In a gesture of support for former Anglicans who have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church, the famous Oratory Catholic church in Kensington is to host a visit this weekend from Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Mgr Newton will preach at the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening (9 February) and all seven Masses on Sunday (10 February) to the Oratory’s estimated total Sunday congregation of two and a half thousand. His sermon will include an appeal for funds for the Ordinariate – the structure set up by Pope Benedict two years ago to allow Anglicans the chance to become Catholics while maintaining much of their Anglican heritage. There will be a retiring collection for the Ordinariate at the end of each Mass.
The Ordinary will also preside at the Oratory’s procession in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes after Vespers on Sunday.
The Provost of the Oratory, Fr Julian Large, said: “The Fathers of the London Oratory are delighted to welcome Mgr Keith Newton to our house and parish. The Ordinariate is a great gift from the Holy Father to the life and unity of the Church, and we are sure that this appeal for funds will bring a generous response from our faithful at the Oratory.”
The Oratory visit is part of a series being made by Ordinariate priests to Catholic parishes up and down the country, organised by the Friends of the Ordinariate charity which helps to raise awareness of and funds for the Ordinariate.
Mgr Newton said: “Since the Ordinariate was established, we have received a tremendously warm welcome from those Catholics who know about us and understand what we are about. However, there are a great many others who either haven’t heard of the Ordinariate or misunderstand what it is. These parish visits provide the perfect opportunity for us to clear up some of those misunderstandings and to enter more fully into the hearts and minds of all Catholics, which is essential if we are to flourish as the Holy Father intended. They also provide the chance to raise much needed funds for our work.
“It is a great privilege for me to preach at the historic and beautiful Oratory Church and I am especially grateful to the Oratory Fathers for inviting me and for showing support in this way”, Mgr Newton added.
Eighty-one former Anglican priests have joined the Ordinariate, but with so far only about 1500 lay members to support them, the structure is dependent on raising funds from the wider Catholic community to pay for the living expenses and training of Ordinariate priests, the setting up of a fund for sick and retired priests and the acquisition and upkeep of buildings.