Outreach to university students in Ottawa

DSC02403On Holy Cross Day, our Ordinariate Parish of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary participated in an outreach to University of Ottawa students with a special Divine Worship Mass celebrated at St. Theresa’s Parish, the Roman Catholic Parish downtown that is fairly close to the campus.


Christopher Mahon, who is a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Toronto, but works in Ottawa, organized the event, including a  putting together a small choir of young Catholics.


Christopher comes from a well-known Anglo-Catholic family of musicians that for generations has been steeped in Anglican musical patrimony.  His grandfather, Albert Mahon, was Healey Willan’s cantor at St. Mary Magdalene, an Anglo-Catholic parish in Toronto.  Willan was the foremost Canadian Anglo-Catholic composer.  His father, Peter Mahon, is a gifted counter-tenor and conductor, and is currently Director of Music at Cardinal Collins’s St Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto; his mother, Katharine Pimenoff Mahon, is also a singer and choir director; his sister Rachel is an organist at Chester Cathedral and was the first ever woman musician hired by St Paul’s Cathedral; his brother Andrew sings at Westminster Abbey & Westminster Cathedral, and all of his other siblings are singers too.

“The singers were fellow Catholics from nearby Tridentine and Novus Ordo parishes who wanted to sing Anglican repertoire for a traditional English Mass, which neither group really gets in their own parishes,” Christopher told me.

“They all did it on a volunteer basis for the joy of it and the glory of God,” he said. “And also to show folks, young people & students especially from U of O, how beautiful the worship of God can be.”

The music was glorious!  And the Mass attracted a number of new people who had not been exposed to our Anglican tradition liturgy before.   Fr. Doug Hayman gave one of his wonderful homilies, beautifully weaving together and interpreting in great depth the readings.
Though we have sung Masses at Annunciation on Sundays, Solemnities and Feast Days, and a gifted organist and cantor, we rely on congregational singing.  Thus to hear Anglican plainsong done a capella by trained singers; to hear a Mass setting by Healey Willan (Missa Brevis XIII for Holy Cross) and a Byrd motet (Ave Verum) was heavenly for us.
Also, St. Theresa’s is a beautiful church building with great acoustics.
Fr. Vincent Pereira, pastor of St. Theresa’s was among the half dozen or so priests from the Ottawa archdiocese (including Ottawa Archbishop Terrrence Prendergast) and members of the Companions of the Cross who celebrated our Anglican Use Mass for us during the time when we waited for our clergy to be ordained.
Sorry, the pictures are a little muddy as it was a little dark.   I wish I had thought to get some pictures downstairs of the ample “lunch” we provided after Mass.   We saw a number of new faces; many young people and lots of children!   I wish I had thought to go up to the choir loft, but I wanted to enter into worship for most of the Mass.
I was too busy, however, with others from Annunciation, getting the food laid out to think of taking photographs.



1 thought on “Outreach to university students in Ottawa

  1. As Archbishop of Ottawa, Archbishop Terrance Prendergast has been wonderfully supportive of the reception of one of the first ordinariate communities and the ordination of its clergy in his see city.

    Today, from the Vatican, comes surprising news that Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Prendergast also Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, joining the two dioceses in persona episcopi (“in the person of the bishop”) — meaning that the two dioceses remain canonically separate entities, but that one bishop will lead both as soon as Archbishop Prendergast takes canonical possession of his new diocese (which he must do within two months, per Canon 382 of the Codex Juris Canonici). What I find surprising about this move is that it crosses provincial boundaries, the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall being in the Province of Kingston and the Archdiocese of Ottawa, like nearly all other archdioceses in North America, being the metropolitan see of the province of the same name.

    We can hope that Archbishop Prendergast will foster the formation of ordinariate congregations in his new diocese!



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