Cardinal Vincent Nichols urged members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham to help with the new evangelisation of Britain, when he preached at a packed Mass to mark the 10th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s Anglicanorum coetibus.
The apostolic constitution, issued in November 2009, authorised the creation of ordinariates for groups of ex-Anglicans who wished to enter full communion with the Pope while retaining elements of their tradition.
The Mass was held at the Church of the Most Precious Blood at London Bridge and featured the church’s noted children’s choir. Ordinariate priests and lay people had gathered from across Britain for the event, and the cardinal, quoting Benedict XVI, reminded them of the ordinariate’s mission, to be a bridge between Christians and a form of true ecumenism.
He emphasised that the ordinariate is no “halfway house” and that members are full members of the Catholic Church with a special calling. He asked, in particular, that they play a full part in the re-dedication of the country to Our Lady, which has begun with visits of the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham to various shrines and cathedrals.
“May we celebrate Our Lady’s joys – at a time when joy is lacking in the public mood in Britain,” he said.
Listing some of the traditions that the Anglican heritage is bringing to the Catholic Church, he mentioned a knowledge of pre-Reformation saints including Julian of Norwich, Frideswide and Edith of Kemsing – sometimes not well known among cradle Catholics – and the contribution of Anglican divines including Lancelot Andrewes and John Keble.
The Mass, concelebrated by ordinariate leader Mgr Keith Newton, was a Votive Mass of St John Henry Newman, and included Newman’s famous hymns “Praise to the Holiest” and “Firmly I believe and truly”. It was followed by a reception in the parish school hall.