This year, 2017, is a Golden Year for the Ordinariate in the UK because our Feast of Title fell on a Sunday. It was marked with special joy for the Deal mission because Patricia was confirmed as a member of the Ordinariate, having been baptised as a Catholic but then not having completed the rites of initiation until now – a blessing (pray God) for her and certainly a blessing for us.
The Entrance Procession, followed by censing the Altar at the Introit
Patricia leads us in the Creed and is anointed with the Oil of Chrism, supported by her sponsor.
After Mass, Our Lady approves and then we all enjoy a glass of something cool and refreshing – an essential part of Anglican Patrimony!
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.
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.
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is a specific ecclesiastical jurisdiction which juridically equivalent to a diocese and is overseen by its own Ordinary (see below) who may be a priest or bishop.
Unlike a diocese, whose membership is on a territorial basis, the membership of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is on a ‘personal’ basis. In other words, no matter where a member of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham lives, within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, they will in the first instance be under the ordinary ecclesial jurisdiction of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and not the diocese where they are territorially based.
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is made up of laity, clergy and religious who were nurtured within the Anglican tradition. Following reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church, laity and religious become members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham by enrolment in a register; with the ordination of priests and deacons, clergy are directly incardinated into (placed under the jurisdiction of) the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are Catholics of the Latin Rite, within the full communion of the Catholic Church. By civil law they are known, as all Catholics in England and Wales are known, as ‘Roman Catholics’. However, their heritage and traditions mean that they are Catholics from the Anglican Tradition.
Members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are no longer part of any other communion (such as the Anglican Communion).
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is not a distinct Ritual Church within the Catholic Church, but a diocese-like structure within the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales.
One of the principal aims of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus is “to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared”. Members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham bring with them, into the full communion of the Catholic Church in all its diversity and richness of liturgical rites and traditions, aspects of their own Anglican patrimony and culture which are consonant with the Catholic Faith.
Anglican patrimony can be understood to be those elements of the Anglican tradition which have sustained and nurtured the faith of those in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. This includes spiritual writings, prayers, music, as well as those pastoral practices distinctive to the Anglican tradition which have sustained the faith and longing of many Anglican faithful for that very unity for which Christ prayed.
The members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham bring gifts to the Catholic Church for mutual enrichment, in an authentic and visible form of full communion, between those baptised and nurtured in the Anglican tradition and the Catholic Church.