The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today, the Feast of the Chair of St Peter, January 25th 2017. Begun in 1908 as the “Octave of Christian Unity”, and focused on prayer for church unity, the dates for the week were proposed by Father Paul Wattson, cofounder of the Graymoor Franciscan Friars. He conceived of the week beginning on the ancient Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (the Confession of Peter, the Protestant variant) on 18 January, and concluding with the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul on 25 January.
This year’s theme on the occasion of the 500th anniversary year of the beginnings of the Reformation, the theme: “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us” (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) has been chosen. The materials for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has two accents: reflection upon the main concerns of the churches marked by Martin Luther’s Reformation and secondly recognizing the pain of the subsequent deep divisions which afflicted the unity of the Church. In selecting this theme, it is viewed as an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation.
For 2017, it should be noted that this biblical text emphasizes that reconciliation is a gift from God, intended for the entire creation. “God was reconciling the world (kosmos) to God’s self in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (v.19). As a result of God´s action, those who have been reconciled in Christ are called in turn to proclaim this reconciliation in word and deed: “The love of Christ compels us”.
The 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity CBTI (Churches Together in Britain & Ireland) material is dedicated to the memories of the Revd Stephen Brown who passed away in February 2016 and the Revd Canon Gwynn ap Gwilym in July 2016 (with whom, Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey studied biblical Hebrew at Aberystwyth University). Both had served as dedicated members of the CTBI Writers Group for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity for many years, making enormous contributions through their creativity and colleagueship which will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
Archbishop Mathew who ensured the continuance of the Old Roman Catholic Church at the beginning of the 20C, understood that it was necessary for the unifying of Christ’s Church on the basis of the original tenets of the Christian Faith as it was once believed by all Christians everywhere, to have complete cooperation with Christians of the Eastern Churches. Thus he was able to affect in 1912 a union between our western Latin Church with those of the Byzantine East, namely the Apostolic Sees of Antioch and Alexandria. It has been the constant goal of the Old Roman Catholic Church to affect this unity with the See of Rome expressed in the following prayer composed by Archbishop Mathew. It is still a prayer of current Old Roman Catholic hierarchs to realise this intention for Our Lord Jesus Christ “ut unum sint” (Latin: ‘That they may be one’ cf John 17:21).
Archbishop Mathew’s Prayer for Christian Unity
Almighty and everlasting God, Whose only begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, has said, “Other sheep I have that are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd”; let Thy rich and abundant blessing rest upon the Old Roman Catholic Church, to the end that it may serve Thy purpose by gathering in the lost and straying sheep. Enlighten, sanctify, and quicken it by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, that suspicions and prejudices may be disarmed, and the other sheep being brought to hear and to know the voice of their true Shepherd thereby, all may be brought into full and perfect unity in the one fold of Thy Holy Catholic Church, under the wise and loving keeping of Thy Vicar, through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who with Thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen.
The Metropolitan of Europe’s Christmas message for 2016 is published ahead of the celebration of the commemoration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ this coming Sunday. In his message, Metropolitan Jerome OSJV, Archbishop of Selsey, reflected on the meaning of the Incarnation as a practical reality in the lives of those seeking to realise the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. His Grace referred to the many hundreds of volunteers who will be hosting and serving Christmas Day lunches “to the poor, the disadvantaged and the unwanted of society” expressing the significance of the Incarnation i.e. “the manifestation of God’s love in Christ Jesus” by their service “giving of their time and energy”.
Referring to a “host of cherubic volunteers” – a nod to the Cherubs Kitchen apostolate he founded in 2013 – Metropolitan Jerome made mention of his own efforts to provide hospitality to one hundred of the homeless of the city of Brighton & Hove on Christmas Day in conjunction with the Brighton Corps of the Salvation Army; His Grace will be the chef! Inspired by “The Hub” homeless drop-in with which he partnered The Brighton Oratory with the Salvation Army for over six years, the Cherubs Kitchen apostolate operates commercial franchise kitchens“not for profit” fundraising to support local homeless projects and provide NVQ catering apprenticeships and work experience/rehabilitation placements.
The central message of the broadcast however, emphasised the possible universal application of the meaning of Christmas, i.e. the Incarnation of God’s love in Christ, through following the command of Our Lord “to love one another” cf John 13:34-35. His Grace suggested that was the simplest way to interpret the meaning of Christmas and to “receive faith, be inspired by hope and by experience in the sharing of both, God’s love toward us and toward each other”. His Grace concluded the broadcast by imparting his apostolic blessing to all viewers.
The film was recorded in the main kitchen of the Cherub’s apostolate and the music composed by Kevin Macleod is titled “Everlasting Hope”.
Metropolitan William of Kentucky’s pastoral letter for Christmas to the clergy and faithful of North America.
DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST:
As we progress in this new Church year and this new calendar year we acknowledge that 2016 was a challenging year for Americans. A divisive election, violence throughout the world, and uncertainty made us reflect on our core values. Sometimes the problems of the world seem insurmountable. But we then remember that we are not of this world. In all things we must aspire towards sainthood and an eternity with God. This is not an easy path—it is a marathon and not a sprint. But we are comforted by the words of Saint Augustine “You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.”
Let us then reflect on the littleness of an infant. Our Lord became “incarnate by the Holy Spirit, of the Virgin Mary: and was made man” first in the form of an infant. How easy it is to love a God who came to us as something so fragile, sensitive, and most in need of care. Infants, like God, give us hope and deserve our love and devotion. Through our understanding of Our Lord’s infancy we can grow to understand His progression to manhood and eventual suffering on the Cross. As Our Lord grew, so does our faith and understanding of the complexities of our faith.
It is understandable, then, why so many pious devotions like the Infant of Prague, the Holy Infant of Atocha, Santo Niño de Cebu, etc. have grown among the faithful with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Christ Child helps us to see God, as Christ Jesus, as vulnerable like us and helps us understand His mission as man. I commend you to the Christ Child and hope He will bless you and your family abundantly now and always.
HE Metropolitan Jerome OSJV of Selsey issues a Pastoral Letter on the feast of St Pantaleon, Martyr in response to the murder by ISIS terrorists of Abbé Jacques Hamel, an 84 year old priest during Mass…
With great sadness we convey the news that His Grace, Archbishop Boniface Grosvold, fortified by the sacraments of Holy Mother Church, peacefully passed away in his sleep at 1:00 AM (6am BST) today July 21, 2016 in the ICU of University Hospital, London, Ontario. His Grace was attended by Monsignor George Hamilton-Roberts who administered to him the comfort and consolation of the sacrament of holy Unction and remained praying at the side of the archbishop as he continued his pilgrimage home to God Who is One. Archbishop Boniface was one of the few remaining third generation Old Roman Catholic bishops following those who had known the pioneers of our movement after Archbishop Mathew (memory eternal).
From the Old Roman Catholic Clerical Directory: Most Rev. Dr. Boniface Grosvold was born on 4 June 1942 in Chester, Nova Scotia. As a young man he moved to Ontario where he was employed as a church musician and where he discovered Old Roman Catholicism.
On 28 October 1969 (Feast of SS Simeon & Jude) he was tonsured and admitted to the minor order of cleric by Archbishop Nelson Dudley Hillyer of the Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church. He at that time took the religious name of “Boniface” and has been known by that name since. During successive Sundays in January of 1970 Bro. Boniface was admitted by +Hillyer to the minor orders of door keeper, reader, exorcist, and acolyte. On Easter Sunday (29 March) 1970, +Hillyer admitted Bro. Boniface to the sub-diaconate.
Feeling that his future was in another jurisdiction, Brother Boniface resigned in the summer of 1970 from the Ontario Old Roman Catholic Church and joined Holy Saviour Old Roman Catholic Parish of Niagara Falls, New York, and its bishop-elect Fr. William Mark Plested.
On 30 and 31 August 1970 respectively, Boniface was ordained a deacon and a priest by the retired Old Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, the Most Rev’d Earl Anglin Lawrence James (1901 to 1978). On 28 September 1970 Fr. Plested was consecrated bishop for the Old Roman Catholic community in Niagara Falls, NY by +James, and both he and the now Father Boniface based their work there.
On 19 January 1972 the work was legally organized by the incorporation in the Province of Ontario of the Old Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Ontario, which took in also the American Parish of Holy Saviour, which then served as the Pro-Cathedral.
On 20 July 1974, Fr. Boniface was consecrated the auxiliary bishop for the Old Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Ontario in Holy Saviour Old Roman Catholic Pro-Cathedral by the Old Roman Catholic Archbishop of New England, the Most Rev’d Edward Carleton Payne, assisted by Archbishop William Mark Plested of the ORCC Diocese of Ontario.
On 30 November 1974 Bishop Grosvold was enthroned as the second Bishop of the ORC Diocese of Niagara Falls, New York, and Ontario, in succession to Archbishop Plested. On September 11th. – 12th., 1976, he was elected Metropolitan-Archbishop and Primate.
Since October of 1997, the See of the Diocese, also known as the “Old Roman Catholic Church In Canada”, has been in London, ON Canada.
Archbishop Boniface’s legacy includes great strides ecumenically in Canada between the Old Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church in Canada and the Roman Catholic Church, the respective bishops of which locally in Ontario he had continually counted as both friends and colleagues. Successive Anglican bishops of London (ONT) had continually extended gracious hospitality to +Boniface both by inclusion at their important diocesan events and in the lending of churches for great ORC occasions, most notably Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church and the Collegiate Chapel of the University of Huron. Episcopal consecrations, often of an international character, celebrated by +Boniface were always supported by Anglican colleagues and usually accompanied musically by the choir of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, London (ONT). The Roman Catholic diocese too had been gracious in the lending of churches for ORC missions and liturgies, most notably the chapel of St Joseph’s hospital for many years, providing a home for the local ORC congregation until the Lady Chapel of Bishop Cronyn was generously provided by the Anglican diocese. With his guidance and interest, the Old Roman Catholic Church solidified its presence in Africa, South America, India, Europe as well as in North America and many of today’s ORC bishops are “Apostolic sons” of +Boniface.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Archbishop Boniface, for the bishops he fostered and the faithful they serve. Memory eternal. Requiescat in pace.
Please pray for the following priests as they continue their ministries in the Old Roman Catholic Church…
The Reverend Father George von ABEL (Brighton, UK), received and incardinated by Metropolitan Jerome (Lloyd) OSJV of the Province of Europe into the Metropolitanate of Selsey. Appointed and licensed as an assistant priest of the Brighton Oratory (South East Mission).
The Reverend Father Paul FORD (London, UK), received and incardinated by Metropolitan Jerome (Lloyd) OSJV of the Province of Europe into the Metropolitanate of Selsey. Appointed and licensed as an assistant priest of the Brighton Oratory (South East Mission) and Chaplain to Hertforshire Police Constabulary.
The Reverend Father Terrence MERRIFIELD (Southampton, UK), received and incardinated by Metropolitan Jerome (Lloyd) OSJV of the Province of Europe into the Metropolitanate of Selsey. Appointed and licensed as an assistant priest of the Brighton Oratory (South East Mission) and a Chantry Priest.
Lynmouth, UK: Between Sunday 18th October to Thursday 22nd October, clergy of the bishopric of Selsey joined their Ordinary, Metropolitan Jerome OSJV in Chapter. Accommodation was provided courtesy of Canon Emilio Tundidor-Suarez OSJV at The Rock House hotel and by gracious permission of the Anglican Bishop of Exeter, the daily round of liturgical Offices, private Masses and Conventual Solemn Mass took place in the parish church of St John the Baptist, Lynmouth. During the week, the clergy enjoyed addresses and facilitated discussions concerning the pastoral application of the priestly life by Fr Christopher Buckley CMP.
The Chapter enabled clergy from all over England to come together in prayer and in fellowship and provided the opportunity for both personal interviews with the Metropolitan as well as the more formal consultative process of a Chapter with His Grace. Resulting from the discussions of the formal Chapter itself, the Metropolitan acceded to a petition seeking permission to offer liturgically the Sarum Use for Mass and the development of closer working relationships in mission with other Christian denominations sympathetic to the faith and ethos of the Old Roman Catholic Church. A report was also received from the Chicago Synod courtesy of Metropolitan William and shared with the Chapter.
All who attended very much appreciated the opportunity to gather in such a beautiful location as the small seaside harbour village of Lynmouth and the comfortable surroundings of The Rock House hotel and the very great privilege of worshiping in St John’s church. A vote of thanks was made by Chapter for the facilitation and company of Fr Buckley, the hospitality of Canon Tundidor-Suarez and the generosity of the Bishop of Exeter and the people and parish of Lynmouth in the use of their church.
Returning to the north of England, Frs Charlesworth and Buckley with Metropolitan Jerome visited the shrine of Our Lady of Capel y Ffin courtesy of Fr Richard Williams of Haye-on-Wye and prayers of thanksgiving were offered there for the success of the Chapter and the safe journeying home of all Chapter attendants.
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