A former priest of the Traditional Anglican Communion, Ian Westby, was among four people received and confirmed into the Darlington Ordinariate group at St Osmund’s Church, Gainford in August. Music for the occasion included Gounod's Messe du Sacré Coeur dé Jesus, Brahms’ How lovely are thy dwellings fair; and Elgar’s Imperial March. The new members bring to nine the number received into the Darlington group this year.
Mgr Newton has written a letter which Archbishop Nichols has asked we make available this weekend by reading or displaying it. The request is all a bit vague and may be ovelooked so I post here the text of Mgr Newton`s letter.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Next Tuesday, September 24th, the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, is an
opportune moment to be invited to write to you about the Personal Ordinariate of
Our Lady of Walsingham, established two and a half years ago. I am grateful to your
bishop for giving me this opportunity to tell you about the contribution the
Ordinariate makes to the life and mission of the Catholic Church in our country.
Pope Benedict XVI established this new structure in 2011. He wanted to help groups
of Anglicans, who wished to bring with them some of the traditions and beauty of
the Anglican heritage in which they were nurtu-red, the ability to enter into full
communion of the Catholic Church.
Since then more than eighty former Anglican clergy have been ordained as Catholic
priests of the Ordinariate in England and Wales. They lead about 40 groups of former
Anglican lay people, as well as serving the wider Catholic Church as chaplains in
hospitals, prisons or schools or as diocesan priests. In London two churches have
been entrusted to us. Elsewhere, our groups celebrate Ordinariate Masses in
diocesan Catholic churches. We now have our own Ordinariate rite, which draws on
those elements of the Anglican tradition which are consistent with Catholic teaching.
As it is gradually introduced, it will add to the distinctive character of our worship.
Already, one of the jewels of the Anglican tradition, choral Evensong, is being
regularly celebrated by the Ordinariate in some Catholic churches.
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
Like many members of the Church of England, in which I was ordained for over 35
years, I longed and prayed for union with the Catholic Church and 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 of our priests who are
married with families, there has been great financial uncertainty; for us alt 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.
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" (Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops, Oscott College,
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'. It 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.
With the assurance of my prayers for the whole Church as we all seek to be faithful
to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
More information about the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham can be found
on our website www.ordinariate.org.uk