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Cardinal Nichols preaches at Ascension Mass in Warwick Street
Thursday 21st May 2015

Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Ordinariate Use of the Roman Rite for the Ascension of the Lord was celebrated on Sunday 17th May 2015 in the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in St Gregory Warwick Street, London, a parish of the Diocese of Westminster, which has been given to the care of the Ordinariate. The celebrant was Mgr Keith Newton and the preacher was H.E. Vincent Cardinal Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster.

In his sermon Cardinal Vincent Nichols spoke of the mercy of God in light of the Ascension. As the basis of his sermon, the Cardinal used some of the reflections contained in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham's "Called to be Holy" novena booklet.

In particular, he meditated on words from Blessed John Henry Newman's "Christ, a Quickening Spirit" ("Parochial and Plain Sermons II"), as well as a sermon delivered by Lancelot Andrews on Whitsunday 1614 and a lecture by Evelyn Underhill.

The "Called to be Holy" Novena, which is currently being prayed by members of the Ordinariate in preparation for Pentecost, was devised in response to words delivered by the Cardinal at last year's Ordinariate Festival, when he said: "Does what you do, in pursuit of a proper distinctiveness, clearly lead to holiness? Is it in the service of sanctification? This is what counts."

Noting that the Ascension of Our Lord points to God's merciful plan, for "where the head has gone, we his body surely [hope to] follow", Cardinal Nichols said that we were created to "ascend into heaven and share in [Christ's] glory". Our lives, therefore, are not "ultimately futile" as some believe, but we are created to respond to the "restless love of God".

Music was provided by the parish choir and included Byrd's "Viri Galilaei", Darke's "Communion Service in E", Philips' "Ascendit Deus" and Finzi's "God is gone up". Among those present was Mother Winsome of the Ordinariate's Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who read one of the readings.

After Mass, all present were invited to the parish rooms or refreshments. The rooms in the basement of the church will soon be refurbished according to plans submitted by the parish.

You can read the Cardinal's sermon in full here.

Photo: Dylan Parry, Friends of the Ordinariate - More Photographs here.

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