Being Catholic
An inspiration to us not sit on our laurels! From the local converts in the Anglican Use.

Our First Year

OUR first year as a canonical mission parish (quasi-parish) of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is upon us on July 3. Happy anniversary to many of you who were with us that day last last year on July 3, 2012! That was the day that when not only was I ordained to the priesthood, but twelve people became Catholics to unite with the fifteen other former Anglicans who had already become Catholic to form Blessed John's. Now we are almost fifty people! At the same service, thirty-five former Anglicans from Oceanside - along with their former Anglican priest - were also received into the Church. As of last week (June 26), they too have become a mission congregation of the Ordinariate upon Fr. George Ortiz-Guzman's ordination to the priesthood, as St. Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Church!

We have spent a wonderful year worshipping in St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Santa Ana, including having our first Advent Lessons and Carols, several Confirmations, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, a visit from Prof. Hans-Juergen Feulner, who gave us a brief talk on the development of the Anglican Use liturgy, the first visit of our Ordinary, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, and the first visit from the Bishop of Orange. Several people have joined in on Saturdays from time to time helping with Loaves & Fishes, as well as joining in with St. Joseph's on their Palm Sunday Blessing of the Streets, both of which we will continue to do with St. Joseph's. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the former Bishop of Orange, Tod Brown, the previous pastor of St. Joseph's, Fr. John Moneypenny, and the current pastor there, Fr. Ed Becker.

We are now worshipping in a former classroom within the old school of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fullerton. We started off in the St. Bernadette Room but will be steadily - it turns out - in the St. Luke Room. The pastor, Fr. Jim Ries, has graciously allowed us the opportunity to transform it into a chapel for our use which - while bumpy at first - will actually give us a chance to grow. Despite the fact that the room will used during the weekdays for other events going on in the life of St. Mary's, we will have greater flexibility of use. We now currently worship at 1:00pm on Sundays and can potentially hold another mass time earlier in the morning later on in the future as we grow. It is air conditioned, which will provide safety and comfort. The location is more convenient for the majority of our members who live in and around the north part of Orange County. We also have the ability to use their large parish hall - that can seat a couple hundred if need be - for very special events we have, in addition to permission to use outdoor space for the possibility of evening outside liturgies.

We are again planning on this year's Advent Lessons & Carols - again at St. Joseph's. Bishop Vann has already requested to attend! We have our first Theology on Tap event scheduled in September. Also, we have started our monthly home Groups, where we are going through the Gospel of John every third Wednesday, linking up homes via web video. Continually, there are Evangelium courses going preparing potential new Catholics to join the Church. Finally, we have a quarterly ecumenical Evensong in the works between Bl. John's and other Anglican and Christian communities (more on this later); evangelistic initiatives - through the Ask a Catholic format and others - are still in the works as well.

Our first Pastoral Council has been formed and the Finance Council will be formed shortly.

Looking back on the grace that God has given us, the goodwill of our fellow diocesan Catholics, and the amount we have accomplished to fulfill the vision of Pope Benedict XVI in Anglicanorum Coetibus in our small way locally, it is astounding to reflect on! It is appropriate that July 9, the feast of Our Lady of Atonement, is so close to our anniversary each year, as it is the Mother of God - particularly under this title - that intercedes for us as Children of the Atonement.

Special thanks goes to Fr. Christopher Phillips of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, for his personal guidance and friendship to me. Without his own witness, fraternal care, friendship, fatherly guidance, and spiritual direction, Blessed John's would not exist. I should also mention Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem, Prior of St. Michael's Abbey in that same breath, in addition to Fr. Victor Szczureck, headmaster of St. Michael's Preparatory School, where I teach history. I need to repeatedly thank Msgr. William Stetson, former Secretary of the Pastoral Provision and current assistant to Archbishop Gomez in Los Angeles, for his friendship and care in receiving me into the Church and assisting with my ordination process. Father Al Baca, the Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese of Orange, as our friend and guide locally, was also invaluable. Father David Baumann, retired Rector of Blessed Sacrament Episcopal Church in Placentia, who not only allowed us use of his church to start in during our time of formation, but who also assisted in our worship was very gracious. And of course, finally, I thank Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, our Ordinary, who approved my ordination and our establishment as a canonical Catholic mission parish - and who granted us permission to use the title, Blessed John Henry Newman Catholic Church. Without all of these people - and countless others - we would not exist. Thank you!

May the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman, Our Lady of Atonement, and all the saints be with us and remain with us always.

Yours through Mary to Christ,
Fr. Andrew Bartus

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