The Franciscan Connection to the Ordinariate

As Minister of the Fraternity of St. Angela Merici, here in Oshawa, I may be the only Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use Secular Franciscan in our region. My fraternity has been most supportive of the endeavours of the Oshawa Sodality for the past three years. Mr. James Tilley, former ACCC priest and, hopefully, a candidate for ordination in the Catholic Church, has also maintained an association with us over the past few years. This has included attending and taking part in our yearly Transitus Service and attending our Days of Reflection, on occasion.

It is my hope to bring the Franciscan Secular experience into the Ordinariate and, perhaps, work toward the development of a distinctive Anglican Use Fraternity or, perhaps, something modelled on the Anglican Third Order Society of St. Francis. My Regional Minister has also been most supportive of this concept.This could be a considerable way down the road in that our primary focus must now be on the Sodality entering the Ordinariate and, hopefully, the ordination of our former clergymen.

In any case, the Sodality of the Good Shepherd can be assured of the continuing prayerful support of the Fraternity of St. Angela Merici in the coming days.

I have provided the following link to our blog, should anyone wish to learn more about us.

Pax et bonum

Paul Nicholls ofs




The Batman Massacre and the Art Gallery of Your Soul

Dr Taylor Marshall writes on the shooting last night at the Century Movie Theater in Aurora, Denver, Colorado, where a gunman walked into a the premier of Batman movie, and opened fire on the moviegoers. What he writes is poignant:

Our prayers and condolences extend to all who were murdered, injured, or who lost loved ones and friends last night in the Colorado massacre during the screening of the latest Batman movie. 

I’m sure that many editorials will spill out about the levels of violence in the media. There will also be articles crying for gun control. I’d like to talk instead about the purpose of art. Film makers claim to be making art. This also allows us to examine film from the point of view of philosophy.

Three years ago, I wrote a post entitled: Is it fun to watch people die? or “On Being an Inglorious Bastard”. The post examined whether films like Inglorious Badards with their gratuitous violence and sadism were good shows to watch. I still haven’t seen the movie (I’ve never seen a Quentin Tarantino film).

That post three years ago asked the question: Why is America so obsessed with death? We’ll pay money to watch two hours of slaughter. And the Batman movies are even darker than ever. Clowns shooting each other in the head? The Joker mutilating people? This isn’t good for us! This is not good art. It is ugly. It mutilates the soul so that we cannot think rightly. Do you want to think rightly and clearly – then remove the distorted input. Bad art effects how see other human persons. We should live by the words of Saint Irenaeus about glory:

Gloria Dei vivens homo.

“Man fully alive is the glory of God.”

 Good art is about man most fully alive in God.

Art produces images in the soul. Your soul is capable of being an art gallery. What kind of art do you hang there in your private gallery. The art gallery of your soul can be beautiful or it can be gruesome and pornographic.

Take a moment and examine the art gallery of your soul: Is it pure? Is it beautiful? Is it redemptive? Does it draw you close to Christ? Would others find it beautiful and inspiring.

If can choose, do not let evil images enter your soul. It’s dangerous. And please don’t let your children see them. There was a six year old and a nine year old at the midnight showing of Dark Knight in which those people were murdered, for crying out loud! What were children doing there in such a violent and gruesome movie?

The man who killed so many in the movie theatre during the Batman movie was allegedly dressed like the bad guy in the movie. This young man’s mind was, no doubt, filled with evil images. He even dressed himself up as an evil image. His soul was a gallery of terror. That is how he saw the world and he eventually transformed that fantasy world into reality.

You don’t have a to be a Philosophy major to realize that the watching the violent deaths of people (even if it is cinematic) is not good for the human soul.

So fill your soul with something beautiful. Watch a sunset. Hold a baby. Enjoy a nice meal with your family. Listen to some Gregorian chant. Decorate the art gallery of your soul with a beautiful collection. As Saint Paul commanded us:

“For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8, D-R)

If you decorate your soul with such art, it will inspire you and others to great things.

Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Bishop James Conley of the Archdiocese have released a joint statement on the shooting which can be read here.

The alleged shooter is James Eagan Holmes, a 24 year old PhD student in Neuroscience.


Maronite Archbishop of Damascus: It is an Apocalypse, we Await the Resurrection

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) – “One lives an apocalypse in Damascus, and we hope with all our heart, mind and strength, that resurrection may soon arrive”: is what is said in a message sent to Fides Agency by His Exc. Mgr. Samir Nassar, Maronite Archbishop of Damascus.

In the dramatic testimony sent to Fides, the Archbishop said: “Since Tuesday fighting has been raging in Damascus with heavy weapons, tanks and helicopters, in a city full of civilians. The destruction is enormous. What an ordeal!

The clashes are taking place in the streets and moving from one district to another. I cannot sleep for fear and for the noise of bombs and gunfire. The temperature is above 40 ° and often there are power outages. There is insufficient supply in many areas, we are short of bread, vegetables, cooking gas and fuel for the furnaces. The population is terrified and does not know where to take shelter. The roads to Jordan, Iraq, to Aleppo and the north area of Homs are closed. You see a long snake of people fleeing on the road to Lebanon: an exodus that occurs in the general panic.” Turning to the displaced of Damascus, the Archbishop says: “I hope you find a home, remembering that in the past, the Syrians welcomed the Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqis refugees.”

Mgr. Nassar continues: “the few faithful who had the courage to come to Mass lit many candles at the tomb of the Blessed Martyrs of Damascus. They exchanged greetings and tears, in fear of seeing each other for the last time, before returning home between gunfire and explosions.” The violence that has torn the other cities of Syria had been spared in Damascus: “Now it is our turn to suffer and die. We have just built a shelter under the stairs, to escape the bombs and the cellars of the parish have been cleared up. It is an apocalypse: we hope that resurrection arrives soon, after much suffering.”




Sister Mary Joseph on the Ordinariate, and More…

The interview of Sister Mary Joseph over at Ascent of Carmel, speaks powerfully. Here are some extracts:

Sister Mary Joseph is someone I am proud to call a friend. Having just come into the Church through the Anglican Ordinariate, I really feel that she is one of those hidden pillars holding up the Church.

Years ago, as an anti-Christian, I hated religion and Catholicism in particular so much that I remember seeing her one day and sneering at her audibly. I don’t know if she even noticed, but for years I carried it in my heart. Not only am I now truly humbled to be able to know her, but now, I am proud to present the following interview with this remarkable woman. The following is truly an opening of the windows and letting in a little fresh air of hope – enjoy.

1. Tell me a little about yourself, your conversion to Catholicism, and the Anglican Ordinariate.

My background is Anglican. Both my grandfathers were deeply religious men, one was an Anglican priest, he died when I was 9 yrs, and the other wanted to be an Anglican priest but was unable because he was profoundly deaf, he died before I was 2 yrs. I do believe their prayers have helped me in my own Christian pilgrimage. My father lost his faith during the war and was for many years very opposed to my vocation as a nun. It was only during his last years he became at first reconciled and then supportive of my vocation. Through my mother we went to church every week (and Sunday School for my siblings and me) as a family but that was the extent of our Christian education, no prayers of any kind at home. And yet, my earliest memory is when I was 2 1/2 years praying on my own. And when I was nine talking to my father and realising he didn’t believe in God and feeling very upset that I would not see him in Heaven.

When I was 11 yrs we moved to New Zealand and family church going stopped. I found the nearest Anglican church and started attending on my own. When I was 13 years I found the Catholic church in our small town and began to go there after school to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Soon after I felt a call to the Religious Life. Somehow I acquired a manual on the Catholic faith put out by the Catholic Truth Society. I read and reread it gradually realising this was for me the whole truth. Over the years there was a continual pull to the Catholic Church but also a longing for unity between the Catholic and Anglican church. So I prayed for that unity and stayed in the Anglican church, though very much the Anglo-Catholic end of the Anglican Church. When I was 21 years I moved to England and still the pull to the Catholic Church., and still the prayer for unity. I entered the Religious Life and in time took my vows, at the same time feeling discouraged at what was happening in the Anglican church and the widening gulf between the Catholic and Anglican Church.

When I came to Canada at the end of 2000 I was dismayed to find an even more liberal atmosphere within the Anglican Church. Eventually I found it no longer possible to stay in the Anglican Communion. I was introduced to the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) and was very attracted to its mandate for unity with the Catholic Church. I was required to assent to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which I was happy to do. I was very excited about the possibility of union with Rome and knew that some of the Bishops of the ACCC had traveled to Rome to present the request of the ACCC for this unity. The answer came in November 2009 with the ” Apostolic Constitution of Pope Benedict VI that establishes Personal Ordinariates for those of Anglican heritage entering into full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining distinctive elements of their theological, spiritual and liturgical patrimony”.( taken from the web page of the Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman, On January 1st the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter was established for North America. Sadly some in our ACCC parish decided they did not want to take this step. If was hard to leave the church building, it was much much harder to leave many of our fellow parishioners behind, but we did and our small group kept the faith, formed into the Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman and was received into the Catholic Church on April 15th after the appropriate preparation. Our liturgy is Anglican Use which while being fully Catholic maintains elements of our Anglican patrimony.

2. What is your prayer life like?

As a Religious I pray the Divine Office…

There is much more here, including some spiritual advice, and:

7. What was it like to be received into the Catholic Church from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada?

The desire for unity with Rome was what drew me into the ACCC. Of course I also loved the traditional liturgy and the Anglo- Catholic style of worship but the possibility of unity with Rome was the draw, this I had been praying for so many years. And then to be offered that unity while at the same time being given the opportunity of maintaining elements of our Anglican patrimony, that is such a generous and gracious gift of the Holy Father. So in answer to your question – it was pure joy, the fulfillment of so many years prayer going right back to when Iwas a teenager, I have come home and that is the best thing in the world!