MURRIETA—Catholics in the Temecula Valley who were brought up in the Anglican tradition have become part of a Roman Catholic community under the jurisdiction of a non-territorial diocese created specifically for those who share that background.
Holy Martyrs of England and Wales Catholic Mission has established a presence in Temecula Valley and will begin holding Mass in a Murrieta gymnasium on Pentecost Sunday, May 20. This faith community was formed by several families in the Temecula Valley that had been traveling to Irvine to attend Mass at Blessed John Henry Newman Parish.
That parish community falls under the jurisdiction of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a non-territorial diocese that allows communities of former Anglicans in the United States and Canada to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. It is under the episcopal leadership of Bishop Steven Lopes.
“We know that cultural and liturgical traditions are an important element of our experience of God and this Personal Ordinariate allows for the continuance of the Anglican patrimony within the larger “family” of the Latin Rite of the Church,” reads a joint letter from Bishop Gerald Barnes and Bishop Lopes issued on Apr. 6 to clarify the relationship between the Diocese and Holy Martyrs of England and Wales community.
Efforts by Holy Martyrs of England and Wales to market itself in the local communities initially created some confusion among some Catholic parishioners and priests. According to the joint letter from Bishop Barnes and Bishop Lopes, those eligible to become members of Holy Martyrs of England and Wales would be:
• A former Anglican seeking to become Catholic
• An Anglican or Methodist who is seeking to become Catholic
• The spouse of a former Anglican who is Catholic
• An unbaptized Christian
• A baptized Catholic who is not fully initiated in the Church
• A fully-initiated Catholic who no longer practices their faith
The new community is to serve those who share a common liturgical, pastoral, and theological heritage of English Catholicism. Liturgically, the Order of the Mass and some prayers used by the Ordinariate are different than those used in diocesan parishes, but the basic shape and structure of the Mass remains the same.
Fully-initiated Catholics who belong to existing parishes in the Diocese are not eligible to become members of Holy Martyrs of England and Wales and should not seek to receive their Sacraments of Initiation there, according to the joint letter.
Bishop Lopes and Father Andrew Bartus, pastor of the new community, met with Bishop Barnes and priests and parish leadership from the Hemet Vicariate of the Diocese on Jan. 29. It was an occasion to learn more about the plans of the Ordinariate and more clearly define jurisdictional relationships.
Structural accommodations made by the Catholic Church to welcome former Anglicans began more than 20 years ago under the leadership of Saint Pope John Paul II. It has also allowed men originally ordained as Anglican priests to be ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood. Two such priests, Father Jack Barker and Father Gregory Elder, are in ministry in the Diocese of San Bernardino.
The joint letter from the two bishops concludes on a note of unity.
“While it is important to understand these differences that determine our communities of faith in this context, we, as bishops, pledge our mutual prayer and support for each other and for the Catholic communities we serve in the Temecula Valley and beyond. In understanding better the origins of this new community, there is no need for division or suspicion of any kind.”