This last week the priests of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham gathered at our spiritual home at England’s Nazareth, Walsingham. It was a special meeting as it was part of the annual gathering of the three ordinaries. Mgr Keith Newton was joined by Bishop Stephen Lopes, the Ordinary of The Chair of St Peter in America and Mgr Harry Entwhistle, the Ordinary of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.
The 24 hours together began with mass according to Divine Worship, at the Basilica in the Chapel of Reconciliation. Mgr Keith was chief celebrant and Bishop Stephen Lopes preached. A presentation was given in the afternoon about ‘virtue ethics’ by Fr Alban McCoy OFM. This was good, solid teaching. It was timely in the present debate, or lack thereof, in the West about sexual ethics and the uncritical acceptance of ‘Gender Theory’.
Fr Thomas Mason, Fr James Brady and I visited the studios of EWTNGB in Market Square. The operation is very impressive and production is now close to 70% original to this country. We also did a few voice tests, having to ad-lib a few short prayers and reflections with the possibility of providing lent reflections for next year – watch this space!
We sang much of morning and evening prayer, based on the Customary, together in the church of The Annunciation – which was powerful and moving. It confirmed that the branch that was cut from the vine has been grafted back in again and given new and vibrant life.
Towards the end of our time together, there was a question and answer session with the three Ordinaries. It was interesting to see, while having much in common, how in different contexts each Ordinariate was seeking to express its patrimony with their particular joys and challenges. For example Mgr Harry Entwhistle shared the hopes and difficulties of having two small groups in Japan and an exploratory group from the Philippines under his care!
We all left encouraged and hopeful to see the Holy Spirit at work leading us in fulfilling our mission.