Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come!

Bristol Ordinariate
January 21, 2011, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

The “John Henry Newman Group” met for the first time as a whole group yesterday evening at Holy Nativity Church, Knowle, where Mass was celebrated at 7.00 p.m. About forty people were present.

Coffee was served, and the meeting was opened by the Chairman, who introduced the Committee.

An account was given of how the Group had come into being, as a way of exploring what interest there might be in Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution for groups of Anglicans, and how the group had functioned in a rather informal way up to the establishment of the Ordinariate.

Two Committee members who had been present then gave their impressions of the Ordination Service the previous Saturday in Westminster Cathedral. There the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham had been formally established, with Fr Keith Newton as the first Ordinary. It was pointed out that Fr Keith now enjoyed what he had not previously had as Bishop of Richborough, and which the Church of England steadfastly refused to grant, namely jurisdiction. He was the equivalent of a diocesan bishop, even though the “diocese” as yet consisted only of three priests, two wives and three nuns.

The Group Chaplain then outlined the procedures that would now be followed for the acceptance of priests into the Ordinariate. His own application had been accepted, subject to the usual checks and references. Clergy would get a crash course in Catholic procedures (canon law, for instance) to prepare them for their new ministry. They would be ordained in time for Pentecost, and have further in-service training afterwards. Lay people would participate in a preparatory course during Lent, and be received into communion in Holy Week. Until their own priests were duly authorised, the local Catholic diocesan clergy would support them. It was important that those wishing to be in the “first wave” should return their forms to him as soon as possible. Because of the scattered nature of our group, it was likely that the Lent preparation would take place in more than one centre.

A bank account was to be set up for contributions to group expenses. Details would be given later.

Various questions were raised from the floor. What would happen about those who were unable to be part of the “first wave”? It was explained that while membership of a “group” was necessary for the establishment of the Ordinariate, such groups were expected to become “parishes” of the Ordinariate. Individuals could then apply to join that parish, just as now they can go through their local diocesan parish. It was not yet known where our Bristol parish would worship, because conversations were still going on. It had been difficult to proceed in these matters prior to the appointment of an Ordinary, who would need to be consulted. Another question concerned those who, from a Catholic perspective, might be in irregular situations. We were assured that all such cases would be dealt with sympathetically and generously.

Further questions were asked, not all of which could be definitively answered as yet. It was hoped that they would be clear by the next meeting, scheduled for February 24th, again at Holy Nativity. The meeting closed with prayer just before 9.00 pm.


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