3 hours ago
Saturday 23 February 2013
St Dominic's Priory, just up the road from Lymington, gave hospitality to twenty of our Ordinariate Group today (most of them above, in the Chapel). Our ages ran from the early teens to the late seventies, and everyone contributed. Thomas, our youngest member, helped out with difficult questions - such as, 'how many Popes have there been?' We began in the morning looking at some Geography; two of those present discovered they both came from within a few miles of one another, in Cheshire. Others had connexions in East Anglia, in the South West, and even in Dallas. It was all leading us to consider Paul (a citizen of Tarsus, no mean City) who told us that our homeland is in heaven, that here we have no abiding city, that we are strangers and pilgrims. We started looking at places on our Pilgrimage, and unsurprisingly Walsingham featured very large.
We joined the Sisters at their mid-day Office, and at Mass, and thought briefly about persecution; whatever we have to put up with is nothing compared with our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, or Northern Nigeria - or even compared with Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna commemorated in today's Mass, burned to death in the Arena around 155AD..
Despite the biting cold some had a little walk in the Forest after our picnic lunch, then we settled down to considering our History. Many of us had 'done' the Tudors and Stuarts (some three times in their school career) yet knew little about the coming of Christianity to these Islands. We were reminded of the Saints of the North, Cuthbert and Bede and Hilda, and considered Alfred's part in re-establishing monasticism after the depradations of the Vikings. We wondered why we heard nothing about the Recusants, and how whenever Catholics appeared it was always in the role of baddies; the wives of Stuart kings leading them into the ways of Popery, with the nation eventually saved by loveable William of Orange. Hurrah! Except that he was such a disastrous human being, redeemed only by employing Christopher Wren to modernise Hampton Court.
In all, we learned a bit of geography, a little history, but much more (and more interestingly) things about ourselves and one another. Tomorrow we shall be confirming one of our number; another will be joining us in a fortnight's time. This is proving a happy and exciting Lent for our little Bournemouth Ordinariate Group..
Sunday 17 February 2013
Perhaps it was the first death in our Ordinariate Group which sparked us - or I should say one of our members - into action. Brian Harrison began collecting names and dates of deceased relatives and friends of the Group a couple of weeks ago, and today he presented the results of his labours. At the Offertory be brought to the altar this book of remembrance; and because the entire thing is on computer, it will be kept up to date. So we shall be able to remember those dear to us week by week at Mass.
Today was important for other reasons, though. We heard that the impediment to the marriage of one of our members had been removed, so she will be able to be confirmed and receive Communion very soon. Then too we were introduced to Darryl Jordan, his wife Lisa and Catherine their teenage daughter. They came to England from Dallas where they had belonged to the Episcopal Church. Here Darryl served in the diocese of Winchester as an assistant in the parish of Christchurch. Lately they achieved British Citizenship. Now they are all preparing to be received into the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate - and we very much hope that Darryl might be accepted for Ordination later this year. So little by little the Group grows. A little over a year ago we began with just a couple of dozen of us worshipping together. Today, joined by a few established Catholic friends, we were thirty-nine at Mass. Not spectacular, but steady growth which encourages us for the future. On Ash Wednesday our parish priest entrusted the evening Parish Mass to us, so our servers and singers and clergy helped lead the worship. On future Wednesdays through Lent we shall have Stations before the 10.30 Mass. At the end of this week we have a Day of Recollection for Lent at the Dominican Sisters' House in Sway. Some of our members will participate in the Ordinariate's Pilgrimage which will be in Rome during the Holy Father's last week in Office. Small steps, but gradually it seems we are being led towards a fuller life together, with many of the marks of a parish.
This is not said by way of boasting - we are still a pretty fragile plant - but simply in the hope that it might encourage others who until now have hesitated about stepping into the Barque of Peter.