Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Tidings of great joy begin the New Year

The Ordinariate begins the new calendar year with two wonderful pieces of news.

First that we have twelve new sisters in the Ordinariate, the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who were received by the Ordinary in Oxford yesterday. They now wear the black habit of Benedictine nuns and while bringing their many customs from their life as the Wantage Sisters, they are now being helped to integrate that with the Benedictine life in the Catholic Church that will be in the Ordinariate. One thing they were known for was the singing of Gregorian chant to English, in their offices. I for one hope that their life in the Ordinariate will help us all to grow in that tradition of singing the psalms to the ancient and very Christian way of singing the psalter. While the new Customary of the Ordinariate has a lot of chant in it, it doesn't have pointed psalms. Anyway we celebrate with the sisters, thanking God for their example of courage and faith to step into the unity of the full communion of the Catholic Church. As father of a family of 9 children, I particularly sympathise with Mother Winsome, who has responsibility for 11 sisters leading them into the uncertainties they face - nowhere to live, no money etc. Every blessing Mother!

The new Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Fr Michael Seward's sermon at the Reception Mass is here.

Here you can read the blog from the Benedictines at St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, about the sisters.

Secondly we have been greeted with the news that the diocese of Westminster has designated one of its churches to be for Ordinariate use. This is wonderful, wonderful news. It means there is somewhere to point people to, if they say "what is the Ordinariate about?" Now we can say, "Go and see!" Of course we will need this sort of thing to be repeated around the country for the Ordinariate truly to get off the ground. This is also an appropriate church not least because it is the place where Blessed John Henry Newman first attended a Catholic Mass.

Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, Soho

So the Ordinariate begins the year with two very solid developments which point also to greater things to come, God being our helper.

A warm and joyful greeting to you all, and I pray for blessings in this coming year for you all.

Deo gratias,
Fr Ian Hellyer

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)