Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Message

A Christmas Greeting:

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ; and those of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, Archdiocese of California. May grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled (Luke 2:1). With those words began the journey of the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph to the town of Bethlehem to be counted as Joseph was of the House of David. It is one of the most beautiful stories of all time, the story of the birth of Jesus. A story that continues to remain ever fresh, never growing old for more than 2,015 years. How many words have been written, how many songs of praise have been sung telling of the birth of the Christ Child in a stable?

Then, after the blessed Child was born there were the shepherds who came to worship Him after being told by Angels of the wonder to be found in that stable. Again, in time there were other visitors from afar who came to pay homage to the Christ Child, bringing gifts of great value. Like the shepherds they too went their way returning to the lands from whence they came.

Today as we stop to reflect on all that had taken place we find one verse in the story that is sometimes overlooked. Once the shepherds have come and gone from the birthplace of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are alone once again with their child and Scripture tells us Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Think of Mary and all she has experienced. From the announcement of her being chosen by God as the mother of the Savior, the turmoil of Joseph understanding her condition, then the hurried journey to Bethlehem, to the birth of her Son in a stable with strangers coming to visit him and with angels on site. Mary stops to take a deep breath and reflect on all that has happened not missing a single moment of the beauty of her Son’s birth.

This Christmas, we should all take that breath like Mary. In today’s chaotic happing’s we need to pause and think and pray. To reflect on the life of Our Savior and what his sacrifice means to each of us. To reflect on what the story of His birth means and what it means to us; stopping to reflect on how we can and must live our lives differently.
Because of Jesus, to make sure that we truly take this story to heart, as Mary did in that little town of Bethlehem so long ago.

I wish each of you a joy filled, merry, peaceful, and Christ filled Christmas. May all of your days through this wondrous season be joy filled with the grace of God’s blessing? May you have the opportunity to be with all those you hold dear through this Christmas season and into the coming New Year?

Your brother in Christ,
 + Bob

Most Rev. Bobby C. Hall, DD
Auxiliary Bishop

Thursday, November 26, 2015


                                    A THANKSGIVING MESSAGE

To the members of our Old Roman Catholic family and all our friends and neighbors.

I extend my heartfelt wishes and prayers to all for a truly happy and blessed Thanksgiving. As we gather together with family and friends on this beautiful day, we give thanks and praise to God for all the wonderful gifts He has bestowed upon us, gifts all too often we take for granted.

As we pause in prayer celebrate our bounty, we do well to remember our other brothers and sisters around the world and in here within our own community who are not as fortunate as we. Many are faced with material and personal needs. Today we pray for them and  resolve to respond to their needs as generously as we can.

For all Catholics the best way to begin your Thanksgiving Day is by attending Holy Mass in your parish community. The Eucharist is, of course, the ultimate act of thanksgiving and praise. We join the Psalmist in saying: “How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me? I will raise the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” (Ps.116: 12-13)

In this period of unbridled turmoil present around the world we would make the following suggestion.  I urge each of you to stay home with your family and friends, relax and enjoy their company. And as a passing thought the Cowboys play this Thanksgiving afternoon

A most Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

In Christ,

+ Bob

Most Rev. Bobby C. Hall,DD
Auxiliary Bishop -Province of the Ozarks


Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The following post was noted today in the "Whispers in the Loggia" posting. As we have a number of fellow priests in the Ordinariate that we were privileged to serve with over the years this appointment is received with great joy.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
In Anglicanorum First, US Ordinariate Lands A "Flying Bishop"
Almost four years since Benedict XVI created a continent-wide jurisdiction for US and Canadian Anglicans entering communion with Rome, the Houston-based Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter has reached a watershed moment: at Roman Noon, the founding head of the 42-parish fold, Msgr Jeffrey Steenson, stepped aside at 63 on his own request as the Pope named Msgr Steven Lopes, 40 – the San Francisco-bred CDF staffer who began his decade there as Cardinal William Levada's personal aide – as the first bishop-ordinary for any of the three local churches founded under the terms of Anglicanorum coetibus.

With the appointment, the bishop-elect – a double NAC alum who's been the Holy See's prime specialist on the ordinariates over recent years – becomes the youngest Latin-church hierarch to be named in the US since 1988, when Franciscan Fr Roberto Gonzalez (now archbishop of San Juan) was tapped as an auxiliary of Boston at 38. On another front, meanwhile, the timing of the appointment coincides with this weekend's introduction of Divine Worship: The Missal, the culmination of a years-long effort which saw centuries of Anglican texts culled into a single volume for the ordinariates' universal use, replacing the US-centric Book of Divine Worship in use since 2003. With the new work's preparation overseen by Rome, Lopes handled the bulk of its coordination as secretary of the special commission charged with integrating Anglican traditions into Catholic liturgy. (The bishop-elect is seen above presenting the new Missal to the Pope, aided by the top American at the "Holy Office," Archbishop Gus diNoia OP, who likewise aided in the project.)

While the choice of a Roman-rite cleric as "flying bishop" of the sprawling Anglo-Catholic diocese might appear unusual on the surface, beyond being steeped in the ordinariates from their inception given CDF's lead responsibility for the Anglicanorum project, Lopes' disposition fulfills both the theological and practical requirements for the unique post to function as effectively as possible. For one, as Steenson as well the heads of the English and Australian ordinariates – all of whom were Anglican bishops before "swimming the Tiber" – are married, the founding ordinaries couldn't become Catholic bishops, even whilst being granted all the jurisdiction and insignia of the episcopacy, save for the ability to ordain. As having a bishop of their own has been seen as a key aspect toward affirming the project's ecclesial "maturity," then, a celibate was needed. Practically speaking, meanwhile, as the securing of a bishop frees the ordinariate from having to call on Latin-church prelates to ordain the steady stream of clerics who've joined its ranks – 62 so far, most of them married – Lopes' youth and lack of a family will likewise make it easier to handle the ferocious traveling Steenson took on to be present to his scattered flock.

In a message to the ordinariate released this morning, the retiring prelate – a onetime sportswriter and Oxford-trained patristic scholar – indicated that the choice of the new ordinary was made using the "significant consultative process" laid out by the retired pontiff in Anglicanorum, under which the ordinariate's 13-cleric governing council prepared the terna from which Lopes was chosen.
Beyond the completion of the missal project, earlier this year the Stateside Ordinariate dedicated an ample headquarters of its own: a jewel-box of a Chancery (above) adjacent to its "principal church," Houston's Our Lady of Walsingham parish, which now becomes a cathedral in the proper sense with the arrival of a bishop. Upon his ordination on Candlemas Day, 2 February, Lopes will be based there, inheriting a staff led by now-Msgr Larry Gipson, the onetime pastor of the largest parish of the Episcopal Church, H-Town's St Martin's, where his congregation included former President George H.W. Bush.

The ordinariate's administrator until Lopes' arrival – after which he'll bear the title "Ordinary-emeritus" – Steenson will introduce his successor at a 10.30 Central press conference today in the Walsingham Chancery. For reasons of space, the bishop-elect's ordination is most likely to be held in Houston's Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, with the CDF prefect Cardinal Gerhard Müller ostensibly to preside. Given the spread of the ordinariate's charge, with the appointment Lopes becomes the sole Latin-church bishop to hold joint membership in the episcopal conferences of both Canada and the US, a distinction likewise enjoyed by a handful of Eastern-church hierarchs.