Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, who received our parish into the Catholic Church five years ago, not only retweeted my tweet of the post “The Myth of the Disgruntled Anglican,” he commented on it:
The five years have passed very quickly: may your joy continually attract others to the Roman Catholic family…
What a blessed Archbishop Prendergast was to us in the run-up to our coming into the Catholic Church. He continues to be a blessing to us and to the whole archdiocese which is alive with fruitful apostolates that he encourages.
Back in the days when our parish was a member of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and so disdained by the Anglican Communion that many Catholic bishops did not want to associate with us because it might upset ecumenical partners, Archbishop Prendergast always had time for our clergy and treated them the same as he would any other clergy.
When we were received into the Catholic Church, he not only assigned a magnificent mentor priest, Fr. Francis Donnelly, a Companion of the Cross, to look after our Sunday Masses and be present while then Bishop Carl Reid led our catechesis to prepare for entry into the Catholic Church, Archbishop Prendergast came to celebrate our then Anglican Use Mass a few times.
He even took time out of his busy schedule to rehearse! I kidded him whether he had to train for the ballet of genuflection in our Mass, but he said he was used to it since he also celebrates the Extraordinary Form at the Fraternal Society of St. Peter (FSSP) parish in the Ottawa archdiocese. Our first Christmas Eve, when Fr. Francis was unable to come to celebrate Mass, nor could any of his brother Companions, Archbishop Prendergast came himself. What tremendous paternal care he showed us!
When he received us into the Catholic Church, he again celebrated the Anglican Use Mass ad orientem. Note the altar arrangement! Fr. Francis proclaimed the Gospel. Archbishop Prendergast used some of the finest gold vestments in his cathedral sacristry for the occasion.
The gift of Fr. Francis meant that when he couldn’t come to celebrate Mass he would send a brother Companion. One who came most frequently was the former General Superior of this wonderful charismatic, Marian, Eucharistic and Magisterial order, who is now Bishop Scott McCaig of Canada’s military Ordinariate.