The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Former Anglican bishop now Catholic priest

from the web site of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

26 March 2012

A sixth Anglican bishop has been ordained as a Catholic priest at a ceremony in Portsmouth today.

Fr Robert Mercer, who served as the Anglican bishop of Matabeleland and as a bishop within the Traditional Anglican Communion, was ordained to the Priesthood by the Right Reverend Alan Hopes in St John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth.

Fr Mercer will serve in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, in England and Wales. This is the first structure, set up in 2011, following the provision of Pope Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans, including members of the Church of England and the Traditional Anglican Communion, to become Catholics whilst retaining much of their own tradition and heritage.

Serving within the Isle of Wight & Portsmouth Ordinariate Group, Fr Mercer will minister especially to those worshipping at the historic Portsmouth church of St Agatha’s, Landport, who hope to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church this Easter.

Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary (leader) of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, commented on Fr Mercer’s ordination, saying, “Fr Robert’s witness to the truth of the Catholic faith, and his commitment to the unity of all Christians, has led to this very happy day when we can welcome him as a brother Priest in the Catholic Church. His ministry in Africa, in Canada and here in Portsmouth, has been exemplary, and we look forward to his renewed ministry now - bringing many rich gifts from the Anglican tradition into the Catholic Church”.

Fr Jonathan Redvers Harris, who bears overall responsibility for the Isle of Wight & Portsmouth Ordinariate Group, said “As the Ordinariate continues to grow in Portsmouth, it will be good to have Fr Robert’s expertise and great wealth of experience. I welcome him warmly as a colleague and a friend”.

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