I’ve had a special fondness for the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem for several years now. In 2011, I discovered their fledgling priory in Charles Town, WV, where they had recently found a home with the gracious permission of Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston. As an Augustinian community dedicated to the Church’s traditional liturgy and office, I was immediately drawn to their Masses, which were enriched by the liberal use of incense and exquisite Gregorian chant. Their devotion to industry (selling produce from their garden, breads from their kitchen, and other works made by hand) to help support themselves along with their genuinely welcoming demeanor, their penchant for well-celebrated feast days, and their theologically-rich sermons hooked me in for keeps. I wrote an article about them for Crisis in 2012, and I have enjoyed watching their growth over the years.
Unfortunately, circumstances required that I move over an hour away from them, and my visits became far less frequent than I would have liked. But we’ve stayed in touch, and we make it out there for Mass when we can. As our donors know, we’ve also arranged for the Canons to say Mass for the benefactors of OnePeterFive each 2nd of the month.
And it is with this background in mind that I have wonderful news to report! At long-last, after receiving incardination with the diocese, the Canons were given permission to proceed with priestly ordinations, which had been on hold until they found a permanent home. It just so happened that at the time of Bishop Schneider’s US visit this past February, I was in touch with him for an article we were collaborating on. I was able to put Dom Daniel Augustine Oppenheimer, the Canons’ prior (and whose sermons I occasionally publish) in contact with Bishop Schneider – who is himself an Augustinian Canon of the Holy Cross of Coimbra. They met, and after spending some time together, Bishop Schneider agreed to perform the ordinations with Bishop Bransfield’s blessing.
And now, the time is nearly upon us. On October 17, 2015, at 10:00 AM, the priestly ordinations of Dom John Berchmans Tonkin, CRNJ, and Dom Alban Baker, CRNJ, will take place during a Solemn Pontifical Mass of Ordination (1962 Missal) at Saint James the Greater Catholic Church in Charles Town, WV. Bishop Schneider will offer the Mass and perform the ordinations, and Bishop Bransfield will also be in attendance.
Dom Daniel has asked me to share this announcement with the invitation to attend. Such is the joy of the occasion, they’d love to see as many people attend as possible. The liturgy will be absolutely beautiful, and the parish where it’s being held is sufficiently large to accommodate a fairly large congregation.
Please see the attached invitation, and send an email to RSVP if you would like to attend. (Click the image for a larger version)
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.