Plenary Indulgence for the Tenth Anniversary of the Ordinariate

The Apostolic See has granted a Plenary Indulgence to mark the tenth anniversary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. A PDF of the official document is available on the Ordinariate website. We reproduce the text below.

Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham


Plenary Indulgence Granted to Mark the Tenth Anniversary
of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Friday 15 January 2021 marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Decree, 15 January 2011: AAS 103 [2011] 129–133).

To mark the forthcoming anniversary year, the Ordinary, the Reverend Monsignor Keith Newton, P.A., requested that a Plenary Indulgence be granted by the Major Penitentiary, H. E. Mauro Cardinal Piacenza. This has been graciously conceded by the Apostolic See, and communicated to the Ordinary by the Apostolic Penitentiary.

Therefore, from Friday 15 January 2021 until Saturday 1 January 2022, any member of the Christian faithful who attends Mass celebrated according to Divine Worship: The Missal, or who participates in the public celebration of the Divine Office according to the forthcoming edition of Divine Worship: Daily Office, may attain the aforementioned Plenary Indulgence under the usual conditions, namely:

  1. Sacramental Confession;
  2. Reception of Holy Communion;
  3. Prayer for the intention of the Holy Father, by the recitation of at least the Lord’s Prayer and one Hail Mary.

In addition the sick, and all those who are physically unable to participate, may equally benefit from the gift of the Plenary Indulgence, offering their suffering to the Lord or devoutly carrying out acts of piety.

Details of the public celebration of the Mass and Divine Office according to Divine Worship may be found on the website of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham:*

  • 12 November 2020
    Memorial of Saint Josaphat
  • Rev James Bradley JCD

Some Notes on Plenary Indulgences from the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum

  1. An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment for sins, whose guilt is forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful obtains under certain and clearly defined conditions through the intervention of the Church, which, as the minister of Redemption, dispenses and applies authoritatively the treasury of expiatory works of Christ and the saints.
  2. The faithful can obtain […] plenary indulgences for themselves, or they can apply them to the dead by way of suffrage.
  3. In order to be capable of gaining indulgences one must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the completion of the prescribed works. To gain an indulgence, one must have at least the general intention of doing so and must carry out the enjoined works at the stated time and in due fashion, according to the sense of the grant.
  4. A plenary indulgence can be acquired only once in the course of a day. The faithful however can obtain the plenary indulgence at the hour of death, even if they have already gained one on the same day.
  5. To gain a plenary indulgence, in addition to excluding all attachment to sin, even venial sin, it is necessary to perform the indulgenced work and fulfil the following three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.
  6. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Holy Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
  7. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day the work is performed.
  8. If the full disposition is lacking, or if the work and the three prescribed conditions are not fulfilled […] the indulgence will only be partial.
  9. The condition of praying for the intention of the Holy Father is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, one has the option of reciting any other prayer according to individual piety and devotion, if recited for this intention.
  10. Unless otherwise stated, an indulgence cannot be gained by a work already imposed by law or precept.
  11. One […] who performs a work which has been imposed as a sacramental penance and which happens to be one enriched with an indulgence, can at the same time both satisfy the penance and gain the indulgence.
  12. Similarly, members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of the apostolic life can obtain the indulgences attached to prayers and pious works already obligatory by reason of their rules and constitutions or by precept.
  13. Confessors can commute either the prescribed work or the conditions in favour of those for whom these are impossible because of a legitimate impediment.
  14. Both the deaf and the mute can gain indulgences attached to public prayers if, together with the other faithful praying in the same place, they devoutly raise their mind and affections to God; regarding private prayers it is sufficient for them to recite the prayers mentally or express them with signs, or simply to read them without pronouncing the words.

* See also the sidebar listing and calendar here for details of services in Eastbourne.
† “Manual of Indulgences”

The transformation of Baptism

Fr Thomas’s homily at Mass on the Baptism of the Lord (10 January)

Leaflet for Mass

The Baptism of Christ, Pietro Perugino (1446–1523) and his workshop, c.1482 (detail)Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan.

Among those many people that S. John baptised this was a truly unique case. Indeed, in S. Matthew’s account of the event, S. John recognises this and tries to switch rôles before finally accepting Christ’s request for baptism. There was nothing new about baptism as an idea, ritual cleansings were a common part of religious practice; so when S. John started to preach his baptism, it was an idea which was easily understood. But this particular baptism was something entirely different.

S. John preached that people should repent of their sins and receive baptism — but of course, Christ couldn’t do that, he couldn’t repent of his sins as he had never sinned, would never sin, could never sin. But yet, having been baptised the voice of the Father declared that he was ‘well pleased’ with him — he certainly did the right thing.

The point is that when all of those other people were baptised by S. John they were transformed by the baptism; but when Christ was baptised by S. John it wasn’t him that was transformed, it was the baptism itself. It was by his baptism that Christ made those waters of baptism holy, it was by his baptism that Christ instituted the sacrament of baptism which has been given to every Christian ever since. S. John said that his baptism was simply one of water, but that somebody was coming who would baptise with the Holy Spirit — baptise with the full power of God — by his baptism, Christ created that promised reality. It was because of Christ’s baptism that our own baptisms have the meaning and effect which they had on us — and indeed the meaning and effect which they still have on us.

In most cases, it has been a few decades since we were baptised and so this feast gives us the chance to reflect on what happened back then and what impact it can still have on our lives — to reflect on what baptism actually is. Baptism is, of course, one of the sacraments — the first to be received and the gateway to the other sacraments. As many generations of English Catholics learnt from the Penny Catechism, ‘a sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, ordained by Jesus Christ’. The third part of that is what we’ve just said, that by being baptised himself — even though he had no need of forgiveness of sins — Christ instituted this sacrament.

The outward sign of baptism, is the pouring of water or in some cases the immersion in water. This outward sign relates directly to the inward graces which are given by the sacrament. There are two principle signs we can see with baptism. First, we can readily see how this is an act of washing — we use water to wash ourselves, and so the symbolism presents itself very quickly.

We pour water over ourselves to wash away any dirt that has built up on our bodies — in baptism this symbolises the way that by the pouring of water over us our inward dirt, our sins, are washed away. A newly washed body is clean and spotless, so too a newly washed soul — a newly baptised soul — is clean and spotless.

But there is also a second symbolism to the water — that of death. Where baptism is practised by immersion in water this becomes more clear than just a simple pouring. A person who is pushed under water for too long will drown and die; a person who is baptised dies, but dies with Christ in order that they may be raised again with Christ. Baptism makes us one with Christ — and Christ is the person who accepted death in order to save us. The death which we underwent at baptism means that we can live the life which Christ offers to us.

This two-sided impact of baptism on us — that our sins were washed away, and that we died to the world to live for Christ — is something which remains with us to this day, and indeed is something which will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Baptism is something which makes a change deep within our souls, a change which cannot be reversed. A baptised person can never become an unbaptised person.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re all sorted by baptism. Yes, it has made that vital change in us, and that change cannot be undone. But the grace which we are given by baptism is not something which we automatically accept. The grace is there by the working of the Holy Ghost; but we need to accept it if it is to have an ongoing impact on us.

The whole of our Christian life is built on that moment of our baptism — on the work which God did at the point, giving us the grace to live with Christ. But if we ignore it, or if we reject it, then it will do nothing for us. But it won’t go away, the grace will sit there — as God patiently waits for us — and if we turn back to him, and accept his working in our lives, than that grace will continue to strengthen us to live as Christ’s people here on earth.

The cleansing from sins at our baptism means that we should reject lives which accept sins; and dying to this world to live for Christ means that our lives should be structured around him and the way he wants us to live. Our baptisms should have a real impact on our daily lives, and the challenge to live in God’s way is a central part of that — a challenge which is only possible with the grace which comes from God, which was given to us in our baptisms.

So, as we celebrate Christ’s baptism today — let us reflect on our own baptisms, however long ago they were. Let us consider how well we are living up to the challenge of being those who have died to the world to live for Christ, and let us turn to him asking for his grace and power in our lives so that we can live lives worthy of those who have been cleansed by his baptism.

Blessing of the House at Epiphany

by Miguel Ángel García via

It’s customary to bless the house each year at Epiphany, with chalk and water which has been blessed for the purpose. You may have been able to obtain some; it’s generally distributed after Mass at Epiphany, and many churches make it freely available during the days afterward. Even if you’re isolating and can’t get it delivered to you, you can use the form here to ask for God’s blessing.


From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now : and ever shall be world without end. Amen.

From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

All they from Saba shall come
Bringing gold and frankincense.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto Thee.

The Blessing

Let us pray.
O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy Only Begotten Son to the Gentiles: mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may be led onward through this earthly life, until we see the vision of thy heavenly glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee — Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.
And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light and kings in the splendour of thy rising, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.

Let us pray.
Bless, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfilment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Each room is then sprinkled with Holy Water.
Over the main entrance using the blessed chalk inscribe:

20 + C + M + B + 21
This is formed of the numbers of the year (2021) with the initials of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar); it also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat (May Christ bless this house).

Announcement of Easter and the Moveable Feasts 2021

Paschal candle
The announcement of the year’s liturgical calendar is made after the Gospel reading in the Mass of the Epiphany. The Council of Nicaea (AD 325) is said to have formalised the tradition — which was ancient even then — of the Patriarch of Alexandria’s mission to send the date of the Paschal solemnity to other Eastern Patriarchs and to the Roman Pontiff, who was then to inform the metropolitans of the West. The customary proclamation is called the Noveritis after the first word in Latin, and it’s sung to the same tone as the Exsultet in the Easter Vigil, giving a taste of the Easter joy to this publication of the date of Easter.

Know, dear brothers and sisters, that, as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so by leave of God’s mercy we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection, who is our Saviour.

On the thirty-first day of January will fall the Sunday of Septuagesima.

On the seventeenth day of February will fall Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.

On the fourth day of April you will celebrate with joy Easter Day, the Paschal feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the thirteenth day of May will be the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the twenty-third day of May, the feast of Pentecost.

On the sixth day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

On the twenty-eighth day of November, the First Sunday of Advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Seek, find and rejoice

Fr Thomas’s homily at Mass on the Epiphany (6 January)

Leaflet for Mass

The Three Kings, Edmund Lewandowski (1914–1998); Hallmark Art Collection“They departed to their own country by another way.”

If we go through the account of the Magi coming to visit Christ there are two changes of direction, they have a practical basis but there is also a deeper sense of what is going on and how this can have an importance for us today.

Initially those Wise Men gazed up at the skies, as they had done for their entirely lives, they tried to gather news of the world from the changes among the stars — something caused them to think that a new king had been born, and they went off to find him. They travelled to Jerusalem on the basis of seeing that astral vision. There, amidst the vexation which Herod experienced, they were told to go on to Bethlehem; with this new knowledge they ventured out, and the star again guided them to find the infant king. Having made their visit, having given their homage they returned home, following a different route to avoid King Herod.

So both in their journey towards Christ and travelling home they needed to make a change — from their mistaken visit to Jerusalem, and returning by ‘another way’. Is this merely a case of S. Matthew despairing at the lack of first century sat-nav? Surely not.

If we go back to the beginning; these Wise Men, these Magi — they were outside of the covenant of Israel, these were not the sons of Abraham, they were uncircumcised, they didn’t study the Law of Moses. In all probability they were part of what later developed into Zoroastrianism, they believed that events on earth were paralleled by changes in the stars and so they studied night sky for evidence about what was happening. This isn’t quite the same as reading a newspaper horoscope, but it certainly isn’t the same as relying on sound revelation from God.

But yet, even though they were looking in the wrong place — even though they were studying stars rather than looking to God — they were undertaking this search in good faith, they were genuinely seeking after the truth of the world and what God was doing. God knew this, and so he rewarded their search with a hint — he let them know that something was happening, something which was of such great significance that they needed to respond. They were looking for a sign among the stars, and so that’s what God gave to them.

Secure, as they thought, in their faith and in their belief that they had been given a sign of truth they began their journey. It seemed obvious and natural that they should go to Jerusalem – that’s where a new King of Israel would be born, obviously.

But here we reach the first problem — it’s not obviously the right place, indeed it isn’t the right place. As they arrived, as they met with Herod, they were confronted with the fact that their beliefs were wrong — or rather, that they needed to be purified and refined. Their star-gazing religion wasn’t enough to lead them to the truth. God had used it, given their deep desire to find the truth; he had given them a hint, and it brought them closer to him and his truth…but it wasn’t enough.

Then they were given the text of the Prophet Micah to point them towards Bethlehem. The sign of the star had brought them close, but they needed God’s true revelation to lead them across that final step. They had the humility to accept that leadership — they were willing to travel away from the obvious and natural place in Jerusalem to the small town of Bethlehem because now they were following God’s own revelation.

Now that they submitted themselves to God’s word, they were brought to meet with the Truth itself, the new-born child who was that Truth which they had been searching in vain to find. They rejoiced greatly at the precious gift which they had been given.

Eventually it was time for them to return home, rather than simply retrace their steps they took a new journey. This allowed them to evade Herod, but more importantly it shows that they had been changed by what happened. They had encountered the truth — first, the truth of God’s prophets, and them the incarnate truth Himself — their lives could never simply return to what they had been.

In that journey the Magi stand in for all of us. We too, hopefully, are searching for the truth; and it we are to have that same encounter with the truth then we need to make those two detours as well.

We need to have the humility to put aside our own ways of looking and searching. We need to be willing to submit ourselves to God’s revelation, to the Faith once delivered to the Saints, to the Church who has been given to us as our guide. If we simply rely on our own strength and our own thoughts we might well end up at Jerusalem, as those Magi did; but those last few miles of the journey need us to turn to God and accept the teaching which he has given to us in the Bible, and in the unchanging teachings of the Church.

If we do this, then we will be brought to Christ — we will meet with that single source of all truth. But we also need to be ready to return home by a different path — we cannot have a true and meaningful meeting with Christ and not be changed by it. We may not end up in Cologne Cathedral, as those Magi did; but if we meet with Christ, then even as we journey home, we journey with him…and so we walk in a different way, we walk in Christ’s way. We walk with him guiding our steps. But if we walk this way, then like the Magi we will rejoice with exceedingly great joy.

Christ the Eternal Word

Fr Neil’s homily at Mass on the Second Sunday after Christmas (3 January)

Leaflet for Mass

Adoration of the Shepherds, Charles Le Brun (1619–1690), 1689; Louvre, Paris…that you might know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.

These are the remarkable words of St Paul to the church of God in Ephesians. What is this hope and glorious inheritance that Paul speaks of? He gives us a clue earlier in the passage. Paul says that we were chosen even before the foundation of the world. The statement alone should be enough to blow our minds. Even before the world came into be being, we were already in the mind of God. Not only that, but that he had already planned and made ready the means of our salvation and union with him even before the fall of Adam. Here God holds together the beginning and end of time in a unity which is beyond our minds’ ability to fathom. It sheds greater light on the words of our Lord repeated three times in the Book of Revelation: “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the One who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” This mystery is a profound promise of God revealed in Christ, and one that should provide us with a deep sense of reassurance!

Yet there is more! Having not only prepared a place for us in the heavenly realms, the Lord has also poured out upon us in Christ every spiritual blessing. All that heaven has to offer is ours in the Lord: forgiveness of sins; reconciliation with the Father; the gift of eternal life; the ever presence of Christ in the sacraments; the anointing and indwelling of the Holy Spirit; the witness of the saints and martyrs; the intercessions of Our Blessed Lady the Mother of God and the new heavens and earth where all things are made new where there will be no more tears, sorrows, sadness as sin and death will have been done away with.

As if participation in these elements of heavenly glory were not enough, out of an act of divine love he calls us to not just be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven but calls us to enter into an intimate relationship with him. This new means of relating to the Almighty is revealed to us when Our Lord teaches us how to pray, beginning with the extraordinary profound words, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven.’ It is also reiterated in our Epistle from Paul “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” Thus our relationship with God is more than just that of creature towards its creator — which should carry a utter sense of awe in itself — but the intimate relationship of a family, that we might be of his household, as his children, and he might be our heavenly Father. It is no wonder then that joy, praise and thanksgiving are the innate true characteristics of the children of God.

These mysteries are our hope and inheritance. The Blessed Virgin Mary is full of grace as she perfectly illustrates this intimacy in fulling God’s call to be the mother of the Word made flesh, to be mother of God. Like Our Lady we need to treasure these mysteries in our hearts and contemplate them in our acts of prayer and thanksgiving — and thus open ourselves to receive deeper graces.

The celebration of the Word made flesh in the Babe of Bethlehem is the promise of God made real. The Incarnation reveals that all God’s words of hope spoken through the prophets are made a concrete reality. We can rest in the continuity of the truth that God’s promise has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled and will be fulfilled in Christ our Lord.

We perhaps need reminding of such good news at this particular time so that we do not lose hope and fall into despair. This heavenly inheritance is so much bigger than any pandemic, government policy, or personal situation, all of which will pass away. Steadily fixing our gaze on Christ, who is our hope and joy, enables us to not be overwhelmed with anxiety about what tomorrow might bring but enables us to put all things into an eternal perspective, in the light of the Christ who is our Alpha and Omega, our beginning and our end.