I finally received my copy of the St. Gregory’s Prayer Book and I am delighted with it. I am also pleased about the contribution the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society (ACS) made to its publication. The pictures were taken by Shane Schaetzel when he received his copy.
Shane represented the ACS on the committee that developed the Prayer Book for publication.
Shane, a former director of the Society, explains, in an email interview how he became involved in the project.
I was approached by ACS board member, Joe Blake, about possibly joining the board of the ACS to introduce some fresh ideas for a new direction for the ACS. Upon being elected to the board, I introduced a few ideas that I thought would give the ACS a new sense of direction and purpose in this post-Ordinariate environment. My major concern was for Ordinariate members in remote locations, and for small startup prayer groups, to have a greater sense of connectivity with the wider Ordinariate family. One of these ideas was the publication of a common devotional guide — or prayer book. The board eventually saw the potential for such a book, and placed me in charge of an exploratory committee to research its feasibility. This is how our efforts made contact with the Houston efforts for a similar project. Eventually, the two were combined to create a book that would give a fair cross-section of Patrimony prayers in all three Ordinariates. The editorial board consisted of a chief editor, who is an American liturgist, an Ordinariate priest from the UK, another from Australia, and myself as a representative for the ACS. The editorial process took a little less than a year and most of it was done by email.
The chief editor was Dr. Clinton Brand, and the long-awaited St. Gregory’s Prayer Book, has now been published by Ignatius Press.
Shane believes Anglican Patrimony is a key ingredient to the revival of Catholicism in North America.
I don’t see how it’s possible without it. You see, the English-speaking (or Anglophone) people have always had a deep linguistic and cultural connection to their English heritage, whether they realize it or not. The persistent popularity of the King James Bible, even among Baptists and Pentecostal groups in the 21st century, is a perfect example of this. Many of their hymns remain in King James English as well. The same is true with Anglophone Catholics. You’ll notice that prior to the promulgation of the 1970 Missal of Pope Paul VI, many of our 1962 Missals were translated from Latin into Sacred English (thee, thou, thy, etc), side by side on opposite pages or columns. Anglophone Catholics, prior to 1970, were steeped in the Anglican Patrimony at least in a linguistic sense. Likewise, many of the prayers we Anglophone Catholics hold dear, often remain in their Sacred English form, such as the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary” for example. Attempts to translate these into Common English (or “modern English”) never stuck. Even the Paul VI Missal recognizes this in the English translation, by very wisely keeping the “Our Father” prayer in the Sacred English form, rather than translating it into the common vernacular. This was a nod of the English translators toward a residual Anglican Patrimony left over in our culture. Anglophone people have always desired connectivity with England’s past, especially in their spiritual life, and it doesn’t seem to matter if they’re Catholic or Protestant. It is, in fact, who we are as a culture, and all attempts to change it (modernize it) have failed. Granted, Sacred English is not the sum of Anglican Patrimony, but it is an integral part. On a personal level, I’m trying to help all Anglophone Christians (both Catholic and Protestant) understand this, and that’s a tall order that requires several operations that bleed over from liturgy into evangelism.