Archbishop Vincent Nichols is lending his support to an initiative to deepen understanding of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and present afresh the contribution which it is making to the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
The initiative is organised by the Friends of the Ordinariate, a charity established by lay Catholics to support the Ordinariate – the structure set up in 2011 by Pope Benedict to allow Anglicans who wish to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church to do so whilst bringing with them some of their Anglican traditions, music and practices.
Nicolas Ollivant, chairman of the “Friends “ said: “the aim is to spread the good news about the spiritual gifts which are being brought into the Catholic Church by the clergy and lay members of the Ordinariate and highlight some of the treasures of the Anglican tradition with which the Ordinariate is enriching the life of the Church”.
“We also want to explain the purpose and structure of the Ordinariate to those Catholics – and others – who know little about it and encourage them to support its development”.
To coincide with the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham in September, a letter will be sent to all parishes in England and Wales from Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate, with information about the Friends’ initiative. A message of support from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, sent in his capacity as President of the Bishops’ Conference, will accompany the letter. Priests will be asked to make Mgr Newton’s letter available in all churches and, where possible, to read it out to congregations.
Mgr Newton will speak of the initiative when he visits Westminster Cathedral this weekend (8/9 June) at the invitation of the administrator, Canon Christopher Tuckwell . He will preach at the 6.00 pm Vigil Mass and at 8.00am, 10.30am, 12.00pm, 5.30pm and 7.00pm on Sunday. After each Mass the Cathedral will host a retiring collection for the Ordinariate.
Other events planned as part of the Friends’ initiative include Evensong and Benediction in the Little Oratory, Brompton Road, London on June 13 at which the Ordinary will preside. Music will be provided by the well known Oratory choir which will sing The Short Service and Almighty and Everlasting God by the English composer, Orlando Gibbons. The service will be followed by a talk in St Wilfrid’s Hall on “The Future of Christianity in Britain” by Charles Moore, the
former editor of the Daily Telegraph and author of the recently published authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher. Charles Moore, himself a convert to Catholicism, is an honorary vice president of the Friends of the Ordinariate.
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is organised in some fifty groups of lay people with their clergy, around the country. It has the care of two parishes, both in London – the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street and the Most Precious Blood, Borough.
Monsignor Newton said: “The Ordinariate is now an established part of the Catholic Church in this country but we still have some way to go before it is properly understood. This initiative provides an excellent opportunity for us to become better known and for others to see the contribution which the Ordinariate is making to the life of the Church. I am grateful to the Friends of the Ordinariate for organising it and to Archbishop Nichols and the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, Mgr Marcus Stock, for their support”.