Anglican Patrimony Groups

Portrait of Pope Benedict XVI
Signing Anglicanorum Coetibus.

The "Anglican Patrimony" is the liturgical history, particular to Medieval England, that the Catholic Church and Anglicans have in common. It is upon this Patrimony that the Ordinariate Form (Divine Worship) was built. Divine Worship is the official liturgy of the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans.

The "Anglican Use of the Roman Rite" is now effectively and functionally suppressed (If indeed the term "suppressed" can even properly be used. It may be more accurate to say "obsolete."). It no longer exists. It was the prototype for Divine Worship, lasting 35 years (from 1980 to 2015). Divine Worship is now the official liturgy of the Ordinariates, known officially as "Divine Worship" and less officially as the "Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite." A full mass sample of Divine Worship can be viewed here...


Divine Worship consists of a Missal (mass liturgy) as well as a Breviary (daily office), though the revision of the Breviary is still awaiting final approval from Rome. If you would like to see what this revision looks like, you need only visit the Covert Prayer website: http://prayer.covert.org/ Many lay Catholics, both in the Ordinariates and outside them, are already using the Covert Prayer website as their guide to "Divine Worship: The Office," even though it's not official yet.

The Personal Ordinariates are special jurisdictions within the Catholic Church that apply specifically to certain parishes and persons, hence the name "personal." The idea here is to create a special diocesan-like structure that overlaps other dioceses, but only applies to certain persons who are attached to that Ordinariate. It's sort of like a Military Archdiocese that applies only to military chapels, chaplains and members of the armed services. Think of it this way. Imagine if you will a religious order, like the Benedictines, or the Franciscans, for example. There would be a special headquarters for that order, that have several monasteries under it. Well, the Ordinariate is like the religious order, and the parishes are the monasteries.

Three Ordinariates were created to overlap dioceses in certain geographical areas. These are (1) the United Kingdom, (2) Anglo-America which consists of the United States and Canada, and (3) Oceania which consists of Australia, New Zealand and even Japan. Within these Ordinariates can be found a number of parishes that celebrate the Anglican Patrimony of Divine Worship. The legal structure for creating these Ordinariates is an Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 entitled Anglicanorum Coetibus (which is Latin for "Groups of Anglicans"). It's pronounced like this: ANG-lick-an-OR-oom CHAY-tee-boos. Now these are the Ordinariates...
Now these Ordinariates were primarily designed for Anglicans who wish to convert to Catholicism, but retain those liturgical practices that are most familiar to them. However, this also applies somewhat to Methodists too. Any Roman Catholic, who was once connected to Anglicanism or Methodism, is automatically eligible for Ordinariate membership. Furthermore, anyone who converts to Catholicism (from anything) is automatically eligible, if he/she converts in an Ordinariate parish or community. Any Roman Catholic who has not yet received a sacrament of initiation (baptism, first communion, or confirmation) is eligible to become a member if he/she receives one of those sacraments in an Ordinariate parish or community. Finally, any Catholic with an immediate family member in the Ordinariate is also eligible for membership.

Membership in any one of the above Ordinariates may be requested by visiting the above websites and filling out the required application.

Ordinariate parishes and communities are not exclusive clubs just for certain kinds of Catholics. In fact, any Catholic may become a member of an Ordinariate parish or community, even if said Catholic is not eligible for Ordinariate membership. This is important to note, because Pope Benedict XVI said the Anglican Patrimony was a gift to the whole universal Church, not just members of the Ordinariate. This means that any Roman Catholic can meet the Sunday obligation by attending mass in an Ordinariate parish, and any Roman Catholic can join such a parish or community as a full member, and yet remain under the episcopal jurisdiction of the local diocesan bishop.

Yet there is more. While the Divine Worship mass can only be found in Ordinariate parishes and communities, there is the other half of the Anglican Patrimony -- The Office! As Pope Benedict XVI said, the Anglican Patrimony is a gift to the whole universal Church. The Divine Worship Office is part of the Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite. In other words, it's part of the Roman Rite. It's a third form of the Roman Rite, which means ANY LAY ROMAN CATHOLIC CAN CELEBRATE IT. That's right, any lay Roman Catholic can use the Divine Worship Office for Morning and Evening Prayer as an alternative to the regular Novus Ordo Office (Christian Prayer), or the older Tridentine Office (The Breviary). Because of this, many lay Roman Catholics, who have no previous connection to Anglicanism or Methodism, are now reciting the Divine Worship Office, currently proposed to Rome for approval, as shown on the Covert Prayer website: http://prayer.covert.org/ They're praying this office with their families, in their homes, all over the United Kingdom, Anglo-America and Oceania.

In addition to that, new groups are now forming, creating the foundation for a second wave of Ordinariate parishes and communities to sprout up in the future. We are particularly seeing this happen in Anglo-America. These consist of lay Catholics who have some kind of attachment to the Anglican Patrimony. This might be because they were formerly Anglicans or Methodists before converting to Catholicism. It might be because they have relatives who are Anglicans or Methodists. It might simply be because they are Anglophiles and love all things English! Whatever the reason, it's happening. Small groups of families are meeting in living rooms, libraries, office buildings, and sometimes even Catholic chapels, to recite and sing the Divine Worship Office.

The Anglicanorum Coetibus Society (ACS), formerly the "Anglican Use Society," serves to help such small groups organise and network together, particularly in Anglo-America for now, and may expand this to the United Kingdom and Oceania at some later date. The ACS provides scholarly publications, as well as a news blog, and will soon offer podcasts, for all things related to the Ordinariates and the Anglican Patrimony. However, it's crown service right now is the ACS Patrimonial Map. This is a map, primarily of Anglo-America, featuring not only the established Ordinariate parishes and communities, but also emerging "Anglican Patrimony Groups" or "Patrimonial Groups" that might someday become Ordinariate communities and parishes. Catholics (and converts) interested in becoming part of the Ordinariate can link up with such Patrimonial Groups when no Ordinariate parish or community is nearby. OR, if they're adventurous enough, and are willing to make the long-term commitment, they can start their own Patrimonial groups. The ACS will support them with a listing on the map, provided they follow the requirements. The requirements for placing a Patrimonial Group on the map, are listed on the map page itself...


Unlike the Ordinariates, literally ANYONE may be a member of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society. This is a lay apostolate, that serves the Ordinariates. So any Catholic can be a member of the Society and support its mission. The Society provides connectivity for those who are attached to the Anglican Patrimony, regardless if they were ever Anglicans or not. So it doesn't matter who you are, or what your background is. Membership in the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society is open to you.

The Society supports its members with the services mentioned above, and also provides occasional conferences, wherein ACS members can meet and mingle with one another. The main focus of the ACS, however, is networking Catholics attached to the Anglican Patrimony, letting them know they're not alone, and their part of a bigger family within the Catholic Church. The gist of it is this. Through the ACS, Roman Catholics who celebrate the Vatican-approved Anglican Patrimony outside established Ordinariate parishes, now have a voice and a network.

If you're interested in becoming a member of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society (ACS), simply go to the membership form on the website and sign up! However, if you're interested in starting a Patrimonial Group in your area, because there is currently nothing else around, just visit the ACS map and follow the instructions for listing.

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Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'CatholicInTheOzarks.com -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

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