A Visitor to the Ordinariate

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the parish

Not a heresy was stirring, neither subtle nor garish;

The media were pushing secular worldviews with care,

In hopes for the young people’s minds to ensnare:

The children to space out on unneeded meds;

With visions of life without God in their heads;

But our parish priest rises to lead us in prayer:

“Most Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas Eve our care

And delight to prepare us to hear once again

The message of the angels unto Bethlehem…”

And the carols and lessons all too quickly pass,

And we kneel as our celebrant says midnight Mass.

The collection is lighter than ’twas years before,

When yet we were all on the Tiber’s far shore. Continue reading

St. Thomas Becket (AD c. 1119 – 1170)

[#17 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of December 23 – 29]



HIS week in English Catholic History, we celebrate St. Thomas Becket on December 29, the day of his martyrdom.

He was born in Pettyside, London. Due to his father’s financial setbacks, he had to leave school to support himself, and eventually started working as a clerk for Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury. There, his talent won his master’s favor and Thomas became the Archbishop’s most trusted clerk.

Theobald used Thomas in several delicate negotiations, sent him to study canon law for a year, and eventually ordained him a deacon in 1154 and bestowed upon him the Archdeaconry of Canterbury. Continue reading

The O Antiphons (6th Century)

[#16 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of December 16 – 22]



HIS week in English Catholic History, we examine the O Antiphons, which in the Ordinariate are sung during Evening Prayer on December 17-24 (in the Ordinariate’s Office) or 16 -23 depending upon what Office is used and are based on the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah.


O Sapientia, December 17; see Isaiah 11:2-3, Isaiah 28:29, Sirach 24:1-5, Wisdom of Solomon 8:1

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: come and teach us the way of prudence.

O Adonai, December 18; see Isaiah 11:4-5, Isaiah 33:22; Exodus 3:2; Exodus 24:12

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

O Radix Jesse, December 19; see Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 11:10, Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 52:15, Micah 5:2, Romans 15:12

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you nations will make their prayer: come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

O Clavis David, December 20; see Isaiah 22:22, Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 42:7

O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

O Oriens, December 21; see Isaiah 9:2, Isaiah 60:1-2, Malachi 4:2

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness: come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

O Rex Gentium, December 22; see Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 2:4, Isaiah 28:16, Isaiah 64:8, Ephesians 2:14

O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.

O Emmanuel, December 23; see Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:22-23

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Savior: come and save us, O Lord our God.

O Virgo Virginum, December 24; see Song of Songs 1:5, Memorare, Luke 2:5-6

O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.

Apparently originating in or prior to the Sixth Century, the O antiphons appear both in the Breviarum Romanum, the Church of England’s Common Worship liturgy and now in the Divine Office of the Ordinariates of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Note: If you would like to pray the O Antiphons as part of Evening Prayer, please visit prayer.covert.org Continue reading

St. John Roberts, Martyr (AD 1577 – 1610)

[#15 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of December 9 – 15]



HIS week, on December 10, the day of his martyrdom, we remember St. John Roberts. St. John Roberts was a Welsh Benedictine monk and priest. He was born in 1577 at Trawsfynydd, a small village in northern Wales. His parents were John and Anna Roberts of Rhiw Goch Farm. Like many members of the Ordinariates of Anglicanorum cœtibus today, John was baptized as a Protestant.

He attended Oxford in 1595 before leaving after two years to study law at Furnival’s Inn, London. He later traveled in Europe, and converted to Catholicism after visiting Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Also instrumental in his conversion was the influence of a Catholic fellow-countryman. When John converted, he abandoned his legal studies. On the advice of Fr. John Cecil, Roberts moved to Spain to attend the English seminary at Valladolid, before later leaving to become a monk at the local monastery, St. Benedict’s.

After his ordination in 1602, John led an undercover mission of Catholic priests to England, where as an important part of his evangelization he worked with plague victims in London. He was repeatedly caught, imprisoned, and banished to the continent, but Saint John kept returning to England. On his fifth mission to England, he was followed by his former mentor, ex-priest-turned-spy John Cecil (alias John Snowden), who had traitorously compiled a dossier on Roberts for King James I–Yes, the same King James after whom was named the much-celebrated 1611 King James Version of the Bible, which included the deuterocanon and almost verbatim the words of the Lord’s Prayer as they currently appear in the Catholic Novus Ordo Missal of 1970 and the Ordinariates’ Divine Worship Missal of 2013. God uses whom He will for his unsearchable purposes.

Fr. Roberts was arrested by the King’s agents right after he had finished saying Mass, and he was taken to prison while still wearing his Eucharistic vestments. The night before his hanging, a devout Spanish lady arranged for him to have dinner with 18 other Catholic prisoners. During their supper together, St. John was full of joy. He felt self-conscious about this, and asked his hostess, “Do you think I may be giving bad example by my joy?” She said, “No, certainly not. You could not do any better than to let everyone see the cheerful courage you have as you are about to die for Christ.”

On December 10, St. John Roberts – as was traditionally allotted commoners deemed traitors to King and country – was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. Like our Lord himself by tradition at the time of his crucifixion, John was 33 years old. In jubilant mockery of a ceremony designed to strike fear into the hearts of would-be Catholics, when John saw the fire in which his bowels were to be burned, he said, “Ah, I see you have prepared a hot breakfast for us!”

Usually, the prisoner was disemboweled while still alive, but St. John Roberts was so popular among the poor because of his work with plague victims, that they insisted he be killed first so as not to feel the pain, and the will of the common people prevailed at least that far.

His heart was then held aloft by the executioner, who said, “Behold the heart of the traitor!” But the angry crowd, instead of saying the standard response (“Long live the king!”), said nothing. It was dead silent.

Saint John Roberts, defender of the Poor and the Sick, Martyr for the True Faith, pray for us sinners!


For a weekly dose of English Catholic Patrimony, if your Ordinariate parish or parochial community would like to receive This Week in English Catholic History in advance in single page black-and-white pdf form (perhaps inserted in the bulletin), please contact us at <foster1452@gmail.com>, and we will be happy to oblige, gratis

Written by Mr. John Burford, IV and Dr. Foster Lerner of Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida; a parish of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter © 2018.

image1 (1)        Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 9.06.47 AM

John (wearing purple tie, above) is the founder and owner of Magnolia Prep, an SAT and ACT tutoring business with branches in several major US cities. Foster (wearing golden tie, above) holds a Doctorate in Medicine from  Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in medicine.

john roberts

Heads Up: Obligatory No Meat this Friday for Canonical Members of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

In one of the few deviations from the extremely minimal fasting requirements of Roman Catholics in the United States and Canada, Ordinariate Catholics of POCSP — on pain of grave sinmust abstain from meat (like the Fridays in Lent for all Roman Catholics) this Friday, December 7th, 2018. No alternative penance (as is required for other Roman Catholics on this day if they choose not to abstain) is permitted. (I cannot speak to the situation of Ordinariate Catholics in OLW and OLSC Ordinariates, though if readers know with certainty, please comment). See POCSP Ordo:

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We have come to the Ember Days of this season, which — along with the ministry of Instituted Acolyte, First Evensong on the evening before Feasts rather than just Solemnities, and other excellent Traditions — the Ordinariates are bringing back into the common practice of the Latin Church. Spread the word in your parochial communities, and be sure we all can fully share in this joyful but truly penitential time, when we recall the Lord’s first coming, yes, but much more, the End of Time, when He shall come in awesome Glory and Power to be our Judge.

UPDATE: Steven Rabanal, Instituted Acolyte writes:

‘”From the Chancery: We can eat meat after 4pm today. The solemnity trumps Ember Friday.’

However, of course, this is likely not due to technicalities of canon law but because the bishop permits it.”

I aplogise my comment below was in error. You’re good to go on your meats after 4pm today.


The Last Judgment, Stefan Lochner, c. AD 1435

Pope Adrian IV (c. AD 1100 – 1159)

[#14 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of December 2 – 8]



HIS week, on December 4, the anniversary of his election as Pope, we remember Pope Adrian IV. Pope Adrian IV is the only Briton ever elected Pope.

Pope Adrian IV was born Nicholas Breakspear, son of Robert Breakspear, in Abbotts Langley, England. Robert later became a monk at St. Albans. Nicholas was refused admission to his local monastery, so he traveled to France and became a canon regular at St. Rufus monastery near Arles. He eventually became prior, then abbot in 1145. Continue reading

St. Edmund Campion, Martyr (AD 1540 – 1581)

[#13 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of November 25 – December 1]



HIS week, on December 1, the day of his martyrdom, we celebrate St. Edmund Campion. St. Edmund Campion was the son of a Catholic bookseller whose family converted to Anglicanism. He attended Oxford University. Queen Elizabeth I offered to make him a deacon in the Church of England, but he refused, fled to the Continent, and later converted and joined the Jesuits. He was ordained in 1578.

He worked for a few years in Bohemia before returning to London as part of a Jesuit mission, disguised as a jewel merchant. In London, he worked with his fellow Jesuit St. Nicholas Owen. Continue reading