Monday 18 January 2010

Cathedra Petri

Today is the feast of the Chair of S. Peter, and the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This week of prayer, as many Anglicans will know, began life as the Octave for Christian Unity, proposed by Anglo-Catholic Fr. Paul Wattson in 1908 to be observed from the feast of the Chair of S. Peter on the 18th January until the feast of the Conversion of S. Paul on the 25th. The decision to observe the Octave over these two feasts is an obvious indication of the Anglican Papalists' desire for unity with the See of Peter, and as a glance over the history books and archives will tell, our Papalist forefathers took up this Octave of Prayer with great enthusiasm. As the idea caught on, the Octave came to be observed as the (perhaps less explicitly Catholic) Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and was blessed by Pius X to be observed in the Roman Church. Since its promotion by the World Council of Churches, the Week (still actually an 'Octave') has been very widely accepted by Christians across the world.

This week I am also celebrating my new iPod Touch, a wonderful piece of technology which I almost can’t believe I ever lived without. Over the weekend I have been discovering the many wonderful applications I can download onto my new iPod: such practical things as a Spanish-English dictionary, an iSiddur (a Jewish prayerbook, just in case I ever find myself in shul on a Friday night), a Catholic Calender by Universalis with readings for Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, a course of Salsa Lessons (to supplement my Wednesday night session) and plenty more besides. I’ve also subscribed to podcasts, which update automatically via iTunes, so that I can share in weekly Bible study sessions with a group of American Franciscan Sisters, as well as a daily documentary from the BBC!

Unfortunately, though, many of the things that I want aren’t available as applications or podcasts yet. While some churches do broadcast Mass daily online, there are no podcasts that I know of for the Usus Antiquior, and is yet to release the Missale Romanum (1962) as an iPod application. Nonetheless, what I can get on my iPod and what I can watch on my PC involves such startling variety and seemingly endless possibilities for mission, that it isn’t surprising that so many in the Church are embracing the technology available, and podcasting sermons, broadcasting Masses or creating eRosary applications for iPhone.

At a parish meeting last year, the people of S. Magnus were encouraged to contribute their ideas in a brainstorming session as the first stage in formulating our MAP, or Mission Action Plan for the coming year. Reading over the notes of this meeting put together by one of our churchwardens, two very strong themes emerged from the participants' comments: firstly, a very strong and discerning appreciation of the traditional Liturgy offered in S. Magnus every Sunday, and secondly, the desire to see this precious gift shared with those who form the wider S. Magnus community, including tourists at the Monument, casual visitors, or, quite importantly, people who follow S. Magnus through this blog or the Church website, and who constitute the eParish of S. Magnus; our “virtual parishioners” as one person put it.

It seems that S. Magnus has accepted, in theory at least, the idea that one can be part of the community without being physically present (although obviously, it would be all the better if you could be!), and has begun to explore the possibilities of reaching out to our eParish via the internet and possibly Apple technology also. Some ideas that I’ve seen work well in other places are the simultaneous broadcast of the Sunday Mass (do look here at S. Gertrudes if you haven’t already enjoyed the broadcasts of these Traditionalist Roman Catholics in the States), and the podcasting of sermons to be downloaded to iTunes (S. Clement’s Philadelphia has done this for some time). The Parish website is also due to be revamped soon, and that could be very exciting, with an ordo and events calendar published and updated regularly, photo folders to look back over past events etc. All of this requires skill, effort and outlay, so your prayers are asked for our church of S. Magnus as it follows others into the mission fields of cyberspace! Who knows? It might not be too long before this blog is sharing video content from the Parish Mass or feast days, or whatever event we might be hosting, to give YOU, the virtual parishioners of S. Magnus, a regular dose of the M vitamin. And in this week of prayer for unity, while we are waiting for decisions to be made about Anglicanorum Coetibus, we must remember to ask the decision-makers the important questions: like, when will we get podcasts of Anglican Use High Mass?


  1. :-( I want an iPod. Someone promised me one once as an eitely unnecessary make-up gift after a fall-out. It never materialised. The absence of the iPod never really bothered me as much as the lightly-made promise and the lack of faithfulness to it but now that Acient Faith Radio has such pretty podcasts, I really do rather want one. :-)

  2. Excellent, I was wondering what else I could download, thanks Michael.

  3. You're very welcome. Somehow the word "entirely" has morphed into something else. :-D

    AFR is good. If you want more, look under the "Media and Information" section here.

  4. St. Gertrude's is a hideous, vile place for hateful Sedevacatist SSPVers.

  5. Here's another treat for you. :-)

    (Note that I have sent you this as a joke. If you do decide to use it, I'd really rather you not tell me. Some things are best kept private. ;-))