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Archbishop urges Catholics to support the ordinariate


THE ARCHBISHOP of Westminster has written to every parish in England and Wales encouraging them to welcome the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and praising the “beauty” of its Anglican heritage.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols’s letter, which will be read to parishioners in England and Wales on Sunday, encourages the faithful to read another letter written by the ordinary of the ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton, to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham on Tuesday.

Archbishop Nichols’s letter says: “I warmly encourage you to take home a copy of Mgr Newton’s letter and to welcome and support the clergy and faithful of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, both for the part they play in the life and mission of the Catholic Church in this country and for the particular gifts they bring which add to our rich diversity.”

“The ordinariate is the canonical structure set up in 2011 as the result of a generous initiative of Pope Benedict XVI. Under this structure, Anglicans who wish to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church, bringing with them some of the traditions and beauty of the Anglican heritage in which they were nurtured, may do so.”

In his letter to Catholics in England and Wales, Mgr Keith Newton writes that the ordinariate is “a small step towards healing one of the most damaging wounds of our history: the dividing of Christ’s Body, the Church in this land”.

He continues: “The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has begun in a small way but it is a concrete expression of the Church’s desire to fulfil our Lord’s command that ‘they may all be one’.”

Mgr Newton writes that the ordinariate was an answer to the prayers of many Anglicans who had wished for many years for union with the Catholic Church. He writes: “The ordinariate was a personal fulfilment of those prayers. It has been an incredible and uplifting journey for us all, full of grace, joy and blessings. Of course, we have experienced hardship and sacrifice as well. For many, especially those

Archbishop Nichols asked the faithful to read a letter by Mgr Newton to parishes of our priests who are married with families, there has been great financial uncertainty; for us all it has meant leaving friends and familiar places of worship in the Church of England. We ask for your encouragement, your support and your prayers.”

Quoting Benedict XVI, he continued: “You may ask why we did not become Catholics in the usual way. It is a reasonable question but misses the most important point about the ordinariate, that it is ‘a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics’ and ‘It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.’”

Mgr Newton emphasised that Catholics who did not enter the Church via the ordinariate are welcome to participate in the life and liturgy of the ordinariate.

He writes: “The ordinariate adds to the rich diversity of the

Catholic Church. Any Catholic is free to take part in the life and liturgy of the ordinariate and receive the sacraments from its clergy. Our priests are just like any other Catholic priests. By attending an ordinariate Mass, you are fulfilling your obligation, just as you would by going to any Catholic church in the world. Members of the ordinariate are likewise free to attend Mass in any Catholic church, being truly and fully members of the Catholic Church.

“People coming to our Masses have spoken positively about the conviction of our preaching, our strong musical tradition and hymn singing, our pastoral outreach and the welcoming nature of our gatherings afterwards. This puts us in a strong position to play a full part, with the whole Church, in the urgent task of the new evangelisation.”

The ordinariate made history last Sunday when Andrew Harding became the first married man who had not been a minister in the Church of England to be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham.

Fr Harding who is married with two children, sought reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church while training for the Anglican priesthood in England.

In his homily, Bishop McMahon said: “In your very special case, God has offered you another source of holiness and that is the grace of matrimony to your wife, Janina.”

Bishops gather Seminarians join them at shrine THE BISHOPS of England and Wales met seminarians and staff from across the country at Walsingham last Saturday.

The pilgrimage followed similar meetings in 2010 at Oscott College during Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain and on the anniversary of that visit in 2011 at Westminster Cathedral.

More than 120 seminarians from Allen Hall Seminary, London, St John’s Seminary, Wonersh and St Mary’s College, Oscott met the archbishops of the provinces they serve, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark and Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham respectively. In addition there were a dozen bishops from across Britain, and Mgr Keith Newton, the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The bishops and seminarians had lunch together before a Mass in the Chapel of Reconciliation, followed by private devotions at the shrine.

Robert James, a secondyear student for the Archdiocese of Cardiff studying at Allen Hall, said it was “wonderful” to be part of the pilgrimage.

“I will remember [it] for a long time,” he said.

Mgr Jeremy Garratt, rector of St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, said there was a very good atmosphere. “This was a secluded, prayerful venue. There was a spirit of goodwill and support from the bishops for the seminarians.”

Bishops of England and Wales gather at Walsingham last Saturday on a joint pilgrimage with seminarians. Archbishop Nichols presided at Mass at the shrine Photos: Mazur/



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