Hundreds Gather to Give Thanks for Ordinariate's 1st Year

Ordinary Calls for Personal Responsibility to Make Pope’s Vision a Reality

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LONDON, JAN. 17, 2012 ( The first year of the first ordinariate established for Anglican communities who sought full communion with Rome was marked by «much to be joyful and thankful for,» according to the group’s leader. There were also misunderstandings to be addresses, he acknowledged.

Last Sunday marked the first anniversary of the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. On Jan. 15, 2011, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a decree which formally established a Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales for groups of Anglicans and their clergy who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

According to the ordinariate’s Web site, around 500 Catholics and Anglicans gathered to mark the anniversary with solemn evensong, and a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by benediction at St. James, Spanish Place, London.

It was offered up in thanksgiving for the Pope’s decision to allow Anglicans who wish to enter the Catholic Church to retain the use of some of their traditional prayers and liturgy.

During his sermon, the ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton said, «This evening we have much to be joyful and thankful for. For the gifts and spiritual riches of Anglicanism which nurtured our faith; for the warmth of welcome and support we have received from so many Catholics; for the vision, love and faith of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict.»

Monsignor Newton also issued a pastoral letter to mark the anniversary. «A year is not a long time in the life of any institution particularly that of the Catholic Church, but as it was such an historic moment we should not let it pass without reflection,» he said.

«I give thanks to God for your courage and faith sometimes at great personal cost,» the monsignor commented, reflecting on the transition during the past year.

He also thanked the Catholic congregations and individuals who had given their support during the first year of the ordinariate’s existence. 

«There have, of course, been disappointments and setbacks on the way but these have been outweighed by the warmth of the welcome and the knowledge of being in communion with the See of Peter and countless millions across the world,» he continued.


Monsignor Newton acknowledged that there had been some misunderstandings, in part because many Catholics have had no firsthand contact with the ordinariate or the members of it. «It is up to all of us to help people understand and to make a reality the vision that Pope Benedict has set before us, that the ordinariate should be ‘a prophetic gesture’ to contribute to the wider goal of visible unity between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion,» he urged.

The ordinary also announced that more people will be joining the ordinariate in the coming year. He said several groups will enter this Easter and there will also be ordinations to the priesthood around the time of Pentecost.

«We are part of an historic moment in the Church,» Monsignor Newton concluded. «We each have an important part to play in realizing the possibilities and opportunities this year has set before us, remembering that nothing will be achieved without prayer and holiness of life.»

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