All posts by Fr. Edwin Barnes

About Fr. Edwin Barnes

Bishop Barnes read theology for three years at Oxford before finishing his studies at Cuddesdon College (at the time a theological college with a rather monastic character). He subsequently served two urban curacies in Portsmouth and Woking. During his first curacy, and after the statutory three years of celibacy, he married his wife Jane (with whom he has two children, Nicola and Matthew). In 1967, Bishop Barnes received his first incumbency as Rector of Farncombe in the Diocese of Guildford. After eleven years, the family moved to Hessle, in the Diocese of York, for another nine years as vicar. In 1987, he became Principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford. In 1995, he was asked by then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to become the second PEV for the Province. He was based in St. Alban’s and charged with ministering to faithful Anglo-Catholics spread over the length of Southern England, from the Humber Estuary to the Channel Islands. After six years of service as a PEV, Bishop Barnes retired to Lymington on the south coast where he holds the Bishop of Winchester’s license as an honorary assistant bishop. On the retirement of the late and much lamented Bishop Eric Kemp, he was honored to be asked to succeed him as President of the Church Union. Both these appointments he resigned on becoming a Catholic in 2010. Fr. Barnes is now a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, caring for an Ordinariate Group in Southbourne, Bournemouth.

The Eternal City

 

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General Audience

Last week the English (and Scots) Ordinariate celebrated its first year of existence — and did so in style, with a pilgrimage to Rome led by our Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton.  You may already have seen photographs on other websites; this is just a personal sketch of what happened to us in those memorable six days.

We flew from three different British airports, Heathrow and Gatwick and Bristol — and some even came by train.  We began as strangers, and certainly ended as friends.  It is so good to learn about others' experience of new beginnings, often with only a handful of people setting out as Catholics.  Some of the priests are now running Catholic Parishes, others are supporting themselves and their families in various chaplaincies while involved with their Ordinariate Group and also nearby Catholic Parishes.

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The Ordinary with Deacon Bradley (l) and Music Director Michael Vian Clark (with scarf)

The young director of music from Buckfast Abbey somehow conjured a choir out of a group of disparate pilgrims, and managed some wonderful music, plainchant and Anglican hymnody, different for every Mass.  We even found the confidence to sing in the packed Audience Hall to the Holy Father and assorted Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Religious and faithful laity from around the world.  "Praise to the Holiest" by our Patron, John Henry Newman, can seldom have been heard in such a setting.

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Scots preacher Fr Len Black at St Joseph's Altar in St Peter's

But then, we also sang in St Peter's, bringing our Anglican Patrimony into those walls created by Michaelangelo and Borromini, adorned with sculptures and paintings of great beauty.  More than one of our party was in tears by the end of that Mass, when we gathered before the tomb of Peter and said the General Thanksgiving from the 1662 English Prayer Book.

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Quite a Sacristy - in S Peter's Basilica

So much of the Pilgrimage was about 'coming home', back to our origins.  In San Giorgio Valabro — it sounds so much more exotic than St George's in the Marsh, which is its translation  – we remembered John Henry Newman, whose titular church this was when he became a Cardinal.  There a couple from my own group in Bournemouth were received and chrismated into the Catholic Church by Mgr Keith, and their delight at being in Communion with the Holy Father and the entire Catholic Church inspired us all.

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Brian and Barbel, still smiling

St Gregory's was also a matter of going back to base, for it was from this monastery that Gregory the Great sent monks to convert England — among them Augustine of Canterbury and Paulinus of York, to say nothing of the first bishops of London and Rochester.  By this time the Italian media had begun to catch up with our Group, and the Ordinary had to stay in our Hotel fending them off so that we might continue our pilgrimage undisturbed.

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Ancient Ikon of Our Lady in San Gregorio's

Although it had rained on our first day, the weather grew ever better by the day.  On Thursday we went up into the hills, to Subiaco and the roots of Western Monasticism.  The Sacro Speco or holy cave is where Benedict led a hermit's life for three years, before beginning to build his first monastery, now known as St Scholastica's, it is the only survivor of the ten original foundations.  The others have been destroyed down the years by invaders, by earthquakes and other such disasters.  The hospitality in St Scholastica's was in the great Benedictine tradition.  We sunned ourselves on the terraces, yet less than a fortnight before there had been such a snowfall (the greatest in fifty years) that they had been cut off for days, and many trees were brought down by the weight of snow.

So many people made us welcome wherever we went.  The kindness of the parish priest at Santa Maria del Popolo on our last morning was typical of the generosity of everyone we came across.  There is a genuine interest in the Ordinariate, a sense that something great is just beginning to bud and blossom.  I hope the few pictures posted here might give a little flavour of what we were given during our days of thanksgiving for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.  There are more to be added, but it is late and my computer is refusing to download any more just now.  Good night!

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An Ordinary-ate Day

Good to report nothing special, for once.  Just an ordinary Sunday for our Ordinariate Group in Southbourne.  Our 9.30 Mass had a few local parishioners join us, which is always good.  Then, because Fr Gerry, Parish Priest of Southbourne, is down with 'flu I had the opportunity of celebrating and preaching at the 11 am Mass too.  Lovely to have so many children and young families in the pretty full congregation.

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From Church to the home of one of our Ordinariate couples, Martin and Mary.  They had invited members of the Group for a bring and share lunch — often, in England, called an 'American Lunch'.  I wonder what it is called Stateside?  It included a wonderful range of hot and cold dishes, and engendered just the merest shut-eye after it — and before Solemn Evensong and Benediction.

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Blessed & Praised

There we were joined by the organist and some singers from one of the Anglican Churches in Bournemouth, and a few of the regulars at Our Lady Queen of Peace joined the Ordinariate too, so it was a very good event.  For the occasion we move the freestanding central altar aside.  The Tabernacle takes up most of the former High Altar (it used to stand behind it on a gradine) so we had to improvise a throne for the Monstrance — but it worked pretty well.

Eventually we reached home around 5.30pm, me a little tired on this eve of my natal day having set out around 8.30am.

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Then today we gave ourselves a treat and went to Kingston Lacy, a great National Trust estate in Dorset, to view the snowdrops.  I thought you should not be denied a vew of the Jolly Green Giant — the tree, that is.  Unlike most of England we have escaped the latest snowfall ("three inch drifts: Heathrow aircraft grounded…") and the day was lovely, if a bit misty.  The snowdrops made up for the lack of snow.  Here is a clump of them almost lifesize against the bole of an ancient Yew.

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A Grand Day Out

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St James' Spanish Place -- A Bastion in Marylebone

St James' Spanish Place, in Marylebone, London, has more space devoted to it in Pevsner's 'London' (Vol 3: London NW) than even All Souls Langham Place, a few pages earlier.  So it is an important building.  But better than that, on Sunday evening it was the place to be.  Crowds came from Ordinariates out in the shires, some form beyond Canterbury in the Southeast, from deepest Essex, and we took a contingent from Bournemouth (a three-hour ride in a mini-coach) to celebrate a glorious Evensong and Benediction, and listen to our Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton.

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He reminded us just how far we have come in such a short time.  He promised even better things as more and more former Anglicans come into the Catholic Church through the Holy Father's inspired provision of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

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Edward Goldie's chef d'oeuvre: reminiscent of Pearson's style

One of the things we might have missed on leaving the Church of England was 'Forward in Faith'.  That organisation enabled Anglican Catholics to meet (at the National Assembly, and in local groups) and make common cause.  Now it looks as though this is being replaced for us by the Ordinariate.  Last year's Walsingham Pilgrimage brought many of us together, and last night there were so many old friends to see.

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Fr Ed Tomlinson ponders how to loot the Sacristy

We heard how well the Groups are going in Hemel Hempstead and in Deal, and what new things are starting in Croydon and Maidstone. There were so many former leaders of the Catholic movement in the Church of England; the one-time Master of SSC, Fr Christopher Colven, now proprietor of the church where we were worshipping; Fr Geoffrey Kirk, originator of Forward in Faith; Sister Wendy of the Famous Three; Francis Bown once a neighbour and colleague of mine in Hull, now a lay Catholic who is a regular worshipper at St James' — and so many others, who will I hope not be offended if I fail to mention them.

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After the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament

The Choir reminded us of some of the glories of the Anglican tradition: Parry's thrilling "I was Glad" for the introit, Bernard R The ose's Responses, Stanford's Mag & Nunc in C.  The only complaint from my Group was that they wanted to sing more hymns to sing themselves — maybe an Office Hymn?  But the hymn which the Ordinariate claims as its own, "Praise to the Holiest", sung to Somervell's great tune, was some compensation.  After all, Cathedral Evensong is not a sing-along.

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We are ready for our close-up, Mr de Mille

Our contingent from Bournemouth had spent a busy day; many had set off for Mass before 9am, and did not return home until near 11pm.  We had been interviewed by the Editors of The Portal (now the official magazine of the Ordinariate of OLW) for the hour after Mass.

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'And nothing but the truth, remember.' (Ronald Crane)

What a memorable day January 15th turned out to be.  Now we look forward to the Ordinariate's Chrism Mass, our likely next big gathering (on April 2nd, we think).  See you there.

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Matabeleland, Canada and the Ordinariate

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Robert Mercer CR with his sponsor, and Msgr Keith & Concelebrants

A historic day in the Catholic Church — today Robert Mercer CR, one-time Bishop of Matabeleland and more recently Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, was received into the Roman Catholic Communion.  Msgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham celebrated and preached.  Assisting were Fr Jonathan Redvers-Harris who leads the Group in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, together with Fr Anthony Glaishyer the parish Priest of St Mary's Ryde (in the Biretta above),  and with them Fr Graham Smith from Poole (rt) and Fr Edwin Barnes (left) of the Bournemouth Group.

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Msgr Keith & Fr Maunder

All this took place in the Church of St Agatha, Portsea, through the kindness of Fr Maunder of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) who is a Trustee of St Agatha's and cares for the TAC congregation which worships there.  Before his sermon Msgr Keith read out a letter of greeting from Bishop David Moyer who oversees the TAC groups in England. Bishop Moyer saw this day as a foretaste of what is to come, when many in the wider Anglican family are able to enter into Communion with the Catholic Church.

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Apres Mass

It was good that Bishop Mercer was supported by so many old friends, Catholic, Anglican and "Continuing".  It was an immensely happy occasion, and the regulars of St Agatha's put on a great spread for the reception after Mass.  The Rite used was that approved by the Catholic Church for Anglican Use parishes in the USA, the Book of Divine Worship (and permitted for use in the English Ordinariate), and the celebration was Eastward facing ('ad orientem').

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Msgr Keith in the midst

A small choir led us in singing the Missa de Angelis and a good selection of Epiphany hymns, while the Propers were of the day, Saturday in Christmas time.

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The Anglican Catholic Church in Canada (ACCC) is part of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) and traces its origin to the Congress of St Louis.

If any of the information in this posting is inaccurate I would welcome corrections in the comments section. Thanks. EB

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Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog,
and also his professional web site (he's an IT consultant) Three Fish Consulting, LLC!

Ordinary Time?

Monday of the fifth week of Ordinary Time (memorial of St Paul Miki and his companions, Martyrs), that is to say February 6th 2012, is the fiftieth 60th anniversary of the death of King George VI. It is therefore also the 50th 60th anniversary of the Queen's Accession. But because February is a pretty grim month, the celebrations will be held over until the summer. Making February that much more grim this year is the Westminster Session of the General Synod of the Church of England, also scheduled to begin on Monday 6th. This promises to be four days of anything but Ordinary Time.

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A draft Agenda has now been published on the official C of E website. For anyone who cares for the Church of England, and especially for its Anglo-Catholic rump, it would make a good calendar for four days of prayer. The first day (or rather half-day, beginning after lunch) is as usual just official business to be got out of the way, though perhaps the Loyal Address will be more worthwhile than usual, bearing in mind the date. Perhaps prayer will be said for the repose of the soul of His Late Majesty.

The real matter of the Synod starts on Tuesday 7th. From 2.30pm there is to be a presentation of the Draft Code of Practice regarding Women to the Episcopate, with questions following. That exercise in squaring the circle, making it clear that women who are ordained as bishops really are bishops with all the authority of their office –  yet somehow allowing those who do not accept them as bishops to continue to live as though they did not exist — promises to be a fascinating time of prestidigitation. It will be an exceptionally worrying time for our brothers and sisters who want to be able still to say with integrity that "the Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church".

The next day looks like being especially lively. On Tuesday there will have been just two and a half hours for the subject but on Wednesday there will be a much longer time for debate: Except for the few minutes of a report on Standing Orders and a brief time for evening prayer the Synod will debate Women in the Episcopate from 2.30pm until 7pm. During this they will consider a diocesan motion from Manchester and another, much less friendly to Anglo-Catholics, from Southwark.

On Thursday morning, once further additional eucharistic prayers have been considered, 'Women in the Episcopate' will reach its final drafting stage before becoming law. That is unless in some way (perhaps by a failure to obtain a two-thirds majority in each House) the whole thing is put off for another five years.

It is sad to be bringing all this to your attention just as everyone is so excited at the establishment of the American Ordinariate. For us in England, though, it is of great importance. One way or another, it will affect how the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham develops over the next few years. Either it will speed its growth (as I pray it will) or it will provide yet one more line in the sand for the survivors of the Anglo-Catholic Movement to hide behind. They will be waiting once more as many of us have done in the past for something to turn up. So, friends, pray for the Synod, and especially for those who are trying to retain in the C of E a few shreds of its catholic past.

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Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog,
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United Not Absorbed: An English Perspective

In 1925 Dom Lambert Beaduin wrote of L'Eglise Anglicane Unie non Absorbee. It is a marvellous concept, Unity without Absorption, but it is not easily achieved. The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is attempting it, but it is still a work in formation. Some Groups are forging ahead, with good numbers of former Anglicans mostly from single parishes making a coherent body. One of these Groups has even been given the care of a Catholic mass-centre, and is effectively running it as a joint parish for both Ordinarians and Cradle-Catholics (I wish we had better terms than these to describe there two versions of Catholics).

In other places — and Bournemouth where I minister is one such — our numbers are small, gathered from half a dozen different Anglican parishes. My care for this group in my retirement can only be a temporary measure until other former Anglican priests are ordained for the Ordinariate. This does not mean, though, that we are being 'swallowed up' by some imagined ogre-ish Catholic Church of England and Wales. Instead we and the parish whose church building we share are gradually learning to trust each other, working together as and when it is appropriate, working in parallel at other times. With only a couple of dozen members in our Group, we could not sustain a daily Ordinariate Mass. Instead we have settled for one mid-week Mass and one Sunday Morning Mass. At other times we can go to our local catholic parishes.

This week for instance that means I have celebrated the two Ordinariate Masses in Bournemouth, but on other days I have either celebrated or concelebrated in the Catholic Church down the road in Lymington — much nearer for me than the one we share as the Ordinariate. On Thursday I helped with five other priests in the Pastoral Area hearing confessions during a liturgy of Reconciliation. On Christmas day, we are joining with the Bournemouth Parish at Mass, since long before being asked to take on our Group I had arranged to spend a few days with family in South Wales. Our Servers have been invited to help at the Midnight Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace. I hope to be celebrating at the hour in the Catholic Church in Llantwit Major.

The following Sunday, January 1st, our Group will again join the Parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Bournemouth, and this time Fr Gerry, the Parish Priest, has kindly asked me to preach at that 10am Mass.

So in small ways we begin to work together, while keeping a distinctive Anglican ethos at most of our celebrations. What does this mean?  Well, we sing rather more of the Mass that the Parish usually does, and use incense more frequently than they do. Many of our Hymns are from English Hymnal. I am given to understand, too, that our preaching is a bit more substantial than general in Catholic parishes. In time it might also involve our celebrating according to an Ordinariate Use, though no distinctive Missal is yet available — except the "Book of Divine Worship" from America, which we in Bournemouth feel does not answer our need. Other Groups will have found a different balance between parish and Ordinariate worship. No two situations are identical yet we are all involved in finding an appropriate level of cooperation. The Catholic Bishops and their Parish Priests have, in my experience, been unfailingly helpful. We are all trying to be faithful to the Holy Father's vision for an Anglicanism 'united but not absorbed'. We value the prayers of everyone who is encouraging us in this great venture.

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Exeter Ordination

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Crossing Towers of Exeter Cathedral and Sacred Heart on the right

A few hundred yards West of Exeter Cathedral (Anglican) stands the handsome Catholic Parish Church of the Sacred Heart.  There last evening, Fr Paul Andrew, once a Vicar in the Kensington area of London Diocese, was ordained to the priesthood.  There were about forty who laid hands on Fr Paul after Bishop Christopher.  I guess there were eight wearing Ordinariate chasubles but other members of the Ordinariate (among them Fr David Silk) were in diocesan gear, and besides these were many others who had been Anglicans in the past and had taken the 'normal' route into the Catholic Church — a one-time Vicar of St Thomas' Keyham, the parish where I grew up; the Cantor, who trained at St Stephen's House during my time there as Principal; and several others, including Fr Michael Kirkpatrick, now on the staff of Plymouth Cathedral.

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Fr Kirkpatrick (l) and Fr Paul (rt) at the reception

He was priest MC at the Ordination, ensuring that everything went very smoothly.  It was good to be in such a crowd.  The bun-struggle was held at the Pastoral Centre about half a mile from the Church, but most of the congregation seemed to find their way there.  A coach had come all the way from West Cornwall (Fr Paul had been attached to a parish there during his training) and Fr Ivor Morris of the Ordinariate had journeyed from furthest Essex.

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Fr Paul cutting the cake somewhere on the left in the throng

Despite severe damage during the unpleasantness of the 1940s, Exeter retains some fine ancient buildings.  One of them, the White Hart Hotel, provided us with a bed for the night and breakfast.

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Down the Street from the Church: our hostelry

It was once a coaching inn, and although its annexe has a lift, the core of the building remains much as it was centuries ago.  The Church of the Sacred Heart in the same street is built on the site of another mediaeval inn.

Bishop Christopher Budd naturally made a great deal of the choice of day for the Ordination (the Feast of the Immaculate Concepiton of Mary) and of Fr Paul's longstanding devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.

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The new Priest's blessing

Indeed it was in Fatima that I came to know Fr Paul best on a number of Pilgrimages there. It was good that in the Litany of the Saints the two beatified little shepherds of Fatima were invoked, together with John Henry Newman and Pope John Paul II.  For me, great to be back in the diocese of my youth – though the Anglican diocese of Exeter, even before Truro diocese was detached from it, was always a good deal smaller than the present Plymouth Diocese.  In Lymington we are only just over the border in Portsmouth Diocese, yet our journey to Exeter was over a hundred miles; and we could have continued for another hundred West across Cornwall and still been in Plymouth Diocese.  Given a boat or helicopter, another twenty four miles into the North Atlantic would have brought us to the Scilly Isles, still part of the diocese!  How do our Catholic Fathers in God manage with such huge areas to cover?  Trivial, maybe, in Australian or African terms, but in England two hundred miles is half-way across the country.

It seems likely Fr Paul will be in Exeter for a year.  Before those twelve months are over there is likely to be a new Bishop of Plymouth, so who knows where he might find himself for his next assignment?  Life is full of surprises in the Catholic Church.

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Inculturation

The Ordinariates have to remain distinct: yet also they are a part of Catholic life in this country.  So today I joined priests from the Bournemouth, Avon and Stour Pastoral District on their Advent Day of Recollection.

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It was a very happy experience.  There was some input from one of the brethren, Fr Bill Wilson, and everyone seemed ready to contribute to the discussion which his talks provoked.  It seemed a very good way to begin Advent, and we look forward to a similar occasion at the start of Lent.

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We met in very comfortable surroundings, Wisdom House in Romsey.  This occupies part of the site of a one-time French Convent.  It was good to be at home so quickly with fellow priests, only a few of whom I'd met before today.  One though, my namesake Fr Bruce Barnes, worked in the Anglican Diocese of Portsmouth soon after I served my Title there, and it was very good to catch up with him again.

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It is a stone's throw from another former Monastic building, Romsey Abbey.  That church, one of the loveliest in Hampshire, is now the Anglican parish church of the town.  The famous local family is the Mountbattens, and Lord Louis, cousin of the Royal Family, was laid to rest here.

Romsey Interior 756x1024 InculturationPortsmouth Catholic Diocese has created a great facility in Wisdom House, and I look forward to coming here again in the future.

I can't leave Romsey without showing you its greatest jewel, the Rood, which, though much damaged, is still magnificent.  This early representation of the crucifixion pre-dates the distorted suffering figures of the Middle Ages. This Christ is not victim but Victor, his arms spread out to embrace the world, his feet side by side as though he stands erect.  It was the inspiration for the silversmith who created the pectoral cross which I wore as Bishop of Richborough.  To have an opportunity to continue in Ministry in old age is a great privilege — to Christ be the glory!

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A Knight to Remember

Programme 150x150 A Knight to RememberThis evening five of us from the Ordinariate joined a large congregation at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Southbourne (the Church where we now habitually worship) to share in an unusual celebration. The Mass was to install the former Head of St Peter's School as a Knight of the Order of St Gregory the Great.  Fr John Lee, parish priest in Christchurch and Coordinating Pastor for the Avon/Stour pastoral area was principal celebrant.  Since it is unbecoming for concelebrants to take photographs during the Mass, the pictures here are from the bunfight (a very substantial bunfight) in the Hall after Mass.  First up is Anthony McCaffrey himself, recipient of the award.

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Anthony McCaffrey

Fr John Lee is especially highly regarded by us in the Ordinariate, since it was at his Church, St Joseph's in Purewell, Christchurch, that most of us were prepared for reception into the Catholic Church.  He has been immensely kind to our little group.  Here he was caught chatting to a parishioner.

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Fr John Lee chatting with parishioner

For once it was not just the clergy who dressed up; there were Knights and Dames in full fig too, some of whom travelled a long way to support their new brother Knight.  This dame came from beyond Portsmouth for the occasion.

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A Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great

It was great to be made welcome in such an authentically local Catholic occasion, and here (below) you will see some of our Group who clearly enjoyed it hugely.  On Sunday week there is an evening Mass for the Deanery to which we are invited — when word gets around of the quality of refreshments in the Hall this evening, we will expect a very good Ordinariate representation.

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Members of Ordinariate group

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Under Newman's Eye

 

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Reading Oratory School

We met at the Oratory School near Reading, founded by John Henry Newman.  The occasion was a Colloquium, organised by the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy.  I went there, as did a number of other priests of the Ordinariate, not quite knowing what to expect.

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Fraternity

Ever since leaving the Church of England last year, there has been a Society of the Holy Cross-shaped hole in my life.  The SSC was a great support and encouragement to Anglican priests during the dark days of the 1990s, and it had continued to sustain many of us until we joined the Ordinariate.  Did the Catholic Church have anything like this to offer?

John Henry Newman 179x300 Under Newmans Eye By Divine Providence it was just about the time that we were leaving the CofE that the British Province of the Confraternity was being founded.  It came about as a direct response to the Visit of Pope Benedict, and his beatification of Cardinal Newman.  For me, the aims of the Confraternity seemed to echo those of SSC: in brief, Fidelity, Formation and Fraternity.  But how would we ex-Anglicans be received?  I wrote to ask if it would be possible for us to join and attend the Colloquium, and had a very positive welcome.

The welcome at the Oratory School was no less warm.  What is more, I was pleased to find some familiar faces — not just from the Ordinariate, but also the Secretary to our Portsmouth Diocesan Finance Council, Dn Stephen Morgan, and Fr Selvini in whose Anglican Parish we had once conducted a Mission from St Stephen's House.

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Dn Bradley, Fr Elliott & Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett

There were others, too, who had begun their priestly formation at SSH, or had some other past link with Anglicanism.  Of the Ordinariate, Mgr Burnham was present — no doubt to hear Mgr Andrew Wadsworth of the ICEL speaking about the new Translation of the Roman Missal.

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Formation before the Liturgy Lecture

Fr Simon Heans is earning a crust back in teaching, so it was a busman's holiday for him to come to a school during half-term.  Even more this was so for Fr David Elliott who, besides looking after the Reading Ordinariate Group, teaches at the Oratory School.  You probably know, from his blog, that Fr Ed Tomlinson was there from Sevenoaks, and other bloggers are likely to add their own take to the event.  At both Masses during the Conference, Dn James Bradley, photographer extraordinaire and personal Deacon to the Holy Father, did the Ordinariate proud by never putting a foot wrong.  So six of us in a total attendance of fifty was a pretty good representation.  As more of the Ordinariate get to hear about the Confraternity it seems likely that more will sign up — though already there are twenty Ordinariate paid-up members.  Oh, and our Guru from Allen Hall was there too, Fr Stephen Wang.  So it was a very happy occasion.

For me, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury was a huge help, basing his talk on priesthood not just on St Jean-Marie Vianney, the Cure d'Ars, but also on his own pastoral experience.  Mgr Andrew Wadsworth opened up the new translation of the Missal in very revealing ways — how a new, more serious register of language might help in engaging the laity more fully in worship, and how reverting to the ad orientem approach to the Altar might remind us we are worshipping the Almighty, not our local community.

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FIDELITY Bishop Geoffrey

Before we left we heard Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett from Australia, giving us the history of the Confraternity in the antipodes — for our international brotherhood began in the USA, continued in Australia, and has only now reached Britain.  He was prepared to answer, he said, "easy questions" — so Fr Peter Edwards rescued him when a googly was bowled asking his opinion of the English Hierarchy.

In all, a wonderful occasion.  We expressed our Fidelity to the Holy Father and the Magisterium at every turn, but especially in the Liturgy.  We were helped in our Formation by all those who addressed us.  Perhaps above all I welcomed the Fraternity I found, making me feel truly welcome in this part of the Catholic Church.  The Fraternity's web site gives information about future meetings, and about how you can register an interest.  While primarily for Clergy, it is possible for lay people to show their support by becoming Friends of the Confraternity.

The Societas Sanctae Crucis — Society of the Holy  Cross — has a long and fascinating history in England and beyond.  For me, this week's meeting in Reading recalled some of the same spirit as was shown in the early days of SSC.  How good the Lord is, in preparing a way for us.

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No distant scene; one step enough for me. Mist begins to clear at the Oratory School.

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