The OCeeker: St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Catholic Church and the Farting Flock

The Lord's timing is incredible. Just as the OCeeker hit a sabbath in his P90X program, he took in a Mass and healing service at St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Catholic Church in Orange, where, with all the kneeling, sitting and standing, he got in some core work while his sins were washed away.

Indeed, while the OCeeker was confusing his muscles, one thing was clear: Father Neil Edlin, the parish's rector, kicks some mass!

Wednesday, April 11, 9 a.m. 

The parish is tucked into a stucco building one block south of the Circle in Old Town

The OCeeker arrived just as Edlin--a fine-looking (but married, ye lust-eyed Delilahs) young Father with dark brown eyes, and brown locks that framed a chiseled face--was reading from Acts 3:19, saying, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." 

With only an elderly couple and one elderly woman in attendance (all white as snow), the OCeeker had plenty of room in which to repent one of about 20 wooden, brown pews. They were parted in the middle, atop a tile floor with red carpet in the aisle. The OCeeker sat in the back of the right set of pews, several rows behind the one old lady. The couple got their liturgy on, across from her. 

Upon the white walls hung little emblems of the 14 stations of the cross, showing Jesus Christ's condemnation to death, and all the stops along the way to his grave. One of the them was titled "Veronica", and dagnabbit, the OCeeker couldn't get that Elvis Costello song out of his pomade-anointed head. 

What goes on in that place in the dark?
Veronica isn't mentioned in the four gospels, but got some run in a second century version of "The Acts of Pilate" as the same gal who had a 12-year blood hemorrhage healed by Christ. Tradition says she attended Christ's trial, pleading his innocence, and that she wiped his face with a cloth, which was imprinted with his image. The cloth, known as "Veronica's Veil", was believed to have healing powers. No word if this inspired the Jesus-on-my-toast trend, but keep an eye out for it on eBay

Edlin conducted the mass in his white, priestly garb, leading the flock of four through the service as he stood before eight candles, two of which were lit. Jesus hung out on a wooden cross above the candles. Stained glass windows flanked both sides of the stage, where Edlin worked his liturgical magic, preparing the communion elements, waving holy things, and leading the believers in the reading of confessions and creeds. 

Bumper Sticker in Parking Lot: "Who is John Galt?" 

The name Anglican means "of England", and the Anglican Church is referred to by some snarky saints as "Biblical Catholicism", with an emphasis on the "Book of Common Prayer", which was first produced in 1549. The church holds to the sacraments, and the ministry of bishops, deacons and priests. It often is portrayed as a hybrid of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, and today, the Anglican Communion consists of Anglican churches across the world, with the Church of England as the mothership.

Now, the OCeeker doesn't find himself in a parish of any kind unless someone has died or is getting married, which is pretty much the same thing. So, for a garden-variety Protestant who hasn't had to sit through years of Masses, the whole thing was a refreshing diversion from the let's-make-this-up-as-we-go-along worship services that are conducted by America's rock star pastors who spend the week chatting with God about what special secrets he wants to share with the congregation on Sunday

Basically, we read from a prayer book, which told us when to kneel, when to stand, when to say "amen", what to say in response to Edlin and when to perform the sign of the cross or flash "West Side 4 Life".

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