Conference details announced & registrations open!

AUC 2019 brandDetails have been announced for the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society’s upcoming 2019 Conference on the Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Church, taking place this November 15th & 16th in Toronto, Ontario, and registrations are now open!

It is our privilege to be able to hold our three solemn choral liturgies for the conference at St Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in downtown Toronto. The conference sessions will be held at St Michael’s Choir School, right across from the Cathedral.

The conference will be anchored by the celebration of solemn choral liturgies, taking place at the Archdiocese of Toronto’s beautiful and newly-restored St Michael’s Cathedral:

  • Solemn Mass & Te Deum, Friday, November 15th, 7pm
  • Choral Mattins, Saturday, November 16th, 10am
  • Choral Evensong & Benediction, Saturday, November 16th, 3:30pm

There will be a reception on the Friday night, and plenty of time to socialize and interact. On Sunday, November 17th, for those who can stay, we will join Toronto’s Ordinariate parish, St Thomas More, for their regular 12:30pm Sunday Choral Mass.

As originally announced back in June, the Society is hosting this conference to mark the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which created personal ordinariates for Catholics of the Anglican tradition. This will be our primary expression of thanksgiving for what God has given us over these past ten years, and a historic occasion to meet and reconnect with fellow ordinariate members, local Catholics, and others of the Anglican tradition.

Registrations are open now! Please visit to register, and see our conference website at for further updates.

The Parish Picnic an annual Ottawa tradition

20190825_153530Almost every year since I joined Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa, our parish has celebrated a picnic, usually in August.  This year we held it after Mass on Aug. 25.   It is one of our traditions such as our Thanksgiving and Epiphany Dinners, our Mothering Sunday high tea after Mass and our joint Eucharistic Procession on Corpus Christi.  That’s to say nothing of our weekly lunch after Mass.

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For the last two years, we have been invited to use the Ukrainian Catholic Shrine’s  St. John the Baptist camp in Quebec.  What a lovely, peaceful location for sharing great food, playing volleyball, swimming and boating and maintaining the good fellowship in our parish family.    Continue reading

Bishop Steven Lopes homily at Msgr. Carl Reid’s installation as Australian Ordinary

The text of Bishop Steven J. Lopes homily at the Aug. 27 installation of Msgr. Carl Reid as Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross can be found here.

I urge you to listen to or read the whole thing, for it is a powerful message that exhorts all of us to deeper conversion in Jesus  Christ.  It also calls us to mission and evangelization.

Here are some key points the Bishop made about the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican Patrimony as we approach the 10th Anniversary of Anglicanorum coetibus, Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution that brought the Ordinariates into being.

The Ordinariate is young, very young in the sweep of Church history. As we approach the 10th anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the ecumenical vision of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis is only beginning to take shape. At the same time, rather fundamental questions still loom. We are only beginning the demanding process of laying a foundation for the future flourishing of [this] mission diocese. The Ordinary and the Governing Council have to tackle seemingly innumerable questions of finance, policy, development, structure, real estate, and personnel. And all of this is so that our parochial communities can grow into the full
stature of parish life envisioned by the Apostolic Constitution.

My predecessor, Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, compared life in the Ordinariate to building an airplane while also trying to fly it…it takes a lot of duct tape! It is not always easy or even possible to see where this is all headed.

We in the Ordinariate have been given a privileged share in the Church’s mission
of communion and evangelization. I would therefore like to propose that we are to engage that mission one step at a time precisely as the way forward. An essential facet of that mission is preserving and promoting the patrimony of Anglican and English Christianity.

Another essential part of the mission—one dear to the heart of Pope Benedict, I might
add—is the ecumenical value of the Ordinariate. On the personal level, the Ordinariate
provides people with a welcome reception into full communion with the Catholic Church
in a way that is perhaps not so overwhelming to people coming out of a Protestant tradition.

More globally, the Ordinariate demonstrates that unity with the Catholic Church does not
mean assimilation and uniformity. Rather, unity in the expression of the truth of the
Catholic faith allows for a vibrant diversity in the expression of that same faith. The
Ordinariate does essentially that.

Pope Francis has gone to great lengths to underscore the missionary and evangelical
character of the Ordinariate as well, and I would urge you to see his appointment of a new Ordinary here in that light. We have been given extraordinary tools for evangelization: the confidence of Catholic doctrine and sacramental Order; the profound beauty of our liturgy; the rich heritage of our English patrimony; the transparency and accountability built into our governance structure; a joyful narrative about the communion of the Church that we extend to our brothers and sisters who long for the abundant life of Christ without even knowing it.

Bishop Lopes on Real Presence


Bishop Steven Lopes has responded in a most instructive way to the disturbing recent Pew Research study showing 70 per cent of Catholics in America do not believe in Real Presence in the Eucharist.

In an interview with Peter Jesserer Smith at the National Catholic Register, Bishop Lopes explains that better catechesis is not necessarily the solution:

I am sympathetic with the idea that we need better and more effective catechesis. I remember the catechesis before the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and catechesis after the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. So in other words, the resources are there, the catechesis is there. The catechesis today is in really much better shape. So there’s a “yes, but …” if you will, when I hear “well, we need better catechesis.” Well yes, but we can’t make it an intellectual thing alone. Because God and Christ’s gift of himself in the Eucharist is not an idea. It’s not an idea to be captured by the mind. It is a true self-gift. It is a personal gift of Christ to his Church, to the soul of the believer.

And therefore, as a personal gift, it has to be understood and received as a real person, which involves so many more aspects of the person rather than the mind. So worship – “the worship of God in the beauty of holiness,” as we say in the Psalms, has to involve the whole person. It has to capture all of the senses: sight, and smell and touch and even taste. That beauty in worship takes the faith in the real presence and makes it experienced; it makes it something that can be experienced. So the Ordinariate’s accent on beauty in worship — they all say we take worship very seriously and we do because it’s a very serious thing — it is the appearance of God on Earth, and receiving the gift of Christ’s self-gift is a tremendous thing.


On Saturday, I went to a Mass in a suburban neighborhood in Ottawa at a church built in the 1970s.  The tabernacle was located in a small separate chapel off to the side.  There’s another church like this not far from me that I sometimes attend for weekday masses.

I think this kind of church architecture was fashionable after the Second Vatican Council when there seemed to be a stress on Jesus present in the Body of Christ as the People of God  and a shift from seeing the Blessed Sacrament alone as the Body of Christ. Continue reading

“Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” –Flannery O’Connor

During the ten years I spent as a Baptist, I believed the elements of our monthly communion—the little cubes of white bread and the tiny individual glasses of grape juice—were symbolic.  I nevertheless found it disrespectful to put the empty glass on the floor afterwards, the same way I would not want to see an American flag dropped onto the floor.

As my faith deepened, however, it became intuitively more sacramental.  By the time I first visited Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary I was ready for acknowledging Christ’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.  It helped this understanding was imparted so simply by the reverence the priests showed in how they prayed the Mass.  Lex orandi; lex credendi.   

So, this morning, when I read news of a new Pew Research study that shows seven in ten U.S. Catholics believe the bread and the wine in Holy Communion are merely symbols, I thanked God for how our traditional Anglican Catholic form of worship prepared us for understanding Catholic teaching on the Eucharist.  Continue reading

How Cardinal Newman can help us

More than 20 years ago,  when I was a traditional Anglican, I remember a Catholic convert waving Cardinal John Henry Newman in my face to try to persuade me that Anglicanism was wrong and that I must follow Newman’s example and join the Catholic Church.

At the time, I spoke to a traditional Anglican priest about this and he said: “Newman’s a liberal.”  So, I dismissed the cardinal out of hand.  But as I continued to learn more about the Catholic faith, I began to see the brittleness of my previous positions.

We all remember, after Anglicanorum coetibus was published, encountering those who insisted:  “I’m Catholic already; just not Roman Catholic” as if the “Roman” was a pejorative word.  There was the pervasive notion of “Branch Theory” that circulated among Continuing Anglicans that traditional Anglicans represented a branch of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church similar to the Orthodox churches, and thus had access to to a purer Catholic faith before all those “Roman accretions.”   These erroneous views prevented many members of our church families in the Traditional Anglican Communion from crossing the Tiber.

As my conversion deepened, I shed those ideological positions and realized they represented a form of “golden age” thinking, an idea that one could recover a purer faith, a purer Church in the distant past and it was our job to recover that.  So, I’m very alert to similar kinds of “golden age” thinking and black-and-white ideological approaches to the Catholic faith among those who are already members of the Catholic Church. Continue reading