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Mgr Newton: 'Everything will be alright'
The Ordinary writes in the May 2012 edition of The Portal:
Having just reached a significant birthday I have learned that I am able to get concessionary rates at the cinema. Sadly, it will not save as much as the free prescriptions I am also now entitled to as I hardly ever go to the cinema. My first visit for many months, a few weeks ago, was to see the British film 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'. I mentioned this in my Easter homily because it has a particularly good line spoken by one of the main characters several times during the film when things had not worked out quite as people hoped: 'Everything will be all right in the end, so if is not all right then it is not yet the end.'
Anxiety and uncertainty
Over the last year or so there have been times of anxiety and uncertainty for some, but things have usually worked out. Sometimes people expect too much too soon; after all fifteen months is not long in the life of the Catholic Church which people say thinks in terms of centuries. I have told clergy who are contemplating entering the full communion of the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate, not to think that the journey will be easy or necessarily straightforward nor will practical matters always work out in the way one might expect.
40 Ordinariate groups
Nevertheless much has been achieved in the short time since the Ordinariate was erected in January 2011. We now have 60 priests, the most recent being Fr James Bradley and Fr Daniel Lloyd ordained at the end of April and both under 29 years of age. We now have a working Governing Council, which meets every three months to counsel and advise me. Around 200 more people were received into the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate this Easter.
There are more than 40 Ordinariate groups of varying sizes meeting regularly for Mass and other devotions. Two of our priests have begun to study Canon Law by distance learning from Louvain University so that we can eventually have our own Canon Lawyers. Despite having to travel long distances, almost all our clergy were present at our first Chrism Mass at St James' Spanish Place which was an inspiring and uplifting occasion. Several young men have offered themselves for ordination and will this month attend a selection panel. At the end of the month we hope that around 20 former Anglican clergy will be ordained to the Diaconate in Westminster Cathedral - God willing.
'It is not yet the end'
Yes, much has been achieved but 'it is not yet the end' and there is much still to do. We need to put permanent structures in place, set up a Pastoral Council which will include members of our laity, gradually put ourselves on a more stable financial footing, not to mention the most important objective; to be an enthusiastic and effective agent of evangelisation. In addition we do not yet know what effect decisions made in General Synod in July will have on those many Anglicans who have been waiting to see how the Ordinariate develops. This is a long term project and we are just at its beginning.
May is the month of Mary
May is the month of Mary, our patron under her beloved title of Our Lady of Walsingham. She gives us an example par excellence of faith and obedience. Despite not knowing quite what the future would bring, by God's grace she responded positively to his invitation. The great gift of a mother is to pray for her children so let us ask her to pray for us that our resolve may be strong and our vision undimmed and have faith that God will provide - 'Everything will be all right in the end, so if is not all right then it is not yet the end.'