UK Ordinariate Holds Its First Ever Festival

Event Was «Resounding Success», May Take Place Annually

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Members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham from the length and breadth of Britain were in London over the weekend of 19-21 September for the Ordinariate’s first ever festival.

The main events centered around Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 20 September, celebrated by the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, assisted by some 40 members of the Ordinariate clergy. Mgr Newton also preached.

The Ordinariate is the structure established by Pope Benedict in 2011 which allows former Anglicans who wish to become Catholics to do so, in groups with their clergy, bringing with them those aspects of their Anglican traditions and patrimony that are compatible with Catholic teaching.

Saturday’s Mass was preceded by presentations in the Cathedral Hall from the Darlington, Eastbourne and Torbay Ordinariate groups on the theme: Who are we? Where are we? What are we doing? as well as one from Joanna Bogle of the Ladies’ Ordinariate Group. Fr David Lashbrooke, leader of the Torbay Ordinariate, unveiled his group’s plans to buy a redundant Methodist church where it hopes to establish a centre for worship, teaching, fellowship and outreach. «It will be a wonderful place of witness» he said.

The keynote addresses were in the afternoon. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the guest of honour, told the gathering that his prayer for the Ordinariate was that «it would be shaped by a rigorous search for that which serves to draw people today closer to the Lord in prayer, in liturgy and in service». Mgr Andrew Burnham, Assistant to the Ordinary, who is on the liturgical commission set up by the Holy See to devise the texts for use by the ordinariates, outlined the stage that had been reached in the process of forming the Ordinariate liturgy. The final address was from the Ordinary, who spoke of the unique vocation of the Ordinariate and of the importance of all its members working together «to bring to reality the full potential of the gift given to them by the Holy See».

Other events of the festival included a talk on the evening of Friday 19 September at the Ordinariate’s central church, Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, by the Catholic journalist and author Dr William Oddie, who was an Anglican priest before he converted to Catholicism 25 years ago.  Dr Oddie said the Ordinariate was a “wonderful gift» and recounted how a particular joy for him, at his first experience of the Ordinariate’s new liturgy, was singing the composer, John Merbecke’s creed, which «all came back as if it was yesterday, and it was a wonderfully moving experience».  The talk was followed by a reception in the crypt.

There was also a reception organised by the Ladies’ Ordinariate Group at the Church of the Most precious Blood, Borough on Saturday evening (20 September), attended by the Ordinary and Mrs Gill Newton, guests from various Ordinariate groups from across Britain, and from Catholic organisations including the Catenians, the Towards Advent Festival and the Knights of St Columba.

The festivities ended on Sunday (21 September) at Warwick Street with Mass celebrated by the Ordinary, assisted by Ordinariate priests from England, Scotland and Wales. The Mass was offered according to the Ordinariate Use and the setting was composed by the Ordinariate parish priest at Warwick Street, Fr Mark Elliott Smith, who played the organ. The guest preacher was Fr Warren Tange, a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter in the United States. The Mass was followed by a farewell reception.

Mgr Newton thanked the organising committee and said he thought the festival had been “a resounding success”. There was general approval for his suggestion that it should become an annual event.


Pictures of the festival are available here:

Friday evening 19 September (William Oddie talk):         

Saturday morning 20 September  (Presentations from groups in Westminster Cathedral Hall):

Saturday afternoon: (Mass at Westminster Cathedral and keynote addresses in the hall):

The keynote addresses are available in text and audio form on the Ordinariate website, along with further details, here:]  

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