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Pilgrimage to Canterbury

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The Ordinariate to Canterbury wends

When in April the sweet showers fall
And pierce the drought of March to the root, and all
The veins are bathed in liquor of such power
As brings about the engendering of the flower,
Then people long to go on pilgrimages
And specially, from every shire’s end
In England, down to Canterbury they wend
To seek the holy blissful martyr, quick
To give his help to them when they were sick.

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Concelebrants vesting, amidst the makings of the Big Picnic Lunch in the oldest Refectory still in continuous use in England.

Following Chaucer and a countless host, The Ordinariate too was on Pilgrimage to Canterbury, not in chilly March or showery April but on Saturday the 13th of July this year.

Our devotional focus was not on the ‘holy blissful martyr’ Thomas but St Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury and Reginald Cardinal Pole, last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Pilgrims gather for Mass on the Chapel of St Augustine’s, among them our distinguished guest speaker Prof Eamon Duffy (wearing the tie!)

Saint Augustine and his companions were sent to England by Pope Saint Gregory the Great, arriving in Thanet in the Year of Our Lord 597.   The Venerable Bede, in his ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’, relates that Augustine and forty companions approached Canterbury, bearing according to their custom as their standard a silver cross and the image of our Lord and Saviour painted on a panel.   Augustine, founded the Monastery of SS Peter and Paul on land given to him by King Ethelbert, where he was to be buried in the Abbey renamed for him.

Reginald Pole was born in 1500, claiming descent through his mother from the Plantagenet royal family.   He was educated at Oxford and Padua and held ecclesiastical office under Henry VIII, but fled to Europe over the King’s ‘great matter’.   He returned to England as Cardinal and Papal Legate at the start of the reign of Queen Mary.   He became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1556, being ordained priest two days before his enthronement.   Cardinal Pole died in London in 1558, a few hours before Queen Mary; he is buried in the Corona of Canterbury Cathedral.

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Mgr Keith Newton, our Ordinary, preaches a short homily at the Pilgrimage Mass
Read the text of his Homily here

A Votive Mass, in honour of St Augustine, began the Ordinariate Pilgrimage at St Augustine’s Abbey.   After Mass, a Big Picnic Lunch was also at St Augustine’s Abbey.   The Pilgrimage then moved on to Canterbury Cathedral and ‘Reginald Pole : a Counter-Reformation Prince in Reformation England’, an Address by the celebrated academic and author Professor Eamon Duffy.


Professor Duffy is internationally known for his work on the history of late medieval and early-modern popular religious belief and practice; he has done much to overturn the popular image of late-medieval Catholicism in England as moribund, presenting it as a vibrant cultural force.

Listen to Prof Duffy’s Address here


Ordinariate pilgrims then joined the Cathedral congregation for Choral Evensong, and finally Devotions at the Tomb of Cardinal Pole, were led by the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton.


On Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent 2017, members of the Deal Mission of the Ordinariate welcomed new member the Rev. Ian Shackleton.

After many years ministering to our separated brothers and sisters, Ian decided that it was time to seek the fullness of communion in the Catholic Church, through the auspices of the Ordinariate in East Kent.

Ian was received and confirmed by Mission Pastor Fr Christopher Lindlar and sponsored by Deal Mission member Paul Harrison.


The Profession of Faith


Confirmation and anointing with the Oil of Chrism


Safely gathered in!


New Ordinariate member Ian Shackleton with Paul his sponsor and Fr Christopher, all under the maternal gaze of Our Lady.


Why Join the Ordinariate? Part1.

Back in August 2017, in a piece for the Catholic Herald website titled ‘Let’s show High Church Anglicans they’re welcome in the Ordinariate’, Francis Phillips commented on a visit to a ‘High Church’ Anglican church and wondered why, given all the evidence of an outwardly firm Catholic faith, the folk there did not join the Ordinariate.

The following week, also on the Catholic Herald website, Andrew Sabisky proposed that aside from theological reasons there were ‘practical and immediate reasons’ why he and other Anglo-Catholics might not join the Ordinariate;  he gave four such reasons.

First, he cites “flying bishops” operating “church within a church” structures as ‘growing and flourishing’, offering shelter and likely to ‘become even more powerful over time’.

This is a superficially attractive proposition but it must fail the test of communion.   This particular “church within a church” comprises folk who are in communion with each other but not in communion with the organisation of which they are a part.   Essentially, the smaller group is defined by dis-unity, the absence of that unity for which Jesus prayed  –  diversity in disunity.

The Ordinariate provides the fix to that problem:  diversity in unity. The Ordinariate is a distinct part of the multifaceted thing called the Catholic Church.   The Ordinariate brings into the Catholic Church those elements of the Anglican tradition that are consistent with the faith once given to the saints, as a ‘treasure to be shared’, and holds them with and for the Church within which members of the Ordinariate find unity and communion, the very thing for which Jesus prayed.

The Ordinariate visits Ramsgate

OOLW at R'gate

On a perfect day in June 2017, folk from the Ordinariate Missions in Deal, Folkestone, Maidstone, Pembury and Sevenoaks  –  together with friends from London and North of the River  –  travelled to Ramsgate and to the National Shrine of St Augustine.   Solemn Mass was celebrated according to the Ordinariate Use, in the beautifully restored Shrine Church  –  the masterpiece of AW Pugin.   The photo shows pilgrims, concelebrating clergy and Fr Holden the Shrine Rector (2nd from right).   After Mass, a Big Picnic Lunch was taken over the road in the former Abbey grounds, now the Divine Retreat Centre.   The day ended with an Address from Fr Holden about St Augustine, the New Evangelisation and the Ordinariate, followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.   A good day was had by all;  friendships made and renewed, the Faith proclaimed and re-affirmed.