When an Ordinariate Group is as Small as Ours…

Writes Fr Edwin Barnes on his blog Ancient Richborough:

When an Ordinariate Group is as small as ours – not many more than twenty of us, originally from half a dozen different Anglican churches – we need everyone to pull together. And goodness, they do – often supported by a few longstanding Catholics from neighbouring parishes. So it was last Saturday, when to our astonishment we managed to raise £260 from a two-hour coffee morning. Brian Harrison took the photos, which you will find on our Ordinariate website. No sooner was that over than we began planning for our next great moment. Together with members of the Portsmouth & Isle of Wight Group we have the task of arranging the Ordination for our two deacons; John Maunder from Portsmouth and Brian Copus from Bournemouth. That will be on September 22nd, not in either of the churches where our Groups normally worship but in the much larger central church in Bournemouth, Sacred Heart, Richmond Hill – by kind permission of the parish priest, Fr Bruce Barnes. We will update you on this nearer the time; at present we are deciding on musical setting (favourite at present are amended Merbecke for Kyrie and Gloria, and a setting by our own Organist, Peter Cook, for Sanctus and Benedictus and Agnus … but we have a little way to go yet.

Meanwhile we have a few enquirers who, we hope, will soon become firmly committed to joining the Catholic Church and our Ordinariate Group. Your prayers would be welcome for them and us.



Fr Edwin Barnes: It Does Not Yet Appear What We Shall Be…

From across the pond, Fr Barnes writes:

In another post we read of disquiet in the American part of the Ordinariate. Rather than commenting on that situation, it might help to say something about how things are in the United Kingdom — I almost said “England”, but in fact we now have Scots members of the Ordinariate, and many Welsh sympathisers.

Well, no, things are not ideal.  Some ordinations seem to be taking a very long time — three former Anglican Preists in Southwark Diocese do not yet know when they will be ordained deacons, while most of their contemporaries are already lining up for the priesthood.  In our little Group in Southern England, we have still three people waiting for their marital situations to be resolved, and the waiting seems interminable.  That is hard for all of us, for if one member suffers so do we all.

Then again, we share a Catholic Parish Church, and sometimes there have been misunderstandings when we or they have assumed something would happen and it has not.  It is difficult for that Catholic Parish to make room for another (very small) Group from the Ordinariate — especially when they were quite unprepared for this and did not know what the Ordinariate was supposed to be about.

But little by little we are learning, both those who have been Catholics for many years and we who are Johnny-come-latelies.  As we participate in parish events — little things like coffee mornings, fund-raising events, more important occasions such as shared liturgical celebrations — we gradually get to know each other and appreciate one another.  Of course things are not perfect; but then, despite the exceptionally high opinion I have of myself, even I have to admit that I am not perfect.

So just a year into this experiment, it seems as though we must relearn the old adage about the answer to prayer — it might be Yes, it might be No, it might be “Not yet”.  We are particularly poor at accepting “Not Yet””.  We want to see how the Ordinairiate will develop over the years, where we might be in ten years or a hundred.  But that is not for us to know.  St John taught us that “it does not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”.

A brief glance at Church History will tell us that what the Holy Father is doing for us through “Anglicanorum Coetibus” he is doing at breakneck speed.  What other former Anglican clergy have been ordained in the Catholic Church within one or two years?  Where else in all history have groups of non-Catholics been received into communion together, and allowed to keep their identity?

We are part of a work in progress, discerning the fulness of Anglican Patrimony, and finding ways of preserving it and handing it on.  Of course it would be wonderful if we had a great mediaeval church, with a three-manual organ and a choir the equal of Westminster Abbey; of course it would be lovely if our Ordinary combined the wisdom of John Henry Newman with the simplicity of the Little Flower and the energy of Robert Bellarmine and the piety of the Cure D’Ars; but he is who he is, and possibly one day people might look back and say “if only our BIshop had the skills of Mgr Keith Newton — or perhaps of Mgr Jeffrey Steenson”.

The Lord seems prepared to use the materials he has at hand – the impetuosity of a Peter, the obstinacy of a Thomas.  He is even ready to use us, despite our desire to have everything perfect, and at once.  Perhaps the prayer for all of us should be, to amend Augustine, “Lord, make me perfect — but not yet”.  Not only Rome — even Canterbury was not built in a day.



Some More Ordinariate News

Two items that may be of interest to readers of this blog:

1)  The Spanish-language site Infocatolica has an interview with Fr Edwin Barnes. While it is in Spanish here, a translation is over at the Ordinariate Portal here. From it:

– How many priests and laymen are there now in Our Lady of Walsingham’s Ordinariate? Any religious men or women? And how many groups/parishes?

There are some hundred priests and around a thousand lay members, though this number is growing all the time. We have as yet no parishes established, but around fifty Groups either already formed or in formation…

– Has the English Ordinariate received or is it planning to receive any members from the TTAC or other continuing churches?

A Bishop of the Church of England who has led a TAC group is to be ordained later this month. I believe there may be four or five priests who are likely to be ordained after appropriate training. I know of one local TAC congregation most of whose members – about twenty – are to be received this year. They are receiving instruction from a Priest of the Ordinariate (among others)…

Rest here.

2)  The Catholic Herald is reporting that 50 Anglicans left their parish last night to join the Ordinariate.

Led by Fr Ian Grieves, who has served at the Anglican church of St James Darlington for 23 years, 58 Anglicans formally joined the Ordinariate, at the Catholic Church of St Anne, Darlington.

During his homily, Mgr Newton said: “The journey you embarked upon on Ash Wednesday through the days of Lent to your reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church this evening is a model of the whole of your Christian life. It has meant for each of you, in a particular way, leaving behind what has been comfortable and familiar and stepping out in faith,certain in the knowledge that we do so in company of Jesus who prayed the night before he died that his disciples might be one.

“It is a journey that must be total and complete. But like all journeys in the faith it is oneleading to joy and fulfillment”.

Speaking about the importance of Christian unity, and the role of the Ordinariate, Mgr Newton said: “We have prayed and longed for unity but it has been realised in a way we might not have expected. Our prayer has been answered by the Holy Father himself through the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus…

More on that here.