Ordinations: Report from Portsmouth

19 05 2011

This report comes from the blog of the Catholic League:

On Friday 13 May 2011 three candidates for ordination as deacons in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, were ordained by the bishop of Portsmouth in his cathedral church.

A few months earlier, Bishop Crispian Hollis ordained former Anglican bishop of Richborough and Principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford, Edwin Barnes as a deacon and then a priest in the Catholic Church. Just as with Fr Barnes’ ordination to the diaconate, this was a low-key affair, this time in the chapel of St John, the cathedral’s patron.

The Revd David Elliott, sometime Priest in Charge of the well-known Anglo-Catholic parish of the Most Holy Trinity, Reading, the Revd Jonathan Redvers Harris, who until recently was the Vicar of All Saints’, Ryde on the Isle of Wight, and the Revd Graham Smith from Bournemouth, represented three distinct areas of the diocese of Portsmouth, which are now linked by their association with the Ordinariate.

The Revd Christopher Pearson, who leads the London (South) Ordinariate Group and was ordained to the diaconate at Aylesford Priory on the previous Saturday, deaconed the Mass, which was concelebrated by the Dean of the Cathedral, the Canon Chancellor of the diocese of Portsmouth, the Parish Priest of Ryde, and Fr Edwin Barnes, who represented the Ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton.

At 10.30am, the sacristy bell was rung as Come, ye faithful began. This has become something of a favourite at Ordinariate ordinations – surely because of the paschal theme, but also undoubtedly because of the resonances with the exodus of the ancient People of God:

God hath brought his Israel into joy from sadness;

loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke Jacob’s sons and daughters;

led the dry-shod and un-harmed

through the Red Sea waters.

The hymn, which was also sung in Cambridge at the diaconal ordinations, is a fine example of the Anglican tradition of translating patristic hymnody for use in the vernacular liturgy; maintaining the unbroken tradition of the Church within the broader context of contemporary liturgical practice. The translator, The Revd J.M. Neale, contributed over sixty translations for the English Hymnal and was also one of the principal founders of the Society of St Margaret, from which the first Religious of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, originated.

Bishop Hollis introduced the Mass with a warm and informal manner – a real and genuine sense of joy tempered by an equally impressive level of respect for the ministry which the three candidates exercised in the Church of England.

An unaccompanied Responsorial Psalm was followed by the Gospel and the Rite of Ordination. Fr Edwin Barnes, who is resident in the diocese of Portsmouth whilst being a priest of the Ordinariate, presented the candidates to Bishop Hollis on behalf of the Ordinary. As such, and as a former Anglican bishop, he wore the pectoral cross and ring – sharing for a particular action and moment in jurisdiction of the Ordinary.

Bishop Hollis, in his homily, then spoke of the significance of the occasion and the correlation between the candidates’ own journey to that day and the journey all the faithful make towards Easter. He also drew on the First Reading from Acts 9, making a clear link between the conversion of Saul, the ongoing and continual conversion of all the faithful, and the place of the Ordinariate within that wider call.

The Litany of the Saints was then sung as the candidates prostrated before the altar. After the laying-on of hands and the Prayer of Consecration, each was vested in a stole and dalmatic. The Revd James Bradley, a member of the Executive of the Catholic League who undertook a pastoral placement in Reading during his time at St Stephen’s House, assisted the new Deacon David Elliott as the Veni Creator was sung in Latin, to plainchant.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist then followed and was concluded by a few final words by the bishop, the blessing and the Regina coeli.

Afterwards, the small group which represented the family, friends and groups of the three new deacons, were entertained in Bishops’ House.


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