If you have driven eastbound on Murrieta Hot Springs Road past Winchester, you may have seen the building sign for Holy Martyrs of England and Wales Catholic Church. Holy Martyrs is currently located at what was previously a Fitness 19 gym on Sky Canyon Drive in Murrieta. Some folks have even stopped by to ask if Holy Martyrs is a Roman Catholic Church because they live locally and like the idea of a Catholic Church in their area. And, the answer to that question is, Yes, Holy Martyrs is a Roman Catholic Church. However, it is not under the auspices of the Diocese of San Bernardino. Holy Martyrs is formed under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, as a parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.
If you have never heard of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter and have no idea what that has to do with the Church of Rome, you are by no means alone. Most Catholics, let alone non Catholics, have never heard of the Ordinariate. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter is equivalent to a diocese. Based in Houston, Texas, this Ordinariate has more than 40 Roman Catholic parishes and communities across the United States and Canada. It was created in 2012 by the Vatican, along with the Personal Ordinariates of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom and Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia. His Excellency Steven J. Lopes is the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. He was named Bishop by Pope Francis on November 24, 2015. Bishop Lopes will be making his first visit to Holy Martyrs of England and Wales on February 10, 2019 and will be the celebrant at both morning Masses. All are invited to attend a Mass and greet this dynamic Church leader afterwards.
The Personal Ordinariates were established by the Vatican in response to an overwhelming desire by many Anglicans who wanted to make the Catholic Church their spiritual home. Parishes and communities in the Ordinariates are fully Roman Catholic, but retain elements of Anglican traditions in their liturgy, hospitality and ministries. Since Holy Martyrs of England and Wales is a Roman Catholic congregation, any Catholic may fully participate in the Mass and Eucharist at Holy Martyrs and is welcome to become a member of the parish community. Many Catholics who did not grow up in the Anglican tradition have joined the Holy Martyrs community because they find the liturgical traditions celebrated at this new Roman Catholic community give greater meaning to their Catholic Christian faith. Also, Holy Martyrs emphasizes the importance of hospitality and development of its ministries. Because Ordinariate communities are hospitable, members get to know one another and make a special effort to take care of their fellow parishioners.
The Church recognized the special gifts former non-Catholic Christians could bring to the Roman Church when it issued the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism. The Council openly looked forward to the day that other Christian groups would bring their own distinctive traditions to the Catholic Church. The Vatican’s remarkable ecumenical gesture in establishing the Ordinariates affirms the Catholic Church’s view that the gifts of differing Christian spiritualities and liturgies are treasures meant to be shared with the Catholic tradition.
Holy Martyrs of England and Wales invites all for a visit. Sunday Masses are held at 9 and 11 AM. For more information regarding Holy Martyrs of England and Wales Catholic Church, including daily Mass times and special celebrations, go to www.hmcatholic.org. For more information regarding the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, visit www.ordinariate.net.