Well, if this was Ordinary time… it felt like a foretaste of heaven itself. Others will give more eloquent descriptions of the events today in Westminster Cathedral; for me it was almost too moving for words. How wonderful, that the wives of the three former Anglican Bishops were recognised and even had a liturgical role! …helping to vest their husbands. It reminded me of on occasion in Cuddesdon parish church when Michael Ramsey of blessed memory appeared at the sacristy door, his chasuble on sideways, pleading with his wife to "come and help me, dear!"
So many friends were there; many of us in unaccustomed collar and tie as we prepared for our own reception into the fulness of the Catholic Church. Some, of course, slip out of their clerical collars more easliy than others; Geoffrey Kirk was looking especially suave in his brown fedora.
The highpoint of the ceremony for me was not the actual ordination, but the naming of the Ordinariate (of Our Lady of Walsingham, under the patronage of John Henry Newman) and of the Ordinary — that doughty son of Liverpool, Keith Newton. What a blessing all three of those men will be, John, Andrew and Keith, to the Catholic Church. Keith, though, urged us to pray for him as he begins to shoulder his great burden; especially the need to find ways of paying for the priests and their housing when they are ordained in six months' time.
This was one of those few "were you there when…" historical moments of a lifetime. The Archbishop, Vincent Nichols, rose splendidly to the occasion; affirming the former ministry of these three and of the others who will join them before long. I suggested to the Archbishop that, wonderful as today was, it was actually a rehearsal for another Ordination in Portsmouth a few weeks from now — he was kind enough to smile.
Everything was so right, the music, the spoken words, the symbolism — how good to have the former Walsingham Sisters involved in the Offertory. They have given up so much, and deserve our love and our prayers.
The few pictures I took were mostly at the reception in the Archbishop's House. Fr Bradley was very busy and will no doubt have pages of Flickr pictures to entertain us. But it is late, and tomorrow I have to attend the Baptism of a cousin's grandchild in Faringdon. My grandparents were prolific, and at one time I had fifty first cousins, so you understand there are plenty of family occasions to attend.