Around one hundred members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham spent last week on pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Rome. Led by the Ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton, the pilgrims made their way to the Eternal City to give thanks for the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and for all the many blessings they have received.
On Monday, His Eminence Cardinal Bernard Law celebrated and preached for the group at Santa Maria Maggiore. During his homily the Cardinal recalled the devotion of Anglo-‐Catholics to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and how this reminds all Christians of the true nature of God and of humanity. In the evening, the group celebrated the traditional Anglican service of Evensong in Santa Maria in Trastevere, singing words from the Book of Common Prayer.
Tuesday saw the Ordinary preside at the Eucharist in San Giorgio in Velabro, the titular church of the Ordinariate’s patron and nineteenth century Anglican convert, Blessed John Henry Newman. During the Mass a former Anglican clergyman and his wife received the Sacrament of ConPirmation and hymns by Cardinal Newman were sung. The Ordinary, preaching at the Mass, recalled Newman’s famous biglietto speech which was delivered when he was made a Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.
After the Mass, pilgrims visited the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls, where they were greeted by Abbot Edmund Power OSB. The group was joined for supper by Monsignor Mark Langham from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who spoke warmly and enthusiastically about the contribution of Personal Ordinariates to the life of the Catholic Church.
The group was joined on Ash Wednesday by His Eminence Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as Monsignor Steven Lopes and Monsignor Patrick Burke, and Father Uwe Michael Lang from the Congregation for Divine Worship.
The Cardinal celebrated Mass with the priests, deacons and lay faithful of the Ordinariate before the group went to the General Audience with Pope Benedict XVI. During the audience the Holy Father spokeabout
the conversion of all people during the season of Lent, and also welcomed especially the clergy and lay faithful of the Ordinariate. At the close of the ceremony, Mgr Newton was presented to the Holy Father
alongside other visiting dignitaries. In the afternoon, members of the group were present at the Papal Mass for Ash Wednesday in Santa Sabina.
On Thursday, members of the group visited the monasteries of Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica in Subiaco.
At Saint Peter’s on Friday, the group celebrated Mass with traditional Anglican hymns. After Mass
the Ordinary led the General Thanksgiving, originally from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, at the tomb of the Apostle, St Peter.
The final day was marked by the celebration of Holy Mass in Santa Maria del Popolo before the pilgrims set off for the UK.
Pilgrims were drawn from around thirty groups of former Anglicans who are now members of the Catholic Church across the UK. They were received into the full communion of the Catholic Church in 2011 as a result of Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.