Monsignor Newton was the principal celebrant and preacher and reminded us that we gathered to give thanks for the visit of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to Britain. Many of the members of the ordinariate gave special thanks because the holy Father had given them special encouragement as they were discerning the call of God. This is true for me and I remembered some very happy memories of sitting with my family at the Beatification Mass in Birmingham and thinking, "yes I feel more at home here than in the Church of England." Yet at the same time the Mass felt welcoming of Anglican tradition as we sang so many of Newman's hymns, and his very English character seemed palpably present.
Following benedicition we formed into a silent procession along the holy mile to the Anglican Shrine. Plans had been altered by the persistent rain, but then as we formed up suddenly the rain stopped and we could feel the sun's warmth on our heads. So we began a silent offering for reparation for the sins of disunity amongst Christians. I pushed Rose's pram and a brother priest asked if he could put his case on the pram, and I was reminded that we must be willing to carry our brother's burden in the pilgrimage to unity.
A very special and heartfelt day for everyone present.
May our Lady of Walsingham pray for us.
May Blessed John Henry Newman pray for us.
May God's Holy Angels defend us from every evil.