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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Former Anglicans make thanksgiving pilgrimage to Rome

Monsignor Keith Newton and other members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham pose in St. Peter's Basilica

.- Over 100 former Anglicans from the British Isles concluded a pilgrimage to Rome Feb. 24 in thanksgiving for the creation of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

“It has been quite poignant because almost all of the people who are with me were not Catholics until Easter last year,” Monsignor Keith Newton, the head of the U.K. ordinariate told CNA on Feb. 24.

The ordinariate was established last year by Pope Benedict XVI to give Anglicans the possibility of entering into communion with the Catholic Church while still preserving their “distinctive Anglican patrimony.”

“Now they have come to the center of Catholicism, they’ve come to the tombs of Sts. Peter and Paul to pray and to give thanks, and I think they’ve been genuinely moved by this, really,” Msgr. Newton said of his fellow pilgrims.

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham already has 57 priests and over 1,000 members throughout England, Wales and Scotland. This Easter it will receive another 200 lay people and 20 priests into the Church...

Read the full story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.

See also this video from Catholic News Service on the Ordinariate pilgrimage.


  1. Your readers may be interested to read the report of the Rome pilgrimage as reported on the web site of the OLW Ordinariate and on the Ordinariate Portal which gives a little more detail than is found in the other reports.

    Those who are interested in matters liturgical might note this passage: "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."

    As we know, there is an Interdicasterial Commission working on Ordinariate Liturgy and it is therefore interesting that the Congregation for Divine Worship had representatives present.

    While there is little being divulged officially on the website of the US Ordinariate, the March Newsletter of the Anglican Catholic Church in Canada indicates that things are now going really quite well for those seeking to join the Ordinariate both with the RC diocesans and with Mgr Steenson and his staff.

    This rather chimes with the welcome rumour that Brother Robert Mercer CR (the well-loved former Anglican Bishop) already received into Church by Mgr Newton is to be ordained a Deacon by Bishop Alan Hopes at Allen Hall on 21st March and ordained at Portsmouth on 26th March.

    Bishop Hopes is both the Auxiliary of Westminster and the Delegate of the Bishops' Conference for the OLW Ordinarite - and was himself an Anglican priest between 1968-1994.

    Caution: this is only reported thus far on the "English Catholic" blog and therefore may have to be taken with a quite liberal pinch of salt, but if it is officially confirmed in due course, it will be most welcome news both in the UK and in Canada.

  2. I am pleased to say that the Ordination of Brother Robert Mercer CR on 26th March 2011 at Portsmouth Cathedral is now confirmed on the Events Calendar of the OLW Ordinariate Website.

  3. Thanks for the confirmation, Mourad.