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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ordinariate Conference in Kansas City

"Becoming One" - A Conference Celebrating the Ordinariate

February 25th and 26th, 2011
To Register, go to, look for Quicklinks, and then Becoming One Conference

A two-day conference to explore the "beauty of holiness" for Catholics from the Anglican and Episcopalian traditions. Beginning with Evensong on Friday, February 25, and concluding with Noonday Prayer and a Blessing, the conference offers potential and promise through the Ordinariate. (Schedule below). The conference is headquartered at St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church, at 5814 Euclid Avenue, in Kansas City, Missouri (641030). For a $25.00 registration fee, attendees receive meals for Friday evening and Saturday. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Sheraton Suites Country Club Plaza. To register, visit the link below. The hotel is located at 770 West 47 Street, in Kansas City, Missouri 64112. Guests may call (816) 931-4400. Presenters include: Anglican Bishop David Moyer, of Good Shepherd - Rosemont, in Philadelphia; Father Christopher Phillips, of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first "Anglican Use" parish in the Catholic Church; and Father Ernie Davis, pastor of St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church, in Kansas City. Schedule - Friday, February 25
4: 30 – 5:45 p.m. - Reception for Clergy and Spouses
6:00 p.m. - Evensong – St. Therese Church
6:30 p.m. - Dinner – St. Therese Church Hall
7:00 p.m. - Keynote Address: Bishop David Moyer,followed by Compline: St.Therese Church Schedule for Saturday, February 26
8:00 a.m. - Morning Prayer – St. Therese Church Hall
8:30 – 10:30 a.m. - Presentations and Discussion: The Ordinariate: How did we get here? What is its potential?,
led by Father Christopher Phillips, Bishop David Moyer, Father Ernie Davis
11:00 a.m. - Mass - St. Therese Church, with Homily by Father Christopher Phillips
12:30 p.m. - Lunch and Remarks by Bishop Robert Finn
Conclude - Noonday Prayers and Blessing of travelers

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A new font for St. Therese

Perhaps the “Anglican patrimony” might in some cases mean an appreciation for architecture. It helped to grow up in a church whose builders had an eye for beauty. Perhaps I just assumed that all churches ought to be beautiful. That does not mean that churches don’t need to be practical, efficient and serve the liturgy as well, and it certainly does not mean that all church buildings need to affect a “gothic” style of architecture. At St. Michael’s Episcopal in Independence we were able to build an attractive multi-purpose space as a step toward a future church. I was pleased to have played a role in its design.

When I walked into St. Therese Catholic Church for the first time, I was struck by its beauty, also. The acoustics are crisp and the windows are bright. It is a handsome building. Some renovations were done a couple of decades ago it seems that they stopped before they were completed. The font was removed from the old baptistery so that baptisms could be celebrated at Mass on Sundays, but a new baptistery was never provided. The confessionals were removed and never replaced. Perhaps it is because the parish was without a priest for a good many years, or perhaps it is simply because of my Anglican heritage, I miss them.

A couple of years ago a font appeared at The Ecclesiologist. It was apparently from the same vintage as St. Therese, even of the same marble. It was large, dignified, simple, and strong. It looked like it could have been made for St. Therese. I kept going back to look at it, but had so many irons in the fire I didn’t raise the issue. Finally another church bought it. Then, last month, it reappeared! I thought about it. Was this a gift from God? I prayed, and it seemed like God said, “Use your gifts.” So I inquired about it, and sent pictures to the worship committee, the pastoral council, the administration committee and ran the pictures in the bulletin. Some were enthusiastic right away. Some advised against it. But the donations started to come in. Then the owner told me, “If you want it, you better get it right away because two other churches are after it.” So I did. After less than a week, we now have more than half the needed money in hand.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"What child is this? What mother is this?

What Child is this? What Mother is this?

I grew up in an Episcopal parish. In some ways we prided ourselves at being catholic, or maybe even a little bit better. We liked to say that the English reformation simply purified the Catholic Church in England, and that we kept everything that was authentically catholic. We could point out things about our church building, about our liturgy, and about our faith that made us catholic. You might think that we considered Mary to be a corruption, because her image was absent from the church, devotions and prayers were absent from the liturgy, and all of her days on the church calendar were absent – except one.

The Catholic Church’s devotion to Mary developed because of a long meditation on Jesus, her son. Convinced that Christ born in Bethlehem is already Son of God as we sing at Christmas in “O Come all Ye Faithful” – “God from God, Light from Light Eternal, Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb; Only begotten, Son of God the Father, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”

If Christ is worthy of our adoration as God, then how did he come to dwell among us as a person? How powerful was it when Mary told Gabriel, “Let it be to me according to your word.” How full of grace and sinless did she have to be to carry God the Son of God in her womb and give birth to him? How full of love did she have to be to raise, with Joseph, a child, a teenager, a young adult like Jesus? How much did she understand him when she told the people at the wedding, “Do whatever he tells you.” How much according to God’s plan was it that the same Holy Spirit that overshadowed her so that Christ could be conceived in her, was the Holy Spirit that fell upon her and the disciples at Pentecost, giving birth to the Church?

It does seem to be true that to truly know Christ is to know his mother, and to tuly know his mother is to know Christ. May we know them and love them better and better.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time in the desert

In another blog someone was complaining that Anglican and Episcopalian congregations along with their priests and people may spend some time during which they will be asked not to celebrate or receive the sacraments. While I am grateful that the timeline establishing the Ordinariate in England and Wales provides for a speedy transition, a period of time that allows for a bit of a journey through the desert is a good thing. Becoming a Catholic parish requires more than hiring a sign-painter to fix the sign out front. And it means more than just learning how to celebrate the liturgy in a slightly different fashion. Becoming a Catholic is a change more at the level of being than of doing, and it is a good think to let that change of identity take deep root. I don't mean to say that it should necessarily be a Lenten time of fasting and repentance, but more like Advent, a time of heartfelt longing and hope-filled prayer. It does not have to be comfortable - a bit of discomfort can be very powerful. But let it be a time focused on the soon-to-come joyful fulfillment of the promise.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ordinariate Conference in Kansas City

I was daydreaming at a funeral Mass today as I was concelebrating. The homilist was reflecting on how the woman had trusted Christ who had told her, “I am the way.”

I was imagining the Mass we will celebrate at our planned “Becoming One” conference. Among the clergy will be our diocesan bishop and Catholic priests, an Anglican bishop and Anglican priests, Episcopalian priests – some of whom may be women, Catholic laity who used to be Anglican and Episcopal priests, spouses of priests, and probably some protestant ministers as well. Some of us will have been Catholic since baptism, some will have come by various paths into the Catholic Church, some will have already determined to enter the Catholic Church through the path of the Ordinariate; some will be pondering whether to embark along the path; some will have determined never to step foot on that particular path. Even though there will be only a Catholic priest at the altar, in some way we will all be standing together, and except for those who may know some of us personally, it will be hard to tell who belongs to what group, which path. What a mystery!

My prayer and hope for the conference is that we can celebrate Christ’s call that we all may be one, and that we find that oneness in Christ’s Holy Catholic Church, and that the Ordinariate may reach its full potential as a path for many.

Ordinariate Conference in Kansas City

“Becoming One” in Kansas City

Friday evening February 25 and Saturday morning, February 26.

Come celebrate the Ordinariate for Catholics from Anglican and Episcopalian traditions. Come learn about the potential and promise of the Ordinariate.

Anglican Bishop David Moyer of Good Shepherd – Rosemont, a historic Anglo-Catholic parish in Philadelphia, and Fr. Christopher Phillips of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church- the first “Anglican Use” parish in the Catholic Church - will make keynote presentations. “Becoming One” in Kansas City will be hosted by St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church 5814 Euclid Avenue, Kansas City MO 64130. For registration information, email edavis(at)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Avila University Organ Installation

We begin assembling the Avila University Organ at St. Therese, Saturday, December 3. Drop by and have a look or lend a hand. Mass: 8:00; Unload food truck for Christmas Baskets: 8:30; Organ Assembly: 9:30 - ??. St. Therese Little Flower, 5814 Euclid Ave, KCMO.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Becoming One" in Kansas City

Fr. Christopher Phillips of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, TX and Bishop David Moyer of Church of the Good Shepherd (TAC), Rosemont PA, will be visiting Kansas City in early 2011. This will be an opportunity for Catholics, Anglicans and Episcopalians to learn about, celebrate, and explore the potential of the Ordinariate being established in the Catholic Church. The Ordinariate is Pope Benedict XVI's gracious response to groups of Anglicans who have petitioned for a way to reconcile with the Catholic Church and maintain some aspects of their Anglican heritage. The conference will be sponsored by Our Lady of Hope Society at St. Therese Catholic Church in Kansas City and will be a local version of the recent conference at Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio. Look for further information in the next few days.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Our Lady of Hope/St. Therese Parish

We got into the Anglican Use ministry here at St. Therese, not because we planned it, but because an opportunity presented itself. After a couple of years of experience, it appears that it has advantages and disadvantages. For the Anglicans and Episcopalians who came to us, we have been able to offer the welcome, experience, and security of being members of a Catholic parish. Granted, St. Therese is not your typical parish with a thousand or more families, so there are programs and ministries that are not available here that could be found somewhere else. But St. Therese has been able to offer the experience of being part of a larger whole, and the experience of being in a much larger parish than most Episcopalians are used to, but much smaller, welcoming and personal than most Catholic parishes. St. Therese has been able of offer opportunities for ministry - and our Anglican Use community has jumped right in - serving on the Pastoral Council, joining Knights of Columbus, volunteering with the food pantry and Christmas basket programs, participating in our neighborhood needs assessment - and on and on.

Those who might want to replicate this as a model, if it can be replicated within the overlapping structures of Ordinariate and Diocese, should know there are disadvantages, too. As a parish and as Our Lady of Hope Society, we probably suffer most from cultural and identity conflicts. Having a clear identity is a big help in doing mission and being part of a parish with an established identity means that the Anglican Use community is part of a larger whole rather than having its own clear identity. In addition, converts are enthusiastic about being Catholic, and tend to identify Catholicism with a clear set of beliefs. Episcopalians and Anglicans also tend to identify Anglo-Catholicism with a way of doing liturgy correctly. Many of our Catholic members may identify more strongly with the parish than they do with the Catholic Church and with the Catholic faith in the Catechism. Many of our members have been wounded by the Church and have found a refuge here.

As a parish, we may tolerate and even may enjoy the diversity of liturgies within the parish. Some question why "they" do the things they do, but are willing to make room for it. But if we had to make to clear choices about what we believe in order to clarify the mission of the parish and our strategies for putting our mission into practice, I think we'd have difficulty.

St. Therese is an experience of Catholicism.

Friday, November 19, 2010

St. Therese organ another step closer to completion

We got a great deal on an Austin console and it was delivered to us back in the summer. It is now refurbished and ready for action. Our team of volunteers has run the cables to the balcony where the organ donated by Avila University will be installed, and to the old choir loft where the existing pipework and additional vintage pipes will be installed. We are waiting on the delivery of the steel framework for the windchests and pipes for the balcony, and as soon as it is erected, the next stage of installation will begin. I am told the Avila University Organ will be playable by Christmas, giving our organist, Dr. Bruce Prince-Joseph an expanded instrument for his mighty talents.

His Gregorian Chant schola will begin practice soon, enabling us to offer Evensong and Benediction after the first of the year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Greetings from the Anglican Ordinariate in Kansas City

Thirty-two of us completed our pilgrimage in Turkey as we followed the footsteps of St. Paul, explored the seven churches of Revelation, and visited the sites of the ecumenical councils in Nicea. We craned our necks to see the mosaics and frescoes in the Church of Our Savior in Chora, and tried to grasp the vigor of the Christian empire that built the Hagia Sophia. We celebrated Mass in an abandoned rock church in Cappadocia, at St. Paul's Church in Tarsus, St. Polycarp's Church in Smyrna, at St. Anthony's Church in Istanbul and somewhat furtively in hotel nightclubs and meeting rooms. Even though I am jet-lagged, it is time to get back to work. I am sorry to be missing the Ordinariate meeting in San Antonio.

One of the congregations that will make up the Ordinariate is up and running here in Kansas City. Here at St. Therese Little Flower our Anglican Use Mass congregation is made of Catholics who are former Anglicans, Episcopalians and other Catholics who resonate to the Anglican patrimony so valued by Pope Benedict XVI. We are committed to the Catholic Church and to the Ordinariate. But we will await the appointment of an Ordinary who can help us figure out how part of our St. Therese congregation can join the Ordinariate while the majority remain members of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. We trust that the structure of the Ordinariate will have enough flexibility to accommodate us.

We know that there are other Anglicans, Episcopalians and Catholics in the Kansas City area who are interested in helping to establish a congregation for the Ordinariate in Kansas City, and welcome all inquiries. Look for the addition of evening opportunities for Evensong and Benediction, Mass and just to get to know one another.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Paul, the Early Fathers, and the Seven Churches of Revelation

The results are are in and we're off to Turkey in November! We' have been able to make use of the size of the Educational Opportunities organization - the largest pilgrimage organization in the world - to get a great price. And we have been able to make use of the experience of Catholic and Orthodox guides to plan a great pilgrimage. We'll celebrate daily Mass appropriate to the holy sites we visit and make use of the Anglican Use as well as the Ordinary Form. If you may be interested, you can be in contact with Educational Opportunities directly or let me know and I will send you a brochure when they are available in a couple of weeks.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Ready for a pilgrimage?

Valerie and I are planning another pilgrimage in November 2010 through Educational Opportunities. The only question is, which trip? Prices are great in 2010 and will never be this low again. I traveled to Turkey way back in 1973 and would enjoy the opportunity to return and explore it more deeply. Valerie and I really enjoy the Holy Land. She has been to Jordan and I would enjoy being able to visit there for the first time. Choices. Choices.

We've narrowed our possibilities to two:

+ Turkey - 12 days Nov. 4 - 16, 2010 from $2098 with optional 2-day pre-extension to Cappadocia
and/or optional 2-day post-extension Nicaea and Istanbul


+ Israel - 10 days Nov. 15-25 from $2098 with 7-day optional post-extension to Jordan, Petra, etc.

So review the brochures and let us know this week which might interest you. Our goal is to have our own bus and guide with daily Mass in the holy sites. If Catholics from Anglican Use congregations and converts from Anglican and Episcopal backgrounds join us, we will use the Book of Divine Worship in addition to the Sacramentary. Educational Opportunities has made arrangements for previous tours. They have done an excellent job at an unbeatable price. We will not see these prices again, ever. We're not asking for a commitment at this point, just an idea of your preference if you decided to join us.

Fr. Ernie Davis
St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church
Kansas City, MO