Anglican Ordinariate Liturgy


I attended my first AO mass last night. It was absolutely wonderful. In many ways it was what the OF can be, as celebrated in very traditional parishes, but rarely is. Of course the texts and prayers are somewhat different from both the EF and OF, but the overall structure is still thoroughly Western / Latin. Some observations:

  1. The church had a rood screen! Gives it almost an Eastern feel (though obviously not as elaborate as the iconostasis of a Byzantine temple).
  2. The mass was advertised as a “low mass” but it was still partly chanted / sung. I believe in the EF a low mass is completely spoken?
  3. The AO calendar seems to be more closely aligned to the EF / pre-Vatican II calendar…they were in “pre-lent” already with purple vestments, no Gloria, and no Alleluia.
  4. Lots, lots, lots, lot, lots of kneeling.
  5. Kneeling at the altar rail to receive Our Lord - which I do come across in OF masses (it is the norm at the Cathedral in Vancouver for example), but very rarely.
  6. Ad orientem - an option in the OF but I’ve never come across it.
  7. Warm, welcoming priest who made a point to chat with me for 15-20 minutes after mass.


Pleased to hear you had such a good experience with the Ordinariate Use, while we are in the old Pre-Lent countdown as it were, the use of purple is something more common with the EF. In Anglican liturgy it would usually be green, only going into purple for Lent itself.

How lovely to have a rood screen too! There are very few Cathoic churches with them in the UK and even the Anglican churches now seem to have either removed them or have placed nave altars in front of them. I can see why some people don’t like them but there is, as you say, something almost Orthdox about them. :slight_smile:


The church is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was an Anglican church and they managed to keep the building when they were received into the Ordinariate as a parish. They also imported a beautiful old style confessional from Belgium.
Purple vestments were definitely used! Is this a preference of the priest or possibly the North America Ordinariate has slightly different rubrics than the UK? I believe that this is the parish of the Dean for Canada.


Purple vestments are standard for Sexagesima Sunday, if that’s what was celebrated. The EF celebrated this pre-Lent feast as well.


The Ordo for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham specifies Green, however, it may also go by local use. You can usually find a copy of the Ordo online for the Ordinariate area you are in. The EF states purple should be used with gloria and alleluia omitted, so they may be following the EF calendar. (Not unknown here for a parish to have an EF mass, an NO mass and an Ordinariate Use mass lol.)

Great they were able to stay in the building!


There is also a tradition of using Lenten array in England and Wales, which follows the Sarum tradition, although this is (unfortunately) rarely found now.


Hoping someday I will be able to attend an anglican use mass?
I have never heard of a rood screen. What is that?


It is a much more elaborate altar rail dividing the sanctuary from the nave. It was used in pre-Reformation England. It is the Western version of the iconostasis found in Byzantine churches. Do a google image search for “rood screen” and you’ll see examples.


I believe the the EF uses a calendar preceding the Reformation so I would think at least some of the Ordinariates would have celebrated the pre-Lenten Sexagesima Sunday as the EF does, calling for the purple vestments.


A rood screen is an ornate partition between the nave and chancel. The ‘rood’ itself (from the Saxon word for ‘cross’) is actually the sculptural representation of the Crucifixion; Our Lord on the Cross flanked by the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John. Here are a couple of examples from two Anglican churches near me in Cornwall. The first is a relatively modern one, the second, from my own parish is Medieval. In England a number of screens survived the Reformation but the roods did not. They often had holes bored through the lower part know as ‘squints’ or ‘squint holes’ supposedly so that people kneeling near the screen could peep through to see the events taking place in the Chancel.




It would depend, I suppose, on local use - e.g. as I mentioned above some still use Lenten array, following the Sarum tradition, it would make more sense though to follow the liturgical colours as set out in the Ordo specific to the Ordinariate of the area. Immediately following the reformation in England the calendar wasn’t changed - the BCP stayed with the old pre-Lenten titles for Sundays and Saints’ days were retained - so not sure when purple use changed to green.


How interesting!!! Reminds me a little of the curtain in front of the holy of holies in the temple. Thanks to those who answered my question.


I was going to mention the Sanctus Sanctorum (it’s in the prayers) but you beat me to it.

The screens (as well as the icons used in some Eastern liturgies) do add a little bit more mystery to the liturgy. Nice feature actually.


I’ve come across it once in the OF. Or should I say three times on different occasions, but in the same place.

That place is the Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino in Italy, the abbey founded by Saint Benedict himself. The Mass was ad orientem, in Latin, and in Gregorian chant! For the untrained it would be hard to distinguish it from an EF Mass.


I actually just recalled that I HAVE witnessed an ad orientem OF mass. I once attended a private mass at an Opus Dei chapel and it was in Latin and ad orientem.


Returned to the same Ordinariate parish tonight for an absolutely beautiful solemn high mass according to the Anglican use. Ad orientem of course…loads of incense…priest, deacon, and subdeacon (who was actually another priest, but the deacon was a true deacon). The Last Gospel was read as well, which wasn’t the case for the Low Mass last time. The high mass seems to be even closer to the Extraordinary Form (though completely in English of course).


We don’t use very much incense in our parish. I wish we did.


The last time I was in Houston, I arranged to go to Sunday Mass at** Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston.** I think I went to the High Mass - it was at 11:15 a.m. I really liked the liturgy, and the people there showed a genuine interest in being there. If I am ever in Houston on a Sunday, I would make the drive to attend again. It was a very reverent Mass, and a learning experience. Geographically, it wasn’t too hard to find - it’s not too far from I-10, and it’s in a good part of town.

I also recommend St. Mary the Virgin in Arlington, Texas. It’s not far from Fort Worth. The entire congregation became Catholic in 1993, and I believe it was one of the first to do so. (Sidebar: if I lived in my old neighborhood, I would make this my parish, but I now live about 60 miles away). Quite a few former Episcopal priests who have crossed the Tiber came from Texas.

The next time I am in San Antonio over a weekend, I want to make the drive to Our Lady of the Atonement. It is on the North side of San Antonio.

I believe there is also a parish in the Diocese of Scranton (Pennsylvania) that is part of the Ordinariate for the Chair of St. Peter. I also need to check on the status of two churches back east (I believe both are in Maryland) where the congregations have left the Episcopal Church and become Catholic. A few years back, both were trying to enter the Catholic Church - one is in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the other is in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. I might be able to find this information through the website that is set up for the Ordinariate for the Chair of St. Peter.


I hear Our Lady of Walsingham mentioned often. I did not realize it was in Houston. I knew of the church in San Antonio. They are lucky to have 3 ordinariates there.


The subdeacon even holds the paten under the humeral veil, just as in the EF.

You should even try attending one of their weekday Low Masses, because then you get to hear not just the Last Gospel, but the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar as well (if they do Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, then the BCP Pentitential Rite is omitted).

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