Fr Ivan Aquilina on the anniversary of the Ordinariate

16 01 2012

Fr Ivan Aquilina writes:

A year ago today, with many of my fellow travellers in the journey of faith, I was sitting in that noble space which is Westminster Cathedral.

As we arrived at Victoria Station we met Deacon Keith Newton. We walked with him to the Cathedral, what a sense of joy and anticipation. The Walsingham Sisters were in front of the Cathedral, a familiar and grounding presence in this complete new setting. This was not Christ the King Gordon Square so familiar for us, this was a new setting but with all the familiar faces, friends, brothers and sisters with whom we daily stood up for the faith in the Church of England. This was a manifestation of Anglicanorum Coetibus coming together. But many felt: was this true?

We sat in a packed CathedralThe three deacons were ordained priests. These were the three anglican bishops we looked up to and supported, truly our leaders.

During the Eucharistic prayer the newly ordained John Broadhurst prayed part of it. His voice going round the Catholic Cathedral is what made the penny drop for me.  This is all real. Till a fortnight before Fr John was my anglican bishop, and what a good one he was too. I was proud of him and felt privileged to be his priest. And now we were out of communion: he a catholic priest me an anglican one. He was there to lead the way, we his priests and people getting ready.

After communion the Archbishop of Westminster read out the Decree of Erection of the Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales. It was to be known as the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. Fr Keith Newton was to be the Ordinary. That day, a year ago today, was a blessed day, a day of joy and hope and Christian Unity. So many of us are now home as Roman Catholics (not the mental gymnastics of Anglo catholics or English catholics or whatever but real catholics: Roman Catholics, in unity with the See of Peter). Thanks be to God for the Romanitas, and thanks be to God for Benedict XVI: the Pope of Christian Unity.

Today, a year on, with my group of the Ordinariate I give thanks to God and offer Mass for our Ordinary and our Ordinariate and especially in thanksgiving for this past year. I shall pray for the all the three Monsignori, for their dedication and commitment and for Bishop Alan Hopes for all his support and guidance.