Back in the days when Anglicanorum Coetibus had been released but none of the Ordinariates had yet been set up, I did some internet research and noticed that the Episcopal/Anglican parishes that might come into the Ordinariate tended to describe themselves in similar ways online. The Muse then pushed a button and the following parody flowed from my fingertips.
Welcome to St Thomas of Canterbury Anglicatholic Church, where we’re formal, friendly, and faithful both to the Bishop of Rome and the Anglican tradition of worship.
On an average Sunday here at STCAC, the worshiper will find a great number of services to satisfy both his canonical obligation and Christian duty to worship God in the beauty of his holiness, decently and in order, at both the Divine Office and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. For those who prefer to observe the traditional Eucharistic fast from midnight or who may need to work later in the day, we offer two low Masses, the first according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at 5:30 AM and the other according to Sarum Use at 6:15 AM. While we have obtained permission from the Sacred Congregation in Rome for the lessons at these services to be read in the vernacular, such permission is superfluous for they are muttered so silently that no one can hear them. For those who prefer sung services, Matins or Morning Prayer begins promptly at 8:30 followed by the Great Litany in Advent, Septuagesima, Lent, and on other days of fasting or abstinence. At Matins and Lauds we typically follow Sarum Use translated into the hieratic style of the Prayer Book by the Reverend Palmer, but modified in accordance with Pope St. Pius X’s 1911 reforms of the weekly psalter. At High Mass which follows, we typically celebrate according to Sarum Use enriched with certain beloved prayers from the Prayer Book tradition, including the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church (always changing indifferently to impartially), the Comfortable Words, the Confession, the Absolution, and the Peace, all immediately after the Sermon, as well as Archbishop Cranmer’s Post-Communion. In times of penitence, the celebrant uses the Roman Canon in silence, whilst on other days he says a modified Prayer Book Canon, adding prayers for the Pope, the Sovereign, the Bishop, and the dead, as well as an elaborate and explicit epiclesis. We likewise typically follow the Roman colour scheme at these services, with the addition of blue vestments for feasts of Our Lady, yellow for feasts of Confessors, and ashen grey for Passiontide. High Mass is always followed by the chanting of the Angelus as well as prayers for the ascension of the House of Wittelsbach to the throne of St. Edward.
On most Sundays and Holy Days of the year, we reassemble as a community of faith for an organ recital at 4:45 PM followed by sung Evening Prayer or Vespers at 5:15 PM. This service usually follows that prescribed by the 1662 Prayer Book with an added first versicle for the Supreme Pontiff: God bless the Pope: And let not the Gates of Hell prevail against him. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament usually follows. On those days when we add a solemn Compline after Benediction, the Nunc Dimittis at Evening Prayer is replaced either by the Phos Hilarion or the New Testament Canticle of the 1975 Liturgia Horarum taken from the Authorized Version. The clergy who assist in choir at our evening services always wear cassock, gown, tippet, bands, and catercap, in accordance with the tradition of the Anglican patrimony.
In addition to our weekly cycle of liturgies, our parish also enjoys a rich devotional life. On Wednesdays at noon, please join us for public recitation of the rosary. On Fridays throughout the year and all ferial days of Lent, we pray the Stations of the Cross at 3 PM followed by Evensong. On Fridays in Lent, thereafter follows a soup supper and book study. Finally, on Saturday mornings after Mass, our local chapter of the Archconfraternity prays a perpetual novena to both St. Philomena and St. Charles, King and Martyr. Because we are Christians in full communion with the See of Rome, Bible study is officially discouraged but not forbidden.
Childcare is available for all children under the age of five at the principle services each Sunday and major Holy Day. Those adults who feel called to volunteer in the nursery are encouraged to join our local chapter of the Confraternity of St. Nicholas of Myra, patron of children, harlots, and apothecaries.
Because STCAC is a growing community welcoming of all people, we invite you to join us as we work together to build God’s Kingdom on earth. With your help, we hope in time to have more registered laity than clergy, staff, and paid choir members combined.