Receptions: A New Eyewitness Account

13 01 2011

The Ordinariate Portal has been sent an eyewitness account of the receptions into the full communion of the Catholic Church of the three former bishops, two wives, and three Walsingham sisters. It adds some interesting detail, and we reproduce it here in full.

“There was some speculation that Archbishop Vincent Nichols was “nowhere to be seen”. But as Bishop Alan Hopes is the Episcopal Delegate for the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales for the Ordinariate, it was his job to receive the candidates – indeed it would have been strange if the Archbishop of Westminster had presided, because the Ordinariate will not be a department of the Diocese of Westminster. Hence Bishop Alan’s role on behalf of the Conference as a whole.  But there were some strong indications of support from the Westminster Diocese and other English dioceses present among the mass concelebrants, which the press did not notice. The second concelebrant was Bishop George Stack. Among the other concelebrants were the Administrator of the Cathedral, Canon Tuckwell, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Brentwood, Mgr John Armitage, the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, Mgr Marcus Stock, and a priest from the Nunciature too.

The low key struck the right notes. It was not really  the beginning of the Ordinariate as such, but, as Bishop Alan noted, the receptions were momentous steps on people’s personal journey of discipleship in fidelity to the calling of the Lord in search of his truth. The Ordinariate cannot be launched until there is a decree of erection and there are clerics to populate it and be incardinated to it. This may have been the next and essential step towards it, but the mass felt it was first and foremost the Church’s celebration of the solemnity of the Mother of God and it was this that the 8 were gently and faithfully slipping in to. It felt quite moving to see distinguished former bishops awaiting this great moment dressed informally in collars and ties; it was both self-effacing and conveyed a sense of confidence in the Church they were coming into. Equally, it was good to see the sisters in their new habits, ready to ensure that at the core of the new ordinariate there will be the prayer and common life of a religious community right from the beginning.

One report complained that Bishop Alan went to speak to the candidates away from the mike, so that the people in the congregation were not able to hear what he said. All that happened was that, after the chrismation, he completed the reception with the little personal rite of peace that precedes participating in the offering of the Eucharist itself as a new member and thus Holy Communion itself.

The people heard the new confirmation names of Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton, but not those of the sisters. Sister Carolyne Joseph took the name Miriam, Sister Wendy Renate took the name Faustina, and Sister Jane Louise took the name Therese.