Thursday, 29 September 2011

Another Step for the Ordinariate

We country cousins have to ask our metropolitan friends to help us when we have an overnight stay in London. It was noble of Fr Rob Page to give hospitality to Jane and me this week, on the very eve of his move to the new parish. So (above) you will see our genial host, contemplating moving from his spacious Vicargae kitchen into something rather smaller in his Presbytery. Our overnight stay though was only one instance of the logistics of organising meetings for all the priests of the Ordinariate.

Getting fifty and more priests together from the corners of the Realm is an expensive business; just one of the many worries besetting our Ordinary. Mgr Keith's sunny demeanour, though, (here he is on the left) betrayed none of his financial worries when he welcomed Cardinal Levada today. The Cardinal, hot-foot from the enthronement of the Patriarch of Milan, spent two days in England first encouraging the newly former Friends of the Ordinariate, and then today, encouraging the Ordinariate's priests.

For many months now we newly ordained priests have been instructed in various aspects of the Faith at the Seminary of Allen Hall. Today Cardinal Levada addressed us about the hopes of the Holy Father for the Ordinariate. We have known in theory that Anglicanorum Coetibus was Pope Benedict's special concern, indeed very largely of his own devising. Now we are reassured by His Eminence's visit that what we are engaged in is very dear to the Pope's heart. The Cardinal generously answered questions (some of which are at present unanswerable - only time will produce the solution). Most of all, he showed us the caring face of the Catholic Church, and the warmth of his address to us gave many of us new heart.

(Click on this picture to see the Cardinal & Mgr Newton, right at the back of this group)
The Cardinal's visit was important for the life of Allen Hall - as a former theological college Principal I know how important such occasions can be - and it was good to see Cardinal Levada greeting so many of the seminarians individually. For us of the Ordinariate, it was a huge privilege to be able to celebrate Michaelmass with the man who, after Pope Benedict, has done most to further the Ordinariate not only in England but across the world. Having him with us at this time will surely enliven our prayers, and spur us on to make the Ordinariate an instrument of Unity and Evangelisation which the Holy Father wants us to become.

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