Cardinal George Pell is to ordain 10 men as deacons for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham next month.
The ceremony, at St James, Spanish Place, London, will be the largest mass ordination in the ordinariate’s six-year history.
It is likely the 10 candidates will be ordained to the priesthood next year.
Two of the men have undertaken their entire formation within the ordinariate. If ordained as priests they will be the first clergy to have joined the ordinariate as lay people. The other eight are former Anglican priests who have taken a tailored two-year course.
Among them is Dr Michael Ward, a senior research fellow at Blackfriars College, Oxford. He is the author of several books on CS Lewis and is described by the Times Literary Supplement as “the foremost living Lewis scholar”.
Dr Ward said he was inspired to join the ordinariate as it “brings ecumenism to reality, helping to heal the wounds of schism, and provides a continuous thread all the way back to the pre-Reformation English Church”.
The 10 men will join 89 clergy serving nearly 50 ordinariate groups in England, Wales and Scotland.
Fr Simon Chinery, communications officer, said Cardinal Pell was a “great friend” to the ordinariate.
It was fitting, he said, that an official from the Vatican would celebrate the ordinations as the ordinariate is subject directly to the Holy See. Cardinal Pell, the former Archbishop of Sydney, is prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat of the Economy.
Fr Chinery said it would be the first time since the ordinariate’s early ordinations that a group would be ordained together.
In recent years men have been ordained separately in particular dioceses. But these could be difficult for other members of the ordinariate to get to.
He also recalled one ceremony where no mention of the ordinariate was made at all.
The ordination Mass will take place on Saturday June 17 and will be celebrated according to the ordinariate’s distinctive liturgy, Divine Worship. Cardinal Pell will be the ordaining bishop and will be assisted by Mgr Keith Newton, the ordinary of Britain’s ordinariate.
The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was formally established in 2011.
It followed Anglicanorum coetibus, an apostolic constitution issued by Benedict XVI two years earlier, which allowed Anglicans to become Catholics while still retaining some elements of Anglican patrimony.
The Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter was established a year later in North America, and several months after that the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross followed suit in Australia and Japan.
Now the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has groups throughout Great Britain, from Cornwall to the town of Presteigne in Wales and the island of Stornaway in north-west Scotland.
New Jesuit provincial is named
Fr Damian Howard SJ has been appointed Britain’s new Jesuit provincial.
Fr Howard will take up the post in September. “I am both deeply touched by this act of trust and daunted by the challenge. But I know I can count on the prayers and support of the Jesuits in Britain and of our many friends,” he said. After reading music and divinity at Cambridge, Fr Howard joined the Jesuits aged 23. He has published a PhD thesis on Islam and evolutionary theory.