Exeter Ordination

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Something to Be Thankful for

As my family and I begin to prepare for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, we also begin to think of everything that God has done to us and for us over the last year. He provides us what we need every day. He leads us in righteousness. He sanctifies our hearts. He grants us new friends. He teaches us how to worship Him. We all have much to be thankful for, but this year the ecclesiastical blessings seem to outweigh all others.

Above all things, what should stand out for each of us who are waiting to enter an Ordinariate is the blessing of truth. I have some relatives who not only do not understand the Catholic Church, they do not understand the Christian faith in any form. I know people who show a sincere and deep love for the Lord, but they are vehemently against anything that is even similar to Catholicism. I know Anglicans who think I have gone crazy and am leaving my Anglican heritage by heading to the Ordinariate. I had a Muslim friend years ago who once told me, "You're my friend, but if my Imam told me to, I would kill you in a second for the glory of Allah". Two days ago, while having lunch with my family in a local restaurant, I received one of those angry stares that catches you off guard (I was not sure if it was the collar alone, or something else, but there was clear hatred in those eyes). There is blindness in every direction.

Yet, here we are; we who see the light of God's truth and are ready to submit ourselves to Holy Mother Church. In America we await the establishment of the Ordinariate in just a few weeks, and we are (as has been said many times) on the cusp of a truly historical moment. We are those who have experienced the gospel in its fullness. Whether it happened in your infant years when you were baptized, or later as an adult, the truth has come and we have been set free of this fallen world. Who are we to have been blessed like this? The purpose of the Church is as Jesus told it to the Apostle Paul: to reach out to the lost and "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" (Acts 26:18). We are those who have been drawn to the Church. Cradle Catholics, Anglo-Catholics who are returning home, or converts from Protestantism, we have all been given the light, and for this we need to express thanks.

We have received grace to come to the truth of Catholicism. In whatever way it happened, and at whatever time in our lives, it has come as a blessing from God. Jesus opens our eyes so that we can see Him. He teaches us His truth so that we can receive Him in His Church. Let us all remember that this, above all else, is what we have to be thankful for. God has given us His Son, and helped us to believe all that He tells us, and that should fill each of us with a desire to give Him thanks. To all, in whatever country you are in: Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Under Newman's Eye


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.


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?

 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Msgr. Burnham: Liturgical Patrimony

This is published on the Ordinariate Portal:

Monsignor Andrew Burnham of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham gave this paper on Saturday 15 October 2011 to the Association for Latin Liturgy meeting at St Mary Magdalen, Brighton. The text is reproduced here:

The Liturgical Patrimony of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Reform of the Reform

This paper is in two parts. I suspect that some of those I am addressing are particularly interested in what is already happening in the first of the Ordinariates, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (OOLW). That is the subject of the first part of the lecture. The second part will be of interest to those, especially those in the Association for Latin Liturgy, and indeed many in the Latin Mass Society – and I do know the difference – who are anxious to see the preservation of a cultural patrimony much wider and deeper than that of the Anglican tradition. So, to begin with, and to justify the decision of the organizers of this event to invite me to address you, let me immediately identify myself with, and make common cause with, the aims of the Association for Latin Liturgy. We are keen ‘to promote understanding of the theological, pastoral and spiritual qualities of the liturgy in Latin’. We seek ‘to preserve the sacredness and dignity of the Roman rite’. We are anxious ‘to secure, for the present and future generations, the Church’s unique inheritance of liturgical music’. I don’t know if reciting those aims automatically enrols me in the Association but, if I have to sign something and pay a subscription as well, I shall be only too glad to oblige. I spent too long as a practising musician not to agree with these aims: I think a classical musician who wished to dissent from these aims would have to become a fan of Bartok or Delius or a member of the Nazi party to escape from the overwhelming beauty of the Catholic repertoire of liturgical music. To come to the point: the second part of my reflection will be on what is normally referred to as ‘the reform of the Reform’, and I shall come to that when I have shared some thoughts on the liturgical formation of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

1. Liturgical Formation of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

As the groups take shape and begin to establish a pattern of liturgical life, it is probably worth setting down a few thoughts about what is – or might soon be – going on. The setting down of these thoughts has no more authority than whatever is self-evidently sensible within them, and may be more or less influential on what develops and how it develops, depending on circumstances well beyond my control. Much of what I have to say is about music: the liturgy itself is a given but how it is celebrated, and in particular how it is said and sung, accompanied and adorned, depends on a number of significant choices.

Ordinariate Use

Though we now have provisional unpublished resources for the Office as it may be used in the OOLW, and the supporting calendar and lectionary material, and the marriage and funeral services, we have yet to publish the large collection of post-biblical readings. The Office and the marriage and funeral services can be accessed from existing Anglican material and the Book of Divine Worship, with a steer as to what should and should not be used. The calendar and lectionary material will be published by the Ordinariate, and involves no complications of copyright. It is the large collection of post-biblical readings which will need to be published and we hope that this will happen in Spring 2012. Meanwhile it will be the task of the inter-dicasterial commission being set up this autumn to seek recognitio for the provisional resources and endeavour to produce an Order of Mass, suitable, if possible, for international use by those who have come from the Anglican tradition. The aim is to achieve this within three years. So, broadly speaking, Ordinariate groups and parishes, over the next three years at least, will be using the Roman Missal for Mass and the Ordinariate Use for the public celebration of the Divine Office, and for marriages and funerals.

Prayer Book Texts

Whilst permission for use of material ad interim has been granted by the CDF and CDW, there could be specific directives, from time to time, modifying what is permitted. One such directive might cover the use of the Ordinary of the Mass, which some would like sung to Merbecke or some other setting, as found in the Prayer Book tradition. There is a continuing facility to use the Book of Divine Worship, but not to import texts from that book into masses celebrated according to the Roman Missal. Use of the Book of Divine Worship is complicated not only by it being North American in origin, and containing therefore much that is different from our own experience, but also because of some necessary restrictions placed on its use. For one thing, certainly as regards the OOLW, only the traditional language (‘Rite One’) services may be used. For another, the Roman words of consecration, as found in the new English translation of the Roman Missal, must be used in place of whatever is there, even in the so-called Coverdale version of the Canon.


We are at an interim stage as regards ceremonial. The CDW is preparing an instruction for us, at the request of our working party, detailing what is permissible within the framework of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM). This is likely to commend eastward celebration, when the dynamic of the building suggests it, and may even commend such practices as kneeling for the Incarnatus. We shall have to see, but it is important for us to realise that, though most of us are thoroughly attuned to the same ceremonial style and language as are used in most Catholic churches in England and Wales, there are many overseas who are very anxious indeed about being required to abandon traditional ceremonial and indeed traditional words.

A Liturgical Patrimony

How, then, do we establish a liturgical patrimony, a distinctive feel to the services we celebrate? We need to be careful of what has been called ‘effortless Anglican superiority’, the assumption that whatever we do is rather better than what others do. For one thing, our little groups usually have more to learn than they have to teach as they interact often with large and flourishing congregations. For another, in some dioceses there are so many ex-Anglican priests at work that, even if we were some kind of leaven, the lump had plenty of that kind of leaven already. And yet we do bring some gifts. Solemn Evensong and Benediction is widely recognised – not least by the Holy Father himself – as a gift that we are bringing. The marriage and funeral rites are similarly a gift: the marriage rite itself is a direct descendant of the mediæval marriage rite of England. We also bring a sense of the ‘solemn mass on Sundays’ (even if the numbering attending it in our Anglican days seldom reached three figures). The Catholic mass culture is a ‘low mass’ culture, and, in many parishes, however much singing is done, there is nothing that could be easily identified as a ‘solemn mass’ on Sundays. The new missal is tackling this, by integrating the priest’s singing part into the main text, and there are instructions, from time to time, about the importance of plainsong.

Singing the Mass

The main gift we shall bring to eucharistic celebration, I believe, may be paradoxical. It may be the way in which we approach the new translation of the Order of Mass and the way we set about celebrating it. Former Anglicans will mostly not be unnerved by the singing of the Mass, the prayers and, in appropriate circumstances, the readings. It will require a great deal of hard work: it will not do simply to approximate the singing to some sort of half-remembered oral tradition, as we have long done. My experience in Oxford, with a group of about thirty, is that, with the notes, the congregation managed Missa de Angelis in Greek and Latin in Easter time, and Credo III in Latin (sung alternatim) and has also managed to learn what I am calling Missa simplex, the very manageable setting in the new Roman Missal. They have also managed Credo I in English. We shall be looking for a third setting, which is neither fancy Latin for feast days, nor plain English for green Sundays, but that will be about as much as we need. That third setting may be a modern setting though, so far, none has emerged which commends itself. Meanwhile we have the services in Oxford of the Newman Consort, a small group of expert singers, whose mandate is to point up the solemnity of a particular occasion by singing parts of the Ordinary to polyphony and by singing, from time to time, a motet at the beginning of the Offertory, and an Agnus Dei or a motet at the Communion. Last weekend we had the Byrd Four-part for the Newman Pilgrimage at Littlemore and the Byrd Five-part for the Oxford Ordinariate’s Vigil Mass.

Cultures and the Ordinary of the Mass

One of the challenges of the future indeed is what to do about modern settings. These are being controlled very carefully, by way of copyright restriction, by the Catholic Bishops’ Liturgy Committee, we understand. There is a strong desire to drive out cheap and meretricious settings of the Mass, and to ban all paraphrases. Whatever musical provision is made for ‘folk’ or ‘rock’ or ‘youth’ masses, in the Pope’s view it should not be the Ordinary of the Mass that is set to popular music or adapted to popular songs. These settings should be in some sense classics, as indeed the plainsong chant settings are. As regards settings from a distinctive Anglican background, we have discovered, after unconvincing attempts to adapt it, that it is probably a good idea to preserve John Merbecke for the traditional prayer book texts, once we have permission to use them. Merbecke, after all, was setting these texts in 1550, when they were contemporary. Though the Martin Shaw ‘Anglican Folk Mass’, a twentieth century setting in an idiom which resembles both plainsong and folk song, sets the traditional texts, we have found that it also adapts well to the new English texts. The work has been done and we await copyright permission.

Creed and Lord’s Prayer

There are a number of decisions to be made. One concerns the use of the Creed. The rubrics permit the use of the Apostles’ Creed, and whether that becomes the vehicle for catechesis in Lent may depend on how well it is known and used at other times. Within the Anglican tradition historically there would have been nothing to be gained by using the Apostles’ Creed at the Eucharist, because it was used twice a day in the Office. In the modern Catholic tradition, if the Apostles’ Creed is not used at Mass, then it is likely to fall into disuse, except where there is a devotion to the Rosary. Where the Nicene Creed is used (and, of course, it usually is), some reflection is needed on whether it should be said or sung. The Oxford plan at present is to say it occasionally but usually to sing it – to the modern English setting of Credo I in the Roman Missal in the green season and to the Latin of Credo III in Eastertide and on solemnities and feasts.

The new version of the solemn tone of the Lord’s Prayer in the Roman Missal is, in my view, similar to but less felicitous than the setting long used by Anglo-catholics. That might indicate the need to stay with an established use, but there is a risk in that which we will explore shortly. As with the Creed, there are three clear pathways which suggest themselves. The festal one is the use of the Rimsky-Korsakov setting. When I first came across this, I was unconvinced: what place has a piece of Byzantine chant in the Western context of the Roman Mass? Soon, haunted by its beauty, I glimpsed the profound symbolism of a Byzantine gem at the heart of the Roman Mass, as significant in its way as the use of the Greek text of Kyrie eleison. This can be particularly poignant in a plainsong mass: suddenly there is this moment of four-part congregational singing as the mass reaches its climax. I reflected too on the popularity of the Russian Contakion of the Departed (English Hymnal 744), a piece no less disjunctive in the context of a Western rite requiem. For green Sundays there might well be the setting of John Merbecke, which is clearly, in style, a ‘simple tone’ version of a plainchant original. Then there is the saying of the Lord’s Prayer, rather than the singing of it. This everyday use might never commend itself for the Sung Mass but circumstances vary.

Idiosyncratic Settings

The music J S Bach composed for St Thomas, Leipzig, is a constant reminder that local composition and performance is more than a local enrichment. There will always be a place for local composition and performance but it would be fair to assume that most things produced locally are likely to be of limited value. There is also a sense in which the Ordinary of the Mass is something to be shared, something familiar to come across as one goes from place to place, something to be roared out by a crowd in St Peter’s Square. In short, the local organist’s anthem, or hymn descant, or psalm chant, is probably to be encouraged more than his or her mass setting. The Church needs some interchangeability and transferability and the risk of losing that is acute if idiosyncratic settings are preferred. Thus, even if the new solemn tone for the Lord’s Prayer is less good than an older version, it nonetheless has wider currency. The problem is more acute with translations of plainsong settings. Missa simplex is available both in the original languages and in translation. It is to be hoped that all plainsong masses available in translation will be standard: changes in underlay and melismata, and even notes, from place to place, would achieve nothing for the corporate life of the Church.

Propers, Psalms and Hymns

There is no space here to expound how integral psalmody is to the celebration of the Mass: much of the psalter was inextricably bound up with the temple cultus and that tradition has sometimes all but disappeared but in the end has remained. Few groups and parishes will take on the provision of the Graduale Romanum, which best suits abbeys and cathedrals, and the Graduale Simplex has never really taken hold. Coming soon is a Graduale Parvum, which will have Latin and English texts, and there are other excellent resources emerging. Adam Bartlett’s Simple English Propers came out this year and uses the texts of the Graduale Romanum translated into the English of the Revised Grail Psalter. In Oxford we have made extensive use of the simple tones of the English Gradual – the old Wantage collection, where the tones are the same every week but only the text changes – but using the actual texts of the Roman Missal.

These resources should be explored fully within the Ordinariate, whose groups often have the aptitude and resources for the task. The standard collections of responsorial psalms were just a beginning. Sometimes the most effective place to start is the metrical psalm. Until the Oxford Movement the nearest thing to hymn singing in the Church of England was the metrical psalm and a tenth of the metrical psalter has survived in the form of well-known hymns: psalms 17, 23, 26, 34, 46, 67, 72, 87, 90, 100, 103,104, 122, 136, 148, 150. To begin Mass with one of these metrical psalms is to recover and integrate several significant traditions – psalmody, hymnody, the Anglican tradition of metrical psalms, the place of psalmody in the cultus. The more adventurous will find, in Christoph Tietze’s Hymn Introits for the Liturgical Year a much wider selection of possibilities, many of which are patient of being set to well-known tunes. (For the Vigil Mass of the Assumption, for example, there is a metrical setting of Psalm 45 to the tune of the Christmas carol, Gabriel’s Message, and with the refrain ‘Most highly favoured Lady. Gloria!’ That was useful too for the Ordinariate’s solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham)

Hymns themselves often displace the texts of propers and it is worth pondering just what it is that former Anglicans bring to this. I would suggest that it is something between the Wesleyan tradition of building liturgy on hymnody – where the texts of the hymns are the building blocks of the liturgy of the day – and the modern Catholic fashion for having suitable musical interludes in a ‘said mass’. The Anglican tradition could be summed up as singing appropriate words, to tunes of the appropriate mood, for an appropriate length of time at the points in the service where, in the Catholic tradition, the propers are otherwise sited. Hymns not only enable people to join in but, as the hymn boards often show, are a somewhat prolix strategy for keeping people engaged and quiet at various times. Perhaps a creative liturgical patrimony will re-learn from the Wesleyans the art of tailoring text to theme and from the Catholics that two or three hymns will suffice and that half a dozen and more is several too many. We have to learn the lesson still that over-lengthy services are the result of too much hymn singing.

Musical Accompaniment

Music may well be the bicycle of the liturgy, as the late Thurston Dart used to say, but groups and parishes will sometimes struggle to find musicians. The instinct is to look for an organist and, failing that, a pianist, and to count oneself fortunate indeed if there is a music group. More necessary than any of these, arguably, is a good cantor, someone who can sing the solo parts and lead the singing of the congregation. Accompaniment is sometimes thought necessary to support small numbers but it could in truth be the large congregations which really need the playing of the merry organ. The full nave of a cathedral needs organo pleno. A congregation of a few dozen can be led by a singer or a strong flautist.

A Distinct Style

We have dwelt on the musical issues at some length, and I hope that the little group of musicians who are consulting one another about all this will be a helpful resource. There is so much bad practice that could be imported if we are not all vigilant. Moreover, the risk is that so much of what we have done has been contemporary Catholic worship on a much smaller scale. There is a real risk, that is, that the lunchtime or afternoon Ordinariate Mass will be the poor relation not just in timing to whatever goes on normally in a particular church.

Interaction and Assimilation

It is much too early to tell whether Anglicanorum cœtibus will result in something large, vibrant and new within the Church, or whether it will have been – and remain – a friendly crossing point, a part of the river which is not too deep. Certainly there will be an enormous amount of interaction and assimilation, as clergy from the Ordinariate work in and serve Catholic parishes and Catholic institutions, as congregations mingle and merge. There will be fear of the consequences of interaction and assimilation but, in truth, the survival of the Ordinariate, and its growing strong and prospering, will rely almost entirely on the vibrancy of the liturgical and parochial life it engenders. In short, we have nothing to fear from others, from helping them and from them helping us, but plenty to fear from not rising to the challenge of developing our own culture and patrimony.

Continue reading "Msgr. Burnham: Liturgical Patrimony"

Mary and the Patrimony

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of the Rosary at St Anne's Brockenhurst — what could former Anglicans add to that from our Patrimony?  A church dedicated to the Mother of the Lord, and a Mass of Our Lady.  Well, at the end of this morning's Mass I began singing the Angelus and found I was operating solo.  It was a great surprise to me that the tone I supposed everyone knew was unfamiliar to a Catholic congregation.  They were very kind, though, and even said they would like to learn it!  This just confirmed a conversation I'd had a few days ago.  'We thought', said this cradle Catholic, 'that the Church of England disliked such Roman things as "praying to the Virgin Mary" — yet we find you are far more Marian than we are!'  The truth is, Anglo-Catholics have had to fight for a proper place to be given to the Mother of Our Lord — and in doing so we have probably become 'more Catholic than the Pope'.  Now that we are in Communion with the Holy Father, we no longer have to fight in that way.

But it is still surprising to find that part of the Patrimony we are bringing with us is devotion to Our Lady.  At our Ordinariate Mass on Sundays in Southbourne, we end by singing the Angelus — and again, those who join us from the Parish congregation seem delighted that we are using something which once was so familiar to them, but has largely been neglected in recent years.

I believe Our Lady has a great concern for the Ordinariate.  The first of them here in England is dedicated to her under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham.  For me, the process began years back, when we started the Ecumenical Friends of Fatima (EFFA), and I was asked to lead Pilgrimages there.  At the end of the Procession on May 13th, the Bishop of Leiria/Fatima generally calls four or five bishops forward.  The crown is removed from the Image of Our Lady, and these bishops are invited to touch the Spina, the bullet set in the top of the crown.  On our first visit it was intensely moving that Bishop Seraphim included me, an Anglican bishop, in that little group.  The bullet was the one which had so nearly killed the Holy Father; that attack had happened on May 13th, the anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady in Fatima.  In thanksgiving, the Pope gave the bullet to the shrine.  It might seem a curious gift, but Mary's protection was something John Paul II valued hugely.

In all her conversations with the Little Shepherds, Our Lady emphasised the importance of praying the Rosary.  Our Anglican Group, EFFA, has taken this call to prayer very seriously, and each day our seventy or so members pray one of the Mysteries in turn, asking Our Lady's prayers for others in the Association.  Those prayers are still being answered.  So far, thirty of us have come into Communion with the See of Rome.  Perhaps part of our Patrimony involves reminding our fellow Catholics that Mary is Mother of us all, and calls us all to prayer with her.

Divine Worship

St Agatha's High Altar

In the time before our distinctively "Anglican" rite is approved and published by the Holy See, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has permission to use the Book of Divine Worship of the American Anglican Use.

Concelebrants Fr Jonathan & Edwin

Today, for the first time since my visit to Texas back before Easter, I was able to concelebrate Mass using those Anglican cadences.

At the end of Mass

Fr Jonathan Redvers-Harris is Pastor to the Ordinariate Group which is based in Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.  As if this were not enough, he also cares for a number of people on the Mainland (half an hour's ferry trip from  Ryde).  It was especially good to discover today two old Portsmouth friends who were not in the 'first wave' but who will soon be received into the Catholic Church and the Ordinariate.  We were celebrating Mass in a historic building which narrowly escaped demolition in the vandalism which harmed much of Portsmouth after the War.  It was as though what the Germans had left untouched, the City Fathers would raze to the ground.  St Agatha's was a famous Anglo-Catholic bastion, where Fr Robert Dolling had done battle with the Brewers and the brothel-owners of his slum parish — but eventually had to resign when his bishop would not support him any longer.  He had committed the unforgiveable sin of introducing a Requiem Altar where prayer might be said for the Dead.  Soon after the end of WWII, the Dockyard was extended and St Agatha's found itself within the Naval enclave.  Not much later, the Royal Navy began its long decline, and St Agatha's, which had been a storehouse, was redundant.  It was threatened with demolition, but in the end was spared, albeit much damaged.

Fr Maunder & Parishioner

More recently Fr Maunder of the TAC has been able to restore the Church for Christian Worship, and has retrieved many of the treasures of St Agatha's which had been given away — most recently he has reclaimed furnishings given to a hospital chapel which, in its turn, has become disused.  So it was in a chapel on the north side of the Church that we gathered today, a couple of dozen of us, to sing a Mass of St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower.

Triptych of Our Lady of Walsingham, a gift to the Ryde/Portsmouth Ordinariate

The whole event seemed to me a parable of what the Holy Father has set in motion through Anglicanorum  Coetibus.  Worship is restored in a fully Catholic Rite, but using much of our Anglican Patrimony.  The physical setting, the music, the liturgy had a grave splendour in tune with much of what the Holy Father has had to say about worship.  And after Mass there was joyful fellowship across the present impairments to communion.  It is likely there will be future celebrations by the Ordinariate in this TAC Church — the next probably at 12.15 on Saturday October 29th — and we are praying for the TAC, that their appeal to Rome might also find favour and lead us into complete unity with them.  The presence of Fr Maunder and also Bishop Robert Mercer CR, together with some of their faithful, was a delight to us all, and it was good to be able to have some conversation with them over lunch — generously provided by St Agatha's.  Please continue to pray for them, and for our little Ordinariate Groups, that they might flourish and, in due course, be transformed into fully functioning Parishes of the Catholic Church.

(Further comment and pictures may be found on the Ancient Richborough blog.)

A Visit from Head Office

Cardinal Levada at Allen Hall

Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the CDF, visited the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham over the last two days. Yesterday evening there was a reception for the Friends of the Ordinariate (and we do have some very influential friends, it seems).  We met in the Archbishop of Westminster's house, and a very happy evening it proved.  Mgr Keith stressed to us all the financial needs of the Ordinariate, and all attending were encouraged to do what they could to help with the initial funding of this amazing experiment.

Today, Cardinal Levada gave us more of his time, speaking to all the recently ordained priests and giving us an overview of how Rome expects us to evangelise and grow.  He spent half an hour fielding some very difficult questions from us — could he help us discern just where the line was to be drawn between being too separate from the rest of the Catholic world, and simply being subsumed into the English diocesan systems?  The Catholic Church welcomed the gifts we were bringing with us; but were our wives simply to be tolerated, or were they indeed treasures which the whole Church needed to welcome?  Did not a married priesthood make chosen celibacy all the more highly valued?

Attentive Monsignori: Broadhurst and Newton

Allen Hall pulled out every stop, and we celebrated a very happy Mass of the Archangels (for it is Michaelmas Day) and the Seminary also laid on a splendid lunch which we enjoyed in the warmth of the late-summer garden.  The Cardinal's visit was a great boost to us all, a reminder that the Holy Father expects great things from us, and that we must not disappoint him.

The Cardinal at lunch in the garden

We returned to our separate corners of the Vineyard — as far scattered as St Austell in the Southwest and Deal in the Southeast, the Isle of Wight in the balmly waters of the English Channel, and bracing Inverness on the northeast coast of Scotland — all of us determined to pray more intently, to work harder, and to seek to make the Ordinariate an effective instrument in the conversion of England, and the Unity of Christ's Church.

Toronto Ordinariate Group

The Anglican Ordinariate Group of Toronto will resume meetings on Sundays 2-4 pm at the Newman Centre (89 St George Street ), starting Sunday 11 September, and beginning with Evening Prayer in the chapel.

For more information, go to the group's website.

An Old/New Community, Ordinariate-Bound!

Christ our Good Shepherd has entrusted some of His faithful childen to the particular spiritual care of Blessed John Henry Newman, with the organization of a community dedicated to the beatified convert and cardinal.

Comprised of people who were part of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, the Fellowship of Blessed John Henry Newman, under the leadership of Bishop David Moyer, is an Ordinariate-bound community of Anglicans, and they will celebrate their inaugural Mass this Sunday, September 4th, at 10 a.m. The location and other details can be found at the website, and if you are in the Philadelphia area, you would be most welcome.

Please pray for Bishop Moyer and the members of the Fellowship as they prepare to take their place in the U. S. Ordinariate as soon as it is established.

Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach

Fr Scott Hurd on Forgiveness

The Dominican Sisters along the road from us at Sway have been very busy.  Today, Bank Holiday Monday, they were serving cream teas to their friends and supporters, but all last week they hosted a youth camp.  There were around a hundred participants, mostly from nearby parishes but some from as far as Liverpool.  On Wednesday, for the celebration of Reconciliation, they drafted in a dozen or so priests — among them me.  For a long while in the Church of England we (in the ‘catholic wing’) taught about confession, but it was not widely used.  We consoled ourselves with the mantra “All may, none must, some should" … which sometimes seemed more like “All should, few do, most don’t”. So at the Priory it was good to see confession and absolution being treated in such a matter-of-fact way, and the priest leading the worship at the camp was very positive.  No sackcloth and ashes, much more a welcome home from the Father, who already knows all about us; and the priest is simply an instrument, handing on to our Father, forgiving on the Father’s behalf.  It was a lovely occasion, meeting these young people as dusk fell, and a couple of candles gave a dim light in the tent where I was functioning.

Then on the doormat at home arrived a book from the USA, “Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach”, which has reinforced the blessings I had received by hearing children’s confessions.

Now I should declare an interest.  The author, Fr Scott Hurd, was a student in St Stephen’s House during my time as Principal.  But this will not, I hope, distort anything I say about his book.  It will simply give me another source of pride — which no doubt I shall have to confess some time — that one more of our Seminarians has blossomed (dare I boast of such other luminaries as Bishop Jonathan Baker, Fr Philip North, The Ven. Luke Miller?  To say nothing of countless other priests, some Catholics, some Anglicans, faithfully getting on with the job of being a servant for the people of God.

For too many people, Fr Hurd says, “to walk with God is to walk on eggshells.  Confession isn’t a joy-filled reconciliation of a friendship, but a stay of execution”.  Joy-filled reconciliation is what the youngsters experienced, I believe, at St Dominic’s Priory, and it is what Fr Hurd is trying to help us find.

He writes of forgiveness as a journey towards God.  We need to forgive one another; we need to forgive ourselves, we need to accept that we are forgiven.  In the Appendix to this little book he lists ten steps towards forgiveness.  If you follow Fr Hurd’s blog and read his sermons, you will already know how practical is his teaching, how apposite the examples he gives.  This book could be an encouragement to anyone on the Christian journey; but perhaps is is particularly helpful for those of us who belong, or seek to belong, to the Ordinariate.  It might be especially helpful for study within groups of Christians, as we learn to offer and receive forgiveness.  Fr Hurd has himself moved from the Anglican to the Roman Communion.  And, whether I need confess it or not, I am proud of him.  You will realise the cause of that pride if you read this book — for surely to forgive and to be forgiven is at the heart of our Christian faith?

Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach. 122 pp Paperback. R Scott Hurd. Published by Pauline Books and Media. $9.95 in the US. ISBN 081982691X.