Sunday, 27 February 2011

First and Last

Brockenhurst, this morning; the Catholic Church of St Anne (l) is run from Lymington, so today I was there for a first visit - and my last as a Deacon. Next Sunday, God willing, I shall be back at St Anne's to celebrate Mass for the first time as a Catholic Priest. Then there will be a mad dash back to Lymington, where Bishop Crispian is making his last visit before his retirement - and I will hope to concelebrate with him and our parish priest, Fr Danny McAvoy. This morning Fr Danny asked me to preach in Our Lady of Mercy in Lymington for the first time. "Think of us as Christ's Servants" said St Paul to the Corinthians - so I spoke about being a deacon, and how it was not a demotion as some supposed from being a bishop to becoming a deacon. Quite the contrary. Being a deacon, a servant, is the epitome of the Christian's call, the very thing Jesus tells us all to do; and inasmuch as we have done any service to one of the least of our brethren, we have done it to him. I might have said something about the bishop wearing the deacon's dalmatic beneath the chasuble, to remind him and us of his servant ministry - but you can't say everything all at once. There will, I hope, be other opportunities.

Just to cheer up anyone who has stumbled on this blog, here are a couple of local New Forest residents whom I met on the way to Mass in Brockenhurst. They don't look terribly happy, despite the sunny morning - perhaps because they were heading away from church rather than towards it.


  1. Were you a catholic priest when you were in Anglican Orders? You certainly used to refer to yourself as being so.

  2. Thanks, Fr Gareth, Yes, I did; but I knew that ministry was always limited. Although the Church of England claimed to ordain us priests in the Church of God, it was clear that our lack of communion with the greater Catholic Church made that claim at best dubious. And from next Saturday, for me, there will no longer be any daoubt about it. God bless. E

  3. Hi! I started to follow your blog after reading your interesting coments on The Anglo Catholic, and I've then kept in touch with your journey. Lym was my Mum's parish and the church there and St Anne's in Brockenhurst are both beautiful. I know you'll be welcome there and I wish you and Jane much happiness!

  4. Deacon Barnes, my warmest congratulations.

    If I may ask a question, also. If you always believed your ministry to be 'limited' and your orders 'dubious', then why did you become/remain a clergyman in the CofE? Even more to the point, how could you reconcile becoming a bishop and thus conferring 'limited' and 'dubious' orders on others?

    I am certainly not having a pop at you, I am just genuinely curious.

    I really do wish you the very best.


  5. The fact that our ministry in the Church of England was limited has always been quite plain to me; we were not in Communion with the greater part of Christendom. The doubt about my orders though, and those of our Church, came much later. Looking again at Newman's Apologia I think in a very small way my awakening to this doubt came gradually, as his seems to have done. The Lord is very merciful; he does not let us face too much truth all at once.
    Thank you, Albert and everyone who has commented: I would value your prayers for the start of my ministry in the Ordinariate.

  6. I have recently begun to follow your blog. Im a Catholic from the states. I deeply admire, and am moved by your journey. Your personal holiness, and deep faith, coupled with humility are an inspiration. God bless you and your wife. And be assured of my prayers. As I ask u to pray for me, my city is at the height of the Carnival, (New Orleans) lent approaches! Carne-Vale farewell flesh!

  7. Best wishes and prayers for today
    Fr Barry Tomlinson - father of Fr Ed

  8. Best wishes and congratulations for your Ordination as a Catholic priest today.

    Forgive my ignorance re: "Musings of a one-time PEV". What does PEV mean?

    Praying for you. God bless.