Anglican Rosaries

There have been a number of occasions on which members of our Anglican Catholic community have commented, both online and off, about the ‘Anglican Rosary’, or Anglican prayer beads, and whether members of the ordinariates pray it.

It seems there are very few of us who do, but the reason for this is likely nothing other than that few of us prayed it even as Anglicans.

Anglican_BreviaryThe so-called ‘Anglican prayer beads’ consist of a chaplet of four groupings of seven beads called ‘weeks’, separated by four ‘cruciform’ beads (so named because of the cross shape they form in this arrangement), and prefaced by a cross or crucifix and an invitatory bead.

Because this is a relatively recent innovation in the Anglican world (it seems to be no older than the Anglican Use liturgical provision in the Catholic Church), there is no long history of use, nor an established or authoritative manner of praying it. This has led to some rather humorous takes on attempts at adopting this devotion.

Some Anglicans use the Jesus Prayer for the small beads and the Trisagion for the big beads. Another proposal uses the Agnus Dei. (Although, as found in these schemes, it would be rather unfortunate to avoid a Hail Mary in a devotional nicknamed ‘rosary’). Another suggestion online proposes praying St Patrick’s Breastplate with Anglican prayer beads. Other people doubtless have different prayer customs, and of course one can always simply use the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be.

Some Catholics, however, have objected to the ‘Anglican Rosary’, seeing it as nothing more than an avoidance of the more renowned Marian alternative, the common rosary used by hundreds of millions of Catholics around the world, sometimes also known as the ‘Dominican Rosary’. As Anglicans, most of us who prayed the rosary prayed this commonly known Catholic version, the Dominican one. We did so, however, in a distinctively Anglican way.

So I would suggest that, if anything is to be considered truly the ‘Anglican Rosary’, it is simply the common Dominican rosary as used by Anglo-Catholics, with customary Anglican forms of the constituent prayers:

In the + Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

I don’t think we should reject the otherwise so-called ‘Anglican Rosary’, but before seeking any hearty ecclesiastical endorsement of it, it might be prudent to wait upon its natural, organic adoption by the Anglican Catholic faithful of the ordinariates. What might it take to establish this other ‘Anglican Rosary’ as a commonly-prayed devotion?

It is a question of holiness. If saints pray it in a saintly manner, and it thus becomes an instrument of the sanctification of souls, then it will become something worthy of being taken up on a more widespread basis.

Until then, let us continue to use the ‘Anglican Rosary’ we have always used: the one common to all Latin Christians, prayed in our Anglican idiom. And let us continue to ask Mary for her intercession on behalf of the Anglican ordinariates and all our separated Anglican brethren.

St. Bede the Venerable on the Visitation


“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. With these words, Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God’s universal favors, bestowed unceasingly on the human race. When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commands, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and greatness always at heart.

His spirit rejoices in God his savior and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation. These words are often for all Gods creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time, in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

For the Almighty, has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is the name she spoke of earlier: and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

Therefore, it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary’s hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.”

From a homily by Saint Bede the Venerable, priest (Lib. 1, 4: CCL 122, 25-26. 30)

Historic Torres Strait Ordination (OLSC)


The Ordinary, Msgr Harry Entwistle is pleased to announce that the first ordination of a Torres Strait Island Ordinariate member will take place in June.


Kopel Gibuma, a former member of the Melanesian Brotherhood in their Australian mission and later a priest in the Church of Torres Strait,will be ordained to the  Transitional Diaconate at 10-00 am on Saturday June 9th in St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Church, Cnr Atkinson & Mayers St, Cairns by Bishop James Foley, Bishop of Cairns.

Please pray for him and the Ordinariate Communities in Cairns and Dauan Island.


(Text Written by OLSC Ordinary Mons Harry Entwistle, published on OLSC website here)


If you would like to inquire about a vocation with the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, cheak out the OLSC Vocations Page:

If you would like to support the OLSC Ordinariates Seminarians:

U.S.-based student loans stopping you from applying for CSP seminary? There is help

Student loans are one of those unspoken scandals- one which has severely damaged the Catholic Church in terms of vocations.

Young people have attended universities in numbers like never before, as they are told it is the only way to find a good job and it is a good place for personal development: and in their 20s leave with a large debt they have to pay interest on. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in a “Fail to Launch” situation in which they financially struggle, which impacts finding a spouse, being able to afford a home, having a family etc. Student loans on the whole are not “helping”, they have been a curse on the young.

It is estimated that in the United States each year there are 10,000 individuals who are discerning the seminary or religious life, of whom 42% are blocked from doing so because of student debt. Cash strapped dioceses can only afford to pay off so much, and most religious communities cannot afford to absorb the debt. Student loans are a big factor in the US vocations crisis.

Enter the brave heroes of the Laboure Society, who saw this crisis and decided to do something about it: assisting those who have been accepted into seminaries but cannot enter due to their debts. Though their help, many have been able to fulfill their vocational calling. They only deal in US-based student loans, and then only for entry into institutions which are in the Official Catholic Directory.

The average size of a loan they work with is $60,000 (although they have worked with smaller), and the highest has been over $300,000.

In my correspondence with them I had to explain what an Ordinariate was, but their admissions director said they can help aspirants from the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter if they meet the following criteria:

1. Official letter of acceptance from the diocese they are discerning with.

2. Letter of recommendation from their parish priest, vocation or spiritual director.

3. Must have US-based loans.

4. Loans must be in good standing and not in a collection agency.

5. Loans must be acquired before entering our program.

6. While participating in our program they must be living in the US.

If accepted by the Chair of St Peter’s seminary and you are assisted by the Laboure Society, you will be required to do the society’s six month course.

If you know someone to whom this information might be helpful, please share it with them. Lets try to break the tragedy of student loans affecting vocations, especially Ordinariate ones.

Thoughts on the Royal Wedding

The first thing that disappointed me about the Royal Wedding last weekend was the liturgy.  A banal, updated, ecumenical translation of our beautiful, patrimonial marriage service that didn’t even update the “and also with you” the way the Catholic Church has  in its 2011 revision of the Roman Missal.  It even says “Your will be done” in the Lord’s prayer!   The temerity!  I never see that in Catholic Churches in Canada.  That was the bad news.  The good news, I thought, is the lofty, Anglican patrimonial marriage liturgy is alive and well in the Personal Ordinariates.

Mind you, I didn’t watch the wedding in its entirely, but watched social media reaction in bits and pieces.   Then, when people started raving about Archbishop Michael Curry’s sermon, including many people I know as faithful  Catholics or evangelicals, I thought I would take a closer look.

He certainly has a splendid delivery full of warmth and passion, but I recall thinking at the time, “I’d rather listen to Cardinal Sarah read from a text.”   The sermon struck me as okay, but rather frothy and sweet like a milkshake.  I told my priest after a meaty sermon on Sunday that he had given us steak rather than a milkshake.

But now, after listening to and reading Fr. Gavin Ashendon’s analysis of Archbishop Curry’s sermon, and the political implications for the Anglican Communion in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s inviting him to speak at the wedding, I am saddened for far more than liturgical reasons.  (And don’t get me started on having that excellent gospel choir singing Stand by Me!—-There were so many far better illustrations of Black American culture that would have been far, far better than a Ben E. King pop song about romantic love!   Continue reading

Anglican Catholicism in the ‘Broken Vase’ analogy

A gentleman raised the Aidan Nichols ‘broken vase’ analogy on an online forum yesterday morning:

“You might like my comment on the name of the Ordinariate: We can keep the “Anglican” name as this is how it was set up by Pope Benedict; but as Aidan Nichols says in his excellent book on the Ordinariate, we bring together the two shards of the broken vase of English Catholicism: the recusant tradition and the Oxford movement and its ‘High’ church forbears. The English Martyrs are a great inspiration and when I kept their feasts as an Anglo-Catholic I always was aware I was on the wrong side of history; now we are not!… The Ordinariate Use reflects that patrimony, especially choral evensong; but we can also claim the TLM (EF). We can claim Elgar, Howells, Bairstow, C.S.Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Ronald Knox, Newman and many others. I hope this does not smack of cultural imperialism!”

Some might think it a minor distinction, but it gets to the heart of the question of our identity in the ordinariates, so I figured it was worth clarifying the vase analogy:

“Those are some good reflections, Robert. You’re quite right that the name ‘Anglican’ applies to us Catholics in the ordinariates of Pope Benedict XVI, but the broken vase or jar analogy of Fr Aidan Nichols is slightly different from how you’ve recalled. img_9414.jpgIn his book ‘Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony’, he describes the relationship between the Catholic Anglicans of the ordinariates and the Roman Catholics of post-Reformation England as being similar to that between two complementary shards of a broken jar. “The notion that the post-Reformation Roman Catholic community in England constitutes with Catholic Anglicans of an orthodox outlook the two shards of a broken jar completes the picture: this will be an Ordinariate, whose members not only profess the Catholic faith as understood at Rome, but do so in canonical unity with the dioceses of Latin Catholics maintaining, however, as their shard-character qualifies them to do, those ‘liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions proper to the Anglican Communion’…”

“In other words, the reconstituted jar represents the whole of English Catholic Christendom in its Roman and Anglican halves, restored in Catholic unity. In this analogy, the ordinariate itself is not the juridical form of the whole jar reconstituted, but the Anglican component or shard. The Roman half or shard is found in the post-Reformation Latin dioceses of England.

“In this way, we can see how the Anglican tradition is retained in its integrity in the ordinariates, and not merged or hybridized with the Anglo-Roman heritage of the post-Reformation English Latin Church.

“The Anglican Catholic heritage and identity of the ordinariates do have an ongoing relation to the Anglo-Roman Catholic heritage; indeed, because of their common history, they have a bearing on each other.

“This doesn’t mean the Recusant history isn’t in some way a part of the Anglican heritage as well; after all, one could say that St Thomas More’s rejection of our community’s schism has since 2009 been divorced (pun intended) from the legitimate heritage of our formerly separated community, and his Catholic witness and martyrdom have been internalized by our Anglican community on entering these ordinariates and made our own as well.”

This would also apply to the English Roman Catholic shard: their culture and identity are not unmarked by their common history with Anglican Catholicism either.