The Personal Ordinariates love Mary, the Mother of God. A much beloved part of the Patrimony of the Personal Ordinariates is Our Lady of Walsingham: one of the earliest Marian apparitions that took place in England (1061).
Better known to the wider Catholic Church is the second Marian apparition in England (Cambridge, 1251) to St Simon Stock: an Englishman and Superior General of the Carmelite Order. Traditionally Mary gave St Simon Stock the Brown Scapular, which has gone on to become the second biggest
devotion in the Catholic Church. But what role might the Brown Scapular play in the Personal Ordinariates?
With the creation of the Personal Ordinariates, and as such the returning of the English Christian tradition to the Catholic Church, we have found the Brown Scapular one of the many things which has shaped the wider Catholic Church that originated from the English Church. By the very merit of being members of the Catholic Church (as a 3rd Form of the Roman Rite no less), this devotion is as much ours as any other Catholic:
but its English roots gives us a special connection.
Many young Catholics who have taken interest in the Ordinariates often label themselves as “orthodox” and “traditional”: indeed, they are attracted to the Ordinariates as they are orthodox and traditional, with many identifying this by the “Lex Orandi, lex Credendi” of the Ordinariates’ traditional liturgy. Many of these young Catholics who have made the
Ordinariates their spiritual home, have been enrolled in the Brown Scapular: a case of like attracting like in terms of tradition.
In my opinion, any Ordinariate priest who wants to grow his community should hold a Scapular Mass at least once a year and advertise it to the local Catholic community: not only is this a service of spiritual care, it should attract the attention of those ‘orthodox
and traditional’ Catholic types who could make the Ordinariate their spiritual home. One of the roles of the Ordinariates is the veneration of English saints, many of whom were giants of the faith but have since been forgotten in the wider Catholic Church after the
Reformation. St Simon Stock was not only a Carmelite but an Englishman raised in the English Catholic tradition.
I would advocate St Simon Stock, along with John Henry Newman and G.K. Chesterton, are individuals the Ordinariates need to stress our legitimate claim as part of our Patrimony- not just for our benefit, but as they are fruits of the English Patrimony enjoyed and celebrated in the Church but ones few Catholics would associate with the Ordinariates.
By the Ordinariates promoting the Brown Scapular, not only is it a worthy devotion of spiritual benefit but it is an opportunity to promote the Ordinariates by associating ourselves with the second biggest devotion in the Catholic Church: if a devotion originating from a Marian apparition in England to an English saint is not worthy to be considered part of the Patrimony, I just don’t know what is.
This article first appeared in the UK Ordinariates Portal Magazine (06/2019)