of the virgin martyr, St. Bonosa, whose relics are at their parish–but reports on that (and more) will come next Sunday.

We need volunteers! Are you willing to write a brief profile of your community, or report on good news in your parish? Would you consider writing about your parish’s unique ministries or liturgical notes? Do you want to sign up to receive the newsletter by email? Send us an email at And please feel free to print and distribute this newsletter.

Please consider donating $2 to the Seminarian fund if you’ve enjoyed reading it! Until next Sunday.

Update: The current version includes the profile of OLSJ in Louisville and updated Parish assignment information. In addition, Fr. Simington’s name was corrected. Thank you to those who submitted corrections!

Bring Back Betrothal Rites!

Espousal of Joseph and Mary

Image is of the Betrothal of Mary and Joseph

When I was engaged, I wanted to give my Beloved an extra special day- so I organized a Betrothal Rite, an ancient yet scarce practice. Betrothals are different from just being engaged because being engaged is a private arrangement between a couple, even if it is announced publicly. To be Betrothed is a deeper commitment to marry before both God and Church. 

In the Bible we see many examples of betrothals, the most striking example is at the time of the Annunciation Mary and Joseph are betrothed: in Jewish tradition they were as good as married, requiring a divorce to break. The 23rd of January use to be the liturgical feast celebrating the Betrothal of Mary and Joseph, a feast called the Espousals of Mary and Joseph up until 1961. While Betrothals use to be common practice in the West, slowly they were merged into the Marriage Rite so technically many Catholic couples are betrothed and then immediately married right after. Continue reading

A New Ordinariate Newsletter

As the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter continues to grow, it becomes easy to miss the exciting work occurring at parishes and communities scattered across two countries. This is the first issue of a new weekly newsletter intended to counter that, which will be hosted on the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society website, covering news from around the Ordinariate. It will help highlight the unique development of different communities, provide some material from the wider English patrimony, and provide some basic aids to para-liturgical prayer in the Ordinariate. It will also act as a fundraiser for diocesan collections: readers are encouraged to donate $2 an issue to the current diocesan collection (now the seminarian fund).

This initial issue should give a clear example of the newsletter’s intention, despite missing parts that we hope to appear regularly. Because this will be produced and published free of charge, submissions of material will be critical. Are you willing to submit a profile of your community? Is there a unique liturgical feature of your community that you’d like to highlight? Does your priest post his homilies online, and would he be willing to see excerpts published here? Are there events your community runs that you’d like to see here? Please send submissions, suggestions, and criticisms to Also, if you are interested in receiving the newsletter by email, please send an email to that address.

We hope that, as it takes shape, this will serve as encouragement and an aid to prayer for parishioners in the Ordinariate. Until next week, God bless!

Ordinations on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

May 25, 2020
by Ordinariate Communications
With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God
the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter
joyfully announces and invites you to attend
the Ordination of
Rev. Mr. Armando G. Alejandro, Jr.
Rev. Mr. B. Nathan Davis
Rev. Mr. Matthew M. Hummel
to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ
through the Imposition of Hands
and the Invocation of the Holy Spirit by
Most Rev. Steven J. Lopes, S.T.D.
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
Monday, the Twenty-ninth of June
Two Thousand and Twenty
at Six Thirty in the Evening
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham
7809 Shadyvilla Lane, Houston, Texas 77055

Here is a link to the beautiful Solemn Evensong for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

40th Anniversary of the Pastoral Provision and the Anglican Use

IMG_3152This coming Saturday is the 40th anniversary of Pope Saint John Paul II’s authorization of the Pastoral Provision for Anglicans, which for the first time ever created an Anglican form of Catholic liturgy as well as parochial jurisdiction for Anglican Use Catholics.

Numerous ordinariate priests will be marking the occasion this Saturday by offering their daily masses with the intention of thanksgiving for what St John Paul II did for Catholics of the Anglican tradition 40 years ago to the day.

img_4552Just a few months ago, ordinariate members spread across multiple countries celebrated the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s legislation establishing diocesan jurisdictions for us characterized by our Anglican patrimonial liturgical forms.

But this coming week, on June 20th, Anglican Catholics will celebrate an even older anniversary of a key papal act that explicitly paved the way for the Anglican ordinariates.

For generations leading up to the pontificate of John Paul II, Anglicans had engaged in prayer, hope, and discussion focussed on the eventual healing of our schism and our return to full communion with Rome and the rest of the Catholic Church. The formal manifestation of this took expression in the ARCIC dialogue with the Holy See which began in 1967.

In the mid-late 1970s, Anglican approaches to Rome by groups such as the Diocese of the Holy Trinity and the Pro-Diocese of St Augustine of Canterbury (PDSAC) culminated in the Holy See crafting a pastoral response that would provide a way for Anglicans to become fully Catholic while retaining their corporate integrity, their common identity, and their liturgical tradition’s distinctiveness.

An extensive and detailed account of much of this backstory can be found in Father Jack Barker’s Early History of the Anglican Use. Fr Barker, a priest of the ordinariate, was also a speaker at our recent Anglican Tradition Conference in Toronto this past November. His talk, entitled Behind the Petition: A Brief Account of How Anglicans Received Ordinariate Status, is another exceptional source for the history of this development.

What resulted was a concrete demonstration of how seriously the Holy See took these Anglican approaches, and its respect for the Anglican tradition.

img_4549On June 18th, 1980, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith finalized a decree for papal approval that responded to the Anglican approaches and their desire to retain their distinctive identity in becoming Catholic. The decree comprised various decisions that would form the framework for a ‘Pastoral Provision’ that, pending certain practical workings out by the NCCB (now the USCCB), would enable Anglicans in the United States entering full communion to form Catholic parishes belonging to them and characterized by their Anglican liturgical distinctiveness. It would also enable married Anglican priests to continue leading those congregations as Catholic priests, the precedent for which had been set back in the early 1950s under Pope Pius XII.

Two days later these decisions were presented to the Holy Father, and on June 20th, 1980, Pope John Paul II gave his formal authorization to the provisions and signed the decree into law. This groundbreaking event, however, did not make headlines in the way Anglicanorum Coetibus did a generation later. In fact, the interested Anglicans weren’t even to learn of the pope’s act for months! Over a month after St John Paul II’s historic act, on July 22nd, Cardinal Seper, the Prefect of the SCDF, sent a letter enclosing the substantive provisions of the decree to Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco, who was at the time the President of the NCCB.

It wasn’t until August 20 that Archbishop Quinn made the public announcement in a press release. As Fr Jack Barker, one of the pioneers of the Anglican Use, writes, “At a private meeting, hosted by Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco at his residence in San Francisco on August 19, 1980, the leadership of the PDSAC was informed that he intended to make a public announcement the following day. This announcement would state that Rome would make pastoral provision for former Anglicans thereby ensuring their identity and the preservation of elements of their worship and would consider for Roman Catholic priesthood even those Anglican priests who were married. The Archbishop read portions of the cover letter addressed to him together with the text of the Decree sent to him by the Holy See. The leadership and people celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving in Los Angeles the next evening.”

IMG_2979Discussions took place in multiple meetings and conferences through 1981 about proposed provisional liturgies and what precise form the Anglican liturgical use was to take. In due course authorization was given and an Anglican Use Catholic mass became a reality, based on the American Book of Common Prayer and incorporating material from the Sarum and Roman liturgies. The first parish dedicated to the Anglican Use was Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, established in 1983, and more followed, including Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, now the Cathedral of the North American ordinariate. While the Anglican Use took shape in the 1980s, its actual publication in the Book of Divine Worship didn’t occur until 2003, and as is now well known, it has developed even further and exists in a more fulsome form in Divine Worship: The Missal.

But all of this began with Pope John Paul II’s authorization of the creation of a Pastoral Provision in the first place on June 20th, 1980. His historic decision even noted that, while the Anglican Use parishes were to be placed in the local Roman dioceses, “the possibility of some other type of structure as provided for by canonical dispositions, and as suited to the needs of the group, is not excluded.” Prayers for just such another type of structure were to be answered in the ordinariate. So in many respects St John Paul II’s act was prophetic. Many things can be said about what it accomplished for the first time in history, but it is indisputable how very far-sighted it was, laying the groundwork for what is even now only beginning to be glimpsed.

Much more research ought to be done in time into the origins of both Anglican provisions of 1980 and 2009, but here are some items of interest touching on that of 1980:

Ordinariate priests in different countries will be celebrating mass this Saturday with the intention of thanksgiving, but all ordinariate faithful have cause to give thanks for what St John Paul II did for us 40 years ago. It is easy for us to thank God for Pope Benedict XVI and his Anglicanorum Coetibus, but on this occasion let us recall to mind the necessity to always give thanks for what St John Paul II gave to us a generation earlier. For it was indeed the framework on which Cardinal Ratzinger would later build.

Thanks be to God and may his holy name be praised!