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|1584: Cathedral of the Annunciation, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
of the Annunciation, Ottawa,
Catholic Church of Canada, a member of the Traditional
A simple grey stucco building, dating from 1905, previously
owned by a West Indian congregation of the Church of God. It
lies on a modest plot in a residential neighbourhood, and thus
there are no church grounds to speak of. Inside is a tiny chapel,
with small, generic stained-glass windows. The chancel contains
no windows but is beautified by several icons, each illuminated
by a lamp. A room off to the side of the chancel houses the
small electric organ.
The congregation was established some 30 years ago by the Revd
(later Bishop) Carmino de Catanzaro, the former rector of St
Barnabas, the Diocese of Ottawa’s flagship Anglo-Catholic parish.
Father de Catanzaro was deeply concerned over such issues as
the ordination of women, the relaxation of rules around remarriage
after divorce, and the introduction of modern liturgies. Today
the church also takes a more conservative stance on homosexuality.
Three masses are celebrated every Sunday, along with the eucharist
and either morning or evening prayer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
They also conduct Bible study sessions and both Alpha and Beta
The cathedral is near Ottawa’s Corso Italia, a neighbourhood
famous for its Italian heritage and events as well as top rate
restaurants and family owned businesses. Corso Italia attracts
an eclectic clientele, including politicians, hockey players
and movie stars.
The Revd Peter Jardine, curate, was the celebrant. The Rt Revd
Carl Reid, suffragan bishop and rector, was the homilist.
The date & time:
Sunday, 15 June 2008, 10.00am.
What was the name of the service?
How full was the building?
The tiny building was respectably full about three-quarters
Did anyone welcome you
A woman asked me if I needed a prayer book and leaflet, which
Was your pew comfortable?
The pews were extremely creaky.
How would you describe
the pre-service atmosphere?
My party and I got lost en route to the cathedral, and I'm afraid
we arrived late during the decalogue, of all things,
which we felt very embarrassed about interrupting as we settled
into our creaky pews.
What were the exact opening
words of the service?
"The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom then shall
I fear?" from the introit of the day.
What books did the congregation use during the
The Book of Common Prayer, in the Canadian edition
of 1962, and the English Hymnal were the main books.
Also available was the English Gradual (Part III: the
Proper), but the propers were included in a more convenient
leaflet. I was also given, but did not need, a booklet containing
the order of matins, evensong, and mass.
What musical instruments
An electric organ in a small side room that contained a window
through which the organist could see what was happening at the
altar. The organist played competently. The mass setting was
Willan’s Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena, apart from
the Gloria and Creed (both from the Missa de Angelis)
and the Lord’s Prayer (Merbecke).
Did anything distract
Not adversely so. There were two children who made some noise (as can only be expected), but they were generally well-behaved.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
The service was formal Anglo-Catholic it could be described
as stiff upper lip, but not in a bad way. The Book of Common
Prayer was followed rather faithfully, with the interpolation
of minor propers plus the Orate fratres before the
eucharistic prayer and the Ecce Agnus Dei before distribution
of communion. The epistle and gospel were chanted. The homilist
noted the lack of red-letter days in the ensuing week, and reminded
us that Friday is a day of abstinence. The bishop, vested in
rochet, mozzetta, and zucchetto, sat down on the floor to give
a children’s address before the sermon to two little girls who
had come forward.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
6 Bishop Reid was well-spoken and his homily was doctrinally
rich, if not particularly polished.
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
Jesus’ parable about the blind leading the blind reminds us not to judge others, as we ourselves deserve judgment. Too often, the need for repentance is swept under the rug in our modern age, but it must not be neglected. Penitence, however, should not lead us to obsession or despair, but to joy in the infinite mercy of God.
Which part of the service was like being in
I was delighted that the chants were all congregational, unlike
many Anglo-Catholic churches with choirs that take much of the
service music. There was also a prolonged silence before the
communion rite, which was just what my restless soul needed.
Also, in a gesture that underlined how unsubtle our entrance
had been, the homilist opened by welcoming "our visitors."
And which part was like
being in... er... the other place?
I am not a fan of the great eucharistic intercession of the
Prayer Book ("Let us pray for the whole state
of Christ's Church and the world," etc.) on even my most
patient days, of which this was not one.
What happened when you
hung around after the service looking lost?
We queued up and greeted the bishop and curate (I kissed the
bishop’s ring), both of whom invited us to the reception downstairs.
The curate promised that "We actually have reasonably good
coffee." During mass I had whispered to a member of my
party that I needed him to taste the coffee for my report, and
I was afraid that the curate might have overheard me!
How would you describe the after-service
In a word: impressive. Coffee and orange juice, some excellent
miniature apple strudels, ham sandwiches on miniature croissants,
cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and a cake. Several people came to
chat with us and were happy to answer our questions about the
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 Despite some doctrinal differences, I would happily
attend mass here if I lived in Ottawa, and will be sure to return
when I find myself in town again.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
It did. I thought the combination of high-churchery and hearty
congregational participation was perfect.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The sight of the bishop, in full vestiture, sitting on the floor
for the children's sermon.
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