The bishop of Richmond, Va., told the Catholic-Episcopal community in his diocese it must make changes to its Sunday liturgy to conform with the Catholic Church’s norms.
But he assured members of the Church of the Holy Apostles community in Virginia Beach he has no plans to withdraw the diocese’s support of the ecumenical community.
Holy Apostles, established in 1977, is a joint venture of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, based in Norfolk. Its membership is approximately two-thirds Catholic and one-third Episcopalian.
The Catholic Church’s norms for celebrations of the Mass requires that the Catholic and Episcopal liturgies be separate.
It encourages the two communities to come together in an ecumenical spirit for morning or evening prayer before and after Mass.
The practice at Holy Apostles has been that the priests alternate who reads the Gospel and gives the homily.
The Catholic priest and the Episcopal priest each celebrate his respective church’s Liturgy of the Eucharist concurrently at separate altars in the same room and each distributes Communion to the members of his own community.
The Catholic Church requires that a Catholic priest preside over the celebration of the Mass beginning with the introductory rites; the Liturgy of the Word, which includes the reading of the Gospel and a homily, or sermon; and during the Liturgy of the Eucharist --- the portion of the Mass when Catholics celebrate the Christ’s real presence as the bread and wine are consecrated into his body and blood.