On February 2nd 2012 I was received into the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. I was 62 years of age and had been ordained in the Church of England for 37 years. I have the privilege to live at the moment the life of a Catholic layman, dividing my time between England and France. This means that I have three spiritual homes: the London (South) Ordinariate group provides me with Sunday worship, the friendship of fellow Ordinariate pilgrims, and a growing sense of mission within the parish of the Most Precious Blood at Borough; then for the daily Mass the Jesuit Parish of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon with its huge and lively congregation, musical tradition and great preaching; and finally the parish of Notre Dame des Etangs in Picardy, where I have found a welcome, singing with the choir, occasionally playing the organ, and generally improving my french!
With many other former Anglicans I give thanks for the very direct welcome that Pope Benedict XVI has given to us, by setting up the Ordinariates. It is always good to feel wanted, in any aspect of life, and not least in the Church. We stand, perhaps a little nervously, on the edge of the vast sea which is the Catholic Church. We knew the Church of England well, although as Anglo-Catholics we saw ourselves and our concerns increasingly marginalised and even ridiculed. The Ordinariates are new, and will continue to feel their way within the wider Church for some time to come. One hears the question, ‘What is the Ordinariate?’ We have its constitution in Anglicanorum Coetibus, which provides the framework for its mission and organisation. But how will the people of the Ordinariate live as Catholic Christians, how will they worship, how will they aid the restoration of unity between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, and how will they play their part in bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their friends and neighbours? If this blog could contribute in some tiny way to any or all of these questions, I would indeed give thanks with a grateful heart.