Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Historic Holy Week for the Our Lady of Walsingham Ordinariate

Last year during Holy Week, groups of former Anglicans entered the Catholic Church nearly every night. Ordinations of former Anglican clergy took place later around Pentecost. This year during Holy Week, groups of former Anglicans will enter the Catholic Church in the same way. But also this week, the Ordinariate celebrated its first Chrism Mass.

At the Chrism Mass, sometimes held on Holy Thursday morning, but also held earlier in Holy Week, the bishop and all his priests gather for Mass at the cathedral: the priests renew their vows of obedience to their bishop and the bishop blesses the oils used in the Sacraments: the oil of catechumens (Baptism), the oil of the infirm (Anointing of the Sick) and holy chrism (Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders). In the Wichita diocese, for example, parish representatives attend to receive the oils from the bishop to take back to their parishes. The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has no cathedral yet, so its ordinary (who is not an ordained bishop), clergy, and laity gathered at St. James, Spanish Place on Monday, April 2.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain has celebrated the first Chrism Mass of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Archbishop Antonio Mennini celebrated the Mass on Monday at the church of St James, Spanish Place, in London with 60 former Anglican clergy, including five former Anglican bishops, concelebrating. Hundreds of laity from groups across Britain were in attendance.

Archbishop Mennini celebrated the Mass at the request of the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton.

Mgr Newton, who received the Renewal of Priestly Promises and preached at the Mass, said: “The jurisdiction given to me, unlike that of Catholic diocesan bishops, is vicarious on behalf of the Roman Pontiff.

"It is therefore particularly appropriate that our Chrism Mass should be celebrated by the Holy Father’s representative to Great Britain particularly as at this time we celebrate the 30th anniversary of full diplomatic relations between the British Government and the Holy See."

The Catholic Herald also makes a note about those professing their faith in the Catholic Church this week:

In Holy Week over 200 former members of the Church of England and the Traditional Anglican Communion are expected to be received into full communion. This evening [Tuesday, April 3] four former Anglican clergy are expected to be ordained as Catholic priests and groups of faithful in Lancashire, Kent, Essex and Surrey will be received into the Catholic Church.

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