Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lent and Our Lady of Walsingham

This Lent is a special season for those awaiting entrance to the Catholic Church this Easter for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. According to this blog, which updates the status of the Ordinariate regularly, as of this Ash Wednesday,

Research by The Tablet found that at least 600 laity are planning to join the ordinariate and latest predictions suggest they will be joined by up to 60 clergy. Among them is Fr Ian Hellyer, a father of eight, from Bovey Tracey in Devon. It has also emerged that a church in Euston has been offered to the ordinariate. A spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said that St Anne’s, Laxton Place, which is currently closed, is being considered for the central London group. He added that a principal church for the Ordinariate had yet to be identified.

On her EWTN blog, Joanna Bogle reports:

On Ash Wednesday, as Lent begins, the groups entering the Ordinariate begin a “Eucharistic fast,” attending Mass each Sunday – and weekdays too of course if they wish – at their local Catholic parishes, but not receiving Holy Communion. Throughout Lent, there will be talks and instruction. Then, either on Holy Thursday or at the Easter Vigil, depending on local arrangements, they will be received into full Communion with the Catholic Church. The former Anglican clergy will then go on to be ordained as Catholic priests at Pentecost, and from then onwards, a new parish life will begin, taking up the threads of the old, but with a new dimension.

and concludes:

The ordinations of the former Anglican clergymen will make headlines at Pentecost, but, after that, things will appear to go quiet: and it is in the quietness that the real work will be done and the history written. The Anglican heritage is a great part of British life, and now it acquires a fresh dimension.

There is a lot of heartache involved in this – friends and members of families taking different paths as some join the Ordinariate and some do not. There is a sense of zest and enthusiasm among Ordinariate members, and also relief at a decision having been made and a project initiated. But there are also worries – financial, organisational, human. The last weeks have been a time of immense activity with all sorts of practical arrangements having to be made. Many more are still to be made.

Pray for the new Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. It has been placed under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. And it is happening as the great John Paul II is being beatified, whose message to the world when he began his pontificate could usefully be taken as a message for this project too: “Do not be afraid!”

It's that concept of the Anglican heritage, what Bogle also cites as the Anglican patrimony, that has the greatest historical implications. I presume it means taking what has been best from the traditions of the Church of England and incorporating them into the certain structure of the Catholic Church--it will be fascinating to watch. As William Oddie comments, it certainly includes the great hymns written by Anglo-Catholics, including the translations by John Mason Neale.

The Ordinariate Portal linked above includes prayers for the "Groups of Anglicans" coming into the Catholic Church this Easter, including this litany:

Our Lady of Walsingham: Pray for us as we claim your motherly care.

Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus: Pray for us as we place this work under your patronage.

Blessed John Henry Newman: Pray that Christ’s Heart may speak unto our hearts.

Saints & Martyrs of England,Wales, Scotland & Ireland: Pray for us and accompany us on our pilgrim way.


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