Friday, 22 April 2011

Hail, O Cross, our only hope, glory of the Redeemer

If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me

At three o'clock the Liturgy for Good Friday began at Buckfast Abbey. Those of us who were Received into the Catholic Church yesterday were still within their first twenty-four hours of life as Catholics. In the homily we heard the call to take up our own cross. The way of Christ is not the easy way. Many today like the easy way and prefer it. Alas the easy way leads not to happiness but hell. Whereas the Christian disciple takes up the cross each day and endeavours to walk the path of sacrificial love.  Lord, may we and all the members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, take courage and recognise Your way of fruit-bearing, that each day we may deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow You, for You are our Saviour and our God. Amen.
Ian Hellyer, Group Pastor

St Austell Receptions

John, the St Austell group's pastor, writes:

Sorry I didn't have the camera handy, had too much on my mind! The Reception went well at St Austell, with 23 received and 21 Confirmed. The Group also presented me with a stole for my Ordination which was blesssed by Fr. Paul, the Parish priest.

Torbay Ordinariate Group Reception

The Torbay Ordinariate GroupAt a service held shortly before the Mass of the Lord's Supper this evening 41 members of the Torbay Ordinariate Group were received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.  The receptions and confirmations were celebrated by Fr John Smethurst, Parish Priest of The Holy Angels, Chelston, who are hosting the group, and himself a former Anglican. 

Fr Smethurst spoke of the sense of 'Easter having come early' with the evident and audible excitement in the lead up to the Maundy Thursday Mass as the newly received members of the Church were greeted and congratulated by their fellow Catholics from the Parish.

The group has close links with the other groups in the Plymouth Diocese - at Buckfast Abbey and in Cornwall - who were also received today, and all these groups look forward to having further members received into full communion in the near future.

 First to be received were the three former Anglican clergy

 Each member came up to receive the sacrament of confirmation
The whole group with Fr John Smethurst

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Twelve New Catholics in the Ordinariate at Buckfast Abbey

Twelve New Catholics of the Ordinariate with their sponsors

It was a very beautiful and still afternoon at Buckfast Abbey when twelve members of the Buckfast Ordinariate Group were Received into full communion with the Catholic Church.  In a rite lead by Father Abbot, members of the Ordinariate recited the Nicene Creed and added the words: I believe and profess all that the Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God. At this we were brought into full communion with the Catholic Church and then immediately received the Sacrament of Confirmation with the Abbot praying for the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit and chrismating each of us in turn. I found it to be both a very beautiful moment yet one of simplicity too. As I thought about the journeys each of us has been through to bring us to this moment, how wonderful it was to be blessed with such simplicity and peace at the culmination of our preparation. But this is not the end but a beginning. We were reminded in the Epistle reading (1 Cor 12:4-13), that by the gifts of the Holy Spirit each of us is provided with the means of taking our unique part in the Church. Specifically that will be the new Ordinariate Parish when it is created in due time.

In his homliy Father Abbot reminded us that as members of the Catholic Church we accepted the universality of Christ, that we accept that Christ did not belong to one race, people or nation. In this sense no one can claim that Christ is on their side; what we all have to decide is whether we are on His side.

It was my privilege to be invited to lead the intercessions. We prayed for the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to persevere faithfully in the choice we had made; that all Christians may come to perfect unity; that all whom God's grace has touched may be lead to the fullness of truth in Christ; that those who do not believe in Christ may enter the way of salvation led by the light of the Holy Spirit; and that we who have received the gift of faith may persevere in it to the end of our lives. In silence we also offered our own intentions.

Then came the collect and blessing. The rite was complete and we were now Catholics in the Personal Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham.

We went to the hall for brief refreshment. Father Abbot was on hand to remind us we would need to keep the hour's fast before receiving Holy Communion. We had just time to drink the Abbey's good coffee or tea with a biscuit. So we had our photo taken and went into the Abbey Church for the Mass of the Lord's Supper. On this night before our Lord was betrayed, amongst other things our Lord prayed that His disciples be one. The Sacrament of Unity, of Communion, was given to us for we had publicly accepted the faith that the Catholic Church teaches and proclaims. 

How amazing, in one evening we received the sacraments of Penance, Confirmation and Holy Communion! We look forward to further instruction by Abbot David, but we owe him a great debt of gratitude for guiding, enlightening and then Receiving us.

Deo gratias.
Ian Hellyer, Group Pastor 

(Music at the Mass of the Lord's Supper included - Introit: If ye love me by Thomas Tallis; Gloria: William Byrd's Mass for four voices, Washing of Feet: Ubi Caritas by Maurice Durufle and Gibbons' Drop, drop slow tears, Offertory: O Bread of heaven beneath this veil, Offertory Motet: Stainer's God so loved the world, Sanctus: Plainsong Mass XIII, Agnus Dei: Byrd's Mass for four voices, Communion Motet: Ave Verum Corpus by Byrd,  Procession of the Sacrament: GLory be to Jesus, At the Altar of Repose: Tantum Ergo Sacramentum.   Congratulations to the Choir whose voices soared and inspired us yet again.)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Palm Sunday

Today's mass launched us into the mysteries of Holy Week in a very beautiful way.  The procession of the palms pointed not only to Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem but also the journey or ascent to the Kingdom that is our own lives.  We listened to Matthew's Passion narrative, dramatically read.  The music for the mass lifted our hearts as the voices soared into the heights of the abbey church.  It was not just my own children which found the music captivating as I noticed some neighbouring little ones just taking it all in.  When liturgy is done beautifully in this way it draws everyone into its compass including the very young.

Holy Week has begun and we draw near to our own entrance into full communion with the Catholic Church.  Praised be to God for his great mercy and love for us.  Please pray for us; as twelve of us make this step on Maundy Thursday at 4.30pm.
Ian Hellyer, Pastor for the Buckfast Group

Postscript:  The tadpoles are growing but still no change is visible in their metamorphosis.

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)