Monday, September 15, 2008

Anglicans told fulfillment of faith is in Catholic Church

By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor

Kevin Kelly/Key photo
Father Ernie Davis proclaims the Gospel during a Sept. 7 Liturgy of the Word service that was celebrated according to the Anglican rite.
KANSAS CITY - Certainly they disagree with the Anglican Church on a variety of issues.

But many among the two dozen or so Anglicans who are seeking communion with the Roman Catholic Church said they aren't doing so out of spite or anger. They are looking for a spiritual home.

And in return, they promise to add to the rich tapestry of prayer and worship that is the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

"It's the only place we can go," said Ed Courtway, a member of St. James Anglican Church, where many of the Anglicans belong who began study in the Catholic faith Sept. 7 at St. Therese Little Flower Parish.

"It's like a new beginning," Courtway said. "In fact, it isn't just like a new beginning. It is a new beginning."

John Miller's three daughters were educated at Holy Cross School in northeast Kansas City and St. Teresa's Academy. He is himself a math teacher at Holy Cross. For Miller, entering communion with the Catholic Church is like coming home.

"We always felt kind of separated," Miller said of himself and his daughters. "We wanted to be part of what was going on. We're excited about this."

One of Miller's daughters is Cristen Huntz, a former St. James member who was instrumental in establishing the new Society of Our Lady of Hope to offer support for Anglicans and Episcopalians who seek communion with the Catholic church.

Huntz had in-house back-up. Her husband, Jude, is director of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Parish in Leawood, and in charge of catechesis for all people seeking baptism or full communion at that parish.

The idea of the society took off when Cristen learned that Father Ernie Davis, administrator of St. Therese Little Flower Parish, was a former Episcopalian priest who was ordained into the Catholic priesthood in 2002.

Under the guidance of Jude Huntz and Father Davis, Society members began a "streamlined" version of RCIA that will lead to their full communion with the church in December.

"They already have a trinitarian understanding of God and a sacramental understanding of worship," Jude Huntz said. "Their process can be modified and streamlined."

Jude Huntz also said that the Anglicans who entered the process are longing to find a spiritual home, rather than running away from one.

"I think there has been an intense experience of something isn't right, so where is it right," he said. "They are moving to where it is right for positive reasons."

Jude Huntz also stressed that although the process has begun, the Society of Our Lady of Hope remains open to any Anglican or Episcopalian who feels call to communion in the Catholic Church.

In his presentation to open the catechetical education, Father Davis told the congregation that also included about a dozen St. Therese Little Flower parishioners who stayed after Sunday Mass to accompany the candidates on their first step, that he regrets not one single moment of time he spent both as an Episcopalian and as an Episcopalian priest.

In fact, he said, it was the roots of faith that were planted there that led him to the Catholic faith.

"Becoming a Catholic is the logical outcome of my Anglican roots," Father Davis said.

Father Davis noted that Anglican prayer and liturgy is filled with prayers for the Catholic Church, but devoid of prayer for the Anglican Church. This is because Anglicans believe that they are "fully Catholic outside the faith and order of the Roman Catholic Church."

But Father Davis noted that any principle held by the Anglican Communion can be changed by majority vote at any national council or convention. There is, he said, no single worldwide authority.

"Is it possible to imagine that the unity and content of the faith could be maintained without compromise or surrender without a magisterium, the pope, the bishops and the entire Catholic faithful around the world?" he asked. "Is it possible to imagine that the faith could be maintained without compromise or surrender by a church whose highest authority is a triennial convention?"

Father Davis said that when he and his family realized that they weren't Catholic, he was left with the choice either to wait for the healing of the division between the Anglican tradition and the Roman Catholic Church, or to consider the Catholic Church's special "pastoral provision" that welcomes Anglicans into full communion.

"The pastoral provision is a most gracious and humble welcome to Episcopalians and Anglicans to return to unity with the Catholic Church as individuals, groups and parishes," he said.

When this group enters full communion, St. Therese Little Flower will offer a Sunday Mass in union with Rome, but under Anglican rites permitted by the church, he said.

"There is no requirement to renounce past identity or ministry," Father Davis said. "It is an invitation to bring important aspects of Anglican identity and ethos into the Catholic Church, an invitation to put into practice what the Anglican Church believes about the Catholic Church in her prayers, her ordinations and her calls for unity."

Father Davis noted that the Liturgy of the Word service they were celebrating under Anglican rites that day was "a witness that the fulfillment of Anglicanism can be found in embracing the fullness of the Catholic faith in the Catholic Church."

"Becoming a Catholic is simply the logical outcome of my Anglican roots," Father Davis said. "I invite you to consider whether it might be the logical outcome and fulfillment of your faith roots also."

Information about Our Lady of Hope Society can be found online at



Father Davis may be reached by contacting St. Therese Little Flower Parish at (816) 444-5406.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Becoming a Catholic is the logical outcome of my Anglican roots," Father Davis said.

Hooray! And welcome Home!!!