Sunday, 1 April 2012

Spare Our Blushes

A very special Palm Sunday. We processed from the hall into Church, the sun shone, we sang wholeheartedly.

Several returned in the afternoon for Evensong and Benediction which was supported by organist and singers from a neighbouring Anglican church. Then, to crown it all, there was an unexpected accolade in the Diocesan Magazine, "Portsmouth People".

The diocese has been very welcoming from the start, and we have received great help and encouragement from Bishop Crispian. Today, though, it was a letter from a parishioner in Southbourne, where we share the church building, which gave us a great boost. It is in the letters pages of "Portsmouth People", headed "Ordinariate Privilege". It shows a depth of understanding about the Ordinariate which is very welcome - and so I dare reprint some of it here. I just hope we can live up to it!

"We at the parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace... were privileged last year to have the new members of the Ordinariate join our parish; they were all (around 25) received into the Catholic church at the Easter Vigil... and they are now fully Catholics, although at the Pope's request they have kept a few features of their Anglican ceremonies, such as beautiful music, or the (optional) use of kneelers during Holy Communion.

These slight differences are merely superficial; the Ordinariate members have been delighted to embrace the Catholic faith completely, while nevertheless adhering to the Poe's wishes that they keep their own masses and services slightly separate so that more Anglicans, particularly those who are unwilling to give up some of the own traditions, may be attracted into the Catholic Church. I have been to the Masses (of the Ordinariate) and they are almost identical to our non-Ordinariate Masses, though it has to be admitted that the singing may be slightly better. It is indeed very enriching for us to have the opportunity to attend Benediction and Mass with them... I would like to thank them for enriching our parish with their presence ... I hope that the Ordinariate may continue to act as a bridge for new Catholics for a long time to come."

For our part, is is very good that some from local parishes join us from time to time - as also today we had help at Benediction from a Server in a local Anglican Church. Throughout the Triduum we have been invited by Fr Gerry to participate in the Parish's liturgies, and I am to preach at them. We pray that this mutual enrichment may prove a great blessing to the whole Church. On Easter morning, when we celebrate again as an Ordinariate at 11.30am, it might seem quite lonely!

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