The Ordinary, the Rt Revd Msgr Keith Newton PA

The Ordinary, the Rt Revd Msgr Keith Newton PA

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

On Tuesday, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis opened the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica inaugurating the Jubilee Year of Mercy. During the year the Holy Father calls on us to gaze upon and experience the mercy that God freely offers, so that we may then be signs of the Father’s love and mercy to the world around us. Pope Francis, in Misericordiae vultus, the document which announced this Holy Year, tells us that ‘the practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year’. He goes on to say a pilgrimage represents our journey through life and reminds us that God’s mercy is a goal to reach through dedication and sacrifice.

Pilgrimage holds a special place in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. For many of us, pilgrimages to the shrine from which we take our name have been central to our spiritual life. Our entry into the full communion of the Catholic Church was in itself a pilgrimage – travelling together, often at some personal cost, to answer God’s call and to receive His grace. It is natural therefore that pilgrimage should be at the heart of our observance of the Year of Mercy.

For this Year of Mercy we have arranged a programme of pilgrimages. Alongside the pilgrimage to Rome and Loreto in May which has been announced previously, there will be two national events and four regional pilgrimages. The national events are the annual summer pilgrimage to Walsingham and an October pilgrimage to the shrine of Blessed John Newman in Birmingham (replacing for this year the Westminster festival). I very much encourage all of you to do your best to support these two important acts of witness. I hope, too, that you will be able to take part in one or more of the regional pilgrimages in Holywell, Crediton, St Andrews and Arundel. Pilgrimage booklets are being designed and there will be a DVD explaining pilgrimages and indulgences.

Other material being prepared for the Jubilee year includes devotions for the 24 Hours for the Lord, which the Holy Father has asked to be observed in Lent in all dioceses, and an Ascensiontide Novena. Again I would encourage you to participate fully in these initiatives which I am sure will be a great opportunity for us grow in faith together and to take our full part in the Church’s celebration of our Father’s boundless mercy.

With the assurance of my prayers,

Yours in Christ,

The Rt Revd Mgr Keith Newton