This statement was made by Fr Gordon Adam, St Francis, Hammerfield, at Mass this morning
Sometimes the answer to prayer is obscure and hard to discern and sometimes it is more of a burning bush experience. When the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus was issued on 4th November 2009, making provision for the Ordinariate, it was an event which fell into the latter category.
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI set out a provision in Anglicanorum Coetibus which offers more than had been sought in the quest for a Third Province in the Church of England. It offers what many of us have long sought and prayed for – a form of corporate reunion with Rome.
The Holy Father’s offer came in response to requests from Anglicans who asked him to help those of us who are of a mind that Anglicanism, and in particular the Church of England, is gradually reforming in such a way that its claim to Apostolic heritage and faithfulness to scripture and tradition is steadily eroding. This erosion, which includes understanding of marriage discipline and requirement to accept the historic creeds as the definitive requirement of Christianity appears set to result in final collapse with the ordination of women bishops.
For those of us who have always, even as Anglicans, looked to the Bishop of Rome as the successor of Peter, the rock on which Our Lord built his Church, as the focus of unity in the Church there is, in conscience, no choice to make.
The prospect of the Ordinariate is a joyful and exciting one for me. But to continue the Ordinariate journey, in practice begun many months ago behind the scenes, I need to cease my Anglican ministry. I therefore announce my resignation of my license as Curate in the Parish of Boxmoor with special responsibility for S. Francis, Hammerfield. This is effective immediately and the Mass I have just celebrated was my final public act as an Anglican priest.
To almost all of you, this is no surprise. The vast majority of us here this morning have long since been planning together for our journey, knowing we would be travelling the same journey together. This coming week sees a major milestone on the journey when we begin worshipping as Catholics on Ash Wednesday and I can also now announce that both Churchwardens (John Worley and Eve Davis), the Treasurer (Sylvia Marin), The Church Committee Secretary (Lindsey Worley), the Electoral Roll Officer (Shaun Morrison) and one ordinary Church Committee member (Margaret Pearson) have resigned their offices with effect from the end of Mass today in order that they are from this moment free of all Anglican duty, responsibility and authority in order to take the next steps towards the Ordinariate,
All this clears the way for the public announcement of an Ordinariate congregation forming with its base in Hemel Hempstead. It comprises a lot more than those leaving this particular congregation: the group has members and potential members known to me from several other congregations not only in this town but extending as far as Watford and Luton.
The Ordinariate congregation joins the Catholic community at S. Marks Catholic Church, in the grounds of John F Kennedy school in Hollybush Lane at 7.30pm for Mass on Ash Wednesday. Thereafter there will be an Ordinariate Group Mass at 9.00am in the same place each Sunday followed by catechesis, all in preparation for reception into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. It is expected that the additional Mass time of 9.00am for an Ordinariate Mass (which any Catholic is, of course, welcome to attend), will be a permanent arrangement.
I place on the public record my enormous debt of gratitude for the incredibly welcoming help and support that the Ordinariate group has received from Fr John Byrne, our Catholic Parish Priest, and from Deacon Simon Wright whose efforts and assistance are making the journey along the Ordinariate road here in Hemel a joyful one with new friendship found at each and every turn.
To those few from whom I now part company as your priest: Thank you for your love and support over the past 8 years. I wish you well for the future and will remember you in my prayers.
To most of you, with whom I will be journeying in the group, I have to say that I now cease to have sacramental care for you but under the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus I have an ongoing share in pastoral responsibility for you. That said, I am humbly seeking re-ordination as a Catholic priest and it is my prayerful hope that sometime very close to Pentecost this year it will be my privilege and joy to have priestly and sacramental care of our Ordinariate congregation.
Come my dear friends: Let us take our first public steps on this journey, trusting in the Lord and rejoicing in the Holy Father’s generosity in establishing these provisions. For what has been, and for what we trust will be, THANKS BE TO GOD.